Friday, November 30, 2012

The Rolling Stones Made Their Own Tour Irrelevant

Is this worth $850 a ticket? Really?
I will not be seeing the Rolling Stones next weekend when they play at the brand-new Barclays Center, two miles from my house in Brooklyn. I absolutely wanted to: I went to a game there a couple of weeks ago and was struck by what a great venue it would be for rock shows, big enough for a major act but still small enough to feel intimate, with good sightlines everywhere in the house. The Stones are, depending on when you ask me, either my favorite band ever or somewhere in the top five, and this show was one of only five scheduled to commemorate the band's 50th anniversary.  This could be the last time. May be the last time, I don't know!

Let me save you some time: Who wants to see a bunch of septuagenarians try to rock? While that is a very valid argument, I would counter that although they haven't made a memorable album in about 30 years (I'd say 35 -- I never cottoned to Tattoo You) they sound better live now than at almost any time since Brian Jones was in the band. Although they made great records in their peak period -- the Beggars Banquet - Let It Bleed - Sticky Fingers - Exile On Main Street run is one of, if not the very best achievements in the whole rock canon -- they sounded pretty lousy in concert most of the time, from the available evidence: their 1969 live album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out; Gimme Shelter, the concert movie that turned into a horrifying document of the doomed free concert at Altamont Speedway; and Cocksucker Blues, the banned document of their 1972 U.S. tour. Even when they played well, as in certain moments on the Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones concert film (also from 1972), they always seemed to be plagued by sound problems, or tempo problems, or Mick's not being able to hit the notes he hit on the records, or the band seeming not to quite remember the rhythm of the tunes, or whatever.

Whereas, modern advances in monitoring, so the band can actually hear itself, plus the (relative) sobriety of the band means that even though they're not all that much to look at anymore, they generally get a lot closer to the sound of their best albums than they ever used to. Plus, in recent years they've eased up on their dogged insistence on playing half the songs from whatever forgettable new album they're using as an excuse to tour, and broken out more interesting album cuts. So it's arguable that they are a better bet now than they have been for quite some time.

But I've seen the Stones a couple of times already. The opening show, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., of the 1989 Steel Wheels tour was my first big rock concert (I was 16), and I saw them again at the same venue on the 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour. (They were way, way better in '94.) And as much as I love them -- I cannot possibly overstate the importance of the aforementioned four-album run to my musical identity -- I don't know how I can justify paying $1,700 dollars for any two-hour experience, much less one where I have all my clothes on.

Prodigal guitarist Mick Taylor, between feedings.
They hooked me, though, by floating the rumor that Mick Taylor, who replaced original lead guitarist Brian Jones in 1969 and played on three of those four albums I keep mentioning before quitting in 1974, would be rejoining the band for these shows. Rock nerd boner! And as promisingly, bassist Bill Wyman, who served 30 years in the band before quite sensibly retiring to count his money and enjoy his young (young) wife in 1993, would also be returning. Wyman was always dead last in any ranking of Stones in terms of awesomeness, looks, height, stage presence, songwriting, or just about any other metric except pulling groupies, but he still played the bass line on "Bitch" and "Miss You" and "All Down The Line," and he wrote the riff to the most important tune in the Stones' whole catalog ("Jumpin' Jack Flash").  In any case, the thought of the exact band, to a man, that played Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street reconvening... let's just say I found a way to justify spending more cash than I'd ordinarily be comfortable with to get into the show.

So when the show at Barclays was announced, I dutifully went to the Stones' website like the lifelong sucker fan I am for details. I saw that in a sadly typical corporate promotion, there would be advance tickets sold just to American Express cardholders a few days before they officially went on sale to the public, and having an American Express card, I noted the advance date and time and when that time came, I went to Ticketmaster, requested two tickets at the cheapest available price ($175 -- I just wanted to be in the building), and got an error saying there were no tickets that matched my request. So I try again. And again. I try again, but select "Any Tickets" instead of the cheapest, and immediately I get through: two tickets in the upper deck can be had for only $850 each! Well, I might be crazy, but I'm not rich, so I try again, and again, and again, and again to get a pair of "bargain" $175 tickets. No joy.

I figure, maybe there were only a limited number of seats available for the AmEx thing, I'll try again when tickets go on sale to the public. Exact same experience, exact same result.

A few days later, the new documentary on the band, "Crossfire Hurricane," premiered on HBO. In case the preceding 941 words have not made it clear, I am something of a scholar when it comes to the Rolling Stones (and, let's face it, pretty much every band I like, but let's stay with the Stones). Read every book, seen every movie, bought every album in every format, some more than once. And while there were no new facts I didn't already know in the film, there was a lot of footage I hadn't seen before, and the film wisely skipped details about the members' childhoods, or formation of the band, or even its earliest gigs, and started at the moment they started writing songs, and ended at the 1981 tour, which is the moment they stopped being an important creative force and became a revenue center (this current tour being the apotheosis of that iteration). 

It was also very interesting to hear the Stones themselves talk about some of the big moments in their career. I knew that Brian Jones had died a couple of weeks after he was fired from the band, but I'd never heard Mick or Keith talk about it. (I'd read interviews, but that's not the same thing.) I knew Keith's heroin problem was a major obstacle in the recording of Exile on Main Street, but I'd never heard him, or Mick, or Bill or Charlie, talk about it. Incidentally, one of the great things about this documentary was that Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor were a part of it. I bought a book called "According to the Rolling Stones" about 10 years ago that was the Stones' answer to the bestselling (far superior) "Beatles Anthology" book -- an oral history of the band, with tons of photographs -- and while it was interesting, I couldn't help noticing that it made every effort to pretend that Bill Wyman had never been a part of the band, and minimize Mick Taylor's contribution. For some reason, it seems that if you quit the Stones, even after 30 years, you're dead to them. (And yet, I made a concerted, 30-minute effort to give them $350 for two hours' work.)
Nobody would be dumb enough to get the greatest
lineup of this band under one roof and then not have
them play together, right? That would just be weird.
So having them in the fold narrating the band's story along with Mick and Keith and Charlie (Woody doesn't come in until the last ten minutes of the film) lent the whole thing an air of authenticity, rather than a calculated cash grab, as so many Wagging TongueTM
-stamped enterprises are. A few things about "Crossfire Hurricane," which is probably the best overview of the Stones' (relevant) career I've seen (though, I've only watched it two and a half times -- I'll have to see it at least three or four more before I can pass judgment): One, they were a pretty smokin' live act in the early, Brian Jones-fronted, pre-drug bust era. The versions of "It's All Over Now" and "The Last Time" (which I believe are from the recently unarchived film Charlie Is My Darling) in the film are awesome. Two, I really appreciated how alternate and rare live versions of most of the Stones' catalog were used to adorn the film, rather than the brilliant but overfamiliar versions of the tunes that have become part of the cultural wallpaper. It brought a freshness to the whole thing and reminded me just how great a songwriting team Jagger and Richards are (were) and, in the super-choice live versions of "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Loving Cup," what a killer live act they were when they wanted to be. (Side note on the Stones' dodgy live performances in the '70s: While late-night channel-flipping, I recently caught part of the concert film Some Girls [God bless the Palladia channel], which was shot in a small venue in Texas during the band's 1978 U.S. tour. I stumbled into it when they were playing a note-perfect rendition of the Bakersfield-country parody "Far Away Eyes," which I'd always regarded as one of the few weak cuts on the last-gasp 1978 Some Girls album. But in the film, they put the tune across totally convincingly, with Jagger starting out the drawling recitation on piano, then switching to a Fender Rhodes, while Ron Wood plays perfect pedal steel and Keith adds tasty country fills. Then a fiddle player comes out for an awesome solo. For the first time, I liked, nay loved, this song. But then they go into the typical Stones show denouement -- "Brown Sugar," "Satisfaction," "Jumping Jack Flash" -- and it's rote and sounds like the band can't wait for the show to be over. 
Not the video I'm talking about, but very similar
The point: the Stones are only really good live when they're trying to win an audience over, and that's most often the case when they're trying to sell new material that they're excited about, because they're obviously (and quite understandably) sick to death of "Brown Sugar"/"Jumpin' Jack Flash"/"Satisfaction." So, most of their concert films have a song or maybe two where the band is totally engaged and playing great, but it's one song in a set of 15+ tunes that they couldn't be more tired of, so the overall impression is that they suck live. "Crossfire Hurricane" does a great job of compiling these great moments. Another example: They didn't even release their 1968 TV Special "Rock N' Roll Circus" until the late '90s because it was so weak, but it has easily the best live version of "Sympathy For The Devil" I've ever seen -- they actually play the tune the way they recorded it, all piano, bass, and percussion, and Mick actually goes for all the high notes, which I've never seen him do elsewhere. Back to "Crossfire Hurricane.") Three, the Stones seem to be liberated by their old age to talk about some of their past indiscretions: Jagger freely admits that he and Keith were doing a lot of drugs in the period before their bust, and even allows a shot of himself doing a backstage pre-show bump off a switchblade.

Original bassist Bill Wyman,  playing world's 
smallest bass at O2 Arena last week

Four, the loss of Brian Jones never really resonated with me, because so much emphasis has been put on his sad, addled final days, but the footage of Jones being interviewed and interacting with the rest of the band really drove home his musical skill, his personal appeal, his role in the band, and why he, not Jagger, was the most famous member in the early days. And five, the Black and Blue album, released in 1975 and the first to feature Ron Wood, is not the total loss of a treading-water record I wrote it off as when I first heard it -- I mean, it is, but the tune "Hey Negrita" has a great riff, supplied by Wood (though of course he was denied a songwriting credit), prominently featured in the movie to signify his arrival in the band. (Side note on Woody: the 2006 concert film Shine A Light shows the Stones as good as they can probably get at this point, and interestingly, the sound mix has Keith's guitar panned hard to the right and Woody's hard to the left, which really drives home the fact that in the 21st-century Rolling Stones, Ron Wood is doing 90% of the heavy lifting [as well as the medium and easy lifting] guitar-wise. I always thought he was a scrub and I see now that I was totally wrong.)
The point being, "Crossfire Hurricane" was great, and it made me feel a lot better about not going to the Barclays show, Taylor and Wyman reunion or no. The band I wanted to see was on HBO -- HBO On Demand, no less -- and I could enjoy them in their heyday as much as I want for $14 a month. (I'll probably stop watching it in two or three months.) Then, earlier this week, reviews from the first of these five shows, at the O2 Arena in London, started popping up, and confirmed that Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor had indeed been part of the show. My heart sank for a moment as I remembered again that I wouldn't get to see them when they come to Brooklyn. But then I read on: Wyman only played on two songs ("Honky Tonk Women" and "It's Only Rock N' Roll") and Taylor on one ("Midnight Rambler"), and they didn't play together at all.
Goddammit! Even when the Stones do something cool anymore, it's not that cool. The bass player who played on EVERY GOOD SONG IN THE STONES' CATALOG gets trotted out for two songs out of 25? This guy played the monster bass line on "Miss You"! You have it in the set, and you don't have the guy who wrote it play it? What is that? And the tunes you do have him play are two-note nothing bass lines? Why have him on at all? Likewise, you have the guitar player who played all the solos on all the Stones' best albums, and you bring him out for one tune? (A tune that has no guitar solos, no less, so having him wank all over it for 12 minutes makes it seem like he's ruining it?) How do you not play his tour de force "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" with him and the also-present Bobby Keys so they can do their awesome dueling solos? (I can sing you both solos note for note, by the way, if you need your memory refreshed.) How do you not have him play the slide solo on "All Down The Line"?  You have the exact personnel that played "Bitch" and "Rocks Off" and "Tumbling Dice" and "Brown Sugar" in the building, and you don't have them all play together at once? WHAT IS THAT?!?!? They turned what should have been a great and magnanimous and celebratory gesture into a gimmick, the same as having Sheryl Crow duet with Mick on "Live With Me" or somesuch typical latter-day lameness.
The YouTube footage of the Wyman/Taylor spots in the recent show combined with "Crossfire Hurricane" totally cured me of my urge to see them on this or any future tour. It's a Christmas miracle!

Mick Jagger, 2012
I'll close with this: even though it's easy, and totally justified, to hate on Mick Jagger for running the Stones as a cash cow first, second and third and as a band maybe fourth or fifth, I can't help admiring the fact that he has not had any plastic surgery. The dude is 69, and has been looking
pretty ragged since the mid-80s, and is so vain he once married the female version of himself. One would imagine he'd be the first on line at Dr. 90210's office (or at least, right behind Wayne Newton) to keep his famously plump lips from thinning out and his face from transmogrifying into the drawn visage of the Crypt Keeper, but he hasn't. So, kudos, Mick: Stay Ugly!
For much shorter, equally trivial postings follow me on Twitter @alexcastle718.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Star Wars Episode VII: The Cosmetically Altered Menace"

She's fast enough for you, old man.
We've all had a couple of weeks to digest the Big News: George Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm Ltd, to Disney for $4.05 billion. What did they buy for all that money? Only the biggest movie franchise of all time, and the rights to extend that franchise. In half a hummingbird's heartbeat, Disney announced its plans for a new trilogy of "Star Wars" films, starting with Episode VII, which will follow the events of Return of the Jedi in the chronology of the Galaxy Far Far Away.

After the dismal non-entertainment of the prequels, one might reasonably wonder why anyone would care about any more "Star Wars" movies. But Disney has made a few smart moves to gradually ease all us kids of the '70s, myself very much included, back from "lock that sumbitch up, I never want to see him again" to "he didn't mean to, he's a good man, I brought bail money!"

First and foremost, George Lucas is not writing or directing or even producing the movies -- he's been consigned to ceremonial "creative consultant" status, which probably means the folks who just bought the keys to the Millennium Falcon will ask him what he would do, and then do the opposite. Because how could any set of movies be any worse directed than the prequels? It's not a shock that Jake Lloyd (child Anakin) and Hayden Christensen (surly teenage Anakin) were terrible, as they were both unknown, but George Lucas got stultifying, awful, unwatchable performances from the normally reliable likes of Natalie Portman, Ewan Macgregor, and Liam Neeson. (There are many theories about how exactly he accomplished that, and here, in video form, is mine:)

A second source of excitement among the faithful:  it's been hinted that the key characters of the original trilogy -- Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia -- will return in the new one, and original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and even Harrison Ford have indicated interest in participating. Hamill and Fisher are no surprise, of course. While neither of them is exactly starving -- Hamill has had a successful career as a voice actor for comic-book cartoons, and Fisher is a celebrated author coming off a sold-out Broadway run of her autobiographical one-woman show -- neither has come anywhere near the heights of success or visibility they enjoyed as the faces of the biggest movie franchise of all time. Harrison Ford is more surprising, because while the "Star Wars" movies represented the apex of Hamill and Fisher's careers, for Ford it was only the beginning of one of the biggest leading-man runs of the last 30 years, and not a particularly pleasant beginning. He's been pretty tight-lipped about his time as Han Solo, and it's no big secret that that's because he had a couple of small issues with the experience, including hating the script, hating the concept, hating being in a "children's movie," hating shooting in the snow, hating the robots, hating Chewbacca, hating the Ewoks, and of course hating the director. ("You can type this shit," Ford famously told Lucas on set, "but you sure as hell can't say it.") It's a measure of how far his career has fallen (that awful fourth Indiana Jones movie had to be particularly dispiriting, considering it made Morning Glory and Hollywood Homicide look like recent successes by comparison) that he's publicly said he's open to returning to the role that made him famous. 
Seven years, two facelifts, and 180 (collective) pounds ago
All of this is very exciting, right? Not just new "Star Wars" movies, but "Star Wars" movies with the original cast reprising their roles, 35 years after the first movie? The nerds certainly are excited: the huge Internet community devoted to picking over every last detail of casting, production design, concept art, budgets, and catering choices pretty much sprang up in the excitement over the announcement of the prequels 15 years ago. Back then there were only a couple of these sites, Ain't It Cool News being the most famous and most informative. It's interesting to see how that particular subsegment of the Internet has changed in such a short time: Ain't It Cool hasn't broken anything interesting in years, and has lost every bit of its relevance and then some, while a whole legion of imitators that's grown up around it is thriving and has already published approximately 4.7 trillion stories speculating about every last detail of these new movies. Will they bring Darth Vader back from the dead? (It is science fiction, after all.) Will Quentin Tarantino direct a "Star Wars" movie? (No he will not, and is there anyone who'd seriously want him to?) And, will the original cast reprise their roles? I don't see how you can go forward with a story in the "Star Wars" universe that doesn't in some way involve Luke, Han, and Leia. (Even going forward without Darth Vader is a stretch.) The six-film saga of the original trilogy and the prequels was about the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, set against a galactic civil war. Both stories came to totally satisfying ends in the last 15 minutes of Return of the Jedi. So if you don't have Anakin Skywalker and you don't have the Empire, what makes "Episode VII" a "Star Wars" movie, if not some kind of continuity with familiar characters? There's a whole industry built around post-Jedi fan fiction, but all of it revolves around the Big Three and/or their offspring.
Almost, but not quite sadder.
Having said all that, I think bringing back the original cast would be a colossal mistake. Have you seen them lately? Mark Hamill looks like he's been sleeping under a car, Carrie Fisher looks (as she herself is fond of saying) like Elton John, and Harrison Ford, who's held up the best of all of them, looks like a confused grandpa (despite the best efforts of his tiny gold earring). Could there possibly be anything sadder than 70-year-old Harrison Ford staggering around in the white shirt and black vest? Does anyone want to see present-day Carrie Fisher kiss present-day Harrison Ford? Could anything be harder to watch than current Mark Hamill waving a lightsaber? When I'm watching a "Star Wars" movie, shouldn't whether or not bad facelifts are a thing in the Galaxy Far Far Away be the furthest thing from my mind?
"Welcome to the La Brea Men's Shelter! My name's Mark."
Must... resist... Jabba the Hutt joke...
To me, that last one is the real dealbreaker. I guess you could write this thing so that Luke and Han Solo are like elder statesmen passing the torch to young Jedi Master Prince Lazer Solo-Skywalker or whatever -- keep them behind a desk or a dining table, just show their faces for a second so we can hear their voices and renew our goodwill in this franchise. But there's no way you can put Carrie Fisher (who, I should be clear, I have a lot of affection for, no matter what she looks like -- she's a great writer, I paid full price to see her on Broadway, and she got the best scene in both The Blues Brothers and the first Austin Powers) in this thing and not immediately unsuspend my disbelief. She's put on some weight, which on Earth should not disqualify her, but would stick out in the Galaxy Far Far Away -- was there even one fat person, including extras, in any of the previous movies? (Naming Jabba the Hutt only underscores my point). But it's not really that she's older, or that she's larger: it's that she has a different face, and that's even more distracting than a floppy-eared special-needs alien stepping in poop and mugging directly into the camera (which still stands as the third most traumatic event of my life). And, it's an all-or-nothing proposition. You either bring back all three of these actors or you bring back none of them. And I'm sorry, I just don't see it in Princess Leia's character that she got a bad facelift. And, come on: Harrison Ford is now seven years older than Alec Guinness was when he first played Obi-Wan Kenobi. In what context could that possibly be awesome? Which leaves the only other option: recasting. This probably sounds like heresy, particularly when the original leads are all available, but it worked out great for the Star Trek reboot. I thought the guys who stepped in as Kirk and Spock did a great job of playing the characters of Kirk and Spock, as opposed to doing Shatner and Nimoy impressions (which would have been awful). I can't really think of anyone who'd be appropriate to take on these iconic roles, but that's kind of the point: they should get some relative unknowns (as with the "Star Trek" reboot) who won't bring any baggage. They should definitely bring back the guy who played Jar Jar, though. It was a note-perfect performance and bringing him back into the story would bring the whole thing full circle and give it a new throughline. How about this: when we last saw him in Revenge of the Sith, Jar Jar appeared to be a senator. So how about he becomes the new Grand Chancellor of the New Republic? Then he's slowly lured over to the Dark Side, and slowly, insidiously undermines the democratic process to appoint himself the new Emperor. "Yousa will find this space station fully operational!"

Friday, November 9, 2012

The "Lincoln" Trailer Is A Parody Of Itself

I'm a fan of movies. I'm a fan of big movies, of historical movies, of Important Movies. Total sucker for biographical movies. Love to read nonfiction, about American history in particular. So I should already be lining up for the premiere of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, the nakedly calculated Fall Prestige Picture sure to win Oscars for everyone involved, right?

On paper, this thing seems like a slam dunk: Daniel Day Lewis, the human chameleon most recently seen making his eyes literally (and I do mean literally) gleam with evil intent in There Will Be Blood, is playing Honest Abe. (I wish -- and I realize this would turn it into a completely different kind of movie -- that the movie were called Honest Abe and everyone addressed him only as Honest Abe, as in: "Honest Abe! General Lee is about to take Manassas!" and "Do you think we'll ever free the slaves, Honest Abe?" But I digress.) The movie is based in part on the book everyone talked about and nobody read during the 2008 election cycle, Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." It has a long list of dependable actors on its call sheet. It's getting nothing but valentines from critics. How could it not be great?

And yet, I can't shake the feeling, watching the trailer, that it looks like the bad TV adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" that Bill Murray is producing live on Christmas Eve in Scrooged.

Let's have a look, shall we?

0:14: A soup├žon of mournful piano over brutal, hand to hand combat, topped by a recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Might as well call off the Oscars right now and ship the whole lot straight to Spielberg. 0:22: Wait, it's not Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address, it's some black guy. Why is he saying it to Lincoln? I thought Lincoln made that speech. Is this movie about how Lincoln plagiarized his most famous speech from a black guy? That's almost as bad as Elvis, and Vanilla Ice. And why does it look like Lincoln is standing on the roof of a car and looking down at him? 0:29: Here come the angelic strings and the DreamWorks logo. I'm getting choked up and I don't even know what this movie is yet, all I know is it will make me cry. 031: "We can't tell our people they can vote yes on abolishing slavery unless at the same time we can tell them that you're seeking a negotiated peace." Um, I don't mean to seem dim, but what does that mean? Totally void of context, it's a bit of a headscratcher. Is this what the movie's about? Is this its most exciting moment? I don't want to be a pessimist, but Lincoln is opening the same day as the new James Bond movie, and I don't think this is the way to beat it. 0:39: Lincoln is hypnotizing himself! I wonder why? Just when I thought this looked like a boring costume drama, it gets interesting. If Lincoln was into self-hypnosis, that's some dark, fringey stuff. Does he have pants on? I need to know more! 0:45: Oh cool, Rorschach is in this movie! I'm quickly warming up to this thing. "Hundreds of thousands have died under your administration," he's saying. Not to nitpick, but isn't that true under every administration? I hope there's a scene where he tells Lincoln, "I'm not locked in here with you -- you're locked in here with me!" and they fight it out. 1:00: Cue the angelic choir as Lincoln exhorts the other people at his D&D game to act "Now! Now! Now!" I bet this is one of those scenes that's in the trailer that doesn't make it to the finished movie. 1:10: A new, triumphant music cue, the first use of the words "Abraham Lincoln," and Tommy Lee Jones in the most unflattering wig since Marv Albert's. I want to know the story on this wig. Were men still wearing wigs in the 1860s? It doesn't matter: now I'm no longer thinking about Lincoln, or what angle Spielberg is taking with this movie, and thinking about Tommy Lee Jones in a weird curly brown wig. I just rewatched Oliver Stone's JFK the other day, where Mr. Jones looks totally natural in a silver flat-top -- and that was 21 years ago. It might as well have been Scrappy-Doo delivering that line for all the gravitas it has coupled with that wig. Boo to the wig!
1:15: Oh boy, now here's Joseph Gordon-Levitt, dutifully fulfilling his recently signed contract to appear in every movie filmed in the U.S. for the next nine years, in Union blue and a totally unconvincing moustache. Look, I have the facial growth of an eleven-year-old girl, so I'm not faulting him for that, just... production designer? Makeup artist? Mr. Spielberg? That moustache is taking me out of the trailer again and making me think about Leo DiCaprio in The Departed, or Johnny Depp when he's not making a movie (because no director with working eyes would let him try to grow a moustache). I should be thinking about stakes and conflicts, not about that moustache. 1:34: "Do we choose to be born, or are we fitted to the times we're born to?" Does that even make sense? Nobody chooses to be born, everyone adapts to the times they're born to, and neither has anything to do with the other. And why is the guy from Girls in this movie? With the same haircut he has on Girls? 1:52: From the looks of this trailer this whole movie takes place in four places: the House of Representatives, a battlefield, some kind of drawing room, and on a dock next to a steamboat. When you're a young filmmaker just starting out, you've got to do a lot for very little money. Just think what Steven Spielberg will be able to accomplish once he gets a little success! 2:08: "Shall we stop this bleeding?" If by that you mean stop watching this trailer for a three-hour movie that bored me in less than two minutes, then yes, Mr. President, let's stop the bleeding.