Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Big East college conference misses the irony of its own elitism
There's always a strange dissonance one experiences whenever he or she witnesses New Yorkers either pretending to be the underdog, or somehow deluded into believing that they actually are the underdog. They have the world at their feet in a city that has everything and rules everyone. How can they be an underdog? That's the feeling everyone outside of the Northeast will feel as they watch this very slanted, very prejudice-laden documentary.
"Requiem for the Big East" isn't so much a requiem as a melancholy anthem for such self-delusion.
Here's the back story: American college sports have always been divided by regional conferences that promoted their teams and encouraged exciting rivalries. The Midwest has the Big 10, the Atlantic Coast states have the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Mid and Deep South has the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Pacific Coast states have the Pac 10, just to name the four conferences with which this documentary is preoccupied.
However, despite a plethora of prominent schools, the Northeast had no storied conference unifying their college teams. Step in Dave Gavitt, basketball coach and athletic director at Providence College in Rhode Island. Through smart strategy, brilliant networking and a lot of chutzpah, he manages to create the Big East conference with his own school and St. John's, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut (UConn) and Boston College. A little later they were joined by Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Villanova. Because Gavitt is a basketball coach, and these schools were best at that sport, The Big East starts as a basketball-only conference.
These schools are all located in the power base of the American cities: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Pittsburgh, their suburbs and a few smaller cities not too far away. That these cities always gave/give the cold shoulder to college sports in lieu of their pro teams is never examined as a reason these colleges don't have the legacies of the other conferences and schools, which they so admire. The Northeastern newspapers barely even cover college sports! How can Boston College achieve the notoriety of North Carolina, Michigan, UCLA or Louisiana State when its hometown media are so busy ignoring them for the Boston Celtics NBA team?
As the conference formation is shown in the film, we are plied with the familiar tropes of the Northeast, as people in these wealthy places suddenly find their ethnicity (in this case Italian) and play it for all its worth as an underdog conference that "don't get no respect." Much is made of the fact these coaches and players are all an ethnic mix compared to the rest of American teams, and that would be applause-worthy were it not for the elitist attitude these same coaches and the filmmaker himself exhibit later in the movie when the conference adds other college programs.
It is fun to see the early broadcast days of ESPN as it became the de facto sports network for The Big East. While the rest of the Northeastern media are ignoring their teams, ESPN (based in Connecticut) wisely builds on its locality, and fits hand-in-glove with the conference. The quid pro quo of promotion of network and conference are an easy fit, and both rise together.
The part of this film that works is really all the film should have been about to begin with, which was the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry. The coaches of these two teams seemed to live to humiliate the other's school, especially in conference games. Their commentary is colorful and witty and had this film been only an hour long (as it should have been) they would have boosted the quality of the project infinitely.
Unfortunately the last third of this film is devoted to what the Big East coaches saw as the devolution of the conference, which is when it had to add other schools for the sake of football's growing influence on budgets. With sneering disdain, the coaches offer that they had to add Miami, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech. These men who sold themselves as the down-to-earth Italian street kids at the doc's beginning, suddenly find their Northeastern haughtiness as they lament having to play in these places they clearly consider to be beneath them.
Even worse, the filmmaker, Ezra Edelman, a Yale graduate, buys into this snobbery and even promotes it. Moments after justifiably explaining the deplorable racism Georgetown player Patrick Ewing experienced, Edelman introduces the induction of West Virginia into the conference with the most offensive and bigoted stereotype one could possibly muster. The banjos of the "Deliverance" theme play as rural man (playing a hillbilly?) stomp dances on the porch of a shotgun shack! And while he's assassinating the character of other schools for their crime of being outside the Northeast, the director overlooks some embarrassing details in the conference team's histories, like the Boston College game fixing scandal of the 1970s.
It is at this point the entire film loses its thesis and our sympathy. One can't root for the underdog when the underdog is too busy looking down its snout at the rest of us. The coaches who growled about having to play at Miami, West Virginia and Virginia Tech, then growl about the schools leaving the conference for sunnier pastures, and taking Syracuse with them. After watching the last 30 minutes of the film, one can only cheer on the departing schools and enjoy the demise of a conference that formerly held our respect.
This movie is not a waste of your time if you are a college sports fan. If you have the luxury of seeing it on DVR or DVD, you will likely want to fast forward about 15 minutes and end it before the conference expands. It is this core part of the film that was all that was worth exploring.
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (2008)
Beloved novel is drained of its wit in film
Michael Chabon is one of our generation's greatest writers, having earned the acclaim of awards and prizes that he deserves. "Wonder Boys" was made into a very good if uneventful film, and one has high hopes for "Kavalier & Klay." "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" is about Art Bechstein, the young son of a gangster who does not want him to follow in his footsteps. Art has majored in business but has no taste for it. It is the summer after his graduation and he is supposedly studying for a test that will license him to work in high finance, though he spends his time enjoying the summer as the last of his youth.
Art works at a bookstore and meets Phlox, an attractive young woman. He also makes friends with a gay man named Arthur Lecomte, who introduces him to Cleveland Arning. Art meets Cleveland's girlfriend Jane who is striking and mysterious to him. Art spends his summer in relationships with these people and learning more about himself.
The tone of the book is one of the great accomplishments of Chabon's writing. It is wry and witty, and ever so slightly tongue in cheek. My favorite line in the book is the last, in which Art tells us this summer was a turning point for him, or maybe he just made it all up. Art is a cousin to Holden Caufield, with his attitudes, but he takes himself far less seriously.
This film is not the trainwreck that many would have you to believe, including devotees of the novel. While some criticize the glossy cinematography, I would argue that it is one of the few things that work in this film. Pittsburgh has a fascinating aesthetic that deserves to be filmed well, and the cinematographer accomplished that.
The overall problem with the film is that it never comes even remotely close to capturing the tone of the novel. The wit and humor are gone completely. The tone of this movie is so deathly serious that none of the events that were shocking in the novel are the least bit surprising in the film. It is the equivalent of sitting in the parlor of a funeral home.
Jon Foster is an exercise in bad casting. He looks like what one imagines Art to look like--mildly handsome, lanky, a non-showy intelligence--but never once plays the character properly. There is no slyness, no humor, no wit or warmth in this performance, and that is about 60% of what's wrong with the whole film. Foster does not even come remotely close to the character we followed in the novel. A toned down Topher Grace is what the part called for, but all we get is an actor who is so bland and dull that we couldn't care less about the character he is playing.
Peter Sarsgaard was perfect casting as Cleveland, and has a resume of similar successful roles in his past. However, Sarsgaard plays Cleveland with all the seriousness of a war veteran who's lost his legs. The unpredictability and wildness that makes up the book's character is not in the film.
Sienna Miller's Jane is an overinflated part, about a character who was only meant to be an enigma in passing, sort of like Suzanne Somer's "Girl in the White T-Bird" in "American Graffiti." Her mere beauty is supposed to mean more to us than it ever does.
Only Mena Survari as Phlox and Nick Nolte as Art's gangster father manage to properly convey what we knew about the characters. Unfortunately the likable Phlox is reduced to being a clingy nymphomaniac, as opposed to the sweet, likable free spirit in the novel. Still Survari made the part work despite limited screen time.
Art's sexual awakening is glossed over and Cleveland's bisexuality is treated more as pansexuality. The film has the nerve to show the men in embrace, but cuts to the morning after in chaste fade away.
Even the Cloud Factory is given a short shrift. A prominent fixture in the book, it is also a big player in the movie, but as with the characters, it is also played as a serious location rather than a humorous one. The actual plant in the novel is a working facility at Carnegie Mellon University. In the film, it is an abandoned facility outside of town about which Cleveland says no one knows why smoke still comes out of the stack. Well, actually, smoke can only come from a stack if it is fed coal or some other energy source, which someone must purchase. So if no one is buying coal for it then such a thing is not even possible. Smoke doesn't just appear! And that sums up the problem with this film. Smoke appears out of nowhere and for no reason, as do the human emotions. We don't see any motivation or reasoning, and we never understand why any of these boring people want anything to do with each other.
Pittsburgh is a fascinating city with a rich history, Chabon's novel is a great book with rich characters. Both got the short shrift in this plodding and pointless film. The only way to enjoy it is to put it on TV at a party and turn down the sound while playing a music CD. The visuals make for great music video and replace the characters who never muster any personality in the atmosphere of the film. Like most films about ennui, we become bored with watching boredom.
A greatly missed opportunity, undeservedly praised
I was fortunate enough to live in Seattle and witness firsthand the grunge movement, so the explosion of a musical scene--as what happened with post-punk in Manchester, U.K. in the 70s--fascinates me, and I've been catching up with all that post-punk music that I missed out on back in the day. I loved Joy Division's dark sound and wondered why they didn't have a larger oeuvre of work. A little research revealed the reason to be lead singer Ian Curtis' suicide on the eve of the band's American tour in 1980. This intrigued me with Curtis and the band, and I thought Joy Division had the makings of a good movie. And it does, but this is not that movie. Having seen it I am amazed at the plethora of great reviews this film has gotten. It is perhaps the most mundane film ever made about rock and roll music! If a person had no knowledge of rock music and was first introduced to it through this film, he would think that it was a product not of rage and angst, but tedium and solitude.
"Control" is unnecessarily filmed in black and white in the hopes of fooling dilettantes into believing it is high art, and given the rave reviews from American critics, it succeeds in its foolery. Director Anton Corbijn has used b&w in previous films with rock subjects only to make the film look artistic because he has no cinematic idiom of his own. Corbijn never makes use of the shadows and light that are the very point for a modern filmmaker to us b&w. Moreover, this film needs to be in color to capture the grit and decline of Manchester in the period. Speaking of which, the film never seems to step foot in any place but a bland suburb. To understand these characters and their motivations we need to see the decline of the industrial titan that was Manchester, but we see only modest homes and verdant lawns. Just what dreadful life were they responding to with their music? The characters in this film live rather decently in what appears to be a bucolic setting. Even when the band makes a trip to London we only see shots of them in their car going to and fro. This is perhaps the most anti-urban film ever made about an urban subject.
Even worse, there is no sense of a musical community, and that is a grave crime given the burst of energy that emanated from Manchester in that period. If this film is to be believed, Joy Division seemed to exist in a vacuum, with inspiration coming only from David Bowie and Sex Pistols records, with no acknowledgment to their peers and contemporaries.
The entire genesis of creativity is given the short shrift as well. We see Curtis write poetry which presumably will become songs. He goes to his room and closes his door to shut himself off from the world, but we never see the world that influenced his need for solitude. Curtis is not portrayed as a tortured soul--which undoubtedly he must have been--but as an easygoing bloke who doesn't even seem to disdain his civil service job. Sam Riley does well enough in his role as Curtis, but never breaks through. You keep waiting for him to show us the magic but he only manages to during the concert scenes. But then, how could any actor achieve that task? All Curtis does in this film is mope.
Samantha Morton, so good in other work, is still good here but she isn't given much to do. The dissolution of her marriage happens fairly easily and without much complaint from her character. Toby Kebbell stands out as the band's manager Rob Gretton. Sadly he breathes the only excitement and energy into this whole enterprise. I would comment on the other band members but I couldn't tell one from the other. Whatever friendship existed between them was not brought to the screen, and the other three band members are as much a backdrop as the sets. This movie would suggest that they were of no consequence, when in fact they went on to form New Order and rise to the prominence for which Joy Division seemed destined.
Even the film's title is a cryptic cop out. Joy Division's breakthrough hit was "She's Out of Control," but unlike "Love Will Tear Us Apart," it didn't reach a seminal status. Is "Control" a reference to Curtis' seizures? His personal life running astray? If so, how is his experience unique enough to give this movie such a definitive one-word title? How is he in any less control of his life than Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, or Michael Hutchence were of their own? The title is generic, and one can only guess that the movie was not called "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (which would have been incredibly apt) because of contractual issues.
The biggest surprise about this film is that in spite of all its tepidness, it has received great reviews from the likes of Roger Ebert and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. "Control" had an 87% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes! Anton Corbijn has fashioned a movie about rock music that is devoid of any of the energy, zest or verve of the musical form. This film isn't the least bit enlightening about Ian Curtis, Joy Division nor Manchester's post-punk music scene. It is blandly made, employs stock moments from biographical films and only engages the viewer on a few occasions. Corbijn has a history of making movies about great rock subjects (U2, Depeche Mode) and draining every bit of life out the bands and their music. Now he has done the same for Joy Division. Skip right by "Control" and go directly to the documentaries, "Joy Division" or the BBC produced "Factory: From Joy Division to Happy Mondays."
Logic is cast to the wind for effect
It's perfectly all right for a film to defy logic if it takes us somewhere interesting. "Face Off" flew in the, well, face of logic, but it posed interesting questions about identity and revenge. That is not the case for "Crank." I like Jason Statham as much as the next person. He's sexy and swaggering and the perfect hero. You even like him in this as he is such a sweet boyfriend that he doesn't want to hurt his girlfriend's feelings by rushing her. Of course this idea is stolen from "Pulp Fiction" wherein Bruce Willis never wanted to rush his girlfriend, Maria de Medeiros, all the while being hounded by Ving Rhames.
Quentin Tarrantino appropriated ideas from film noir and reassembled them into a collage; Guy Ritchie appropriated from Tarrantino and created a collage of a collage. This film is just a mish mash since the collage can't be deconstructed and reconstructed any further.
Ideas are introduced and dropped. Continuity is a huge problem. At one point Statham is shot in the butt by one of the villains as he runs onto a freight elevator. Statham curses the man and fires back as he holds his wounded tail for the next couple of shots. Then suddenly the wound is no longer there and his butt is back to normal.
This film is also that worst of all American clichés. Violence abounds graphically, yet when Statham and his girlfriend (played by Amy Smart) have sex in the middle of Chinatown, the shot of the act is coy and cautious, as though being made for TV. Like so many American films, "Crank" isn't the least bit afraid of brutal acts of violence, yet--this being an American film--the idea of nudity in sex is intimidating, even with a British leading man.
Whereas Tarrantino and Ritchie have the good sense to confine their violence to the underworld of crime, the violence of this film seeps into the lives of everyday people, and hence loses our sympathy for the movie's hero. When a cab driver refuses to allow Statham in his cab because he is soaking wet Statham throws him to the ground, points at him and screams "Al Quaeda" in the middle of a crowded plaza. People then leap on the man and we hear his bones breaking. It's meant to be funny and--except for the young kids sitting near me who mistook the moment for something resonant--it isn't. It's just cruel like this whole movie.
This is a mean film, a film that hates people and makes you hate the ones who populate this particular world. It has nothing to say, no original idea and no humor. It wastes a great leading man and a great idea with only some punchy (yet unoriginal) ideas toning up the direction.
A History of Violence (2005)
The most overrated film of 2005
It is impossible to believe that this terrible film--one of the year's worst--has received such high acclaim and has been deemed one of the best by many critics. Nothing takes me out of a film faster than when characters behave like "movie people" instead of like real people. No one in this film behaves or reacts the way actual people do, but rather in a silly dramatic fashion that is pure theatrical tripe.
The reason for this vast overpraise is Viggo Mortenson's excellent performance as Tom Stall. His character is the only one which is reasonably well written, and Mortenson delivers as he reminds us that he is one of the most under-treasured actors in Hollywood (along with Alesandro Nivola). He hits every note of his character's conundrum just right.
Like "The Road to Perdition," this film is based on a graphic novel, and like that film it features talented actors wasted on a paper thin plot and shallow study of human emotions.
You can see the film is going to veer off course in a mundane scene where Stall's son Jack (played by Ashton Holmes) is bullied in the gym locker room. Jack is at first humble but then comes back with smart alecky remarks and everyone laughs at the more popular bully rather than the geeky Jack. Has this ever happened anywhere? Yet we see this idea played out in terrible films like "Can't Hardly Wait," where characters do what we wish could happen in real life, instead of what would actually happen. And that's the rub for this film. The bad guys are always losing, which makes you wonder how they got the status of being bad guys to begin with.
Then there is the famous/infamous sex scene on the stairwell between Tom and his wife Edie (Maria Bellow). Anything that gives us a nude Mortenson is certainly welcome, however this scene is ridiculous. I won't give away anything except to say it ends the way every scene in this unlikely movie ends: stupidly and unbelievably.
Every year a graphic novel is turned into an overpraised or overly stylized film ("Sin City" anyone?), when in fact these films never quite get beneath the surface. Twenty years from now people will laugh at the idea that this film was as highly regarded as it is today.
Grey's Anatomy (2005)
Chick power taken to extremes ruins character relationships
I didn't even have to be told this show is produced by a woman, but I looked it up to verify and sure enough it is. The show is so overtly pro-female/anti-male that you just know an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey will be coming soon.
Everything irritating about this show could be summed up into a moment of dialogue from one of its episodes. After constantly berating, belittling and humiliating her roommate George, and never hesitating to make it clear to him that his opinion means nothing to her, Izzie (short for Isobel) asks him in all seriousness, "Did you feel like I was emasculating you?" Even more incredulously, she said it with a straight face.
"Emasculating" is the key word in this show. The hospital of this program is populated with women with chips on their shoulders and men who are bastards until these women set them straight. In one particular episode a rape victim is callously dismissed by the surgeons until the intern reminds them that she has a name--the ol' new-girl-teaches-the old-farts compassion trick. Beyond that, the doctors remove from the woman's mouth something which none of them but our heroine, Meredith Grey, can identify : the end of the rapist's penis.
I'm not even all that perturbed by the idea of a bitten-off penis, for a rapist would surely get what he deserved, but do you mean to tell me that a room full of MALE DOCTORS couldn't identify a penis while a WOMAN could? Where is this hospital so that we can all avoid it?
The program constantly features Izzie wearing next to nothing as she walks around the house she shares with Meredith and George. Improbably, George (whom we can only assume is straight) complains about this, only to prompt her poke her head into the shower while he's there. Meanwhile, there's cocky Alex who mocks her modeling days and she gets even by stripping in front of him. If Izzie is so concerned about being taken seriously by the hospital crowd then why is she so contemptuously undressed in front of George, someone who could be her ally, yet offended by Alex's motivations?
I guess you're asking yourself why I watch this show if it bothers me like this, and the answer is that otherwise it can be engaging. I can even overlook that fact it features Patrick Dempsey, an actor I've disdained--pre or post rhinoplasty. It takes place in Seattle, a city in which I once lived and continue to love, so it makes me feel connected to that particular place. This show has all the framework of being a great program, and I don't even mind the chick power stuff adding a little verve. I just wish they'd take it back a few notches and make the males (beyond Dempsey's character) a lot more sympathetic.
Night of 100 Stars (1982)
Fun and kitschy programming as only the 80's could produce
This was a fun program from back in the last days of three networks when there wasn't much else to watch. The very idea of getting 100 stars together for one non-awards show seemed audacious at the time.
The different stars represented the facets of actors' work: Stage, movies and television. Television actors who could sing (Nancy Dussault, Pam Dawber, and John Schneider) but no one knew they could were put into a mock take on "What's My Line?" Broadway stars belted out songs from the shows which made them big names. And movie actors...well they mostly gave speeches or did bits.
The show is full of skits and walk ons hurried so as to fit 100 stars into such a short time span. At one point they simply had actors of Christopher Reeve's ilk wearing a top hat and tails stroll across stage to hear their names announced!
There was a sequel to this show but nothing could top the pure kitsch quality of the original. They don't make'm like this anymore...and I will leave it up to you as to whether or not that is a good thing.
A very engaging show
This was an engaging anthology program which came on NBC on Thursdays the summer of 1977. Each week we followed the lives of different members of the high school Class of '65. I still remember some of the episodes: A girl becomes a semi-successful folk singer; two buddies try to open a restaurant in the desert where a highway will go through; and Richard Hatch (from "Battlestar Galactica") played a ne'er-do-well. I would love to find this on DVD, or at least on TVLand. It's lifespan was short but it gave me many fond memories along with other great 70's television like "Rockford Files."
A Chorus Line (1985)
A very bad film of a very good stageshow
The Broadway musical, "A Chorus Line" is arguably the best musical in theatre. It's about the experiences of people who live for dance; the joys they experience, and the sacrifices they make. Each dancer is auditioning for parts in a Broadway chorus line, yet what comes out of each of them are stories of how their lives led them find dance as a respite.
The film version, though, captures none of the passion or beauty of the stage show, and is arguably the worst film adaptation of a Broadway musical, as it is lifeless and devoid of any affection for dance, whatsoever.
The biggest mistake was made in giving the director's job to Sir Richard Attenborough, whose direction offered just the right touch and pacing for "Gandhi." Why would anyone in his or her right mind ask an epic director to direct a musical that takes place in a fairly constricted place?
Which brings us to the next problem. "A Chorus Line" takes place on stage in a theatre with no real sets and limited costume changes. It's the least flashy of Broadway musicals, and its simplicity was its glory. However, that doesn't translate well to film, and no one really thought that it would. For that reason, the movie should have taken us in the lives of these dancers, and should have left the theatre and audition process. The singers could have offered their songs in other environments and even have offered flashbacks to their first ballet, jazz or tap class. Heck, they could have danced down Broadway in their lively imaginations. Yet, not one shred of imagination went into the making of this film, as Attenborough's complete indifference for dance and the show itself is evident in his lackadaisical direction.
Many scenes are downright awkward as the dancers tell their story to the director (Michael Douglas) whether he wants to hear them or not. Douglas' character is capricious about choosing to whom he extends a sympathetic ear, and to whom he has no patience.
While the filmmakers pretended to be true to the nature of the play, some heretical changes were made. The very beautiful "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love"--a smashing stage number which took the dancers back to their adolescence--was removed and replaced with the dreadful, "Surprise," a song so bad that it was nominated for an Oscar. Adding insult to injury, "Surprise" simply retold the same story as "Hello, Love" but without the wit or pathos.
There is no reason to see this film unless you want a lesson in what NOT to do when transferring a Broadway show to film. If you want to see a film version of this show, the next closest thing is Bob Fosse's brilliant "All That Jazz." While Fosse's daughter is in "A Chorus Line," HE is the Fosse who should have been involved, as director. He would have known what to do with this material, which deserved far greater respect than this sad effort.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
An effective film based loosely on actual events
There is much discussion about how much of this film is factual and how much is made up for the fun of the film. I am a West Virginian who visits Pt. Pleasant often because it is an interesting town with Revolutionary War history and such, and I can say that this film is mostly fiction, but that's okay!
The true facts are these: Many different people saw the mothman creatures in the late 60's in the Pt. Pleasant area. There were no direct warnings or communications, simply specters without explanation. These phantoms were taken seriously only because--as noted by Laura Linney in the film--they were seen not by flakes or freaks, but by responsible members of the community.
The Silver Bridge did collapse after a period of the mothman sightings, and they were never seen or reported again in the region since.
It should be noted that in this, region the mothman sightings and the bridge collapse are seen as two separate incidents. People around here really don't perceive the mothmen as auguries of the bridge collapse. However connecting those dots for the book and film creates for a clever scenario--barring any disrespect to those who died in the bridge collapse.
That most of this film is a trumped up version of the actual events shouldn't matter. The film is merely exploring the scenario, and by using a real town with a real story, it draws us into the sense of community and fear that could pervade if such things did occur.
The film is very well done and very effective in its use of paranoia and our fear of the unknown. There is no axe murderer roaming the woods; no monsters shown with giant fangs. Only the brief, fleeting images of the mothmen and their unexplained presence.
Director Mark Pellington is great at using very few tricks to accomplish a lot of atmosphere. He is respectful to the people of Pt. Pleasant and West Virginia, and never takes the low road of playing the people off as rubes. It is that smart decision which makes this film work. If we didn't respect the community, we would never be drawn into this world.
Richard Gere gives his usual excellent performance, and continues to be one of the most under-appreciated actors when it comes award time each year. He is the definition of a rational and intelligent man drawn into a situation that overwhelms him.
Laura Linney is also excellent, and as a West Virginian myself, I must say she plays a Mountaineer (our parlance for West Virginian) better than any actors I can think of since those in "Matewan." She never condescends to the character, and employs an excellent dialect which is just as subtle as the dialect one would find in Pt. Pleasant, instead of the overbearing hillbilly dialects other actors often employ. Linney continues to amaze with subtlety and I am always looking forward to more of her work.
Debra Messing has a brief role, but she does make a mark and get a chance to show that she has dramatic acting chops which she refined onstage in roles such as "Angels in America." I would like to see her in more dramatic work since I enjoy her comedic work on "Will & Grace" each week.
I also thought Alan Bates made a marvelous turn in the film as a professor (in more sense than one) of the mothman. He has some great lines, including, when Gere asks why the mothmen don't explain their presence if they are superior creatures: "You are superior to a cockroach; do you ever bother to explain yourself to a cockroach?"
At the end of the film a title says that the cause of the bridge collapse was never known. This is a classic example of Hollywood having fun, since the cause was never a mystery at all. The bridge was designed with what was called an I-bar, which meant the entire bridge was held up with one single joint! It rusted and snapped under the weight of stopped holiday traffic (as shown in the film). Because of this, such bridges all over the nation were shut down and subsequently replaced. The Silver Bridge collapse remains the worst bridge disaster in American history. The collapse scenes are terrifying, yet respectful of the actual tragedy.
Kudos to Pellington and his marvelous cast for making such a thought-provoking and engaging film.
It should be noted that Pt. Pleasant has a great sense of humor about the mothmen, and they even have events for people to come and enjoy the lore. If you are in the region stop by downtown and find some fun paraphernalia.