From Slate's 2005 Movie Club:
What David [Edelstein] reported earlier about an irate communication from a reader who wanted him to write simply about Munich "just" as a movie—in other words, to betray even Spielberg's intentions and reduce the movie to its Indiana Jones dimensions—I had to laugh out loud, because I've been getting blinkered letters and e-mails like that ever since I started writing for the Chicago Reader in 1987. But I hasten to add that I get far more letters and e-mails that actually engage with what I'm writing about, and that's justification and vindication enough for me. It also explains why I haven't returned to Slate's Fray ever since I caught a few ugly glimpses of it a few years back. When people in such places bitch about any of us critics writing about movies they haven't seen, what they're really saying is that the only new "information" they find permissible—and please note that we have to keep "information" in quotes—is some form of advertising. For me it parallels in an eerie way Bush tries so hard to limit what we can say about the occupation of Iraq. What they all should really be writing and saying is, "Don't tell us anything we haven't already heard." To which I can only reply—or would reply, if I was back in the Fray—"Please roll over and go back to sleep. The rest of us are having a fruitful discussion."
Thank you, J.R.
Worth viewing for the great, lengthy clips from classic MGM musicals, but there's a bit of a sting as well -- when (for example) Fred Astaire walks through a crumbling set that was used for The Band Wagon, the subtext is clear: this shit is over, yo. It aint coming back. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, and here's the document-cum-obituary that confirms its existence. (Oh sure, we can pretend that it continues on with the next generation -- Liza Minnelli! -- but Cabaret was two years ago.) Bonus points for excerpts from the work of Busby Berkeley, who apparently was a Surrealist on the level of Dali. More bonus points for the Esther Williams retrospective, when the title of the movie temporarily becomes That's Puzzling!.