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Letters to the Editor

RvB's Big Chill

I have been ignoring Richard von Busack's off-the-wall film reviews for years, including his recent descent into almost total negativity and sarcasm. His review of Frost/Nixon (MetroFilm, Jan. 21) is trivial, almost silly, if he wasn't being paid to write it. Frank Langella's performance as the disgraced president is spot-on, deep, moving and disturbing. Perhaps Richard failed to view the last 30 minutes of the film, when Nixon was caught red-handed and all but admitted his guilt. Go see this film, and as a general rule, if RvB dislikes a movie, definitely see it.

John Gamma
Santa Cruz


Guerrillas in The Mist

You gotta love those Hollywood lefties—yet another film celebrating their idols (MetroFilm, "Guerrilla Filmmaking," Richard von Busack, Jan. 21). These people seem to be lost in the fog of their own self-delusion, uninterested in doing any objective research. I guess willful ignorance of the real nature of tyrants and killers is somehow comforting to their ideological leanings. As the overthrow of Batista is celebrated, the crimes of the Castros and Che Guevara, the new dictators, are irrelevant.

Mr. von Busack cites a figure of possibly 14,000 executions being the responsibility of Guevara. Actually, this figure is for deaths overseen by Fidel and Raul Castro and is from the Black Book of Communism published by the Harvard University Press, 1999 (hardly a right-wing blog).

Guevara is stated by the Cuba Archive project to have been responsible for about 4,000 killings in Cuba alone. Che was "reported to be a particularly gleeful executioner at the La Cabana fortress prison. Minors and females were not spared. ... He took special pride in shooting people in the back of the head ..."

(pages 29–30 from Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros and the Politics of Murder by Russo and Molton, 2008, on new evidence concerning the JFK assassination).

Ronald Brackney
Santa Clara


'Dark Knight' Eclipsed

Well, the Oscar nominations are out. The shock from the lack of one Dark Knight in the Best Picture category has just about fizzled, and now I'm ready to say a few words.I figured that since The Dark Knight was the second-biggest box office champ in movie history, it would at least get a nod. Not a chance. Why not? It's a superhero movie? A fantasy? A popcorn movie?

Here's my guess. Their definition of best does not mean as proven by how much it grossed.

The Academy Awards is a game. We have to suspend our codes and what we already know in order to be surprised. It is very obvious what was the best picture of 2008. You could check any box office record and discover that. We know by financial evidence, without question. Ah, but then there would be no game, no surprise. So Academy voters steer away from the obvious, and look deeper into the other films of the year. This is not to say those weren't good, but seriously, was The Reader really a better film than The Dark Knight?

But the facts are always the facts. Here's to The Dark Knight, best picture of the year!

Joey Percival
San Jose


A Lily Bouquet

I was delighted to learn that the Lily Ledbetter law was signed by President Obama, as it addresses an issue near to my heart. My mother was the first woman to be allowed to work in the yard at the Louisiana Pacific Pulp Mill in Ketchikan, Alaska. Through perseverance and sheer will—not to mention her capability—she succeeded in opening the way for women to work outside of the office.

I was shocked and infuriated to hear that Sen. McCain would so callously oppose equal pay for equal work, citing that women just "need to be educated and trained." What rock have you been hiding under, Mr. McCain?

Lisa Yaple