The Wiz

I ordered a couple of items from Amazon, a Blu-ray Criterion Collection of “Tess” and the DVD set of “Goober and the Ghost Chasers.” It was a rather cold morning, and I wore my jacket to work. The shift left me pretty tired. I finished watching “The Wiz.” I recall that it was in the theaters at the same time that “Superman” was. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor were some of the stars. The director was Sidney Lumet. I thought that Diana Ross was a bit cold to be wandering around and crying that she couldn’t get home. Her resemblance to Michael Jackson was eerie. It seemed that her Dorothy was too miserable to be in the middle of a musical. Michael Jackson was not the greatest actor, even though he’d done some television work before this movie. He did some of the best singing with “Ease On Down the Road.” Some of the scenes looked like they should have been lit differently. I could hardly see anything whenever the actors were indoors. I thought the scene that introduced the Tin Man was one of the likable ones in the movie. I liked the amusement park sequence. Some bits were missing, like the Scarecrow being afraid of fire. One odd thing was that New York City, Munchkinland, and the Emerald City all looked the same. There was no exotic quality to the trip because of this, and in fact it seemed that all Dorothy had to do was walk a few blocks to get home. The yellow brick road wasn’t as colorful as in the Judy Garland film, and in fact, it looked like the tiles I put in my mother’s bathroom years ago. I generally don’t like the idea of reworking a story to make different points. It seems that you should come up with ideas of your own instead of latching on to something that’s already been out there. I can’t say that I liked too many of the songs in “The Wiz.” I didn’t see much of a sense of humor in the script, although they all tried. I think the only bit that made me laugh was the surprise appearance of three girl singers. I think this movie needed more ideas like that. The treatment of The Wiz at the end seemed awfully cold-hearted to me. It was as if the point of dealing with him was to gain a measure of revenge. Dorothy had to take over and be judge and cheerleader at the end. Did Diana Ross have too much to say about the production? I thought it was funny how we saw repeated shots of Toto running to catch up with the others. I kept thinking that the production looked rather expensive for an adaptation of a Broadway show. One shot showed piles of garbage in cans and plastic bags on the sidewalk. It seemed to go on forever. I just had to wonder how they managed to arrange everything in this shot. The movie moved slowly, and I got tired of this place. I also got tired of Diana Ross as Dorothy. I thought she was holding on to Toto so the dog wouldn’t ruin some of the shots. I thought that some of the things that worked on the stage probably didn’t work in this movie. We really want entertainment first, rather than lessons about race or how we should live our lives. I would argue that the costumes should have been redone. Sometimes the camera looks like it’s way too far away from the actors. I didn’t understand how Sidney Lumet was brought in for this film. I didn’t see how the director of “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon” should be the best choice. I don’t know why Diana Ross pushed so hard to get the role of Dorothy. The movie turned expensive and messy, with annoying EST language thrown into the mix. The movie was a failure at the box office, and at the time it was the most expensive film musical ever made. It was one of those productions that didn’t even look impressive despite in the money spent. It’s supposed to be a cult classic, although I don’t know anyone who likes it. They should have stuck to the original plan of having Stephanie Mills and the original cast members instead of turning it into a bloated monster. Diana Ross and Joel Schumacher got a lot of the blame for this one. I looked up Roger Ebert’s review, and he described the movie as slick, energetic, and fun. I thought he was far too kind with that review. I fell asleep a couple of times. I turned on the radio to the game between the Warriors and the Pelicans. The Warriors managed a three-point lead at halftime thanks to a Stephen Curry shot. They were ahead by two points after three quarters, and they won the game by a 97-87 score. I watched the special features of the “Frances Ha” DVD and learned some things about digital photography and black and white. I’m more impressed with the results now. Peter Bogdanovich offered some comments, and I noticed that he was started to seem quite old. Greta Gerwig was born in 1983, and she is from Sacramento. She mentioned the movie “Naked” when she was talking about her character. Noah Baumbach’s comments made me think that there was more substance to him that I had previously thought, but I’m still not rushing out to see “While We’re Young.” People like Greta Gerwig, James Franco, and Cate Blanchett were supposed to be part of the cast at various times. Ben Stiller is back, as well as songs by David Bowie and Paul McCartney. I don’t know what Baumbach’s attachment to the “Ram” album is. I saw that the Twilight Zone episode of the night was “The Last Night of a Jockey” with Mickey Rooney. I watched the end of “The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James” with Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash. I also watched a bit of a movie called “The Last of the Fast Guns.” The only actors I recognized were Lorne Greene and Edward Platt. Some of the people who died on April 21 include Mark Twain (1910), Gummo Marx (1977), and Nina Simone (2003). Today is a birthday for Andie MacDowell (57), Tony Danza (64), and Iggy Pop (68). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 21, “All Quiet on the Western Front” had its Los Angeles premiere in 1930. In 1982, CBS aired the last episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.” In 1989, “Field of Dreams” was released.

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