Phil Patton

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A Fortunate Cookie

"I N THIS BUSINESS," says Jack Nicholson--as J.J. "Jake" Gittis, private detective specializing in marriage difficulties, flushing his suave taunting

His Life as a Writer

A LEXANDER PORTNOY complained that he was living in the middle of a Jewish joke--the Jewish joke of his whole

Scruggs Fugs

E ARL SCRUGGS and his boys were at the Performance Center last week in what has to be one of

Pennies for the Old Guy

I WAS WALKING along Boylston St. one day recently when I noticed a listing of "The Appalachia Shop" at the

Honor Among Thieves?

W HAT WILL PROBABLY attract you the most about Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us are the surfaces of things, the

Movies for Mood or Money?

Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us opens with a gentle pan from the hazy skyline of a Mississippi morning across a

Seeing-eye Tortoise

T HE CRITIC has to be a bit wary of these Tom Stoppard plays, since one of them puts a

Enormous Changes, Minutely Traced

G RACE PALEY is a great and neglected American writer. Her only previous book was a wonderful collection of short

Some Houses Down There

A LL THIS STUFF--these notes, observations, glimpses and grotesques--need a justification that isn't to be found. It all belongs to

Venetian Blindness

D ON'T LOOK NOW is a film about second sight: that means about another way of looking at things. From