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    Boston-area arts letters to the Globe

    Courtesy of CBS Films

    Rated ridiculous

    After reading Ty Burr’s review of “The Kings of Summer,” I feel compelled to write to suggest a story about the messed-up rating system we have (“Teenagers off the suburban grid in ‘Kings,’ ” g, June 7). Last night I took my 12-year-old son to see “Kings.” It was very enjoyable. I was shocked to see that it is rated R. Yes, there is a little swearing and a little drinking. How is it that this film is considered not appropriate for viewers under 17, whereas “Man of Steel,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “World War Z,” “Fast & Furious 6,” “White House Down,” “The Hunger Games,” etc. are all rated PG-13 — which means any kid can walk into the multiplex and see them — despite the impalings, burnings, entire cities and populations destroyed, etc.?

    Other examples: “The King’s Speech,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” also rated R.



    Classic ups and downs


    Thanks for Matthew Gilbert’s interesting analysis of beloved but uneven television series and their qualification for “classic” status (“Can uneven TV series become classics?,” SundayArts, June 30). I enjoyed Gilbert’s overall discussion and, as a “Dexter” fan from the beginning, his specific comments on that series.

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    I agree that the series has had its ups and downs. My one disagreement is on the character of Lumen and what Gilbert refers to as the “woeful” underplaying of Julia Stiles in the role. I’ve seen Gilbert and others criticize this character’s effect on the show before, but I found Stiles’s underplaying quite effective and Dexter’s involvement in Lumen’s quest for revenge involving.

    I do agree with Gilbert about Colin Hanks, although I’m still not sure how much of that weakness was the rather tedious religious fanatic character and how much was Hanks himself. He seems to be a decent and sometimes appealing actor, but I’ve never found him particularly compelling.

    My biggest problem with “Dexter” was when Debra was agonizing over and, even worse, professing her feelings of romantic love for Dexter. That subplot struck me as more of an annoying distraction than anything else.

    Here’s hoping for a strong, satisfying conclusion to this wonderful series.


    And Gilbert can add himself to the voices that have made me realize someday I need to catch up with “Breaking Bad” and “The Wire.”



    Overstaying their welcome is the downfall of many excellent television series. It’s one thing the British get right, with their limited series. Everyone remembers the brilliance of “Fawlty Towers,” for example. Could it have held up over 100 episodes, versus 13? Probably not. The weak sixth season for a show like “Lewis” only lasts four episodes, before returning to form in the seventh.

    Most of my favorite television shows have seasons that I don’t even consider in the “canon.” As far as I’m concerned, “Homicide: Life on the Streets” is its first four seasons. The 12th season of “Hawaii Five-O?” Doesn’t exist in my mind.

    The last four episodes ever of “Luther” start airing on BBC One tonight, and with a total of 14 hour-long episodes, it should remain a gem.



    Posted on

    Applause for ‘Lute’

    Sebastian Smee has an exceptionally sensitive eye and the rare ability to translate his keen observations into words (“Attuned to fine details of ‘Woman Playing a Lute,’” g, July 2). I learn from him every time I read his reviews. Many thanks.


    Exeter, N.H.

    A lovely, lovely piece of writing by Sebastian Smee — sensitive, remarkably intelligent, and even emotional. I really enjoyed this piece. It is a beautiful painting, and his writing brought it to life.



    Boston’s ‘Sign’ language

    While I mostly agree with Mark Feeney’s review of the film “Sign Painters” (“A ‘Sign’ language all their own,” g, June 20), I take issue with his statement that “sign painting isn’t exactly booming.” Feeney quotes Jeff Canham, who claims that he doesn’t “know too many people my age doing [sign painting].” This quote was surely taken out of context, since Jeff worked with several people his own age at New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco, including my husband, Josh Luke, for five years before we moved to Boston to start our own sign company, Best Dressed Signs.

    After we started Best Dressed Signs in 2010, the directors of “Sign Painters” came to Boston to interview Josh and film at the erstwhile Butera School of Art, one of the last sign painting schools in the world. Unfortunately, both Josh and the footage of Butera were cut from the documentary. While we understand the need for editing, we are disappointed that Boston was omitted from this national survey of sign painters.

    Here in Boston, sign painting is youthful and booming! Best Dressed Signs has painted some of the city’s most recognizable signs, including There’s Never an Off Season in the Fenway and many others around Boston.


    Jamaica Plain

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