Posted on July 09 2020
Greetings my human friend.
I am writing to let you know that there is a new episode of Long-Distance Relationship an audio series by me and Blanche Gardin. If you've already purchased the series and want to download the new episode just click here and log in (if you're not logged in) - Episode 3 will be there waiting for you.
There will be one new episode every week for a total of 10. The cost is five dollars to buy and listen to the whole series. Half of the proceeds (so $2.50 per purchase) go to the Fistula Foundation and the Fondation Abbé Pierre.
A word about Blanche Gardin. For those of you that don’t know who Blanche is, which probably includes a lot of my fans in the United States, Blanche is a Great French standup comedian.
Blanche is the only person to win the Moliere Award two years in a row. This is the highest honor a performer can receive in France. She’s made two hilarious And very successful standup specials And she tours in theaters all over her country. She is beloved and respected Throughout France and by French speaking people everywhere. I don’t mean to just list her accomplishments But It is difficult to convey how funny, honest and brilliant she is Because of the language and cultural barrier.
I wrote this in the “liner notes” of her latest comedy album.
I’ve seen people laugh at Blanche Gardin in a way that they can’t help at all. I’ve seen men slap their legs and bark. I’ve seen decent women cover their mouth and shake, in hysterics, unable to control themselves as she tells stories she can’t help telling. She is confessing things that she really doesn’t want you to know, and wishes she could keep to herself. But she must tell And you can’t stop laughing. The whole thing is involuntary and Yet necessary..
You can visit her website here, though it’s all in French.
Also her first special is on Netflix with English subtitles, but for some bizarre reason Netflix won’t let you watch it in America. Maybe in Canada?
Anyway, Subsequent emails about updates to the series will go only to the people who bought the show. But as long as I have your eyeballs on an email I’ll just mention to those of you who haven’t been to my website for a while that is been redesigning and contains some new cool things. For instance...
You can get my new standup special (released April 4th 2020) Sincerely Louis CK
We have DVDs of all my past Standup specials And my Short films.
My most recent television series Horace and Pete (which won a Peabody award!) Starring Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, me, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange and others, is available to download or stream for $12.99 for the entire series.
A bunch of other stuff, some new and some old but new, is coming in the next month or so.
You can Stop reading this email anytime, and I will assume I have lost about 75% of you by now. For those of you still reading I’d like to offer you some recommendations for some great movies you could watch with your free time.
First, three films by a great director from back in the 30s and 40s named Frank Borzage. This guy was way ahead of his time. He had a sense of rare sense of human dialogue especially for the era and he picked terrific stories to tell.
Flight Command (Amazing air combat sequences considering the time they were filmed)
Strange Cargo (There does not exist a bad movie with Joan Crawford In it. She was a great judge of scripts and used her star power to champion the careers of directors she believed in. and I can’t believe Clark Gable actually Existed)
Sticking with Clark Gable for a moment there is
Mutiny on the Bounty
(Also with an incredible performance by Charles Laughton. )
Staying in old black and white There is nothing like the great “Pre-code era” films. For those of you unaware these Were movies made in the 1930s, before the “Hays code” (what is what decided what was OK and not OK or right and wrong to put in a movie.) There was this little Window where it hadn’t occurred to anyone to put restrictions on films. They were like books or plays. And then somebody figured out what a massive influence they were so they locked it all down. But before that happened there were some astonishing films made. These films did not have a moral code. So they were able to explore some tantalizing extremes in story and character but also they were able to make films just about people being people acting like people.
Barbara Stanwyck Is amazing in this brutal and dark and sometimes hilarious story of a woman Who was handed a terrible life and responds to it bye going out into the world with a brutal And exhilarating mission of perfect self interest.
This is a wonderful movie to watch now because it’s about a bunch of people living at the precipice of a world that is about to fall apart ( the Great Depression) It’s a very funny movie. My favorite “precode” moment in the movie is a scene where a doctor is caught by his wife philandering with another woman. She confronts him and he admits it and they have a real dialogue about how to move forward In their marriage which is not resolved and incrediblu relatable. You couldn’t have a dialogue like this after the hayse code. Because anyone who did something wrong in a movie had to be cast as an absolute villain. And no one “good“ could make a mistake unless that mistake was perfectly corrected and the character completely reformed by the end of the movie. Which is not real and not human.
Dinner at 8 offers no judgement or solutions. It just lays bare the flaws in all its human characters,, for the audience to identify with and laugh at.
The Hayes Code made that impossible and began a trend that lasted for decades dividing human souls and behavior into “good“ and “bad”
None of that moral polarization leaves room for understanding human beings or creating characters in fiction that allow the audience to see themselves in the story and to feel less alone, instead of hero’s and villains that make them feel small and ashamed.
That’s not to say that great films weren’t made in those decades. And of course in the 1970s there was this crazy resurgence of honest filmmaking. Which brings me to:
Alice doesn’t Live here anymore directed by Martin Scorsese
Starting Ellen Burstyn (one of my favorite actors of all time) and Kris Kristofferson (I would also like to recommend that you listen to his song “Sunday morning coming down“ before you watch the movie)
After you watch this film, look for an interview with Ellen Burstyn where she tells an amazing story of how the ending came about. She developed this movie herself and is really responsible for how great it is.
A great low budget action movie by John Cassavetes. I could certainly go on about John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands
A Woman under the influence
Opening Night etc
But there is one movie they brought them together that a lot of people haven’t seen.
Also with Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland. This is a very very fucking sad movie man. It’s intense.
Oh. Burt Lancaster. Please tell me that you haven’t seen
Sweet Smell of Success.
Also with Tony Curtis who made some goofy movies but also some great ones like
The Defiant Ones
And The Boston Strangler which is a really Strange movie. The second half of the movie, which is basically a dialogue between the great Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis as a mass murderer Is some great acting and filmmaking.
I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.
Speaking of completely enigmatic movies there is the Brazilian film
Hanging on Brazil for one more there is
Holy shit that’s a beautiful movie.
If you want a couple of incredibly sad but beautiful movies there is
I remember Mama (best death scene in any movie ever)
Miracle in the Rain (Jane wyman, Ronald Reagan’s first wife, Is heartbreaking in this and also the next one)
One of my favorite filmmakers is very little known and I’m not sure where you can find his movies but his name is Michael Romer.
He made two movies
Nothing but a man
The Plot against Harry
If you want to movie that’s just a really feel good fun movie there is
And the number one movie but I recommend to anyone who has not seen it is Alfonso Cuaron‘s masterpiece.
OK I’m gonna stop there. I did not intend to make such a long list. It was really just gonna be three or four movies. But that was fun. I’ll do it again sometime.
Thank you, both of you who are still reading.
That is all. This email is over. And not a moment too soon.