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Picking nits with year’s prize pix

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to William Goldman’s column about the Oscar race (“A Pox on Crix Amid Year-End Pix,” Variety, Jan. 5-11.)

This is what he shares with us: that he liked “In America” because its story of Irish immigrants arriving in New York City somehow reminded him of looking through the Sunday New York Times arts section 50 years earlier. He says that “Mystic River” somehow comforts him because it was “familiar” and reminded him of movies he loved as a kid. And he contends that a movie like “Lost in Translation” could never, ever work because of a throwaway detail that supposes Bill Murray’s character is an action movie star.

Mr. Goldman shrewdly throws in the line “… the two best pictures of the year — best for me” to deflect criticism of his obviously personal judgments, but in years past I recall him talking about apparently less important things like character motivation and plot. Have those elements factored into his viewing in recent years? And if the real subjects of his article are indeed, “The two best pictures of the year — best for me,” why does he waste time making petty complaints about “Lost in Translation”?

Clearly, as with “Gangs of New York” last year, Mr. Goldman is not content to play cheerleader for his favorites unless he can simultaneously attempt to derail a movie he feels is overrated.

Are these really the comments of someone who is meant to be taken as a voice of authority on the art of filmmaking? After reading Mr. Goldman’s comments I had to remind myself that Variety is supposed to be a beacon of reason and knowledge in the film industry, not a forum for opinion pieces that wouldn’t fly on an Internet discussion board.

Chuck Rudolph
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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