Twenty years ago this week, on May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson ended his 30-year reign as the host of The Tonight Show. In the newly released PBS documentary Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, we’re pleasantly reminded why, decades later, the prototype Carson set for late-night hosts—trustworthy, likable, neighborly, cool—remains the same. “Johnny was to comedy what Walter Cronkite was to news,” explains Paul Block, a longtime producer on Carson’s Tonight Show.
It started with The Abyss. Then a little thing called Titanic. Then a slew of aquatic documentaries. And this past weekend, the ocean-obsessed life of James Cameron finally culminated when the man climbed into a submarine he helped design and set the world record for the deepest journey into the Earth by a single human being.
And as soon as he breached the surface, the haters were there to greet him. “We should have sent a robot,” they said. Our “expendable robot spawn will win every time,” they said. They’re cheaper, faster, stronger…
But they’re not human. They don’t know fear and they don’t know courage—so we’re calling shenanigans.
Circa 1978, Bruce Springsteen was in a spectacularly tortured place. Fresh off Born to Run and overflowing with material, he had the chance to fully indulge his perfectionist streak. That made for a stew of ambition, insecurity and some spectacularly frustrated band members—and, as it turns out, some pretty good television.
A new Springsteen doc called The Promise is making the rounds at the Toronto Film Fest with archived footage, band interviews and a refreshingly geeky take on the whole affair. Clips are already leaking out at a thrilling pace, showing exactly how wrenching the sessions for Darkness on the Edge of Town really were, with upwards of 70 songs being whittled down to the darkest ten he could produce (at least until Nebraska). It’s a rare creative moment, the kind of thing that makes you glad someone brought a camera along. And if for some reason you don’t feel like trekking out to Toronto, it’ll be arriving on HBO on October 7.
Joaquin Phoenix is finally getting his close-up. The bad news? He seems to have lost his comb.
This is the one-sheet for Casey Affleck’s I’m Still Here, the Pennebaker-style document of Phoenix’s public meltdown we were promised from the very beginning. As images go, it’s a pretty good one—selling the glare of stardom and the mumbled, incoherent response at the same time, and wiping away any suspicion that this was all an inside joke. And while we wouldn’t try it at home, this particular beardo look is well on its way to being one of the more iconic faces of the decade.