Thinking Inside the Small Box
Thinking Inside the Small Box
It may not have been her intention, but Nikki Finke [Deadline Hollywood, Trailer of Tears, April 814] did more than analyze the opening-date strategies of this summers major films and review their trailers. She also reminded us of the shameless disdain the studios continue to have for original thought.
It seemed to start early this year with last months Miss Congeniality 2 and Be Cool (the follow-up to 1995s Get Shorty) and now The Amityville Horror and House of Wax . . . our first taste of what may be the worst year ever (or best? . . . your call) for déjà vu all over again in the safe, shareholder-driven world of corporate Hollywood and its addictive bottom-line love affair with remakes and sequels.
Besides the retreads mentioned in Nikkis piece (Bewitched of 1960s TV fame, War of the Worlds, The Longest Yard, Star Wars III, Batman Begins, Mr and Mrs. Smith and The Pink Panther), youll soon be able to view the new looks of such vintage fare as Disneys The Shaggy Dog and Herbie (Fully Loaded). Johnny Depp is the new Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
But wait, theres more! Fun With Dick & Jane with Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni instead of George Segal and Jane Fonda. And therell be another King Kong before year-end. Now what self-respecting new millennium could be without cinemas favorite ape for long?
Now if Bewitched isnt enough to satisfy your craving for family-room classics in wide screen, then watch for The Dukes of Hazzard at a cineplex near you.
Yes, well all be faced with movie and television throwbacks over the next few months while the titans of celluloid lick their greedy little wallets and prep more has-beens for 2006: The Poseidon Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest, James Bonds Casino Royale, Superman Returns and another slice of small-box nostalgia, Miami Vice: The Movie. And thats probably just the tip of the reel.
Hell, theyve already got Spiderman III and Pirates 3 on storyboards for 2007, for crying out loud.
Will these people ever quit living in the past?
Oh, by the way . . . if youre a budding screenwriter working on the next Sideways? Good friggin luck. Well see you at Sundance. Then its straight to video.
Build More Than Sound Bites
As an African-American male in South Los Angeles, hearty kudos to Erin Aubry Kaplan to expose what King-Drew should really be about, and that is involving and engaging a community [Whither the Community? April 2228]. Considering that those same political heavyweights such as Ms. Waters and Supervisor Burke cant use their political force to create a continual working dialogue with the community and county supervisors to actually addressing the problem instead of grandstanding and dodging the issues.
But this issue goes further than just King-Drew; the mishandling and muted voices show a glaring problem with the black political elite in Los Angeles. They use their civil rights platform to actually suppress the people they are serving. They Maxine Waters and the Rev. Jesse Jackson regularly use tragedy to get their 15-second soundbite to reiterate a problem but never try to actually solve the problems, such as, Why are there still large empty lots along Vermont Avenue that have been undeveloped since the uprising of 1992? Or why havent they used their platforms to suggest the abandoned Harbor Subdivision Railroad be considered for mass-transit use as a Metrolink line, providing working residents access to higher-paying jobs across the region? But my guess is that it would be politically unattractive to do so.
Im a member of the faculty at Southwest Middle College High School, the subject of Erin Aubry Kaplans piece, Back to Square One [April 815], and P. Landsbergers and K. Candaeles response [Letters, April 1521]. I hope youll print my response as well.
It is not true that Southwest has given us free use of campus property for nearly 20 years. Middle College HS is in its 16th year at Southwest College. The school was started with a fairly substantial grant which lasted for five years. Southwest College took a large portion of that money each year to cover expenses. There was a period after the grant expired that LAUSD did not pay anything. Had our school been evicted from Southwest at that time LAUSD would probably have deserved the blame, but a lease agreement was negotiated and it included a retroactive payment of over $1 million. LAUSD now pays half a million dollars each school year for us to use those bungalows.
Southwest College has a softball field and no softball team. Ours are the only students who have ever used that field and we had to cancel our softball program this year because we lost our coach. Unless LASC has a firm plan to add their own softball program, that land could be used to alleviate the parking shortage or it could be a temporary place to allow LAUSD to install bungalows or build a permanent school building for us.
Two years ago the salutatorian of Southwest College was one of our graduating seniors! Several years before that the salutatorian and valedictorian of LASC and MCHS were the same two students! In the last four years 42 of our students have graduated our high school and LASC at the same time probably a hundred more have accumulated more than a year of transferable college units. Right now our 350 students are enrolled in more than 500 Southwest College classes! How much more integrated could we be? Southwest College should be proud to have such a successful high school on their campus. We graduated 67 not 44 seniors last year, and were proud of every one of them, including the three who have continued their studies at Southwest College. One of the most painful aspects of our departure from their campus is that we will no longer be around to see and support those students who stay on or who return, sometimes years later, to the college where they attended high school.
If we are forced to move to the 98th Street Elementary school site in order to ensure that our school will stay open after next year, we will make the most of that situation and continue to improve our program. Hopefully, at some point in the future, someone will figure out how to sustain a high school on the campus of Southwest College. It may not be Dr. Levys political responsibility to help solve the secondary education crisis in South L.A. or anywhere else. But in a crisis we should all do what we can as educators, as citizens especially those in positions of power.
Southwest Middle College High School
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