The Magnificent Seven
Rarely have so many charismatic actors been used in a film that feels quite as soulless as Antoine Fuqua’s update of The Magnificent Seven.
Q. Agreed with your comment on the MPAA ratings of "Showgirls" (NC-17) and "Seven" (R). I think it was Shelley Winters who said, "If a man cuts off a woman's breast, it's rated R. If he kisses it, it's an X." -- Steven Bailey, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
A. "Seven" has a man forced to choke on his own vomit, another who dies after being forced to cut off a pound of his own flesh, another who is chained to a bed for a year, and a fashion model who is given the choice of calling for help or killing herself, after her nose is cut off. But at least it doesn't have bare breasts, or any of that awful lap dancing.
Q. Well, you were right. Audience Response, the company that offered to pay people for their movie reviews, was a total scamola. One month after I mailed it, my "Apollo 13" review was returned by the post office as undeliverable. Those rascals are probably living it up in Mexico on everybody's $32.40 deposit. I'm just glad I saw your article exposing the fraud. Elsewise, I might have filled out that excruciating 15-page review form several more times. -- Kristen Kirkham, Seattle
A. Hey, if people want to write movie reviews that badly, they can just send me their $32.40.
Q. Why do I get the feeling Hollywood doesn't think people know who Gary Sinise is? When "Apollo 13" came out, the advertisements told us he was also in "Forrest Gump." Now his new HBO movie, "Truman," is playing, and they still need to remind people that he was in both "Forrest Gump" and "Apollo 13." It is just an insult to us and to him. -- Sean Goodrich, Trophy Club, Texas
A. Not really. He looks so incredibly like President Truman that few people would identify him as the same actor who played Lieutenant Dan and astronaut Ken Mattingly.
Q. I saw on the news that thousands of moviegoers are swearing off of pork products after seeing the movie "Babe." Has this sort of thing happened before as a result of a film? What do you make of it? -- Mark Dayton, Costa Mesa, Calif.
A. So who do they eat instead? Elsie the Cow and Charlie Tuna?
Q. Regarding your column about how certain details are changed when movies are dubbed into German, the reality in German theaters is A LOT WORSE! In the German version of "Die Hard," the German terrorists weren't Germans anymore but Brits -- and Hans Gruber was changed to "Jack" Gruber, even though Bruce Willis was still seen writing the name Hans on his arm. In the German version of the Gene Hackman flick "Loose Cannons," it was not German terrorists, 'cause that might imply to German audiences that Americans think all Germans are Nazis. Even when Hackman and Dan Aykroyd are standing in the German embassy and you see the German flag, in the German version they say they're in some South American embassy. Yeah, those people really look South American. -- Wolfgang Karle, Karlsruhe, Germany
A. Remember "Casablanca"? Bogie says, "Yeah, I remember Paris. The Uruguayans wore gray. You wore blue."
Q. The cigarettes John Travolta and Uma Thurman smoked in "Pulp Fiction" looked kind of colorful and I was wondering what their name was and where they were sold. Also, where can I purchase the Odorama card for the movie "Polyester"? -- Rosemary Escamilia, Chicago
A. The brand is "Green Apple," but they're for sale only in "Pulp Fiction." Regarding Odorama: Director John Waters says Scratch 'n' Sniff cards for "Polyester" were supplied by Criterion with the laserdisc edition of his movie, but unless you can get your hands on the disc, they're no longer available. However, if you care to go to the trouble, you can easily find your own roses, gasoline, doggy-doo, etc., and supply your own scents. In fact, it might be fun to have a "Polyester" screening and scavenger hunt.
Q. There's a rumor circulating around Vancouver's Lower Mainland that I thought you might find amusing. The story goes that last April Fool's Day, you and Mickey Rooney were at Elizabeth Taylor's house and were playing Truth or Dare. Apparently the dares escalated to where Mr. Rooney was dared to sneak the horse they use in "Black Beauty" over to Elizabeth Taylor's home. Once there, apparently one of you challenged the other to "streak" across her back yard on Black Beauty . The story goes that you both stripped, poured baby powder over yourselves and proceeded to get on the horse and gallop through her back yard. I overheard the story in a Starbuck's Coffee on Robson Street in Vancouver. I couldn't see you involved in something like this. -- Greg P. Groat, Vancouver
A. Oh, what a night it was!
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
Writers at RogerEbert.com share their favorite "Star Trek" moments in honor of the original TV series' 50th anniversary.