Wakanda Forever




It’s been more than a year since the beautiful, wonderful, and talented Sara Benincasa put up her own money in order to bribe journalists to ask Trump if he thought Wakanda was a “shithole country.” Or maybe it was just to ask him what he thought of Wakanda. Or maybe it was all about figuring out if he knew what Wakanda really was.

Who cares? Trump’s a stupid ass and Wakanda forever, baby:

Want to know what would happen if a reporter seriously asked President Donald Trump how that bilateral trade agreement with Wakanda is panning out?

You’re not the only one. On Saturday, a widely shared tweet from Sara Benincasa, a screenwriter and author, called for a journalist to “very seriously” ask Trump “his opinion on our nation’s relations with Wakanda”—the fictional country from Marvel’s Black Panther comics.

It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe that Trump would deliver an answer. This is, after all, the same man who made up a whole-ass African country (“Nambia”—whose health system is “increasingly self-sufficient,” apparently). 

Benincasa offered $300 of her own money and, after many users chimed in with their support, said that she would start a “crowdfunding or Venmo situation” that would allow others to contribute to the purse. The stipulations: The question needs to be asked by a member of the media, and the question and answer must be recorded live on video.

Of all of the worthless comic book movies, there are but a handful that are worth something besides Wonder Woman. I thought Black Panther would get more recognition for the complexity of the story line and the resonance it has had in the consciousness of the country. Yeah, there really is a battle between good and evil going on, and evil wins far too often for my taste.

Meg Ryan


The New York Times magazine has an incredible and detailed piece about Meg Ryan, and where she is at today.

From the late ’80s through the ’90s, Meg Ryan shone about as brightly as any star in Hollywood. You know about her beloved string of romantic comedies — often written by Nora Ephron, often co-starring Tom Hanks. Less well remembered are her dramatic turns in the same era’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “City of Angels” and “Courage Under Fire,” all of which were commercial successes. But the harsh reaction to her 2003 erotic thriller, “In the Cut,” a critical and box-office flop that was widely seen as a failed attempt to complicate her winsome image, as well as her growing frustration with fame, compelled her to step into a less public, far happier life. “I wasn’t as curious about acting as I was about other things that life can give you,” says Ryan, 57. She quietly made her directorial debut in 2015 with the World War II-era drama “Ithaca,” and last November, she became engaged to the musician John Mellencamp. “I wanted,” she says, “to live more.”

Actors often talk about how their roles let them explore feelings that they might not otherwise explore. In the time since you began acting less, have you had to adjust how you process emotions? I felt in a crazy way that, as an actor, I was burning through life experiences. Somehow I was a helicopter pilot or a journalist or an alcoholic. I was living these express-lane lives. I’m not answering your question.

Did you feel as if you hit a wall by burning through all those experiences? Or the blunter way of asking the question is: Where’d you go? My son, Jack, graduated from high school on a Friday or Saturday. I moved back to New York from Los Angeles on the following Monday. I was burned out. I didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated.

In Hollywood or in fame? In fame and in work. Ever get in a car — maybe it’s a superexpensive car — and the inside’s lovely, you can’t complain about it, but you can’t hear anything outside, because there’s so much metal? There’s so much between you and everything else. You’re at a disadvantage as a young, famous person because you don’t know who’s telling you the truth. I’m not complaining — there are so many advantages to being famous — but there are fundamental disadvantages for a part of your brain, your self, your soul. My experiences were too limited.

An amazing talent. What more can you say about her? How many people ever get to a point in their lives where they are ready to tell you everything is bullshit and you need to grab a hold of something real?

Albert Finney 1936-2019




The great Albert Finney has died, and it had to happen on a Friday when the bad news just keeps rolling in. His achievements are too numerous to mention and his range and capability as an actor are just beyond comprehension. Here was a man who, for all of his life, took what he was given and made it his own.

His criminally ignored and under-appreciated turn as Leo O’Bannon in Miller’s Crossing (the greatest of all the gangster movies, of course) brought him no awards and no special recognition. It was yet another Coen brothers movies that gets talked about again and again but I don’t think people appreciate how Finney had to play the role. He is understated and calm and, while that usually looks like indifference on the screen, his every look and emotion in that film add up to absolute magic. There are no bad scenes. The pace of the film is astonishing and perfect. The whole thing falls apart if Finney plays him like all the other gangster bosses that came before. It doesn’t work if he hams it up or lashes out like a psychopath. Everything hinges on how he purrs through the dialogue, a man caught between hanging on to what he’s built and a woman who doesn’t love him.

For the great actor, it was just another role in a vast career. He did it, and it mattered, and he just went on to the next thing and kept working. He should have won three Oscars, but they snubbed him, just like they snubbed the late Alan Rickman.

Finney did so much to advance the art of acting. He is already missed.