Its Only a Paper Moon subject logo: ENJOYSHOW
Posted by: badanov

On Friday nights we catch episodes of the TV series "Wicked, Wicked Games" a story about a jilted woman who wreaks revenge against a host of folks.

The series has a lot to offer: beautiful-looking woman, sex, lies, wealth, aggravated assault and power. The main protagonist,if you will, is Blythe Hunter, played by Tatum O'Neal. The character is actually an antagonist, but like everything else from Hollyweird, everything is upside down, backwards and generally contradictory.

Tatum O'Neal is the daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal, whose main claim to fame is from the 1970 spincter-lock known as "Love Story," a novel and a movie so bad they had to give the book away and ship junior high school kids en mass and at a discount to see it.

When we in junior high we got our copy, we dutifully didn't read it, but the book did have its uses as we made flip flims out of the books pages, which was far better entertainment watching a bowling ball move across a page to hit something than watching a silly, smarmy and thickly sweet syrupily contrived story about a Ivy league college ice hockey athlete losing his competitive edge.

We heard that after some of the girls returned from seeing the film, they were in tears, the film was so moving. We suspect it was more likely they cried because it was so bad.

Anyway, Ryan O'Neal and his then nine year-old daughter acted in the 1973 film "Paper Moon." We mention "Paper Moon" because the story and the film itself were completely 180 degrees from "Love Story" in terms of quality, as well as against 180 degrees from "Wicked, Wicked Games."

"Paper Moon" is set in depression era Kansas about a Bible selling conman who takes on the task of transporting the young daughter of one of his flings who had recently died in a car wreck, across Kansas to relatives in Missouri; St. Joseph to be exact. The film is in black and white, we're told, to emphasize the bleakness of the times.

Anyone from our age group who had parents who grew up in this area did know just how bleak things were. We studied economics as a minor, so we learned about just how bad things got primarily from bad monetary policy at the start of the 1930s.

The story in the film is a charming mix of vignettes as the two make their way across Kansas, with the common thread running throughout the film that Moses Pray didn't really believe Addie was his daughter. The story came down to a test of wills that the Addie eventually won.

We don't even know why we're posting this about a 33 year old film. We watch "Wicked, Wicked Games" rarely except on Fridays. The reason is more like watching a cultural trainwreak in slow motion.

But "Paper Moon" is such a huge departure from the other two works we mentioned that in order to see how bad the other two are, you have to see "Paper Moon."

If you have something to add, Fire Away!

Number of Comments so far: 0

Click here for a list of stories in the Shows and Spectacles category