I have scratched together a living, in one way or another, as a writer for more than 50 years now. I was a free-lance writer during the early stages of the Vietnam War. I was the Southwest Division Overnight News Editor for United Press International back when UPI was a legitimate news gathering organization. Following that, I went to the Dallas Morning News where I became the first person to write about rock 'n' roll on a daily basis for a Texas metropolitan newspaper. I later became the News' entertainment editor. Following some stints with a couple of prominent PR firms, I had the extraordinary good fortune to team with two communications legends, Ken Fairchild and Lisa LeMaster, as part of one kick-ass media consulting/crisis communications team. That was followed by short stays with the City of Dallas, as its public information officer; the Dallas Northeast Chamber of Commerce where I had the good fortune to meet and work alongside some of this city's business and political titans; and editorial director for QuestCorp Media until that company went out of business. Now officially retired, concentrating on this blog.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali *** Directed by Bill Siegel. Covers Ali’s battle to overturn a five-year prison sentence for refusing U.S. military service in Vietnam. The film falls short of explaining Ali, who, like many outspoken individuals, can stubbornly repel scrutiny, nor will it pacify the many who opposed his conscientious objections. But it also underlines one enduring quality: namely, that he probably couldn’t care less what people think.
Bettie Page Reveals All *** Directed by Mark Mori. The pinup model and cult icon recounts the true story of how her free expression overcame government witch-hunts to help launch America’s sexual revolution. Why does the movie waste so much time on empty adoration from celebrity fans and skim past the significant tragedies that contributed to her complex life? Parental neglect, sexual assault, severe mental illness — all of these factors shaped the woman Page became. But perhaps, even today, no one wants to consider the sadness behind her 1,000-watt smile.
Big Bad Wolves ** Directed by Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado. A vigilante cop joins forces with the father of a murder victim to interrogate the main suspect in a series of brutal child homicides and to mete out their own version of justice. Keshales and Papushado, the two-man writer-director team, are swinging at serious targets here, but their point soon wears itself out, and what remains is schlock with airs and tired black humor.
Barefoot * Directed by Andrew Fleming. The black sheep son (Scott Speedman) of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient (Evan Rachel Wood) who’s been raised in isolation her entire life and takes her home for his brother’s wedding. It’s dispiriting enough that we’re still getting movies about the cute side of mental illness, but to turn someone rendered childlike by abusive trauma into desirable girlfriend material — and sporting cast-off stripper attire to boot — is more than a little creepy.