MCN Columnists
Gary Dretzka

Dretzka By Gary DretzkaDretzka@moviecitynews.com

The DVD Wrapup: Super 8, Spy Kids 4, Devil’s Double, Sarah’s Key, Family Tree, Trigger, Helldriver …

Super 8: Blu-ray Spy Kids 4: All Time in the World As residents of the placid Ohio town of Lillian are being rounded up and bussed to an Air Force base – ostensibly to protect them from a mysterious virus – I remembered that I’d seen this movie before, dozens of times in the last…

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The DVD Wrapup: West Side Story, Perfect Age of Rock, The Tree, Beginners, Rio Sex Comedy, Bellflower, Money Matters, It Takes a Thief …

West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition Box Set: Blu-ray When “West Side Story” opened on Broadway in 1957, audiences and critics understood immediately they were watching something new and possibly revolutionary in musical theater. The book was as topical as tabloid, with a message that was as old and familiar as “Romeo & Juliet.” The…

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The DVD Wrapup: Harry Potter, Better Tomorrow, Atlas Shrugged, Identification of a Woman, In a Glass Cage, Blue Velvet, Sleeping Beauty …

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Blu-ray Any attempt to provide a concise synopsis of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” would require spoiling surprises that have been gestating for 14 years. Longtime fans of the amazing series of movies and books probably will have already seen the finale, however, and…

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The DVD Wrapup: Cars 2, Tabloid, Crazy Stupid Love, Water for Elephants, Snow Flower Trespass, Phantom of Opera …

Cars 2: Blu-ray If you loved the first “Cars,” which rolled off the Pixar production line in 2006, it’s better than even money that you’ll enjoy “Cars 2.” If not, the sequel probably won’t change your mind. You either dig anthropomorphic automobiles or you don’t. Neither am I’m sure kids will care to sit through…

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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