|Bill Murray, right, and Adam Driver in "The Dead Don't Die."
Can a columnist write for years and never reveal anything personal? I suppose it's possible, but that seems awful dry, not to mention suggesting that you're some kind of Delphic Oracle, delivering truths while hidden behind the mists of Mount Parnassus.That ain't me, obviously. I believe personal information is the glue that holds a columnist to his or her readership. Without reference to your own life, you're just a brain in a jar, issuing opinions. You need to occasionally reflect that you have a life, a family, a dog, that you got your hip replaced—details in Sunday's paper—and enjoy pistachio pudding.
Columnists must take care, however, that these shared details are adhesive rather than repellent. A prime cautionary tale is George F. Will, who in 2009 wrote a column damning blue jeans as "the infantile uniform" of a nation lost to TV and video games. It was standard Will stuff, quoting both Edmund Burke and St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. And then, in the last paragraph, he severed his bond with readers, at least this reader. He admitted that while he did own a pair of blue jeans, he had only worn them once, under duress, when forced to in order to attend a country music-themed party.
My regard for the man drained away. It colored him, forever. The guy who never wore jeans.
So I’m pausing before this admission. I think I’m on solid ground. Only one way to find out.
I had never seen a zombie movie. Not before last month. Oh, I’d caught glimpses, in commercials. I know there’s a TV series, “The Walking Dead.” So I can conjure up images. A lot of lopsided shuffling. Much bloody gnawing of flesh. Not my idea of fun.
But my older boy was home, and he broke down my resistance by pointing out this was a zombie movie with Tom Waits, “The Dead Don’t Die,” directed by Jim Jarmusch. I love Tom Waits.
So I watched. “The Dead Don’t Die” (2019) starring Bill Murray, who has made a sub-career adding his celebrity sparkle to small films, and Adam Driver, because he’s in every movie lately, as Chief Cliff Robertson and Officer Ronnie Peterson. The pair are the senior peace officers in Centerville, which begins to have problems due to “polar fracking” throwing the Earth off its orbit. Daylight and nighttime are scrambled, the ants are confused and, oh yes, the dead live, popping out of their graves to eat human flesh.
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