We made it out to see the Black Dahlia Saturday. With Nada being a big mystery fan and from Southern California, this was a must see. From Ken's comments
and other reviews, I knew that there would be rough spots, but I was still interested in seeing what De Palma did with the story.
It turns out, that De Palma started out with a odd take on the tale of the Dahlia
from Ellroy. His story focuses on two of the police detectives assigned to the Dahlia case and spends much more time on them than exploring who the Dahlia was. Ellroy took the approach of using the Dahlia tale to examine the Los Angeles of the late 40s and its secrets. This was a riskier proposition in the movie because it brought up inevitable comparisons to Chinatown. Unfortunately, the Black Dahlia suffers in comparison both to that movie and to LA Confidential.
Two of the real problems with the Black Dahlia are timing and perspective. There is a big showdown in a hotel that feels like the conclusion, but it was more like the mid-point turn. Part of the problem is that the scene comes with the creaky associations of the big De Palma set pieces on the train station steps in The Untouchables and in the motel in the underappreciated Raising Cain (and with the bell tower scene from Vertigo). The bigger problem is that the film does a terrible job of setting up this scene. A critical character appears in this scene without introduction and is killed.
Toward the end of the movie, when all is revealed, we actually are introduced to the character. But, the reveal is so poorly set-up and the characters involved are so poorly defined that there is no payoff. The bigger problem is that this reveal should be the climax of the film, but the film goes on for another half a reel to a climactic scene that occurs after the audience is mentally already in the parking lot.
There is a lot of potential in the Dahlia tale. Hopefully, someday, someone will figure out how to turn it into a great movie.
Fair Weather Friends
Will Rogers famously said "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat." You would think that we would learn something, but his words are still all to true today. From trial lawyers for Strayhorn, to liberals for Kinky, to Dems for Bonilla
, there are Dems who seem to be interested in supporting anybody but other Dems.
I've talked to folks from the NW Hills who whine about the Dems having no one for 2008
, even though they know nothing about Warner
or even the previous candidates Edwards
. NEWSFLASH: It's 2006, and we have great chances
for electing Dems statewide and for gaining seats
in the Legislature
and in Congress
Folks in the southeast part of the county, where there are no locally contested races, are feeling ignored and wondering why they should vote. Three reasons: Bell
This could be a great year for the Dems, locally, statewide, and nationally. But, we have got to hang together, be optimistic, and get rid of some old, bad habits. The Republicans have retooled
and now have a very effective GOTV effort. The Dems can win, and win big, but we're going to have to work together to do it.
Children of Hurin
Christopher Tolkein has compiled a complete, novel-length version of The Children of Hurin
to be published in April. The tale of Hurin
is from the First Age and involves the struggles against Morgoth.
I haven't read any of the Tolkein miscellany that has been published since The Silmarillion, but this sounds very promising.
Jim Wallis has started a blog
, and he has opened with a dialoge with Ralph Reed on "What should values voters value most?".
Bell Within Striking Distance of Perry
The latest Zogby poll has Bell (25.3%) within 5.4 percentage points of Perry (30.7%). The rule of thumb is that a Democratic candidate can make up five points on election day with a strong get-out-the-vote effort. Bell is now within that range. Bell needs less than the undecideds (7.9%) or less than one-third of Kinky's support (22.4%) to put him over the top. A strong GOTV campaign in support of Bell will also boost local Democratic candidates like Ted Ankrum, John Courage, Valinda Bolton, and Mark Strama.BORPollsterKuffMyDD