- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2004

The wrong shows

“No sooner had Paramount announced it was resuscitating its long-dormant movie version of ‘The Love Boat’ … than I began to dread the prospect of reading about the casting of actors with passing resemblances to the original cast: John Lithgow as Capt. Stubing, Mandy Moore as Julie the cruise director … and whichever Wayans brother is available as Isaac the bartender.

“The problem with the TV-to-movie epidemic is that the studios are adapting the wrong shows. ‘Scooby-Do,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘My Favorite Martian,’ ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ and, yes, ‘The Love Boat’ may occupy warm spots in your memories, but those shows always had idiotic setups, pedestrian writing, and stiff acting. What possible reason was there to believe such tripe could be upgraded for the big screen? …

“[T]here have been only two adaptations that even came close to being among the best films of their respective years: ‘The Untouchables,’ Brian De Palma’s overwrought but rousing fictionalization of the Eliot Ness-Al Capone duel … and ‘The Fugitive,’ which benefited from [director] Andrew Davis’s gritty feel for Chicago, an Oscar-winning performance by Tommy Lee Jones, and a brilliant script.”

Richard Roeper, writing on “Bigger and Badder,” in the July issue of Esquire

The wrong movie

“Because climate change strikes so rapidly in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ … the plot needs to compensate by moving very, very slowly. Within days, hours really, of fictional time, the Statue of Liberty is encased up to its shoulders in a frozen sea … but in the real time of the movie theater, you wait a whole hour for the hero merely to predict what you’ve paid to see. …

“Nothing enlivens these proceedings except for the dropping of two or three political sarcasms. These, and a clumsy attempt by the Bush administration to discourage government scientists from commenting on the movie, have been enough to convince some anti-Bush activists to embrace ‘The Day After Tomorrow.’ … Why, the fine people at MoveOn.org … have pegged one of their organizing drives to the film, with the assistance of Al Gore. Next, perhaps, they’ll buy out a screening of ‘Van Helsing,’ to deplore Bush’s anti-vampire policies.”

Stuart Klawans, writing on “The Invisibles,” in the June 21 issue of the Nation

‘Gender’ games

“Gender is a term that reeks of the sexual politics of the ‘70s. It made its first appearance when gay activists began to demand that homosexuality be not merely tolerated but given equal standing with heterosexuality in all things. It was reinforced by feminists who wanted to eliminate the differences between men and women.

“These activists had to face the fact that sexual differences are grounded in biology. They are determined at conception by the distribution of X and Y chromosomes and cannot be altered. … Moreover, the biology of sexual difference has no place for homosexual activities. Indeed, it implies they are unnatural.

“A reconceptualization was obviously needed and the linguistic term gender came to the rescue, even though there is no gender assigned in the English language. In those languages that do use it, gender is applied arbitrarily and by custom. …

“The activists saw that if sex was redefined as gender, it too became arbitrary and changeable. Hence, masculinity, femininity and homosexuality were transformed from the realm of biological necessity to that of custom.”

Keith Windschuttle, writing on “Language Wars,” in the May issue of Quadrant

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