movies

“White privilege” and “toxic masculinity”

Featured image Andreas Papandreou became Greece’s first Socialist prime minister in 1981, running against “the privileged.” It was a political master stroke because, as one Greek historian put it, no self-respecting Greek considers himself privileged. Unlike Papandreou, when the modern American left rails against privilege, it leaves no ambiguity about who it thinks are its recipients. The left is talking explicitly about whites — as in “white privilege.” Thus, it is attacking »

Hillary’s horse feathers

Featured image In “Horse Feathers,” Groucho Marx plays the president/football coach of Huxley College. During half time of the game between Huxley and arch-rival Darwin, Groucho gives a pep talk to the players of. . .Darwin. His son informs him that he’s talking to the wrong team. Groucho responds, “I know, but my team wouldn’t listen.” Hillary Clinton has been dispensing political commentary in India and the Netherlands. Her country, and even »

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 »

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 »

Sabo: We All Knew

Featured image I’ve never met the California street activist who goes by the name Sabo. He is, I believe, a Hispanic former gang member who discovered conservative principles and has become the conscience of southern California. The Golden Globes, which I take it are some sort of movie awards, are coming up, and Sabo is on the case. He highlights the issue of sexual harassment by liberals, and the complicity of the »

Darkest two hours

Featured image We went to see Darkest Hour last night. The film portrays Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in May 1940. When Neville Chamberlain stepped down, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10 and became Great Britain’s war leader. In Five Days in London: May 1940 (1999), John Lukacs focused on these events and took us into the cabinet meetings portrayed in the film. Stick with Lukacs. The film reduces Churchill to a »

Springtime for Marx and Germany

Featured image I suppose it was inevitable, given the left’s re-enchantment with Communism, but I still found news of the 2017 film “The Young Karl Marx” jarring. The American Film Institute will be showing the movie as part of its “European Union Film Showcase” next month in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here is how the AFI describes this German/French/Belgian co-production: Following his documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck takes on the »

Al Franken: The movie

Featured image I have written a lot about Al Franken on Power Line over the years. I posted this review of the Doob/Hegedus documentary on Al Franken in September 2006. The movie was a complete and utter commercial bomb (domestic gross: $102,990). Just about no one saw it. As Franken rides out the scandal deriving from recent disclosures of his past behavior, I thought back to the film. A.O. Scott reviewed it »

Kevin Spacey: A modest proposal

Featured image Kevin Spacey will be excised from the movie All the Money in the World. The film, in which Spacey was to play J.Paul Getty, has already been shot. But due to multiple allegations of sexual assault against him, Spacey’s scenes, of which there surely are plenty, will be reshot with Christopher Plummer in the Getty role. I understand the decison, but does it go far enough? I think Hollywood should »

Looking back at “Don’t Look Back”

Featured image On Thursday evening Turner Classic Movies played a set of rock documentaries including the TCM premiere of D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back (1967). As cinéma vérité, the film captures Bob Dylan on tour in England in 1965, where he had already become a pop star. It’s an entertaining film populated by intriguing characters, foremost among whom is Dylan himself, of course, but also Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, Dylan’s then girlfriend, »

No More Gone With the Wind In Memphis

Featured image The dismantling of American history continues. The Orpheum theater in Memphis announces that it will no longer show the Hollywood classic Gone With the Wind: For the first time 34-years, the Orpheum Theatre will not show “Gone With The Wind” during its Summer movie series in 2018. “Gone With The Wind” was shown on August 11th, and after the theater received several comments about the showing, management made the decision »

The Oscar flub: a “Harvey Mansfield” theory

Featured image Pricewaterhouse Coopers insists that the initial awarding of Best Picture to “La La Land” was the result of human error. No doubt, this is correct. I’m confident that the Academy intended to give the award to “Moonlight,” a film about African-Americans in Miami that was written by two African-Americans, one of whom directed it. But here, mostly in jest, is an alternative theory based on the grading practice that Harvey »

Donald Trump, American hero?

Featured image The estimable David Goldman argues that Donald Trump fits the mold of American hero, and a traditional one at that. He points out that “the protagonists of American popular culture are outsiders with scant patience for authority.” He goes on to compare Trump to Western heroes like the ones portrayed by John Wayne or like William Munny in Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. I see little merit in these comparisons or in »

Golden Globe Coda

Featured image I wrote about the Trump hate-fest at the Golden Globes last night while the show was in progress, based on a news account. (I would rather get a root canal than watch a Hollywood awards program.) Subsequent to my post, Meryl Streep went completely over the top with Trump Derangement Syndrome, for which she has been appropriately bashed non-stop for the last 20-odd hours. Still, crazy as Streep’s screed was, »

The next great boxing movie?

Featured image Boxing has been a staple of Hollywood since before I was born. And why not? The drama of boxing matches and the back story of the game are tailored made for the big screen. The most famous boxing movie is “Rocky” (1976), the first in that long series. The most critically acclaimed is “Raging Bull” (1980), Jake LaMotta’s story as told by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro. The »

Chappaquiddick movie heads towards production

Featured image Last December, John wrote about the plan to make a movie about the Chappaquiddick scandal. It was at Chappaquiddick where Ted Kennedy, who was drunk, drove a young campaign worker off a bridge to her death, failed to take reasonable steps that might have saved her, and tried to cover up his culpability. The notion of Hollywood going through with such a project struck me as implausible. It’s easy enough »

Michael Cimino dead at age 77

Featured image Michael Cimino, director of the acclaimed “The Deer Hunter” (1978) and the panned and financially ruinous “Heaven’s Gate” (1980), died today at age 77. I consider the former film slightly overrated (except for the pre-Vietnam part) and the latter underrated. But in both cases, I left the theater with the strong feeling that I had seen something, a sense I rarely got the time and get even less now. “The »