Amy Kaufman reported that Kelly Clarkson actually “cried” at the prospect of being contractually forced to appear in a movie she knew to be inferior [“Singer Struts a New Act,” May 5]. How refreshing. If more actors could bring themselves to cry over similar objections, it would save us viewers much wear and tear.
‘World is wider’ than a handheld
Television critic Robert Lloyd is dead-on accurate about multi-camera comedy [“Ah, the 3-Camera Sitcom,” May 5]. I have been a film editor on over two dozen sitcoms, including the first season of “Seinfeld,” and my original background was from the theater, and that is what shines in Lloyd’s observations.
I also have taught film editing at USC and Chapman University. I try to instill in students that the world is wider than a smartphone screen, and the shared experience of the theatrically paced sitcom provides, in a small way, a valuable human connectivity that is diminishing in our entertainment options.
The good side of ‘Foster’ care
When child protective services are featured prominently in the news, it is usually around the tragic death of a child due to abuse and neglect. As a result, the general public is left with an incomplete view of child welfare and an unfair notion of social work. It’s within this context that I am so grateful to the Los Angeles Times for its review [“To ‘Foster’ Is Not Easy but Crucial,” May 3] of the documentary “Foster,” by Academy Award-winning filmmakers Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris.
As your film critic Kenneth Turan contemplates, “Foster” offers an unabashed perspective of our nation’s complex child welfare system. It is hopeful and optimistic, while realistic about the challenges we face, the struggle of protecting against abuse and neglect, and the resilience of children, parents and caregivers.
Several years ago, the filmmakers approached the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services about their proposed film project to shine a light on the child welfare system. Our department opened every door possible without knowing exactly how the film would turn out because we believe in our work and the life-changing services we provide to the most vulnerable children and families among us. The film does not disappoint, and the storytelling includes young parents struggling with addiction; foster and probation youth; a longtime foster mother who has taken in more than 100 children; and a former foster child who became a social worker.
As someone who was born into an orphanage more than 50 years ago and has since devoted my entire professional career to child welfare, I can’t think of a better way to share what we do with the world than through this remarkable film.
Bobby D. Cagle, director, L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services
Being like Jack isn’t good here
In her review of “Intruder” [“‘Intruder’ Will Make You Jump and Laugh,” May 3], Katie Walsh enjoyed Dennis Quaid’s “completely unhinged sense of lunacy” and compared it to Jack Nicholson’s performance in “The Shining,” as if that were a good thing.
With his over-the-top scenery chewing and mugging performance, Nicholson destroyed the Jack Torrance character that was so carefully crafted by Stephen King. That particular version of “The Shining” was horrific for several reasons (remedied in the later television miniseries).
Law is meant to ‘protect talent’
Regarding “Law Cited in Writers Dispute” [May 2]: I have been an entertainment lawyer for over 55 years representing both talent and their respective agencies. As a result, I find the Assn. of Talent Agents’ citing of the California Talent Agency Act to be both ludicrous and the height of hypocrisy. The act was passed to protect talent from those unlicensed entities who had more than the talents’ interests as their paramount concern. The practice of “packaging” by the members of the association creates significant conflicts of interests since the “packager” many times assumes roles contrary to the direct interests of those they are contracted and morally obligated to represent.
Barry S. Rubin
Hoping spoilers aren’t the norm
In Mary McNamara’s [“Let’s Unite for Our Epic Battles,” May 1] she reveals the names of characters in “Avengers: End Game” and “Game of Thrones” that are killed, thus potentially ruining it for any number of fans who have yet to see either. I hope this is not an accepted practice for this otherwise fine newspaper.
It amused me to think that while the plots of the “Avengers” movies are often about the superheroes saving the world, what the last one has really done is saved the summer box office. At least something got saved.
Setting the stage for ‘Mueller’
Regarding “Mueller, a Musical” [April 24]: Mary McNamara’s satire should be a hit. Imagine the Trump character trying to kick up his heels while belting out “There’s No Business Like Russian Business” and “Don’t Cry for Me, Giuliani.” And Mueller responds with “What Kind of Fool Are You?” The chorus ends the production with “When the Mexicans Start Marching In.”