Major construction on the monument for this installment of the Mt. Rushmore series. This month only three slots are available. Which living actor, author and musician that has been in the public eye for over forty years would you enshrine? Think of this as your version of the Kennedy Center honors.
Actor: Gene Hackman - In my estimation, Hackman is among that rare breed who can redeem even a bad film. Though perhaps best known for his Academy-Award winning turn as Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection", he was equally effective as an evil sheriff in "The Unforgiven", creepy surveillance expert in "The Conversation", wayward father in "The Royal Tennenbaums", etc. What a range. Reading a few years ago Hackman was no longer making movies made me sad.
Author: Philip Roth - I enjoyed Gene Hackman's work from the first movie of his I saw ("Scarecrow"). My experience with Philip Roth's work evolved quite differently. As I've grown as a reader, my appreciation for his gift has steadily deepened. In three years of blogging, I've mentioned "The Human Stain" (2000) in several different contexts; it remains among my most treasured reading memories. Roth might challenge you as a reader but you'll feel smarter finishing any one of his books. Unfortunately, like Hackman, Roth has also said he's done. Fortunately, his catalog is substantial. Start with "Goodbye Columbus" (1959) and go from there.
Musician: Joni Mitchell - Good news first - Joni is still at it. Singling out any Mitchell recording is a fool's errand. She has few contemporary peers with respect to how much musical territory she has covered. The closest analogue is the distance the late Miles Davis traveled in his 50+ year career. Joni's music has enriched my life for almost half a century, as have Gene Hackman's films and Philip Roth's books. Carving them into a 3/4 size Mt. Rushmore is the least I can do. Who is on your mountain?