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Before you go off half-cocked and publish your review of The Blair Witch Project, let me interpolate a few comments. The published figures on box-office receipts alone, over a total of 27 screens nationwide, leads to a quick calculation of 370 paying patrons for each of four screenings per day for five straight days. For an art film made by students, that's somethin' else. Edwards South Coast Village was mobbed on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., which, in my experience, is unheard of.
For my taste, the filmmaker either shows you some fantastic craft in the first five minutes or falls flat. In Witch, the first images are telling. The director, Heather, displays their gear: neatly packed manuals on camping that have obviously never been cracked. The paperback covers are spotless. One of the crew fleetingly admits to having surreptitiously borrowed the 16mm camera for their use, unbeknownst to the camera's owner. Rather than review any careful hiking plan, they settle in for a serious bout of beer and Scotch at their motel on the eve of the forest expedition.
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At that point in the film, the discerning viewer is ready to concede that these people are doomed. Their chances of emerging from a four-day roundtrip trek without incident are nil. In the antiquated language of Ozzie and Harriet America, that is what I call foreshadowing at its best.
—Adriano F. Autore, Santa Ana Jimmy the socially retarded projectionist responds:While Arrissia Owen was watching The Blair Witch Project for the Weekly (see her creeped-out review in the Calendar's film section), I was watching her. And getting floopy! THE EYES HAVE IT
Manohla Dargis and I must have seen different versions of Eyes Wide Shut. The version I saw was a masterpiece ("Peep Show," July 16).
There is such a proliferation of crap out there calling itself cinema. This is a film to be studied, not picked at like cold Chinese food. Manohla, I would offer that you should see the film again with the intention of letting it do the work. See it with eyes wide open. Kubrick was a genius. Your review was more than mixed. It was unfair.
—Brett M. Stark, Costa Mesa CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG?
"Ho Chi Minute Rice" (The County, June 25) revealed a latent animosity some ethnic Vietnamese have toward ethnic Chinese from Vietnam. A Vietnamese activist was quoted as saying: "Chinese-Vietnamese people don't give a shit about the Vietnamese people or communism. They don't care about Vietnam; all they want to do is make money." I understand this negative feeling all too well. I am active in building a Web site on overseas Chinese (www. huaren.org). From my research, I know ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia have been treated like Jews in medieval Europe. The sentiment displayed by the Vietnamese activist is a classic example of mutual ethnic hatred. If one wants to paint ethnic Chinese as enemies, then they will be enemies. How terribly sad!
I would like to know what role the OC Weekly takes in bringing about harmony among the diverse ethnic groups residing in Orange County. As reporter Nick Schou pointed out, the Chinese-Vietnamese relationship is characterized by "ethnic rivalries that plague Vietnamese at home and in the U.S." How would the Weekly help the Chinese and Vietnamese reconcile?
—Dan Tse, Ottawa, Canada Nick Schou responds:Leaders of both groups should contact the Orange County Human Relations Commission at (714) 567-7470. They arrange mediation sessions and offer classes in conflict resolution. I write news stories. If they show up to have a dialogue, I'll be more than happy to write about it, making sure to pat myself on the back in the process for helping to start the healing. SAY WHAT?
Re: "Out of the Mouths of Boobs" (A Clockwork Orange, July 23).
As a Libertarian, I like to see honest reporting. The article by Matt Coker was fairly close to the money. He was correct that only one of the quotes was actually spoken by our current vice president, Al Gore. Unfortunately, Mr. Coker should have stopped while he was ahead. Just like Gore, only one of the quotes was spoken by Mr. Quayle. All the others are creative works of fiction.
Mr. Coker could see though this gross exaggeration where Gore was concerned. Why not for Quayle? Is there some bias here? Please have Mr. Coker check his sources in the future. Talk about a boob!
—Ernest J. Kirstein, Apex, North Carolina Matt Coker responds: I used three different sources to check each Quayle quote. Two included lists of the exact same quotes in the exact same order. The third was a voluminous Web site that had Quayle quotes broken up in several different categories. Still, I was able to match up each one. If I'm a boob, I've got a lot of company.
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