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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 01/03/97 -- Vol. 15, No. 27
Table of Contents
Unless otherwise stated, all meetings are in the Middletown cafeteria Wednesdays at noon.
DATE TOPIC (no meetings scheduled) Outside events: The Science Fiction Association of Bergen County meets on the second Saturday of every month in Upper Saddle River; call 201-933-2724 for details. The New Jersey Science Fiction Society meets on the third Saturday of every month in Belleville; call 201-432-5965 for details.
MT Chair/Librarian: Mark Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-5619 email@example.com HO Chair: John Jetzt MT 2E-530 908-957-5087 firstname.lastname@example.org HO Librarian: Nick Sauer HO 4F-427 908-949-7076 email@example.com Distinguished Heinlein Apologist: Rob Mitchell MT 2D-536 908-957-6330 firstname.lastname@example.org Factotum: Evelyn Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-2070 email@example.com Backissues available at http://www.mt.lucent.com/~ecl/MTVOID/backissues.html or http://sf.www.lysator.liu.se/sf_archive/sf-texts/MT_Void/. All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.
URLs of the week:
Evelyn and I have homepages inside Lucent's firewall, but anybody outside cannot get to them. Finally, thanks to the auspices of Geocities we have been given space for homepages outside of the Lucent firewall. So far my homepage is a lot like the one inside the firewall, but Evelyn has gotten a bit more creative. Mark Leeper's home page: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/6960 Evelyn Leeper's home page: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
Last week we were discussing the apparent death of censorship due to the presence of the Internet. The Internet breaks down the ability of anyone to restrict information going between two consenting parties. So the danger to literature comes not from the government side any more, now it comes from the people themselves. The same forces that work on cable television to drive out good entertainment work in your library to drive out good literature. The popular drives out the good. And it drives it out not by restricting it, but by squeezing out the space for it.
What brings all this to mind is an article by Nicholson Baker in the October 14, 1996, NEW YORKER about efforts to weed books out of the San Francisco Public Library's collection of books. I had never given it much thought, but information weeding has a potential to be a big controversial issue that has not yet found its public. Buying a book for a library involves more consideration than just the cover price. Almost like buying a puppy, buying a book involves much more investment and commitment than just the initial cost. There is the price of shelf storage and the possible price of rebinding the book. There are labor costs involved in storing the book in an orderly fashion. The Dewey Decimal System has its costs.
Some books, like THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by Victor Hugo will remain popular for a good long time to come. But what about THE MAN WHO LAUGHS by the same author? This is a second-rank classic. How much investment is the library willing to make to keep this book available, particularly if there is nobody who wants to read it? If it comes to a choice between keeping THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and CUJO by Stephen King it really becomes a moot point which to choose. Sad to say it may well be that there will be more demand for the King than the Hugo. Choosing the King may really be the better choice, depending on the audience. If CUJO will be read and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS will not, then the latter will become unobtainable. Now granted it does not take a lot to scan in the Hugo book and make it available on-line, but it is still doubtful that anyone is going to do that.
The government cannot legally censor a book because it actually dislikes the ideas, you can express any ideas you want by the First Amendment. There will be no more censorship in what someone sees as the public interest, but there will be censorship by public disinterest. And that happens frequently. Books with potentially valuable ideas go out of print all the time. No library wants to spend its all too short funds on a book that is not going to be borrowed. Books have to be weeded out and weeding is obviously a question of at what point is a book's maintenance too expensive to be justified by the book's waning demand. Weeding is a highly subjective decision: one man's weed is another man's rose. Baker's article notes indignantly that a weeded book, GARDEN FRIENDS AND FOES was actually a good book. However finding books that look worthwhile does not say they will ever be noticed by someone and borrowed again. Now it may be some time next century this book would be noticed by someone and would be useful again. But there are no guarantees. At some point libraries preserving books just in case interest returns become like Isaac Asimov's noble Foundation, preserving knowledge in the faith that it will be wanted and needed at some point in the future. Few libraries are going to want to do this. I suppose there is the Internet and all it takes is someone willing to scan THE MAN WHO LAUGHS in and make it available. There is a program called Project Gutenberg that scans in classic books and makes them available over the Internet, but they have limited resources. At the rate they can afford to scan books, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS may no longer exist by the time they get far enough down the list that they are ready to scan it. The real problem with the Internet is that it is run by technologists who run it democratically. That means they cater to popular opinion and hence are inclined to prefer a novelization of a Star Trek movie to a dissertation on economic theory or an old Victor Hugo novel. So while the Internet is making censorship by government impossible, it is probably not possible to prevent you and your neighbors from becoming the censors of the future. [-mrl]
BREAKING THE WAVES:
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
Capsule: In a small village on the north coast of Scotland a paralyzed man asks his childlike wife to make love to other men in order to have the life he can no longer give her. This is a powerful and moving film. The photography is wildly uneven and the last scene misgauged, but the story is spellbinding. Rating: low +3 (-4 to +4) New York Critics: 27 positive, 1 negative, 4 mixed
BREAKING THE WAVES is an unusual and extremely compelling film set in the remote north of Scotland. It is set in a town long closed to outsiders where life is ruled by a tight little group of church elders, all male. As the film progresses we find that stern Calvinist values suffuse everyday life. One of the loyal daughters of the church is Bess (played by Emily Watson in an Oscar-worthy performance). Bess is a childlike woman with a strong abiding faith in God. But her feelings go beyond simple faith. She has conversations with God, voicing both parts and has formed God in the mold of the cold an unforgiving clique who run the church. Hers is a demanding and unforgiving God in this world with all rewards postponed until the next. But as the film opens, God has made a rare exception to give His Bess something wonderful. A man has fallen in love with Bess. True, Jan (played by Stellan Skarsgard) is an outsider and the elders do not trust outsiders. Still, something has opened up in the quiet, mousy Bess and she can pour out her love on a man. Jan is a rough North Sea oil driller, but Bess loves him with a fierceness that startles the people of the village. But her happiness cannot last and after a week of marriage, Jan must return to the rig. To Bess any separation is tragedy. After missing Jan unbearably she makes a deal with God to take whatever consequences to get Jan back. Then as an apparent fulfillment, Jan has a violent injury and is paralyzed and perhaps even dying. He is back to the village but unable to be with Bess in any but the most superficial way. Jan does not want to see Bess waste herself devoted to a dying man. He wants her to taste life and asks her to go and make love to men and come back to tell him about it. This request sets in motion a series of unfortunate events and a storm of conflicting emotions.
This is the fifth feature film of Danish director Lars Von Trier, best known in this country for ZENTROPA. That was a good film; this is a better one. The one thing that has not improved and, in fact, has gone considerably downhill, is the look of the film. For reasons best known to Von Trier, much of this film was apparently shot with a hand-held camera. What is more it is a camera that seems to be forever fidgeting, jumping from one person to the next. The scenes that the camera shoots, except for the chapter titles-- the story is split into chapters, are almost all in subdued color. Some of the chapter titles are so beautiful they seem to be more paintings than actual scenes. The narrative is clean and well-told up until the final half hour. Then the telling becomes a little muddled. The final image of the film does things to the plot that I personally did not care for, but up until that point the story was extremely good. It is not easy to make a character as simple and straightforward as Bess as likable as she is, but the script written by Von Trier makes the viewer really feel for Bess.
Emily Watson turns in a beautiful performance, at times genuinely heartbreaking. She plays a woman who is simple--not to say dim- witted--and so totally consumed by the love of her man that nothing else has any meaning in her life. Even her love of God is superseded by her love for this gift. Hers is a degree of devotion the screen usually reserves for dogs' love of their masters. Watson is a stage actress new to the screen but whose acting instincts seem rarely short of perfect in a difficult role. Stellan Skarsgard is stolid as Jan, but his role is not one of much complexity. For much of the film he is in a horsecollar lying in bed, paralyzed from the neck down. A somewhat more interesting role goes to Katrin Cartlidge whose looks are reminiscent of Amanda Plummer. She is Bess's sister-in-law who ends up Jan's nurse. She is hostile to Jan, suspicious at first of his love of the simple Bess. Eventually she realizes the degree that he loves Bess, but then does not approve of his methods to give Bess a life independent of himself.
BREAKING THE WAVES is a powerful and a moving drama, one of the best of the year. It does not seem to be getting a lot of play, but it is worth looking for. I give it a low +3 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD:
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
Capsule: THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD tells the true story of the nearly amorous, sometimes- touching, relationship of a lackluster school teacher and a mother-dominated pulp fiction writer in West Texas in the 1930s. What gives the story its interest is that the writer is Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. This is a well- textured observation of two very different personalities in a story of contrasts: the difference in personalities of the two main characters, the difference in their writing styles, and the differences between Howard and the characters about whom he wrote. This slow-paced film will not be to all tastes, but it creates its period and tells us a great deal about writing in general. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4)
In 1934 Robert E. Howard's friends called him "the best pulp writer in the whole wide world." These days that title would more likely go to Edgar Rice Burroughs or H. P. Lovecraft. However, in some order, the next two names probably would be Walter Gibson and Robert E. Howard. Howard invented the popular genre of fantasy novel today called "Sword and Sorcery." His most popular character is, of course, Conan of Cimmeria (a.k.a. Conan the Barbarian) who with a powerful sword and a rudimentary intelligence fights the powers of Black Magic in a prehistoric world of monsters and sorcerers. (Of course, the sword was made more powerful and the intelligence more rudimentary in the 1982 John Milius film CONAN THE BARBARIAN and its 1984 sequel CONAN THE DESTROYER, both starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.) But THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD is not the story of larger-than-life people and huge mystical events, it is more whimper than bang. In 1934 a schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Novalyne Price, met and got to know Bob Howard. Years later, in probably the only piece of her writing that ever got any attention, she told the story of that friendship in a memoir entitled ONE WHO WALKED ALONE. That memoir is the basis of THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.
Price (played by Renee Zellweger who currently also has the co- starring role in JERRY MAGUIRE) is introduced to Howard (Vincent D'Onofrio) by a mutual friend. Most of the town of Cross Plains in rural West Texas think of Howard as being a little strange and unbalanced. The truth is that most of the town is probably right. Howard's life, other than his writing, is owned and jealously guarded by his sickly mother. Howard takes care of his mother is some ways that are more personal than most sons would and most of his world revolves around his mother. His one outlet is his typewriter where he turns what are little more than expanded adolescent fantasies into adventure prose, often shouting out that prose as he writes a story. Price intrudes on the relationship between the Howard and his mother to make friends with the twenty- eight-year- old writer. She maintains a relationship that goes little beyond the platonic with the stocky child-man. She herself would like to be a good writer in the classic sense and has a hard time telling Howard that he should aspire to writing more than his swaggering fantasies.
The great irony, of course, but one that the narrative never admits except by its very existence, is that Price is 180 degrees wrong. There can be as much art to writing an adolescent fantasy really well as there can be to describing the real world. Her own well- observed description of her dating period is of interest only in that it sheds light on the forces that formed the pulp fiction she looked down upon. On the other hand Howard perhaps in innocence never doubted that his swaggering stories were the gull-darnedest best writing around. And he was, in fact, writing a literature that once it was rediscovered in the 1960s would never be out of print and would be an inspiration to generations of writers. Price's position in the world of literature today is as a footnote, remembered as the woman who dated Howard and whose reminiscences gave us a look into his personal life. This subtext is more of interest than the actual text of the film.
Vincent D'Onofrio is already establish as one of our better feature actors. Since he played the doomed Private Pyle in FULL METAL JACKET he has had an enviable succession of character roles. Renee Zellweger is a graduate of horror films who has lucked into having two star-making roles (JERRY MAGUIRE being the other) on the screen in one Christmas season. This is Dan Ireland's first time directing, though he has produced, or executive-produced, such diverse films as the 1988 film TWISTER, PAPERHOUSE, and WHORE. He does a reasonable job, though fails to keep the characters consistently interesting. Occasionally he goes in for some hammy photography tricks like crudely darkening a strip at the top of the screen to create the effect of a darkened sky.
It is not clear that this film really stands well on its own. If it were a work of fiction it would just be a story of the dating between two people who were not really very interesting in the final analysis. THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD gives little feel for the sort of stories that Howard was writing at the time, except for their overwhelming silliness and juvenility. And certainly the stories will bear that interpretation. Where the story gets its real impetus is not from the endings that Price sees in the story, but in the beginnings that she does not appreciate. I give this film a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
Capsule: Drama, comedy, sex, violence, and jaw-dropping beauty, and all for free. You only have to walk into your back yard, and the show is every afternoon. The hitch is you need special eyes to see it. Or you can see MICROCOSMOS. Two French biologists have developed cameras that have such eyes and have recorded a delightful 77 minutes of nature. MICROCOSMOS is a film it would be nearly impossible to dislike. It is educational, entertaining, and often quite funny. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) New York Critics: 10 positive, 1 negative, 0 mixed
Few animal documentaries have ever done well as feature films. Perhaps the last successful feature film about insects was THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, made just over a quarter of a century ago. But by anybody's standards MICROCOSMOS is a remarkable documentary. What we have is a close-up look at a French meadow on a nice day. We are here in a secret garden to appreciate the afternoon of the fauna. In the course of the film we are going to spend a pleasant interlude just admiring the very small forms of life, mostly insects, and learning to appreciate their beauty and their noble traits. Occasionally we see something a big as a pheasant, and it does look grotesquely big and ungainly as it pecks up unsuspecting ants. But more often what we are watching are ladybugs, caterpillars, and the occasional snail. True these are mostly animals you found boring in biology class, but in MICROCOSMOS you will see them like you never saw them before. This is a G-rated film that is full of erotic sex and violence like your teacher would never have wanted you to see. Your high school would have never let you observe the chance afternoon encounter and love- making between two snails. This is the scene that had members of the audience panting. For violence there is a knock down drag out fight between two beetles that is genuinely exciting, even if you can't tell one beetle from the other. Spiders capture grasshoppers, spin webs and knit them up, then suck their blood. Then there is the sheer beauty and symmetry of a mosquito emerging from water, stretching its wings and then disappearing faster than the eye can see.
In the course of the film some of the creativity of insects is amazing. A water spider builds an underwater sanctuary by repeatedly going to the surface, catching air on her body, returning underneath the surface to contribute the air to a growing bubble. When the bubble is finally large enough, the spider pulls herself and her prey into the bubble to peacefully enjoy a well- earned under-water meal. Then there is the dogged persistence of a scarab beetle rolling a ball of dung up a hill, accidentally impaling it on a thorn, and then having to figure out why it will no longer move. Now admittedly, much of what we see might be able to see free on NOVA. But there they probably would insist on telling you what you were seeing. But the insects live perfectly happily without names or words and with the exception of a sentence or two at the beginning and end of the film the film is just music and a few humorous sound effects. There is no shortage of humor and surprisingly some insects are natural comedians. For example, wonder turns to humor as we are watching a long caravan of caterpillars walking nose to tail. As they walk they merge with another line of caterpillars like two traffic lanes merging for a tunnel. When the camera pulls back we realize that the line of caterpillars has merged with itself and in now walking around in a pointless loop. Or for the pure amazement of it we watch an ant trying to break through the surface tension of a drop of water to get a drink from the interior.
MICROCOSMOS is directed by two French biologists, Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou. It took three years to shoot with special photographic equipment that took two years to develop and with a knowledge of wildlife that took fifteen years to accumulate. Nuridsany and Perennou have an incredible savvy for finding the parallels between animal and human behavior, or just a knowledge of what is beautiful in the animal world they take us to a prehistoric world with huge and odd vegetation and strangely-shaped creatures. They fumble, crawl, and tumble for 77 minutes.
MICROCOSMOS is entomological "Candid Camera." Besides a few overly corny sound effects, there is little to fault the film on. I rate it a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
Capsule: SHINE is a study of the shattered life of a child prodigy pianist whose father, a Holocaust survivor, totally dominated and controlled. While the film is supposed to be uplifting in that David Helfgott could salvage something of his life, it still seems to be pitifully poor consolation and a tragic waste of a life and of talent. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) There are some minor spoilers in the plot description.
SHINE is a true story, a biography of a sort of local celebrity in Australia. The man is eccentric to the point of being nearly autistic but is also a brilliant pianist. David Helfgott is a man with many personal demons, some real and some imagined, who was a musical prodigy but could not face the pressures that a musical career placed on him. The greatest of all the pressures came from his father, a man of huge rages who wanted to control David like he would control a puppet.
As SHINE opens, we see David as just another schizoid wandering a city street like you might see in any big city. He is seen staring in at a small wine bar after closing time. The staff at first sees him as trouble, but find his quick staccato conversation endearing. They decide to give him a ride home. From there film flashes back to David's youth to show us the forces that created this apparent human wreckage. David is the son of Peter Helfgott, a Polish Jew whose entire family was murdered in the Holocaust. Peter survived, but hardly intact. Emotionally blasted by his loses he irrationally holds his new family in an iron grip. Out of an irrational fear of losing these new loved ones he refuses them the freedom of making any decisions for themselves, least of all decisions that may take them away from him. Peter Helfgott treats the members of his family as something between objects and pets. Criticism and even blows are administered on a daily basis while praise is reserved only for the most special of occasions. David, who has never known any other treatment accepts it and considers it natural. And through this treatment he is able to become an exceptional talent as a pianist, perhaps even brilliant. In spite of his family's low income and the crude facilities available locally, David is able to prove his talent in competition and even comes to the attention of the great Isaac Stern. But any attempt that David makes to go someplace to develop his talent is vetoed by his father. The film follows David as eventually he does get away and makes an effort to develop his great talent, but the struggle to escape his father has already too far weakened him and taken too much of a toll.
What is interesting in the film is the affect that music has on David. As a boy music is a negative influence on him, dragging him down into the strange psychological state he eventually reaches. He is eventually even forbidden to play the piano for fear of the effect it will have on him. Yet the same music is also what pulls him out of that slump, returning some semblance of a life and even a career to him. Also remarkable is how people seem to keep finding David endearing. In spite of his many problems and the infinite patience that is required for dealing with him, the adult David seems to have the charm somehow to attract admirers and people who are willing to care for him. The adult David strikes one as having an intelligent, but uncontrolled mind. He talks as fast as his fingers move playing the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto, but he jumps from idea to idea and drops each for the next.
Top billing ironically goes to Armin Mueller-Stahl who plays Peter Helfgott. Mueller-Stahl is a good actor with a single characterization, but he rarely varies from that characterization and shows any breadth in his acting ability. The reason that the actor playing David does not get top billing is because it is shared among three actors: Alex Rafalowicz playing David as a boy, Noah Taylor plays him as a teenager, and Geoffrey Rush plays the adult version. Rush seems to be getting the most attention for the role, but all three are interesting actors. Other recognizable actors include John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave, and Googie Withers. (Gielgud this year alone has been in GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, LOOKING FOR RICHARD, SHINE, THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, and HAMLET, in addition to doing voices in DRAGONHEART and THE LEOPARD SON. It is nice to see that he can find work!)
While it is possible to see this as a story of triumph over great odds, it seems like a weak triumph. It will be hard for most viewers to see much to admire in the adult David who must seems so incredibly hard to control. It seems like a small victory, and may leave the viewer a little dissatisfied with this as a story of redemption. I rate SHINE a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale.
Just an afterthought: In part where SHINE falls down is in its allusion to what much of its audience will see as a mystery about great musical performances. It does not make clear to the audience just what makes one musical performance great. Any good record store will have two or three recordings of the "Rach 3." Presumably each of these will have every note that Rachmaninoff wrote, played exactly as the composer specified. And presumably the same is true of Helfgott's performance. The filmmaker knows that there is great variation in these performances but besides showing some (silent) sweat on David's brow and showing his emotional agony as he plays, the film leaves as a total mystery why David's is a performance more to be prized than any one of the many others. I am not sure I know the answer to this question and it certainly is something very germane to the film. The script dangles this very central issue in front of the viewer but makes little attempt to answer it. [-mrl]
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
Capsule: A doubly-divorced man decides to return to living in his mother's house in an experiment to understand his relationships with the women in his life. MOTHER may well be the least of Albert Brooks's generally reliable comedies. This one has a serious message in the end which comes off as a little contrived and superficial. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4)
There is a very selective appeal to Albert Brooks comedies. They are low-budget, intelligently written pieces in which the humor mostly comes from dialogue. Like Woody Allen, Brooks usually plays an intelligent neurotic and the comedy ordinarily comes from the dialogue as it does in a Woody Allen comedy. Where Brooks differs is that his characters speak in a much more natural manner than Allen's and his humor is more subtle. Also his comedies often take a little longer to settle in. It is hard to judge on a first viewing how funny an Albert Brooks comedy will be the second time around. Usually like a Thanksgiving turkey they are a feast the first time around but are not at their best until the second or third partaking. Then some of his gags take on classic proportions. Bits like forbidding Julie Hagerty to use the words "nest" or "egg" are hilarious and at the same time ring very true.
That said, MOTHER is just a bit substandard for a Brooks-directed comedy. Brooks usually uses as a format the experiment that fails--the good idea gone awry. Of five Brooks comedies, only DEFENDING YOUR LIFE does not fall into this "it seemed like a good idea at the time" pattern. In MODERN ROMANCE the Brooks character decides to break up with a woman and then finds the single life is not all he was expecting. LOST IN AMERICA involved a wealthy advertising executive who drops out, buys a Winnebago, and tries to live on the road. This time around, in what could have almost been a sequel to MODERN ROMANCE, John Henderson (Brooks) is a man who cannot deal with the women in his life. To understand why he returns to the home of his mother (Debbie Reynolds) to live in his old bedroom, decorated just like the old days, in an attempt to discover what he will learn. What he finds is that his mother is hard to live with. Eventually he discovers why his relationship with his mother has been strained. But while the reason satisfies him, it turns out to be a not very satisfying or even interesting contrivance. Most people I know have problems to some degree in dealing with their parents not unlike those in this film, but Brooks's rather pat explanation for his case just does not explain very much of the problem. If the mother-son problems are dispelled a little too easily, at least the script does not place all the blame on the mother. Beatrice Henderson comes off as an intelligent and self-reliant woman who can run her own life just fine, thank you, and who once raised two bright kids, John and his brother (Rob Morrow of QUIZ SHOW).
While I have come to expect a fair amount of a Brooks comedy, somehow here his timing seemed just a bit off. A scene early in the film has John rearranging the one chair that his divorce has left him in a large empty living room. He tries the chair in four places before deciding that it worked best where it was. The joke takes too much screen time for way too little payoff. This is not the sort of perceptive humor we expect from Brooks. Later, when he is in his mother's home, the film tries to milk as much humor as possible from his mother freezing a big chunk of cheese and a salad. These gags are more miss than hit in this film's hit-and- miss humor. On the other hand, there is some perceptive humor in Beatrice's repeated references to writer John's lack of Stephen- King-like success in his writing profession and the greater success of her other son, the sports agent. There are a number of very clever gags including a very impressively managed allusion to the film THE GRADUATE--telling any more would spoil it. Like Woody Allen, Brooks seems to play the same character from film to film. Reynolds is, of course, a veteran actress. She holds her own against Brooks. One minor gripe: in MODERN ROMANCE the character was editing a science fiction film, in this film John is a science fiction writer, but in each film he seems to be very condescending toward science fiction. In his most recent novel they talk about the character "with the big head" and the one "with the big hand." It is hard to imagine he could make a living writing science fiction if he is writing at the level suggested in the film.
Since Brooks directs a comedy only once in about five years, it is a pity that this film is so frequently not up to his usual standard. His comedy about a mother and son learning about each other could have been a lot more memorable than this one was, but there are still more laugh-out-loud gags than most comedies, and there is a bit of a statement here also, so I give MOTHER a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]
Mark Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-5619 firstname.lastname@example.org
Quote of the Week:
Virtue is insufficient temptation. -- George Bernard Shaw