MCN Columnists
Gary Dretzka

Dretzka By Gary DretzkaDretzka@moviecitynews.com

The DVD Wrapup: Jolene, Bunny & the Bull, Dinoshark, Three Idiots, The Lickerish Quartet …

Jolene: Blu-ray Anyone who’s ever wondered how a pretty young woman ends up on stage, stripping, or in a parking lot doing something less legal, will see in the character of Jolene a familiar stereotype. After reaching puberty on the foster-home circuit, the flirty redhead marries the first guy with a job who pays her…

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Digital Nation: Amid the rubble, ‘Incendies’ locates heart of a woman destroyed by hate

In Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s powerful stage play, “Incendies,” it’s possible to identify tragedies as ancient as the theater itself and as contemporary as the latest dispatches from Libya and Afghanistan. By chronicling the journey of a Middle Eastern woman along the ruined roads of her homeland and through a life shaped by…

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The DVD Wrapup: The King’s Speech, The Way Back, Into the Cold, Gulliver’s Travels, Kes, Sweetie, Vision …

The King’s Speech: Blu-ray When movies are made about American presidents, including those considered among the most charismatic, they tend to be wooden, factually imprecise and uninspiring. John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton may have possessed larger-than-life personalities, but their accomplishments have been deemed more worthy of treatment in small-screen mini-series and cable…

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The DVD Wrap: Country Strong, Harry Potter etc., White Material, Le Cercle Rouge, The Incredibles, Highwater, The Walking Dead Girls …

Country Strong: Blu-ray With the possible exception of her good friend, Madonna, it would be difficult to think of a more overexposed celebrity than Gwyneth Paltrow. The Kims, Chloes and GaGas of the world will continue to come and go, as long as the media pays attention to them. Madonna, Gwyneth and, even in death,…

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CinemaCon 2011: Who needs Home Premiere, when you can have hot dog sliders, gourmet licorice, ‘Puss and Boots’?

Even without the release of news about the launch of Home Premiere – Hollywood’s latest attempt to have its cake and nibble from everyone else’s plate, too – there was a portentous air surrounding last week’s inaugural CinemaCom convention. NATO members clearly enjoyed themselves during preview sessions and screenings, but the urge to count fingers…

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The DVD Wrap: Fair Game, I Love You Phillip Morris, Chronicles of Narnia, The Next Three Day, Desert Son, Treme …

Fair Game: Blu-ray Here’s another feel-bad movie about being an American … just what we need, right now. It used to be easy for those on the right (as opposed to left) side of any political debate to blame Hollywood’s many commies, sodomites and Jewish studio executives – sometimes all three simultaneously — for distributing…

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Dretzka

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook