We lead fairly schizophrenic lives during the Christmas season in America. Our popular holiday rituals are bifurcated between the sacred and the secular; between the very worldly commercial extravaganza of Christmas as offered by our department stores – when they have the guts to employ the word “Christmas” – and Christianity celebrating the birth of Our Lord.
Hollywood hasn’t been so split on this question. It is firmly ensconced, and comfortable, in the secular world. Year after year, it offers commercial Christmas movies this time of year, with Grinches and Rudolphs, good Santas and Bad Santas, the Kranks and the Muppets. We’ve been Scrooged, been on Christmas Vacation, and taken rides on the Polar Express. We’ve seen the Christmas-as-a-backdrop movies like “Home Alone,” which, like so many others, might offer something about the Christmas “spirit” but wouldn’t dare to touch the Birth of Christ itself.
Today's starter is a delightful bit of media hypocrisy: "Movie production tops hotels, aerospace, and apparel and semiconductor
manufacturing in traditional air pollutant emissions in Southern
California, according to the UCLA study, initially prepared for the
Integrated Waste Management Board. The industry is probably second only
to petroleum refineries, for which comparable data were not available."
Sometimes, leftists make arguments that are just too odd to take seriously. On the blog News Corpse (an appropriate location to discuss whack-Bush movies, perhaps), there's great gnashing of teeth over CNN and NPR deciding not to air commercials (oops, that would be "enhanced underwriting" at NPR) for the Bush-assassination film "Death of a President."
CNN issued a brief statement that virtually admits its intention to censor, saying that…
“CNN has decided not to take the ad because of the extreme nature of the movie’s subject matter.”
By basing their decision on the movie’s “subject matter”, they have installed themselves as the public’s nanny. They believe that they are in the best position to decide for us which subjects matter. While they are a couple of yards further over the line than NPR, the public radio network’s excuse is not much better:
Hollywood has always been run by those on the left, but before the 60's and 70's, executives knew that their films had to appeal to mainstream America. That all changed when Hollywood decided to no longer censor itself, and directors got a free reign to turn movies into left-wing advocacy films. As a result, Hollywood has suffered ever since, with more empty theater seats every year.
It's gotten so bad that famed director George Lucas no longer thinks that making big-budget movies is even a viable business model.
As a company town, Hollywood has always tilted to some extent or another to the left, but the studio heads who ran it from the 1930s through the 1950s understood that its product must resonate with the American public as a whole to make money, regardless of their filmmakers' personal politics. Or as Sam Goldwyn is frequently attributed as saying, "Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union".
For Hollywood, the late 1960s began to mark a retreat from that philosophy. In a Wall Street Journal piece a few years ago, Michael Medved used the mid-1960s transition from the Hays Office, which acted as an industry-wide censor, to the G/PG/R/X ratings system we now take for granted, as being, effectively, the end of the golden age of movies. And, as Medved notes, that change influenced not just Hollywood's content, but its box office returns as well. Medved writes that in 1965, "44 million Americans went out to the movies every week. A mere four years later, that number had collapsed to 17.5 million":
The Disney movie ‘102 Dalmatians’ should be R-rated instead of G, two anti-smoking activists insist. Not because they antagonist was a demented woman bent on turning cute puppies into a fur coat. Nope. Cruella De Vil’s real crime was smoking.
“Movies that depict smoking are the single greatest media threat to children say two prominent doctors,” ABC’s Heather Nauert warned her “Good Morning America” audience.
Nauert’s October 10 story focused on two activists who call for the Motion Picture Association of America to automatically assign an R-rating to movies with any smoking in it. Yet in her story, Nauert left out how biased her sources were as well as failed to balance her story with any criticism of the doctors’ claims.
Here's a shocker: Oliver Stone doesn't like President Bush or the Iraq war. More of a shock is his remark: "Terrorism is a manageable action. It can be
Is it just me or does that seem surprisingly honest for a media liberal to admit he feels this way?
Filmmaker Oliver Stone blasted President Bush Thursday, saying he
has "set America back 10 years." Stone added that he is "ashamed for my
country" over the war in Iraq and the U.S. policies in response to the
attacks of Sept. 11.
"We have destroyed the world in the name of security. [...] From Sept. 12 on, the incident (the attacks) was politicized and it
has polarized the entire world," said Stone. "It is a shame because it
is a waste of energy to see that the entire world five years later is
still convulsed in the grip of 9/11.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's comic creation Borat Sagdiyev has caused so much outrage in Kazakhstan with his new movie, President George W. Bush will address the issue when he meets the Kazakh leader.
Bush is set to hold talks with Nursultan Nazarbayev over oil supply--and disgusted Kazakhs have demanded action over Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Roman Vassilenko says, "We have made it clear that we are unhappy with the character's representation. He does not represent the true people of Kazakhstan."
Apparently Bravo feels that a Michael Moore movie is worth watching on the 5th anniversary of 9/11. Starting at 4:30 EST today we can all watch Bowling for Columbine, Moore's movie on gun violence. If they are going to choose programming for this day, why not go all the way and show Fahrenheit 9/11! Is it a bit distasteful or is it just me?
The New York Times' reliably liberal television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley offered up a surprising assessment in her mostly favorable review of “The Path to 9-11," a review which ran on Friday when there was still some doubt as to whether or not ABC would cave in to the Clintonistas and various left-wing bloggers furious at the network. The first part of the miniseries ran last night with some selective edits but with the essence of the story intact, further infuriating the left with its picture of a Clinton administration unwilling to take terrorism seriously.
Perhaps he hopes to give legitimacy to the "9-11 conspiracy" movement. Filmmaker Oliver Stone says he is thinking of doing a movie about a "group of people in the American administration" who planned the terrorist attack. In his classic approach, he will claim that "bin Laden and George Bush met on the Grassy Knoll."
US filmmaker Oliver Stone, who surprised many with the patriotic flavor of his new film "World Trade Center," hinted here Monday that he is considering a more controversial follow-up investigating the "conspiracy" around 9-11.
"There is a great story in a movie, a conspiracy by a group of people in the American administration who have an agenda and who used 9-11 to further that agenda," he told journalists while in Moscow as part of a world tour to promote his latest movie.
Michael Moore hasn't taken time off from making films to please liberals. FoxNews.com reports he'll soon be releasing two movies (neither of which will ever be vetted for accuracy by the MSM).
In the story, Moore is also quoted defending actor Tom Cruise, saying "his religion is his own damn business." Two paragraphs later, though, the corpulent moviemaker makes fun of actor Mel Gibson's religion:
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore unveiled two new projects last
night in Toronto: a documentary about the health insurance business
called “Sicko” and film that chronicles the aftermath of the 2004
election, entitled “Slacker.”
Moore showed clips from both
films as part of a special two-hour presentation at the famed Elgin
Theater. Larry Charles, director of the new comedy “Borat” and
well-known from his work on the TV show “Seinfeld,” conducted the
program that also consisted of a long, funny and intimate live
interview with Moore.
The evening was almost marred by a
faulty projector that caused Moore’s clips to be interrupted several
times. The same thing apparently happened one night earlier during a
screening of “Borat.” Moore jumped on stage and did shtick with Charles
for the packed house. Last night, Charles returned the favor.
while clips from both new Moore movies looked tantalizing, it was the
director himself who made the biggest headlines with revelations about
his life since becoming a lightning rod for controversy with “Roger and
Me” some 17 years ago.
Don't be too surprised if you start seeing Guy Fawkes masks popping up at leftist demonstrations and political events in the near future. The reason is that the leftists are now deriving their political inspiration from an incredibly simplistic fantasy movie called V For Vendetta which they take completely seriously as is indicated from this title of a recent thread at the Democratic Underground, "The answers to many of our questions can be found in the movie 'V'."
If you are not up to speed on V For Vendetta akaV For Vicodin,it is set in the near future where Britain is ruled by the fascistic regime of High Chancellor Adam Sutler (read "Adolf Hitler") whom the movie makes sure we know is a member of the Conservative Party. The characters of V have the one-dimensional subtlety of a sledge hammer with Sutler never speaking normally but with a vicious snarl. Muslims are portrayed in this movie as among the innocent victims of a hate campaign (also directed against lesbians) where even the ownership of a Koran results in quick execution by the EVIL regime.
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
As the summer ends, so ends the season of the superhero blockbuster, and some parents of young boys that I know are still getting over their annoyance at the superhero movie-marketing gap. The toy stores and burger joints carry all the merchandise for the grade-school set – and the movie is rated PG-13. What happens when your first-grader wants to see the movie that’s tied in with his new toy?
Suffice it to say that our news media would be more upset about the fat content in the Happy Meal food than the dangers of taking young children to movies they may not be ready to handle.
"Superman Returns" was a big, noisy, critically acclaimed blockbuster – and it was PG-13 for intense violence. But just look at how the movie was promoted by Burger King: eight different toys, including sweat bands, sunglasses, action figures, Frisbees, and fans. There was even a drawing for a Superman laptop computer.
Film director Spike Lee could have created a stirring tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina who lost everything. Instead, his documentary "When the Levees Broke" featured Republican/Bush-bashing, conspiracy-mongering, and a disregard for victims of other races
Spike Lee focused primarily on the Lower Ninth Ward and the African-American victims of Katrina. So, viewers were left with the clear indication that the New Orleans area is almost solely comprised of African-Americans and the victims of Katrina were almost all African-American. However, the metropolitan area of New Orleans was 63% white prior to Katrina and 47% of the storm fatalities were not African-Americans, and of that group the vast majority was white.
Katrina was an equal opportunity destroyer and the flood waters did not discriminate. Incredibly, Lee found no time to investigate the damage in Old Metairie or Lakeview, two primarily white areas that were decimated. Was that just an oversight or an example of racial discrimination? Lee also completely bypassed the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast, another primarily white region, which bore the brunt of the high winds and the storm surge of Katrina...
A group of Israeli filmmakers were dropped from the schedule of the Documentary Film Festival in the French town of Lussas last week with their films replaced by movies by Palestinian and Lebanese filmmakers.
The directors received a letter from the directors of the festival explaining that they were dropped because of the latest Middle East crisis.
In what appears to be the latest in a long list of cultural boycotts against Israeli artists, the letter informed the Israelis that their films would be replaced.
Lack of detachment
According to Ynet News, the letter, signed by the festival’s director, artistic director, and program director, claimed that “it is difficult to look at films from the countries involved in the current war with the same degree of detachment.”
The opening lyrics to the signature song in the musical Grease are apt to describe the media's summer fling with global warming alarmist Al Gore.
A new study by Rachel Waters and Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI) documents the love affair.
Even with the extensive media coverage – more
than one network story per day on average – Gore’s film spent only one week in the top ten. The film only made
it to the number nine position.
By comparison “X-Men III – The Last Stand” had only had 25
appearances on the networks in the same three-month period. The third
installment in the X-Men series raked in more than $233 million in the U.S.
Gore’s documentary has brought in less than $22 million. That means X-Men
pulled in 10 times the money with one-third the TV appearances.
When talking with someone who isn't especially political or is
left-of-center about the topic of media bias, I will occasionally
hear the argument that the media's political orientation doesn't really matter
because most people are skeptical of what they hear on TV and
elsewhere. In the modern age of low voter turnout, anti-advertising
advertising, and the permanent campaign, people are smart enough not to
take in any media message without several large grains of salt.
Non-intelligent people don't make this argument in my experience. Only smart people do.
not everyone is smart. Many people continue to be very impressionable
as adults, especially to mass media like television and movies, as
demonstrated in this post from the Dummie Funnies, a blog run by NewsBusters user pjcomix which monitors the loonybin known as Democratic Underground.
Stand by for some really great laughs on Sunday, November 5. Some Dummies, taking their cue from the movie, "V For Vendetta,"
are actually planning to gather in front of public buildings around the
country wearing dopey Guy Fawkes masks as you can see in this THREAD
titled, "Remember, remember the 5th of November....". Yeah, that's just
the ticket, DUmmies. Leading into the midterm elections, make complete
FOOLS of yourselves. This doesn't totally surprise me since the DUmmies
instantly took to this fantasy flick in which Britain is ruled by an
EVIL rightwing regime. The DUmmies have fantasized themselves in the
masked hero's role in opposing that regime (which they have transferred
to the EVIL Bush regime). So let us now watch the DUmmies once again
make laughingstocks of themselves in Bolshevik Red while the commentary
of your humble correspondent, looking for a V For Vendetta Halloween costume at the Dollar Store, is in the [brackets]:
The fifth anniversary of the September 11 hijacking attacks on America by al-Qaeda may present a challenge to our memory as a country. How much do we remember, and how much have we forgotten? No one truly expected that the national unity in grief and anger on that day would last forever. But that unity is bound together again in the new Oliver Stone-directed movie "World Trade Center."
This comes as something of a surprise with the name of Stone attached. But believe it. This movie brings 9/11 back to life all its horrific immediacy in the lives of New York Port Authority cops and their families. This film is not political. This film transports us back into that day when Democrats and Republicans sang "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps, when the whole nation felt the pain of that gaping, burning hole in the center of Manhattan, the disastrous gash in the Pentagon, and the heroic downing of jihadist hopes in a Pennsylvania field.
In a Monday USA Today profile of Oliver Stone, published two days before the opening of World Trade Center, the movie he directed about the rescue of two Port Authority police officers, Stone didn't follow the apolitical script of the film. Reporter Anthony Breznican quoted Stone: “'Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,' he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. 'At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,' a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.” Stone also complained in the article in which he denounced President Bush: "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak." (Excerpt follows)
Neal Gabler might not look like an athlete, but don't be surprised to see him lining up for the long jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For on this evening's Fox News Watch, Neal made a logical leap of Beamonesque proportions.
According to Gabler, the fact that a drunken Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks retroactively proves that his 'Passion of the Christ' was anti-Semitic too.
Here's how the liberal media critic put it:
"The interest here is 'The Passion.' It made something like $400 million. It was accused of being anti-Semitic. The mainstream press didn't really want to touch it. Because they were afraid of being clobbered from the right.
Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi noticed with the new Woody Allen flick "Scoop" the obvious trend in movies featuring journalists: the print specialists get all the plum roles, and the TV journalists get the pits:
As a general rule, when a story calls for a journalist to do something serious or important -- solve a murder, expose wrongdoing, spring an innocent man, etc. -- you can count on seeing a print reporter at the center of the story, not a TV journalist, says Joe Saltzman, a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.
Saltzman, himself a former TV journalist, has done enough reporting to say this with authority. He's director of the Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture project at USC, which maintains a database of some 46,000 items (films, TV shows, books, etc.) about fictional journalists.
I couldn't help but think of the "squeaky voiced teen" recurring character on The Simpsons when I read this storyon global warming in today's Los Angeles Times:
Whatever the ultimate scientific truth, this month's weather has been for many Southern Californians a perceptual tipping point that brought home the possibility of global warming, just as the fury of Hurricane Katrina did for the people of New Orleans.
Inside the air-conditioned darkness of the Majestic Crest Theatre in Westwood, Max Furstenau, 18, was cleaning up after Tuesday's 3 p.m. showing of "An Inconvenient Truth," in which former Vice President Al Gore made the case for global warming.
If an MSM movie critic reviews a movie in an empty forest, will
anyone care? That is the question posed by newspaper film reviewer,
Whitty who seems agonized that the general public and the movie
industry increasingly regard him and his colleagues as irrelevant:
[Helping end the days when MSM critics matter more] has
been Hollywood's increasing reliance on pre-sold titles, saturation
advertising and action franchises aimed at teenage boys.
I started at Paramount in the '60s, you opened a picture in four
theaters and hoped for good reviews," says the former studio
exec. "Nowadays, when you open a movie on 4,000 screens, spend
$80 million on ads -- well, you're not exactly dependent on word of
No argument there, and no news to veteran
"I think the studios have finally realized they
have all this power, so why don't they use it," says Dave Kehr,
who reviewed films for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News
and the New York Times before switching to a DVD column for the
Times. "They don't need us. People like Adam Sandler have
demonstrated that you can treat critics with open contempt and it
doesn't make the slightest difference."
There's a lot of truth in Whitty's analysis so far. Since most
people no longer read newspapers, it stands to reason that they'd
stop consulting critics working in their employ. And he is certainly
right about Sandler, whose cinematic corpus delicti demonstrates
contempt not just for critics but for anyone with an IQ higher than
70. Unfortunately, this is about all our erstwhile critic gets right.
There’s another sequel coming out today, and this one is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 1994 cult classic “Clerks.” Apparently, the Motion Picture Association of America gave this unbelievably vulgar film an “R” rating instead of a stricter “NC-17,” and the movie’s writer/director/star is absolutely shocked (hat tip to Town Hall’s blog). As reported by MSNBC.com:
“Clerks II” director Kevin Smith was “shocked, literally, in shock” when his slacker sequel got an R rating. Smith had fought the tougher NC-17 rating on the first film, and was prepared for a battle on this one. “The ‘questionable’ content in ‘Clerks II’ goes beyond anything we've ever presented in a film before,” he noted. “Don't know what happened in the MPAA screening that morning, and don't need to know. All I do know is that they handed us an R, without asking for a single cut. And rather than obsess over it, I just quickly [and happily] accepted the rating and moved on.”
To give one an idea of just how vulgar this movie is supposed to be, film critic Joel Siegel actually walked out of a screening. According to the Hartford Courant, this is the first time in 30 years Siegel has done that:
It's getting harder to make a blockbuster these days, and as productions costs continue to rise, making movies is no longer financially rewarding. Superstar actors are now more talked about for their private lives than for their movies, and they face cuts in salaries as studios have to worry more about digital technology and foreign marketing.
One benefit of this, hopefully, will be that Hollywood will no longer be the purveyor of the conventional wisdom and the stars, who will not burn as brightly, will no longer have their every political opinion treated as gospel by Hollywood and national reporters.
As studios slash jobs and restructure to boost profits, Hollywood's creative and executive ranks are having a collective anxiety attack.
Walt Disney Co.'s move this week to lay off about 650 employees and revamp its Burbank studio to make fewer films only confirms what many in the entertainment industry have been stressing over for months: The movie business is shrinking.
Let's imagine an American World Cup team member 'of pallor' had head-butted, oh, an Arab or African player. Would the MSM be quick to excuse, even to make the incident the object of humor? Or would we have been treated to mind-numbing disquisitions on racism in sport as a microcosm of society at large?
But when a French player of Arab ancestry head-butts an Italian? Well, CBS tells us, boys will be boys. CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, who narrated a segment on the incident on this morning's Early Show, informed us that "it's a male thing understood around the world." To prove her point, CBS ran a clip from an Adam Sandler flick showing the comedian, as a football player, taking a flying foot leap into another player who had insulted his mother. We were also treated to images of video spoofs and video games that the incident has generated.
This weekend's print ads for the Al Gore global-warming-slide-show documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" explicitly appeals to liberals to vote for environmental extremism at the box office. Is this a movie ad, or a Greenpeace direct-mail letter? Judge for yourself. This prose appears on the image of a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board (emphasis theirs):
An Inconvenient Truth' is already one of the top ten documentaries of all time.
It has a chance to become a phenomenon.
There are people in Washington hoping that never happens, so they can dismiss it as a fringe issue.
If you care... you can't let them.
You need to take your friends and family, and make them see it.