Hollywood

Think Hollywood Is Unpatriotic? You’re Right

Featured image As you probably know, Sony Pictures was hacked, allegedly by someone in North Korea, and a lot of data has leaked into the public domain, at least some of it via Gawker. Among the documents that have become public are Sony marketing materials in Power Point form that show how the studio intended to promote various movies. This one is for “Captain Phillips,” a relatively rare hit for the studio. »

Interstellar and the Climate-Culture War

Featured image Although I am a sucker for high concept sci-fi movies (I actually made my mother take me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at Grauman’s Chinese Theater the Cinerama* in Hollywood when I was just 10 years old—I think I understood it better then than I do now), I haven’t seen Interstellar yet, so there won’t be any spoilers in this post. Instead, I’m spoiling for a fight about how the »

Environmentalists Show How to Make the Best Comics Epically Unfunny

Featured image How do you take the best comics in the country and make them duller than wet cardboard?  You dragoon them into plying their chops on behalf of environmental organizations, which the NRDC did this week at their “night of comedy.”  The three-minute clip below really makes you feel sorry for Seth Meyers, Larry David, et al. Here’s a sample of the comic fare from the actual event, from Seth Meyers: “Let’s »

And now for something completely different, part deux

Featured image The first half of The Big Lebowski may the funniest half-movie ever, and is certainly right up there with the other funniest half-movies of all time. Not surprisingly, the film in its entirety has generated its own cult following and annual Lebowski Fest convention. In the film Jeff Bridges plays the dissolute leading character, Jeff Lebowski (“the Dude,” photo at left). His daily attire is a bathrobe, except when he »

Tonight it’s “Christmas in July”

Featured image For readers who might be interested I want to note that TCM is playing the rarely seen comedy Christmas in July tonight at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) as part of its tribute to Dick Powell today. Why should you care? The film was both written and directed by Preston Sturges, a director known for the subgenre of “screwball” comedies that he perfected with what his admirers came to call “the Sturges »

“A Zig-Zag Streak of Lightning. . .”

Featured image The house that was the exterior scene from “Mork and Mindy” was around the corner and a couple blocks down from my billet in Boulder; I’d ride by it on my way to campus or downtown most days.  You can imagine what the Hollywood set (where most of it was filmed) must have been like, and how often Williams departed from the script. The best description of genius I’ve ever »

Boyhood: A brief note

Featured image We went to see the film Boyhood last night, and I want to recommend it to readers who might otherwise overlook it in the film industry’s recurring summer of crud. It’s a movie for adults about time and love and (the modern) family. I am not familiar with writer/director Richard Linklater, but I want to mention his name here as the man without whom the film wouldn’t exist. For whatever »

Dan Rather Plots Comeback, With Assist From Robert Redford

Featured image I read this story three times to make sure it wasn’t a practical joke. But no: Robert Redford to Play Dan Rather in ‘Truth’. Robert Redford has signed on to play Dan Rather in Truth, a film based on the 2005 memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and The Privilege of Power. The book, written by Rather’s producer Mary Mapes, centers on the firestorm that erupted after Rather »

The improbable lives of Louis Zamperini

Featured image I am saddened to learn of the death yesterday of the remarkable Louis Zamperini. What a man; what a great American. The New York Times obituary by Ira Berkow is here. I wrote about Mr. Zamperini on Power Line after I finished reading Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling biography of him (linked below). The following comments are adapted from what I wrote then. In November 2010 the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Review »

Paul Mazursky, RIP

Featured image Writer/director/actor Paul Mazursky died in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 84. The Los Angeles Times recounts his incredibly long and productive career in its obituary. The Times also picks five of Mazursky’s best films. Movies you may have forgotten, or forgotten to associate with Mazursky, include I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (which he co-wrote with Larry Tucker), starring Peter Sellers. Mazursky provided an early (1967) take »

Helton! Thou shouldst be living at this hour

Featured image IRS Commissioner John Koskinen turned in a memorable performance before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday morning. I wrote about it here. Koskinen looks like he was sent by central casting to front for the Democrats in the IRS scandals. Indeed, he reminds me of the character actor Percy Helton, whom you would have seen in dozens of movies and television shows if you are anywhere near my »

The Best Years of Our Lives

Featured image When I walked into Spaulding Auditorium to see The Best Years of Our Lives as an undergrad, I had never even heard of the film. When I walked out three hours later, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it. It is a great film with a lot of truth and a big heart in it. Tonight TCM is carrying the film as part of its Memorial Day lineup. »

James O’Keefe Punks Hollywood Greens

Featured image There are advantages to being a video guy rather than an ink-stained wretch. James O’Keefe is currently in Cannes, where he is premiering his latest video prank. O’Keefe’s targets are Josh and Rebecca Tickell, producers of environmental documentaries including “Fuel.” Ed Begley Jr. and (former?) actress Mariel Hemingway appear, but are mostly along for the ride. And there isn’t actually much video; it’s mostly recorded conversations. But the content is »

When Turner was right

Featured image Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Turner Classic Movies cable channel earlier this week, I noted that I was a little vague on how Ted Turner came to own the rights to nearly every worthwhile movie ever made. A reader wrote to offer a look back at the ancient history that provides the answer: Back in 1985 I was working as a senior consultant for the entertainment division of a »

TCM at 20

Featured image The TCM (Turner Classic Movies) cable channel celebrated its twentieth anniversary yesterday. It did so in grand style, rebroadcasting movies from its first day on the air (Gone With the Wind and It Happened One Night). After GWTW, TCM broadcast an interesting interview with host-for-life Robert Osborne conducted by Alec Baldwin. I have been a high volume consumer of TCF roughly since day one. I am a little vague on »

Al Gore: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Featured image No sooner does Bill McKibben come up with a great idea (climate scientists should go on strike) than I hear even better news: Al Gore is thinking about making a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth.  From the Hollywood Reporter: Al Gore might need to dust off his projector. The creative forces behind the Oscar-winning environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth are hatching plans for a sequel to the film that raised »

Remembering Budd Schulberg

Featured image Budd Schulberg — writer, novelist, playwright, screenwriter — was born 100 years ago this coming March 27. Mark Steyn takes the occasion of the Schulberg centenary to look back in the column “What made Buddy run?” Please check it out. Schulberg died in August 2009 ago at the age of 95. His life cut through an almost unbelievable slice of American history, more than enough for two memoirs. In Moving »