One probably shouldn’t sit at the keyboard at four in the morning but, as you age sometimes these early mornings creep up, and it’s not because you have to be on set by six, it’s because your hormones are doing their last dance, the last fling in the mosh pit (so to speak) and thoughts can get very…unfiltered.
See those two exotic creatures above? That’s Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall in the Place de la Condcorde in 1956. Looks like an Avedon photo to me, probably Diana Vreeland was somewhere around barking about pizzazz!, fun!, beauty!
Now we’re going to digress—but we’ll get back to the Vreeland ethos in a minute.
I saw Maleficent. Gorgeous. Impressive first time direction by Robert Stromberg. Great script by Linda Woolverton. Jolie owned the role. (Currently in a pickle with the Chinese.)
I read a short story by James Franco from his collection, Actor’s Anonymous, called, Bungalow 89. Wry. Impressionistic. Insightful. (Oh! The negative comments on Amazon.)
Yesterday, I sat in a theater and watched Edge of Tomorrow. Loved every second of it. Yes. Every second. The pacing was extraordinary. The story raced. The casting was perfect. The physical intensity of Emily Blunt and Mr. Cruise played both comic and touching. (There’s a reason Liman is directing and these two are movies stars, especially the colorful Mr. Cruise.)
Now, everything I jotted above about my experience of two movies and a short story is an opinion. With no more validity than anyone else. What’s peculiar to me is that opinion has become the currency of the Web. It was depressing to see how James Franco’s fiction was savaged, and it got me thinking, it seemed that people were responding more to his personality and celebrity than his work… Doug Liman’s a hard director to work with, I mean really hard; Tom Cruise may have some unfamiliar beliefs and Angelina Jolie sure as hell rubbed the Chinese delegation the wrong way—but that has almost nothing to do with the work they produce.
And here we make our way back to Vreeland and a core truth. Let me preface this by saying, Diana Vreeland, the powerhouse behind Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, was an inattentive mother, and had some difficult relationships with her family. But you can’t deny she created magic. Her perspective changed how people see…fashion…photography, so many things, and behind it all was her commitment, her intensity, her ferocity to work almost every day of her life. What you don’t hear about very often, in the midst of all the opinions that fly around the Internet, is the discipline, the driving demanding discipline required for every creative endeavor that catches your eye.
Look. If it makes an impact on you, someone worked their ass off to get your attention and hold it for the length of a movie, or the few pages of a short story.
Discipline + Imagination = Art
Yes, darlings, in my humble opinion.