Tracker Pixel for Entry

Comedy Icon Gets Well-Deserved Bio with ‘Love, Gilda’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | October 3rd, 2018

“Love, Gilda,” Lisa D’Apolito’s biography of founding “Saturday Night Live” member Gilda Radner, treats comedy fans to an earnest assessment of the brilliant performer’s life and career, which was cut far too short at age 42 as a result of ovarian cancer. As one of the trailblazing Not Ready for Prime Time Players, Radner originated a healthy share of some of the show’s most memorable characters during her five seasons on SNL. Competing for space and time against the likes of John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray in the male-dominated boys club, Radner not only held her own, she contributed some of the most iconic moments.

D’Apolito follows a conventional chronological presentation of Radner’s path to stardom, drawing on a well-curated trove of personal and professional still photographs, family home movies, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips both obscure and well-known. This content is supplemented by new interviews with friends and associates (including Chase, Martin Short, Lorne Michaels, Paul Shaffer, Laraine Newman, Anne Beatts, Alan Zweibel, and Rosie Shuster) and a key selection of fans and admirers like Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Bill Hader. Unfortunately, a handful of figures are missing, perhaps most notably -- but not surprisingly -- former Radner boyfriend Murray, who is included in the vintage material.

The documentary effectively addresses the entire arc of Radner’s remarkable life, from her childhood challenges with self-image (Radner’s mother made her take diet pills as a kid) to the diagnosis and treatment of the malignancy that interrupted her at a time of personal fulfillment with second husband Gene Wilder. Those bookends are both accompanied by the intimacy of private films and videos. In between, D’Apolito draws on the more familiar stuff that made Radner a legend: commentator Roseanne Roseannadanna, nerd Lisa Loopner, precocious child Judy Miller, confused editorialist Emily Litella, and the hybrid impersonations of celebrities like Baba Wawa and Candy Slice, among others.

Radner’s Peter Pan-like refusal to abandon the happiest aspects of childhood and adolescence helps D’Apolito move beyond the banality that transforms so many personality documentaries into hagiographic tributes. Obviously, movies that celebrate artists and performers (especially those who have died) overwhelmingly bend toward the laudatory. But the selected notes from Radner’s journals, writings, and letters peel off the masks of tragedy and comedy in equal measure, like the laughter and tears woven into “Honey (Touch Me with My Clothes On).” In one, Radner describes the “heavy chains” that attach her rising star to the hard ground. In another, she relates a hilariously mortifying anecdote of a fan’s medical ethics breach.

The latter story is read by another, but “Love, Gilda” is narrated principally by Radner’s own voice, and D’Apolito locates much vulnerability, as well as the dark self-doubt that Radner was able to hold at bay when she experienced the ebullience and joy of being on stage. Those candid and direct admissions don’t cover everything with the same degree of detail. But D’Apolito has thoughtfully and carefully applied an evenhandedness to the whole. The last section of the film, focused on the Radner-Wilder partnership, skips past most of their disappointing movie collaborations to concentrate on the mutual love and respect that transcended show-must-go-on cliches to make a case for life and how to live it.

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…