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The Worst Movies of 2014 from Some Guys Who Should Know

Posted by V the K at 8:39 pm - December 22, 2014.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Not a big “Let’s go to the movies” guy, personally. I think I saw… two?… movies in theaters this year? Sounds right, or close anyway.

Anyway, the brilliant minds of Rifftrax asked their fans to vote on the 10 worst movies of 2014.  I have seen… um, one of them.

2. Transformers: Age of Extinction (26,220 votes)

If you’d like the experience of seeing this movie but prefer not to give any portion of your income to Michael Bay, just have a screaming lunatic beat you into unconsciousness with small engine parts.

Lefty screenwriter admits he’s out to manipulate people’s guilt

William Nicholson complains that his movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, didn’t get him the accolades he was aiming for, because another movie used up audiences’ racial guilt that year:

“Unfortunately it didn’t get the kind of acclaim that I wanted. It didn’t get Oscars,” Nicholson said, because 12 Years a Slave “sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available.”

“[America] were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left…”

Nicholson, however, also laid blame with…the civil rights hero’s “boring” rhetoric. “I know it sounds outrageous to say a thing like that, but when he came out of prison he made a speech and, God, you fell asleep,” he said.

Let’s review.

  • Nicholson doesn’t think all that highly of Mandela.
  • He made the movie to get an Oscar.
  • His intended tactic was to manipulate people, specifically their sense of guilt.
  • The world cheated him of his Oscar, since another movie got to people’s guilt, first.

Umm, what about art?

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Posted by V the K at 2:40 pm - January 17, 2014.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Rifftrax goofs on The Wizard of Oz. I understand this is a movie of some signficance to Teh Gheys.

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In Other Movie News

Posted by V the K at 9:23 am - January 16, 2014.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Hollywood is remaking George Orwell’s 1984... as a “futuristic love story.”

I guess the original novel’s themes of an all-intrusive state that placed its citizenry under constant surveillance and subjected them to endless propaganda, phony economic statistics, and exhortations to hate those whom they identify as the enemies of the state… just aren’t relevant to anything that’s going on right now.

Also, the Oscar noms were announced, and I couldn’t care less.

Hollywood to Make Anti-NRA Propaganda Film

Harvey Weinstein, an extremely wealthy Hollywood hypocrite, is planning a propaganda film with Meryl Streep in it with a goal of destroying the NRA and stigmatizing gun ownership.

Hollywood has a bit of history with making “message” movies to sell a progressive left agenda item to the public via cheap, exploitative melodrama: Reefer Madness (1936), The Day After (1983), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), and so on. These movies used to have a lot of impact. The China Syndrome (1978) virtually shut down the American nuclear power industry. Since then, people have wised up, somewhat, at least. Audiences largely ignored the slew of antiwar and anti-Bush movies of the last decade.

The danger, though, is that the anti-Second Amendment forces are well-funded and relentless; and they will not stop until they achieve their goal: the legal prohibition of privately owned firearms. And no amount of fact or reason will dissuade them from pursuing this goal.

What’s noted in the article is that Mr. Weinstein favors complete and total prohibition of firearms from private ownership. He believes, absolutely, that the Government should have a complete monopoly on the ownership and use of firearms. But when asked about how he would have resisted the Holocaust, he obliviously answers he would have used a gun to stop from going to a concentration camp if he “found a gun, and if that was happening to my people.”

No, Mr. Weinstein, real life is not a movie. The good guys don’t just happen to find guns lying around conveniently. You would have been cheering as the Nazis enacted gun control and confiscated weapons from all your neighbors; because it would have made you feel “safer.”


Will we ever see flawed gay characters on American television[*]?

In today’s Morning Jolt today (available by subscription), Jim Geraghty reflects on “the latest offering from the Family Channel”, a drama called “The Fosters” featuring an interracial lesbian couple raising a “brood of adopted, biological and foster children.”

“After watching the pilot, where the parents come across so saintly,” Geraghty suspects . . .

. . . that the writers will be terrified about portraying them with any flaws, either because they’ll be afraid they’re portraying gay parents negatively, or because they fear their audience will be even momentarily repelled by characters that the entire show’s purpose is to get you to love and accept.

In other words, if Hollywood is afraid to portray a gay character as human, with strengths and failings, moments of character and moments of weakness, and so on . . . are they really being all that groundbreaking or brave or honest in their creation?

Reading that concluding question, I recalled an essay that both Bruce and some eaders shared with me, Bret Easton Ellis’s overlong, but insightful rant, “In the Reign of the Gay Magical Elves,” where the novelist also wondered about Hollywood’s depiction of gays:

The reign of The Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude, is—lamentably—still in media play.

. . . .

Where’s the gay dude who makes crude jokes about other gays in the media (as straight dudes do of each other constantly) or express their hopelessness in seeing Modern Family being rewarded for its depiction of gays, a show where a heterosexual plays the most simpering ka-ween on TV and Wins. Emmys. For. It?  . . . . But being “real” and “human” (i.e. flawed) is not necessarily what The Gay Gatekeepers want straight culture to see.

Interesting how the views of a conservative pundit and a non-conservative gay iconoclast parallel each other. (more…)

Betting on Illegal Immigration

President Obama was in Las Vegas yesterday, pitching his plan for “comprehensive immigration reform” and claiming credit for Monday’s “bipartisan” proposals on that matter.  Although it cost a fortune for him to make what is essentially a campaign stop in Nevada just to make a speech that he could have made in Washington, the implications of the speech having been given in Las Vegas, a city best known for gambling, were not lost on me.

The more I think about it, the whole idea of “comprehensive immigration reform” as a way of addressing the problem of illegal immigration is really the consequence of a number of bets made by members of both political parties and by the illegal immigrants themselves.

Here’s a summary of a few of them, along with a quick assessment of some of the odds involved in each.

Obama is betting that he can snooker enough Republicans into going along with what is essentially a ploy to secure a large voting bloc for the Democrats, a bloc that will partake of many government services and will continue to vote for the expansion of government power.  He is betting that with enough illegal immigrants rewarded with legal status and placed on a path to citizenship, he will be able to turn “swing states” such as Nevada and Florida into reliable states for Democrats and that he may even be able to chip away at Republican margins in strongholds such as Arizona and Texas.   And if he gets everything he’s asking for (and the way the current reports sound, he just might), his odds of achieving all of those things seem pretty good, indeed.

He is also betting, though, that if he doesn’t get everything he wants, or even if he gets some of it, he and the Democrats will have another issue with which to bludgeon the Republicans.  The odds of this happening are excellent.  Any Republican attempts to oppose his proposals will be branded as racist and xenophobic, and Democrats and their allies in the media will be able to attack Republicans over this issue for years and years to come.  In fact, I’d say that the president has already won this side of the issue, just by getting a few Republican lawmakers to come to any sort of “bi-partisan” agreement concerning immigration reform.

Then there are those Republican lawmakers who were part of this agreement.  Their motives are mixed, but at least a few of them are betting that if the “bi-partisan” proposal passes both houses of Congress and illegal immigrants are granted some form of amnesty and some are put on a path to citizenship, then suddenly, out of the blue, a large block of these new voters will start voting Republican for reasons that no logical or well-informed person could rationally believe.  Furthermore, some of them appear to believe that if Republicans compromise with Obama and enact “bi-partisan immigration reform,” then suddenly the Democrats and the media will stop saying so many bad things about Republicans.

Do I even need to explain why both of these are bad bets and why any Republican who goes along with any “bi-partisan” “comprehensive immigration” proposal endorsed by Obama is going to regret it down the line?

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Finally, there are the illegal immigrants themselves.

A few years back, I rented a film called The Visitor on DVD. The film is intended to be a parable about illegal immigration. A college professor from Connecticut goes to his apartment in New York to find an illegal immigrant couple squatting there without his knowledge. At first he asks them to leave, but then when he realizes they have nowhere to go, he invites them to stay.


Is Washington, DC beginning to resemble the Capitol in the Hunger Games’ Universe?

Conservative and libertarian pundits have compared the increasing centralization of power in Washington, D.C. along with the concomitant growth in the city’s wealth (particularly compared to the rest of the country) with that of the Capitol of Panem, the brave new nation, in the Hunger Games universe.  The nation’s wealth flows into the city and power flows out from it.

In December, the Washington Examiner reported that six of the country’s 10 richest counties were in the D.C. area. Obama won all of them.

Tonight, at 9 PM EST, Peter Schweizer and Stephen K. Bannon will be exploring this very notion in a one-hour special on FoxNews, “Boomtown: Washington, the Imperial City” which, according to Breitbart News will report “how Washington’s power elite leverage their crony connections to vacuum taxpayer wallets, bankrolling their lifestyles of luxury and opulence—all under the guise of what’s best for America.

H/t: Reader R, through this link, who though we should promote it.

On Jodie Foster & the privacy of gay* celebrities

I have been a fan of Jodie Foster even before confirming, even before hearing, that she liked the ladies.  She is an incredibly versatile actress who has crafted a number of powerful performances, with my favorite one that earned her only a handful of nominations, and two only wins, but no Oscar, not even a nomination, the 1997 film Contact. And I liked her in Panic Room. And she stood out in The Silence of the Lambs, but she did win an Oscar for that–not to mention numerous other honors.

Last night, as nearly everyone knows by now, she, without using the “L” word, acknowledged (as far as I know) for the first time in a public forum that she once had a romantic relationship with another woman and asked, as per the Yahoo! headline below, that people respect her privacy:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 10.55.24 PM

. . . I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. (more…)

If I could have adapted The Hobbit . . .

Several years ago, when I learned that Peter Jackson was helming a screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I found myself scribbling out a plan (not quite an outline) how I would handle the challenging process of producing a prequel to a successful film trilogy, knowing that the book had been written long before the author had even imagined the story behind that trilogy.

That is, in Tolkien’s imagination, The Hobbit came first.

For many filmgoers, however, the Lord of the Rings would be their first taste of the Beowulf scholar’s fantastic realm.

Tolkien himself provides the key.  In the short narrative, “The Quest for Erebor” published by his son Christopher in  Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, he reports of an exchange that took place in Minas Tirith shortly after the coronation of King Elessar.  Some members of the fellowship had asked Gandalf how he had come to ask Bilbo to join the thirteen dwarfs in their quest to recover their treasure — and their long-lost mountain home — from the dragon Smaug (i.e. the quest that takes place in the movie released today).

That is where I would begin it, with the members of the fellowship sitting around in a house (or a pub?) in the restored capital of Gondor, asking Gandalf that very question.  We would fade from his telling not to the first scene in the book (i.e., The Hobbit), with the wizard approaching the hobbit at his home, but to the scene presented in that tale, with him encountering Thorin just outside the village of Bree.

Thorin would show some reluctance to including the hobbit, perhaps familiar with Bilbo’s very bourgeois and bland father.  Durin’s heir would eventually defer to the Maia whom Manwë himself had dispatched to Middle-earth.

Even as he accepts the wizard’s choice, the dwarf leader would often find himself at odds with Bilbo.  The film would present the two as almost opposites, with a tension between them similar to that we often see in cop movies with such pairings.

Now that I have outlined how I would have adopted the classic book, I am prepared to see the movie.  I’ve tried not to watch the previews, but have seen in at least one an image of Cate Blanchett reprising her role as Galadriel, so it seems Jackson has made some changes, given that this daughter of Finarfin does not appear in The Hobbit.  Nor in fact do any women.

I wish I could go into this without expectations, but having been a Tolkien geek for the better part of my life, I cannot alas.

Reconsidering Ben Affleck

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:39 am - November 2, 2012.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Every since I saw The Sum of All Fears, I have been reluctant to see a movie featuring Ben Affleck. He has this wooden screen presence, coming across, at best, like an underwear model. He sometimes seems like a cardboard cut-out with moving part who sucks the energy out of whatever scene he’s in.

About a month ago, when I first saw a trailer for Argo , I wondered that it engaged me, even as the bearded lead was clearly Affleck.  Maybe he would come across as wooden in the next trailer.  That didn’t happen.  Each time I saw the trailer, I became more interested in watching the film.

I saw it last night and it’s really good, with an excellent script; it moves along at a nice pace.  Not only is Affleck’s direction top-notch, but the editing is simply amazing.  And while it clearly falls into the action/adventure/thriller genre, it has some really funny lines, mostly those making fun of Hollywood.

Now, this is not to say it’s a “perfect” film on the order of, say, The Godfather or On The Waterfront.  The beginning was a little off (and its history a little inaccurate) and there was a cheeseball chase scene toward the end.  But, other than that, it really holds your attention — and sometimes keeps you on the edge of your seat.

If you haven’t already, see this film.

Meanwhile, I’m reconsidering my opinion of the star of Gigli.  He can certainly direct.  And in this film, he can act.

The end of the Hollywood/media infatuation with Obama?

I had not heard for the actress Stacey Dash before I learned of the flak she was receiving for endorsing Mitt Romney. What struck me was not the flak which celebrities have come to expect when they come out in support of a Republican, but that an actress would risk that flak by so coming out.

Maybe it’s that this actress who seems as intelligent as she is attractive senses something going on in this country or perhaps she’s been hearing Hollywood friends and associates (less courageous than she) grumbling about Obama and considering Mitt Romney.  Two days ago, everyone was all abuzz over writer Buzz Bissinger’s piece in the Daily Beast where he put forward his reasons for backing Mitt Romney.

What makes that piece “so damaging“, writes Jeff Greenfield, is that Bissinger “is not retreating from his Democratic roots, nor even embracing Romney’s policies. Rather, he has concluded that Obama is ‘burnt-out. … He is no longer the chosen one.’”  And the acclaimed writer, notes Greenfield, is not the only one in the media establishment who is distancing himself from Obama.

Could this be a sign of more folks in this (in recent years) traditionally Democratic industry backing away from Obama? At Mediaite, Noah Rothman finds that  “The media” have “shown a conspicuous lack of resolution to continue defending the administration“:

The media has shown a willingness to let the chips fall where they may when it comes to finishing the White House’s sentences for them. This is a significant and unexpected development, and it should horrify the Obama campaign. They may have squandered their greatest asset in the last week. The end of the media’s infatuation with Obama may be the greatest casualty of the debate.

(Rothman via  Joy McCann.)

FROM THE COMMENTS:  V the K “can’t help wonder if a similar cultural shift happened in the 50s/60s. At one time, the leftist counterculture was on the outside, and leftist actors and writers were blacklisted. Then, it began to tip the other way, and eventually the leftist counterculture became the dominant culture. Wonder if it is now starting to tip and eventually conservatism will once again be the dominant culture.”  We can only hope.   For such a change.

ALSO FROM THE COMMENTS:  Howard Towt contends this is “evidence of the Coming Preference Cascade described by Glenn Reynolds”: (more…)

It’s what happens in Hollywood when you support the GOP

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:15 am - October 10, 2012.
Filed under: Liberal Intolerance,Movies/Film & TV

RELATED: Stacey Dash: I picked my candidate by the content of his character

2016: Obama’s America or,
the legacy media’s disinterest in Obama’s intellectual upbringing

Up in the Santa Barbara area to hobnob with friends from my grad program in myth (and attend a myth conference).  This afternoon, we took a break to see the hit movie 2016: Obama’s America. Not sure I buy the thesis, but was impressed at the size of the crowd. It looked like over 150 people there for a 1 PM matinee on a Friday. And take a gander at the marquee at the theater where we caught the flick:

Seems an equal opportunity theater, going from showing a movie quite critical of Obama to hosting Obama apologists.

The flick did do one thing which all too many in our legacy media have failed to do, inquire into Obama’a intellectual background, finding the individuals who and considering the ideas which influenced the future president.

Folks in the media keep suggesting that we really don’t know much about Mitt Romney, but, well, we know a lot less about the incumbent President of the United States than we do about the man vying to replace him.  And we knew even less about Barack Obama in 2008 when he, like Mr. Romney this week, was first nominated by a major political party for the highest office in the land.

One of those days. . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:04 pm - August 20, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Movies/Film & TV

Last night before bed, I outlined a few posts I wanted to write today, only one related to politics, the others related to dating, putting things in perspective and how a bad movie can put you in a foul mood (might have used that last one to talk a bit about the 1983 Scarface remake, a film which exulted in violence and do little to show any positive examples of humanity).  (In many ways the opposite of the underrated 1932 original which didn’t show the gruesome death scenes, just moved the camera away from the scene and let you hear the shot.)

Anyway, had wanted to build upon the two posts I did get up this afternoon, perhaps as soon as this evening (Pacific Time), but most likely (if at all) tomorrow.

Just a lot of little things hit this afternoon, along with various complications (mostly minor, but generally inconvenient).  Does seem that whenever I resolve to slow down my blogging or, in this case, work on some “thought” pieces nearer and dearer to my heart, some issue or issues come up about which our readers expect us to blog.

Will do my best to get back to regular blogging as soon as is feasible.

Is that one or two degrees of Catwoman?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:37 pm - July 27, 2012.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises where Matthew Modine returns to the screen as Foley.  Twenty-four years ago, Modine was in Married to the Mob where he fell for Michelle Pfeiffer who played Catwoman in Batman Returns.

Meanwhile, in the contest for cattiest Catwoman, it’s a real cat fight between Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar, with Kitt coming out first:

Perhaps, a runoff is in order between her and Hathaway?  Now, Kitt is comfortably cattier, but Hathaway is darker and more duplicitous, very much a female Han Solo with a bit more of an edge.

The classy Christian Bale

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:19 pm - July 24, 2012.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Having stayed up late last Thursday to see the Dark Knight Rise first thing Friday morning, those in the Aurora cinema when the  shooter walked in were obviously big Batman fans.  Thus, it would be a big deal if the actor playing the caped crusader in that film stopped by to visit the wounded among them.

The Denver Post reports that said actor did just that:

Christian Bale, star of the Batman films, met at the Medical Center of Aurora on Tuesday afternoon with seven patients injured in the mass shooting that occurred during a midnight showing of his new film.

Bill Voloch, interim president of Medical Center of Aurora, said Bale spent about 2½ hours at the hospital, where he met with five people still being treated for their injuries. Two others came from Swedish Medical Center to meet Bale, who stars at Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises.

“The patients were really happy to meet Bale,” Voloch said. “They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale.”

Not only is Bale a great actor, but he is also a great guy.  This guy is a mensch.

President Obama’s Hollywood Mentality

Anyone who has spent time about Hollywood wannabes (and yes, I once was just such a wannabe) knows that talent, hard work and determination do not necessarily yield success in this town.

Here, you see people work hard, hone their craft, invest their own money and receive little return.  They may audition for countess roles and never get cast.  They may write, rewrite and re-rewrite scripts only have production companies reject them having only read the log-line or the first few pages.  They may raise their own funds and devote their own time to producing a movie, only to see it languish it film festivals — and never get a distribution deal.

And then you’ll see someone else, knowing the right people (or knowing the people who know the right people) or having the look — or the story — they’re looking for, move to town and find success in a matter of moments.  It may not seem fair, but that’s just the way it is in a competitive business.  Hard work here does not necessarily yield reward.

Perhaps, President Obama was thinking of the way things work in this part of the world when he remarked last Friday in Roanoke, Virginia that “there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there”:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

He’s right that every successful person received help along the way.  There’s a reason the ancient Greeks honored Athena — and depicted her helping their heroes.  They knew a man often required the assistance of others to accomplish his goals.

He is, however, wrong about who made things “happen.”  Although most entrepreneurs received assistance as they built their enterprises, they did indeed build them.  No one makes it own their own, that is, without the support of others.  (And more often that support comes from the private sector, a venture capitalist, an encouraging friend or family member, a devoted mentor.)

In the end though, it is, by and large, an individual’s grit and determination which account for his success.

Far too often, in the entertainment industry, however, hard work alone often yields little reward.  Such is the nature of a highly competitive field. (more…)

Who is the cattiest Catwoman?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:22 pm - July 17, 2012.
Filed under: Divas,Movies/Film & TV,Strong Women

Who is the cattiest Catwoman?
Halle Berry
Eartha Kitt
Lee Meriwether
Julie Newmar
Michelle Pfeiffer
Free polls from

Will Anne Hathaway be as catty as Eartha Kitt?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:12 pm - July 17, 2012.
Filed under: Divas,Movies/Film & TV,Strong Women

With just three days until the Dark Knight Rises, we at GayPatriot have been wondering whether Anne Hathaway can hold a candle to the cattiest of Catwomen, Eartha Kitt:

Perhaps we should poll our readers to see who was the cattiest. . . . Was it Miss Kitt, or perhaps Halle Berry or maybe Lee Meriwether, not to mention Julie Newmar or who could forget Michelle Pfeiffer?

Seems my gay friends are torn between Eartha and Julie while my straight male friends gravitate toward Michelle.