Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

April 18, 2000

Easter video viewing: 'Spartacus' to 'Harvey'

By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

At Christmastime, your video-movie choices are perfectly self-evident. You watch "A Christmas Carol" or "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street" while knocking back eggnogs, ignoring your obnoxious houseguests and pretending to wrap presents.

At Passover and Easter, however, such choices cease to be clear-cut. Maybe that's because those two closely related religious occasions haven't been quite so thoroughly assimilated into secular and commercial culture as Christmas, or because filmmakers - who are like pigs in slop when it comes to fir-filled, gift-strewn living rooms - are stumped how to make great festive set pieces out of Easter egg hunts or solemn high Mass.

Then, too, the people you're renting movies for (your family and friends) may be staunch believers, staunch unbelievers, staunch Darwinian socialists, staunch libertarians, staunch pagans, or staunch people-who-are-really-only-interested-in-the-leg-of-­lamb. So a religious movie isn’t necessarily the way to go.

Following are some video-movie suggestions that may or may not help keep the good will flowing at your house.

For those interested in the Passover aspect of the holiday season, there could be no better choice than "The Ten Commandments," with Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as a bald pharaoh, or "The Prince of Egypt," Disney's wacky animated version of essentially the same tale, complete with tunes.

Suppose you are a liberal living in a metropolitan area where your minister or priest blesses same-sex unions and observes Earth Day. Suppose you've got relatives coming from some Midwest or Southern town with the word "Fork" in its name where the same preacher has been giving the same hellfire sermon since the time of the Civil War. Here's how you keep things interesting: rent "The Last Temptation of Christ," Martin Scorsese's lighthearted look at Nikos Kazantzakis' tale of an all-too-human Messiah who just wants to get into his jammles and forget the whole sacrifice thing. It will guarantee dynamic dinner-table discussion and, even better, a likely early departure for your houseguests.

If you want to be an old stick-in-the-mud, there are always such choices as "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "King of Kings," "Jesus of Nazareth," "The Robe," "Barrabas" (with Anthony Quinn as the convict set free in place of Jesus by Pilate, long before Pilate invented that fancy new gym technology), “Ben Hur” (Charlton Heston as a beleaguered Jewish slave who keeps bumping into a certain Galilean carpenter), or "Touch of Evil" (Charlton Heston as a Mexican probation officer in Orson Welles' noir classic, remarkable for its complete absence of Easter relevance).

A great option if your house is filled with testosterone-heavy individuals who would much rather be watching an old Hercules sword-and-sandals epic "Spartacus," with Kirk Douglas as a rebellious gladiator with a hole in his chin. It has nothing to do with the Easter story, but it's set in the same period, everyone wears togas, and Kirk gets crucified at the end, making it at least roughly appropriate.

On the other hand, if your home is jammed with fans of retro-glitz, go down and get "Cleopatra," with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as the titular Queen and her Roman boyfriend, respectively. It’s a period extravaganza that does Christians and Jews alike a big favor by leaving their religions out of it. (But you still get the togas, etc.)

Hold on a minute, though. Everyone knows that long before Easter and before Passover, even, what this time of year was about was spring. Druids and other heathen would get all worked up over the vernal equinox and the beginning of daylight-savings time and the fact that June would soon be bustin' out all over.

Unfortunately, so far Hollywood has never gone in much for big, showy movies about tree worship. These days and in this culture, your genuine rites of spring take place on baseball diamonds. Happily, there is no dearth of motion pictures on that theme.

"It Happens Every Spring" is an obvious possibility. Also, you can consider "Field of Dreams," "Damn Yankees," "Bull Durham," "The Pride of the Yankees," "For Love of the Game," "Major League," "The Bad News Bears," "A League of Their Own," or "The Natural," to name only a few.

Or, if you've got older people in the house who fondly remember a time when Easter was, first and foremost, about bonnets, you can rent "Easter Parade," with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.

As for the infamous fertility symbol that lurks at the center of many Easter preoccupations, you can watch "The Egg and I."

And if that's not tenuous enough for you, go the whole distance and pick up "Basketcase."

Rabbits? Four words: "Harvey," with Jimmy Stewart. Failing that, Ralph Bakshi's animated version of "Watership Down."

Risen, indeed.                       

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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