Saturday, June 14, 2008

August take 2

In December I wrote about the terrific play Steppenwolf Theater Company play August:Osage County by Tracy Letts. I saw it last summer in its world premiere in Chicago. At Thanksgiving it moved to Broadway and a two months ago Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Tomorrow it is up for Tony Awards for Best play, two best actress and four other awards. It's terrific and I wish them all luck.

This is what I wrote in December.

All happy families are alike, Tolstoy told us, and each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. But I’d bet the farm that no family has ever been as unhappy in as many ways — and to such sensationally entertaining effect — as the Westons of “August: Osage County,” the new play by Tracy Letts that blazed open last night at the Imperial Theater.

A fraught, densely plotted saga of an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown, “August” is probably the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years. Oh, forget probably: It is, flat-out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years. Fiercely funny and bitingly sad, this turbo-charged tragicomedy — which spans three acts and more than three blissful hours — doesn’t just jump-start the fall theater season, recently stalled when the stagehands went on strike. “August” throws it instantaneously into high gear.

You can read the rest of the review here. I am glad I got to see the show in Chicago.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Last Picture Show?

An article in today's Wall Street Journal caught my interest. Headlined, "Hollywood Studios Seek Control Over Delivering Movies to Homes." The gist is this: studios will allow consumers to watch newly released films in their own homes (in HD).

On the surface this is really interesting, and for a moment I was even excited about the prospect. But then I began thinking, don't we already watch films in our own homes and we call it television? Or Netflix or something.

As I thought more about it, I began to see it as yet another way Hollywood is trying to prop up its sagging industry. They sugar coat it with nice packaging- but you know it's just another way for them to gouge us for more money.

How would they price it? If it's $10 to go to the movies per person- then a living room full of people watching on your monster TV is worth what?

The other thing it got me thinking was what would it do to the theater business (as if big business really cares what happens to the little guy)? I could see a lot of jobs disappearing. Already the independent theater owner is a thing of the past. Now what the ticket taker kid making $7 an hour?

How would they prevent bootlegs?

I don't have a definitive thought on it, but while it seems like a good idea, I can imagine more harm than good coming from it. There will be even a bigger divide between the haves and have nots.

Your thoughts?
Read the WSJ article here.