- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Hollywood decline

"The motion-picture industry is almost 100 years old. And in all that time, in almost a century, there has never been a film season as unrelievedly, unimaginably, irredeemably awful as Hollywood's Summer 2001. …

"Hollywood is slowly but surely killing off its own audience. The average moviegoer takes in a film at the multiplex only three times per year — and an outright majority of Americans never even enters a movie theater. …

"Contrast this fact with 1946, when an estimated 90 million people went to the movies every week. In 2001, the number is closer to 20 million. … No matter how you figure it, Hollywood is presiding over its own decline.

"As a result, a movie can make $200 million at the box office and yet make hardly a dent in the national consciousness. That's an amazing change when you consider that 'Casablanca' … turned Bogart and Bergman into legends almost immediately. …

"[Chris] Tucker was paid $20 million to appear in 'Rush Hour 2.' Ever heard of him?"

John Podhoretz, writing on "Bummer Summer," Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


Unhappy clown

"Nathan Lane is having the biggest success of his career in 'The Producers.' It has solidified his status as a Broadway star of the old school, the kind who will actually show up and do the work for a full year — the length of his current contract — rather than opt for the 12-week limited runs favored of late by more delicate creatures from the West Coast. … Lane is an outsized talent who can belt it to the balcony and back. … With his classic clown's face, part bulldog, part choirboy, he can be good and evil, smart and stupid, funny and sad, sometimes all in one number. Most of all, he's shameless, stealing every scene he's in. …

"You would assume that at this moment of triumph, Lane would be ecstatic. You would be wrong. After 'The Producers' opened, word in the small, gossipy theater world was that despite the show's blockbuster status the star of the biggest hit on Broadway in more than a decade was still discontented. Even winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical didn't seem to elevate his spirits."

Alex Witchel, writing on "This is it as happy as I get, baby," in Sunday's New York Times Magazine


Friend of Israel

"United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived this week in Durban, South Africa, to direct a conference on international racism wherein many participants have labeled Israel a racist state. …

"The fact is that Jews of all persuasions left wing and right wing, religious and secular joined to form the Zionist movement. These are people who simply want to ensure their homeland is preserved. To call all Zionists 'racist' shows the recklessness of the Palestinians in conducting their bitter war of words against Israel. …

"Why then would the United States take seriously a conference in which one of our greatest allies is maligned? …

"Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics understand this 'racism' ploy.

"While we continue to uphold the Judeo-Christian values defined in the Bible, we have been depicted as loathsome hate-mongers simply because we confirm biblical teachings that define all sexual activity outside the traditional bonds of marriage as wrong. We have subsequently been defined as 'haters.' …

"The truth is this the people of Israel are to be admired for defending their homeland and the United States should continue to honor and safeguard this great friend of America at all costs."

the Rev. Jerry Falwell, writing on "The new 'racism,'" Saturday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com


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