Feedback: Division over ‘Parasite’ Oscar win
Re: “Barrier-Breaking Wins for ‘Parasite’” by Justin Chang [Feb. 10]: No film has ever struck me the way “Parasite” has. From the moment I saw it when it was first released domestically, it stayed with me, and I predicted it would win best picture.
The thing is, I was so entranced with the actors’ characters that it disturbed me to see that the cast members were friends when they celebrated their Oscar win. I look at them and just think of who they portrayed in the film and my mind plays tricks on me. But I’m reassured that they are indeed actors. Congratulations to the cast.
I have long recalled the snubbing of “Das Boot” in 1983 in the Oscars’ foreign film category, presumably because it glorified the German navy during World War II. “Das Boot” was 10 times the movie accomplishment that is “Parasite.”
Kevin H. Park
Regarding “TV Rating Is a Record Low” by Stephen Battaglio [Feb. 11]: I used to watch “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” almost every night. It was fun, silly and entertaining. Then 2016 happened and Kimmel became a politician. I turned the channel and haven’t viewed his show since.
My wife and her friends used to have Oscar parties. No more. The politics of the actors and actresses got in the way and made many of her friends uncomfortable.
Don’t blame social media for the decline in TV viewership. A drop of 20% indicates that people are voting with their fingers. My bet is that many viewers in America turn the channel after the first politically correct speech.
Another astute review
Justin Chang’s review of the stunning Russian movie “Beanpole” [“A Place for Love in Hardest of Places,” Feb. 14] was spot-on. Time and again, it’s Chang’s verdict that determines my movie choices, and it’s not likely I would have seen this masterpiece without his recommendation.
A genuinely great film, in its courage to look war right in the face it’s also the perfect antidote to the strained “Jojo Rabbit” and the shallow meanderings of the otherwise worthy “1917.”
Kantemir Balagov joins the club of world-class directors.
A potent antihero in ‘Power’
I commend Greg Braxton’s critique of the series “Power” [“A Reckoning With ‘Power’,” Feb. 13]. Perceptions of a racial double-standard are usually accurate, but not in this case. Martin Scorsese was criticized for glamorizing white-collar crime in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He faced the same dilemma as the “Power” team — can audiences have sympathy for your character after seeing the damage he inflicts on others?
Neither producer wanted to sidestep this dilemma by going over the top, as in “Scarface.” Nor did their characters turn to crime with the sympathetic motivation of Walter White in “Breaking Bad” — an underpaid public schoolteacher facing imminent death with nothing to leave his family — and then follow his tentative step into crime with the story of his downward spiral. In contrast, Ghost may move from drug dealing to the governor’s mansion.
“Power” wants to be “real” without fully addressing reality. And to say that white characters get away with this is too easy and not really accurate.
Law’s unintended consequences
Regarding “Arts Groups Stumble on AB 5” by Makeda Easter [Feb. 5]: This article’s headline is the understatement of the year. Who the hell thought this law up? No, wait — “thought” is the wrong verb. I hear a death knell ringing for the performing arts community of our great state if AB 5 is not sorted out immediately.
Start here: In the world of creative arts, one size does not fit all.
AB 5 is an excellent example of a bill becoming law without the requisite study of its effects — not just on the artistic community but also on all areas of industry where many contractors are a common factor. It is also an excellent example of just how shallow some in the lawmaking trade are when they push forward badly crafted bills such as this one.
Well-intended though it may be, its intent is far too narrow while its effect is far too broad. I’m sure it passed through the Assembly and Senate with bobble-head assent, little debate, little real knowledge of the entertainment industry, which relies on countless contractors with unique skills and talents.
For some 20 years, my last career was as a consultant in the occupational health and safety trade. Many of my clients required my services several times a year, but they would never have considered me as an employee. I would have never wished to be an employee.
Lawmakers with narrow interests and minimal intellectual curiosity are a common factor in all areas of our government. We citizens are to blame for that as we blindly vote along party lines with little real inquiry. AB 5 is our own fault. Let’s get rid of it and work to find ways to address the needs of gig workers trade by trade.
Sunday crowd makes noise
“Raw, Dark Side of a Wild Period” [Feb. 17]: I found Friday night’s Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill arresting enough to warrant a second visit Sunday afternoon at Walt Disney Concert Hall. A stage announcer described artists fleeing fascism to America, “which welcomed refugees.”
On Friday night, those words flew by in silence. On Sunday afternoon, however, they were greeted with thunderous applause, interrupting the presentation.
It appears that we continue to be more reflective on Sundays.
An unfortunate stereotype
I take issue with the stereotypical language that begins your Frank Lloyd Wright article [“Click Through Frank Lloyd Wright’s Archives,” Feb. 15 by Jeanette Marantos]. “A pale researcher” or “wizened academic”? Really?
Can you see how terrible that is? That’s just hackneyed name-calling.
I’m glad that a small quantity of archival material of the Hollyhock House archives has been digitized. But when researchers typically work for months on a topic, trying to bring new understandings to a wider world, they root through hundreds or even thousands of boxes or folders. So digitized materials are only a small percentage of a larger research universe. It’s not feasible for perennially underfunded institutions, including the Huntington, believe it or not, to digitize everything. That means actually using the archives.
I’m sure the dozens of Pulitzer Prize-winning historians and writers who’ve used archival collections in Southern California would not appreciate your characterization. More important, though, they would tell you a very, very different story, as would archival researchers of all ethnicities, genders, ages and interests.
Editor’s note: The letter writer is a curator of the history of science and technology holdings at the Huntington Library
Keeping up with Nielsen ratings
I was so happy to see that you had added the TV ratings last week [“Super Bowl Gives Fox the Weekly Win,” Feb. 8]. Plus I was thrilled to see the chart with the rankings again. Unfortunately, the ratings and rankings were not in Calendar this week. Please put these back in weekly, as we enjoy going over them.
Barry and Elaine Brown
I have been a longtime reader of the L.A. Times and have always looked forward to reviewing the TV ratings. I am sadly disappointed that it rarely appears as it used to.
The actual ratings using the numbered list and the number of people watching a show give me an overview of how well it was received for the week. It also gives me an idea as to whether I should continue watching it or not.
I would appreciate it if you would start running the ratings again as you have done in the past.
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