The Little Things (2021)

The Little Things (2021) feels like a film from another time. Yes it’s set in the early nineties, but it’s more complicated than that.

Rural policeman Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) returns to Los Angeles on routine business, where he gets drawn into the hunt for a serial killer, that may be connected to one of his old cases.

Washington does that brooding thing as the man haunted by personal and professional mistakes. Jared Leto is in full needs-a-wash-creepy mode as the suspected serial killer. And Rami Malek is all clean-cut confidence as the lead investigator, who looks like a child next to the seasoned Washington.

John Lee Hancock complicates this standard procedural with hints of coverup and vigilantism, that has the good doing bad for good reasons.


A Wounded Fawn (2022)

A Wounded Fawn (2022), the third feature from Travis Stevens, is a heady mix of Greek mythology and seventies grindhouse.

Serial killer Bruce (Josh Ruben) loses his already fragile grip on reality when his latest victim Meredith (Sarah Lind) fights back.

What’s real and what’s hallucination is hard to know when you’re a madman with a head-wound. It has an unhinged quality that plants a flag just this side of camp.

Existential, apocalyptic, exist-a-lyptic?

Is it wrong of me to frame climate-change deniers as genocidal?

I’m not even sure “genocide” is the right word to describe their project. Genocide probably has too narrow a definition to encapsulate actions and consequences that are so all-consuming and indiscriminate. I actually can’t think of anything to metre the level of destruction denial has caused, or will force us to endure in the future.

Existential? Apocalyptic? Exist-a-lyptic?

Whatever the word, there is one thing I know, the denials have to stop.

To those still claiming “it’s just weather”, you’ve had your fun, made your money, the damage is done! We have the proof, we know you lied, you’re lying. You invoke God then greed, hate then fear, denouncing all but the faithful. I’d say listen to reason, but we know you can’t hear, anything but the doctrines of greed.

You have faith.

We have science.

Is that how you justify your exist-a-lyptic urge to destroy? What would you have us do?

Kochland, a warning from history


Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reviews Christopher Leonard’s book Kochland, a chronicle of “the extraordinary behind-the-scenes influence that Charles and David Koch have exerted to cripple government action on climate change” in the United States and around the world.

I can’t talk about the book, I haven’t read its seven hundred pages. What I can do is accept what Mayer is saying about Leonard’s findings, and form an opinion, pass judgment, on the brother’s Koch.

I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say, by actively funding climate-change denial, the brother’s Koch put their interests and the profits of their companies above the lives of almost every other person on the planet. It’s a position, an arrogance, as unsettling as the “smoking gun” revelation surrounding ExxonMobil, reported earlier in the month by Oliver Milman of The Guardian. The Texas oil giant made “‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s” then systematically denied the science.

The idea anyone could or would deliberately cause harm, actively destroying life on the planet, is so far beyond my comprehension it’s hard for me to fathom.

Actually that’s not true. History is awash with examples of the self-interested, and their abilities to divorce actions from consequences. It’s the logic of faith. I believe in God. I am devout. Therefore everything I do is God’s will.

It’s how everyone from kings to terrorists, moguls to dictators, rationalise their actions.

What’s the super-tipping point for Exxon?

Two stories, from opposite ends of the climate crisis, caught my attention yesterday.

The first by Damian Carrington, details three “super-tipping points” for climate action, that could cascade through our economies, potentially reducing “70% of global greenhouse gas emissions”. The report, from consultancy Systemiq, partnering with the University of Exeter, advocates policy interventions on electric vehicles, plant-based meat alternatives, and green fertilisers, as “the fastest way to drive global action”. Basically, push growth in these three sectors, to get us away from high-carbon options as quickly as possible.

While I think the idea sounds plausible, I wonder if it’s enough? It doesn’t deal with the structural problems that got us here in the first place. The Systemiq strategy was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It’s speaking business to business, which has me mulling, will another iteration of business really solve our problems?

The other story, by Oliver Milman, follows up on his piece earlier this month, “Exxon made ‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s“, detailing a report by Geoffrey Supran proving Exxon’s scientist predicted the rise in global temperatures. As I noted then, Exxon has know for at least fifty years their products were, are, and will continue causing planet wide warming.

More than a dozen America states have lawsuits against Exxon. Many believe Supran’s report strengthens their case against the Texas giant. It certainly establishes two key facts. Exxon “knew about the causes and consequences of climate change” and they “actively concealed and denied it”.

Exxon has consistently denied “they knew”. I call that a press-release denial, but they have deep pockets to defend against accusations of wrongdoing. Theoretically they could continue their denials well beyond the point of no return. I’d argue we’re already there. If, as Systemiq predicts, there’s a tipping point when detoxing our economies of carbon achieves critical mass, what’s the super-tipping point for Exxon?

When do they accept their part in all of our destruction, and do something to stop it?

Trailer: MGM: Women Talking

Sarah Polley, writer and director of Women Talking (2022), discusses her new film with John August and Craig Mazin in Episode 583 of Scriptnotes.

For those interested, John’s shownotes include a link to an undated copy of the screenplay. I gather it’s very different to Polley’s finished film.

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