Marie writes: The countdown to Christmas officially begins the day after Halloween, which this year lands on a Wednesday. Come Thursday morning, the shelves will be bare of witches, goblins and ghosts; with snowmen, scented candles and dollar store angel figurines taking their place. That being the case, I thought it better to start celebrating early so we can milk the joy of Halloween for a whole week as opposed to biding adieu to the Great Pumpkin so soon after meeting up again...
Marie writes: Roger recently did an email Q&A with the National Post's Mark Medley, which you can read here: "Roger Ebert's voice has never been louder". And in a nice touch, they didn't use a traditional head-shot photo with the article. Instead they went old school and actually hired an illustrator. Yup. They drew the Grand Poobah instead! And here it is...pretty good, eh?
Illustration By Kagan Mcleod for the National Post(click to enlarge)
From the moment that Hal Holmes and I slipped quietly into his basement and he showed me his father's hidden collection of Playboy magazines, the map of my emotional geography shifted toward Chicago. In that magical city lived a man named Hugh Hefner who had Playmates possessing wondrous bits and pieces I had never seen before. I wanted to be invited to his house.
I was trembling on the brim of puberty, and aroused not so much by the rather sedate color "centerfold" of an undressed woman, as by the black and white photos that accompanied them. These showed an ordinary woman (I believe it was Janet Pilgrim) entering an office building in Chicago, and being made up for her "pictorial." Made up! Two makeup artists were shown applying powders and creams to her flesh. This electrified me. It made Pilgrim a real person. In an interview she spoke of her life and ambitions.
"In the midst of death, we are in life, heh? ... Life goes on..." -- Paulie Walnuts, Episode 86
Meantime life outside goes on all around you. -- Bob Dylan, "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"
Some will win, some will lose Some were born to sing the blues Oh, the movie never ends It goes on and on and on and on -- Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'"
Have another onion ring. Pop the first DVD of Season One into the player and press "play." "The Sopranos" is... I'm not going to say "over." Think of it as complete at last, a perfect whole. It's finished but it's not over. Life goes on.
It's not uncommon for a long-running show to get self-reflexive in its final episode: "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "St. Elsewhere," "Newhart," "Seinfeld," "Six Feet Under," to give a few famous examples. And no show has ever displayed more awareness of itself as a show than "The Sopranos." Not even "It's Garry Shandling's Show," the sitcom about being a sitcom. "The Sopranos" has always been a serial mob movie about being a serial mob movie in a culture where everybody's seen a lot of mob movies (and remakes of mob movies) and even low-level Jersey mobsters imagine themselves acting like the mobsters in the movies. And in its last seconds (which made my heart leap and had me laughing and crying at the same time), "The Sopranos" accomplished what I hoped it would, as I wrote earlier: "... I want [series creator David] Chase to come up with something I didn't anticipate, but which feels right for "The Sopranos." He's done it before. But now I'm afraid in a different way: I really, really want the ending to live up to the show."
1924: Born April 3, in Omaha, Neb., of Dutch-Irish descent, the youngest of three children of a salesman and an amateur actress. 1938: Enrolls in Libertyville High School as a freshman. 1944: Makes his Broadway debut as the teenage son in the hit "I Remember Mama." 1946: Is named Broadway's most promising actor after he plays a World War II veteran in "Truckline Cafe." 1947: Creates his landmark portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway. 1950: Makes his film debut in Fred Zinnemann's "The Men," as a paralyzed war veteran. 1952: Receives his first Oscar nomination for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). 1955: After losing three consecutive Oscar bids ("Julius Caesar" and "Viva Zapata!"), finally wins for "On the Waterfront" (1954). 1961: Makes his directorial debut on "One-Eyed Jacks," widely regarded as a disaster at the time. 1963: Participates in civil rights march in Washington, D.C., with Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin and other luminaries. 1966: Buys a private island off the Pacific coast and lives there off and on for the next three decades. 1972: Is forced to audition for the role of Don Corleone in "The Godfather" because of his diminished reputation in Hollywood. It would become his defining performance. 1973: Rejects the best actor Oscar for "The Godfather" (1972) to protest the treatment of Native Americans and sends Sacheen Littlefeather to the ceremony to make a speech on his behalf.