[Re “Kisonak and Harrison at the Movies 2012,”  December 26]: Well, I held my nose and went to see Les Misérables, which I have assiduously avoided in theaters until now. What a bloody mess! Tom Hooper, after (unjustly) winning an Academy Award for The King’s Speech, has now gone on to show how really bad a British telly director he is, e.g., using a wide-angle distorting lens and tight close-ups on what is supposed to be a spectacle. Even the battle scenes are claustrophobic. And “I Dreamed a Dream” with Anne Hathaway’s shamelessly exhibitionistic performance did not make me reach for a Kleenex but rather a sick bag. How self-indulgent can one person get?
There were so many moments of unreal emotion in one film, it was almost surreal. Where is Baz Luhrmann when you really need him? As for Russell Crowe, all I can say is: He did a workman-like job, and, as always, was well prepared. So he doesn’t sing like a Broadway musical actor? (The other singers could have used more nuance; not that they were helped by having the camera zoom in on their running snot during every song.) His gravitas and presence more than make up for this.
With the exception of some good stuff by Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen, the whole film was an utter and complete debacle. Sondheim must be laughing his head off.
Seven Days or Jerry Springer?
We welcome all feedback [“Taste Test: the Blue Stone Pizza Shop and Tavern, Waterbury,”  January 9] — good, bad, tough, even downright brutal. But seriously, Seven Days, enough already with the Marsala Salsa saga — for the third consecutive time. It has now been five months and three articles, and you can’t seem to let it go! While I appreciate the coverage and welcome the tough feedback, a phrase like “dodgy karma” following a pointed dig about how we supposedly ousted a breast cancer victim is unprofessional, completely inaccurate, irrelevant to a new restaurant opening, and demotes you to the ranks of Howard Stern and Jerry Springer.
Get your facts straight or don’t print it. No one mentions how the previous tenant ran their shop into the ground. So much for forward-thinking, positive journalism. I thought you had enough chops at Seven Days that you didn’t need tabloid fodder to fluff out your work. Clearly, I was wrong. I will remember it clearly when deciding where to spend my advertising dollars.
Editor’s note: The reference to “dodgy karma” was not directed at an individual or business, but to the space itself. It is customary when writing about a new restaurant to acknowledge the culinary history of its location — good, bad or indifferent.
Wrong About Rikert
Good article [“Inn and Out,”  January 9] on Tony Clark and Blueberry Hill and cross-country skiing in Goshen and Ripton, but I have to object to the use of “shabby” to describe the pre-renovation Rikert Nordic Center. I started on the Middlebury Union High School ski team as a freshman in 1960 and can remember pine tarring old wood Sandstroms, Bonnas and Jarvinens in the barn when there was no touring center. My family and I have been fortunate to have skied and raced at Bread Loaf since then and have seen it evolve. Mike Hussey has done an impressive job bringing Rikert up to NCAA specs, but that shouldn’t overshadow or diminish the great place it’s been over the years.
Auto Insurance, Anyone?
[Feedback, “Let Them Drive,”  January 9]: Issuing Vermont driver’s licenses to undocumented workers begs an answer to this question: Are they insured? Are Vermonters who are out on the roads minding their own business covered from accidents caused by workers using farm equipment? In this day and age of insurance companies thinking of every reason not to pay, I think this is a possible issue. Further, I think it reprehensible that Vermont even endorses what is basically slave wages for migrant help, then expects taxpayers to pay for their medical care, etc.
An out-of-state writer complained [Feedback, “Stacks Against Us?”  January 9] that folk at Fletcher Free Library are hospitable to homeless people during operating hours; I would venture to guess that she seldom confronts the sight of homeless men and women who have nowhere to go to keep warm and dry, and even less seldom hears the stories of how they came to be in that situation.
She concludes with the rhetorical question, “Where are the churches?” Maybe she belongs to a large congregation with lots of resources for antipoverty programming, or maybe she’s part of a secular populace that thinks private giving by religious folk is enough to stem the tide of need. Whichever, in Vermont, most parishes struggle to maintain minimal staff, buildings and programs. But most are also actively addressing the needs of the poor and homeless. One Burlington parish provides space to COTS’ flooded-out day station. Another is preparing an overflow shelter in spite of objections from parents of children enrolled in preschool at the same site. Many support COTS, the Joint Urban Ministry Project, food shelves and other local programs.
It was recently reported that the state now spends about $2.5 million annually to provide motel vouchers because shelters are full [“With Shelters Full, a Record Number of Vermont’s Homeless Are Living in Motels,”  December 5]. Vermont is a small state. Our resources are stretched. One of those resources, thank God, is a local library whose staff and patrons are not afraid of their less fortunate neighbors.
Rev. Ann Larson