stopped taking on new roles because he's waiting to get that big Oscar nomination, figuring, and rightly so, that once he gets an O nod he can raise his price, get better parts, etc.
That big Oscar nomination would be for Brokeback Mountain--which would be perverse because Gyllenhaal's the fatal problem with the movie. He doesn't seem to have any particular appealing quality that would cause Heath Ledger to carry a torch for him for decades. Gyllenhaal's early-on attempts to charmingly romp in the wilderness fall flat--it wasn't just Meghan Daum's date who was checking his watch in the first half of the film--and in the second half of the film he starts to whine. Big love for Gyllenhaal is supposed to be the motor that drives the movie, but the motor doesn't turn. The film only comes alive when Gyllenaal is dead, and we're left with Heath Ledger in his trailer. ...
P.S.--Casting Call: It's also hard to believe that Gyllenhaal is in demand because, as recounted by Snead, "there is nobody else around to cast as an under-40 romantic male lead." She's asking readers to suggest names. ... Wasn't it only a few days ago that The New York Observer was telling us about a shortage of romantic female leads? No wonder Hollywood is in trouble. ("Can't we get a penguin in that role?") ...
P.P.S.--Crow watch: I will probably be wrong in my rash prediction that Brokeback won't break $50 million in domestic box office. Some anticipatory crow is eaten here [V]. But I'm not ready to eat crow on the underlying claim that, contra Frank Rich, the movie won't make the heartland swoon. Right now it's doing well in a relatively small number of selected theaters. Let's see what happens when it finally goes wide. ... 12:13 P.M. link
Ford Edge: Attractive! Reinforces the sense that Ford, unlike GM, will rebound this year. ... Ford head designer Peter Horbury did a good job for Volvo and he talks like a normal person. He's the anti- Bangle! ... 1:36 P.M.
Did you know that anti-war British pol George Galloway was on the U.K. version of Celebrity Big Brother? With Dennis Rodman? Crawling on the floor pretending to be a cat? Greg Gutfeld enthuses on his Double Secret Hidden Blog (go here and click on "Bio"). ... Gutfeld's not lying. ... Backfill: Steve Smith, a week ago, runs with the Rula Lenska angle. ... Update: Here's a direct link to Gutfeld. ... 12:32 P.M.
Another problem with ever-increasing progressivity:Armed Liberal calculates that the state income tax paid by the top 5% of filers accounts for an astounding 26.9% of California's budget:
I think this is an amazingly bad idea. I don't think that this is a bad idea because it's unfair to the half-million rich households. I think it's a bad idea because it builds insane levels of volatility into the state revenue stream.
Basically, if the rich have a bad year, the state's in trouble. That's what happened, A.L. points out, between 2000 and 2002. ... It certainly doesn't seem like good policy to tie the fate of schools, roads, sewers, hospitals. police etc. so closely to the success of a few mansion-generating sectors, in particular the entertainment industry--especially this year. Would you want to depend on The Island**?
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.