Letters to Hell - April, 2001



  o Obvious
  o Not-So-Obvious
  o Getting Soft
  o Taking Literally
  o Was It Just Me?
  o You Left Out One
  o The Exact Question
  o Not Nearly As Bad As You Paint It
  o It's About Time
  o Oscar #1
  o Oscar #2
  o Oscar #3
  o The Great Unedited
  o On Walking Out #1
  o On Walking Out #2
  o Pure, Noiseless Bliss
  o Someone Who Didn't Walk Out


[ From: G ]

> Could you assist with a quiz question?  On which novel is  

[ "Schindler's List" ]


[ From: Doug ]

> Why don't you rate Cary's Crossroads 20 as highly as the Raleigh 
> Grande.  I thought they were the same?

[ They're not ]

Getting Soft

[ From: Lyman ] 

> > Grade: B
> I think you're getting soft, Mr. Legeros.  I'd almost think you 
> liked this movie!

[ Which, of course, never happens... ]

Taking Literally

[ From: Simon ]

> > The revenge-seeking sicko-- played sans screen credit by someone 
> > famous under gobs of gruesome make-up-- has whatever's left of 
> > his fingers in several pies,
> Given the film, this made me do several double takes.  I actually  
> took it literally for a second!

[ Chomp ]

Was It Just Me?

[ From: Miranda in London ]

> One question, when Starling was following Lecter around Union Sta- 
> tion at the end, the flashing of the photo booth catches her eye 
> and she walks over and opens the curtain to find... the shoes.  
> Was it just me who thought a strip of four pics of the doc would 
> slowly roll into the slot?  Would that have been brilliant or che- 
> esy?  I can't decide, but I was waiting for it.

[ Same here ]

You Left Out One

[ From: Paul ]
[ Re: 101 Memorable Moments in HANNIBAL ]

> > #1   - Psychology as a science
> > ...
> > #101 - "It's always good to try new things..."
> Hilarious.  One of the better reviews I've read of the movie, 
> actually.  Although you left out one.  #102: Ookey-dokey.

[ Ookey-dokey ]

The Exact Question

[ From: Someone at Berkeley ]
[ Re: 101 Memorable Moments in HANNIBAL ]

> Wow!  Pretty detailed list there, Mike.  Maybe you can help answer 
> this-- what's the exact question that Hannibal asks Clarice when  
> she's "stuck" in the refrigerator?  Something along the lines of  
> "If you loved me, would you stop?"

[ Something like that ]

Not Nearly As Bad As You Paint It

[ From: ? ]

> > 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND, while possessing both the best movie 
> > title of recent years *and* the can't-believe-it casting of Kurt 
> > Russell and Kevin Costner as rival, casino-robbing Elvis imper- 
> > sonators, is strictly DOAOT.  (Dead on arrival on toilet.) 
> 3000 MILES... is not particularly good, but it is not nearly as 
> bad as you paint it, either.  In particular, Kurt Russell is ex-
> cellent as the bad guy who is at heart a decent man, and his rela-
> tionship with the little boy-- no idea who played that role-- is 
> affectionate and fun to watch.

[ Glad *you* like it ]

It's About Time

[ From: Rich ]

> > 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND, while possessing both the best movie 
> > title of recent years *and* the can't-believe-it casting of Kurt 
> > Russell and Kevin Costner as rival, casino-robbing Elvis imper- 
> > sonators...
> > 
> Good.  It's about time Costner stopped playing a wimp.  I will  
> *definitely* go see it based on this recommendation. 

[ Hope *you* like it ]

Oscar #1

[ From: Kim ]

> > Yawn.  With breasts.
> > 
> Not even the clothing was interesting!  Blech!

Oscar #2

[ From: Carrie ]

> Am I just being a critical bitch or is it a joke that GLADIATOR 
> won for Actor and Picture??!!  Don't get me wrong-  it was an en-
> tertaining movie and all... but Best Picture???  Putting it in the 
> ranks of *past* winners makes me laugh!

[ Me too.  And you are being a critical bitch... ]

Oscar #3

[ From: Ellen ]

> Yes, boring night.  Funniest part was the zoom in on Jennifer Lo-
> pez's face, fake eyelashes substituting for fans a la Joshephine 
> Baker.  Sadly, it was a grand dress and deserved to be shown, the 
> best there.  A fashion bender and tasteful.

[ Titillating, too! ]

The Great Unedited

[ From: Chris ]

> we real love watch movie alots most time, iron will very good 
> movie and I just ask you a question ok, do you think can give me 
> real picture name will stoneman. and we finish plan go vac at 
> south dakota rushmore stay camping and we like you give me how we 
> got there where will stoneman family there and where he live can  
> you tell me where place and would you send me mail?

[ no ]

On Walking Out #1

[ From: ? ]

> > With Howie Long, Christian Slater, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Pollak, and 
> > Ice-T.  Didn't see those last three, though, 'cause we were gone 
> > within five-zero minutes.  With refund in hand.  (Rated "R"/126 
> > min.) 
> > 
> > Grade: F (extrapolated) 
> In other words, you left less than halfway through the movie but 
> still feel qualified to review it.  Amazing.

[ I'll say! ]

On Walking Out #2

[ From: Ned ]

> I just read your review of JOE GOULD'S SECRET and when you men-
> tioned that the film was boring and you left early it was clear to 
> me that you probably should be doing something different for your 
> life's work than watching movies and putting your thoughts in pub- 
> lic for all to read.  You should try selling used cars, something 
> that wouldn't bore you.  I think you should be a little introspec-
> tive to determine the conflict between you and the subject of the 
> movie because, after all, it was quite exciting, cleverly crafted 
> and executed, and well acted.  The only thing boring with the film 
> was your review.  Only a dullard could write about a film that put 
> him to sleep.  Should you want to continue to write film reviews 
> about something you can understand take a lesson from a pro and 
> read Roger Ebert's review of JOE GOULD'S SECRET.  He understood 
> what was happening in the film before he wrote about it.

[ Will do! ]

Pure Noiseless Bliss

[ From: Michael ]

> Anyway, I saw ARMAGGEDON on TV recently.  No, I missed it in thea-
> ters because I had heard about how *loud* it was. I got to your 
> review after typing "space dementia" into the Google search field. 
> Go figure :-)  I agree wholeheartedly with your description of the 
> movie as an "agreeable mess". However, you missed the most impor- 
> tant (and laughable/ironic) "nit", as you call them.  It occurred 
> to me, after several minutes of the action, just as it was start-
> ing to get "monotonous"-- that if these lunar scenes were realis
> tic, then not only would they not be so *loud*, they would be 
> *completely silent*, because there is no sound without a medium 
> (such as an atmosphere).  Ha!  Remember the outer-space scenes in 
> 2001?  Pure noiseless bliss.  

[             ]

Someone Who Didn't Walk Out
[ From: Susan in Raleigh ]

> HOUSE OF MIRTH is a beautiful, dead-on film version of Edith Whar-
> ton's tragic novel.  Lily Bart, an upper-crust woman (fortunes 
> waning, a la Jane Austen), wants to participate in self-determina- 
> tion.  She wants to be her own woman and make her own choices, but 
> the social caste she is in squelches her at every turn. 
> She does *not* want to enter a loveless marriage just for money, 
> as most of her class does.  Thus she rejects at least two super-
> wealthy suitors.  She loves the poor (relative term--he has to 
> work, God forbid, but he is a successful lawyer and owns a beauti- 
> ful Manhattan apt) Mr. Selden, Eric Stoltz, who has matured quite 
> handsomely.  He *claims* to be of a like mind with Lily.  He talks 
> a good line, but acts on little of it.  A common figure in litera- 
> ture of the time--the weak male.  What he's doing, actually, is 
> having an affair with a phenomenally wealthy woman, the uber-
> bitchy Bertha.  Evil in gorgeous clothes. 
> Fascinating, complex, very detailed.  This was a time when every 
> gesture, every word held great meaning, and when simple gestures, 
> misplaced, could cause social ruin.  Because she is headstrong and 
> wants to make her own way, Lily's society pulls the rug out from  
> under her. 
> Gillian Anderson is wonderful as Lily.  Because she ideologically 
> rejects her class, tho fears poverty more than death, her re- 
> straint in the majority of the story is a force of her will-- to 
> continue to smile at her enemies, to pretend to keep her place, to 
> subvert what she feels.  The final third of the film is an explo-
> sion of emotion, and it is wrenching to see her descend further in  
> physical surroundings. She remains true to herself, refusing to 
> compromise her honor by accepting help. 
> As you would expect, the costumes are beautiful beyond descrip- 
> tion, and the interiors are over-over-the-top Victorian robber 
> baron excess.  A beautiful canvas for ugly business, the social 
> circle that Edith Wharton was a member of herself.  (Edith Wharton  
> was in a miserable, loveless marriage to a wealthy peer, so much 
> of Lily's 'voice' before the fall is likely EW's.) 
> It's wonderful, but not a movie for which you leave your brain in 
> the car.  But then those of you familiar with Edith Wharton al- 
> ready know that!

[ Well-said!  

  Now, if you could just work in the words "sucks," "long sit," or
  "__________ ensues"...  Good night, everybody! ]

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