There was something sturdy and institutional about James Rebhorn that pigeonholed him in archetypal-patriarchal “white guy” roles, but his performances contained so much gray-area subtlety that his presence in a movie or television series always portended interesting developments. In a different era, he would have been Hitchcock’s favorite character actor, particularly during the director’s 1950s cloak-and-dagger heyday—a quality that no doubt led to his perfect paranoid-fugue casting in David Fincher’s The Game.
The gentle parallax of an open mind
You grow up. In your head, you revisit the rooms that sheltered your youth, and the scenes they contained. This time you enter through a window, where before you stood in the door. What seemed trivial then now appears paramount; old anxieties, meanwhile—once flushed, pink, blushing-hot—are now supine, inert, herring-red. You’re taller than you remember; the shelves are not so high.
Other voices, other Dooms
About halfway through watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at the Cinerama Dome with some friends, it occurred to me that if a couple of elementary particles had collided slightly differently just after the Big Bang, we could conceivably have found ourselves in a universe where Kim Cattrall traded barbs and swapped spit with Harrison Ford while Kate Capshaw wound up having most of her scenes reduced to reaction shots whenever Sex and the City airs on TBS.
Also, the lens flares in the movies Douglas Slocombe shot for Spielberg in the eighties are some of my favorite childhood lens flares.
People always ask me why I never actually attend the Academy Awards. I tell them the truth: I don’t think I can handle that much resentment. It’s the nature of the film business that no matter how successful you are, there’s always going to be Steven Spielberg (I call him Steven). It’s not Steven’s fault—he can’t help it—but he should know that one consequence of his career is that it makes the rest of us feel bad. My advice is to try to avoid what I once heard described as zero-sum thinking: that there’s only so much success to go around and therefore anyone else’s good fortune means there will be less of it available for us. Would I want Spielberg’s life? Not really. Certainly not the gay-stalker part.
Even though I was younger and in many ways unformed—and the tinnitus of my youthful anxieties was more persistent—there was a quietude to the media firmament of the nineties, with its AOL dial-up-modem tones as quaint as Buddhist meditation bells, that I miss sometimes, as we skate on sheets of tempered, oleophobic glass toward a future only dreamed of by Philip K. Dick’s androids.