A film director's theatrical touch
Altman films are driven by the wonder of live theater, which draws us into the idiosyncratic nature of each character ["How an Altman Gem Lost a Sequel," June 7]. The interaction is conducted like great music. Unfortunately, most movie tickets are sold to eat popcorn, watch car chases, see buildings explode, follow plot twists and of course the occasional sight gag. Character is limited to stereotypes. Unfortunately, good theater doesn't pay, either in small venues or in films, as it requires the audience to tune in to new people. We can only hope that American directors who understand theater will continue to find a way to get their films made.
Thank you so much for dedicating enough words to uncover the tip of the iceberg of "Nashville" and its aborted sequel. What a lovely gift to film buffs, writers, actors and singers. The times they have changed, and the Nashville skyline looks like a poptart, so to revisit this and even touch on the subtle pointed themes of this film is a gift in a cinema universe that looks like a comic book.
Lily Tomlin's advocacy
What Rebecca Keegan didn't reference in her article ["Leave 'Em Laughing," June 7], and what many people are not aware, is the tireless work Lily Tomlin has done on behalf of elephants in captivity.
A longtime animal-rights activist, she has been an outspoken advocate against elephant abuse in zoos and circuses, and narrated and executive-produced an HBO documentary in 2013 (along with her wife, Jane Wagner, who wrote the doc) called "An Apology to Elephants."
Not only did Tomlin win an Emmy for voice-over narration, but her crusade has helped lead to the decision by Ringling Brothers Circus to phase out their elephant acts in 2017 and the recent banning of the bullhook. A trumpet salute to Lily for making such a difference in the plight of the world's largest land mammal.
If "Grace and Frankie" had not been renewed for a second season, I would have given up television in protest.
Catherine C. Cate
Cheap shot at conservatives
I was thrilled to see that Chris Barton listed "Actors' opinions" as overrated, and I looked to see whom he would target: Sean Penn? George Clooney? Susan Sarandon? Nope — Vince Vaughn, for his pro-gun views.
This left me wondering whether Vaughn would have been mentioned if he'd been calling for stricter gun restrictions. Somehow, I doubt it. Perhaps Barton should have made clear that he considers actors' conservative opinions overrated.
'Thrones' offers up shoddy pulp
I thought the burning of the innocent child on the last segment of "Game of Thrones" to be horrifying and disgusting.
It's seems like the writers are choosing the lowest common denominator — betrayal, murder and massacre — to arouse emotion in the viewer. Creepy. It just gets old.
We have the Sparrows and Harpys going on their murderous rampages, but the choice to kill the darling little child by burning at the stake struck a low blow with me.
This was not entertainment but shoddy pulp. It breaks my heart to see the child screaming for her father, her mother, someone to save her and no one has the courage to make a move.
Besides, she was one of the most interesting characters in the show.
Paul L. Hovsepian