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 »

Triumph of the Phil

Featured image Not having done our homework, we went to the film Philomena over the weekend. We made a mistake. We shouldn’t have gone. It’s not just one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, it’s also one of the most detestable. From beginning to end, it is an attack on the Catholic Church for crimes fabricated out of “true events” involving Philomena (Phil) Lee, played by Judi Dench. The Washington Post’s »

More Proof That Liberals Are Humorless Losers

Featured image Some years back I contributed a short squib to National Review’s roster of the 100 best conservative films out of Hollywood on behalf of Ghostbusters, not merely for making the bad guy a buffoon from the EPA, but for noting that the private sector, unlike government or universities, “expects results.” Lo and behold, along comes Thomas Frank, the lefty author of What’s The Matter With Kansas for Not Voting Like »

A Star Wars Interlude

Featured image It was inevitable that someone would offer up a Facebook “Look Back” video for Darth Vader (below), but the real news is the insider revelation that the destruction of the Death Star in Episode IV was clearly an inside job.  I expect Rosie O’Donnell will be all over this story any moment now.  Excerpt: THE KID WHO TOOK THE SHOT JUST HAPPENED TO BE NAMED ‘SKYWALKER.’  Yep, same as our »

Liberals Still Aren’t Funny: Seinfeld Feeds Buzzfeed to the Buzzsaw

Featured image No sooner than SNL’s Lorne Michaels ratifies the common sense perception that most liberals are humorless scolds, than Jerry Seinfeld shows up on Buzzfeed and remarks that complaints about the lack of gender and racial diversity in his comedy web series “really pisses me off.” “I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that. But everyone else is kind of, with their little calculating – is this »

SNL’s Lorne Michaels: Liberals Lack a Sense of Humor

Featured image It isn’t news to any conservative that most liberals have a deficient sense of humor, which is what makes the light bulb joke about feminists so accurate. (How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? “That’s not funny!”)  But it ought to be worth something when Lorne Michaels, the long time producer of Saturday Night Live, ratifies this, in this month’s New York magazine interview (note especially what »

The Next Action Hero Candidate?

Featured image One of my favorite moments from the Reagan years was the time Reagan was asked during a press conference for his thoughts about Clint Eastwood’s election as mayor of Carmel.  Reagan said he never thought anyone who had acted with a chimp in a movie could ever make it in politics.  Heh. What about movie action heroes?  I always thought it remarkable that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura were both »

A wonderful life

Featured image In Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression — a book I enjoyed and learned from despite Mark Steyn’s (accurately) devastating review in Commentary upon its publication — Morris Dickstein speaks up on behalf of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. He writes that the movie has “a large cult following that finds it a heartwarming work, the epitome of the Christmas spirit, while others see »

My favorite O’Toole

Featured image Peter O’Toole died yesterday at the age of 81. The New York Times obituary by Benedict Nightingale recapitulates his remarkable career and captures some of his old-school antics. What an actor. We can have a constructive argument among ourselves about which of the films was his best, or even with ourselves about which is our favorite. Into the hopper go Lawrence of Arabia and The Lion in Winter as well »

The unbearable lightness of Gravity

Featured image We enjoyed the 3D version of Gravity at the local cineplex last night. The 3D effects are spectacular, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock charismatic, but the story is a little lightweight (and not at all unbearable) as it works through the challenges faced by the two astronauts who survive the disaster with which the story begins. It seems to me to provide a modestly feminist update on The Perils of »

Eco-Remakes I’d Like to See

Featured image In getting ready to review Pascal Bruckner’s terrific new beatdown on environmentalism, The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse, I was pondering his discussion about, of all things, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and my favorite camp-classic, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and I got to wondering—why don’t we have some remakes of classic films within the horizons of today’s environmental correctness?  How would Psycho’s famous shower scene  go with a low-flow shower-head?  Probably »

Who Will Play Hillary Clinton? Scarlet Johansson, Of Course

Featured image The Left is hard at work on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. One aspect of that effort is a movie called Rodham, to be directed by James Ponstoldt. The film will deal with “Clinton’s time as a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate investigation.” Did Hillary play a significant role in Watergate? No, but I suppose the filmmakers thought that was more promising material than her years »

The Bulworth identity

Featured image Peter Baker reports on President Obama’s frustrations in the New York Times: In private, [Obama] has talked longingly of “going Bulworth,” a reference to a little-remembered 1998 Warren Beatty movie about a senator who risked it all to say what he really thought. While Mr. Beatty’s character had neither the power nor the platform of a president, the metaphor highlights Mr. Obama’s desire to be liberated from what he sees »

Video of the Week

Featured image It is not necessary to be a Trekkie (but really, why wouldn’t you be?) to appreciate the intergenerational rivalry of this Audi ad featuring the original Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) versus the “rebooted” younger Spock, Zachary Quinto. And kudos to Nimoy, for being game to spoof the most embarrassing moment of his entire career; and no, I don’t mean that Trek episode where he got the seven-year Vulcan itch.  Rather, »


Featured image The film 42, released nationally this weekend, is a conventional Hollywood biopic in the heroic mold. The film is tightly focused on Jackie Robinson’s epochal 1947 season that broke baseball’s color line. Despite its conventional form, the film is inspiring and distinctive in a number of respects that justify attention. We went to see the film in a suburban St. Paul theater last night and enjoyed it immensely. After seeing »

Jonathan Winters, RIP

Featured image I’m not sure how widely it was known that Jonathan Winters, whom Robin Williams thought the best comic of his generation, was a conservative.  In any case, I sometimes used to show students in my classes on the American Founding the early scene from “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” where the whole gang tries to deliberate about how to divide the loot fairly when they finally got to the »

Understanding John Ford

Featured image Glenn Frankel’s new book on The Searchers goes to show the continuing interest in John Ford. My interest in Ford was sparked by Professor John Marini of the University of Nevada-Reno, whom I heard speak about Ford on a Claremont Institute panel at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association a few years ago. On the Claremont panel John gave a version of his paper on the creation »