Reviews | Can movies survive changing times?

For the editor:

Regarding “Is this the end of movies?” from Ross Douthat (column, Sunday Review, March 27):

Why are experts so eager to write obituaries for the components of our culture that add so many enriching dimensions to our lives? Radio was supposed to kill books; The Internet was supposed to kill the newspaper; television was supposed to kill theatre; YouTube was supposed to kill TV.

All of these joyful and irreplaceable aspects of our culture have survived despite the efforts of experts to bury them, and so have movies. Like the novel, the newspaper, the play and television, the films will survive. What will change is our way of living them.

Daniel Ross Goodman
Longmeadow, Mass.
The writer is a film critic for The Washington Examiner and author of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Wonder and Religion in American Cinema.”

For the editor:

I haven’t been to a cinema in a theater for over 20 years, long before Covid. Why? The endless commercials, the stench of fake butter on the popcorn, the seats, the peeking between people taller than me. Above all, the ridiculously loud sound levels.

About 10 years ago I bought a fairly expensive projector, a seven-foot-wide drop-down screen, an audio-video receiver, and six good speakers. Since then, we can easily stream movies from regular websites or public library, and we can rent or buy DVDs.

So why go to the cinema? Case closed.

Jolyon Jesty
Mount Sinai, NY

For the editor:

When smart journalists predict the end of movies, they really mean movies changing in size, format, content, revenue, and platform.

My only gripe with Ross Douthat’s terrific piece is its use of the alarmist “End of Movies.” Films have survived all new technologies, from sound to the web, for more than a century.

If anything has come to an end, it’s the primacy of movies as the first choice for customers. The iPhone introduced an intimate way of watching movies, but also brought a numbing variety of competing content, stealing hours away from movie theater attendance.

The film industry will evolve and prosper as leaders, reps and talent survive this disruptive time, the punch of streaming and Covid. For consumers indifferent to screen size, there’s never been more choice. For talent, there has never been more work, worldwide. It’s an unbeatable combination.

Jason E. Squire
Los Angeles
The writer is professor emeritus at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor of “The Movie Business Book.”

For the editor:

I was waiting for someone somewhere to sound the death knell. And Ross Douthat did it masterfully. I wasn’t waiting happily, of course.

I grew up with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry on Saturday mornings. The almost all-day event (which couldn’t have cost my parents more than a dollar) gave me access to the adult world, fantasy, music, news and comedy. TV didn’t really compete for a while. And then it did. And then the movies didn’t seem like the “must sees” they had been.

It’s been a long time coming, but hasn’t the industry been digging its own grave with overdone, overly long and pretentious movies that have started to feel missing?

This is from a movie buff looking for another black and white film noir that she may have missed from the 30s, 40s or 50s most nights. And when she finds one, it’s viewed in less than two hours. It’s a selling point!

Frances Sheridan Goulart
Ridgefield, Conn.

For the editor:

Re “Election texts shed new light on the influence held by the woman of justice” (front page, March 27):

Chief Justice John Roberts can no longer hide. The Supreme Court’s rotten reputation has accelerated in recent days, with unsigned and uncommented rulings giving way to news of an Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas, whose ethical conduct is rightly under scrutiny. meticulous examination.

We expect supreme integrity from the Court. We need it, but we don’t get it.

Chief Justice Roberts must impose checks, and he must make them loud and clear so that the country understands that it can once again trust the court. For judges who cannot live under a strict code of ethics, leave the stadium.

Honesty. Honestly, that’s not a lot to ask.

Jay Margolis
Delray Beach, Florida.

For the editor:

Regarding “Florida Governor signs bill opposed by LGBTQ groups, White House and Hollywood” (news article, March 29):

When I was (now 73) in primary school, my school assigned me censored editions of Shakespeare with the “dirty” bits omitted. The first thing we did was get unedited editions from libraries and older siblings so we could compare editions and find the censored pieces. Honestly, I don’t remember how much time I spent on the “clean” parts.

To the great detriment of the ability of teachers and educators to help children navigate the increasingly complex and frightening territory of modern identity, social life, medicine and, yes, sexuality, Legislatures like Florida’s send children directly to less reliable but ever-present sources of information on these topics, censor teachers, and purge libraries and school curricula.

Young people who do not have easy access to alternative sources of information are sent straight to the waiting rooms of school counsellors, who are muzzled by law and therefore largely unable to help them.

How dare the legislators (with the false pretense of helping children and parents) dare send us all back to the Middle Ages?

Pug Meyer
Palenville, NY
The author is Professor Emeritus at New York Law School.

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