Breakfast at Roland Garros

Nadal vs. Federer. Finally, a match that matters. It’s been far too long. As a kid, my dream was to become professional tennis player. I played all the time. If I couldn’t find a partner, I’d smack a ball against our garage door for hours on end. It helped that I grew up in the era of McEnroe, Borg and Connors, great personalities and skilled craftsmen who captured the nation’s attention.  Unfortuantely, tennis has fallen on hard times, having been overtaken by golf (YAWN) as the recreational sport of choice. Ask anyone who’s the most dominant athlete in sports today and inevitably…

In defense of “Scary Movie 4″

Remember George Clooney‘s self-important Oscar speech? He’s got nothing on UCLA screenwriting professor Richard Walter — For better and for worse, American film is world film. For better because American films rightly merit their reputation for high-end film art and craft. For worse because their power overwhelms international markets and promotes the homengization of world culture. … Entertainment and information are our nation’s greatest export. Contrary to what Hollywood bashers would have us believe, the values they expound are generally life affirming. The vast majority of American films extoll middleclass values and the American dream. What precisely are middleclass values? A certain…

I sure turned into an interesting driveway

It’s 8:15 here in the ATL, and I’ve eschewed an offer to hit the town because “Sunset Boulevard” is on TCM. Since it’s been a good six months since I last saw the Billy Wilder classic, I had no choice but to stay in. I can’t tell you how much I relate to Joe Gillis (so masterfully played by William Holden, in a role originally  offered to Montgomery Clift … no slight intended towards Monty, but thank God he passed. I’m sure he lived to regret it). Anyways … I am Joe Gillis. I worked at a small-town newspaper before moving to…

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams

Happy birthday to Gene Wilder, who turns 70 tomorrow. His performance as Willy Wonka ranks among the greatest in filmdom, pitch perfect — creepy, funny and endearing all at once. It’s been awhile since Wilder had a role he could sink his teeth into, but he’s in luck. There’s this script I’m quite familiar with, “Mall Across America,” about a billionaire entreprenuer (think Rupert Murdoch) who endeavors to build an indoor mall connecting the coasts, from New York to L.A. I see Wilder in the title role, with Prince (think Ted Turner) as his nemesis. The casting came to me in the…

Noted and quoted

“My Lord. This muggy (June) weather gives me the horribles.” — Jean Robert Delatour Fontaine Dauterive (via “King of the Hill”) Runner-up: Hank: “So, Jean Robert, how are the Saints looking this year?” Jean Robert: “I’m afraid I’m more familiar with sinners than saints. And sinners always look good.”