Sunday, May 28, 2017

Billy Bob In Goliath | Lefsetz Letter

While I’m talking TV, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how exceptional Billy Bob Thornton is in “Goliath.” It’s on Amazon Prime, and although half the households in America have it and don’t have to pay for it nothing on that outlet gets any traction, it seems people don’t know how to pull the service up or they don’t have a Roku or it’s not on Apple TV and they don’t know how to operate their smart TV but I wouldn’t count out Amazon, it’s a long game and that’s the one they play best and they’ve got oh-so-deep pockets and I’m not saying you have to watch “Goliath,” because it’s a typical David E. Kelley legal drama with holes galore, but Billy Bob Thornton, the excoriated actor who moonlighted as a musician, he’s FANTASTIC!

We seem to have forgotten the power of the individual. Of one person to make a difference. I’m not saying of one person to become successful, we have multiple iterations of that, we prop up nitwits for nothing and marvel at their remuneration but they’ve got no talent, whether it be the YouTube stars with their gaming and fashion tips or the models, even the one-dimensional pop stars fronting for Max Martin, but then there are talented people so good that what they say makes a difference. Like some people on Twitter. You need to follow Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner), the disgraced investment banker who went to work for Obama as the car czar. He took over for Felix Rohatyn at Lazard Freres, left media for the money, and now he’s returned to media, writing occasionally for the NYT and tweeting not only emotion, but facts, and if you still believe in facts it’s a revelation.

And one great band member can carry a whole act. How many have survived the loss of their lead singer? There’s Genesis and Van Halen, although both acts were the same yet different, but there are so many others with charismatic frontmen who couldn’t soldier on, whether it be the Doors or now Soundgarden. You see the magic is often in one person.

And millennials don’t get this, they’ve been taught it’s best to be a member of the group, they didn’t want to raise their hand in class for fear of standing out.

And business school is all about teams and relationships. God, if I hear the word “networking” one more time I’m gonna explode. Is that what life has come down to, finding people you can use to get ahead? And people have no shame, they want to go to lunch, talk on the phone, just so they can express their agenda, use me to further their careers, they do it unabashedly, which is why the odds of me talking on the phone or getting together with you are so damn low, although now I will have scared away the reasonable people but the unreasonable ones have no shame.

Which brings us back to Billy Bob Thornton, the rugged individual walking his own way who we get mad at because he doesn’t comport with our desires, doesn’t do it the way we think he should. Hell, all these years later it’s Jian Ghomeshi who’s the loser, funny how time lifts those who deserve attention and buries those who don’t. Which is why you can tune out today’s music scene for a couple of years and miss nothing, because none of these people are gonna last.

The heroes of America used to be rugged individuals. Hell, I can start naming them and continue for days. Whether it be Steve McQueen, or even musicians like Bob Dylan and John Lennon. These are artists we can’t take our eyes off of.

We can’t take our eyes off of Billy Bob Thornton in “Goliath.”

And sure, the role is written for him. The moral lawyer who can’t handle the results of his excellent work who goes off the deep end and trashes his life, ruins his family and career. But there’s still an inner mounting flame. And when it’s given oxygen, the old Billy Bob fights the goliath, because if you don’t believe in something, if you’re not fighting for something, why even get up in the morning?

The cinematography is incredible. William Hurt is acting at B level. Molly Parker is always great. Maria Bello acts to the limits of her ability, which unfortunately are not anywhere near Billy Bob’s, and you end up seeing that Nina Arianda deserved all those Broadway accolades, she’s not Hollywood beautiful, but she can ACT!

But Billy Bob is in his own league. He carries the whole damn show. Because he’s so damn BELIEVABLE! In an era where no one is, or there’s no one home. You think he really is the character. Who is willing to bob and weave and tolerate slights all in the furtherance of the ultimate goal, sticking it to the man.

Does anybody want to stick it to the man anymore?

No, they want to BE THE MAN!

But we’d rather watch the outsider, look to the lone gunman, the person outside of the system, not beholden to the rules, who thinks for themselves, they’re the beacon.

Like Billy Bob.


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