Ochs was a passionate singer/songwriter during the 1960s and 1970s, actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, labor injustices and Vietnam war protests, though not as well known as Seeger and Ochs’ contemporary, Bob Dylan. The film introduces the man and his music through interviews and performances. Today’s comedians garner material from the headlines: Ochs did, too, but his messages carried far more weight and still are as powerful more than 40 years later with such lyrics as “I’m Not Marching Anymore,” “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” and “There But for Fortune.”
In addition to many video and film clips, writer/director Kenneth Bowser included dozens of still photographs and interviewed many performers and friends who knew Ochs well, including his brother and sister. Weighing in on Ochs’ devotion to peace and justice are folk-singing legend Seeger, politician and activist Tom Hayden, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, and dozens of others.
Later in his career, Ochs knew his dream of being famous as a performer would not be realized. But he never turned down a benefit to sing for a cause and never “sold out” or went “mainstream” with his lyrics. Alcohol became a problem late in his career and he lost his battle with depression at age 35.
“Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune” serves as a reminder that artists can and do serve as historians as well as entertainers. According to Bob Dylan’s 1962 song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Alas, the likes of an artist with the passion of Phil Ochs is hard to come by in 2011.
Whether you wander the video store aisles or surf the web, it’s hard to choose a good comedy. Watching the trailer for “The Dilemma” provided a few chuckles and director Ron Howard has delivered good, fun movies in the past (“Parenthood,” “Cocoon” and “Splash”), but actually watching “The Dilemma,” the 10-hour movie (OK, it was only two hours that seemed like 10) proved anything but entertaining.
“Buddy” films have been the rage since Hope and Crosby, Redford and Newman, Murphy and Nolte, and my personal favorites, Pryor and Wilder. Not only does “The Dilemma” fail as an outing for comedian Kevin James and comic actor Vince Vaughn, it fails at its stab at 21st-century philosophical problem solving.
Hypothetical: Friend “A” sees his best friend’s wife kissing another man. Said best friend “B” is too busy to pay any attention to his wife and instead frequents a massage parlor for sexual attention. When confronted by A, B’s wife threatens to reveal an evidently insignificant sexual encounter between A and B’s wife years ago.
I could go on, but who cares? “The Dilemma” doesn’t work as a dramatic search for an epiphany of right vs. wrong. And it certainly doesn’t work as a comedy because the bits of humor are few and far between (you see them in the trailer.) Save your $5.99 if you have Pay-Per-View and if it’s available to rent for $1, don’t bother unless you’re having trouble sleeping.
Foreign films offer a new and sometimes fresh approach to motion pictures. Whether a remake of the charming Swedish film “Patrik 1.5” is in the works in Hollywood remains to be seen. But even if you’re wary of subtitles, this one is worth it.
Sven and Gören move to the suburbs to start a family. A backyard barbecue is the first opportunity for the gay couple to be introduced to their new neighbors. Reactions are mixed to the men, particularly when they reveal that their plans to adopt a son are nearly finalized.
Sven is a general practitioner who deals with both acceptance and paranoia from his patients on a daily basis. Gören is an executive far from settled in their decision and not nearly as enthusiastic about changing diapers or their life style.
His reaction to the news that there’s been a typo in the adoption papers and the “baby” turns out to be a 15-year-old troubled teen is predictable. Patrik has been bounced around dozens of foster homes and, to top it off, is homophobic.
Far different from this year’s Oscar nominee, “The Kids Are All Right,” which features a lesbian couple with teenagers, “Patrik 1.5” is told from the perspective of a gay couple struggling in their relationship, with rejection by their neighbors and with a teenager who would rather be almost anywhere else. But the issue of adoption is most important in “Patrik 1.5” and a very good reason to watch this movie. Rated R for sexual content and language.
Rebecca Redshaw is an author and playwright who worked for 25 years in the film industry in Los Angeles. Copies of her book, “SOFA CINEMA: An Easy Guide to DVDs,” may be purchased at the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grading this week’s DVDs: the ABC’s
Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Politics, political figures and spies
Tue, Mar 6, 2012
Tue, Feb 14, 2012
And now, reality
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking back on the year that was (Part 1 of 2)
Wed, Dec 7, 2011
Film buffs should revisit ‘Northwest’
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Conspiracy theories played out on film
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Mix-ups, marriage and horse management
Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Going ‘Grease,’ locally and on DVD
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
It’s All About the Music
Fri, Sep 9, 2011