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

Jolly Good Views

There are so many sparkling expressions in "first book of public prose" by Vladimir Nabokov that I have to give

Fact and Figure

O NE PARTICULAR IMAGE stays in my mind after looking at this show of work by one of the best

Cookin' It Up Country

It's been quite a few years now since I first learned to love good old-fashioned country ham, cooked with grits

'Snares of Watchful Tyranny'

I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT MACBETH might have something to do, these days, with electronic sound apparati, but there's no

Sum of Nothings

I T has been calculated that if books continue to be written about Samuel Beckett at the present rate then