Another opening, another show ... this time the opening of Mike Nichols' adaptation of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" on HBO.
This one is here because of the writing. Kushner's take on Roy Cohn, working the phones in his office, is pure genius. Cohn (Joe McCarthy's right-hand man in his infamous communist witch hunts of the 1950s) in Kushner's take is like a shark in a tacky suit. "I wish I was an octopus," he says, pushing buttons on his phone as he wheels and deels. "Eight arms and all those suckers."
Al Pacino is magnificent as Cohn. The scene where he bullies his doctor, who has just told him he has AIDS, is a masterpiece of intimidation. He isn't a homosexual, he says, just a man who has sex with other men:
"A homosexual is somebody who, in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant anit-discrimination bill through the city council. A homosexual is somebody who knows nobody and who nobody knows. Who has zero clout. Does this sound like me Henry?"
Rent the DVD and watch the whole thing. Yes, it's on your TV but it's really a great play brought vividly to life.
Newsweek profiles Kushner as he's honored in the Twin Cities.