MCN Columnists
Gary Dretzka

Dretzka By Gary DretzkaDretzka@moviecitynews.com

The DVD Wrapup: Talk About Kevin, more

Plus Aggression Scale, Maverick, Coriolanus, Harry Belafonte, Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials
, New York Stories and Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament.

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Suddenly, the great Swedish cop Wallander is everywhere …

If one were to judge the crime rate in Sweden strictly by the number of mysteries, you’d think it was a haven for sociopaths, drug runners and gangbangers.

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The DVD Wrapup: Newlyweds, Certified Copy, Arrietty, Route 66, Sherlock … More

The careers of few indie filmmakers have begun in as auspicious a fashion as Ed Burns.

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In Victorian England, good vibrations trump ‘Hysteria’ every time

All kidding aside, the prohibition on vibrators in Alabama — and, until recently, other several states – harkens to the 1920s, when a sharp-eyed publisher noticed that the same therapeutic gizmos being advertised in their periodicals were being used in stag films to accomplish paroxysms of a less clinical nature.

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The DVD Wrapup: The Grey, Golf in Kingdom, Norwegian Wood, We Were Here, My Perestroika, 42nd St. Pete’s 8mm Madness … More

Normally, it wouldn’t be unusual for a filmmaker of any ethnic or cultural background to choose a Beatles song for the title of his or her movie. “Norwegian Wood,” however, is a particularly significant track in the band’s repertoire, both for its enigmatic Lennon-McCartney lyrics and George Harrison’s choice of the sitar as a lead instrument. That it was based on an affair between Lennon and a friend’s wife also set it apart from the “yeah, yeah, yeah … I wanna hold your hand” bunch.

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The DVD Wrapup: Underworld, Dark Tide, Kreutzer Sonata, 42nd Street Forever…More

Contrary what’s implied by the cover art, Berry dons a bikini only in the film’s early scenes. Otherwise, her remarkably fine body is fully encased in a wet suit.

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The DVD Wrapup: W.E., Haywire, Theatre Bizarre, Circus Columbia… More

If “Haywire” hadn’t been entrusted to director Steven Soderbergh and writer Lem Dobbs – also responsible for “The Limey” – it might have lacked the class, polish and velocity to prevent it from going straight to DVD.

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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