Daily Archives: March 31, 2019

Hollow Rendition [on SLEEPY HOLLOW]

From the November 19, 1999 issue of the Chicago Reader. — J.R.

Sleepy Hollow

*** (A must-see)

Directed by Tim Burton

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and Kevin Yagher

With Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, and Christopher Walken.

Tim Burton’s new movie is gorgeous — shot by shot it may be the most impressive thing he’s done. So I hope I’m not being too disrespectful if I balk at the idea that his movie is based on Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

I was an English major in college and graduate school, yet I can’t remember reading a word of Irving until I read this wonderful 180-year-old story a few days after seeing the movie. He may be one of America’s great writers, but apparently few people still read him, even though his prose is clear and vivid. Take the seventh paragraph of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” for instance:

I mention this peaceful spot [Sleepy Hollow] with all possible laud for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great state of New York, that population, manners, and customs, remain fixed, while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved.Read more »


Commissioned by Indiewire and posted on February 7, 2019. — J.R.



Looking back today at the legacy of Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) as a pioneer of American independent filmmaking, we like to think that he paved the way for us to enjoy our current freedom as spectators. When he was arrested for screening Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures in New York City in March 1964, along with Ken Jacobs and Florence Karpf, we tend to suppose that this was eventually to ensure that we wouldn’t be penalized for watching the film today.

But maybe we haven’t advanced quite as far in our freedom and sophistication as we like to suppose. Such, at any rate, was my thought when I found myself censored on Facebook last week and banned from posting anything there for 24 hours when I tried to post the following two images:



I assume it was the second image rather than the first that led to the censorship, but given the usual arbitrariness of what gets banned and why, how can I be sure? All I was doing was advertising the reposting of my own 1998 review of the film in the Chicago Reader (www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/2019/02/sweet-outrage/), and this unexpected glitch raised the question of whether Facebook’s objections were to the single bare nipple being exposed or to the fact that one (apparent) woman was amorously clutching another (apparent) woman.… Read more »