On the trail of a whodunnit and a pair of why-do-its
It started with the sublime.
The plan this week was to talk about the most enjoyable experience of seeing the newly released film “Knives Out” — a throwback to the light murder-mysteries of another time and place, when going to the movies didn’t require having first taken an undergraduate course in civics or purchasing headphone to deafen the noise that constituted conflict.
The joys of “Knives Out” are plenty. A literate script. A cadre of actors working as a true ensemble. Mastermind detective Benoit Blanc, played with a gumbo of gusto and grandeur by the usually reserved Daniel Craig. And a whodunit where the identity of the killer is more of an anticlimax — because, really, you could have locked away any of the family of suspects without hurting my feelings — that sets the stage for one of the great daffy metaphors in recent memory.
“Knives Out” is, pure and simple, what used to be called “a good time at the movies.” Sure, you might have read or heard that it tiptoes into the topical political muck; but it does so without getting mired down in taking sides — or, rather, by being an equal-opportunity offender.
So, that was the road we were headed down ... until we crossed paths with the ridiculous.
And that would be the return to cyberspace of one Olivia Jade Giannulli — a 20-year-old “star” of YouTube and Instagram who was what is known as a “social media influencer.”
Me neither ... but apparently these are people who, through their various vlogs and blogs and other ogs, can sway those who watch into following their advice on what products to buy to make yourself as relevant as people such as Olivia Jade Giannulli.
Me neither ... but in case the name is somewhat familiar in that sort of I-know-I-should-her sort of way, Olivia Jade (as she prefers to be known as) is the daughter of that former TV sitcom actress who is currently fighting charges related to the college bribery scandal — the one that found her social media influencer daughter purporting to be a member of the University of Southern California crew team.
Oh, now it’s coming back; like acid reflux following the final leftover dinner from your Thanksgiving turkey.
“There’s no point in me just talking for 10 minutes to the camera about how I wish I could say something when I really can’t, so I’m gonna leave it at that,” Olivia Jade said in the YouTube video announcing her return. “Thank you so much for your patience or if you’ve stuck around for nine months just waiting, I really appreciate it.”
Now, if you couldn’t follow that, don’t worry: The young influencer has estimated totals of 1.9 million subscribers on YouTube and
1.3 million followers on Instagram ... so surely they know what she was saying.
Later in the video, Olivia Jade assured them all that “I want to move on with my life. It’s so hard because I’m not trying to make this about me or how I’ve been because that’s not the point of this. ... The moral of the story is, I’ve missed you guys so much, and I’m just really excited to start filming again and to start uploading and I really hope you guys enjoy the vlog.”
But enough about her not trying to make this about herself. I’m sure that mollifies her parents — as they face up to 50 years in the slammer.
Me, I was imagining a crossover with “Knives Out” wherein Benoit Blanc hauls away the murderer and dumps Olivia Jade in the family’s lap as a replacement.
Now, THAT’S entertainment!
However, having gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, I was stunned to discover that the road continued on to a place that can only be described as “way too farcical.”
You know ... WTF.
For it was announced this week that a new Broadway musical was in the development phase — one that promised “a revisionist look at the strange forces” and the “scandals that bedeviled” a show business icon, through the eyes of a narrator who literally had a first-hand account of the goings on.
The title? ... “For the Love of a Glove, An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson As Told By His Glove.”
Me neither ... and, yes, THAT glove.
Since this is unauthorized by the Jackson estate, the musical won’t feature actual songs from his career — but it will feature upwards of 20 Japanese Bunraku style puppets depicting, among others, The Jackson 5, Donny Osmond, Emmanuel Lewis ... and Bubbles the Chimp.
The press release promises the show (slated to open in February) will “delve into the Amadeus/Salieri relationship” between Jackson and Osmond, while promising it will be an amalgamation of “numerous influences from Japan, Motown, Hollywood and multiple outer space signifiers.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but ... wait, hold on ... did you just say “outer space?”
Why, yes, yes I did. Did I not mention the science fiction component?
Obviously, if this were the most famous of his gloves — the one sold at auction once for $350,000, not his run-of-the-mill white gloves that could only fetch $20,000 or so — I’m sure it would have stories to tell that didn’t involve Donny Osmond as sort of an antichrist.
But this Japanese Bunraku style hand puppet ... puppet hand ... is something else indeed. The press notes tell us that the glove is “a musically talented alien trying to take over humanity.”
Folks, do yourselves a favor. Go see “Knives Out” ... and leave the rest of this road to be hoed by trained professionals.
It’s too late for us anyway.
Mail Tribune copy desk chief Robert Galvin is the one in the HazMat suit at email@example.com