December 17, 1998 |
Was it one of those celestial events invisible to the naked eye? Did it happen while we were in the dark, watching his movies? How did it go unnoticed, the day Tom Hanks, guy next door, ascended to Hollywood royalty? Sometime between A League of Their Own, when he snarled "There's no crying in baseball!", and Saving Private Ryan, when he gulped back tears, the beloved Everyman morphed into revered American. If movies were baseball, Hanks has batted 1.000 since 1992. And most of the time he didn't just get on base - he belted them out of the park and over the moon.
June 12, 1998 |
Possibly it escaped your notice between mugs of pilsener, but a nasty little spat is beginning to erupt in the world of beer. The issue is snobbery among hops heads and the emergence of snooty, palate-enhanced "experts" who - much like those puckered oenophiles who delight themselves by sloshing chablis around their gums - are threatening to turn beer appreciation into an overly sophisticated art. In recent weeks, several beer publications have...
December 13, 1997 |
Recently I was visiting in my fourth grader's classroom, and among the activities on offer was a film about whales, or more specifically, whales and some whale-studying people on a boat. This is part of a larger program designed to teach science principles, which I believe works well, certainly in the hands of an alert teacher. But there was something funny going on in this movie, and after a few minutes I figured it out. It was the cast of characters! Altogether we had: The gruff-but-loving grandfather/ salty dog; The spunky Everyman kid; The neurotic loudmouth kid; The disabled kid; The woman scientist; The African American; The Hispanic (complete with accent)
July 28, 1997 |
A James Taylor shed tour seems as inevitable as summer itself. But perfect weather and a long-awaited strong new album helped to lift Friday's show at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts far above the commonplace. The balmy surroundings didn't lend themselves to great challenges, and the ever-sensitive Taylor didn't offer many. Studio arrangements of material that he recorded before 1976 made up a third of the show, including a generous offering of The Songs That Must Be Played: "Fire and Rain," "You've Got a Friend," "Carolina in My Mind" and "Sweet Baby James.
July 6, 1997 |
"What do you think of Ronald Reagan for president?" asked Jack Warner's assistant of the legendary movie mogul in 1966. "No, no," Warner corrected, not missing a beat. "Jimmy Stewart for president, Ronald Reagan for best friend. " For once, Warner's casting instincts failed him. As everyone knows, Mr. Reagan went to Washington while Mr. Stewart only did so in the movies. And, as it turned out, Jimmy Stewart, who died last week at the age of 89, was America's best friend.
July 3, 1997 |
James Stewart, beloved by generations of moviegoers for his uncommon range and extraordinary gift for bringing ordinary characters to wonderful life, died yesterday in his Beverly Hills home. Mort Viner, Mr. Stewart's agent, said the 89-year-old actor died of cardiac arrest. His health had declined precipitously following the death of his wife, Gloria, in 1994, leaving Mr. Stewart too frail even to attend the 1995 dedication of a museum in his honor in his hometown of Indiana, Pa. At the tribute to Mr. Stewart hosted by the American Film Institute in 1980, Frank Capra, who directed him in the classics Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life, took the podium to address a hushed celebrity audience.
April 16, 1997 |
For its first production, the new Theater Rumpus has selected the very old play Everyman. An inspired choice it is, too. The theater's director, Domenick Scudera, imaginatively updates the medieval morality play to make it relevant to contemporary sensibilities. One of the first plays in the English language, Everyman, you may remember from high school or college (it's one of those works you read then or not at all), is the story of a man who is told he is going to die and had better spend his last days preparing his final accounting.
February 13, 1997 |
Against towering gray walls, this century's Everyman suffers the world's humiliations in the Metropolitan Opera's expressionist staging of Alban Berg's Wozzeck. The new production, which opened Monday, uses harsh light and somber colors to further diminish the hopeless soldier and townspeople who pursue their grimy lives, overpowered by inscrutable forces, in a garrison town. Lest the production sound more imposing than the music, those gray walls act to reinforce the score, the orchestra's virtuoso exploration and the singers' deft vocal characterizations.
January 23, 1995 |
What's an obsessive-compulsive Cleveland file clerk to do? For Harvey Pekar, a guy who can't draw or type but is burdened with a pathological need to chronicle the Chekhovian struggle of his day-to-day existence, there's never been any choice but to write stories. Stories about walking in the bitter cold to the Veterans Administration hospital job he's held since 1966, and mooching jelly doughnuts off doctors once he arrives. Stories about losing his glasses. Stories about growing up in an immigrant Jewish enclave.
April 13, 1994 |
In Three Tall Women, which yesterday won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, Edward Albee comes to terms with his mother. That may sound unpromising, but don't rush to judgment. For while this four-character play (the titular women are augmented by a single male, a thematically essential walk-on) is talky and perhaps a bit simplistic, it's a fascinating exercise nonetheless. The play, which reopened last night at the Promenade Theatre after a sold-out run in a smaller house, also contains three wonderful parts for three wonderful actresses, whose names are Myra Carter, Marian Seldes and Jordan Baker.