Patrick Goldstein writes about the “boneheaded” move by the Motion Picture Assn. of America to give Nancy Meyers’ “It’s Complicated” an R rating because Meryl Streep’s and Steve Martin’s characters share a joint [“Pot Smoke Burns Movie,” Dec. 12].

He justifies this scene because “you can score a tidy amount of pot at hundreds of marijuana clinics across Los Angeles.” What Goldstein may not realize is this “comedy” is going to be seen by people, perhaps not as “enlightened” as he is, who live in places where marijuana is still illegal and dangerous. Indeed, it remains illegal to smoke pot in L.A. without a doctor’s prescription. I, for one, have no problem with the MPAA’s rating.

Hollywood seems to have no problem glorifying pot-smoking as it does cigarette smoking (which is a legal but smelly and unhealthful product). Too bad so many screenwriters lack the imagination to conceive comical situations in movies that don’t require actors to rely on this tired old cliché of getting high and not being accountable for one’s actions.

Angela Dawson


Woodland Hills


Goldstein apparently thinks he’s striking a blow for artistic freedom when he attacks the MPAA for giving the romantic comedy “It’s Complicated” an R rating “because Meryl Streep and Steve Martin’s . . . characters are seen sharing a joint on a date . . . if you puff on a joint in a Hollywood movie, you immediately get walloped with an R rating.”

Well, not quite. In the movie, which I’ve seen and rather enjoyed, the two characters smoke an unusually “strong” stick of marijuana just before entering a party, then they carry on, silly and giggling, with the dialogue, telling us that they’re “high,” “feeling groovy,” “stoned” and “hammered.” Then they drive home. The subliminal message here, to young and old alike, is that it’s just swell to impair your brain and your reflexes with drugs or drink and then get behind the wheel of a car. In fact, the film suggests, it’s not at all dangerous; it’s funny, charming, sexy and romantic, just like Steve and Meryl.

I wonder how they, or Goldstein, or the film’s writer-director, Nancy Meyers, feel while driving along Pacific Coast Highway on a Saturday night, never knowing which car or cars whipping by carry middle-aged, canoodling couples hammered from a joint.

Al Ramrus

Pacific Palisades

Sandra, love ya, but please


Re “Bullock’s ’09 Streak Continues,” by Rachel Abramowitz, Dec. 16: I have nothing against Sandra Bullock and have enjoyed her in many films. But for her to win, or even be nominated for, an Oscar for her work in either “The Proposal” or “The Blind Side” would be appalling.

What Bullock does in both films is not acting. It’s essentially mugging. It is all surface, glib and calculated; there is nothing internal, connected or authentic.

I’m glad Bullock is working, good for her, but for her to be nominated for this kind of “work” simply makes a mockery of the academy. OK, it’s pretty much a bad joke already, but this would be really, really, really egregious.

Erick Ericson


Los Angeles

Don’t you go knocking Leo

Patrick Goldstein accused the Golden Globe voters of nominating certain big stars for little-seen or appreciated films just in the hope they would show up at their dinner [“Can Knock ‘Em, Can’t Budge ‘Em,” Dec. 16]. He is certainly entitled to his opinion.

However, lumping Leonardo DiCaprio in Goldstein’s list of Golden Globe “whoppers” for “unlikely nomination,” specifically referencing his 2006 double nominations for best actor in “Blood Diamond” and “The Departed,” was absurd inasmuch as Leo was later Oscar-nominated for “Blood Diamond.”


As for his performance in “The Departed,” the film won the Academy Award for best picture that year, so the Golden Globe committee might be forgiven for thinking Leo might have contributed something to its success.

Michael Russnow

West Hollywood

Hollies’ hall nod sets him singing


I am glad that the Hollies finally got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as they were one of my favorite groups of the 1960s and 1970s [Quick Takes, Dec. 16].

When I was in a romantic mood, I listened to “The Air That I Breathe.” When I was in a sexually charged mood, I put on “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress).” When I felt sentimental, I played “Bus Stop.” When I was in a mood of racial unity, I’d listen to “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” When I was in a playful and upbeat mood, I’d play “Carrie-Anne.”

And when I felt in a wild and adventurous mood, I’d listen to “Stop Stop Stop.”

No matter how I felt, the Hollies could satisfy my emotional cravings.


Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach