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The Weekly's review of The Phantom Menace was not only stupid, but actually a display of the real problem with the movie: the audience, the critics, and the media.
It isn't Lucas who lost his sense of wonder, it's your reviewer and his ilk. As we move farther into a new millennium, hope and vision give way to jadedness and attitude. The Phantom Menace has met a cynical audience consumed with demands and expectations.
So Jar-Jar was annoying. So the plot lacked complications and fell down in a few places. I remember making similar complaints about Ewoks and Vader announcing his relation to Luke. But I still love the trilogy.
I've seen The Phantom Menace twice and loved it both times. I will buy the video. And I will stand in line for an hour to see Episode II, because I love Star Wars. I think the faults are minor, compared to the merits. The saga may not be perfect, but it's inspiring, it's lovable, and it's fun. If you can't get beyond the petty nitpicks, stay at home and read Charles Dickens or Franz Kafka or whoever else suits your depressing mentality.
On the horizon
I'm going to assume your article is to suggest a revival of 2001 at the Cinerama? Maybe. But I understand that Warner (who has the title now) is planning on a re-release January 2001.
As you may already know, 2001 was filmed in Super Panavision 70, a non-anamorphic 70mm process that graced the Cinerama screen way back then. What set 2001 aside from other Super Panavision 70 films is the fact that the print itself was "rectified" in the lab to compensate for the curve of the huge Cinerama screen. All the 70mm "Cinerama" films had this rectification done on the roadshow prints.
That meant that the "horizon" was maintained throughout the film with little or no elongation distortion. This was a roadshow print only. When the Cinerama "revived" the film in the early and mid-'70s, it was using a non-rectified 70mm print that did distort the horizon of the film.
Yes, your article was very timely, and I welcome a clean print of this most magnificent film to be returned to its home at the Cinerama. And soon.
Mad, mad, mad reader
Regarding "Cheesorama" (5/13) by the ever-so-astute Richard T. Jameson: Mr. Jameson calls It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World "unencumbered by wit or any style save elephantiasis." He, most assuredly, did not see the same, very funny, extremely well-written, admirably scored film I saw first-run at the Seattle Cinerama Theater in 1963!
My God, Jameson! Buster Keaton, the Three Stooges, Ethel Merman, Spencer Tracy, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Jimmy Durante, Peter Falk, Jim Backus, Jack Benny, Buddy Hackett, and many other first-rate comedians were assembled in the same, magnificent film, which was, indeed, the finest full-length comedy ever screened!
No, Jameson, there was no toilet humor, or gratuitous sex. No one was murdered, and a vulgar word was never uttered in this masterpiece.
Sorry to disappoint you so, Jameson. Now, you can go back to your "comedy of the '90s" and sniff a little coke to accompany your orgy of ill-conceived humor and stupid performances. I'll take Mad any day!
Jeramy Bentham Langtree, IV
Rick Anderson's article "A Sad Lot" (5/13) contains some provocative concerns. Namely poverty and discrimination. A brief caveat here: I am generally hesitant to comment on what someone (R.A.) says someone (Larry Gossett) else said, in spite of quotation marks. That said, here goes.
As unfortunate as poverty may be, we are well aware that wealth brings with it numerous and obvious perks: better health care, better housing, access to better legal counsel, and the ability to pay DWSL fines with about the same ease as passing wind after a hearty bowl of beans.
As for discrimination, statistics do not a case make.
If you are looking for a "better way to deal with the problem," here is a novel idea: Obey the law.
Beat me in St. Louie?
I read James Bush's 4/22 4th & James column, "Welcome to Seattle! Now Move Along," with horror. I had an immediate flashback to August 1992, when I attended a convention in St. Louis, Missouri. I arrived at my hotel downtown around 4pm and decided to go find somewhere to eat dinner. All of downtown St. Louis was deserted. Not even any homeless people. It was extremely unsettling. I was walking around looking at buildings, taking some pictures, and finding all the restaurants closed when suddenly a moonlighting WWF wrestler with a billy club approached me. He wore a uniform. He came much too far into my personal space for comfort and asked me what I was doing there in a very intimidating way. He was in my face and glaring at me. His hand rested on his billy club. Figuring that resistance was futile, I backed away and quickly returned to my hotel room. I did not spend any money in St. Louis, not even to buy a souvenir T-shirt.
I believe that Seattle's BIA will regret this decision.
Brave new Broadway
The nerve of Jamie Lutton. She has finally placed her business on the Weekly's "Capitol Hill historic register," and is dismayed by Sound Transit's plan to disrupt her humble establishment ("Will Light Rail Wipe Out Broadway?" 5/6). I say throw her out. The tunnel will be there well into the next millennium, and her next enterprise will be in whatever city the next wave of cool hits. If she really has her heart in her books, and not in her wallet, she'll take the relocation money and set up shop elsewhere.
Cynic that I am, I sincerely suspect that this recent crop of transplanted urban cyberFriends who wish to save their historic businesses on the Hill are the same ones whose transplanted cybercars cause the gridlock the light rail was to address.
I can assure you that Capitol Hill will survive any light-rail construction on its Broadway doorstep. Broadway will always change, because definitions of urbanism will always change. Truth be told, the street everyone wants to save will be transformed, tunnel or not. Given the choice, I'll read on the subway, and I will look forward to continuing my book buying at independent bookstores next century.
I was appalled to read the article you printed about the legacy of council member Tina Podlodowski (4th & James, "Exit, Stage Left," 5/13). It was a narrow and inaccurate portrayal of her. There was no interviewing of the citizens and communities she has helped, just the opinion of your writer.
Our community (60 neighbors/households) has been experiencing a situation where local city agencies would have preferred to ignore the problem because it is a very difficult one. Tina and her office have been absolutely amazing in helping us to try to effect positive change, and it has worked. She was willing to hold the city agencies accountable for their actions and to work toward new legislation that will streamline the enforcement process for future neighborhoods that are and will be facing similar problems.
In your article you write about the role of government as a clever little anecdote. It sounds as if your writer is saying, "This is just how things are, and it is acceptable." I can tell you from the perspective of a neighborhood that has experienced government's apathy and inefficiency for five years, we need more people like her. Tina has worked hard for us, amazingly so. Her intelligence, tenacity, and commitment will be sorely missed.
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