|DAVID LYNCHLAURA DERNOSCAR|
Disney+ is an oddity in the streaming landscape. While it took over pop culture last fall with Baby Yoda and “The Mandalorian,” that blockbuster series was very much the exception for its content model thus far: this is a platform that relies almost entirely on its studio's back catalogue of classic films. There won't be another original live-action series of the stature of “The Mandalorian” until, well, “The Mandalorian” Season 2 later this year assuming its post-production still continues as planned.
As for its classic film titles, Disney+ maintains a family-friendly focus, so many of the company's more mature titles produced under its Touchstone banner, let alone its 20th Century Fox archive, don't appear on the service. Even still, Disney+ touted the depth of its content offerings in the leadup to its November 12 launch with an epic Twitter thread of hundreds of beloved or at least on-brand titles spanning decades: from the 1940 version of “Swiss Family Robinson” starring Thomas Mitchell, which Walt Disney bought and suppressed so as to make his own 1960 version, all the way through “Coco” and “The Last Jedi.”
If the service is an oddity unto itself, it's the oddities on the platform that have been among its most interesting offerings — including a “Disney Parks at the Holidays” special from the 1960s “Wonderful World of Color” TV series in 1966 that was the last TV broadcast Walt Disney himself appeared in before his death.
Because there isn't that much new on offer through the service, this recurring feature singles out one recently added title to highlight as “The Best Bet” on the service each month, along with a couple other newly available picks and a selection or two from the back catalogue. Sometimes, “The Best Bet” will be a film, sometimes a series or TV special. It can be a new offering or a vintage favorite. This time, it's a singular title: when Disney got Lynchian.The Best Bet
“The Straight Story” is like the transcendental meditation famously practiced by its director, David Lynch. Watching it feels like an act of emotional healing. Its languid rhythm contradicts one of the key ingredients of drama: namely, conflict. There's no real conflict in “The Straight Story” at all. Its story is gentle, a simple tale of perseverance and the kind people along the way who help ensure it has a happy ending.
It's also a true one: in 1994, 73-year-old Alvin Straight, stripped of his driver's license due to poor eyesight, embarked on a six-week, 240-mile journey via lawnmower to visit his ailing brother. Five years later it became a film as quintessentially Lynchian as anything the “Blue Velvet” auteur has ever made...
The actress also joined Chelsea Handler, Rashida Jones and more at a private showing of the film, presented by UTA and Everytown for Gun Safety.
Laura Dern, Rashida Jones and Chelsea Handler, along with survivors and family members of victims lost to gun violence, came together to celebrate Will McCormack and Michael Govier's short film If Anything Happens I Love You on Wednesday night.
Held at UTA's Beverly Hills theater, the private screening of the 12-minute animated short, about parents navigating grief after losing their daughter in a school shooting, kicked off with a mother's emotional recount of the day she lost her 34-year-old son. Everytown for Gun Safety member and Moms Demand Action advocate Brenda Moss spoke about the 2014 murder of her son, Shawn Moss, who was shot 17 times.
“He wasn't lost to gun violence, he was taken...taken without permission,” Moss told the UTA audience. She said she had a choice between letting the grief consume her or fighting for reform. Moss said she chose the latter, honoring her first child's memory by advocating for gun safety.
If Anything Happens I Love You, came from McCormack and Govier's desire to not only raise awareness for the fatal consequences of gun violence but also to shine a spotlight on the grief victims' loved ones experience, Govier told The Hollywood Reporter.
“A lot of times people hide their grief and we don't culturally talk about it enough,” the short's writer-director said. “We're all human, we have all these feelings and we all have this grief.”
Both Govier and McCormack expressed gratitude for the industry support they received from a number of people including Jayme Lemons, Handler, Jones and Dern, who are all members of the Everytown Creative Council. Dern, who attended the private screening with daughter Jaya Harper, said that the short film handled the “devastating” realities of gun violence with grace and captured the sense of grief that follows when somebody loses a loved one.
The actress told THR that she was proud to have had a hand in If Anything Happens I Love You. Dern said that while she was already involved with another project by McCormack, she felt the sense of urgency to help spread the short film's reach.
“Especially at this time when people are considering candidates and thinking about what's important to them and what matters, I'm hopeful that more and more people get to see it,” Dern said. “This is a deep and primary focus for us.”
Harper added that while school shootings may not be in daily news, there's no use in waiting to take action. "Not having a personal experience with this can change to having one, that's what's so scary about this. It takes a split second to know someone or have been personally affected,” she...
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.