Hit or Miss?
In all the analyses of this summer’s hits and misses (#343, Sept. 6), nobody acknowledges the key element of this summer’s successes: inspired, slam-bam trailers. Previews for Mission: Impossible, Independence Day, and Twister consistently got roars of frenzied approval from movie audiences who were sold on these films months before their release. Half-baked trailers for The Cable Guy, Striptease, Escape From L.A., and this summer’s other duds made no such visceral connection, at best garnering a wait-and-see attitude from uncommitted viewers.
Why are the entertainment media so obsessed with the box office returns of Hollywood films, top 10 rankings, and so forth? The problem is when artistic worth is confused with box office might, and a worthy film that’s a slow starter commercially becomes a candidate for Loser of the Week.
I came across the note in Monitor about Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher ”expecting” and was shocked to see the ease with which you printed the item (and a photo, too!). I’m very proud of EW.
He Likes Mike
I know it’s become a cliche wrapped in a bromide tucked inside a banality, but I too watched Mike Douglas with my grandmother (What Ever Happened to…). I loved quizzing her about the musical guests (”Granny, do you really like Seals and Crofts?”), and she, in turn, liked to complain about the comedians (”What a mouth on that Shecky Greene!”). Of course, neither of us knew what to make of Moms Mabley. Anyway, fair play is due: Perhaps Rosie O’Donnell should ask Mike Douglas to cohost her show for a week.
I was stunned by Jim Farber’s review of the cast recording of Rent. Never have I seen a critic miss the point of a recording so entirely. Rent is a musical, not a rock concert, and to compare Daphne Rubin-Vega to Patti Smith, to judge Rent against modern rock, is comparing apples and elephants. Jonathan Larson, Rent‘s late composer, was trying to create something new, but the sheer thrill of this effort is lost on Farber. Perhaps themes of AIDS, poverty, and artistic freedom are ”straight outta Scarsdale” to the reviewer, but for those who are HIV-positive, or poor, or artists trying to make it in a Republican culture, Rent rings with honesty and truth.
Corrections: The article on Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings was written by Tony Scherman (Music). We should have defined ”tow up” from Clueless as ”in bad condition”; ”skaggy-bawed” from Trainspotting means ”too high on heroin to have sex” (News & Notes). Keanu Reeves played Ted — not Bill — in the Bill and Ted movies (Music). How totally bogus of us!