Hollywood

Pop Culture Tidings

Featured image I don’t think I will be venturing into spoiler territory if I point out that the galactic villain of The Avengers: Infinity Wars, whose name is Thanos (close to or perhaps derived from the ancient Greek word thanatos, for rule of death), is a Paul Ehrlich-style Malthusian. In the movie Thanos expresses his ruthless determination to reduce the population of the entire universe dramatically because of “scarce resources.” What a »

How did you know?

Featured image After our Spring blizzard let up last Sunday, we escaped from the house to see the film Beirut. We had seen the preview and it looked promising. Starring Jon Hamm, directed by Brad Anderson, written by Tony Gilroy, the film featured a story recalling the 1984 kidnapping of CIA Lebanon station chief William Buckley by Hezbollah operatives. The film has received a panoply of favorable reviews. It was obviously a »

Chappaquiddick revisited

Featured image The left seems to have a death grip on Hollywood. The title of the history by Ronald and Allis Radosh — Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left — says it another way. Maybe “romance” is a better metaphor than “death grip,” but you get the idea. I think back to Lionel Chetwynd’s 1987 docudrama The Hanoi Hilton. Even though the film told a story »

Reminder: The Left Hates Our Civilization

Featured image I know I’ve made the point before, but there is fresh evidence in recent weeks of how much the left today hates western civilization and human excellence in general. Once again the left is determined to flunk what I’ve long called “the Churchill test.” Once upon a time leading liberals loved Churchill. Think of Isaiah Berlin’s great 1949 Atlantic Monthly essay, “Churchill in 1940,” or how much Arthur Schlesinger loved »

Move Over, Fitzgerald: Sean Penn Has Arrived

Featured image Will Rogers liked to joke that it was no trouble to be a humorist when you have the whole government working for you, and I’ve long thought that this should be amended to say that leftists are now working full time for our amusement. I had heard that Sean Penn had written a novel, but intended to spend zero time looking into it, because life is too short. (Besides, I’ve »

“Wild in the Streets” Indeed

Featured image I can’t recall whether we’re supposed to think that popular culture is a leading or lagging indicator of things, but it seems Hollywood anticipated the recent children’s crusade for banning guns—and lowering the voting age to 16—exactly 50 years ago, in a film that I never heard of (“Wild in the Streets”), but which a sharp-eyed Power Line reader pointed out to me. See if this doesn’t capture a fair »

Tragedy at the Pathway Home

Featured image Yesterday a vet and former patient at the Pathway Home at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in northern California took hostage and then murdered the program’s executive director, Christine Loeber, Dr. Jen Golick, the program’s clinical director, and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Francisco. The Pathway Home lost two-thirds of its leadership team yesterday. Only the director of development and communications remains. »

Videos of the Week

Featured image Yesterday, in honor of International Women’s Day (because I guess National Women’s Day would be too Trumpian??), I offered up this mischievous tweet: Of course I had in mind something like the Lady Ghostbusters remake that was a total bust. But guess what? Someone beat me to the idea. (Language warning—but if you’ve seen The Big Lebowski, you already know that): Meanwhile, Remy has a new one out this week, »

Inclusion riders, quotas, and confusion

Featured image Yesterday, I commented on actress Frances McDormand’s call for Hollywood stars to insist on “inclusion riders” in their contracts. These riders, as I understand them, would condition starring in a film on the producer’s willingness to hire a certain percentage of minorities and women for the production. Stacy Smith, originator of the idea, has explained that this means “for on-screen roles that are supporting and minor, they have to be »

Hollyweird [Updated]

Featured image Last night marked the 35th consecutive year of my Not Watching the Academy Awards, and from early news reports it appears that 20 percent of last year’s audience are following my example. Ratings are at their all-time lowest ever. Host Jimmy Kimmel apparently made a lot of jokes about Trump, conservatives, the NRA, and in support of the #MeToo movement, which is pretty cheeky for someone who hosted The Man »

About those roses

Featured image I wrote here at length about The Subject Was Roses almost ten years ago after I saw playwright Frank Gilroy’s grandson Sam Gilroy on stage at the Moore Theater in Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center. Meeting up with Frank Gilroy when he visited Dartmouth in 1971 for a screening of Desperate Characters, a film he had produced and directed as well as adapted from Paula Fox’s esteemed novel, was one of the »

Terry Teachout recommends

Featured image Yesterday on Twitter Terry Teachout — my favorite critic, of theater for the Wall Street Journal and at large for Commentary — commented on The Third Man, the compelling 1949 film. If you are a fan of the film, you will undoubtedly recall that it was written by Graham Greene and features a chilling star turn by Orson Welles. Terry touted the film as a scrupulous study in moral complexity. »

Made for each other

Featured image This past Thursday afternoon my daughter Eliana interviewed Ambassador Nikki Haley for Politico’s Women Rule podcast. Most of the interview is devoted to Haley’s family background, her first interest in politics, her education in foreign policy, and her work at the UN on behalf of the Trump administration. Walking in the footsteps of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and John Bolton, Ambassador Haley is making us proud. Eliana also asked Ambassador Haley »

Darkest two hours revisited

Featured image I gave my quick take on the highly praised Churchill film Darkest Hour in my post “Darkest two hours.” By contrast, Steve Hayward declared the film “great” in this post and put it in the context of other depictions of Churchill on film in a valuable Weekly Standard column. In praising the film, Steve joins other esteemed Churchill experts who have written about it (Larry Arnn, Victor Davis Hanson, and »

First They Came for Friends. . .

Featured image As noted here previously, a noisy, nosy cohort of the millennial generation can’t stomach the old sitcom Friends, but now they’re going after . . . James Bond! Because 007 was a rapist don’t you know. Michael Walsh is manning (may I still use that verb?) the picket line against this creeping PC censorship, but it also gives us an excuse to screen the evidence that will be used against »

Andrew Roberts for the Win

Featured image I am pleased to see that on the question of how to think about the Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, the great Andrew Roberts comes down pretty close to where I do–and also where to rank the other major Churchill biopics. Our one major divergence is over Brendan Gleeson’s turn in the HBO production Into the Storm, which I thought suffered more from defective writing and poor direction rather than Gleeson’s »

Friends-less

Featured image I tried a few times back in the 1990s to take in an episode of Friends, but just couldn’t get through it. It seemed an entirely mediocre offering, and I could never understand why it was so popular, except I suppose as a prequel to the super-charged self-absorption of the coming of age millennial generation. At its peak it attracted as many as 52 million viewers. But maybe I have »