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Gary Dretzka

By Gary Dretzka

The DVD Wrapup: Burnt, Assassin, New Girlfriend, Patels, Mr. Robot and more

Burnt: Blu-ray
A few years before Bradley Cooper broke from the pack of nearly interchangeable white male actors in The Hangover, he starred in an ill-fated Fox TV series, “Kitchen Confidential,” based on the memoirs of “bad boy” chef Anthony Bourdain. The celebrity-chef phenomenon had yet to reach critical mass on television, so the audience’s response probably had less to do with Cooper than the subject matter. In Burnt, he plays a character who more closely resembles Gordon Ramsey — Don Rickles, in a toque — than the hipper-than-thou bon vivant. Where the protagonist of “Kitchen Confidential,” Jack Bourdain, was required to overcome serious problems with substance abuse, Burnt’s Adam Jones not only has had to kick alcohol and drug habits, but also rage issues that precede him wherever he goes. Otherwise, the two productions could have been cut from the same template. Depending on how one feels about Ramsey, specifically, viewers either will be turned off after the film’s first half-hour or anxious to follow Jones on the road to redemption. To his credit, director John Wells also sought the advice of less idiosyncratic cooks Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Clare Smyth, who understand the difference between controlled chaos in the workplace and temper tantrums. Led by a supporting cast of fine international stars – Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sam Keeley, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy – Burnt is best when Wells’ focus is inside the kitchen and dining room of Jones’ new London restaurant. Emma Thompson is typically good as Jones’ shrink, but, by now, the advice of one movie therapist is as good as anyone else’s opinion.

In “Kitchen Confidential,” apparently, the protagonist’s goal was to impress the restaurant critic of the New York Times. Here, in an unlikely scenario, the top London critic accepts an invitation to a preview dinner and makes sure everyone knows he’s there. More accurate is the anxiety that consumes Jones over what the Michelin critics might say after their surprise, if not entirely clandestine visit. A third star on his resume would validate everything Jones and his staffs have had to endure to get one. Curiously, the cuisine Jones prepares has less in common with the tastes of modern foodies than that of his rival (Rhys), whose kitchen is known for its micro gastronomy. As mouth-watering as Burnt is, I would discourage anyone from assuming that all foodie movies taste the same. The cranky-perfectionist conceit works better in Daniel Cohen’s Le Chef, Jon Favreau’s Chef, Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci’s Big Night and Brittany Murphy’s largely undiscovered gem, The Ramen Girl. Also tempting are Mostly Martha and its Hollywood remake No Reservations, Woman on Top. Tampopo, Ratatouille, Julie and Julia and, of course, Babette’s Feast and Like Water for Chocolate.  The Blu-ray adds the informative featurette, “Burnt: In the Kitchen with Bradley Cooper,” several deleted scenes, Q&A highlights with the director and cast, and commentary with Wells and executive chef consultant Marcus Wareing.

The Assassin: Blu-ray
When Ang Lee’s sumptuous martial-arts drama, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning 4, lots of people wondered if the academy finally was willing to give future Chinese wuxia a fair hearing, at least, from voters. Apart from consideration in a few non-marquee categories, however, the genre has been given short shrift. Fact is, though, no other such movie, with the exception of Kill Bill and Kung Fu Panda, however, has generated the same excitement at the domestic box office as “CT/HD.” Having made several 10-best lists compiled by prestigious American critics and garnered awards from Cannes to Palm Springs, many wuxia enthusiasts felt that Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin might be accorded the respect accorded Ang Lee. Although it survived the first cut in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the Taiwan entry didn’t make the list of finalists, let alone for Best Picture. Neither did it find traction in any of the same tech categories as “CT/HD.” Where most martial-arts movies emphasize the action over anything except the production design, The Assassin takes a more patient, painterly approach to a story loosely adapted from Pei Xing’s late 9th Century tale “Nie Yinniang,” which has informed other swordsmanship and wuxia fiction.

Hou has set his adaptation in 8th Century China, during the Tang Dynasty. Shu Qi (A Beautiful Life) plays Nie Yinniang, a killer appointed to slay corrupt government officials by her master, Jiaxin, a nun who raised her from the age of 10 for this express purpose. When Nie displays mercy toward a target, Jiaxin punishes her with a ruthless assignment designed to test her resolve. It requires her to travel to Weibo in remote northern China to kill its military governor, her cousin Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen), to whom she had once been betrothed. Staged on location in China’s Wudang Mountains and Daiju Lake, in Hubai Province, as well as lush forest preserves on Taiwan, the mist-covered settings reflect Nie’s contemplative approach to her duties. The thick woods also provide cover for the assassin and the men sent to kill her. The 68-year-old Hou (The Voyage of the Red Balloon) has said that he intentionally delayed making a period piece until “he is older.”  In the eight years he’s been absent from the director’s chair, Hou must have used the time to study everything from armaments and clothing design to the obscure Chinese dialect spoken by the actors. For their part, the actors knew that the maestro would expect the same courtesy in return. Their respect for him is duly noted in the brief making-of featurettes. As such, The Assassin is a cinematic feast to be savored.

The New Girlfriend
If all one knows going into a screening of The New Girlfriend is that the psychosexual thriller has been adapted by director/writer François Ozon from a short story by Ruth Rendell, there’s more than a fighting chance you’ll enjoy the compelling French export. Rendell’s crime fiction has benefitted from interpretation by several European directors – Claude Chabrol, Pedro Almodovar, Claude Miller – if only because their audiences are more willing to embrace sexual situations that push the limits of mainstream tastes and taboos. Moreover, they do so without calling attention to the edgy subject matter or courage of the actors in lead roles. The New Girlfriend opens with the untimely death of a young wife and mother, Laura (Isild Le Besco), and a teary eulogy delivered by Claire (Anaïs Demoustier), in which she describes a blood oath made as childhood friends to take care of each other’s loved ones, if such a calamitous occasion arose. Devastated by the loss, Clair one day drops in unannounced on Laura’s husband, David (Romain Duris), while he’s feeding the baby in full drag. Claire’s first inclination may have been to label him a “pervert” and rush out the door, but she allows David to elaborate on his longtime desire to lounge around the house in his wife’s clothes. Furthermore, he believes the baby would benefit from having the support of a father and a mother, however faux. After Claire agrees to go along with the parental ruse, she also agrees to help David overcome his fear of going out in public as Virginia. Eventually, Claire accepts Virginia as an emotional surrogate for Laura in her own life. Ozon now is in a position to play all sorts of head games with his characters, who, for all purposes, didn’t exist at the beginning of the movie. For American audiences still trying to get their heads around Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s emergence from the Kardashian closet, The New Girlfriend provides a decidedly different spin on the protagonist’s gender-identity issues and how they impact his relationship with his BFF, her husband and his bourgeois in-laws. The movie is extremely well made and the acting is of the highest quality. The Blu-ray adds 10 deleted scenes and a making-of featurette describing Duris’ daily transformation into Virginia.

Meet the Patels
About 16 years ago, an article was published in the Sunday New York Times Magazine answering a question asked by American tourists struck by the large number of people named Patel they encountered while checking into a roadside motel. If it seemed as if every motel on a given stretch of highway was owned by a Patel, they were right.  In 1999, according to the latest figures from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, slightly more than 50 percent of all motels in the United States were owned by people of Indian origin. Of that number, about 70 percent of all Indian motel owners — or a third of all motel owners in America – shared the same last name. The extremely long and exhaustively researched article explained how the so-called Patel Motel Phenomenon came to be and why the surname didn’t necessarily mean that every Patel on the Eastern Seaboard or in rural Texas shared common blood. Geeta and Ravi Patel’s documentary/romcom Meet the Patels effectively updates the article, “A Patel Motel Cartel?,” by introducing us to some of the assimilated descendents of the original Patel pioneers and eavesdropping on the marital rituals encouraged by their parents. The desire to match adult children of recent immigrants by nationality, race or religion is nothing new, of course. The difference in Meet the Patels is observing the great lengths – as up to date as the tablet computer — some parents will go to ensure that Patel traditions continue in the New World. Co-director Ravi Patel is a not-so-young Indian-American, who, after breaking up with his non-Indian girlfriend, agrees to allow his match-making mom to search the planet for the right Patel girl for her boy. In addition to participating in meet-and-greets and blind dates from coast to coast, Ravi travels with his family to the region in India populated almost exclusively by Patels of the Gujarati Hindu sub-caste. Ravi’s pickiness is matched only by his mother’s desire to exhaust every option available to her. The frequently amusing documentary is marked by the love shared by this family of Patels and their common willingness to compromise, if only for the sake of the movie. Finally, Meet the Patels is as American a story as any you’re likely to find.

Naz & Maalik
Jay Dockendorf’s impressive debut feature Naz & Maalik introduces us to a convivial pair of black teenagers struggling to come up with the money they’ll need to afford their college tuition. We’re amused by their attempts to sell “lucky” lottery tickets, aromatic potions and pictures of Roman Catholic saints to Brooklyn pedestrians who don’t appear to be disturbed by the interruption in their daily routines. They know they’re fighting a losing battle, but, if nothing else, they might have enough loose change in their pockets at the end of the day to buy a live chicken to be slaughtered according to Muslim law for a birthday feast. As their day wears on, however, Naz & Maalik evolves from offbeat walking-and-talking comedy to a closely observed drama about the many different obstacles facing urban youths as they make the transition to adulthood. And, as if being poor and first-generation African-American Muslims weren’t large enough burdens, Dockendorf also has made them gay and sufficiently naïve to paint themselves into a corner with the FBI. In fact, it isn’t until the night before we meet them that the longtime friends take their first giant step out of the closet by acting upon their sexual attraction to each other. Being gay is no picnic in any religion, but, as otherwise devout Muslims, Naz and Maalik face losing everything they cherish in the world, including the love of family members and access to their religious community.

In what could be described as an exercise in piling on by the filmmaker, a shady white street hustler points them out to a federal agent who’s trolling for potential terrorists in the Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy neighborhoods of Brooklyn. The informant was sufficiently upset by their refusal to buy a handgun from him that decides to use them as bait for a handout … apparently, anyway. The agent’s clumsy follow-up demonstrates how frustrating it can be for any black Muslim – let alone those who abide by the laws of their state and religion – in post-9/11 America. Then, just when you think their day couldn’t possibly get any worse, Dockendorf devises a couple of interesting twists to do just that. After making the rounds of gay-and-lesbian festivals, it will be interesting to see if Naz & Maalik finds an audience outside the niche demographic, including those academy members who continue to bemoan the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Frankly, I’m surprised that it didn’t find any support among the generally more responsive voters at the Indie Spirit gatherings.

Luther the Geek Blu-ray
Sonny Boy: Blu-ray
Jack’s Back: Blu-ray
The Toxic Avenger Collection: Limited Edition: Blu-ray
Among the words that have almost completely lost their original meaning over the last 30-40 years is “geek.” Although it’s generally accepted today that a geek is a nerd with the ability of getting things done, instead of obsessing over how cool something will look once it’s finished, we’re reminded by writer/director Carlton Albright that it describes a gnarly midway performer who bites the heads off chickens and drinks their blood. If the ASPCA hasn’t already convinced legislators to ban such freakish behavior, it’s unlikely there’s much call for the talents of a geeks outside Tea Party conventions and birthday parties for meth addicts. In Luther the Geek, a gang of Depression-era farmers attends a performance of a caged geek, held in a barn. While they taunt him in the usual hayseed fashion, a boy accidentally hits his mouth on a board, dislodging several teeth. The taste of blood, combined with the excitement that comes with watching a crazed man decapitate a chicken, encourages Luther to follow the caged performer into show business. Before long, he’s replaced his lost teeth with steel dentures, filed to razor-sharp precision capable of biting through the throats of human beings. Absent the stealth and wiles of Jack the Ripper, Luther is captured and sentenced to an eternity in prison. In modern penal terms, an eternity too often translates to anywhere between 10 and 50 years. Somehow a majority of parole-board officials recognizes in Luther something resembling good behavior and he’s allowed to join polite society. No sooner is Luther kicked out of a supermarket – brazenly chugging raw eggs from a carton — than he attacks an elderly woman and attempts to bite off her head. To avoid the cops, the clucking geek (Edward Terry) jumps into the car of a shopper heading back to her farmhouse. Once there … well, you can probably guess the rest. If Luther the Geek could never be mistaken for a competently made horror film, it maintains a brisk pace throughout its 80-minute length, with more than enough gore, nudity and stupid behavior to satisfy the average genre nerd’s passion for mayhem. Newly refreshed with a 2K scan from the 35mm negative, the Blu-ray edition adds commentary with Albright, an interview with actor Jerome Clarke, outtakes and deleted shots, and reversible cover art.

If there was a film made in the 1980s as thoroughly reprehensible – in a good way — as Luther the Geek, it’s Robert Martin Carroll’s almost unrepentantly sick – again, in a good way – Sonny Boy, which co-star David Carradine once characterized as being a cross between Bonnie and Clyde, Bringing Up Baby and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In the remote desert town of Harmony, N.M., a psychopathic petty crook and purveyor of stolen TVs, Slue (Paul L Smith), is enjoying a life of redneck bliss with his transvestite girlfriend, Pearl (Carradine), when a local good-for-nothing, Weasel (Brad Dourif), delivers onto them a baby boy. Weasel had stolen the red convertible from the infant’s parents – now deceased – but neglected to look under the blankets piled on the back seat. It wasn’t until he got to Harmony that the baby decided to alert Weasel of his spoiled diapers, at which time Pearl decides she wants to experience the joys of motherhood. Her lover decides, instead, to cut out Sonny Boy’s tongue and toss him into a corn bin to fend for himself for the next 15 years. When the feral child (Michael Boston) escapes and begins to terrorize the unsuspecting residents of Harmony, they rise up as one to destroy Slue and Pearl’s stronghold. Because Slue owns a military-grade cannon, the body count promises to be impressive. For what should be obvious reasons, Sonny Boy was accorded a record low number of days in distribution. It arrives on Blu-ray in nearly pristine condition, alongside commentaries with Carroll and writer Graeme Whifler and a BD-Rom draft of the script.

No less gory, but far more coherent is Jack’s Back, in which a L.A.-based serial killer celebrates Jack the Ripper’s 100th birthday by committing similarly grisly murders. Because James Spader plays twin brothers John and Rick Wesford and is the only still recognizable star, there’s a very good chance he’s either the killer or will be the lead suspect required to prove one or both of them is innocent. Naturally, the brother who’s a surgeon and has the cutlery to prove it is both the most and least likely person to have killed the hookers.  For Spader, Jack’s Back was sandwiched between key supporting appearances in Less Than Zero and Wall Street and a breakout lead performance in Sex, Lies and Videotape. He worked steadily through the 1990s, but the movies shrank in importance. His return to form wouldn’t come until a dozen years later with a wicked turn in Secretary and the introduction of his ethically challenged lawyer, Alan Shore, in “The Practice” and “Boston Legal.” Writer/director Rowdy Herrington’s next assignment would be directing the endearing cult classic, Road House, with Patrick Swayze and Kelly Lynch. The Blu-ray adds Herrington’s commentary, a making-of featurette and interviews with producer Tim Moore, actress Cynthia Gibb and DP Shelly Johnson.

And, while we’re on the subject of gloriously grotesque cinema, there’s the arrival on Blu-ray of Troma’s The Toxic Avenger Collection, which is comprised of The Toxic Avenger, The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie and Citizen Toxie. For the uninitiated, the oddly endearing cult character, Toxie, arose 15 years ago from decaying carcass of Melvin Junko, a nerdy mop boy in a Tromaville gym, who dived out of a window, landing headfirst into a simmering vat of toxic waste. Suddenly, the woefully deformed Melvin has been transformed into a dogged crusader against corruption, thuggish bullies and indifference. In “Part IV,” however, an explosion transports Toxie to a parallel universe in which the superhero and his evil doppelganger, Noxie, chose opposite sides of the environmental fence to defend, while also impregnating the blond princess Sarah and her own evil doppelganger. Similarly affected by the explosion are Sgt. Kabukiman, the obese Chester/Lardass, Dolphin Man, and the late Lemmy Kilmeister. The “Toxet” adds intros by Lloyd Kaufman, commentaries, interviews with the cast and crew, marketing material, “Apocalypse Soon: The Making of ‘Citizen Toxie’” and Tromatic videos.

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys: Vol. 1: Blu-ray
Arrow Video once again discovers gold in a most unusual place. In the late 1950s, the venerable Nikkatsu film studio inaugurated a star system, designed to locate exploitable male talent and assign them to its Diamond Line for a series of wild genre pictures. This collection celebrates three of the Diamond Guys with classic films from directors Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill), Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife) and Buichi Saito (Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril). Veteran tough guy Hideaki Nitani stars in Suzuki’s Voice Without a Shadow (1958), a noir whodunit about a former telephone-switchboard operator, Asako, who’s still haunted by the taunting voice of a disembodied killer. Reporter/narrator Ishikawa (Nitani) is pulled into the cold case when Asako recognizes the same voice emanating within the walls of her own home and calls her former co-worker for help. It belongs to one of the three men her husband has invited home for dinner and a game of mahjong. Her discovery triggers even more violence and an investigation that leads Ishikawa into the criminal underground.

Next, 1950s subculture icon Yujiro Ishihara stars in Masuda’s Red Pier as “Lefty” Jiro, a killer whose arrival in Kobe is complicated when he witnesses a man die in a crane “accident” that turns out to be anything but accidental. Much of the story unfolds in smoky nightclubs popular with trampy young women and slick gangsters. If Elvis Presley had been stationed in Japan, instead of Germany, he might have been convinced to spend his leave time acting in Saito’s The Rambling Guitarist, a 1959 action drama that resembles King Creole. Instead, pop superstar Akira Koabyashi stars as wandering street musician whose pugilistic skills endear him to a local crime boss and his daughter. The color cinematography adds a bit more of a Hollywood feel to the production, as well.

USA: Mr. Robot: Season 1: Blu-ray
Nickelodeon Favorites: Whiskers & Paws
PBS Kids: Superwhy: Three Billy Goats Gruff & Other Fairytale Adventures
The Facts of Life: Season Eight
If, like me, the first time you paid attention to USA’s “Mr. Robot” was after it won two key Golden Globe awards, then you’ll be happy to learn that it’s easy to catch up on the series via DVD/Blu-ray, the USA Now app and select streaming services. Normally, I don’t give much credence to the organization, but, like a blind pig, it should be given due credit for finding the occasional acorn. The trophies for Best Television Series: Drama and Best Supporting Actor: Series, Miniseries or Television Film (Christian Slater) – as well as Rami Malek’s well-deserved Best Actor nomination – came as a happy surprise and vindication for early promoters of the show. The series follows Elliot Alderson (Malek), an extremely gifted, if totally creepy engineer, who works at the cybersecurity company Allsafe. As conceived by executive producer Sam Esmail (Comet), Elliot’s thought processes are heavily influenced by social anxiety disorder, paranoia and clinical depression. He connects to people by hacking them, like “human malware.” He isn’t averse to using his gifts to protect friends or punishing miscreants, including, in the first episode, a yuppie douchebag who mistreats his dog. Even so, Elliot finds himself at a crossroads when the mysterious leader of an underground hacker group recruits him to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. The antiheroic anarchist, known as Mr. Robot (Slater), woes Elliot by detailing a conspiracy designed to cancel all personal debts by taking down one of the largest corporations in the world. It’s the kind of revolutionary action behind which any TV viewer with a credit card or student loan can rally. At first, the scope of the plan intimidates Elliot. On balance, though, he decides that the mega-company is far too evil to be left to its devices. Just when the disparate pieces begin to come together, Elliot is forced to admit to a debilitating morphine addiction. What’s revealed in the detox-induced hallucinations takes us deeper into Elliot’s Lynchian backstory than some viewers may want to go. If there are times when Elliot acts as if he’s the love child of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, Esmail admits to being influenced by such disparate entertainments as American Psycho, Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange, The Matrix, Fight Club, Risky Business and “Breaking Bad.” Mac Quayle’s nightmarish soundtrack raises more than a few goosebumps along the way, as well. Anyone plagued by the notion that the Internet could come crashing down, 20 minutes before they were able to cash out their investments, may want to avoid binge-viewing “Mr. Robot.” It’s that freaky. The Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, a gag reel and making-of featurette.

Nickelodeon Favorites: Whiskers & Paws” features more than two hours of laughs from some of Nick’s newest shows. “Shimmer and Shine” and “Fresh Beat Band of Spies” make their DVD debut, as they encounter a zoo full of animals and an out-of-control bundle of bunnies. Other Nick adventures include the “PAW Patrol” pups trying to control some naughty kittens; “Dora and Friends” making peace between cat and dog; the “Bubble Guppies” getting an education in house cats; and Blue spending time with her bilingual kitten friend Periwinkle in “Blue’s Clues.”

In PBS Kids’ “Super Why: The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Other Fairytale Adventures,” the Super Readers employ basic literacy tools and strategies to uncover hidden clues in new and interactive ways. Among other things, the Super Readers reconsider “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” from the point of view of the Troll; Princess Pea and Red are partners in a potato sack race, but can’t decide whether to go slow and steady, as dictated in “The Tortoise & the Hare,” treat it as a sprint; and “The Elves and The Shoemaker,” in which Whyatt has a secret admirer and wants to know who it is.

In Season Eight of “The Facts of Life,” Blair, Natalie, Tootie and Jo say goodbye to their beloved Mrs. G, after she finds love and moves away. Her sister Beverly Ann (Cloris Leachman) steps in to keep an eye on them, but as the year passes and graduation from Langley College looms for Blair and Jo, things remain in flux. There’s also a rockin’ trip back to the 1960s; an Eastland girls’ reunion, featuring such familiar faces as George Clooney and Stacey Q.; and a surprising murder mystery, in which no one is truly safe.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon