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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

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Life of Mary MacLane

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Entries in dick cheney (125)

Monday
Dec142015

In Which We Completely Busted Out Of This Corset

Boys Town

by DICK CHENEY

The Ridiculous 6
dir. Frank Coraci
114 minutes

There is a moment in The Ridiculous 6 when you feel like it is 1995. Rob Schneider portrays a Hispanic-American posing as a drug lord at a high stakes poker game also frequented by Wyatt Earp and Mark Twain. A woman appears at the doorway. Her name is Susannah, and cast in the role is Whitney Cummings. Susannah's cleavage overflows from her corset. She identifies the only African-American present, Terry Crews, and beckons him to the bedroom she normally shares with her husband Ezekiel (Jon Lovitz). There she regales him with the kind of sexual debauchery Adam Sandler only experienced in dreams or the mid-1990s.

There are two other women in The Ridiculous 6. One is the young Apache that is Adam Sandler's love interest, Smoking Fox (Julia Jones, 34). The other is a whore.

It seems like it is about time for the angry white man to come in vogue again. This is the role Sandler played so well, when most of comedy consisted of him screaming at women and children about how disappointing he found his life with them. This makes it all the more baffling that he cast himself as White Knife in The Ridiculous 6, who is a sweet-natured Caucasian-American raised by the Apache tribe.

Sandler used to make films about the sheer indignity of being white and having everything you ever wanted handed to you. Then his audience gradually realized this wasn't a satire or joke: this was actually Sandler's view of the world, and after becoming so wealthy from films like Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy, his major day-to-day activities consisted of sitting by a pool, snorting or smoking whatever drugs his friends brought by, and wondering aloud to himself, "I wonder what life would be like if pressing a button on the remote control changed the world!"

Netflix signed Sandler to a multifilm contract after no one was particularly interested in bringing The Ridiculous 6 out in cinemas. The movie is not all bad: at least it does not feature a scene where the protagonist takes some aboriginal plant and hallucinates insights into his present condition. It also explores a fairly novel subject for any genre, which is the discovery of a father by a son who was abandoned by that parent.

Sandler's character speaks in a measured, reasonable tone throughout. He is actually the straight man here, and the comedy comes from the half-brothers he unwittingly rounds up to find his father Frank (Nick Nolte). Taylor Lautner plays a virgin, Terry Crews is a piano player, Luke Wilson is an alcoholic, Schneider has a donkey, and Jorge Garcia is the fat and disgusting brother who is unable to speak English.

About 50 percent of the jokes are of the gross-out variety, including a scene where Steve Buscemi applies creme to a horse's ass and then Taylor Lautner's lips. The remaining 50 percent are not jokes in any real sense, more facial expressions and stunt casting.

How was $60 million spent on this piece of shit? Mostly the wide-ranging cast. Every single role, no matter how small, features some form of stunt casting, as if Sandler's only purpose in life was to provide work for his friends from Saturday Night Live.

I don't know why David Spade was in this movie, except that too many of Sandler's other friends from the period are no longer alive, turning The Ridiculous 6 into a kind of roll call to ensure we know who is still kicking. Norm Macdonald, Will Forte, Nick Swardson, Blake Shelton, Vanilla Ice, John Turturro, Chris Parnell and Chris Kattan also make appearances.

There are no women characters of any of any note here. For Sandler, women are strange, capricious creatures. He has been married to the same woman since 2003, and as such, she has become a part of him. Mr. Sandler met his wife on the set of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, and she converted to Judaism for him, because why wouldn't she? Jackie Sandler makes an appearance in The Ridiculous 6. She plays (you guessed it) a promiscuous Apache woman.

Upcoming Netflix projects include:

— a biopic of Gloria Steinem where she is played by Ryan Gosling

— a remake of Lost where every character is played by Kate Upton in a different costume

— a comedy series based around Meryl Streep living and whoring out of a dumpster

— a movie about a white guy who was nice to his slaves

— a Gilmore Girls remake where Alexis Bledel still has no taste in men

Netflix has a large new Los Angeles office that is fully supporting these artistic efforts to set women back to the Stone Age. The company seems insistent on the maxim that sexism sells. If the industry at large is increasingly afraid of relegating women to their roles as prostitutes, babymakers and prudes, Netflix is there to pick up the slack.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Silent Night" - Pentatonix (mp3)

Monday
Dec072015

In Which We Have Been With Sharon Stone For So Many Years

Secret Woman

by DICK CHENEY

Agent X
creator William Blake Herron

U.S. Vice President Natalie Maccabee (Sharon Stone) looks great for her age except for her neck. The night that she becomes vice president, the president gives her a special key that she decides to insert into a matching lock near her fireplace. Her butler Malcolm suddenly appears to intone, "You have just beat Lyndon Johnson's record, Madam Vice President." He takes her down the stairs of a secret door into a cavern that reads "The History Room" above its entrance.

In that cavern he shows her a copy of the Constitution that includes a super-secret addendum. The vice president, you see, has an agent of unknown identity under the discretion of the vice president. That agent appears behind her, walks slowly towards her, and kisses her hand.

Later, Stone is a meeting where a member of the Cabinet has had his daughter abducted by terrorists. "There's nothing we can do," the president explains, and Sharon gets this constipated look on her face, like I know what to do. The Maccabees were a Jewish dynasty formed by rebelled against their pagan forbears; they circumcised boys and the woods and killed their oppressors from trees.

Sharon Stone married a few Jews in her time, so Agent X creator William Blake Herron decided to bring that fascinating part of Sharon's past onto her new show. Except, on Agent X, Sharon's husband is the victim of a fiery car crash that she runs away from, clothes burning and tattered, as her vehicle explodes into flames. Inevitably we will learn that this was no accident, especially since Sharon keeps having flashbacks to the moment during her life on the presidential couch.

Stone's two marriages to Jews both did not end in happiness. She was married to a Jewish television producer in the 1980s, but the marriage only lasted three years. Later she married reporter Phil Bronstein, who worked all the time and was notoriously verbally combative with Stone. She also considered Shimon Peres her mentor for some reason, and now she is an ordained minister.

Basic Instinct made a fortune for a lot of people, netting more than $350 million at the box office. Sharon displayed her vagina as a tortured writer. She was great in the role, but there was nothing really overly special about the performance or the movie. Watching it again today the script is absolutely terrible and the entire thing is saved by the amazing direction of Paul Verhoeven, who was famously slapped by Stone after she understood that she would be showing off her lower half in the movie.

Agent X takes no such risks. Other cable networks are experimenting with violence and sex in their storytelling, but TNT's original programming seems intended for an older audience. Stone is extremely charismatic when she has good material, but the writing on this show has her intoning impressive lines like, "All our players keep dying." 

I know that Sharon wanted to play a more serious role — that of a woman with intellectual heft. She would have been a lot better if she was playing the role of the secret, violent agent and the vice president was just a white guy, as he has been throughout history. Or you know, she could have just played a powerful vice president who does not need a man to do her dirty work for her. There seems to be a lot of untapped material there.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. 

"Our Love" - Babyface (mp3)

Monday
Nov162015

In Which We Travel Light In The Badlands

Death of Good Taste

by DICK CHENEY

Into The Badlands
creators Alfred Gough & Miles Millar

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross have a sketch in their new Netflix series W/Bob and David where a white director explains the genesis of his movie Better Roots. Ironically two white men have also teamed up on the AMC network to launch their version of the slave story called Into the Badlands.

In this stock photo from 1821, helpers are happy.Into the Badlands takes place on a massive plantation where young boys are either trained as ninjas or put to work in fields cultivating heroin. Young women aren't allowed to become warriors, so they are exclusively limited to farmwork. Sonny (Daniel Wu) is the top slave (in David Cross' terminology, "helper") who has a tattoed mark on his back representing every person he has killed for his master (Martin Csokas).

Despite the extensive slave allegory, exactly one of the helpers is black. You can see him slightly to the right of Csokas in the above photograph. Recently Adam Sandler had a huge problem recruiting Native Americans to play a role in his offensive movie The Ridiculous Six, which coincidentally also will air on Netflix. They have entirely corned the market in racism and anti-racism.

It's almost like he's a conquering hero in the vein of a Don Johnson.

So why use all this plantation imagery if you aren't actually going to include any black people or make any other reference to slavery except the plantation gear and southern accents? The creators of Into the Badlands can't really be blamed for this bizarre mishmash of signification. I mean, were they to be expected to read Olaudah Equino or the provocative work of Phyllis Wheatley? There is no serious evidence that the people who wrote this show can read, period.

You know, a lot of people have been asking me what I thought of what happened at the University of Missouri this month. I settled down with a chai latte, in my finest robe, and read the list of demands that the black students there came up with. Nothing on their list seemed terribly drastic. I mean, I think they were asking for like ten percent of faculty to be professors of color and maybe for some outreach. The real reason the university fired their president was because the football team went on strike. It's only the university at fault that the threat worked.

They probably should have just cast Andrew Lincoln and saved us all the trouble.

I'm happy that Lee Daniels made some money off Empire before he totaled it like a car for the insurance money, but I still think about Roots. For my younger readers, Roots was a miniseries that actually contained some of what African people experienced when they were dragged from their homes to this country. It did huge ratings on television; everyone was really into it although it was probably never merchandised like it should have been.

Roots was succesful because it was nothing that had ever been seen on television. Now violence is pretty de rigeur. Daniel Wu is an amazing stuntman and he kills about forty people in the pilot of Into the Badlands alone. To his credit, he is upset about it afterwards. In the mishmash world of Into the Badlands there are no guns, so there is no credible reason that there would even be slaves. Guns enabled slavery to happen in the absence of overwhelming force.

African-Americans aren't the only victims of this tripe. A living woman does not appear until after twenty minutes of Into the Badlands. She is the wife of Martin Csokas' Baron character and she is portrayed by Irish actress Orla Brady. Her husband is cheating on her with this trollop —

Rest assured that in this dystopian future, there is an H&M.

— but she accepts the situation because such is the plight of women on Into the Badlands. Make no mistake, creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar want you to know this is a corrupt and dangerous world. There is a place of hope that Daniel Wu and his lisping protege M.K. (Aramis Knight) are planning on reaching; it is roughly based off the plot of the fifth season of The Walking Dead. Evil women are set on foiling the plans of these men. One such individual is the Widow (Emily Beecham), who murdered her husband for power.

Or Norman Reedus? That would have been fine, too.

I am somewhat skeptical that anything positive will come of this. Into the Badlands might occur in a terrible place and time in human history, but there is no evidence that its masters realize just how bad things are. If you have sensed the allegory I am making to the University of Missouri, you are probably next in line for your own AMC series.

"This is just an extended audition for another show, right? Otherwise I have a blog on Medium about how offensive this is ready to go."

The funny thing is that in a previous generation, college protestors asked for a complete turnover of a new world order and soldiers brought home from endless military engagement abroad. Now kids are only asking for the people driving around their campus with Confederate flags to be expelled, and that's too much. Perhaps they could include on their list of demands the cancellation of Into the Badlands. (The whole thing was in rather poor taste, although Daniel Wu's martial arts stunts were admittedly impressive.) It is no problem satisfying American youths today. I am ready to become the next president of the University of Missouri. That's an easy fucking job.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Lonely One" - Anna Ternheim (mp3)

"Keep Me In The Dark" - Anna Ternheim (mp3)