Indiana Jones Lies Debunked; Slamdance Announcements; Blonde Debate
L to R: Cinematographer Chayse Irvin, Director Andrew Dominik, and Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe behind the scenes of Blonde. Cr. Matt Kennedy / Netflix

The director of Indiana Jones 5 denies that a lady will be the next Indiana Jones; the next Slamdance will open with Moby and close with LSD; Blonde director Andrew Dominik has a theory about why some people don’t like the movie. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

Box Office: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever remained on top at the box office for a fourth consecutive week, earning $17.6 million, while Tommy Wirkola’s scary Santa action thriller Violent Night earned $13.3 million.

Phoebe Waller Bridge Is Not the New Indiana Jones: Is a thing that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director James Mangold explained on Twitter. “One more time. No one is ‘taking over’ or replacing Indy or donning his hat nor is he being ‘erased’ thru some contrivance— and he never was, not not in any cut or script — but trolls will troll — that’s how they get their clicks,” Mangold tweeted. “And please don’t exhaust me pointing out how once in a while a troll is ‘right.’ Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then. All one has to do is look at set photos & interviews & u get enough info to make wild guesses about a movie plot.”

Anything Else, James Mangold? “The diff between trolling a-holes & everyone else is they r trying to make $ off your feelings about other films & culture war politics. They push controversial guesses as coming from ‘sources’ to gin up clicks. Let it go. END”

OK But: Indiana works better as a girl’s name than a boy’s name. I said it. Also, can we get some new words? My eyes glaze over every time I see someone say “cancel culture” or “troll” or “clickbait” or “culture war” or any of the other tediously overused phrases we use now instead of communicating interesting thoughts in interesting ways. Yes, being a troll or culture warrior or clickbaiter is incredibly hacky but so is pointing out their hackyness. It’s like saying “gonna be a cold one” when everyone already knows how cold it is. Please instead use cute colorful analogies about squirrels and nuts, like an old-timey presidential candidate speaking from the back of a trolley.

Anything Else? Yes, I like the James Mangold movie Copland a whole lot.

Slamdance: The “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” festival announced that its 29th edition, featuring events in Park City and Salt Lake City, will open and close with very musical films. The opening night film on January 20th will be Moby’s Punk Rock Vegan Movie and will close on January 26th with Dimitri Coats’ Free LSD, which features appearances from Keith Morris and Jack Black and follows a man who, through the power of drug experimentation, gets a glimpse into a parallel universe where sings in a band called OFF! and is the target of an evil alien species trying to stop him from making an album that could awaken human consciousness. The festival will also hold a Spotlight Feature Screening of Downwind, a documentary by Mark Shapiro and Douglas Brian Miller about nuclear fallout in the United States – specifically in Utah. It includes members of the Shoshone Nation whose sacred land is now a nuclear test site. Slamdance films will also be online at the Slamdance Channel, an algorithm-free platform I adore and personally subscribe to. from January 23rd to 29th.  

Blonde Backlash: The film’s director, Andrew Dominik, said at the Red Sea Film Festival in South Arabia that he blames criticism of Blonde on viewers and critics who “want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman.” He said: “Now we’re living in a time where it’s important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That’s what they want to see,” he said. “And if you’re not showing them that, it upsets them.”

May I Editorialize: I like Blonde a lot but is Saudi Arabia the best place to make this point? Anyway here’s Margeaux Sippell’s excellent cover story on the film from our latest issue.

‘Yeah, We’d Still Work With Them’: Speaking at the Red Sea Film Festival, Batgirl co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah, whose $90 million film Warner Bros. decided to shelve rather than release, said they’d still work with the studio again. “But on the condition that the movie comes out,” Fallah told The Hollywood Reporter. He added with apparently irrepressible admirable optimism: “I mean, if Warner says, ‘Do you want to do the next Batman or Superman?,’ of course we’ll say yes. Just so long as the movie comes out!”

You People: Here are Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy and Nia Long having a conversation that no three human beings would ever have in the new Netflix comedy You People, from Kenya Barris, coming in January:

Main image: Director Andrew Dominik and Ana de Armas on the set of Blonde. Photo by Matt Kennedy, courtesy of Netflix.