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November 14-21, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Lighten Up, RvB

I AM WRITING regarding the movie reviews in your film section, especially those of Richard von Busack. Despite being a regular reader of your publication, I have never been so concerned over the status of RvB's reviews. As a local movie theater manager for over two years, and an employee at a local video rental store, this is a subject of importance to me. This position also gives me access to watch nearly all movies upon their release. I am often told that I am harsh in my critique of movies. However, my criticism is overshadowed in comparison to that of RvB. For this reason I would like to make a few notes on his work.

While I appreciate the effort RvB makes to include references to specific characters, actors, and even writers, I find the reviews aggravating to read. It is obvious that RvB has an extensive knowledge of film. I merely wish that he applied it in a less pessimistic manner. Every time I pick up a Metro Santa Cruz I flip to the film section and every time I find a pessimistic RvB review of a new movie. Despite the wide selection of anticipated films currently playing in Santa Cruz (Michael Clayton, Gone Baby Gone, Into the Wild, American Gangster, Lars and the Real Girl), RvB remains steadfastly unimpressed by almost everything. He writes using an unnecessarily elaborate vocabulary to conceal an all-too-familiar negative perspective. In fact, most reviews seem to focus on the details of which part of the movie, no matter how minor, he was disappointed by. Even in reviews of movies RvB enjoys, his language emits a sense of inherent disappointment with anything short of outstanding. This tactic produces writing that is both excessively opinionated and often unappealing.

In addition, the majority of the public does not think movies have to be gritty, foreign or socially challenging to be enjoyable. Personally, I don't appreciate reading reviews that destroy the integrity of almost every movie released, especially when it is nothing more than a witty blurb insulting a movie that nobody on your staff has seen. I challenge RvB, and the other Metro reviewers, to accommodate the entire population of Santa Cruz and not just the crowds that flock to the art house theaters to see the latest independent movie.

John-Jo Hayward, Aptos


I AM, and always have been, an avid outdoors person. Your story about ranger Miles Standish ("The State of the Parks," Cover story, Oct. 17) struck me as very interesting. I have been riding sport bikes in and around the Santa Cruz Mountains for the past 12 years, and for the past few years I have seen Ranger Standish nearly every weekend, but he was not doing what he professed in the article, instead he patrols Hwy 9 and issues traffic citations. If the park service is as understaffed as Ranger Standish points out in the article, maybe they should go back into the parks and take care of the problems there and leave traffic enforcement to CHP and the sheriff's office. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the article.

 Robert Cole, Santa Clara

Bring Back The Twins!

YOU NEED TO get these two authors (Laura and Deborah Nadel, "The Town-Gown Survival Manual," Cover story, Sept. 12) back for more articles. I found the article creative, entertaining, socially relevant and even a little educational. I would expect to have to pay something for writing of this quality. Please bring Laura and Deborah back for something, anything else. I can guarantee at least one reader will be pleased with their reappearance, but I imagine there will be many more like me.

Derrick Selb, Santa Cruz

Have You No Decency?

THE "THIS MODERN WORLD" comic strip that you ran in the Oct. 24 issue, which compared Republican presidential candidates and pundits to Neanderthals, was an insult to Neanderthals. How could you?

Ken Ward, Guerneville

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