The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Ashe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. She stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.
The critics have spoken on Larry David’s Fish in the Dark.
The New York Times: …set postures, lines and deliveries, while throwaway humor has been exaggerated in ways that perversely shrink its impact.
The New Yorker: …sour-voiced schtick…a cynical manipulation of sentimentality and humor.The Wall Street Journal: (Larry David’s) playwriting debut, a poor and embarrassing excuse for the kind of Jewish humor that went out of fashion with Gertrude Berg, (is) bursting at the moldy seams with embalming fluid.
It’s not as if Larry David made any highfalutin’ claims. “I saw Nora Ephron’s play, Lucky Guy. I just thought, ‘That must be a really interesting thing to do.”
The hate from New York’s papers is perhaps best summed up by the theater critic in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman: I’m gonna turn in the worst review anyone has ever read and I’m gonna close your play. Would you like to know why? Because I hate you and everyone you represent. Entitled, selfish, spoiled children. Blissfully untrained, unversed and unprepared to even attempt real art. Handing each other awards for cartoons and pornography.
Luckily, the real-life critics aren’t having so much luck. Larry David’s play has broken box office records and been greeted by constant laughs and ovations every night. Fish in the Dark, as Mr. David is not ashamed to say himself, is “pre-tty, pre-tty good.”
Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is pretty awful, little more than a terrible rap video with loops of meaningless dialogue, sensational imagery and an off-key – even insulting – reference to the imprisoned Russian group Pussy Riot. Not that any of this surprises – excepting the purple unicorn balaclavas. What’s remarkable is the critical response. Spring Breakers has been called “the year’s loopiest bit of fun” (Time Out), “positively raging with affect” (New Yorker), and an “outrageously funny party that takes a while to appreciate.” (The New York Times) With no characters, dialogue, nor even a narrative, it’s none of the above, but rather a bland statement about the simmering violence in pretty little things, all of it trite and overly done. The only entertaining thing was the drama in the theater – teenagers sneaking in, chased out by ushers – which seemed to approximate the politics of the affair.