Two years ago, Time critic Richard Corliss wrote an article that clearly must have resonated at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscar telecast was sinking in the ratings, he wrote, because the nominees were largely unwatched by the masses. It used to be that the Best Picture prize went to mainstream box-office hits. "Now when the nominations come out, people try to catch up with the finalists, but it's almost like homework."
The 2010 Oscar nominations clearly signal that Hollywood is trying to return to a broader vision of the Oscars, as something more than an insular critics’ circle that likes only the self-consciously arty and obscure. That signal came most obviously with the announcement that there would be ten nominees for Best Picture. That list hadn’t seen 10 nominations since 1943, when the winner was "Casablanca."
Arty films that almost nobody has seen are still there – like "An Education." But arty blockbusters are there as well, like "Avatar" – current box office gross: $601 million -- and the animated film "Up," with $293 million. (By contrast, two years ago, the Best Picture box office leader was "Juno" – at $85 million when the nominations came out.)
Why let facts get in the way of a good liberal meme?
Paul Farhi sure didn't when he panned Oscar-nominated movie "The Blind Side" during a special "Hardball on Hollywood" segment with Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff and host Chris Matthews on the February 2 program.
The Washington Post media critic slammed the Best Picture-nominated drama -- based on a true story -- as just another movie in which the white characters' guilt is assauged by helping a black guy (video embedded at right; an MP3 audio clip is available here):
PAUL FARHI, Washington Post: The problem is that the black character is basically a prop to make the white people feel better about themselves, and that's been the major criticism. It's also the "magic negro," in other words, the idea that a black character will emerge to provide wisdom for the white people involved in the movie.
Alec Baldwin, award winning actor and wannabe leftist political commentator, called on Congress to sink congressional health care legislation today, saying he would rather the federal government "Put a Major Oil Company Out of Business," according to the headline of his column at the Huffington Post.
Baldwin isn't the only liberal entertainer calling for the death of ObamaCare. Plans to tax so-called "Cadillac" health care plans--or the most expensive insurance plans--have riled up some key Democratic supporters. The Teamsters Union and the AFL-CIO have protested, but now objections are also being raised by Hollywood's biggest unions.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the "generally cozy relationship between Hollywood's unions and the Obama administration is coming under strain." The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists recently sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders pleading with them to drop the Cadillac tax. According to the Times, the Screen Actors Guild, the largest union of actors, is expected to take a similar stance on the legislation.
While speculating that Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien may move to Fox in the wake of NBC shaking up its late night schedule, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to Sarah Palin becoming a contributor for Fox News: “Sarah Palin his sidekick? Because she’s on Fox now, too.”
Co-host Harry Smith couldn’t resist getting in a shot of his own as he replied that Palin could “lead the band” for O’Brien’s Fox late night show. Of course if O’Brien made the move, he would be on the Fox broadcast channel, not Fox News.
Earlier, co-host Russ Mitchell reported Palin’s Fox News debut on Tuesday’s O’Reilly Factor: “Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made her debut on Fox News last night. She appeared as a news analyst with Bill O’Reilly, who asked her about the controversy she attracts.”
There has been a substantial push lately by some of Hollywood's big names to reeducate Americans on world history. The leftist-dominated television and film industries have taken it upon themselves to promote histories of the United States and its role in the world that portrays it as an evil, occasionally colonial, always destructive force in global relations.
The latest such effort is being undertaken by director Oliver Stone, well known for his loving portrayal of Venezuela's Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez and derisive portrayal of our previous president in "W". Now Stone has set his sights on Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. He plans to "liberalize" America's thinking regarding two of the 20th century's most murderous dictators by putting them "in context", whatever that means (h/t Hot Air headlines).
"We can't judge people as only bad or good," Stone said at the Television Critics Association's press tour, referring to two dictators who--unless this writer's understanding of history is not sufficiently "liberalized"--are responsible, in Hitler's case, for the extermination of 6 million Jews and 3 million others in killing camps during World War II, and in Stalin's, for the murders of 20 million individuals in Russia and Soviet-occupied Europe.
It seems, Stone's claims notwithstanding, that one is historically justified in classifying these two particular dictators as "bad".
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd really wants a national security system that looks really nice and has lots of fancy bells and whistles, but is, beneath the shiny exterior, quite mediocre and extremely expensive.
Dowd implied as much when she asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a New Years Eve interview, "Why is it so hard for those charged with keeping us safe to be as imaginative and innovative as filmmakers like James Cameron?"
Yes, Cameron is so imaginative that he managed to spend $400 million on what amounts to a visually dazzling remake of Disney's Pocahontas (see plot summary below the fold - h/t Big Hollywood).
It's not because he's a fan of special effects or blockbuster action flicks, but because the "timely" liberal message of the movie could "ripple" through the culture in a manner favorable to, wait for it, "enviro-theism" (emphasis mine):
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday attacked conservatives who have a problem with the liberal agenda of the film Avatar, dismissing their arguments as "shameless and crazy." Shuster and New Live co-host Tamron Hall seemed bewildered by right-wing complaints about the environmentally-themed movie.
Talking with film critic Mike Taibbi, Shuster derided, "Could this be just about the political strategy of punching up? That the Weekly Standard, or whoever wants to criticize, they can get a little bit of attention for their point of view, as shameless and crazy as it may sound, by attaching themselves to a movie that's doing so well?"
Update (Ken Shepherd, Managing Editor, 11:30 p.m. EST): A few minutes ago, Ebert tweeted the following apology on his Twitter feed: "I feel bad about my cheap Limbaugh jokes. Sincere apologies to Rush and you folks. He said he was fine but that's no excuse." # # #
In a demonstration of Hollywood's quintessentially intolerant hatred of conservatives, film critic Roger Ebert took to the Twitterverse on Saturday to mock Rush Limbaugh and his sudden trip to a Hawaii hospital (h/t Big Hollywood headlines).
Ebert was hardly alone in rejoicing Limbaugh's hospital visit--and distressed when he was given a clean bill of health. Liberals nationwide let loose the vitriol, some--including members of the hate-stricken mobs at Daily Kos and DU, as reported by P.J. Gladnick--simply wished he would expire.
For his part, Ebert fell short of calling for Limbaugh's death, and offered only lame fat jokes and implications of racism. Some of the juicier tweets:
If you bother to read Joanna Weiss' column in today's Boston Globe, expect to get a sense of déjà . . . lu. Like untold polemics that have preceded it, "Hollywood’s burden on aging women" stamps its feet over the unequal treatment of aging in men and women.
You know: male stars are allowed to age gracefully, but women must struggle ever-harder to conform to a youthful stereotype of sex-appeal. Unfair!
The feminist response is to blame the culture, in this case embodied by Hollywood, for promoting shallow, sexist values. But the fault, dear Joanna, is not in our stars but in ourselves, or more precisely, our DNA.
Inside the studios of talk radio and cable news, the hot talk about a "war on Christmas" has cooled somewhat in 2009. But the controversies over Christmas, which seem as eternal as religion itself, continue on a number of different levels.
There’s the schoolhouse war over politeness to religious minorities – and even more unnecessarily, the altogether non-religious. This is the kind where many parents sit through inane "winter" chorus concerts at both public and private schools where there are more songs about sleds and skis than about herald angels and newborn kings. In some cases, students even salute the holidays of religious minorities (including the recently invented Kwanzaa) while excluding any mention of Christmas.
At my son’s "holiday" middle-school party, students performed skits from "Star Wars" and "West Side Story" and there was even a tribute to Michael Jackson. Not one popular Christmas carol was sung all night. (Their version of a "Silent Night," come to think of it.)
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
It might seem a little strange to see Fox News bashed on its Fox broadcast parent network, but that's what you would have witnessed if you tuned into "The Wanda Sykes Show," Saturday night's late-night alternative to NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
"So I've been digging around here and I found some old footage of black reporters on Fox News - you know, back when they were allowed to be on that network," Sykes said. "Fascinating stuff - take a look at this one."
Sometimes libtalkers just make you shake your head in disbelief. Keith Olbermann trumpeted his most recent example of bias-denail on Daily Kos over the weekend, where he insisted that his show does not tout a partisan agenda, and simply serves as a watchdog against others' unchecked opinions (h/t Olbermann Watch's Johnny Dollar).
I'll wait for readers to stop laughing. Done? Okay. It truly is unbelievable that one of the most partisan and divisive commentators on cable television would even suggest that he pays lip service to those who don't share his views. Olbermann has a right to trumpet his liberal vitriol, but he should at least acknowledge it for what it is.
But Olbermann claimed in post on Daily Kos that he simply challenges the unchallenged, leaving some to wonder, to paraphrase Juvenal, who challenges the challengers?
Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.
Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.
Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.
But who does the snob Sheridan choose to blame in advance should his war-themed film flop? Not his own bonehead decision to jump into a genre with a 100% failure rate, not the investors who dove in with him … no, he blames We The American People:
The Weekly World News is infamous for alien encounters with U.S. Presidents (“Space Alien Backs Bush for President!” and “Obama Invites Alien Choir to White House”), but one alien admires and wants to meet President Obama. Actress Morena Baccarin, who plays “Anna,” the leader of the malevolent aliens on ABC's sci-fi 'V' series, told USA Today that “I would love to meet Obama” since he's “charming” and a “smart, smart guy,” though, she lamented, “it took us all of 30 seconds to turn against him.”
Megan Fox has a real distaste for "Middle America". Those darned hillbillies in fly-over country just don't seem to go for blockbuster lesbian slash ‘em up soft-core porn flicks. What gives?
Fox is blaming Middle America for her potentially career-breaking flop of a horror movie "Jennifer's Body." Asked why it was such a pitiful failure, Fox explained, "the movie is about a man-eating, cannibalistic lesbian cheerleader, and that pretty much eliminates middle America."
Oh my, what ignorant and close-minded folks these Middle Americans must be that they wouldn't want to sit through 90 minutes of that. Really, what is the film industry coming to when Americans won't pay ten bucks to see one half-naked pinup model devour another?
I haven’t seen “The Blind Side” yet, so I won’t say anything about the quality of the film. But based on the trailer and the true story, my wife and I are as excited about this as any film in a long time. It tells the true story of the adoption of Michael Oher by the Tuohy family in Tennessee and how they helped him go from homeless teenager to professional football star. The book was incredible, the story miraculous. We’re especially excited because we’re big adoption advocates, currently in the middle of our first of many planned adoptions. Also, the Tuohys happen to be conservative Christians like we are, and we don’t normally get to see families like that on screen, at least in movies that are watchable.
Apparently, this makes me a racist.
You see, Michael Oher happens to be black, and the Tuohys happen to be white. I actually think that’s pretty cool, especially because they live in Tennessee, and what gets us farther from the evil days of segregation than an increased number of mixed-race families? One would assume that liberals especially would be excited about that, right?
On Nov. 9, CW's "Gossip Girl" featured a threesome, which included the not-so-Disney-anymore Hilary Duff. The show depicted threesomes as a normal, expected event in a college student's life. But that wasn't crass enough for Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack, who said that the threesome was too "chaste."
"It was basically no more risqué than a game of spin the bottle," Stack lamented.
After this week's episode, though, which featured graphic flashbacks of the threesome, Stack has declared that "Gossip Girl" is "back up the quality ladder."
"The flashbacks to the threesome were waaaay more hot than anything in last week's much-hyped episode," he said. "I wonder if the Parents Television Council tuned in last night."
Stack went on to say that "Gossip Girl not only entertains, it teaches."
"We also learned a much repeated rule of threesomes," he said. "The third person is always supposed to be a stranger!"
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez previewed an exclusive interview with Levi Johnston on the CBS entertainment show, The Insider: “Levi Johnston says he is winning the war of words between Sarah Palin and him. We’ll hear from him.” Later, correspondent for The Insider, Chris Jacobs, declared: “Sarah Palin lashing out at Levi and now Levi fires back.”
Rodriguez has conducted three exclusive interviews with the estranged father of Palin’s grandson in the last six months, the latest on October 29. In The Insider interview, Johnston is given the opportunity to continue his vicious, personal, and unsubstantiated attacks against the former Alaska governor, claiming: “I think she’s going out and talking and she’s just digging a bigger hole for herself....I just look at her in disgust. It’s almost funny that she’s like 46 years old and she’s battling a 19-year-old and I’m winning and I’m telling the truth. She’s lying and losing.”
Capitalism may "offer" freedom, but it doesn't provide it according to British actor and liberal activist Ian McKellen.
McKellen was discussing his latest role as "Number Two," in AMC's reinvention of the Cold War show "The Prisoner." The liberal actor told Associated Press that his character embodies "the drawbacks of capitalism."
"Capitalism offers you freedom, but far from giving people freedom, it enslaves them. That's part of the show's message," McKellen said.
That's a very different message from the 1960s original British television series which pitted individual rights and freedom against collectivism and state control.
Two-and-a-half years before Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim medical doctor, murdered 13 at Fort Hood in Texas in what more-and-more looks like a jihadist terrorist attack given his anti-American rants and ties to Islamic extremists, ABC's since-canceled Boston Legal drama ridiculed the idea a doctor could be a terrorist.
A scene in the episode first aired on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- meant to show the silliness and incompetence of the military for detaining obviously innocent men -- concluded with a released terror suspect being asked in courtroom about a colleague who had committed suicide to avoid the mistreatment: “Was your friend a terrorist?” The man replied with these words, dripping with disgust, which dramatically ended the scene: “No, he was a doctor.”
ABC's 'V' mini-series, which will debut tonight (Tuesday) in the first hour of prime time, is “nominally a rousing sci-fi space opera about alien invaders bent on the conquest (and digestion) of all humanity,” but “it's also a barbed commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the President's supporters and delight his detractors,” Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin asserted in a review distributed by the McClatchy/Tribune news service and run in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune, among other papers. Garvin contended:
From the fawning reaction of the news media...to the recruiting of human supporters into an alien front group that could easily be mistaken for “community organizing,” the parallels to Obama are unmistakable.
Though the leader of the aliens, in Garvin's words, “is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who's come here to eat us,” the plot has a featured character, a TV journalist, aiding the effort. “Some welcome their arrival,” USA Today's Gary Levin recounted, “but the suspicious form a resistance movement, which leads the visitors' charismatic leader, Anna (Morena Baccarin), to enlist an ambitious TV reporter (Scott Wolf) as a propaganda tool.” Garvin, presumably citing the same character: “One simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question.”
Many Hollywood leftists consider President Obama a figurative godsend. Some, including Sting, think he was literally sent from God. The former Police front-man told the Associated Press that he believes that Obama is a gift from Heaven, delivered to shepherd the befuddled masses to providence (h/t Ace).
"In many ways, he's sent from God," Sting said in an interview with the AP. He heaped praise upon the President for his ability to lead the country though the "mess" in which we find ourselves. He met Obama recently and "found him to be very genuine, very present, clearly super-smart, and exactly what we need in the world."
"I can't think of any be better qualified because of his background, his education, particularly in regard to Islam," he added. Sting then went on to bash the President's critics as deranged, ignorant, and "medieval".
Behar made suggestion Limbaugh represents himself as someone who is not "in the mainstream" because he argued on his Oct. 14 show the backlash was in part generated by liberal activists threatened by the notion Limbaugh could be considered to be in the mainstream. That notion was one which Belzer lashed out at and called Limbaugh and Fox News host Glenn Beck "fascist stooges" (emphasis added):
Nothing mitigates director Roman Polanski’s unspeakable crime. Certainly Polanski has dealt with personal tragedy on a scale few of us can understand, but that’s not a license to drug, rape and sodomize a 13 year-old girl. Nor is perceived misconduct on the part of the trial judge, nor is the forgiveness of the victim (who reached an out-of-court settlement with Polanski).
And this may come as a surprise to some in Hollywood, but helming a few cinematic masterpieces doesn’t turn someone who anally raped a child into some kind of tragic hero… In all the revisionist history, the simple fact that Polanski plead guilty to “unlawful sex with an underage girl” is seldom mentioned at the top of the special brand of rationalizations extended to our celebrity class.
Well, finally, after 32 years, justice may be done. At the request of the U.S., the Swiss nabbed the 76 year-old fugitive and may extradite:
Millionaire Michael Moore says capitalism is evil and that the entire system should be thrown out for one that is "democratic" and "fair."
That's the overarching message of Moore's new documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story," which will be widely released Oct. 2. The film won two prizes at the Venice Film Festival and was lauded by critics there and at the Toronto Film Festival. Now Moore is being warmly greeting in softball interviews by television anchors and reporters - particularly on ABC.
ABC's "Nightline" ran an 8-minute long segment Sept. 22 interviewing Moore and showing clips of his film, an it received an additional five minutes on "Good Morning America" Sept. 23. ABC didn't include a single critic of Moore in those 13 minutes, and neither segment rebuked Moore for past lies in his movies.
The film has generated uncritical buzz among many other news outlets including MSNBC, The New York Times, Associated Press and "The Jay Leno Show." He is also scheduled to be a guest of "Larry King Live," "The Situation Room," and "The View" Sept. 23 and 24. Four networks, a wire service and three out of five major newspapers will have covered the movie in the span of a week.
Critics love David Letterman. They love him because he’s mean and liberal and does everything they demand: further the leftist agenda through the brutal use of humiliation to target any public figure (or their child) who might derail Leftist causes.
And contrary to conventional wisdom, Letterman’s not edgy. In fact, he’s just the opposite. Doing exactly what those who can criticize you want you to do is not edgy. Kissing the big Manhattan/Los Angeles bi-coastal [rear] of the elite is not edgy. He’s their jester; their puppet. Worse, he’s about as funny as watching your old, half-deaf Uncle intimidate, humiliate and demean your Aunt and then smile at the rest of the family as though he’s just reaffirmed his manhood. Letterman reminds me of the Jason Robards character in “Parenthood” in more ways than you can imagine. In other words, he’s a jerk, but in a sad end-of-his-life kind of way.
Oh, and how the elite critics resented nice ole’ Jay Leno for cleaning Letterman’s ratings’ clock all those years. And now that Jay’s back eating up primetime, they couldn’t wait to jump all over him with sniffing disapproval fed through a filter of wrist-flicking dismissal.