Letters to the Editor

"Star what?" lacked force and reason; readers loathe (and love) Lucas.

Topics: Laura Miller, J.D. Salinger, Star Wars

Star what?
BY TOBY YOUNG

(05/14/99)

I find it very sad that such revelations as “A summer
blockbuster is an act of commerce, not art,” and “Leia’s hair looks like
pastry,” and while we’re at it, “the later episodes will look older than the
first” are seen as new or worthy of repetition.

I don’t think Lucas has made any claims toward being anything but a
businessman and a storyteller. If Homer could have sold little Odyssey
figurines as he barded about, I’m sure he would have welcomed the food
brought to his table; and Lucas is no Homer. But to complain of Lucas’
lack of “art” in creating what is admittedly a piece of popular culture
revelry is petty indeed. Evil? Yes, that’s it, Toby; stand up to the big
bad movie man. A little perspective, please.

– Gregory Maupin

Toby Young’s flailing attempt to find reasons not to see “Phantom Menace” are
so inept and ridiculous that I suspect he has some sort of Swiftian purpose
in mind. The film is flawed, but it’s a problem of
structure and characterization, not Lucas’ marketing genius, hairdos or the
toy light sabre the writer broke when he was 14. As for Lucas’
responsibility for the demise of quality filmmaking — take a look at the
early movie studios’ quest for blockbusters and think again.

– Nina Berry

Los Angeles

The practice of beginning a story at the chronologically primary moment is not a prerequisite for quality by any means: Try Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” which starts near the end and progresses in such a way that it ends just after the beginning. Or Barry Levinson’s Baltimore trilogy. Or how about William Shakespeare, whose King Henry plays were written in this order: Henry VI, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VIII.

– Chad Levinson

New York

The medieval mind of George Lucas
BY JIM PAUL

(05/18/99)

Will somebody please put a stop to the incessant glorification of George Lucas? Does anyone have the guts to admit that all he makes are expensive but ultimately empty space cartoons? Instead of extolling the virtues of his computerized dictatorship, somebody needs to state the obvious; he hasn’t made a movie that anybody wants to see in nearly 20 years. And he’s never made a movie that even begins to reach the emotional or spiritual resonance of other films made by his generation of filmmakers.

What among Lucas’ creations can match Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” or “Raging Bull”? Does the “Star Wars” trilogy really match up against Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now”? Lucas’ old buddy, Steven Spielberg, long ago realized that sharks, dinosaurs and cute aliens are not the stuff of serious, ambitious filmmaking. “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” are so beyond Lucas’ space babble there is no way to compare their relative merits.

– Tim Fogle

Louisville, Ky.

Bottom line on George Lucas: When I saw “Star Wars” back in ’77 I was totally awestruck. I was 16 at the time and was absolutely fascinated. I can remember the excitement I felt when
announcements of a sequel were in the making. I think George Lucas is a
master at his craft.

You Might Also Like

– Phil Leeds

It was a pleasant surprise that Jim Paul took the time to
look past the blizzard of hype about “The Phantom Menace” to suggest that the
phenomenon may actually resonate with larger issues of our time. We may be
getting exactly the movie, and the promotional campaign, we deserve. I
completely agree with Mr. Paul’s characterization of the Zeitgeist as
proto-Medieval. The distillation of a spectrum of meaning into more
boldly drawn icons is our time’s perseveration.

– Eric Davis

Chicago

Father figure
BY MICHAEL SRAGOW

(05/13/99)

Sragow is another film critic who thinks that movies are created when a director sees a bunch of his actor pals at the Ivy, somebody yells, “Hey, let’s put on a show!” and the actors just make up the dialogue as they go along. No, Michael, it wasn’t Irvin Kershner who “first gave life to [the] words” “Luke, I am your father.” Nor is it the director who “toss[es] his characters into risky dilemmas and use[s] all the tools at his disposal to explore and dramatize them.” As the Writer’s Guild line puts it, “Somebody wrote that.”

– Mitch Miller

Selling Salinger’s letters

BY LAURA MILLER

(05/13/99)

The reactionary apologia Laura Miller wrote on behalf of Joyce Maynard is
the kind of reasoning that has put feminism on life support. The portrayal
of Maynard as an “adoring young virgin,” powerless to resist Salinger’s entreats, is the kind of patronizing tripe that feminism was meant to banish, and Miller’s idea that this woman was too dimwitted to be responsible for her choice in lovers is Victorian in the worst way.

It infuriates me when intelligent, accomplished women willingly leap to
portray themselves as passive victims of male lust, so long as it secures a
lucrative book deal or garners loads of righteous sympathy. For Maynard
to use this lie as an excuse for violating Salinger’s privacy — in the
name of some vague therapeutic benefit or a quick dollar — is appalling, and
Miller’s support of it is the most virulent kind of female chauvinism.
No wonder there’s a backlash.

– Alicia R. Montgomery

Washington

Dan Quayle: Cyber guerrilla?
BY AMY REITER

(05/13/99)

Enough is enough. I’m no fan of Dan Quayle’s politics, and he has put his
foot in his mouth more than his share of times, but Amy Reiter’s column,
which manages to blame Quayle for the imperfect English of Chinese hackers
and the typos of his staffers, is uncalled for. Her column crossed the
line from gossip to mean-spiritedness.

– Amber Baum

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>