Regarding “Host Ricky Gervais’ Apolitical Stance and Harsh Jokes Are No Match for This Crowd” [Jan. 6]: Lorraine Ali’s critique of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes ended with her admonishing him that he had not “read the room.” This is a perfect example of Hollywood in its own bubble.
I thought Gervais’ opening monologue and hosting was not only hilarious but spot on. If Lorraine Ali wants to be a television critic for actual television audiences, she needs to do a better job of “reading the country” rather than “reading the room.”
Thank goodness celebrities like Patricia Arquette and Russell Crowe use their fame as a platform to speak truth. They should be applauded for bravely choosing to say something when they see something. Silence equals complicity.
Hubertus W. Zegers
An apolitical evening at the Golden Globes? Doesn’t television critic Lorraine Ali know that by calling for “an apolitical evening” Gervais was actually attempting to silence Hollywood’s vocal right wing?
Ricky Gervais should get a Golden Globe in a new category: Speaking Truth to the Pompous.
Regarding “‘Hollywood’ and ‘1917' Surge Ahead, but ‘The Irishman’? A Surprise Snubbing” by Glenn Whipp [Jan. 6]: While I have no problem with “The Irishman” not winning best picture at the Golden Globe Awards or Scorsese not winning for best director, I was surprised “Marriage Story” did not get more kudos. The sum total of these events leads to two reasonable inferences: Hollywood is not happy with Netflix putting out movies for a limited movie theater period and then putting them on Netflix; Hollywood is not happy with Scorsese downplaying comic book movies.
Bruce N. Miller
Playa del Rey
10 years of movies
Regarding: “Critics Choose Decade’s Best” by Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang [Jan. 3]: The list of the memorable films of the decade show why we need new blood in film criticism. Out-of-touch, tame, myopic and just a flat-out snooze-list save for a few mentions like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Lady Bird” and “Boyhood.”
In a film town we deserve better.
The 10 best and 10 personal favorites of Turan and Chang comprise an interesting list, which suggests that to be included a film should be small, take in revenues of less than $1 million, fail to turn a profit, receive no Oscar or other year-end nominations and generate little or no buzz among the overwhelming majority of the moviegoing public.
Regarding “I’ll Take Greats for $200, Alex” [Jan. 7]: As a longtime viewer of “Jeopardy!” and admirer of Alex Trebek, it saddens me to think of this classic game show without the gracious emceeing of its defining host.
But in the category of philosophy, it makes me conscious that each of us is born in and live in jeopardy.
After all, each of us are a step closer to the quintessential inevitability every day: What is death?
So let us play while we are able.
Up on ‘Up’ docs
Just wish you to know how delighted this reader was to read “Epic Growth Spurt” [Jan. 1] by Annabelle Gurwitch on the avid fan base of Michael Apted’s “Up” documentaries. I count myself as one of your happy number, having watched the series since the first of 1963 when Apted himself previewed it for my group, the British-American Chamber of Commerce.
We gave him a rousing cheer and have ever since, enjoying each and every iteration of this fascinating, riveting social documentary since we had all lived it.
I hope we will see another chapter. I certainly intend to be in the front row of the theater when that occurs.
Trumpeter, ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ singer
Regarding the obituary “Jack Sheldon, Jazz Trumpeter and ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ Singer, Dies at 88” [Dec. 31]: One night many years ago I went to see Jack Sheldon perform at the old Steamers Jazz club in Fullerton. The turnout that night wasn’t great, so instead of going up onstage, Jack set his stool among the audience members. There couldn’t have been more than 15 of us gathered around Jack as he played a very intimate set with, of course, his slightly naughty banter between songs. I’ll miss Jack terribly.
David H. Crocker
Regarding “Faces of 2019 Television” [Dec. 29]: I am glad to see that Marie Kondo was featured. She changed my life. Thanks to her, I got a lot of cool stuff that no longer brought joy to my neighbors.
How ‘C’ became ‘M’
Regarding the Robert Lloyd review: “‘Doctor Who’ Meets James Bond in the Swashbuckling ‘Spyfall’” [Jan. 1]: The first director of MI6 was Sir Mansfield George Smith-Cumming in 1909. He became famous for signing all his correspondence with “C,” in green ink (the green ink tradition apparently continues to this day). This was the inspiration for 007’s boss being known as “M.”
Doctor Phillips, Fla.