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Dave McKenna’s “Unsportsman of the Year” column (12/28) purports that significant parts of the new movie All About Abe makes my father, Abe Pollin, “seem like an unlikable sort who holds grudges and is spending his latter years intent on settling old scores.”
In fact, the column is full of inaccuracies and is itself highly mean-spirited.
To begin with, Mr. McKenna claims that the District of Columbia “just gave” my father $50 million and concludes that this display of bitterness is enough “to make us want our $50 million back.”
In fact, the District did not “give” my father any money at all. Rather, they helped underwrite loans that my father’s company borrowed on the open market. These loans must be paid back with interest to the private businesses who made the loans.
Mr. McKenna claims that the movie makes charges against Jimmy Carter, with “no clue as to why” they appear in the movie. In fact, the sequence Mr. McKenna refers to is not actually focused on Jimmy Carter at all. It is about my father’s successful efforts to get former Gov. Marvin Mandel pardoned and another chance at life after Mandel had served nearly two years in prison.
The sequence about Michael Jordan is, as Mr. McKenna states, well-known, including the heated exchange between Jordan and my father when they parted company. The movie includes an assessment by the highly respected journalist John Feinstein. Mr. McKenna suggests that Feinstein is a Pollin “crony.” But in fact, they have not met more than once or twice briefly. Mr. Feinstein is rather a well-known independent journalist who expressed his own views in the film.
Mr. McKenna’s column makes no mention of the construction of theCapital Centre or the Verizon Center and what these projects have contributed to the community, even while these are central themes in the film. It makes no mention of tributes by Earl Monroe, who calls Abe “the last of the great owners” or Gilbert Arenas, who calls Abe “a father figure” to him.
Mr. McKenna also says that the movie “has not yet been released commercially.” But the back of the CD case states clearly that the film was not made for commercial distribution at all.
Rather, I commissioned the brilliant documentary filmmaker Ivy Meeropol to tell my father’s life story. I chose most of the sequences to incorporate, including those on Mandel and Jordan. We made the film for private distribution, for my father’s family, friends, and business associates. Meeropol, who has been short-listed for both an Oscar and Emmy for previous work, did an outstanding job on the project.
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McKenna’s column appears to be discussing an entirely different film than the one that I watched. People who would like to see for themselves should contact me or Washington Sports to obtain a free copy of All About Abe.
Editor’s Note: Contrary to the implication in the above letter, the District is financing 100 percent of the cost of the upgrades to Verizon Center through a hike in taxes at the arena. Abe Pollin pays none of the cost.
Missing in Action
Why did you stop listing movie schedules at some theaters? Since I rarely read the Post I depend on City Paper for all film info.
I will sorely miss Loews Dupont Circle when it closes, because it features unpopular pictures not shown in the megaboxes and resembles the small neighborhood theaters I attended during the ’50s and early ’60s. Contrary to popular belief, “Big is not always better.”
I love City Paper, here, there, and everywhere!
Where is “Lulu Eightball”? I LOVE “Lulu Eightball”!! Where’s “The City” by Derf? Where the hell is the LETTERS SECTION?!?!?! You guys have removed every reason I read the City Paper. What the fuck are you DOING?!?!?
Editor’s Note: Due to budget cuts, Washington City Paper has dropped most of its comics, and a new accelerated deadline schedule makes it difficult for some theaters to report in time for the print edition. Up-to-the-minute showtimes are always available on our Web site at washingtoncitypaper.com/showtimes.
Once again, for the umpteenth year, Mark Jenkins, in what may be the best year of mainstream movies for at least a decade, has expressed his snotty sense of self-importance by an act of extraordinary exclusion. He once again chooses as his Top 10 many movies that were seen in D.C. at 4 o’clock some Sunday afternoon by a few people in the most limited of possible “local runs.” So he’s once again protected his choices from criticism by those 99.99 percent of us who haven’t seen Bamako or Dans Paris or Offside or Climates. So he’s protected from my own (and almost every professional critic in the world’s) opinion that maybe, just maybe, these aren’t as worthwhile, entertaining, effective works as, let’s say, Breach, Gone Baby Gone, Atonement, Once, or Lars and the Real Girl or Margot at the Wedding, or No Country for Old Men (just among those I myself have seen so far!), or Juno or There Will Be Blood or Starting Out in the Evening or Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead or Into the Wild… No. Once again, Mark Jenkins is able to continue his silly self-delusion of superiority. Congratulations, useless one.