September 6, 2010 [Tabloid]
—Oh, you-know-what, you rascals! It's already there in your head, before it happens—jeez, you make it happen, you will it into being. Joyce is amazing at this: She perfects the story so that she is innocent and guilty all at once, a dutiful sex kitten, a good girl who's good at being bad. Morris makes a movie, not about making movies, but about narratives, and the ways print journalism verbally and even physically arranges them on the page. There's a central moment when a British tabloid journalist talks about the use of the word "spread-eagled" in the stories; he repeats the word. He pauses; he says it again, leaning on it just a little bit—and Morris flashes it on the screen, one of many screaming—OK: spread-eagled—headlines in his movie.
Eventually, he gives us an interrogation of tabloid truth as well as a—not "celebration" as much as vindication of its aesthetic: He lets us see how well it works, how we get to laugh at it as we keep watching/reading. The very act of critiquing the tabloid demands that we understand it—and once we do, we're the reading public, which is all they wanted—all Morris desires, he who pays the bills with promotional films and ads—and I don't want to misrepresent myself here, or Morris: Those ads are a blast, like his Miller High Life Real Men ads, satirical and straightforward, winking as broadly as any tabloid that calmly (all exclamation points implied) informs us that Hillary Clinton has an alien baby. We laugh—it's as silly as a crazy sexy lady cloning her dogs—but holy crap she did it, Joyce McKinney broke the tabloid barrier and lives not just on the page but in her home, with cloned pups and a story she'll stick to the rest of her life.