Al Pacino as “Dr. Death.” And Eliot Spitzer, the chutzpah king

Nobody likes to mention this, but Al Pacino doesn’t really make good movies anymore.

Seriously, as ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons has pointed out, Pacino hasn’t made a good major theatre movie in, like, a decade.

His last movie that I liked was HBO’s brilliant “Angels in America,” when he played the savagely profane but brilliant lawyer Roy Cohn. (Lewis family trivia: I’ll always remember that movie because Julie and I had our first phone conversation that night, it lasted three hours, and I learned later both of us wanted to get off the phone at about 10:59 p.m. so we could watch the West Coast version of the movie. See, we were made for each other.)

So when I heard good ole’ Michael Corleone was playing Jack Kevorkian, a man I admire greatly, in a new HBO movie called “You Don’t Know Jack,” I was pumped.

Saw the movie Sunday, and it was really, really good. I feel very strongly about euthanasia and why it should be legal, and I always thought Kevorkian was truly on the side of mercy. Pacino completely channeled Kevorkian, and director Barry Levinson got a fantastic cast to play off Pacino (Susan Sarandon, John Goodman).

I remember thinking at the time that all the same people who protested Kevorkian and called him a murderer, are also the same people talking about religious beliefs and showing “mercy” to people. Allowing someone to die with dignity is as merciful as you can get.

The movie was great, I highly recommend it. But it made me sad that 15 years after Kevorkian started gently helping those with terminal illness to stop the suffering, this country still looks at assisted suicide as such a sin.

I think years from now, many will wonder why such a humane act was deemed illegal.

**So I woke up Sunday morning to read in The New York Times that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has reservations about likely Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, that he’s too politically motived, and that Spitzer isn’t sure he’s right for the job.

Spitzer, you know, the guy who decided it’d be smart while governor to use a prostitution service and pay for it with a credit card, isn’t sure someone else is right for the job.

This brings up a host of questions: Why is Spitzer still asked by media members to pontificate and analyze, when he’s clearly a disgrace as a human being? Is there no “shame” period anymore in American life, or if there is, Spitzer’s sure seemed to be short.

Look, I don’t know how great or not great Andrew Cuomo would be as governor. I like what I’ve seen and read about him, my friend Andrew once worked for him at a non-profit and said Cuomo was nice, and his father is one of my favorite speakers ever (Mario Cuomo).

But that the New York Times would give Eliot Spitzer, one of the biggest megalomaniacs in politics, a platform to bash another gubernatorial hopeful, and that Spitzer would continue to come off as holier than thou as he has for years, just ticks me off.

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2 responses to “Al Pacino as “Dr. Death.” And Eliot Spitzer, the chutzpah king

  1. Those people who think that gently helping someone with a terminal illness—to stop the suffering— and that assisted suicide is a sin, never had to watch a loved one wither and die in pain. It is cruel to let someone suffer—for years. You should have a choice how you want to spend your last days or years of your life. Trapped in a bed hooked up to a feeding machine and a respirator is no kind of life I would ever want. Everyone raise your hand if you would. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  2. Michael, I couldn’t agree more with you re: Spitzer. Several months ago, WAMC and Alan Chartok (of course) did a big interview with him, giving him a platform, and I wrote him a nasty e-mail basically saying this same thing. Basically, if I were in charge of a news organization in NYS, he’d be on my “permanently banned” list.

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