Welcome to 2012. If the Mayans had any idea what they were talking about, we all have approximately 11.5 months left on this Earth. Happy new year!
To kick things off, we'll start with some properly weighty matters: namely, feedback from readers annoyed with our Dec. 23 Film Issue, which reviewed the best of 2011. But it was our story about this year's flicks that had Fred Cooper foaming ("Spike, Judd, Damsels and Scientologists: 10 Movies We're Excited About in 2012," by Karina Longworth). "In the piece, she mentions Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming film while saying his Bruno was 'disappointing,' " he writes. "Say what!?! Bruno is the funniest thing I've ever seen. I never laughed so hard in all my life. What's disappointing about that? What's wrong with that sourpuss writer?"
As for reader Danny, he's more upset about The Tree of Life being named one of Longworth's Top 10 ("It's Me, Margaret"). He writes, "Only pretentious, pseudo-intellectuals would think that Tree of Life is good. It was a pure piece of ... umm ... pretentious, pseudo-intellectual crap."
After the Sunset
Speaking of movies, apocalypse or no apocalypse, film buffs are talking about Scott Timberg's examination of the closing of the Laemmle Sunset 5 ("The End of an Era," Dec. 23). Writes David Tulanian, "In the early 1990s, I cashiered for a brief time at Sunset 5. What an interesting experience! For the first time, I viewed independent, quality films that I didn't see elsewhere. On weekends, I worked the 'Midnight Movies' (exhausting!)."
He continues, "I even sold tickets to celebrities such as Queen Latifah and Nicolas Cage (both polite and professional); one time I spotted Keanu Reeves at a show. I remember the witty Roger Christensen, Sunset 5's longtime manager; he and many patrons shared a special rapport that you just don't find at other movie chains, which may be mega-big but are also mega-impersonal. How sad that the Sunset 5, the one-time jewel in the crown for the Laemmles, has closed. I already feel culturally deprived."
Joe Stemme has an update. "Unfortunately, even before the ink was dry on this week's issue, the new Laemmle NoHo 7's very first schedule came out," he writes. "Not only aren't they showing seven different movies, the three that they are showing consist of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Young Adult and The Descendants. Decent films all, but they are hardly the kind of adventurous, one-of-a-kind items that the Sunset 5 seemed to play on a regular basis. All three of these titles can be seen at multiplexes in the area. It's another sad coda to the Sunset 5."
Commenter "asdfasd" takes a more prosaic view.
"The only thing that killed this theater was the lack of stadium seating," he writes. "No big mystery." But not exactly a happy ending, either.
Letter From New York
We also received an unusually thoughtful piece of snail mail from a New York City reader named Shaggy. (That's @shaggysk8es for all you Twitter users.) Or perhaps we just think it's unusually thoughtful because Shaggy likes us more than our sister paper, The Village Voice. Sibling rivalry, don't you know?
"Dear L.A. Weekly," Shaggy writes, "I've been enjoying your paper and it definitely makes my week so much better. The stories you guys cover are always better than The Village Voice. Even if the main story doesn't catch my interest, I always find something to read that I enjoy. Sad to say I can't always say that about The Village Voice."
That is sad.
And so we read on:
"To end the paper properly I always read Henry Rollins last. Sounds like he is not pissed off at the world anymore. His opinions are strong, which is expected, and anyone who has a brain will agree with Rollins. I admire his intelligence but not his shitty music." Now those are some fighting words!
But we digress:
"My opinion of Rollins shouldn't matter, but what I have to say about the Comments page should. Seeing your address on the bottom looks like an invite for readers to share what they have to say. But when you read it, the column doesn't sound like it's coming from readers. It's more of an opinion coming from the staff.
"Maybe you should pick the best letter and then answer it and start a debate on your Web page with other letters — and by doing that, build more traffic on your website. Not only are readers satisfied seeing their name, but it might bring you more ads."
So, dear readers, what do you think? Does our Comments page serve as a forum for our editorial staff's biases rather than an airing of your actual grievances? And if so, what (if anything) can we do to make it more engaging? Forget about selling ads — we're doing just fine. But we'd love to hear your thoughts, and we promise not to use them as an excuse for yet more bloviating. Considering we all have but a few months left on Earth, it seems the least we can do.
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Please send letters to Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact information preferred.
Our Dec. 23 story "Chaos Theater" got two things wrong. Dez Cadena is the correct spelling of the name of the singer who became the group's second guitarist. And his replacement as singer, Henry Rollins, made his debut at the Cuckoo's Nest, not the Cuckoo's Lounge.