The highly promoted remake of The Magnificent Seven, whose stars include Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, was shot last year in Baton Rouge. Another of the film’s stars was Ethan Hawke.
Hawke must have felt at ease in the Baton Rouge area. On Nov. 20, he was spotted playing guitar in the Birdman Coffee and Bookshop in St. Francisville. Hawke joined other musicians in the shop for their rendition of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” Hawke’s two young daughters must know the lyrics to the song, as they stood next to their dad and sang along with him.
The Times-Picayune caught the story and the photo of Hawke and his girls performing.
St. Francisville is 20 miles north of Baton Rouge. One of the things located there is The Myrtles Plantation. A couple of years ago, the Up Fronter spent a spooky night in The Myrtles, and went on to tell the story in the pages of Lagniappe.
Readers may be interested in knowing that the screenplay for The Magnificent Seven was written by Lake Charles native Nic Pizzolatto. Pizzolatto is best known for writing the screenplay for True Detective, which was filmed in various Louisiana locations and featured many scenes set in Lake Charles.
Who’ll Start The Cutting?
Most of you probably know that Louisianans voted against Amendment 3, which would have ended the ability of corporations in Louisiana to deduct their federal income taxes from their Louisiana tax returns.
And you know that between the state budget gap for 2016 and the gap that’s coming in 2017, we’re closing in on $2 billion dollars’ worth of budget gap.
So where is that $2 billion going to come from? If the voters themselves are opposed to limiting tax deductions for corporations operating in Louisiana, we can hardly expect legislators to eliminate those deductions. It’s almost impossible to get legislators to vote against the positions held by their constituents.
Bel Edwards says Amendment 3 went down because the wording was confusing. He believes voters thought they were voting against individual income tax deductions. I will concede that given the results of the November election — and the incredibly inaccurate predictions of those results — no one short of a genius is going to be able to figure out what the American voter thinks he is voting for or against in 2016.
But even if Edwards’ argument is right, it’s still terrible news for a Legislature looking for money. The message they’ll be getting is that, as far as citizens are concerned, both corporate and individual tax deductions are off the board.
So, again, where is the almost $2 billion going to come from? It won’t come from the one-cent sales tax increase, which will soon be phased out. In an editorial, The Advocate described the situation like this:
“If the state wants to shed that one penny on every sale, almost a billion dollars must be raised to fill the gap; that means higher income tax collections or a drastic increase in business taxes would be necessary, because the math doesn’t work any other way.”
We better hope the Advocate is wrong about that. But the writer sure does sound confident.
Jeff Sadow, the conservative Advocate columnist, wrote that the state government is “bloated” and the best form of tax reform is tax cutting. The Louisiana Budget Project’s Jan Moller sent the Advocate a letter to the editor about Sadow’s column. Moller wrote, “More than 30,000 state jobs have been eliminated since 2008. That’s not bloating. That’s bare bones.”
There’s another reasonable way to respond. I’ve been hearing for about a decade now that the problem is that the state budget is bloated and all we need to do to solve all the problems is cut away all the bloating. Well, if that’s the case, why doesn’t somebody start cutting? Will there ever be a better time? What are the bloat cutters waiting for … a budget gap that’s bigger than $2 billion?
The Louisiana News
“Bbq chicken salad from Wendy’s sounds very good.”
That important public service announcement was Tweeted at least twice on Nov. 18 by “Louisiana Places” — a site that promises to enable readers to “discover what places and events are being tweeted about right now in La.”
My Twitter mission in life is to follow the absolute minimum of sources I must to get a good overview of Louisiana news. Louisiana Places is no longer part of that mission.
How We Get The News
Now that we’ve come through what may be the most reported election in world history, you may feel that it’s easy to find the really important news. In fact, by the end of the election, you may have felt that all you had to do was wait and the news would come to you.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If you want the real news — and I mean the really, really important, vital stuff — there’s only one place to go. And that’s GMX.com.
To prove my point, let me give you just a brief assortment of headlines GMX has run since the Up Fronter’s last column:
“Dolly Parton thinks it was ‘sweet’ of Reese Witherspoon to design a bag inspired by her”
“Lily James switches on the Burberry Christmas lights at Harrods”
“Rat Boy wouldn’t rule out Honey G collaboration”
“Gemma Chan is ‘too scared’ to wear her grandmother’s cashmere jumper”
There were none of those boring, old-fashioned headlines about stuff like the dictatorship and coup attempts in Turkey, the stock market or the future of the European Union. GMX is obviously guided by the watchword of every great news organization: prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
Like the old journalist said, “I may not be able to define ‘news,’ but I can recognize it when I see it.”
Let’s murder him first and then kill him.
— My Wife’s Relations, 1922, dir. Buster Keaton
Some of the girls slept in dormitories. But most of ‘em wore pajamas.
— The Campus Carmen, 1928, produced by Mack Sennett
You have reduced me to beggary, kidnapped my husband and murdered my aged mother. But beware! Don’t go too far!
— Show People, 1928, dir. King Vidor
Jerry Lewis: Carbon dioxide has always been a gas. Actually, it kind of swings.
— The Nutty Professor, 1963, dir. Jerry Lewis
Once In A Lifetime
These days, if I have my choice of what movie I’m going to watch, I pick a Eurosleaze film. For those unfamiliar with the genre, Eurosleaze is a type of low-budget horror film made in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. It reached its apex of popularity in the Italian shockers now called “giallo.”
Eurosleaze films are marked by a surrealistic approach to horror; as much sexual innuendo as was allowed at the time; and very cheap special effects that directors hoped would shock audiences.
If you’re a few years older than I am, you were able to see Eurosleaze movies when they played in drive-ins and storefront theaters. Younger baby boomers such as I only saw them when we found video shops whose owners were hip enough to stock Eurosleaze movies in preference to 20 copies of An Officer and a Gentleman.
Years later, Netflix came along, and suddenly, people like me could lay in a steady stream of Eurosleaze.
My latest Netflix delivery was a 1970 movie titled Count Dracula, which was in my queue solely because it was directed by Spanish Eurosleaze master Jesse (or “Jess”) Franco.
When the credits rolled, I saw I was experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity. This now-unknown gem starred Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom and the Andalusian Eurosleaze beauty Soledad Miranda, who died in a car wreck in 1970 just minutes after she’d signed a six-film contract.
For me, what was even more significant was the casting of Jack Taylor. Taylor’s my favorite Eurosleaze actor. In spite of his Anglicized name, he was a German who got into Eurosleaze when he was competing with Franco for the affections of the latter’s mistress: the exotic, darkly lovely Eurosleaze icon Lina Romay. Taylor brings an air of mystery into every frame he enters. He’s always serious; looks vaguely moody; and says little. If you see that a movie has Jack Taylor in the cast, watch it.
Kinski plays Dracula’s crazed assistant Renfield. The role was tailor-made for Kinski, who plays it in a paroxysm of weirdness as odd as anything you’ll see in cinema. (In a CD extra, Franco explains that Kinski actually ate the flies that were Renfield’s favorite snack. I’d be surprised to learn Kinski hadn’t wanted to eat them.) Kinski waxes talkative in the movie, uttering a total of one word.
Franco couldn’t resist the temptation to put even more surrealism into the surreal story. In one scene, Franco creates a super-fast montage of a bunch of stuffed animals — even a stuffed ostrich. The Jack Taylor character gets so freaked out he starts shooting at the stuffed animals with his handgun. What good it does to shoot stuffed animals I don’t know.
Franco says Christopher Lee suggested making a movie that followed Bram Stoker’s Dracula story to the letter and included all of Dracula’s lines. Franco said he was more than willing, but feared the producers would cut Dracula’s speeches. (They didn’t.) As a result of this unique set of circumstances, Christopher Lee delivered a long Shakespearean speech in Count Dracula — something I certainly haven’t seen in any other movie.
When Franco died in 2013 at the age of 83, he had directed more than 200 films.
Jesse Franco is the most difficult Eurosleaze director to “get.” While his movies have their share of horror, they’re mainly about ideas, atmospheres and “altered states.” Count Dracula, on the other hand, is a straightforward rendition of the Bram Stoker story. As an introduction to Franco, it’s ideal. Nothing in it will have you scratching your head. And because it’s all about Stoker’s 19th century story, there’s none of Franco’s trademark nudity.
If you’re totally unfamiliar with Eurosleaze, I’ll give you a brief list of my favorites in case you want to get a taste. Try these: Female Vampire (1975; also directed by Franco; lots of gratuitous nudity; work that fast forward button); Zombi 2 (1979; dir. Lucio Fulci); Demons 3: The Ogre (1988; dir. by Lamberto Bava, Mario Bava’s son); The House By The Cemetery (1981, dir. Fulci); Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973, dir. Carlos Aured); Kill Baby, Kill (1966, dir. Mario Bava); Deep Red (1975, dir. Dario Argento).