“I am utterly bored by celebrity interviews. Most celebrities are devoid of interest.” — Roger Ebert
Happy birthday to Roger Ebert.
KING OF PAIN
So, Rodney King left this mad, mad world in a classic Hollywood fashion — face down in a swimming pool.
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Funny thing is, King was so un-Hollywood. Except that he became part of our national consciousness on videotape. His vicious beating was his intro to the American public. Next, his swollen, discolored, shattered mug became TV fare for days. And then, his voice shaking, he tearfully pleaded for peace.
I was 36 years old when East LA exploded into violence following the ludicrous not guilty verdict in the trial of the cops who’d played the tom toms on King’s head and then laughed about it afterward. I appeared on Ed Tyll‘s WLUP-AM talk radio show as LA burned. Tyll asked me what I thought about the King thing.
“Put your finger on the delay button,” I warned before taking a pause to make sure he was ready to bleep me. “Here’s what I think: Fk tha police.”
See, the whole situation had enraged me so that I quoted from a gansta rap song.
And you know what I think of rap.
Anyway, I was at a family function in the days following the beating a year before. Naturally, talk turned to King and the cops. The house was full of Sicilians, a few of whom had suffered back in the 1930s and 40s at the hands of Chicago cops who called them “nigger” before hauling them in on suspicion — suspicion, usually, of being too dark for their own good — and then giving them a good working over in the lockup. I’d supposed my uncles might sympathize with King.
My uncles were outraged, natch, but not at the cops. And, the funny thing is, not even at King. No, they were hot at the guy, George Holliday, who’d recorded the beating on his videocam.
“That guy had no business taking those pictures,” one uncle said. “That was none of his business.”
“He shoulda minded his own business,” another said.
“He’ll cause a lot of trouble with them pictures,” agreed a third.
As I said, this is a mad, mad world.
RIOT FOR RIGHT
Now, I wonder how Penn State University students will react when Jerry Sandusky is found guilty in his child sex abuse trial later this month.
I mean, they rioted after beloved Coach Joe Paterno was fired for allowing Sandusky free rein to sodomize young boys in the football facility shower room for years.
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And Sandusky is going to be found guilty, isn’t he? This world can’t possibly be mad enough to let him walk, could it?
EBERT’S TOP TEN
Roger Ebert drew up this list for a Sight & Sound magazine poll of noted film critics. Here are his choices for the ten greatest films ever made.
- “Aguirre: The Wrath of God,” by Werner Herzog
- “Apocalypse Now,” by Franics Ford Coppola
- “Citizen Kane,” by Orson Welles
- “La Dolce Vita,” by Frederico Fellini
- “The General,” by Buster Keaton
- “Raging Bull,’ by Martin Scorsese
- “2001: A Space Odyssey,” by Stanley Kubrik
- “Tokyo Story,” by Ozu
- “Tree of LIfe,” by Terrence Malick
- “Vertigo,” by Alfred Hitchcock