Hate Is a Drug

I live in an area of West Hollywood that is on the hill well above the three blocks of back-to-back gay bars known as the ‘Fruit Loop’, a block below the super-straight Sunset Strip — infamous rocker lounge The Viper Room abuts my corner store. The residents make an eclectic demographic. On the corner of my street and Palm Avenue is an ugly mid-century apartment building, elderly housing for Russians. The cheap fabrics and sad bric-a-brac in the windows give it the appearance of those dwellings beloved by photojournalists who snap willfully dreary reportages of the faces of Chernobyl twenty years after the nuclear meltdown. Across from that indifferent edifice is a wee compound

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch: Can a Character Actor Be a Leading Man?

Many people assume that remarkable, distinctive cultures — as opposed to bland ones like the American and Scandi-Germanic — aren’t aware of how they seem to outsiders. It dawned on me in the first years I lived in India that they not only loved how exotic they are, they wallowed in it, fostered it; their eccentricity is institutionalized in the culture.

The same self-awareness goes for the English. They know how quaint and quirky they can be, and nowhere do they proclaim that more than in their choice of names. The sound of ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ reminds me of an expensive-but-worth-it five-alarm hangover brunch at a boutique hotel in London’s West End,

Oscars 2014: The Big Streep

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to refer to a scene in John Well’s August: Osage County in which Julia Roberts loses it and physically attacks Meryl Streep, wrestling her to the floor while trying to prise a bottle of tranqs from her hand. It comes midway through the film, just when I was saying to myself, There’s no point having a Best Actress category if Streep is in the running any given year. It’s as if Roberts were reacting to my thought. That bottle of pills might as well be this year’s Best Actress Oscar statuette.

The Academy will probably give it to another actress, however, perhaps Emma Thompson for her overrated anxious-finch performance in the immoral, mendacious, slanderous Saving Mr. Banks.