The Corner

Lucas Forever

Dear Jonah,

I enjoyed most of the Star Trek movies, based on the first TV show. The first Star Trek, most of the time, is about Capt. Kirk and his ship (Roddenberry always told the writers, Put the Enterprise in danger). Its charm is the charm of genre fiction. Kirk is Jack Aubrey in the 23rd century. Spock is Maturin, the intellectual sidekick, though the actual MD is McCoy. O’Brian gives ripping yarn Napoleonic flavor; Star Trek gives science fiction flavor.

Some of the individual episodes had weirdly powerful touches. Others had weirdly dreadful touches (Uhuru dances, anyone?). The dreadulfness was often cued by music–”merry woodwinds,” I would think when the TV show served up some “funny” concluding dialogue.

I also liked 2001, which was the world’s best MTV video. The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers seemed scary, though we turned it off because my wife was scared.

Your point about foreign distribution is sadly true. I remember seeing in Jogjakarta a billboard for Witness. The picture: Harrison Ford pointing a honkin’ big pistol at every Indonesian passerby. I know there is some gunplay in the movie, but that was hardly the point. The conflict between Amish and modernity doesn’t translate very well, though.

If I may use you, Jonah, to communicate with my old friend Jason Apuzzo: 1) I have been in a movie–I was the writer and on-camera host of a ninety minute documentary, Rediscovering George Washington, and we shot film, not drecky digibeta. 2) So what? Samuel Johnson wrote one play, Irene, and it tanked. That does not disbar him from have opinions about Shakespeare.

To Shannen, re: the Rat Pack. So Dino told the Las Vegas audience, when Oceans 11 was being shot, “You call this working?” I don’t call it working, or play, or any worthwhile thing. I call it celebrity slumming, or kitsch if you will. Kitsch is deliberately approving things we know to be bad. Why do that? The members of the Rat Pack made many excellent records, and turned in some fine acting (Sinatra in From Here to Eternity). Why waste time on Robin and the Seven Hoods?

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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