Calendar Feedback Sunday, July 3
Elvis was never not relevant
Katie Walsh’s review of Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic “Elvis” [“Sexy, Dangerous and Spectacular,” June 24] enthusiastically noted that the movie “makes Elvis relevant again.”
The Sun Studio recordings are the big bang of rock ’n’ roll, the flashpoint of a brash new sound that defined a generation and inspired those that followed.
This movie will come and go. Elvis was never not relevant and never will be.
Where have all the movie reviews gone?
As a subscriber of The Times since the late ’80s, a working professional in the entertainment community since that time and a moviegoer for even longer, I sorely miss film reviews of movies big and small that were a regular feature of your entertainment section on Fridays.
Must the New York Times eat not only your lunch but breakfast, dinner and afternoon snack in any journalistic competition?
Get with it. There is no shortage of talented writer-critics who can be paid a fair wage to provide reviews of every film presented in the entertainment capital you purport to cover.
I just finished slogging through Justin Chang’s review of “Flux Gourmet” [“A Wickedly Funny Feast for the Senses,” June, 22] and felt compelled to offer my own opinion on his style, critiques and choices of subject matter.
In reading Chang’s reviews and articles for several years, there is obviously a bias toward “art-house” and other films that about 2% of the moviegoing population goes to see.
Whenever he reviews one of the more mainstream movies (which most of the time he has other reviewers review now), he almost always disses the writing, the director, the actors and/or the thousands of people who work on the film. His reviews are almost always very negative and condescending to these people, belittling the efforts that were made on these films.
He also seems to review films that are not even accessible to the general public — those showing in small art houses in the large cities and are not available in most markets.
When it come to awards seasons, he always lists films that, again, he had access to and that the general public never has the opportunity to see. These types of reviews are, therefore, rendered meaningless to the majority of us.
I know the job of a movie reviewer is to critique new movies, but I would like reviews that were not long, drawn out diatribes extolling the virtues of some minuscule portion of the story or movie that is not really germane to the overall experience.
I’ve always looked at the movie industry as an entertainment industry. However, the one thing that I can always depend on is that if Justin Chang doesn’t like a film, then that’s the one for me.
The best is the best criteria
Using gender and sexual orientation as the Mark Taper’s primary criteria for choosing plays [“Taper Season Lets Women Lead,” June 24] is virtue signaling at its most self-destructive. Given the plethora of empty seats of late, excluding from contention much more than half the available material seems very unlikely to grow its audience.
As well as signaling its virtue, it is also signaling to this subscriber of 22 years that it is no longer a theater I wish to support. Personally, I don’t give a hoot about the playwright’s sex, whether it remains the sex they were born or not, whether they only like to go to bed with a single sex or whether their sexual proclivities are comprehensively inclusive. The emphasis on those traits is offensive and discriminatory.
I want to see memorable, valuable plays. If some of those plays happen to have been written by women? Great, stage them, by all means. But categorically crossing off the list any play not the work of women, transgenders or nonbinaries is ridiculous!
Choices should be made on the basis of excellence of the material. I’m not interested in attending the best plays written by women, transgenders and nonbinaries. I’m interested in seeing the best plays. Period. Since only a hefty minority of playwrights fall into the Taper’s sanctified categories, the odds that plays gleaned from so sadly restricted a sample will prove the most worthy of staging is not promising.
Good thing “The Lehman Trilogy” was already presented by the Center Theatre Group and is not dependent upon the Taper to stage it, since the winner of multiple Tony Awards play would be ineligible for consideration under the Taper’s gender-is-more-important-than-quality policy, which is presumably intended to get audiences to return. How many other plays won’t be contenders?
Nights at the Taper used to be wonderful. So many great plays over the years. I’ll miss them.
Comics aren’t what they used to be
I was so worried when you let us know that you were going to change up the comics page. I am so thankful that you didn’t get rid of all my favorite comics! I was so happy to find one that was missing.
Thank you so much for keeping “Marmaduke,” “Bliss,” “Speed Bump,” “Half Full,” “Zits,” “Tundra,” “Drabble,” “Mutts,” “Peanuts,” “Dennis the Menace” and “Family Circus.”
The only one that you replaced that I’ll miss was “Argyle Sweater.” “Reply All Lite” is nowhere near as good as “Argyle Sweater,” on its first two days. Maybe it will improve. I hope so.
But thanks again so very much for keeping almost all of my favorites. The comics pages really help make the day so much better.
The greatest daily comic strip in American history, “Doonesbury,” is missing.
Editor’s note: “Doonesbury” continues to appear on Sundays.
You could not have made worse choices in adding and deleting comic strips than you did today. I love “Doonesbury.” The repeats are as fresh and pertinent as when they first appeared.
The new strips pale by comparison to the ones that have been dropped, especially “Argyle Sweater.”
I’ve been a constant subscriber for 52 years. The comics are the first thing I turn to every day.
Please rethink your decisions before I cancel my subscription.
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