‘Butler,’ indie films; newspaper headlines

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Recommended…..

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is worth a look, if for no other reason it’s a good, solid American story in a summer of blockbuster movies that was annoyingly thick in robots, monsters, police officers apparently back from the dead and end-of-the-world, computer-generated-imaging destruction. Oh. And some story about Tonto and The Lone Ranger which set back the Western genre back a good, 10-12 years, or so. Digressing, alas.

“The Butler” is overly determined to blend the 30-year career of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) in the White House to include discussions of the country’s civil rights movement. Whitaker is terrific and evolves into a White House staffer who embraces routine and presidential history. Oprah Winfrey, too, is worth watching as his lifelong wife/partner who descends into alcoholism, then begins recovery following a family tragedy. Too, the film has a squirm-in-your-seat element. Actual film footage of the civil rights protests — Freedom Riders beaten, bus set afire, lunch counter humiliations, attack dogs and fire hoses — are deftly woven into the narrative. It’s a good story.

It’s showing in the comfy confines of Centennial Theatre.

 

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Incidentally, theater owner Bill Campbell tells me his fall schedule for the 10-week independent film series, The Sheridan Film Festival, could be finalized by the end of this week. It’s always a treat — 10 straight Wednesday afternoons and evenings of independent film.

 

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I see by the paper….

The headline writer responsible for possibly the best tabloid headline ever is now unemployed.

V.A. Musetto of the New York Post was part of a recent buyout/downsizing plan of staff.

In 1983, Musetto wrote a headline atop a page one tabloid story: “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar.” It was atop a story regarding a mob-related murder. He had worked for the Post for more than 30 years, most recently as a film critic.

The Post has always published flashy headlines.

• “Obama Beats Weiner” was over a story when the president called former congressman Anthony Weiner to get him to resign his House seat.

• “Are They Knuts?” when The New York Knicks rehired disgraced coach Isiah Thomas as a consultant.

• “Close But No Cigar,” on a story when the Senate failed to convict President Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky imbroglio in 1999.

The Post is the nation’s 13th oldest newspaper, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. He was “dismayed” at the election of his rival, Thomas Jefferson, to the presidency. Dorothy Schiff was the longtime publisher of the Post (1939-1976) before selling it to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox corporation. She’s the subject of a fascinating biography, “The Lady Upstairs,” published in 2007. Ms. Schiff died in 1989. Murdoch’s Fox empire continues to publish the Post.

Another “winning” headline is from The Washington Post’s Style section in 1994: “You Can Put Pickles Up Yourself,” over a story about home canning.

 

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