If this Chicago Reader review from November 15, 1996 is of any interest today, I suspect this is more because of what it has to say about Australia and the U.S. than because of what has to say about a rather forgettable Bill Murray comedy. —J.R.
Larger Than Life
Rating ** Worth seeing
Directed by Howard Franklin
Written by Roy Blount Jr., Pen Densham, and Garry Williams
With Bill Murray, Janeane Garofalo, Matthew McConaughey, Keith David, Pat Hingle, Jeremy Piven, Lois Smith, Anita Gillette, and Linda Fiorentino.
They say an elephant never forgets, but what they don’t say is, you’ll never forget an elephant. — Bill Murray in Larger Than Life
Farmer has bought an elephant at an auction. Gives him to Tom, Huck and Jim and they go about the country on him making no end of trouble. — from Mark Twain’s working notes for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Are you still suffering from postelection malaise? I’ve just gotten back from a couple of weeks in Australia, where voting is compulsory, and for all the complaints I heard about the downsizing of government services and ugly efforts to renege on aboriginal land rights and change immigration policies, the political atmosphere seemed decidedly less alienated and despairing than it does here.… Read more »
The following essay was commissioned by Michael Koresky at the Criterion Collection for their 2007 DVD release of Chris Marker’s Sans soleil (which they brought out with La jetée), although they eventually decided not to include it in their booklet. They made it available on their web site for a spell until an infection obliged them to remove all their essays, but Koresky has informed me that these are being reposted now that their new web site is being launched. I’m reprinting it here, in any case, with their permission. I should add that it recycles some material from my essay “On Second Thoughts,” about The Last Bolshevik, reprinted at the end of my 1997 collection Movies as Politics. — J.R.
The Guarded Intimacy of Sans soleil
by Jonathan Rosenbaum
“The Sorbonne should be razed and Chris Marker put in its place.” —-Henri Michaux
“Contrary to what people say, using the first person in films tends to be a sign of humility: `All I have to offer is myself.’”—Chris Marker
Even though few film essayists are more mythological than Chris Marker, it might help to clarify some matters if a couple of the more persistent myths surrounding his legend were undermined a little.… Read more »
Gary Groth of Fantagraphics Books commissioned me to write this Introduction to the first volume of Charles Schulz’s Sunday color strips of Peanuts, covering the early 1950s, which was published in November 2013. — J.R.
“…I’ve made a lot of mistakes down through the years doing things I
never should have done. But fortunately, in a comic strip, yesterday
doesn’t mean anything. The only thing that matters is today and tomorrow.”
— Charles Schultz to Gary Groth (“At 3 O’clock in the Morning,”
Comics Journal #200, December 1997)
It was one thing to read Sunday color Peanuts comic strips from 1952 to 1955 at the rate of one per week, when they came out — and not only because they would have wound up in the trash like the rest of the Sunday paper, long before my brothers and I went to sleep that night. And it’s quite another thing to read them all today, piled together in the present volume, one after the other, seven or eight panels at a time, as if they’re the successive chapters of an ongoing serial — or maybe just the latest portions of an endless white picket fence that stretches towards some version of infinity or eternity (or at least roughly half a century of dependable continuity, in any case).… Read more »