Jon Stewart On The Oscars

My friend Farrell has already written me four or five times on this subject. The last time, attaching an article, he wrote the single word, “Ouch!”

Jon Stewart was a major disappointment at the Oscars.

I guess the good news is, he was a disappointment because he’s normally so good. The bad news is, for many people, this is their introduction – and possibly their final impression.

Tom Shales was brutal in today’s Washington Post – but Shales specializes in being brutal&#185.

It’s hard to believe that professional entertainers could have put together a show less entertaining than this year’s Oscars, hosted with a smug humorlessness by comic Jon Stewart, a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by.

I wonder what’s going through Stewart’s mind today? Is he having second thoughts about he approached the broadcast? Has he just tossed it off and moved back to his ‘real’ life?

&#185 – After I put this online, Farrell called and questioned my characterization of Shales.

Shales does not specialize in being brutal. He writes better than anyone on the subject of television period. He’s honest, frank. Likes TV and when he sees something good, he praises it. When he sees something bad, he’ll write and say so. And you can quote me, WeatherBoy&#153!

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March Of The Penguins

Helaine and I have just returned from the movies where we saw March of the Penguins. It is a French documentary on the life cycle of the Emperor Penguin, which lives in and around Antarctica.

To say this movie is beautifully shot is an understatement. Antarctica and penguins are both quite photogenic. But just shooting it had to be unbelievably difficult.

Early on in the movie Morgan Freeman, the narrator, throws out some numbers relating to wind and temperature. The exact figures really don’t matter, because all you’ll say will be, “Oh my God!”

What the penguins have to do to exist is tough enough – but they’ve evolved for this. The crew that shot the film was not.

Much of the wintertime footage was shot in howling winds and blowing snow. As far as I can see, the severity of the weather was actually played down. You could have accentuated the environment’s wrath, but instead, natural sound was kept to a minimum.

Still, the crew had to spend hours at a time in the wide open. Even when they functioned, how did they get the equipment to follow along?

Spending time, watching the habits of Emperor Penguins, is something I had never done before. They are worthy of a movie. There is compassion and fidelity in the world’s harshest place.