As I feared, slim pickings (which get worse in the teens). These fillms are fine, but except for 2001 and 2006, none of these would have been real contenders eve in the nineties, which was much weaker than the three decades preceding.

I don’t think this Decline of Civilization thing is all in my head. If I ever start to doubt myself, I’ll just go back and read the long lists of titles of the films released since 2000. It’s not conducive to any pretty pictures, either on-screen or in my head.

But I’m soldiering on as there are still some worthwhile films and we must do what we must do…Civilization won’t be resuscitated by failing to finish what we start!

2000 Nurse Betty (Neil LaBute) (over Proof of Life…speaking of fallen civilizations, don’t watch this movie unless you’re prepared to witness a completely gratuitous and hyper-realistic scalping scene…the compensation is stellar work from Renee Zellweger and Morgan Freeman plus Chris Rock justifying his fame)

2001 Me Without You (Sandra Goldbacher) (nothing close…and no shame on the year, which can’t be said for some other years in this decade)

2002 Ripley’s Game (Liliana Cavani) (over The Good Girl…not quite as good as The Talented Mr. Ripley from the previous decade, but further proof that Miss Highsmith’s terrifying age as arrived and a career defining role for John Malkovich even if he’s about as far from the Ripley Highsmith imagined as it’s possible to get without bringing spacemen into it.)

2003 Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton) (fun movie, but you know things are going south when something like this stands alone)

2004 The Incredibles (Brad Bird) (and ditto)

2005 Walk the Line (James Mangold) (over Proof…and I’ll say this much, it’s been an excellent century for musical biopics and small blonde actresses)

2006 Infamous (Douglas McGrath) (over The Break-Up…an unlikely step up from the previous year’s more celebrated and excellent-in-its-own-right Capote…with Toby Jones narrowly besting Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Truman Capote and Sandra Bullock, earning the Oscar they later gave for some hokey nonsense or other, ever-so-quietly laying Catherine Keener’s Harper Lee in the shade)

2007 The Brave One (Neil Jordan) (over Zodiac and Michael Clayton, which isn’t saying much)

2008 Appaloosa (Ed Harris) (over Iron Man and The Dark Knight, which might be saying even less…good western which, in the fifties, would have been one of a thousand)

2009  My One and Only (Richard Loncraine) (fun road trip movie, loosely based on George Hamilton’s childhood, with a rare turn by Renee Zellweger–who also lit up Appaloosa–as a style of southern belle who has rarely been portrayed as accurately or sensitively….over The Hurt Locker and Up…if Up had been released as a short, consisting of its first fifteen minutes, it would have quadrupled the national suicide rate and been the film of the new millennium…which still wouldn’t have deserved it)


  1. I just wanted to say that I really dig your website, because you’ve written a lot about the Shangri-Las, whereas hardly anyone else does. Even Mary seems to have been silent since the end of the _Dangerous Game_ era.

    To think I was proud when I merely ascertained that it’s definitely Betty singing lead on “Wishing Well.” You’ve filled in a lot of other gaps in your Shangrelated articles. Thank you.


    (P.S. I note that we share the same low opinion of “critics.” Bravo.)

    • Hi Chris. Sorry for the slow reply. My internet’s been down the last two days and just came back up. I’m always especially happy to welcome a new Shangri-Las fan! There can never be too many of us….I really hope Mary records again. Can’t believe it’s been ten years. A lot of rumors but nothing yet. But, as I’ve often noted here, it’s “the story that never ends!”

  2. No sweat — thanks for the reply. I’m excited to read that you’ve heard rumors; they’re more than I’ve heard, which is nothing. I suppose we can keep our fingers crossed. _Dangerous Game_ rocked.

    What adds to the never-ending story is surely the massive cloud of mystique that continues to surround the Shangri-Las even all these decades later. For instance, there doesn’t seem to be a single interview with Betty Weiss — or Mary, from the actual, y’know, sixties — preserved anywhere on this massive thing called the Internet. At least there are comments available from the time of Mary’s return, as well as a lot of find-able words by Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, et al.

    By the way, I love _The Incredibles_ as well. I grew up as a Marvel Comics fanatic in the ’70s and ’80s. Familiarity with the trappings of the comic-superhero world adds to my enjoyment of the movie’s humor, I think.

    • This is gonna make me redouble my efforts to get Mary’s long interview with the owners of Norton Records back up on the net. It disappeared from Norton’s site a few years back (and killed all my links) and it needs to be posted somewhere…lot of typing, but it might as well be here.

      I really need to revisit The Incredibles. I remember enjoying it immensely in the theater and thinking it would probably stand up to a lot of viewings but somehow I’ve never acquired it on DVD….must remedy soon!

  3. WOW……I’d absolutely love to read that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. (I admit that I may be “projecting,” as the youngsters say, due to my selfish voracity regarding any Shangrinterviews I haven’t read yet.)

    Upon encountering your early entries about the group, I was excited to note your link to said long interview, only to be disappointed that it had, at some point, died. I ultimately blamed myself for being a latecomer to your web log, as I then noticed that the entry dated from 2012. If I can be of any help with transcribing, busywork, and other synonyms for “typing,” please don’t hesitate to give the order.

    One of the greatest lines ever written about any singer comes from your entry about “Remember”:

    “…there must have been some part of Mary Weiss that wanted to tell writer/producer George (soon to be “Shadow”) Morton: ‘Hey, listen….I don’t really need all this tricked-up melodrama…I mean, I can remake something by Jay and the Americans and freeze every drop of blood in the room.'”

    It was one of the few times I ever applauded while sitting at a computer. It goes without saying that I immediately had to listen to the song for the (roughly) forty-thousandth time.

    • Now I’m really getting motivated. I ran off a copy of the interview “just in case” and sure enough it eventually disappeared from their site…It’s lengthy, but I think I’m gonna push that to the top of the to do list.

      And thanks for the lovely compliment….makes it all worthwhile!

  4. That’s what brought me here also……..(Shangs)
    Finding multiple Jackie Deshannon threads as well was just unreal!
    (my all-time 2 fave female artists)

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