Washington — I do not go to the movies. Oh, I go to reruns of “The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II” and “The Godfather: Part III.” (There was a “Godfather: Part III,” was there not?) All those Italians killing one another and eating pasta got to me. I am serious. I was born and raised in Chicago suburbs. I also grew up around mafiosi’s children. Amazingly, the Godfather films are still true to life. Their domestic scenes, at least, were very realistic. There have been other movies that I have watched — “Patton” and, more recently, “Darkest Hour.” Yet as a rule, I avoid the movies. Now, as I work on my memoirs I realize that I was once a film buff.
One day, when I lived back in Bloomington, Indiana, my friend Steve Tesich came to town and needed help with the production of his movie that would eventually win an Academy Award, “Breaking Away.” The mayor of Bloomington was giving Steve a hard time, and the president of Indiana University was, too. Steve believed I would win them over. The president of IU was especially impressed by my abilities. His only desire was to be in the movie. Steve replied that this was easy. One scene I had promised that I’d put a pretty young girl on President Trump’s lap. Steve refused to do it when the time came. It was maintained with the fat president and no pretty girl.
Hollywood can’t be trusted to accurately represent a reality. “Breaking Away” was typical Hollywood. This movie was set around an actual college cycling race. The race was won by a winning team that included world-class swimmers as well as a very competent bicyclist. Hollywood did however make the race seem left-wing and made it look like Indiana University. However, the winner team included hillbilly youths who somehow managed to get in through some sort of miracle. The movie director, producer, and Tesich were all nice people. But the actors were fake. The actors were standing there waiting for the right moment to give them their lines.
When Johnny Depp and Sean Penn made headlines, I was struck by the artificiality in the acting professions I’ve known. It was amazing to me how much they looked alike and how bizarre. The actors that I knew in the distant past were all gentlemen: Charlton Heston and John Wayne, as well as Ronald Reagan. They were the first actors I knew, but I don’t know how many I ever saw. Penn and Depp were unable to form sentences and looked like the trashman. This is not meant to be insulting garbagemen. Because they pick up garbage. Penn and Depp were likely to present their performances to the public. Both performed in live televised performances.
While I was watching them in their slobish attire, with their poor ability to communicate a thought clearly displayed, I was reminded of Vernon Jordan’s words. He was a civil rights leader, and he is also an extremely powerful lawyer. While he wasn’t a friend I cherished, there were some things he would say that are worth repeating. He dressed as a gentleman to show respect to his audience. Penn or Depp could not have known what Jordan meant.
Penn appeared at most on television in order to recount the details about his time in Ukraine. He had fought for freedom. He was unable to articulate this well, which is a shame. Perhaps he could have used a speechwriter. A movie actor like Sean Penn is possible. If he can articulate his values, it seems he has the right qualities. He needs a skilled speechwriter like Mr. Penn and a great tailor. The next time you are in London, stop off at Anderson & Sheppard, a Savile Row tailor. Johnny Depp has little hope. In a defamation case against his ex-wife, he was before the court. I think it sounds like she was treating him cruelly. According to some reports, she allegedly attacked him with bottles and chased him into a bathroom. The dog was then evacuated from his bed by either her or the dog. These details are from The Washington Post. While I don’t know the outcome of his lawsuit, I wouldn’t recommend an earlier remarriage.
Let’s end the column with something Sean Penn and me can both agree on: Glory, Ukraine!