Thursday, December 12, 2013

Harlan Ellison on Golden Globe nominee '12 Years a Slave'

Golden Globe nominees Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor
12 Years a Slave 

The Golden Globes were announced this morning with Steve McQueen's  "12 Years a Slave," garnering seven nominations in all: Best Motion Picture, Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Best Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Score (Hans Zimmer), and Supporting Actor and Actress nods for Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o. I'm thrilled but not surprised, you can see the complete list at the Golden Globes official site

Read my most recent '12 Years a Slave' post


One of the great pleasures of the award season is the magnifying glass that gets turned on the talent behind the movies making waves.  Variety's Writers on Writers has two dozen writers weighing in on some of this years most interesting films including this piece by sci fi icon Harlan Ellison on '12 Years a Slave.' Rather than talk about screenwriter John Ridley's nominated script, Ellison concentrated on the movie as a whole. I've included his piece in its entirety below; read the rest of the piece here

Rarely, in a lifetime of endless filmgoing and decades of serious cinema criticism, is one honored, privileged, rewarded by having seen a motion picture that is memorable down to one's core. Having seen “12 Years a Slave,” I cannot remember being as mesmerized, as touched, as stopped stock-still since the night I first saw Stanley Kubrick's anti-war film “Paths of Glory.” It is that nonpareil a film.
Even the dullest among us, chained to jobs and lives we detest, cherish the word and the evanescent concept of freedom. Above all else, what “12 Years a Slave” burns into our awareness — as no other film has achieved — is the absolute power of the slavemaster over every moment of the blacks' existence. It is a tyrannical and capricious power greater than any monarch's. For these yearning, brutalized chattel, freedom is a goal that will never be reached: Pain and death stand in the portal.
This is a superbly reenacted chapter of a 200-year-long stain on American honor. Today's celebrity-drunk culture of bitch-ho rap and wannabe gangsta homies not only do not comprehend that stain, but disgrace the courage of their forbears when they pull it as “the card.” It miraculously manages to combine the “Gone With the Wind” pastel mendacity still extant in parts of our land, with the shocking Grand Guignol gruesomeness of reality.
The direction, by Englishman Steve McQueen (whose previous films frankly gave me the creeps) is a bit finicky. But such carps are beyond notice in a film as praiseworthy and memorable as “12 Years a Slave.”
Fantasist Harlan Ellison has written or edited 75 books; more than 1,700 stories, essays, articles and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays and a dozen movies. His best-known works include “Deathbird Stories,” “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” and “Memos From Purgatory.
What do you think of Ellison's comment about our 'celebrity drunk culture of bitch-ho rap and wannabe gangsta homies '? He's not one to mince words. 

The Variety piece includes John Green on The Spectacular Now writers Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, the dynamic duo that is also behind the adapatation of The Fault in our Stars. I'll be posting that in its' entirety too; I LOVE these guys, the hottest book to movie scripters working right now. Besides The Fault in our Stars, Neustadter and Weber also have Coraline, Me Before You and Where'd You Go Bernadette in the works!

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