Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg's film of Bruce Wagner's Hollywood satire-nightmare turns ludicrous situations into operatic tragedy.
Roger Ebert became film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He is the only film critic with a star on Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and was named honorary life member of the Directors' Guild of America. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriters' Guild, and honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1989 he has hosted Ebertfest, a film festival at the Virginia Theater in Champaign-Urbana. From 1975 until 2006 he, Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper co-hosted a weekly movie review program on national TV. He was Lecturer on Film for the University of Chicago extension program from 1970 until 2006, and recorded shot-by-shot commentaries for the DVDs of "Citizen Kane," "Casablanca," "Floating Weeds" and "Dark City," and has written over 20 books.
Q. Sadly, Studs has left this world. But he leaves behind a huge footprint and will always reside nearby, on the nearest bookshelf and through the frequencies of freethinkers. How unfortunate it is he was not here to witness election day. But his last laugh is on us. Studs leaves to perform the greatest of all Chicago traditions, casting his final vote from the grave.
As the mighty tide swept the land on Tuesday night, I was transfixed. As the pundits pondered red states and blue states, projections and exit polls, I was swept with emotion. Not because America was "electing its first Black president." That comes a little late in the day. It was because America was electing the right President.
Our long national nightmare is ending. America will not soon again start a war based on lies and propaganda. We will not torture. We will restore the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, and habeas corpus. We will enter at last in the struggle against environmental disaster. Our ideas will once again be more powerful than our weapons. During the last eight years, the beacon on the hill flickered out. Now the torch will shine again.
I would like to apologize to CNN, MSNBC and Fox. I admit my guilt. I watched them on satellite TV. They told me not to. Every time I tuned in, they were advising me to visit their websites, visit them on Facebook, send them e-mails, join their chat rooms, post a comment, Twitter. Yada, yada, yada. I could even check when the polls closed in 49 states I don't live in, even though I voted early. I don't think it was sexual, but I grew alarmed every time Wolf Blitzer asked to Twitter me.
"I can't even take off my coat, and the man lies again!!!"
In reading some of the reviews and excerpts of your new Scorsese book, I finally "got" what it is that you get about his work: Catholic identification. I'm sure other people have said the same thing over the years, but for some reason, it only just clicked with me. Because this is exactly why I never really got Scorsese.
First, get the Pot. You need the simplest rice cooker made. It comes with two speeds: Cook, and Warm. Not expensive. Now you're all set to cook meals for the rest of your life on two square feet of counter space, plus a chopping block. No, I am not putting you on the Rice Diet. Eat what you like. I am thinking of you, student in your dorm room. You, solitary writer, artist, musician, potter, plumber, builder, hermit. You, parents with kids. You, night watchman. You, obsessed computer programmer or weary web-worker. You, lovers who like to cook together but don't want to put anything in the oven. You, in the witness protection program. You, nutritional wingnut. You, in a wheelchair.
And you, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. You, person on a small budget who wants healthy food. You, shut-in. You, recovering campaign worker. You, movie critic at Sundance. You, sex worker waiting for the phone to ring. You, factory worker sick of frozen meals. You, people in Werner Herzog's documentary about life at the South Pole. You, early riser skipping breakfast. You, teenager home alone. You, rabbi, pastor, priest,, nun, waitress, community organizer, monk, nurse, starving actor, taxi driver, long-haul driver. Yes, you, reader of the second-best best-written blog on the internet.
We will begin with a scientific conundrum. You put Minute Rice and the correct amount of water into the Pot, and click to Cook. Minutes later, the Pot clicks over to Warm. Tomorrow night, you put whole grain organic rice and the correct amount of water into the Pot, and click to Cook. An hour later, the Pot clicks over to Warm. Both nights, the rice is perfectly cooked.
By Roger Ebert
I can't see Sarah Palin as vice president, but I have no trouble imagining her as an Emmy winner. I'm not being satirical. She and John McCain kicked butt on Saturday Night Live. They were terrific. How good were they? They were better than Tina Fey and Darrell Hammond.
I received this message on the blog, but it obviously fits no known topic. The author is something of a mystery: "R. Crutch," no city, no e-mail. But I felt it necessary to share with you. RE
We critics can't be too careful. Employers are eager to replace us with Celeb Info-Nuggets that will pimp to the mouth-breathers, who underline the words with their index fingers whilst they watch television. Any editor who thinks drugged insta-stars and the tragic Amy Winehouse are headline news ought to be editing the graffiti on playground walls. As the senior newspaper guy still hanging onto a job, I think the task of outlining enduring ethical ground rules falls upon me.
The Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra writes about Tura Santana here.