Movie: ‘Lovelace’ Captures Sleazy Charm

The story of the Linda Lovelace, star of the notorious 1972 porn film Deep Throat, makes a surprisingly charming film for all the sleaze and gruesomeness that the actress encountered in its makings and afterwards. Due credit must go to Amanda Seyfried, who gives a full-blooded and winning performance as its subject, bringing credibility to the tale of how a young, fun-loving woman was drawn into the web of pornographic filmmaking, which stepped out from the shadows and back rooms with “Deep Throat.” Even if it verges rather close at times towards being a bit cartoonish, the story entertains nicely and well captures the atmosphere and tenor of the times.

TV Documentary: War of the Worlds

The 1938 Halloween night radio broadcast of the adaption of H.G. Welles’ science fiction novel The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater was one of the first major American mass media phenomena. This PBS American Experience episode looks at how the tall tale of Martians landing in New Jersey aired as a news report may gloss over the exaggeration of how some in the public believed it and panicked, but it does capture well how it played that evening and the outrage in its aftermath. The event remains a fascinating slice of 20th Century entertainment and pop culture and catapulted Orson Welles into moviemaking, and those unaware of it will find the story quite revealing about America in those years before World War II.

TV Documentary: Valentine Road

It’s nigh on impossible to not be affected and even angered as I was by the story of the 2008 killing of a young transgender teenager by a classmate in school in Oxnard, Calif. While our nation may seem to be making progress in sexuality and gender issues, this yet another excellent HBO documentary not only shows how ingrained prejudice and fears remain ingrained in modern America, but also how parents, schools, the justice system and society are failing to foster attitudes and atmospheres in a working class community like Oxnard that lead to healthy communities. And at the heart of it is the tragedy a sweet and rather brave youngster who tried to be who he was and died for it.

From The Progressive Populist, April 1, 2014


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