the fog

Friday night involved skinny dipping in a pool high in the Hollywood Hills. Beneath the starlight, gazing out over the shadowed hills and valleys, the lights of the city smoldering beyond…Nice.

A friend of a friend has a prescription for medicinal marijuana due to a painful health issue he’s been dealing with for years. “It’s bizarre,” he was telling us. “You go to this little marijuana shop that’s just down the road –” — his girlfriend, who does not have a prescription, was not allowed to enter it and had to wait outside — “–and you see rows on rows of about forty different types of marijuana. And they all have names. Mine is called ‘Fog’.” He also showed us what he called the Volcano. It looks like a stainless steel kitchen appliance with a little cone rising out of it. You take a cylindrical bag, place it over the cone, press a button — there’s a loud puff of air and the bag fills with vaporized, carcinogen-free marijuana.

Last night I was supposed to go to a political fund-raiser in Hollywood but due to logistics and general hangover issues ended up seeing BATMAN RETURNS with E instead. It was my second time seeing the thing and I thoroughly enjoyed it — it’s a fresh, intelligent take on the Batman myth and the first Batman movie that feels like it was told by and for my generation. (I use the term ‘my generation’ loosely and a bit self-consciously, but I don’t know how else to express it). The performances hold up especially well in a second viewing — Cillian Murphy is a delight as the creepy Dr Krane, and how perfectly cast is Christian Bale? (The one exception is Katie Holmes — still a little too young and cute to convince as a kick-ass crusader DA. “There’s that line where a guy tells her she’s ‘rattling the cages’ of the bad guys,” my friend Marc pointed out. “But you can’t believe she’s rattling anything. She looks like this little girl you could just snap in half.”) Both times I saw it, the credits rolled to enthusiastic applause. A cheer arose during one of the final scenes, when the Joker is introduced as the villian for the next film.

May the powers-that-be not take this new, reinvigorated franchise and drive it straight into the ground.

Marc, an up-and-coming film producer, told me how Christian Bale flatly refused the role the first time it was offered to him. “His agent must have despaired,” Marc said, but Bale wasn’t interested in being part of an increasingly reviled joke of a series. “Then a friend of his told him, ‘Look, you don’t get what they’re talking about, you need to read these’, and gave him THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and some of the other graphic novels. Christian read them, then read the script, then got onboard.” Marc paused, then said, “And that’s why the guy is having a good career. He’s not making stupid choices. He’s not choosing projects for money.”

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