Sandra Bullock deserved her Oscar; not so much for acting (most Oscar winners don’t win for their acting), but for avoiding the Meg Ryan trap. When you make your bones in Hollywood playing perky, adorable dormice, it can be murder (as Meg found out, to her cost) trying to leap into lead actress terrain. Meg’s downfall from America’s Sweetheart to America’s Bitchy Ex came about for many reasons (e.g. bad plastic surgery, marital infidelity, poor choice of roles), but mainly it was because you just couldn’t believe in her playing a grown-up. She lacked huevos (as the Spanish would say). Sandra, in contrast, looks like she could chop the huevos off a bull.
I wonder what confession would have been like with Martin Scorsese. (Legend has it he almost became a priest.) I picture myself (a good Catholic boy) confessing to some venial sin, and Father Scorsese…socking me in the jaw. He’d get my attention, no two ways about it. His sermons, doubtless, would be filled with anguished, sweaty, febrile saints. There’d be a lot of talk of blood, tough words on redemption. All the altar boys would look like Ray Liotta. By God, I’d be transfixed. As a director, Scorsese is Catholic the way Papal shoes are Catholic (N.B. the Pope’s shoes look like matador slippers). Marty’s new movie is for people who can pardon indulgence.
Did you ever play cowboys and Indians? Did the cowboys ever rape and mutilate the Indians? I thought not. You were with me up to the second part, right? Like most of Cormac McCarthy’s readership in the 1980s, you like Westerns, just not the whole “rape and mutilation” hootenanny. The trouble for prospective readers of McCarthy’s 1985 magnum opus Blood Meridian (and for any potential movie adaptation) is that the atavistic violence starts on page one and continues, roughly one act of violence per page, throughout the novel. If you took the words “they rode on” and “blood” out of the writing, you’d be left with a gibbering description of a desert.