I know, I know, it has the inevitable “I got more from him than he ever got from me” scene and I am always cautious about “mighty whitey” (white person transforms the life of a person of color) and “magical Negro” (person of color transforms the life of a white person) movies. But there is something unmistakeably touching about this trailer and I am looking forward to the movie.
Be sure to read Paul Asay’s entertaining and enlightening discussion of the lessons we learned from Saturday morning cartoon shows like “Scooby-Doo” (be careful of strangers) and “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” (television can teach moral lessons). I especially like this discussion of the lessons from Road Runner:
Wile E. Coyote was the show’s primary professor, and he taught his young students dozens of pragmatic lessons: Don’t horse around near dizzying precipices. Don’t strap yourself to large explosive rockets. Don’t paint false train tunnels onto the faces of cliffs. But, through his boundless trust in (and inexhaustible account with) the Acme Corporation, Mr. Coyote also offered an important, if little heeded, message: You can’t catch happiness through the accumulation of “stuff,” no matter how much of it you buy. Sure, sometimes it’ll seem tantalizingly close…but it’ll always speed away again with a “beep-beep” and tongue waggle.
Better and better!
The magazine of the country’s largest organization of lawyers, the American Bar Associaton has published its list of the 25 all-time greatest legal television shows from enduring classics like “LA Law,” “Law & Order,” and “Perry Mason” to some quirkier choices like the animated “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” and the short-lived divorce lawyer drama “Civil Wars.” The list includes a comedy (“Night Court”) and genre-expanding, even surreal (“Ally McBeal”). Some focus more on civil litigators with controversial cases like “Owen Marshall,” “Boston Legal,” “The Practice,” and “The Defenders,” while others focus on the military (“JAG”), civilian prosecutors (“Law & Order”) or defense attorneys — almost always with innocent clients, of course — (“Perry Mason”). Sometimes, the focus is on the judge (“Judging Amy”).
Drama requires confrontation, and putting on a trial is always about telling a story, or rather telling two competing stories and letting the judge and jury decide which one they believe. And the law is where people go in the direst of circumstances, often when they have already tried to come to an agreement and failed. Only certain parts of the story are relevant in a courtroom, but it is always intriguing to find out what goes on behind all of that party of the first part and let the record show. So courtrooms and law offices are always a good place to look for good stories. Real-life lawyers like Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason), barrister John Mortimer (creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey”), Terry Louis Fisher (co-creator of “LA Law”), and Fred Thompson (co-star of “Law & Order”).
In an interview in the magazine, Sam Waterston of “Law & Order” reminds us that there is a fantasy element to even the grittiest legal drama on television. The cases brought to conclusion in one episode would take months or years to resolve in real life. “We tell stories about what’s fair and what’s just so we can get our minds around them, or just get to know them. In reality, conclusions are muddy, there are no final curtains, and life just goes on.”