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The Preshow Entertainment this time was episodes of Second City that aired on, and were made for Cinemax in 1983. Man, they did some of their funniest stuff here. Among the skits, a parody of 2001 called 2009, which started out note for note with Martin Short as the old man in the room. But by the time it was over, it had turned to pure slapstick, as the ship, piloted by (not the real) Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Ernest Borgnine, lands on a planet of women. We also saw Oliver Grimley (yep, Ed Grimley as Oliver Twist, I must say). You know, you don't really laugh out loud (okay, I do, but most don't) at this stuff because some of it is so clever. You find yourself saying "That's funny" instead of laughing.

March's movie was about a guy who can't seem to let go of the fact that his father killed himself. Although the world saw his dad as guilty of Unamerican activities in the '50s, the son just knew he was innocent, and boy he carried that weight a long time. So, throughout the course of the movie, he had to make his passage to remove the demon and get on with his life. How does he do this? Therapy? Confrontation with his brother? Not exactly. But here's a hint. He gets a visit from a dentist.

We're talking, of course, of MARATHON MAN. The more I see, the more I love '70s movies. Gritty while taking its time, MM talks through its characters. Maybe because it (book and script) was written by William "I hate what I write" Goldman. Maybe because it was directed by John (cut his teeth on live dramatic TV in the '50s) Schlesinger. Maybe it's Dustin Hoffman's acting chops and Sir Lawrence Olivier's collected coldness, and Roy Scheider's shining scene (won't give it away, but really, if you haven't seen this movie by now...). Or just maybe what happened is what is supposed to happen- all of the ingredients conspired to make a wonderful film.

Now, when people think MARATHON MAN, they immediately say, "Is it safe?" But let me tell you this; as memorable as that scene is (people who have not seen the film quote it), it's not as powerful as when Olivier as The White Angel (a Nazi war criminal-slash-dentist) walks through the diamond district in NYC, and gets recognized, bringing character paranoia full circle (Roy to Dustin to Larry O.).

Dated and filled with holes (who isn't?), MARATHON MAN is still a terrific experience today. In fact, you may get more out of it on a repeated viewing. I did.

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