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Hollywood

The movie adaptation of the classic Florida Gothic novel ‘The Paperboy’ hits the recently-ended Cannes with a different sort of splash.

Nicole Kidman urinates on a man to soothe his jellyfish stings. Mon dieu!

Cannes Film Fest is over, and the beret set bestowed top honors to “Amour,” an atypically sappy film made by that guy who created the torture porn, “Funny Games.” You’d think they’d seen it all.

Audiences and critics razzed “The Paperboy,” the film adaptation of the great Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel, set along the St. John’s River of Florida, (a topography that few tourists know about or would want to go near), as its more scrub than imported-in white sands.

The setting of this deeply moving and fever-pitch novel was just one of the things that we loved about the book—which won the PEN award and was written by the author of “Paris Trout”–as this writer has canoed this buzzards-and-gators zone and surfed its sharky shores (and it’s the REAL brutally gorgeous Florida).

Dexter wrote the script, and the cast is lead by the increasingly Oscar-caliber Matthew McConaughey. He might sweat down South better than any actor we know, but seems to be truly coming into his own for his comic and dramatic performances.

Elsewhere there is a snarly, tricky John Cusack, playing a sheriff-killer, and redeeming himself after his last Southern hoedown. “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” is one of the worst adaptations of a great best-seller ever made. Zac Efron tries to keep up pretty ably we hear, playing McConaughey’s brother, both of whom are Miami reporters with different sets of eyes on the Pulitzer Prize.

Then there is Nicole Kidman, who seems to always be doing something bizarre-o in a Cannes-debuting film, mostly from Lars von Triers (“get down on all fours, dog in heat, and put that leash on—good girl!”)

As Charlotte Bless, she plays one of those women who likes visiting and teasing Death Row inmates in her slut-wear and spike heels, and falls for one of them. In short-shorts (minis), Kidman’s reaching back to her sexiest, albeit parodic, role and our favorite: that in Gus van Sant’s “To Die For,” where she did a flirty dance in front of a car’s headlights to lure some townie patsies into killing her numbskull hubby Matt Dillon.

Call her “brave” or absurd, Kidman—and this film—is going to get serious attention and reappraisal, methinks, when a U.S. distributor picks it up (any day now, we are sure). We are hoping for an August release, as all the dumb blockbusters will have played out and we’ll all be jonesing for some dirty, steamy “Body Heat” or “Wild Things” type flick in the played-out movie houses.

With Dexter writing and the director of “Precious” at the helm, “The Paper Boy” has now risen to the top of our most anticipated film release picks, just a notch above “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Thanks Huffington Post for getting huffy about it—we’re sold.

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