Regarding “Let Us Count a Film Panel’s Errors” [Aug. 10]: Justin Chang is a savvy guy, and I really like his take on many things movie-related. His opinion on the academy and the awkward band-aid they propose to fix sagging ratings, while different from mine, is very interesting. I believe, however, that all the academy’s efforts merely tap dance around the reason the only people watching this mess are on either Coast.
I don’t like my entertainment so heavily dosed with political rhetoric and hate speech. We get it, academy, you don’t like the president. But just accept your accolade, thank your family and move out of the way. These entertainers are entitled to their opinion, as am I, but using an awards show as a pulpit is sad. I wouldn’t stand for a political diatribe from my plumber, either. Just fix the faucet and leave.
Justin Chang’s response to the academy’s latest dilution of its significance was spot-on. It’s stupefying that the academy doesn’t understand how they’ve diminished their brand. Where so-called genre movies could once transcend that designation by inspired execution, they’ll now be thought less of, no matter their virtues.
As for imposing new time limits, the fact is that television is fueled by advertising, and if the Oscars went four, or even five hours, the revenue they would generate in that extra time still dwarfs any alternative programming that’s run against them.
As a longtime Oscar purist, I normally look askance at any major change in the Oscar process, such as allowing up to 10 best picture nominees, but the now added category of outstanding achievement in popular film I find worthwhile. Sure, it’s designed to boost TV ratings, an important goal, but these action/super hero/blockbuster genre films are now overlooked in best picture nominations, not for lack of high-quality production values (or even sometimes acting), but because they are and will continue to be deemed not serious enough. If the academy wishes to make this new award really important they should force the studios to choose which category to place such films in nomination for: best picture, where they certainly won’t win, or best popular picture, a major new Oscar, recognizing the importance of both box office success and audience acclaim.
Chang tries to conflate all popular movies under one umbrella. “Lawrence of Arabia,” “All About Eve,” “The Best Years of Our Lives” were popular films, but certainly at a much higher level of artistry and meaningfulness than “Black Panther,” “The Dark Knight” or any of those comic-book-hero films. If one eliminates all the special computer-generated imagery, stunts, fights, chases, etc., there is no film, there is only a rather juvenile, irrelevant script and over-the-top acting.
Montrose landed more star roles
In her article about the town Montrose being used as a location [“Doesn’t That Place Look Familiar?” Aug. 12] Makeda Easter left out an important shoot. Nearly 70 years ago, director Joseph H. Lewis filmed one of Hollywood’s longest uninterrupted takes for his 1950 classic “Gun Crazy.”
With the camera mounted in the back seat of a car, bank robbers approached Montrose on Verdugo Road, parked at a bank at Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard, ran inside, robbed the bank and then escaped. One take, no edits, all Montrose.
Surf, no guitars, for Jan and Dean
I read with much appreciation Erin Ben-Moche’s feature on the Surf Guitar 101 convention in Torrance [“All Aboard a Musical Wave,” Aug. 9], which describes instrumental surf music having come from an age in the 1950s pioneered by such acts as Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the Ventures, and Jan and Dean. Although both Dick Dale and the Ventures had instrumental hit records during this period (“Miserlou,” “Walk Don’t Run”), this was not the case for Jan Berry and Dean Torrence, two local boys whose music was known for their vocal harmonies (“Surf City,” “Ride the Wild Surf,” for example). In fact, neither Jan nor Dean played instruments on their recordings (or in live performances) but were backed by accomplished studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, who performed on recordings of many major acts during that period.
Patrick K. Turley
‘Shogun’ must share leadership
The article that mentioned the FX remake of “Shogun” [“TCA Press Tour,” Aug. 4] stated “The original ‘Shogun’ starring Richard Chamberlain, which aired on NBC over five nights in 1980, is credited with launching the miniseries format on television.”
“Rich Man, Poor Man,” “Roots” and “Centennial” all preceded “Shogun,” and the success of those miniseries helped lead to the production of “Shogun.”
There’s nothing funny about violence
Regarding Justin Chang’s review of “The Spy Who Dumped Me” [“Putting Sparkle in Spying,” Aug. 3]: I go to movies billed as comedies to laugh. What were the filmmakers thinking? I’ve been a fan of Kate McKinnon since her appearances on SNL. And Mila Kunis is a joy to watch.
But really! Lots of bloodshed in a so-called comedy? Why? Isn’t there enough firearm violence in real life? Or enough bang-bang, shoot’em-up in other genres?
Robert Stuart Richards
Why didn’t this movie get far?
Can someone tell me why “Don’t Worry, He Can’t Get Far On Foot,” the movie about John Callahan’s short-lived life, reviewed by Justin Chang [“Swerving Down a Hard Path,” July 13], has been pulled from almost every screen? I was fortunate to see it this past week and I was very impressed with the acting performances of both Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill.
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