Louise & More

RIP Louise Fletcher, 89, whose performance as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) will endure as long as mankind does. There are 136 other titles under her name at IMDb, career spanning 1958–2017. Born in Alabama to deaf parents, she graduated from the University of North Carolina. She appeared in a lot of TV shows, then paused her career ten years to raise her two sons. When she returned, she worked on either the big or small screen. She did 14 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Here are a few other films in which she appeared: The Cheap Detective (1978), Brainstorm (1983), Firestarter (1984), Flowers in the Attic (1987), The Player (1992). Well done, madam. Thank you.

Last night’s movie fix, courtesy of Netflix by mail, was a winner, Cedar Rapids (2011). It’s the story of a straitlaced insurance salesman, a good guy, sent to a convention to bring back honors for his employer. His destination is a lot larger than his small town, and temptation not easy to resist. He learns a lot about “the real world” during his stay. Ed Helms is terrific as the lead, as is the supporting cast: Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche, Isaiah Whitlock Jr., Alia Shawkat, Kurtwood Smith and the great John C. Reilly, who steals the show as a good-natured blowhard. Phil Johnston’s screenplay is first rate, filled with humor, some of it sweet, some vulgar. I am not familiar with any of his other work, the same for director Miguel Arteta, who has been prolific in TV. In typical Hollywood fashion, the creators make light of infidelity, prostitution and substance abuse. Since it is so well done and amusing, I enjoyed it. Others as square as I may be offended. 38,000 users at IMDb have rated Cedar Rapids, forging to a consensus of 6.3 on a scale of ten. It did not fare well at the box office, returning less than $8 million on a budget estimated at $10 million. I hope this worthy flick has made up the shortfall in streaming, DVD sales and rentals… Helms is in the midst of a fine career. There are 84 titles under his name. He was in 147 episodes of The Office and has created two shows: mini-series Tiny Commando and Rutherford Falls… Whitlock is a TV mainstay who occasionally does movies. He has made 14 appearances in the Law & Order franchise, done 25 episodes of The Wire and seven of Veep, to name a few… Shawcat is equally comfortable on the big or small screen. There are 95 titles under her name. She has done 39 episodes of State of Grace, 84 of Arrested Development, 50 of Search Party… Smith has been at it since 1980, constantly in demand, 161 titles under his name, a deceptive figure since he did 200 episodes alone of That 70’s Show, and has made multiple appearances on a myriad of shows… Here are Heche, Reilly, Helms & Whitlock in a scene from a commercial that plays during the closing credits:

Read it and weep, headline from nypost.com: “Americans have lost $4.2K in income under Biden, says study.” I’d bet he’d still get at least 49% of the vote.

First line from an NYP editorial: “Russians appear eager to leave the country to avoid becoming soldiers” but “can’t easily get out…” Trouble is: “… the European Union imposed a flight embargo in response to the war in Ukraine… helping Putin trap Russian citizens in the country.”

Beautiful day to sell stuff curbside. My thanks to the young woman who bought a Russian translation of American slang and Plato and Platypus Walk Into a Bar…: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein; and to the women who selected two kids books; and to Bill Brown, author of Words and Guitar: A History of Lou Reed’s Music and other fine books, who purchased The Underground Railroad, a novel by Colson Whitehead, and The Medical Detectives: The Classic Collection of Award-Winning Medical Investigative Reporting by Berton Roueche.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.