Martin Scorsese is finally making a Gershwin movie, with help from a master of film musicals; some positive thoughts about the Oscars; and meet the man who costumes Cobra Kai. Plus: Attend a free anti-fraud summit. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: The new doc The Place That Makes Us profiles the Rust Belt town of Youngstown, Ohio, but avoids the trappings of “ruins porn” — and instead tells a story of hope. You can watch the doc here and listen to Eric Steuer interview director Karla Murthy and executive producer Jad Jad Abumrad on Spotify, Apple and here:
Beast Beast: We talked with executive producer Alec Baldwin and director Danny Madden about the gun-obsessed teen in the new film Beast Beast. And Baldwin gives solid some advice to indie filmmakers about how to catch the eye of industry allies: Cut all the unearned pauses.
Cobra Kai‘s Costumes: Margeaux Sippell talks to the man who makes Johnny Lawrence the best-dressed guy in the Valley. Sorry, LaRusso.
Avoid Fraud This Weekend: Consultancy company Film Launch is holding a free two-day summit this weekend to educate moviemakers about avoiding fraud. The FBI’s Fraud Department, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, executives, and entertainment lawyers including David Albert Pierce will help you avoid the most common — and dangerous — frauds. Film Launch co-founder Ally Iseman will also share her own experience with fraud, and help you learn from it. The time you spend on this now may save you years of suffering through shady investment schemes, predatory distributors, and worse.
What’s Our Angle Here?: MovieMaker will receive 100 percent of the zero dollars it will cost you to attend.
Indie Spirit Awards: Nomadland won best feature and best director for Chloé Zhao, as expected, but there were some welcome surprises as well: Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci won in the Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male categories for their stupendous work in Sound of Metal, and Carey Mulligan took home Best Female for her magnificent turn in Promising Young Woman. Yuh-Jung Youn won Best Supporting Female for Minari, continuing a well-deserved winning streak. And Emerald Fennell won for her twisty, captivating Promising Young Woman screenplay. Congratulations to all the winners!
Gershwin: Martin Scorsese haș hoped for decades to get a George Gershwin biopic happening, and he’s going to executive produce a Gershwin film instead, to be directed by Once and Sing Street director John Carney. Brian Welk at TheWrap says Fascinating Rhythm is “not a biopic but a drama about a young woman’s magical journey through past and present New York City that’s inspired by Gershwin’s music.”
Oscars Thoughts: Lots of people will debate lots of things about the Oscars, but this is the first time I can remember that I think the Academy correctly included all the best films of the year in the Best Picture category. Almost every year, the category overlooks something great, from Chloé Zhao’s The Rider and Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace in 2019 to Sean Baker’s Tangerine in 2016. We could go on. But whether because of changing Academy demographics or lockdowns that led voters to watch some smaller films, this is a great batch of nominees, and there’s not a stagey, obligatory Oscar-bait movie in the bunch. Yes, last year was a much bigger, flashier, embarrassment-of-riches kind of movie year, but 2020 has, against all odds, turned out to be a very respectable year as well.
Carney: Longtime readers of this newsletter know how much I love a John Carney musical. Here’s “Falling Slowly,” 2008 winner of the Oscar for Best Original Song, from Once.
Aw Fuck No! We Want Some Gershwin! Yes ma’am, of course. Have a great Oscar weekend, everybody.
Main image, above: The stars of Cobra Kai dutifully attend an anti-fraud summit.