Feedback: Debating ‘The Millennium 100’ and defending 'Cats'
Regarding “The Millennium 100” [Dec. 22]: In recognizing Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall, Deborah Borda’s amazing leadership and Gustavo Dudamel’s new directions in both music and community outreach as three of your 100 top cultural moments of the new millennium, you have further cemented the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s status as the best and most influential symphony orchestra in the nation.
As much as I enjoyed Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s “Fun Home” [based on cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir], I’m sorry to see it [at No. 64 on “The Millennium 100″] take the place of Tesori and Tony Kushner’s challenging and heartrending “Caroline, or Change,” the most underappreciated musical of the last two decades. The play and Tonya Pinkins’ towering performance should have taken home their respective Tony Awards in 2004.
“The Clock,” Christian Marclay’s perfection that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired in 2010 [and No. 94 on “The Millennium 100”], should have a dedicated space where it runs 24/7. It is a must for a city founded on film. Why do they keep it out of public display?
I believe that Kim Kardashian [No. 11 on “The Millennium 100” for her evolution from sex-tape star to criminal-justice-reform advocate] started a subcategory in pop culture that should fittingly be termed sleaze culture. It’s a progressive degeneration from pop culture to further dumb down and coarsen our popular taste.
I hate to burst The Times’ balloon, but the end of the first 20 years of this century and millennium is Dec. 31, 2020. This century [and millennium] began on Jan. 1, 2001. I would have expected that the Los Angeles Times would have realized this before printing two complete sections with “…moments from the first 20 years.” It’s just a year too early.
Regarding “‘Cats’ Leaps to Film Infamy” [Dec. 23]: Memo to Charles McNulty: Please don’t injure yourself falling off the ladder. You need to get down from your high horse.
I feel the same way about “Ford v Ferrari” as movie critic Justin Chang seems to feel about the film version of “Cats” [“Pawfectly Bad,” Dec. 20].
I have needed to repeat “…it’s not a documentary, it’s not a documentary,” almost continually since I saw “Ford v Ferrari” a few weeks ago.
Having known a couple of the people portrayed in that movie, I winced at the off-base characterizations and time-shifting that was apparently needed to make a successful feature film.
On the other hand, I’m sorta glad that more people will hear of (and maybe find out more about) guys like Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles and Phil Remington.
Oscars’ glass ceiling
Regarding Mary McNamara’s column “Female Push in Oscar Race” [Dec. 23]: As Yoda put it, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Hollywood has to do better. Every year around awards season, it is all talk and no action.
Maybe the motion picture academy should consider a category for female director, like there is for female actor and female supporting actor. They say that gender doesn’t matter and that it is the work that really matters, but we know that isn’t always that way. Let’s face it — it is still a man’s world, especially in Hollywood.
Breaking the glass ceiling should be a goal for the new decade.
‘Richard Jewell’ fact check
Mary McNamara celebrates the push back on sexist writing in “Richard Jewell” and credits the #MeToo movement [“‘Richard Jewell’ Outcry Signals #MeToo Change,” Dec. 17]. Of course this is important, as we have all become aware of through the media.
But if we take inventory of the upside of #MeToo, we must also take inventory of the downside. The absence of Al Franken from the U.S. Senate, the inability to see Woody Allen’s latest movie in the United States, the loss of a cultural environment that would allow for Roman Polanski to continue to work and make excellent films, even the lockdown of much of Garrison Keillor’s work for a time by Minnesota Public Radio.
If anyone doesn’t sense the ghost of McCarthyism and Orwell in #MeToo, that’s because most people don’t tend to see such things in real time. They learn about them later in history classes.
I found it ironic that the same day that Mary McNamara in the Calendar section bemoaned Clint Eastwood’s excellent film “Richard Jewell” for its portrayal of the female reporter, The Envelope’s cover story [“A New Look for ‘Women’,” Dec. 17] is all about Greta Gerwig’s revisionist take on “Little Women.” Apparently, it is not acceptable for Eastwood to be allowed his interpretation of a real person, but it is entirely acceptable for Gerwig to completely alter the main character in a classic novel.
Seems like feminism is being employed selectively by The Times to hail the bastardization of a classic novel and at the same time belittle a great actor and filmmaker.
Shocking art or everyday life?
Regarding Leah Ollman’s reivew of Tatiana Trouvé’s two installations at Gagosian Gallery [“A Gasp-Worthy Debut From Tatiana Trouvé,” Dec. 18], what the photo shows is something Southern Californians are all too familiar with: bad roads and sidewalks.
For the critic to go out of her way to overstate the emotional and physical effect this will have on the viewer is an exercise in exaggeration to make this work far more impressive than it is. Is anything thrown on a wall or scattered on the floor today really art?
TV’s Jewish women
Reading the article about stereotypical Jewish women [“How Jewish Can TV Women Be?” by Whitney Friedlander Dec. 19], you should have gone back to the Jewish female comedians who flourished in the early 20th century. Pioneers like Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker and Gertrude Berg, who were bigger-than-life stars and carved out a new path that led up to today’s funny ladies. Many got their start on the vaudeville stage, Broadway, then on to radio, films and even a new invention called television. Most of them creating, writing, producing and starring in shows they invented, wanting to get in a profession crowded and dominated by men.
This article made no mention of the original ”Mrs. Maisel character,” Joan Rivers, who was daring, brave and honest when honing her comedic skills. A risk taker and a funny lady who worked so hard at her craft, she deserves so much credit that she seldom gets.
Frances Terrell Lippman
It’s not only on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” that Jews are depicted in a stereotypical way. On the various versions of “Law & Order,” Jews are usually shown as diamond merchants, Hasids in full garb, slimy defense lawyers with huge hooked noses or pimps.
In one episode, Linda Lavin played a Jewish grandmother who hired the Israeli mafia to kill her son’s fiancée because she wasn’t Jewish.
Anna Karina’s appreciation
Justin Chang’s piece on the death of Anna Karina was superb [“An Avatar of French Cool,” Dec. 12]. His analysis of her career was heartfelt, and as customary with Chang’s writing, critically incisive. I’m going to save this appreciation.
Chang has become the most important movie critic we have in L.A., and I hereby exonerate him for steering me to “Vox Lux” and “Her Smell.” Wounds do heal, after all.
‘Where the big jet engines roar’
Regarding the “L.A. Songs Hall of Fame” section [of the Dec. 8 “50 Songs for a New L.A.” project by Randall Roberts]: It was the ’60s in Chennai, India, and we were belting out “L.A. International Airport” by Susan Raye without even knowing what L.A. meant. The song still resonates in our family, and we sing it with abandon when we arrive or depart from LAX.
Picture of the week
Jay L. Clendenin’s “Galaxy’s Edge” photo on the Calendar cover Dec. 9 [with Todd Martens’ story “How Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance May Fix What Ails Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge” ] was a work of art.
The cast member was so focused on the girl, and the girl’s excitement was perfectly captured without showing her face. Please consider this great photo for awards.
Michael J. O’Connor