Thursday, November 11, 2021


The average age of an American truck driver is fifty-five, which just may account for why, every day, there are fewer and fewer of them. Those who make the average what it is… particularly those who are on the older side of that number… really feel the pain of those long sessions behind the wheel, in a sedentary position, on pot-holed highways, for way too many hours per day.

It is an onerous (and often dangerous) system which rewards these often sleep deprived drivers based on the miles they travel no matter how bad the traffic or how fowl the weather or how substandard the roads or how many accidents or detours there are en route. The food on the road is not conducive to life extension either--which is yet another reason, I am sure, an awful lot of these guys and gals north of that fifty-five number are dropping out and staying closer to home.

I do not know what they are doing. Possibly becoming garage mechanics, taking that language or arts course they always longed for, or indulging a life time of dreaming of raising their own food… even if it is only in their side yard… maybe something else. Perhaps they have decided to stay home and write reviews of what they stream on Netflix and HBO as it seems almost everybody does. What I do know is they are not driving anymore, and that fact is becoming a real subject of interest as we here in America are beginning to learn that stuff is not arriving on merchant’s shelves, or at whatever outlets we tend to favor.

Christmas may be canceled. We might have to go directly to dying Easter eggs. It all may be more real than you want to imagine.

I have a solution, and an announcement. First the announcement: after a wait of over thirty years, it is now possible to acquire The Trials of Rosie O’Neill on DVD. All one has to do is go to visual entertainment .tv on their web browser and there they will see the very handsome box containing all thirty-four episodes of what a lot of folks think is the best series I ever made. For all of you who disagree with that, VEI can also sell you a box set of every Cagney & Lacey episode ever made.

There is good news and there is bad. I already told you most of the good. The bad is that the post office relies on truck drivers too, so you must do your shopping early. Oh yes, besides the two outstanding series mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are two books: Apparently There Were Complaints by my wife, Sharon Gless, to be released by Simon & Schuster on December 7. Advance orders are being taken now on Amazon as well as at most major bookstores. My own memoir, Cagney & Lacey… and Me can also be acquired on Amazon but if you want a personalized, autographed copy of my book you must navigate through the website I have done it. Trust me; it is not hard.

A little trickier is the Multicom Entertainment Group website. Your reason for going there is that these are the guys who have acquired the rights to distribute the four Cagney & Lacey reunion movies of which I am, as you might imagine, understandably proud. Of course, you can see them, as well as The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, on Amazon Prime, but having them as an addition to your collection, or gifting them as stocking stuffers, puts you right in the spirit of the season. Do the post office truck drivers… and yourself… a favor; do this sooner rather than later.

Things to look at while you are waiting for your mail: Billions is back on Showtime. It is the same as you remember and that is the good news/bad news of the thing. Personally, I have found myself becoming ever more weary of these stories of revenge and vitriol in the towers of Manhattan. COVID, it would appear, has dulled this once shiny object. Not so much with Succession. These billionaires are still as quirky, and fun filled as I remember them pre-pandemic. The HBO billionaires have easily bested the ones from Showtime… as you might well have guessed they would.

There is other stuff out there that is sort of must see. Dune is one of those. My late brother, Joel, was the one in the family who loved this sort of entertainment. It was never my thing, but every now and then a Star Wars comes along, and even I must admire the craft and artistry. With Dune, there is an abundance of that… and I am living proof you do not have to know anything about the book to appreciate what is on that screen.

I viewed it from HBOMAX on our home 90” TV, and Dune should not be seen on anything smaller. Ardent fans, with smaller TV screens, will undoubtedly brave COVID and get to a movie theatre to see this epic, and (provided they are at least double vaccinated) I will not blame them. It is a beautiful movie, a thoughtful cautionary tale, and one can only hope that it does well enough to allow a continuance of the narrative with Part II.

The reader has my apologies for no comment on the last James Bond flick to star Daniel Craig. It has yet to be streamed on HBO, or any of the other platforms, and so far I have not worked up the courage to brave COVID at a movie theatre, despite having been triple vaccinated. I am, you must understand, only metaphorically dying to see it.

Meanwhile, Netflix is sending forth what I have heard is the most popular new series in the world. Squid Game is the unfortunate name of the show, and despite the title I commend you to it. First rate in every category… but make sure to have your subtitles working as I shudder to think what most American dubbing actors would do with their interpretations of this fine Korean cast. Also, a word of caution: this is not family fare, and not for every sensibility.

This is the third or fourth Korean series or motion picture that I have admired of late, and I found myself pondering where all that craft and good filming technique might be coming from. Then I learned that Squid Game writer/director Hwang Dong-Hyuk is a graduate of CinemArts at my alma mater, the University of Southern California. Small compensation for how poorly the USC football team is doing these days, but a win is a win. “Fight On,” indeed.


Barney Rosenzweig

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