Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Thursday, January 01, 2004
For nearly all my time growing up, until the years after I got married, I spent New Year's at my cousin's house, in a suburb near Washington, D.C. The four of us would meander through the long New Year's eve day, eating plenty of food (my aunt hosted a hearty party every New Year's eve), playing with new toys, and watching plenty of television. When the New Year rang in, cheers of "Happy New Year" were shouted and choruses of Auld Lang Syne were sung. More eating. More TV.

Jenn, my wife, attended the festivities a few times, and knows what we're missing.

I miss the party every year I don't go. As I get older, all I really want to do is be a kid again, scampering among the toys, eating too much food, and yelling Happy New Year into the quiet midnight evening.

Hello 2004. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Shattered Glass is the twelfth movie I've seen in the theater this year.

The movie is about the young (median age: 26) journalists and editors at The New Republic. One of the journalists, Stephen Glass, spent most of his career at the political magazine fabricating stories. One of the editors, Charles Lane, discovers this and deals with the consequences.

This is a simple story, but it's told so very well. It's also a kind of 'genre' movie: the journalistic drama. I'll admit that I'm drawn to journalistic dramas. My two favorites: All the President's Men and The Insider. Shattered Glass actually makes a brief reference to the first one.

Since "Shattered Glass" is based on fact, it was up to writer/director Billy Ray to compress and composite the characters and events to make a dramatic picture. He did this superbly. He somehow made the work of writers and editors very dramatic.

The acting is straightforward but the casting was perfect. Juxtaposing the dashing Hank Azaria, who plays Michael Kelly, the editor who gets fired for defending his writers with Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Charles Lane, as the stiff, unpopular successor sets up the office politics brilliantly. Hayden Christensen plays the story fabricator. As the movie develops, his character becomes more and more desperate and the audience along with the editors begin to doubt even the memories that the film presents as his own.

This is a terrific movie, and it honors the genre of journalistic dramas.