MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

Voynaristic By Kim VoynarVoynar@moviecitynews.com

O Christmas Tree

Published under 1,000 Monkeys. I love everything about the Christmas season, from the decorations to the Christmas music piped in to all the stores to the lights brightening up all the houses. I love planning what to get each of the kids, baking Christmas cookies, and listening non-stop to Christmas music on the radio until…

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Of Indie Film and Insularity

This Thanksgiving weekend, as I ponder my abundant blessings, one of the things I’m most thankful for is having a job that allows me not only to watch a lot of movies, but to see many of them at film festivals far and wide. As I write this, over the past couple years we’ve seen…

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Home is Where My Heart Is

Published under 1,000 Monkeys. Why 1,000 Monkeys? David and I spent a lot of time talking back and forth about a new name for this more philosophical, life-stuff column. One day in frustration, I said to David, “If you put 1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters, they could never write the craziness that is my life…

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Memory Lane

Published under 1,000 Monkeys. Why 1,000 Monkeys? David and I spent a lot of time talking back and forth about a new name for this more philosophical, life-stuff column. One day in frustration, I said to David, “If you put 1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters, they could never write the craziness that is my life…

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Precious Things

Back at Sundance last year, when Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire was first unveiled for critics with little fanfare but high hopes, quite a few folks thought it would never see the light of day off the fest circuit. Too dark, too depressing, too tragic … with little redemption or justice to buoy…

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The Vampire as Moral Compass

These days, it seems vampires are the new black — but they aren’t quite as black as they used to be. Today’s vampires have more than just gloomy good looks and great fashion sense; they come complete with a moral compass. If art and literature reflect the world in which they are created, what does…

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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