I don't get as much Reader Mail as Walter and the others do but then I haven't exactly been cranking them out lately. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share a few recent missives to nourish your apparently insatiable appetite for schadenfreude.
From: Jackie Sims
Subject: No Business Like Show Business(WONDERFUL MOVIE)
OH COME ON BILL! THIS MOVIE IS FROM THE HAYDAY OF MOVIES. WHEN CORNY AND SIMPLE WAS INTERTAINING. WHAT A WONDERFUL LINE UP OF STARS AND SONGS THRU OUT THE MOVIE. IN FACT , IM GOING TO WATCH IT FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO DAYS SHORTLY. I OWN A PROJECTOR AND I WATCH IS AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE SEEN, ON THE BIG SCREEN. ALONG WITH THE STERIO MUSIC ETC , ITS A WONDERFUL MOVIE TO WATCH. I REFUSED TO WATCH IN MY HOME THEATER, THE C--P THATS COMING OUT NOWADAYS. ONCE IN A WHILE , I BUY A RECENT MOVIE AND THINKING MAYBE THIS ONE WILL MEASURE UP TO OLD HOLLYWOOD MOVIES, BUT IT ALWAYS WOUNDS UP BEING A PIECE OF C--P! NO WONDER MOST OF THE MOVIES ARE STAYING ON THE SHELVES NOWADAYS? IF YOU GO TO THE MOVIE STORE AND LOOK, YOU WILL SEE THAT ITS THE OLD HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS AND MOVIES THAT ARE THE HIGHEST PRICED ON THE SHELVES. THATS BECAUSE THEY ARE SELLING AND THEY ARE DEFINATLY MORE INTERTAINING THAN THE C--P HOLLOWOOD IS PUTTING OUT NOWADAYS. IF THE MOVIE WAS MADE AFTER 1980 , ITS USUALLY NOT WORTH WATCHING. THE MAGIC IS GONE BILL. THERES NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS IS A FEEL GOOD MOVIE. WHEN ONE IS DONE WATCHING ,IT MAKES A PERSON FEEL GOOD. NEW MOVIES NO LONGER EVEN HAVE THE CREDITS OR THE LOGOS AT THE BEGINNING? HARDLY ANY MOOD MUSIC? THERES SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT SEEING THE 20TH CENTURY FOX LOGO AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PICTURE. THE DRUM ROLL ETC. I SAY BRING BACK THE MUSICALS , AND DISCONTINUE THE ON SLAUGHT OF ACTION MOVIES DEPICTING MURDER ,CRIME ,AND GOD KNOWS WHAT ELSE. THATS NOT INTERTAINMENT! THANKS FOR HEARING ME OUT.
I love it when they're considerate enough to censor the word "crap" but not to turn off the goddamn caps lock.
From: Doug McNichol
Subject: Big words for such a little guy
Well, aren't we 'intellectual' in our choice of words. Impressive.
'Hagiography' ?? 'Reductive' ??
Get a life, asshole. Try words like 'cheap', or 'stupid'. Words that everyone can understand. Words that describe you.
What kind of unnerves me about this one is not that I can't tell whether he's demeaning my stature as a film critic or as a person in his subject heading, but that he's going to the mat for Gia. Seriously, Gia?
This next one is 'inviso-texted' to remove spoilers; highlight the white area to read them.
From: "Bruce Marks"
Subject: Black Book
I couldn't agree with you more about 'BlackBook'. I recently saw the film at The London Film Festival with a Q&A afterwards with Verhoeven and Carice. Verhoeven has taken his Hollywood baggage on board with never trusting the audience's intelligence and a lack of the 'poetry' he exhibited in 'Soldier of Orange'. When I questioned him why he thought it was necessary for the beginning of the film to tell the audience the main character lives; he didn't have much of an answer; especially when he could have done it in a much subtler way like lighting the Sabbath candles in the Kibbutz with the family gold lighter which the Germans obtained after murdering them. The transitions of falling in love with the head of the Gestapo and the trumped up motivation of the turncoat doctor at the end of the film really cheapened it for me. Maybe this is Verhoeven's halfway house on to something better. It was watchable and in today's movie environment; it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Not sure how that got in there. Oh well, the law of averages means that someone's bound to side with us at some point.
Apropos of nothing, THE ONION A.V. CLUB's Nathan Rabin recently coined "The Perfume Paradox" to describe what happens when a terrible movie gets under your skin and thus becomes impossible to dismiss. I struggled to think of an example from personal experience until I watched the new-to-DVD Little Athens, a Crash-y, quasi-Larry Clark ensemble piece about a group of twentysomething New Jerseyites whose intertwining lives predictably revolve around drugs and sex. But the vibe of the film is ineffably non-nostalgic, if Linklater-esque, making it feel more like a bad memory than like a Rob Weiss-style monumentalizing of bad behaviour--that and the use of the awesomely beautiful "Let Down" over the closing credits go a long way towards neutralizing and even redeeming the clicheed characters and their stock transgressions. (Admittedly, Radiohead and Little Athens star Erica Leerhsen are two of my Achilles Heels.) That being said, I have to believe I wouldn't think twice about the film were it not for the Radiohead song and the bravely nihilistic denouement that precedes it; and as Rabin mentions Perfume's finale as the reason for its half-life, does that mean it's really all about the last lap, as Robert McKee--at least in Adaptation.--likes to say?
Can you think of a movie where the opposite holds true? Is that even possible? Of course, with viewers becoming increasingly expectant of instant gratification, I can see filmmakers working to perfect their openings and letting the rest die on the vine.
Last but not least: new Spidey trailer!