Equal-opportunity scamming: Theranos stole from the rich

It's not easy, I'd guess, to get the rich to hand you their money. Elizabeth Holmes had the right elements -- charisma, self-assurance ... and a product that seemed great, even though it didn't work. Now she's the subject of two current documentaries, plus a book and an upcoming movie. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

We used to think
scams were just for rubes and suckers. Slick grifters cheated the

Jane Fonda: A life in many parts -- many of them contrasting, all compelling

Jane Fonda has entwined through much of my life. Like her, I assumed the U.S. was in Vietnam for all the right reasons. (I was there myself, assuming we were up to good,) And like many people, I've seen her work ever since, some of it superb. Now there's a terrific documentary Monday (Sept. 24) on HBO; here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Looking back, Jane
Fonda sort of agrees: Her life has been big, odd and very

Gloria and Anderson resist all the rich-kid stereotypes

Gloria Vanderbilt's life -- wrapping through nine decades (so far) of big money, big headlines and big-name romances -- has been a classic story. And the ideal person to tell it is her son, Anderson Cooper. Now they've combined on a memoir -- her SIXTH one -- and a documentary. Here's the story I sent to papers.

By Mike Hughes

At first, the story
seems terribly familiar.

HBO shows us a hero and a seething controversy

Every now and then, HBO tackles something that that the other networks don't even try -- a massive movie or mini-series, with texture and complexity. The lates is "Show Me a Hero," which debuts Aug. 16 and continues for two more Sundays; here's the story I sen t to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Louganis breaks the surface of life

By Mike Hughes

times, Greg Louganis soared above other athletes.

He won two gold
medals as an Olympic diver in 1984, then did the same in 1988. At a
1982 world championship, he became the first diver with a perfect
score from every judge.

Paycheck to paycheck, Katrina finds hurdles, help and survival

This is a splendid time for beautifully crafted documentaries. The "Chicagoland" series (see a couple blogs back) has just started, PBS has upcoming "American Masters" and "American Experience" films and HBO has its slate. Leading the way is "Paycheck to Paycheck," a compelling HBO film (debuting March 17), profiling one woman's efforts to raise three kids on $9.49 an hour. Here's the story I sent to papers:

The mind and music of Phil Spector remain fascinating

From the beginning, HBO's approach has been simple: Make very few movies and make them superbly.

Now comes "Phil Spector." A Pultizer Prize-winner (David Mamet) wrote it and directed two Academy Award-winners (Al Pacino and Helen Mirren). Here's the story I sent to papers:


The world often saw Phil Spector as a
giant figure, a tower of good or bad. It called him:

It's not easy in the shadow of genius

Some nights, TV simply get overcrowded. Tuesday (Feb. 26) is one of those, when our video recorders take over.

There's "Makers," a terrific PBS documentary. (See previous blog.) And there's the start of HBO's "Parade's End" ... which, fortunately, continues through Thursday and reruns Saturday. Here's the story I sent to papers:


Let's forgive Benedict Cumberbatch for
feeling ordinary. Lately, he's been surrounded by geniuses.

Fighting in silence: Deaf men battle the Vatican

Now that the Super Bowl's over, there are plenty of other things to grab out attention. The previous blog deals with a superb new show, "Monday Mornings"; the one that follows this will deal with Tuesday's return of "Smash." First, here's the story I sent to papers, interviewing the people in a deeply involving HBO documentary that debuts Monday (Feb. 4) and reruns often:  



"Ethel": A warm portrait of an unconventional life

Sure, the best kind of documentary is unbiase, impartial, skeptical. Still, there's something to be said for the loving piece by an insider.

Earlier, HBO had an excellent George H.W. Bush portrait, done by his friend. Now it has a delightful Ethel Kennedy one, by her daughter. Here's the story I sent to papers:


To outsiders, Bobby and Ethel Kennedy
seemed like a precise match.