Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

A fun week at the theater

Wick's World


What a fun week. My wife and I took in two movies and two plays in six days. A few years back we became interested in watching the Oscars when several great movies came out. We enjoyed them enough that we made it an annual event.

We will have another busy week at the movies before next Sunday evening rolls around. We still have to see “Boyhood,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash” and “Selma.” My wife and I will not watch Clint Eastwood’s successful attempt (“American Sniper”) at representing military sanctioned killing as heroism. In my opinion, the story’s based on the John Wayne mentality that Americans are always the good guys and the Indians are always the savages. I don’t buy into the glorification of killing and I never will. I respect the right of the opinion of others that the sniper is the good guy who saves American lives, albeit often at the expense of innocent victims. I expect the dramatic “American Sniper” will win several awards.

“Selma” we will watch this evening. I have a personal interest in this movie because of the direct influence it had on my teenage years. In 1965 I drove smack-dab in the middle of the racial turmoil exploding throughout the segregated south. I was with my Native American friend in his 1963 Chevy convertible (top down) on the way to Vero Beach, Florida, when we stopped for gas in Selma, Alabama.

At the time we were a couple clueless teenagers who didn’t realize people were about to die for the color of their skin. We became quickly enlightened when a gas station attendant said, “You’d better put that top up and be out of this state before the sun goes down. People here are gonna’ think ya’ll is a couple of them civil rights workers from up north.”

My friend could both rocket and curve a baseball, which earned him a professional tryout. He never made the Major Leagues after Vero Beach, but we did make it out of Selma alive.

My choice for best movie is the entertaining “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” although I would love to see “Wild” get plenty of recognition. The strong performance by Reese Witherspoon who played the role of author Cheryl Strayed in “Wild” is definitely worthy of an award for best actress. Having known Aitkin County’s Cheryl Strayed since she was a young girl, I have to say at times, Reese almost looked and sounded exactly like Cheryl does in real life. Laura Dern also played a powerful role as Cheryl’s mother, Bobbi, and is being mentioned as a strong possibility for best supporting actress.

I mentioned the movie “Wild” to Walt Lower just a few weeks ago and asked if he would show it at the Lake Theater in Moose Lake. By Valentine’s Day the movie was in Moose Lake drawing good crowds. Walt has been running this small town theater for decades and Saturday, he invited customers to bring their "Valentine" to the movie for free — a generous act from the local businessman who advertises, “We never close due to bad weather.”

“Birdman” has a possible best actor award for Michael Keaton, although I would think Bradley Cooper probably hit the target for his role in “American Sniper.”

“Theory of Everything” I have yet to watch, so the the jury is still out on this story about Stephen Hawking’s relationship with his wife. Will Eddie Redmayne’s transformation into the brilliant- minded Hawking deserve an Oscar for best actor?

We also went to the stage last week. “The Color Purple” that put Oprah Winfrey in the spotlight as an outstanding actress also worked on stage. The outstanding singing was alone worth the price of a ticket.

The other play we saw was “The Bird Cage.” The movie version starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. This was one of Williams’ first movie roles where he was coupled with an openly gay partner, the hilarious Nathan Lane, who stole the show with his role as a cross-dressing Cabaret dancer. The movie transformed quite well onto the stage and had the audience roaring with laughter when the actor playing the part of Robin Williams’ character's very conservative father, a Republican senator, discovered Nathan Lane’s character's true identity. You could say the father “flipped his wig” when the actor playing Lane's part accidently flipped off his wig following a dynamic dance performance at the Cabaret below their apartment.

Last week was fun, and with four movies and the Oscar’s on the schedule, this week can only get better.


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