Letters from the week of January 22, 2004

This idea that test scores and labels are going to improve public education -- it's not based in any reality I know from the trenches. It's a delusion.

Tim Furman
Apache Junction

Broken Record

The song doesn't remain the same: Thanks for the update on Zia Record Exchange ("Spun Out," Brendan Joel Kelley, January 15). I have watched the chain for years because I had relatives working for the store. Zia was so cool when serving its original purpose. When that older "Chicago" style of "we don't have to know music, just business principles" management was installed, it was just a matter of time before the dirt started falling on the coffin! They never could understand why Zia was never a Sam Goody or Wherehouse type of store. Now maybe they will find out as they lick their wounds and retire back up north.

Paul Pittman

The last word: Zia is the last real record store like Circle K is the last real grocery store.


Great article. A couple small things, though. Operation Ivy only had one full-length release, and why no mention of Eastside Records or Stinkweeds Records or even Tracks in Wax records in Phoenix?

Aside from my minor quips: good, good, good, good, good, good.

Name withheld by request

Food Fight

A real Lemons: I think you, Stephen Lemons, have been kicked in the head one too many times. Your recent review of Pronto Ristorante ("Volare, Oh No!," January 1) was not only rude, it was totally unprofessional, not to mention inaccurate. It seems as though you are trying to be a comedian (a very poor one at that) more than a restaurant critic. Maybe you should try putting your mouth up to a microphone instead of a fork because it's obvious that you are not qualified to review restaurants.

Pronto just celebrated its 22nd year in business, which means that it must be doing something right. This Valley isn't one for mediocre Italian restaurants. Being Italian myself, I know good Italian food when I taste it.

I have been frequenting Pronto for at least 10 years. The food, the service and the atmosphere have always been superb. I eat there at least once a month, if not more. They have had repeat clientele since the day they opened their doors, and new clientele is always walking in. And yes, even leaving with a smile.

As far as Mikey is concerned, if he knew his vodka as well as you claim he does, he would have known to order or at least ask for the brand he likes. When I go to a restaurant, I don't say, "I'll have a glass of red wine." Maybe it's me, but I'm pretty sure there is more than just one wine maker out there.

Does making fun of people's appearance have anything to do with a restaurant review? Last I checked, it didn't. Maybe by doing so it boosts your self-esteem some how.

I think your taste buds have been marred by one too many lemons.

Jacqueline Greazzo
Via e-mail

Film Schooled

Chewing scenery: Critics of the Valley be praised -- the proletariat uprising has been crushed ("The Reel Deal," Robrt L. Pela, January 8). I mean, who knew that having an informed opinion extended beyond simply viewing a film? Robrt Pela knows. He is the bourgeois voice of the common people. We just didn't realize it.

Perhaps there is yet still a deeper level of cinematic understanding -- something akin to method critiquing. As such, we poor heathens might never fully grasp the sheer magnitude of the reel truth. Robrt Pela can. And may he stride down from atop the local multiplex (tablets of reviews and showtimes respectively in hand). For we have placed worship unto a false idol. We have trusted in ourselves. Worst of all, we have forgotten the printed word.

Trust in Robrt Pela. People do not want to see these intelligent movies, we must be told. We are bathed under the projector of ignorance. Because there is no such thing as a "good movie." Meaning there is no such thing as a bad movie. Just a . . . movie.

All right, I'm a little lost. So, wouldn't that actually negate the purpose of a film critic? Since theirs is a position of taste. Opinion. Recommendation. Bias. If one cannot truly affix a value to a certain feature, then, in effect, you are quantifying nothing. Your review is meaningless. Thereby you are wrongfully employed. A fraud.

Such cannot be the case, though. I just may not be applying that critical thinking. Me brain dumb. Need Robrt Pela for guidance. To put it yet another way: The moviegoing public is Icarus searching, Robrt Pela is the sun. Sadly, we all got burned on this one.

Scott C. Myers

In critics we trust: The article "The Reel Deal" sparked my interest because I am also a movie lover. I watch movies as much as possible and try to broaden my movie perspective through foreign films, too. I have enjoyed and would recommend watching Run Lola Run, Amélie and Ran. These foreign films are all good movies. They are also all movies that were recommended by someone whose movie opinions I trust. Accepting a friend's recommendation is the only sure way to help you choose a movie to watch. However, accepting a stranger's recommendation, like Andrew Ramsammy would do on his Web site, can be best described by Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction: "an act in futility."

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