Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in alex carnevale (224)


In Which We Emerge The Victor Of These Events

The Friendship Mask


She says the same thing, that bitch, that you do about me, that I'm an emotional cripple, by which she means that I don't release my true emotions, that it's a cover-up, what I show the world.  

- Elia Kazan to his therapist about Barbara Loden

Elia Kazan decided to break things off with Barbara Loden. She had already felt, almost imperceptibly, his reluctance. She had recently told him at length of all the men she had ever been with. She informed him of her history, she said, so he did not have to wonder.

Enraged, Kazan began cheating on her whenever he could. She rehearsed her part in The Changeling all afternoon and evening at Lincoln Center, and he was free to stroll off from the set during those times. With a blonde girlfriend, he now exclusively courted brunettes.

with first wife Molly

One of these available women was a singer in a religious choir he had met in Tennessee. She kept her eyes closed while they fucked, mystifying Kazan. Another was a Greek brunette who tried to convince him to impregnate her and disappear. He refused.

While Loden was being fitted for costumes for her role, he wandered in Central Park one day and picked up a girl playing softball. She gave him her dead husband's favorite sweater.

Kazan's friends feared that Barbara Loden had trapped him years before by keeping her only pregnancy. The boy, Leo, was now three, and Kazan had less than no interest in him. "I've never regretted telling Barbara that if she wanted a child it was all right with me," he writes in the best show business autobiography ever penned, A Life. "Knowing my nature, wouldn't you say she was taking a riskier chance than I was?"

wrapping up 'Streetcar'

Seven years into the relationship, Kazan was now weary of her. ("No one can tell me that novelty is not a great charge in sex," he states in A Life, as if that were a revelation.) His numerous indiscretions only further convinced Kazan that he and Loden did not have love between them anymore.

Elia and Barbara

He planned to pick up Barbara Loden from rehearsal in a cab and head back to her place, where he would break the news gently. In the taxi, she immediately began complaining about how he had blocked her scenes, and criticized his directorial efforts in general. Kazan turned on her, dismissing his earlier reticence towards cruelty. She listened quietly to what he said.

Once her room, she took off all her clothes immediately, as she always did, to appease him. "I wanted to lie still on the bed and hold her," Kazan writes about the post-coital mood. "But I noticed she didn't like this the way she once had, and although her head was on my upper arm, and her leg over mine, she seemed tense, like a runner before a race. Then she said, with a casualness I thought feigned, 'Daddy, I wish you'd tell me what you want me to do.'"

with his father

He could think of no real reply. Moments later, she said, "It's either we marry or break up for good." After seeing her home, he went to the apartment of the young widow. There he was happy for a time.


When Elia Kazan had first introduced Barbara Loden to his friend John Steinbeck, the writer told him, in no uncertain terms, to stay away from her. Kazan planned to resolve his conflict with Loden by leaving for Europe; his therapist suggested he would feel better if he said goodbye to her. There, on a bench in Central Park, he met his son Leo for the first time.

Molly & Elia with John and Elaine Steinbeck

Elia had been with his first wife Molly Kazan when he first met Loden. Ostensibly a playwright, Molly was not much of a writer and on some level, even after four lovely children by her, Kazan could not forgive this weakness. Molly first learned of Kazan's penchant for infidelity during his not-so-quiet affair with the actress Constance Dowling.

with katharine hepburn & spencer tracy

He always made a habit of introducing his wife to his mistress, but his affair with Constance was so obvious Molly was told by a third party. His wife banished him to the study of their home, right next door to the bedroom, and seriously considered divorce. A friend gave her a piece of advice: "If you want him, you'll have to take him as he is." The only one who supported the director in the marriage's impasse was his parents.


He started up with Loden originally on the set of Splendor in the Grass. They had sex during every single lunch break. When the production was in New York, he would go home to his wife and their maid would serve the family dinner. He only stopped having sex with Loden when she became visibly pregnant.

directing Vivien Leigh in 'Streetcar'

Again he was compelled to see what Molly thought of Barbara, and vice versa. Unable to resist, he asked Loden for her opinion on his wife. "She's a very handsome woman," Loden said.

with Molly and their four children

Throughout these lascivious trails, Kazan reveals he felt very little in the way of guilt. His penchant for self-acceptance in A Life reeks of 20/20 hindsight, but there is something else at work there, too, an essence his analyst identified and determined could never be fully repaired. Kazan did not long for other women because there was something lacking in his life. He had determined that this was his life: what primacy could any other part of his self claim, to stand up to that?

Elia's commiseration with Loden waxed and waned as the years went on. Sometimes she sent him letters describing an empathy she felt for him; at other moments she wondered if she even liked the man at all.

From his perspective, her innate destructiveness and lack of interest in how others viewed her was what attracted him in the first place. It was also the inner element which produced the natural charisma invaluable to her work as an actress and filmmaker.

Molly Kazan

Loden and Kazan continued to see each other, if infrequently, in the last years of Molly Kazan's life. (Molly died from a brain hemorrhage in 1963, and was buried with her wedding ring.) Given a new primacy in his life after Molly's death, Loden challenged Kazan regarding the stage roles he gave her. She constantly threatened to move to Los Angeles.

Kazan openly wondered to friends whether he'd required Molly to make his relationship with Loden work. He lost the ability to maintain an erection with her during sex, and attempted to break things off, as I have already described.

with Marlon Brando

Free of Barbara, wandering the earth, Kazan felt somewhat alone. He wrote to Loden, suggested he missed her and asked her to come to Japan. They kept writing until she arrived, and when he saw her at the airport, he knew he had made a mistake. Still, she did everything she could to please him, and he responded in turn. She seemed happy to be with him again until Kazan told her that he had been fucking around with another woman in the month before she arrived.

Back in the U.S., Kazan continued seeing both Loden and his new mistress. (He was never able to manage much more than two at a time.) Again, his curiosity got the better of him, and he encouraged Barbara to confront the other woman he was seeing. Kazan called the girl to warn her Loden might try to see her.

"She's right here," the girl said.

"How are you getting along?" Kazan asked.

"I like her very much."

Loden somehow emerged the victor of these events, and she moved in with Kazan a few months later, walking into Elia's study and putting Leo in his lap. They were married in Kenya soon after, and a ceremony was held in the Caribbean. They were wed for less than a year before he found a mistress that would complement her better.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

loden during her cancer



In Which We Never Went To Jail For So Long

Savior Chic


The Night Of
creators Richard Price & Steven Zaillian

John Stone (John Turturro) finds it very difficult to drape his physique in the right way. He has long legs, perhaps a bit ungainly for the abrogated shape of his torso. His feet are coated with unsightly blisters, the residue of dyshidrotic eczema, and he claims he wears sandals in order to expose them to the healing air. These winsome character traits are mostly a distraction for Stone's work as a criminal attorney in the New York City court system, depicted here with an absurdly pleasing amount of over-faithfulness. Richard Price was tired of his books turning into garden variety procedurals since he put so much work into detailing exactly the way things are. The result of his frustration is The Night Of.

Dennis Box (Bill Camp) is just as fun to watch as Turturro's overwrought lawyer. The sparring between he and his legal opponent becomes the main centerpiece of A Night Of, while the accused Nazir Khan (Riz Ahmed) is instructed never to speak. When he does talk, he sounds like a fourteen-year boy instead of the college student he supposedly is.

Every Pakistani-American male I have ever met is acutely aware of how American society defines him, but somehow growing up in an insulated Queens neighborhood Nazir remains blissfully innocent of the world around him. On some level we have to buy this conceit in order to believe in A Night Of, since it allows us to enjoy the story of a proud family of American immigrants turned into a showpiece for white guys to debate the true meaning of the justice system.

In the show's first episode, Khan finds himself ensconsed in the blood of a woman he has met the evening previous. In his pocket is the knife which carved her up. Despite the fact that the lifelong abstainer was under the influence of copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, he never once entertains the idea that he might have done this horrible deed. And so what if he did? He's still entitled to a defense.

Stone gives him this, hectoring him at length whenever Khan speaks up to proclaim his innocence or talk to cops. Price's depiction of the entire process of Khan's arrest and incarceration is the most realistic depiction ever done in this medium, and Steven Zaillian, who directed all but one of the series' eight episodes, revels in each tiny parcel of procedure. Every single notation or moment within the process is adjudicated its own little sense of justice, until it begins to make up a larger moral whole.

Price has been critical of the police and larger justice system in his novels, but A Night Of is mostly about how great everyone is. As Dennis Box, Bill Camp delivers a star-making performance and gets most of the good lines here, going on and on to his Pakistani suspect about how he is the only one who really believes in the truth. The veteran theater actor commands the scene with his unmistakable presence; there is not even any describing his poise — it just emerges like a force of nature.

Price has always been interested in how and why people lie. Deception is simply the greater part of both Box's job and Stone's job. The dance between the two of them is the only sunlight in the bleak views of Queens and Manhattan. A Night Of offers this contrasting diegesis without much in the way of a musical score to tell us what to feel. The spareness adds rather than subtracts from the mood.

Scenes with Khan's parents Salim (Peyman Moaadi) and Safer (Poorna Jagannathan) also take on intense emotional weight because of their novelty. Poorna Jagannathan's understated mothering plays well in comparison to Turturro's intensely louder role. We see John Stone at home, so sure of himself in everything he does, so convinced he is the hero of something. In The Night Of, no other people are afforded that same silly confidence, the braggadocio that only comes with being white.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


In Which We Refrain From Touching The Bride Whatsoever

Dating Yourself


Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
dir. Jake Szymanski
98 minutes

Eric (Veep's Sam Richardson) is marrying a white woman named Jeanie (Stephanie Beard) who comes from a unique family. Eric gives Jeanie some absurd pecks on the lips but basically he is not allowed to touch her for the duration of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, despite the fact that this Hawaiian wedding is supposed to be the greatest day of his life.

Instead of touching her swarthy, African-American husband-to-be, Jeanie complains that she never got the bachelorette party that she deserved and has multiple orgasms with a Pakistani masseuse. She has only one friend in the world, a lanky Jewish woman who serves as her maid of honor. This is a considerable improvement over her fiance, however, who has no parents or friends at his wedding at all.

Instead of their pals from college or work, Jeanie and Eric are pathetically focused on the abstract lives of Jeanie's brothers Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave (Adam Devine). Efron looks like he is being held hostage for most of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Romantically he is paired with Anna Kendrick, who appreciates his meager talents such as they are. Instead of allowing Mike's dream to be that of a dancer or singer, he wants to be an illustrator.

Anna Kendrick's face needs a rest. She looks exhausted and bloated from the sheer number of roles she has taken over the past year. There is something profoundly unhappy in her mien, and it doesn't help that she is wearing either the world's most terrible wig for the duration of this movie or she simply couldn't be bothered to comb her hair. Her character was recently left at the altar by a man who we never learn very much about, but given the massive amount of drugs and alcohol she consumes in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, it is hard to say he made the wrong call.

During the rehearsal dinner, Kendrick gives Jeanie a bunch of MDMA. Nothing bad at all happens from this, which passes on the lovely lesson that dropping molly can only lead to romping with horses in the Hawaiian countryside and realizing you don't want to consummate your interracial marriage. There is not a lot of love between of any of these people: they specifically are never any good at valuing each other's positive qualities.

Left to carry the humor and, strangely, also the emotional end of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is Adam Devine (Workaholics, Modern Family). First off, it must be noted the herculean effort on the part of everyone involved with this production to make Devine and his co-star Efron look normal-sized. Both are absolutely tiny, and you really wish they would own that and make it part of the story instead of shooting everything like Mission Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise looked approximately 6'5".

You do begin to forget about how much of a delicate morsel of a human being Devine is. His relationship (or lack thereof) with Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) begins when she intentionally is hit by a car so that she can pretend he saved her via CPR. In this role as femme fatale, Plaza fits the casting in everything but her chipped teeth. Her New York accent is vaguely offensive and somewhat distracting, but the rest of her is a welcome evolution from the snippy roles she usually inhabits.

Aubrey Plaza and Devine are the only people in this movie that seem the least bit suited for each other, so of course she spends the entire running time avoiding him, climaxig in a scene where she fingers his female cousin for the chance at Rihanna tickets. This doesn't seem the slightest bit out of character, but it makes it ridiculous that she ever writes off Devine, who is completely her type.

Sometimes Devine seems to be merely vamping jokes and one-liners from his slacker series on Comedy Central, Workaholics, but other times his back-and-forths with Efron are genuinely funny and sweet. One I Love Lucy-esque scene takes place on a bizarrely tiny beach (to make them look bigger?). As Devine explains how everything in his life has gone completely wrong, he becomes a distinctly, plausible human being. Devine has a deft grasp on playing a person who cannot succeed on any aspect of himself other than his own enthusiasm.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 75 Next 3 Recordings »