Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cannes '96, Expert Witnesses #4 and #5: Joe Reid and Nathaniel Rogers

At this point, what's left to say to my loyal readers about Joe Reid, multi-platform pop culture profiler extraordinaire, or Nathaniel Rogers, host of the internet's giddiest, freshest, most personally stamped, and most succulent movie blog?  Nathaniel and Joe are fellow cinephiles and dear friends, frequent festival companions and podcasting partners, and easily two of my favorite people anywhere with whom to discuss any movie, any time, from any place.  We hit Skype most Sunday mornings at 9am EST to record a conversation about new releases or old favorites.  A couple weeks ago, they indulged me with an hour-long conversation synced to my #Cannes96 project, which gradually dilates out to a broader conversation about movies we love from 1996 as a whole.  Rather than transcribe the conversation, I'll just encourage you to listen to this exchange with two chaps who express themselves excitedly and unpretentiously while taking in a vast and endless spectrum of movies, from high art to superhero hash.  Along the way, more or less in order, you'll hear us confront my usual conversation starter—"Are you a Waves breaker, a Friend of Marge, or a Keeper of Secrets & Lies?"—and then move on to all of the following...

* rumored Cannes jury squabbles in 1996, especially related to Crash

* brilliant Palme also-rans like Too Late and Goodbye, South, Goodbye

* the sole indignity among the prizes conferred by Francis Ford Coppola's jury

* Nathaniel's memories of seeing Ridicule and Temptress Moon in theaters

* brief but collective enthusiasm for Irma Vep, I Shot Andy Warhol, and Girl 6

* Nathaniel's love of "Peter Greenaway," his pet name for Ewan McGregor's penis

* news of the only movie that Monty Clift, Nathaniel's cat, ever watched in full

* a comparison of snail sex in Microcosmos and abject human sex in Lars von Trier

* Joe leading the charge of praise for Trainspotting, metonymically linked to MTV

* Joe's sense that Flirting with Disaster reflects an earlier, better David O. Russell

* questions about A Self-Made Hero, which link back to Hélène's comments

* raptures about Lone Star, echoing John's, and Nathaniel's thoughts on Sayles

* my valentine to an underdog comic crowd-pleaser hiding inside the lineup

* Joe's and Nathaniel's differently vivid stories of first colliding with Crash

* our short, spontaneous lists of favorites from '96 that more folks should rent

That last conversation wends in varying degrees of detail through The Birdcage, Bound, Emma, Everyone Says I Love You, Jerry Maguire, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Nutty Professor, The Portrait of a Lady, Swingers, and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.  I thought I said something about Big Night, too, but maybe that got cut for time.  The last two words of the exchange are "beautiful thing," which should have been an allusion to that quietly fabulous gay teen romance from '96 but refers in context to... a quite different love story that involves total speculation on my part.

Thanks, meanwhile, to Joe and Nathaniel, those two beautiful things.  And stay tuned, readers, for a few more Expert Witness columns from other friends and comrades in cinema!

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