As part of the promotion of his new Bush-bashing drama ‘W,’ director Oliver Stone appeared on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show and co-host Harry Smith gushed: "And there are so many interesting portrayals in this, we don't have time to go into them all...Stunning, stunning, stunning ...Phenomenal, phenomenal stuff." Smith even suggested that some people saw the movie as sympathetic to Bush, though not Smith himself: "People -- I was in a screening of this movie just yesterday. This person was walking out, 'my gosh it seemed so sympathetic.' I didn't feel that way, but your hearing that yourself I'm sure."
In response, Stone replied:
I hear it but I think there's a confusion between sympathy and empathy. Empathy means understanding, and as a dramatist it's my job to understand, to walk in the shoes of George W. Bush as best as I can...Sympathize, no. I do think he's hurt this country. I'm a Vietnam veteran. We should not have gone into the Iraq war. We were in three wars, not only Afghanistan and Iraq, but really the war on terror is a major war. You know, we've had an economic meltdown because of it, partly because of the overreach. And this country is in a very dire place and I'm not happy about it...But, you know, people voted for him.
There's a theory floating around the right side of the blogosphere that NBC removed a "Saturday Night Live" skit from the Internet because the network had second thoughts about making fun of liberals or caught too much heat for doing so.
But a new theory has surfaced in the mainstream media. Advertising Age is reporting that the skit may have been pulled for apolitical reasons. "A good guess: The clip, a fake C-SPAN news report, identifies [former bank owners Herb and Marion Sandler] ... as 'people who should be shot' in a graphic."
A story on the San Franciso Chronicle Web site seems to buttress that view. It is headlined "Herb Sandler Takes On SNL After Snark Attack" and quotes Sandler as saying, "We are being unfairly tarred" for problems in the mortage industry.
align="right"Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's “worried” President Bush will do before leaving office is “go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth.” That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has “any humanity?”), who responded: “It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair.”
Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the “really smart” Barack Obama over John McCain who “finished second to last in his graduating class in college” and Sarah Palin, who “went to five different colleges,” and so “I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence.”
With some mix of seriousness and humor you can judge yourself by watching the video clip (though how funny is it to joke about the President as some kind of religious zealot out to murder millions?), Sonnenfeld told Letterman he's “worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out” or “let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility.” Then:
And here's the third thing -- and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy -- but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth?
After being canceled on by John McCain, CBS late night talk show host David Letterman lit into the GOP presidential candidate in a ten-minute rant on Wednesday's show.
Letterman had originally been scheduled to host McCain on his program but the Arizona senator canceled at the last minute. Letterman claimed McCain had said he was needed back in Washington to help with economic negotiations. He then cut to a live feed from CBS News which showed McCain being made-up for an appearance on Katie Couric's "Evening News."
How the left-leaning comedian got access to that feed has provoked some controversy within CBS with one news division executive saying that had Letterman had that stunt pulled on him, someone would have been fired for it.
At a Tuesday night fundraiser for Barack Obama held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, donors heard Barbra Streisand sing, but as ABC's Jake Tapper noted in his “Political Punch” blog, “the press was not permitted (inflicted?) with permission to hear her.” So, there's no video of it, which reminded me of how back in 2002 the Fox News Channel played a brief clip from her appearance at a September 29, 2002 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, video we played in “The I’m Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award” category at the MRC's 2003 DisHonors Awards where we added Streisand's lyrics at the bottom of the screen along with a bouncing ball to help the audience follow along.
The customized stanzas from her 'Miseries' adaption of the 'Way We Were' as played on the October 2, 2002 Special Report with Brit Hume:
Scattered pictures Of the House we left behind. Lovely Democratic mem'ries Of the way we were.
Unprecedented growth in the economy. The Dow was up, the deficit was down. As long as Democrats were the majority, I could sleep nights, Not weep nights.
Thursday night's edition of E!'s risque, celebrity gossip driven Chelsea Lately half-hour variety and talk show opened with a skit of host Chelsea Handler as a “dodgeball addict” pelting balls at her helpless staff members. Throughout the four-minute skit, Handler delivered a product placement for Hollywood's presidential favorite as she wore a white shirt emblazoned with “Obama 08."
E Online's description of the show, produced in Los Angeles, which runs at 11:30 PM and again at 2:30 AM EDT: “E!'s late-night half-hour sensation Chelsea Lately features quick-witted commentary and a refreshing pop-culture perspective from comedian, TV personality and author Chelsea Handler.”
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews began his teaser for a segment about Sarah Palin's pending press interview and plans to field questions at a town hall by exclaiming "look who's talking" as an image of Palin [see screencap] appeared bearing the same graphic.
"Look who's talking" is of course the title of a 1989 hit movie in which the person doing the talking was . . . an infant.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
Courtney Hazlett over at MSNBC's "The Scoop" is reporting that thousands of "Us Weekly" subscribers have not only called the magazine to cancel their subscriptions -- some reports say up to 10,000 cancellations have occurred -- but have also contacted advertisers and expressed their outrage that they are advertising with the celebrity news magazine that would so blatantly try to destroy Governor Palin.
Hazlett is hearing that the editorial board of "Us Weekly" had thought they pegged it right that media pressure and attacks would see Palin pulled from the McCain ticket even before her debut speech. Because the media had so quickly swarmed to destroy her, they thought she was toast before she even had the chance to accept the nomination.
Read it and weep, Dixie Chicks. Shove it Bruce Springsteen. Put a sock in it Johnny Cougar Mellencamp. Because, in a refreshing change of pace for the entertainment industry, Kid Rock is telling CMT Insider via People Magazine that entertainers should stay quiet on matters political.
How many times have you seen the uninformed blather of some goof from Hollywood, or some crank from the music industry filling your TV screen or oozing from your radio? How many low brow maestros have had your eyes rolling when they imagine themselves to have some prescient insight into matters of politics? Apparently rock singer Kid Rock is signing onto your piquancy because he has said that singers should just shut up about politics.
As the city of Denver prepares for this week's Democratic convention, numerous Hollywood celebs are planning to attend in support of Barack Obama and to advocate for pet issues. Gushes Variety,
When Barack Obama accepts the nomination before some 75,000 people at a Denver stadium on Thursday, he'll be surrounded by a contingent of average Americans from all walks of life --- just not Hollywood performers, musicians and other famous figures who have so publicly championed his candidacy.
So what, exactly, will be the role of celebrity during the week of the Democratic National Convention?
It’s no secret that Bill Maher, the host of the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher," loathes religion. He came under fire earlier this year for slandering Pope Benedict XVI.
On Tuesday night, CNN’s Larry King gave Maher another chance to smack Christianity, which Maher called “detrimental” and “the ultimate hustle.”
Maher was on "Larry King Live" to promote his latest vehicle, the film "Religulous," which is due to open October 3. "Religulous," which reportedly takes aim at all religions, was supposed to be released around Easter of this year. It had been called a documentary previously but Maher is now selling it as a comedy. Larry King opened his interview with Maher by praising the movie but noted that it will offend people.
Hollywood conservative? As oxymoronic as that may sound, there are a few out there, the one endangered species that the left is not interested in protecting.
In an excellent article for the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes takes a look at a small band of conservatives and libertarians in Tinseltown. No longer content to stay quiet, they've created an underground group called "Friends of Abe," a reference to "Friend of Dorothy," a codeword formerly used when homosexuality was taboo in Hollywood with the intent to parallel the intolerance that is currently exacted on Republicans in the entertainment industy.
I've had the pleasure of attending a few such gatherings thanks to "NewsBusted" creator Bruce Roundtower and can verify that some of Hollywood's biggest names are involved.
Andrew Breitbart, CEO of Breitbart.com, had a great op ed in the Washington Times yesterday about how Hollywood oppresses Republicans and conservatives in La La Land. Detailing the travails of Republicans in Hollywood -- including destruction by Hollywood's liberals of personal property owned by identified Republicans -- Breitbart laments the "bullying" the self-proclaimed tolerant lefties mete out to those who walk the Republican side of the street.
Near the end of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" there was a taped segment of co-host Julie Chen talking to the executive producer of the CBS reality show "Big Brother," Allison Grodner, who previewed some of the contestants in the show’s new season: "Dan is a Catholic school teacher from Michigan. He really doesn't think women are equal. And he felt really strongly, especially, about the possibility that Hillary Clinton would have become president. He said he would have left the country. And he was dead serious about that."
After describing the stereotypical conservative white male, Grodner went on to describe an Obama supporter on the show, a young Afircan-American woman: "Libra is the rebel mom and strong opinions, very liberal. She's the Obama girl in Bush country." Just prior to that description of the "rebel Obama girl" a clip was played of the conservative Dan explaining his opposition to Obama: "My only concern is Barack Obama is wildy charismatic, has a huge aura around him. Which, if you're not very educated, you may vote for him just because, you know, he's more charismatic."
"Big Brother," which is hosted by Chen, seems to be taking a political angle this season. Watch video of cast preview here.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an interview with actress Elizabeth Perkins from Showtime’s ‘Weeds’: "We're going to see what she thinks about weed. Not the show, the plant." Later, Chen offered yet another tease: "You know her from 'Weeds' on Showtime. Elizabeth Perkins. We're going to find out if she thinks marijuana should be legal."
Later during the segment Chen eagerly asked the question: "Since it is 'Weeds' it seems like a natural question. As a person...as Elizabeth Perkins, do you believe marijuana should be legalized?" Predictably, Perkins replied: "Oh, yeah, absolutely...Alcohol is legal. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me why marijuana's not. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me." Chen’s only response was to laugh and declare: "In the name of the show."
Chen followed up by referring to Perkins’ moralist anti-drug character on the show, Celia Hodes: "And Celia Hodes would say?," Perkins replied: "Oh, put them all in jail." Chen interjected: " I know...she's so self-righteous." Earlier in the segment, Chen explained that Perkins’ character on the show was an alcoholic "hypocrite." Perkins went on to explain that: "Well Celia's probably the only character on the show who's never smoked marijuana." Chen wondered: "Is she going to cave?" After Perkins said no, Chen pressed: "Oh, you never know, we still have a few episodes left-" At that point Perkins explained: "Never cave with marijuana because that's the 'evil drug,' according to her." Chen laughed.
From Reno, Associated Press reporter Scott Sonner reported actor Dennis Haysbert likes to believe his portrayal as the first black U.S. president on Fox's 24 may have helped pave the way for Barack Obama:
''If anything, my portrayal of David Palmer, I think, may have helped open the eyes of the American people,'' said the actor, who has contributed $2,300 to the Illinois Democrat's presidential campaign.
''And I mean the American people from across the board -- from the poorest to the richest, every color and creed, every religious base -- to prove the possibility there could be an African-American president, a female president, any type of president that puts the people first,'' he said Tuesday.
But that might inspire comparisons of Michelle Obama to Sherry Palmer, not a desirable comparison. NPR tackled this in January on All Things Considered:
What's history for if Hollywood and our other entertainment industries can't take it and warp it to fit a current, partisan political agenda? In yet another example of Hollyweird’s foolishness, we have a new Robert Downey, Jr. vehicle that casts the American Cowboy as an "imperialist". Of course, they will dress it up and try to hide this absurd message by having an alien invasion occur during a skirmish between Cowboys and Indians in the late 1800's, forcing the two human enemies to unite to fight the aliens. This is supposed to be an "allegory." Yes, with this "pulpy mix of the sci-fi and Western genres," we have "allegory" in the fact that the space aliens are trying to invade and conquer the Earth just like the cowboys were doing to the poor, benighted natives. Just once I’d like to see a movie present Indians as real, three dimensional people instead of infantilized, victims.
Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times's reporter on the TV beat, framed the 2008 presidential campaign in her own inimitable way in the lead story of the special Emmy section of Sunday's paper, terming the Barack-Hillary contest the hit of the season in "No Debate: It's Great TV."
But Stanley really stretched things when, in a slanted attempt to get John McCain into the mix, she cited hypothetical people who prefer the original, rather campy Battlestar Galactica series, starring Lorne Greene, to the award-winning re-launch on the Sci Fi Channel.
Robert Koehler of Variety is upset at Director Mark Pellington over his new film, "Henry Poole Is Here." He can't believe the audacity of a movie with religious themes actually having religious themes in it. Why it's a crime, you see. Koehler is so upset that he blurts out the memorable critique of, "not since 'The Passion of the Christ' has a mainstream Hollywood product insisted so firmly in faith"!
Wow, "insisted" firmly in faith? Oh, the humanity. Why there oughtta be a law!
You can just feel the anguish that Koehler has that this director dared to feature religious conversion, religious discussions, and a serious attempt to legitimize faith in his film. Of course, to Koehler, that fealty to faith absolutely must be at the expense of science. In fact, he sees "jabs at science" at every turn in the flick. Koehler is entirely incensed that anyone dare make a movie that presents belief in God in a positive light as a force that can affect "growth" in people. The outright hostility that Koehler has for religion is shocking. It has to be seen to be believed.
In this corner, Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry himself. And in that corner, the self appointed guardian of America's black population, Spike Lee. It's shaping up to be a battle royale, folks, with Lee rabbit punching the aging action star while Eastwood uses his smarts and experience to deliver a knock out blow.
In round one, Lee came out swinging at Director Clint Eastwood's WWII films, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," claiming that Eastwood "erased the role of black GIs from history." Lee tried on his self-righteous air of moral certitude and labeled Eastwood a racist. "Many black veterans who fought in Iwo Jima were hurt that there was no representation of them in both of those films," Lee said in an interview in Rome last year.
But not to fear for Eastwood losing the bout, as he is about to show us all that Spike Lee doesn't have what it takes to go toe to toe with a master.
Zbigniew Brzezinski says that since we talked to Likud, we should talk to Hamas. And Kevin Spacey, who has trouble keeping his disputed primary states straight, suggests that his "Recount" plays it straight, despite evidence to the contrary. All that and more on today's Morning Joe. In reverse order, let's begin with Zbig's appearance, and consider this statement.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I have joined a bi-partisan group of some prominent Americans including Paul Volcker, Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton, and some others, in saying that talking to Hamas is a necessary course of action. You know, we talked to Likud when Likud was advocating the total incorporation of the West Bank into Israel. And today Likud accepts a two-state solution. Hamas will evolve, but it will not evolve if it is continuously ostracized and threatened.
A practical joke on last night's "Boston Legal" had mad cow disease-afflicted lawyer Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) believing the RNC wanted him as the presidential nominee.
And it left "Boston Legal" writers with plenty of opportunities to slam Republicans, like this exchange that suggests former Republican President Ronald Reagan had mad cow disease instead of Alzheimer's:
ALAN SHORE: Do they know you have mad cow?
DENNY CRANE: They're looking for the next Ronald Reagan, and he had it at the very end.
They make anti-American films that bomb at the box office and lose money. Then they make more films that make fun of the conservative base of the country, they lose more money. They make films that attack, belittle and infantalize our men and women at arms -- all as we are in a war, adding insult to injury -- and they lose still more money. So what do they do? They make yet more films like these previous lemons. Any guesses what will happen next? That's right, box office poison.
There is a whole raft of new projects that are sure to become box office stinkers that make Americans rather want to stay home instead of stream to the movies. There's Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) extravaganzas, anti-capitalist potboilers and global warming scaremongering galore all coming to a theater near you!
Heavens to Murgatroyd! Chris Matthews has reduced Hillary Clinton to a cartoon character. Snagglepuss to be precise. "Exit stage left" was one of the Hanna-Barbera animation's catchphrases, and Matthews used it to wonder whether Hillary was prepared to leave the presidential race, given her flagging political fortunes. Here's how Matthews put it at the top of today's Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, listen carefully. That sound you hear is the slow falling of electoral delegates, of superdelegates, to Barack Obama. Seven more came aboard today. So with Obama way ahead in elected delegates, now trails Hillary Clinton by only four-and-a-half superdelegates. It didn't help Clinton when her long-time supporter and U.S. congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois called Obama today "the presumptive nominee" of his party.
As Snagglepuss flashed on the screen, Matthews wondered out loud: "does Hillary have an exit strategy at this point?"
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.