Hollywood

El Presidente speaks

Featured image In the adjacent post, I observe that Governor Walz has delivered us to the Central American people’s republic of San Marcos, as depicted in Woody Allen’s Bananas. Partly taking off from, and paying homage to, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, Bananas is a brilliant comedy. The San Marcos thing is funny in the film. Everything is funny in the film. It’s not so funny in Minnesota. Could a movie like this »

The McDermott monologue

Featured image In the Wall Street Journal’s weekend Mansion section, Marc Myers interviewed the actor Dylan McDermott to construct the first-person narrative published under the headline “Sitcoms Taught Dylan McDermott Everything He Knew About Family.” McDermott had a stunted childhood. His father was an alcoholic; his mother was murdered when he was five. McDermott’s narrative account opens: My parents married young. My mom was 15 and my dad was 18 when I »

Ben Mankiewicz’s heroes

Featured image Let’s try a thought experiment. Although the claim that Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election campaign has no basis, it seems likely that Russia tried to interfere in the election via posts on social media. Suppose Congress undertook to investigate this matter. Suppose that, in conducting its investigation, a committee called as witnesses people who participated in social media and who had past ties with Russia. Finally, suppose »

The Mankiewicz mangle

Featured image And now for something completely different, we turn to TCM host Ben Mankiewicz’s citation of his favorite books about movies, published in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal Review section and available online here. The Journal subhead touts Mankiewicz and two other “showbiz pros on the nonfiction works that taught them volumes about Hollywood, past and present.” These are Mankiewicz’s selections: “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” captures a time in moviemaking I »

Hollywood Ignoramuses Strike Again

Featured image Save up for this! The Hulu streaming channel is debuting a nine-part series called “Mrs. America” on the 1970s-era clash between Gloria Steinem and Phyllis Schlafly chiefly over the Equal Rights Amendment, and given that it’s Hollywood’s take you can be sure it is fully “nuanced.” You know you are in trouble when the very first sentence of the review of the show in the Hollywood Reporter today runs as follows: »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll has a contribution to make to OSCARS SO STUPID. She writes: Yes. I know that it’s March now and the Oscars were last month. But the has-been celebrities continue to attack, so I thought a never-was columnist should fight back. A few years ago, the Wokest of the Wokesters had serious complaints about the Oscars’ lack of black nominees. Several people boycotted and dubbed them #OscarsSoWhite. At no »

Phoenix’s republic

Featured image Watching the video highlights of the Oscar winners serving up their deep political thoughts this past Sunday evening, I wondered how anyone could top the lady who recited the revolutionary slogan from the Communist Manifesto.: “Workers of the world, unite.” She omitted: “You have nothing to lose but your chains!” I wonder why. I can’t answer that question, but I can suggest that Joaquin Phoenix topped her. He brought to »

1619 and the Oscars: Fit Companions

Featured image Needless to say, I didn’t watch the Academy Awards show last night. In fact, I didn’t know it was on: Hollywood and I parted company a long time ago. But I was surprised to learn from a friend that the New York Times ran an ad, during the Oscars show, for its 1619 Project. This seems unusual. How often does a paper advertise one of its “news” projects on national »

How Orson Bean found God

Featured image Today comes the sad news that Orson Bean has died as the result of being hit by a car in Venice, California. The AP has posted an adequate obituary mostly written by the late Bob Thomas here. With a little help from Orson himself, I would like to add to Thomas’s obituary from a perspective you are unlikely to find in the mainstream media. Orson Bean’s career spanned five decades. »

Analyze this

Featured image I avoided watching the Golden Globe Awards show last night because I hate political diatribes by Hollywood morons, but I am sorry I missed the opening monologue by Ricky Gervais. Speaking ironically, he belittled his monologue as “just jokes.” Gervais, however, inflicted some serious pain — the faces of the audience looked like those in the audience at the beginning of Springtime for Hitler in Mel Brooks’s The Producers. The »

My movie of 2019

Featured image My movie of 2017 was Thank You For Your Service. The film introduced me to the astounding book by Washington Post editor David Finkel, the second of two he has written based on the soldiers he met while embedded with 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the surge. What I found most haunting in the film came straight out of the book. I recommended the movie and the book here on Power »

The strange case of Carlson v. Kelly

Featured image Roger Ailes might have gotten a kick out of this report from the Washington Post. Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly are locked in a proxy war over, in effect, which of the two women merits top billing in “Bombshell,” the movie about Ailes’s downfall at Fox News. (I say “proxy war” because the battle is being waged by their friends). The Post’s Paul Fahri reports: There’s an argument brewing over »

The Cold Blue

Featured image NR’s Kyle Smith includes The Cold Blue somewhere near the top of his list of 2019’s ten best documentaries. Smith writes: Back when leading Hollywood personalities felt it was their patriotic duty to put themselves in harm’s way for their country, the director William Wyler (who would go on to make The Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur) was among those who went off to make movies as part »

Hollywood? Inaccurate? You Don’t Say!

Featured image Cue up a Category 5 Schadenfreude Alert! The media is complaining that a forthcoming Hollywood movie might be less than accurate to the true story! The movie is Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, which tells the story of the rush to judgment in the bombing of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The bombing turned out to be the handiwork of Eric Rudolph (now serving a life sentence), who would otherwise be »

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. TCM is playing the film as part of its Veterans Day lineup on »

Vicious Hollywood, Then and Now

Featured image President Trump has scheduled a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, and major Hollywood figures are demanding to know who attends so they can be blacklisted. Debra Messing and Eric McCormack are the stars of a television show called “Will and Grace.” Hey, @THR, kindly report on everyone attending this event, so the rest of us can be clear about who we don’t wanna work with. Thx. https://t.co/7W3xPG3bI2 — Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) »

The Specter of Deep Fakes?

Featured image I have heard about the arrival of “deep fake” videos, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But then I saw the video below, which is pretty amazing. Worth watching closely, a couple times. The transitions and likenesses are stunning. I have wondered for a while when we might get to the point where digital Hollywood tech might replace live actors in films—or even be used to being back long »