We talk with Richard Linklater about Apollo 10½, perhaps the most Richard Linklater of all Richard Linklater movies; Oscars producer Will Packer says that the LAPD were ready to arrest Will Smith after The Slap, but Chris Rock prevented it; filming sex scenes are as awkward as you might expect; a new poll ranks 1970s cinema. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Moon Child: “I’ve been accused of being the hangout movie guy, and that’s fine. Because cinema can do that really well,” says Richard Linklater, whose latest film is the beautiful 1969 hang Apollo 10½. In the latest MovieMaker podcast, he amicably fields our questions about how his beloved Austin has changed, the importance of ’70s cartoons, the dumbest conspiracy theory, and the state of movies. Apollo 10½ is out today on Netflix, and you can listen to our interview on Repod, Apple, Spotify or here:
The Stakes: Tarik Saleh, director of the new Chris Pine and Ben Foster action film The Contractor, wrote this provocative piece for us about the problem with so many action films: The stakes feel fake. His film is about a U.S. Special Forces sergeant (Pine), who is kicked out of the military and has to take a job that isn’t what it seems. Saleh’s favorite scene doesn’t take place on a battlefield, but in a bathtub. The Contractor is also out today — both in theaters and on demand.
The Slap: Oscars producer Will Packer said today on ABC’s Good Morning America that LAPD officers were prepared to arrest Will Smith on battery charges after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, but that Rock said no. “They were saying: ‘This is battery. We will go get him. We are prepared. We are prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him,'” Packer told GMA. “As they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options. He was like ‘No, I’m fine.'”
Smith’s Apologies Continue: Packer also said that Will Smith reached out to him on the Monday morning after the Oscars, telling him: ‘This should’ve been a gigantic moment for you.” He added that Smith “expressed his embarrassment and that was the extent of it.” Smith apologized to Rock via Instagram earlier this week, and to the Academy during his Best Actor acceptance speech.
Film Not TV: I learned from Matthew Belloni’s excellent The Town podcast that the Oscars are unique in that film producers run the show instead of traditional live TV producers. One wonders if that tradition will continue in the wake of The Slap.
More Smith: “A previously undisclosed short virtual meeting between Will Smith and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson on March 29 could be causing a new crisis to hit the Oscar organization,” Deadline reports. Academy Board members and insiders are not happy that this six minute Zoom call was not disclosed earlier, since the Academy is in the process of determining exactly what consequences Smith should face.
Filming Sex Scenes Can Be Awkward: Unlike the Will Smith arrest news, this comes as no revelation. But it is still fun to read Buzzfeed‘s collection of actor anecdotes surrounding how intimate moments on set are filmed. Dakota Johnson reveals that sometimes multiple pairs of underwear were literally glued to her body to keep them from moving. Sarah Silverman once filmed a scene with an extra who was “completely naked except for not even the thickness of a sock.”
A Director Weighs In: Mothering Sunday has its fair share of casual nudity (including male full-frontal) and sex and director Eva Husson discussed these elements with MovieMaker‘s Margeaux Sippell.
Flying High: This week, Sippell and I attended a special screening of HBO’s documentary Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off. The highlight of the event for me was watching eight skateboarders fly high on Tony Hawk’s personal vert ramp which was transported from his home in San Diego to L.A. and reassembled for the event. The highlight of the documentary was seeing the iconic footage of Hawk attempting and eventually landing a 900 (two and a half rotations in the air) at the 1999 X Games. Here’s our report on the event.
Once Upon a Time: I was a skateboarder (albeit a very bad one) who had to tape the X Games at night, since they premiered too late on the East Coast for me to stay up and watch. I’d eagerly rewatch the next morning, fast-forwarding through ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series which inevitably ran late, bleeding over into the X Games’ time. So I had a well-worn VHS tape of Hawk becoming the first person to land the trick after 10 failed attempts.
Sonoma Wraps: Over in the heart of California’s wine country, the Sonoma International Film Festival wrapped its 25th anniversary this week. Pretty Problems, Open Season (Jagdeit), Come Back Anytime, Blind Ambition, and Róise & Frank are the feature award winners.
Eddie Murphy Is the Godfather of Funk: In an upcoming biopic for Amazon, Murphy will play George Clinton, leader of Parliament-Funkadelic, Deadline reports. This is the first film of a three picture deal with Amazon that comes after the success of Coming 2 America.
Best of The ’70s: Over at World of Reel, Jordan Ruimy has as polled almost 150 critics to compile a ranked list of the best films of the ’70s. At number one is Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. It’s interesting to see The Godfather earn the top spot above The Godfather Part II, since the sequel is widely considered the masterpiece of the trilogy. I love both but prefer the first as well. One has to wonder if the recent 50th anniversary of the original Godfather last month has critics reconsidering its place among the trilogy and ’70s cinema as a whole.
Other Thoughts: It’s great to see Terrence Malick with two films in the top 20 and it’s humorous to see his Badlands garner the same amount of votes as Star Wars. It’s still almost unbelievable to consider that Francis Ford Coppola has four films in the top 10 with Apocalypse Now and The Conservation alongside the first two The Godfather films.
Tell Us: What is your favorite film of the 1970s? Let us know in the comments.
Main image: Oscars producer Will Packer joins Good Morning America to reflect on Sunday’s Oscars in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.