Coming from someone who persevered through "The Black Dahlia" and "Battlefield Earth" and "Catwoman" and "From Justin to Kelly," such an admission would mean something.
For the record, I made it through "Dawn of the Dead" the following day. But Ive never given "Clifford" another shot -- and I never will. Life, as they say, is short.
-- RENE RODRIGUEZ rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com
IN THEATER . . .
Twenty years ago, on my annual spring Broadway trip, I made the unfortunate decision to see a revival of "Macbeth" starring Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer. Why unfortunate?
As I wrote in a mini-review: "On its long road to Broadway, the Plummer-Jackson 'Macbeth' went through three directors and two sets, and it shows. There is no consistency of style or vision. Some actors can handle the language, some can't. The looks range from regal to 'Road Warrior.' . . . The murder of 'Macbeth,' and I do mean the play, was so bloody awful that I left at intermission."
Why bring up a production that still makes me shudder? Two reasons: It is the only time (as far as I can remember) that I bailed out of a show I was reviewing before it ended. And I acknowledged in print that I fled.
Otherwise, unless I'm at the theater as a civilian rather than a working critic, I stay until the actors take their bows.
Readers deserve an analysis based on more than one act, and some productions do get better or worse as they unfold. And the actors, directors, playwrights and designers who make their living creating theater -- a significant part of South Florida's local arts scene -- deserve to have their work considered in its entirety.
That's not to say that sticking it out to the brilliant or bitter end is always a thrill, but that's what I'm paid to do. Even if I'm reviewing "Mamma Mia!" for the sixth time. Or, in retrospect, a particularly bad "Macbeth."
-- CHRISTINE DOLEN cdolen@MiamiHerald.com
IN BOOKS . . .
There they were, stark and terrible, two words marking the first page of a book I'd long anticipated reviewing: "Babe Ruth."
The book was Dennis Lehane's "The Given Day," his bid for literary greatness on a 1919 Boston police strike. I was dying to get my hands on it. And yet, those two words indicated I would have to endure pages about baseball, an excruciatingly overpraised sport (damn you, Roger Angell) and one utterly tedious to me unless it involves Crash Davis and the Durham Bulls.
I soldiered on for about 10 pages. Flipped ahead to discover Babe Ruth returned sporadically and decided I couldn't stomach reading one more word about an ancient ballplayer whose curse wasn't even valid anymore.
We ran someone else's review of "The Given Day," but if I'd not had the luxury of passing, I would have suffered onward. I would not have reviewed the book based on a small fraction of its content. Does this make me more conscientious than Roger Ebert, whom I generally admire? Hell yes. Critics have cushy jobs -- we all know it -- and the least we can do is bother to assess the works we write about in full. After all, I could be assigned to cover the local water management board meetings. If I had to slog through John Irving's interminable gas-bag "Until I Find You" to excoriate it, surely Mr. Ebert could sit through the far shorter "Tru Loved" in his dark, quiet theater, content in the knowledge that soon he could exact his revenge.
-- CONNIE OGLE cogle@MiamiHerald.com