The Morning Read: Gervais infuriates Hollywood and Robert Downey Jr. barks back

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I am a different man than I was when I last spoke to you guys before the weekend.  My boys are home after a long trip away, and it’s been a wonderful weekend of catching up with them and with my wife.  I didn’t realize quite what an introverted jerk I’ve been for the past few months until I felt it all drop away while watching my boys run towards me at LAX.  I’ve got a few days with them before I leave for Sundance, and when I get back, I plan to take a few days off just to enjoy them being home.

I may also be planning the first-ever Film Nerd 2.0 set visit, and if it comes together, I promise it will be one of the most special things I’ve ever done for the site.  Fingers crossed.

Let’s take care of a little housekeeping first up today and congratulate Ty Osterman, Thomas de Groot, and Kerry Early, our three winners in the awesome “True Grit” poster contest.  The correct answer to the question of how many actors have played Rooster Cogburn is three.  Most people know Jeff Bridges and John Wayne played him, but the legendary Warren Oates also played the role in a TV take on the material.  Congrats to all of those who won, and thanks to all of those who played.

I hate awards shows.  Hate hate hate them.  I hate the culture of awards.  I hate awards season.  I hate turning art into a contest.  It all just makes my skin crawl for months on end, this self-congratulatory nonsense that seems to just go on and on and on, swallowing up any conversation about what films are genuinely good in favor of a disgusting display where how much you spend and how well you “campaign” is what wins you something.  As a result, perhaps I took a special degree of delight in seeing that Ricky Gervais showed up at the most disgusting of all the disgusting awards shows, The Golden Globes, armed with a flamethrower when everyone was just expecting him to carry a glowstick.  I didn’t watch the show, but I’ve gone back to see a few highlights, and I’m not remotely surprised that an organization as corrupt and humorless as the HFPA is scandalized by his opening monologue from last night:

It makes me laugh even harder when I see the overreaction today, like Lisa de Moraes claiming last night was the death of Ricky’s career.  Hardly.  And people who are theorizing that Ricky was fired during the show can relax… that was just the pacing of the show.

One of the people who was most vocal about being offended last night was Robert Downey Jr.  I would think that anyone who just signed to play Mr. Peabody, the genius time-traveling dog, would have a good sense of humor about themselves.  Maybe he felt like Gervais took some cheap shots at him, but honestly… Robert Downey Jr. is on top of the world these days, untouchable as a movie star, and a few quick jokes about his former problems shouldn’t be enough to upset him.  Laugh it off, man, hop in the WABAC machine, and realize that your history will always be part of your narrative, even if you’ve succeeded in putting it behind you.

Julia Marchese is the adorable and supercool backbone of the New Beverly Cinema here in Los Angeles, where Edgar Wright’s The Wright Stuff film festival is currently in full swing.  Recently, she decided that she really wanted to get punched in the face, and… well… check this out.

McDonald’s + Japan = total bugshit caloric lunacy.  Is anyone surprised?

I kinda love this website.  I am not a member of the KISS Army, but I’ve been known to show up for shows from time to time, and this celebration of their lunkheaded awesomeosity.

What I like about Devin Faraci’s new home at Badass Digest is that it’s given him license to write about what really interests him on any given day as opposed to just chasing Google bait headlines like many sites.  Only on Badass Digest would you read stories his recent discovery of A1 Media Distribution or Tim League’s story about the history of home distilling.  I hope they keep it up, and that they follow their whims, because that’s the thing that makes the site so much fun so far.

Badass was one of about five sites where I saw people run the story that originated on FEELGuide, a site I’m totally unfamiliar with, about a Buddhist temple where I would eventually like to take some sort of very strong hallucinogen.  Although, looking at the decor of the place, that’s probably redundant.  Wow.

Have you ever seen Chick tracts?  They’re these bizarre uber-“Christian” comics and I put Christian in quotation marks because these things are hate-filled and sleazy.  And now, because absolutely no one asked for it, there is an animated version of “The Sissy,” a particularly grotesque Chick tract.  I’m embedding it here the same way you would cage a dangerous animal.  This way, we’ll always know where this thing is in case we want to kill it:

You should read to the very end of this.  High-larious.

I like the idea of 3D without glasses, but not if it’s going to make me look like the guy in the video embedded in this article over at Cinematical.  Sheeesh.

Have you seen Doug TenNapel’s new webcomic RATFIST yet?  Word’s starting to spread about it, and it’s still early enough for you to jump on and catch up.  I’m a longtime fan of TenNapel’s work, and the notion of him pushing himself to produce a daily comic online is exciting.

If you know who Savage Steve Holland is, then you’ll absolutely love this interview with him.  And while you’re over there reading the article, you could do worse things for yourself than ordering a copy of “The PSYCHO Legacy” on DVD.  Trust me on that.

Do you know where you’ll be on March 14th?  Because I do.  And I’d like to send a special shout-out to my buddy Harry, who is floored up right now recovering from what promises to be the single most significant medical procedure of his entire life.  I sincerely hope to see him walk out onto that stage under his own power, and when he does, I’ll lead the standing ovation.

Speaking of the long weird history of Ain’t It Cool, one of our most ardent talkbackers over there was AB King, who is actually twin brothers who are obsessed with all things Arnold and Sly.  He spent years sending prayers out into the ether asking Arnold to make “With Wings As Eagles,” a WWII-themed script about a soldier near the end of the war refusing to kill Jewish kids.  Now Arnold is hinting that he may well play that role finally, which is weird, since Ivan Reitman basically said a few days ago that he couldn’t imagine Arnold returning to full-time acting.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I’d certainly like to see Arnold try it again, especially since he couldn’t just step back into the same types of films he used to make.  He’s going to have to stretch if he expects to be relevant again, and that could be interesting.

I am fascinated by the history of LSD experimentation in this country, and this video, which I spotted over at The Vulture this morning, is a wild glimpse at the early days of research into the drug’s effects:

I get tired of the way lists are used instead of content sometimes, and whenever I contribute to one I try to be sure I provide something worth reading.  Like, for example, this excellent piece about characters who decide to abandon prepared remarks in favor of speaking from the heart.  Every one of these is a winner.

You know, Evan Goldberg speaks a lot of truth.  Maybe they should get him to host the Golden Globes next year.

I love that 2010 was the year of Pee-Wee Herman’s comeback, and that it seems to still be ramping up.  I can’t wait for him to actually make a feature film again, and in the meantime, this will do just fine to hold me over:

You know why I love Trailers From Hell?  What other website out there is having a James Coburn week?  Oh, that’s right… NONE.

I love Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, a spooky twist on the classic Kipling tales, and I think Neil Jordan is an amazing fit for the material.  I don’t really care who produces it as long as someone does, so if it’s Framestore, great.  Let’s get moving, guys.

My friend Gerry Duggan turned me on to this photographer on Twitter, and it’s one of those links that gets deeper and deeper the more you look into the story of Vivian Maier.

Have you been to DouglasTrumball.com yet?  And you call yourself a nerd.  Thanks to The Raging Celt for pointing this one out.

I hope to god Elijah Wood kept the Stuyvesant t-shirt they made for him.  That’s all I’m saying.  I’ll have a piece about this one from Sundance after it premieres this Thursday night as part of the kick-off to this year’s festival.  And on that note, I’m going to wrap this up as I’m about to start churning out Sundance pre-reviews for you, hopefully pointing you towards some of the good stuff that will be playing Park City in the next fifteen days or so.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.