Heath Ledger, movies, The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight


My husband, my son and I went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight in Augusta. As much as I love to write and as much as I love movies, I suck at writing movie reviews, so I won’t attempt it. I’ll just tell you why you should go see this movie.

1. Heath Ledger’s performance.

Yes, I know I’m biased and, yes, I know it’s what everyone is saying. But everyone is saying it because it’s true. I expected to watch the movie with a tinge of sadness, knowing that it’s the last role he completed; but from the first moment he came onscreen I actually forgot that it was Heath Ledger up there. I forgot that he’s gone. He really was the Joker, in all his creepy, sadistic, hilarious glory. Simply put, he was brilliant.

2. Everyone else’s performances.

The returning cast–Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman–were superb; Aaron Eckhart was amazing, as usual; and Maggie Gyllenhaal was a welcome relief from Katie Holmes’ yawn-inspiring turn as Rachel Dawes. Even the minor roles were cast well.

3. Awesome special effects.

I usually blank out during car chase scenes, and big explosions don’t do much for me (I know I’m in the minority here), but Christopher Nolan knows what he’s doing. Even if you’ve seen the Eighteen Wheeler Flip Over in the trailer, you’re gonna be amazed by it on the big screen. And when buildings blow up…damn it, you feel it.

4. Oh yeah…and it’s a great story with lots of depth. More than the typical good vs. evil. More, even, than the now common blurring-the-lines-between-good-and-evil. And it’s entertaining, too.

As I said, we saw TDK at midnight in Augusta, Maine. Not a big city as cities go, and yet the two theaters showing it were chuckerblock full. (Apparently not an uncommon phenomenon.) When the credits rolled, there was thunderous applause. And when Heath Ledger’s name flashed before us, a group of comic book nerds (I use this term with honest affection) literally stood up and cheered, and the rest of us joined them. I’ll admit it: I cried right then. Partly because there were so many comic book nerds who originally balked (very frequently and very loudly) at Mr. Ledger’s being cast as the Joker, and this was a huge vindication for him. But mostly because that was the moment I remembered–again–that he’s gone.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger deserved better goodbye


by DAVID L. CODDON
SOURCE: Sign On San Diego.com

Ennis Del Mar was a man of few words, but powerful passions.
It required an actor possessed of uncommon instinct and courage to bring to the screen the vulnerable and conflicted hero of Annie Proulx’s short story, “Brokeback Mountain.”

Heath Ledger was that actor. Without emotional eruptions or cowboy clichés, he inhabited a character whose struggle with a profound love and loss – both beyond his comprehension – was unforgettable.

He died Tuesday at 28. Rarely has the announcement of the Academy Award nominations, made the same day, seemed so unimportant.

An internalizing actor whose film roles consistently defied the leading-man expectations assumed of him, Ledger chose to follow his conscience and his muse. Before “Brokeback,” for which he received an Oscar nomination in 2006, Ledger appeared in “Monster’s Ball” and “Lords of Dogtown.” We saw him last year in Todd Haynes’ out-there “I’m Not There.” For a movie star, he worked – and lived – about as quietly as did Ennis Del Mar.

How unfitting, then, that the hours following the discovery of Ledger’s body in his New York apartment were consumed by a paparazzi-and Internet “media”-feeding frenzy. Among the worst offenders: TMZ.com, which boasts the stink of respectability because it has a TV show and because its managing editor, Harvey Levin, is a recurring talking head on “Today,” among other shows. The site may as well have changed its name to “All Heath All the Time,” updating viewers seemingly by the second with grainy photos and lurid tidbits like: “The People Who Found Heath,” “Jack (as in Nicholson) on Heath: I Warned Him!”, “How Heath’s Body Was Discovered,” “Michelle Williams (Ledger’s ex-fiance’e and the mother of their child) – Devastated,” and “Inside the Building Where Heath Died.”

There was more: Lindsey (as in Lohan) was distraught at Ledger’s death. Ledger was not at the apartment of Mary-Kate Olsen. And photos, photos and more photos of Ledger’s body being removed from the building.

TMZ was not alone in – I don’t know any other way to say this – the fine art of ghoulish reporting. Culprits abounded – in both mainstream and tabloid coverage.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, and it won’t be the last.

I just didn’t expect Heath Ledger to be in the middle. Silly, naive me.

Sorry me, too. Sorry for a child named Matilda, now without a father. Sorry for those who read and watch and listen, who deserve better. Sorry for those whom I must accept, like it or not, are my colleagues in the media.

Sorry, most of all, for Heath Ledger, who deserved at least as much dignity as he gave Ennis Del Mar.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger

You guys all know that I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. I didn’t know the man, but I am heartbroken that he’s gone.

I hope the tabloids/paparazzi/celebrity bloggers will remember that he was a human being and that he’s leaving family behind, and that they’ll accordingly show some restraint.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger

You guys all know that I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. I didn’t know the man, but I am heartbroken that he’s gone.

I hope the tabloids/paparazzi/celebrity bloggers will remember that he was a human being and that he’s leaving family behind, and that they’ll accordingly show some restraint.

Heath Ledger, Melissa Etheridge, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing

Longingly

There are people on this planet who are convinced within themselves that they’ve been abducted by aliens, beamed aboard spaceships that hover just outside Earth’s various satellite detection systems, tortured by said aliens for hours on end, then returned to their homes–broken, but alive. Barely alive. I woke up this morning feeling just like that. Spent and aching, body and soul. What I needed, I decided, was to spend the day reading a book that would grab me by the hairs of my heart, so I could forget my own mental and physical anguish.

You might say that I longed for a good book.

Logically, I headed for my nearest bookstore. I left two hours later, empty handed and despondent. Note the following sentence from a randomly opened page of a book whose name and author I can’t bring myself to remember:

I looked at him longingly.

I dragged my spent and aching ass out of bed for a good book, and the best you could do, O Anonymous Author, was: I looked at him longingly?

long (verb) :
to have an earnest or strong desire or craving; yearn.

There is something seriously wrong here if the definition of the word long moves me and a character who is supposedly longing for someone does not. At this point, I don’t even care about the context. I don’t care if this character goes on for three pages to describe the “him” for whom she was longing. Hell, she could be looking longingly after Heath Ledger–who deserves all the longing looks he gets–and I wouldn’t give a shit. Because, O Anonymous Author, your character cannot look at someone longingly. I–the reader–have to long. This goes beyond the Show-Don’t-Tell mantra. This is just damned lazy writing. And yet…O Anonymous Author’s novel is sitting on my local bookstore’s shelf. Hence, my despondence.

Then, about halfway home, I heard Melissa Etheridge’s hot, rugged voice pleading from the depths of my radio:

I would dial the numbers just to listen to your breath.

Not her lover’s voice, or even her lover’s words. Just to listen to your breath. Melissa Etheridge is a woman who knows a thing or two about longing.

Just like me. Because right now, still, I am longing for a good book.