Review: The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill

In 1998, I had the pleasure to see one of American theater’s great dramas, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, staged at one of the grand old theater houses of London’s West End, the Old Vic, where Kevin Spacey was then headlining in the role of doomed interventioner (and erstwhile salesman) Theodore “Hickey” Hickman. I’ve reread the play a couple times over the years, including this past week. This most recent reading uncovered some of the plays more deeply held pleasures—well, deeply held from me, that is—and I’d like to talk about ‘em. Maybe during this discussion, I’ll discover why I keep returning to O’Neill’s depressing world of drunks, addicts, layabouts, and ne’er-do-wells. 

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Review: Julie Taymor’s The Tempest

Spoilers ahead!
Source: CC2K
This unearthed blog post post has not been revised since its original posting.
This blog entry is an unearthed blog post, pulled from one of several sources: my old personal blog; the pop-culture website CC2K; a now defunct website dedicated to my novel The Odds; or my now deleted Facebook account. A few entries may even be cobbled together from threads lifted from my now deleted Twitter account. My hope is to explore some of my old writing as I try to reclaim my focus and my mind. I plan to revisit, revise, and revamp each unearthed blog.

Despite some excellent performances, Julie Taymor’s take on Shakespeare’s swan song doesn’t quite work.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

I love Julie Taymor. I don’t always love her movies.

Watching her lavish new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest brought me back to a lot of things — my adoration of the play, my impatience with the play, my early days writing for CC2K. I also found myself reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of film versus theater and how they challenge filmmakers who try to usher Shakespeare’s plays onto the screen.

I also found myself contemplating the role of special effects in moviemaking and how computer-generated effects still have the capacity to fail so utterly. I hate to shine so harsh a light on the special effects in a Shakespeare movie, but The Tempest is packed with some jaw-droppingly bad ones. They got in the way, when they should have helped the movie soar.

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