I just cannot get behind this Star Trek rebirth. The whole thing is just so unrealistic. Not the warp speed or phasers or beaming about the universe - those are at least remotely plausible. I am talking about the fact that the starship Enterprise is composed entirely of officers and yet it still seems to function. Where are the non-commissioned officers (NCO), the petty officers and sergeants who actually make any military organization run? No, I can suspend disbelief over Klingons and tribbles, and I actively support the notion of green alien hotties. But the idea of a functioning military unit without sergeants is just a wormhole too far.
Hollywood movies often focus on the commanders, the captains and colonels, but they have also managed to highlight some great sergeants as well. When you are picking out DVDs for next weekend, remember that May 16th is Armed Forces Day and consider a few selections that show the sergeant in all his gruff and grumbling glory.
If you have never experienced the joy of going through basic training and do not plan to, your first stop should be Full Metal Jacket, with R. Lee Ermey’s legendary portrayal of a Marine drill instructor who must have missed out on the block of instruction on sensitivity. I saw this in the theater about a week before I reported to Basic. That was a poor idea.
Concluding a Thursday NBC Nightly News story on summer movies, correspondent George Lewis previewed the new Star Trek film, set to open on Friday, and found it relevant to highlight how “some Trekkies have compared the Spock character, the product of a mixed marriage between a human and a Vulcan, to President Obama.” Those “some Trekkies” would be Newsweek's Steve Daly, author of last week's cover story, “We’re All Trekkies Now,” who proposed in a soundbite: “In a certain sense, Spock the character has dealt with some of the same prejudices and problems that our new President does.”
In the piece for the May 4 edition of the magazine, Daly asserted: “Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House.” And “like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result.” Daly also hailed how “with the willfully hegemonic Bush administration now gone, the tenets of [original Star Trek creator Gene] Roddenberry's fictional universe feel very much in step with current events,” since:
The Obama foreign policy, at least for now, emphasizes cross-cultural exchange and eschews imperialistic swagger. That sounds very much in sync with the Federation's Prime Directive, which stipulates that humanity should observe but never interfere with alien cultures (no Iraq-style invasions, in other words).
In 2004, coalition forces in Iraq launched Operation Phantom Fury, the battle for control of Fallujah. American troops battled through a city of enemy insurgents, fighting house to house and street to street to seize control of the most dangerous city in the world.
Narrated by Senator Fred D. Thompson, “Perfect Valor” [view trailer at right] is the story of the high price paid by US forces and the legacy of that campaign as seen through the eyes of the men and women who were there, risking their lives in service to their country.
We meet a Navy Cross recipient, recognized for extraordinary gallantry under fire during the assault on Fallujah. A true American hero still haunted by his experience in Iraq. We listen to the family of a fallen Marine as they tell the story of their sacrifice. We hear the harrowing tale of a battalion surgeon who risked his own life to move an aid station forward, into the middle of the fight - a decision that saved thirty lives.
When the conglomerates behind the viciously anti-Catholic book "The DaVinci Code" were looking for a director, Newsweek reported Ron Howard had a secret weapon: his aw-shucks child-star Opie Taylor likeability. "Ron is not a polarizer," said one. "We all knew the book was quite controversial, and we were ready for that. But we didn’t want to add to it."
In that same article in 2006, it became clear that Howard wasn’t going to make the film less vicious (or less filled with historical lies and distortions) than the book. There would be "no placating. It would be ludicrous to take on this subject and try to take the edges off. We’re doing this movie because we like the book." (Emphasis his.)
This is where the aw-shucks routine goes out the window. It’s one thing to say you like a good mystery with historical overtones. It’s another thing to say you like a fiction book that paints the Catholic Church as an evil nest of lying murderers conspiring to protect the lie that Jesus Christ is God.
Watching “24” this week, I realized that our number one threat is multi-national corporations with battalions of hired killers on the payroll. Similarly, “Michael Clayton,” “The International,” the new “State of Play” and many others have taught me that big companies assassinate their rivals, whistleblowers, policemen and random passersby with astonishing regularity.
I wish. But then, I’m a trial lawyer and I could use a new house.
Sadly, the real world is much more esoteric than the portrait Hollywood paints, and the real threat is not quite so picturesque. Instead of corporate death squads composed of hardboiled mercenaries with high tech assault rifles, the real killers are boring jihadi doofuses with dusty AKs, booby-trapped Fiats and the occasional boxcutter.
Let’s stop and check the numbers. Real terrorists, counting the victims of 9/11 and American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan: Over 7900 murdered. Victims of corporate murder: Zero. Nada. Zip. I would add in the number of Iraqis and Afghanis murdered by these folks, except that toll is beyond counting. And to many liberals, their lives don’t seem to count anyway.
You too can save the planet from the effects of carbon emissions by participating in the symbolic gesture of turning off one light switch at a time for Earth Hour on March 28.
That's the message from actor Edward Norton, the official U.S. ambassador for Earth Hour 2009, who appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" on March 25. As Norton explained, this is a symbolic event for which everyone turns out their lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time on March 29. And this act will encourage world political leaders to cap or tax carbon emissions through the legislative process by demonstrating "global unity."
"You're right. The act of turning out the lights for an hour - is, it's not an act of conservation," Norton said. "It's not, um, meant to say that, ‘By doing this, we're going to solve the problem.' I think it's a symbolic act of global unity, of highlighting the number of people who do think this is one of the central issues of our time and motivating our leaders to take, um, purposeful and aggressive action on this issue."
OK, now by that headline you are most likely assuming that I am calling del Toro, Carrey and Penn Hollywood stooges and making fun of them. Of course, we already know that Penn and del Toro are stooges on the "useful idiot" level, but you may wonder why I am slapping Carrey? Well, I mean it in the strictest sense -- that Hollywood is casting for a new 3 Stooges team and these are the three Nyucks under consideration. It is del Toro as the new Moe, Carrey as the next Curly and Penn as our favorite nebbish, Larry.
But leave it to Hollywood to take the funniest threesome in Hollywood history and make a muck of it. This isn't really the 3 Stooges at all. See, it is a "new" one, set in modern day, where three guys sortta, kinda like the 3 Stooges find each other in an orphanage and start a comedy team bringing them fame and fortune.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of himself talking to left-wing actor Sean Penn following the Oscars Sunday night: "In a night full of first-time winners, Sean Penn took home his second Oscar as best actor for his emotional performance as slain gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk. I caught up with him and other big winners at the Governor's Ball." During the interview, Smith admitted to Penn: "As I sat watching the film, seems to happen to me more rare these days, but I wept openly during several scenes in the film because it really is a film about a civil rights movement." On December 10, Smith interviewed Penn’s Milk co-star, James Franco, and called the film "a must-see."
Earlier in the broadcast, a clip was played of Penn describing his feeling’s about the Oscar win during a press conference after the award show: "That means a lot to myself and to everybody involved, not only in the movie, but to anybody who believes in equal rights for other human beings." However, no clip was played of Penn’s actual acceptance speech, in which he declared: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."
The self-aggrandizing denizens of Hollywood constantly scold Americans over a lack of national healthcare. It is the biggest failure of American society ever that there is no cradle to the grave program for free health care, they constantly tell us. And now, in keeping with these nearly universal Hollywood "principles," to prove how Hollywood is far more moral than we lowly citizens of flyover country, and to show that they are better than the great unwashed in the backwaters of America... Hollywood is closing its nearly 90-year-old Motion Picture Fund hospital and accompanying long-term living facilities for aging actors.
Yep, dumping it. Walking away from the facilities for free healthcare for actors. Fuggedaboutit.
If you thought the last Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was dark and cynical, wait until you see Watchmen, arriving in theaters on March 6, 2009. Brooding Bruce Wayne will have nothing on a "hero" that rapes his sidekick, another one that has no interest in mankind at all, one that is a megalomaniac, one that is psychotic, and one that is overweight and sexually impotent all set against a backdrop of a United States that is many shades of despair and evil. It makes Batman, The Dark Knight, seem like a festival of sweetness and light. This is the Watchmen, soon to be released by Warner Brothers. If this new flick at all follows that anti-American, nihilism of the original comic books we are in for some dark stuff, indeed.
Why do contemporary artists all seem to think the end of the world is nigh? Why has art become a thing of ugliness, instead of light? With all the beautiful things we see every day, the delicacy of a flower, the turn of a woman's arm, the grace of a bird in flight, we are treated only to the bizarre and horrid by our artists. These days we see sculptures that look like molecular mistakes writ large. We live in architecture with the image of a jumble of blocks thrown to the ground in the midst of a temper tantrum by a gigantic, petulant child. We view paintings that appear more accidental than planned. We have movies full of violence and anti-social behavior. On the radio we hear music that celebrates all the worst in man. We even have comic books that belittle heroism, that deconstruct the good and exceptional turning their heroes as cartoonishly flawed as the most obscene head case on the Jerry Springer Show.
Brian Williams revealed Wednesday afternoon that in a question he didn't get to with President Obama the day before, he wanted to ask Obama if he is “ever tempted” to start over again with the stimulus bill “and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation,” just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill” in The American President movie, “and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'”
In that 1995 film (IMDb page), in which Douglas played Democratic President “Andrew Shepherd,” after compromising with Congress, he returns to his left-wing sensibilities and, in the climatic point of the movie cheered by liberal film-goers, walks to the press room where he delivers an impassioned lecture -- which earns affirmative nods from the journalists -- praising the ACLU, pushing for extreme action on global warming and promises, in the portion Williams admired, “to get the guns.” President Shepherd:
The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I’m throwing it. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I’m going convince Americans that I’m right and I’m going to get the guns.
On Thursday's Late Show, actress Renee Zellweger recounted her “emotional” experience seeing Barack Obama's inauguration, but Obama isn't the only liberal politician she idolizes. Zellweger, who stars in a new movie that apparently ridicules small town America and Christians, told USA Today: “I have a crush on Jimmy Carter. I admit it. He has an extraordinary mind. He's an exceptional human being. And he writes poetry, for crying out loud. He's all good things.”
In a Friday “Life” section profile, “A low-key Renee Zellweger loves to hide in plain sight,” reporter Donna Freydkin relayed: “So wowed was Zellweger that she waited in the blistering Manhattan cold for 2 1/2 hours on Monday to have the 39th President sign her copy of his latest book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work.”
Humorously, three pages later, USA Today film reviewer Claudia Puig trashed Zellweger's movie which opened Friday, The New Town, as not only “the worst movie of this fledgling year,” but as “one of the worst movies of any year.” Puig condemned it: “Not content to be merely inane and predictable, it is downright insulting, humorlessly deriding those who choose to live in rural America, labor in factories or have a strong Christian faith.”
Next time someone dismisses the idea that mass media can exert influence on American culture, point to a Jan. 18 New York Times article titled, "How the Movies Made a President." In that piece, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott argue that fictional depictions of black U.S. presidents helped pave the way for a real one.
“The presidencies of James Earl Jones in ‘The Man,’ Morgan Freeman in ‘Deep Impact,”’ Chris Rock in ‘Head of State’ and Dennis Haysbert in ‘24’ helped us imagine Mr. Obama’s transformative breakthrough before it occurred,” the authors wrote. “In a modest way, they also hastened its arrival.”
Furthermore, Dargis and Scott say that a number of black filmmakers and movie stars have “helped write the prehistory of the Obama presidency.”
If the authors are correct and Hollywood did help lessen the role of race in the electoral equation, then it has performed a service to the nation and is to be commended. The mass media clearly holds tremendous power to influence public attitudes, and did so in this case for the better.
The Internet is abuzz Monday morning over the excessive vulgarity at Sunday's Golden Globes.
From middle-fingers to testicular and homosexual references, Hollywood's annual lovefest was almost as bad as accidentally entering the comments section at a liberal blog.
As the Los Angeles Times' Rachel Abramowitz reported, the lowlight was Mickey Rourke who gave one of the "most profane acceptance speeches in recent history" (video embedded below the fold, obvious vulgarity alert, photo courtesy AP):
Here is some much-needed sanity from Business & Media Institute commentator Dan Kennedy: The first sprouts of the new American economy are already breaking through the snow.
Some associates and I have recently invested capital in forming a new bank. I’m not allowed to give out its name or location here, in this column, as commercial promotion is forbidden thanks to the non-profit status of the publisher – an annoying little oddity, given that I’m writing in defense of capitalism.
But, to the point. A Business Week article from Dec. 22 was headlined "This May Be the Ideal Time to Start A Bank." We agree, or they agree with us. Specific to banking, a start-up with no toxic assets and sufficient capital can borrow cheaply, and can be well-positioned to be acquired at a nifty gain when the recession dissipates and recovery takes over. That’s our strategy and we’re stickin’ to it.
The director of the movie "Che" which will be released later this month is disingenuously claiming that he has no political axe to grind. In a CNN interview, director Steven Soderbergh absurdly stated that he only wanted to present the "facts" about Che Guevara's life:
Steven Soderbergh made certain his new movie, "Che," about the life of revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, couldn't be attacked -- at least on a factual level.
"I didn't mind someone saying, 'Well, your take on him, I don't really like,' or 'You've left these things out and included these things.' That's fine," Soderbergh said. "What I didn't want was for somebody to be able to look at a scene and say, 'That never happened.' "
But he's aware that he's going to be accused of romanticizing the Argentine doctor and Marxist guerrilla who helped Cuba's Fidel Castro launch the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas. He doesn't buy the criticism.
Short of going full Ninja hero and snatching the shoes in mid-air, it's hard to see how Pres. Bush could have been any cooler in his handling of the Hush Puppy Hurler. I figure W's feeling pretty good about things this morning. But that didn't stop ABC and NBC from declaring the incident "embarrassing" for President Bush.
For good measure, on Today, Doris Kearns Goodwin discounted Bush's blithe reaction, saying he wouldn't have been that cool a couple years ago, strangely intepreting his nonchalance as evidence of how anxious he is to leave office. And not to leave CBS out of the mix, on the Early Show Richard Roth described the president as being "nonplussed" in reaction to the incident, when he was in fact just the opposite.
Forget Al Gore's measly 20-foot sea level rise from "An Inconvenient Truth." That's small potatoes compared to the kind of catastrophe Meredith Vieira was talking about last night. Kicking off NBC's Global Alarmism Green Week during the halftime of Sunday Night Football, Vieira raised the spectre of the seas rising . . . 200 feet! Al imagined much of Manhattan under water, but if Meredith's scenario comes true, we're near to talking Manhattan, Kansas By The Sea![H/t reader Mick L.]
Just one little problem: Meredith's talk of 200 feet exaggerates the increase predicted by scientists by . . . literally hundreds of times.
Just in time for the new James Bond movie, Chris Matthews has earned himself a new moniker: Odd Job. Matthews says he sees his job as a journalist as doing everything he can to make the Obama presidency a success.
Appearing on "Morning Joe" today, Matthews was reluctant to criticize Rahm Emanuel's kabuki dance over accepting Obama's offer to be chief of staff.
The "Hardball" host (and presumptive candidate for U.S. Senate from PA) was equally unwilling to see the Emanuel episode as evidence of a lack of planning and discipline in the nascent Obama administration. Matthews eventually explained why.[H/t multiple NB readers.]
B.C. and A.D? Get with it, old man. History is henceforth divided into the eras of B.B. and A.B.—Before and After Barack. And George W. might have been "misunderestimated" as he engaged in "strategery." But that's so, like, yesterday. Barack Obama is "pre-deortained." By whom? Spike Lee stopped short of saying God's hand is at work. But he was clearly speaking in quasi-religious terms in discussing The One on today's Morning Joe.
Who you choose to surround yourself with makes you what you are and we already know Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and William Ayers.
First, a gratingly long list of mediocre R-rated movies:
Blindness (rated R): Completely hopeless film about people catching an infectious disease of blindness and getting rounded up in a mental asylum.
Quarantine (R): Completely hopeless film about a TV news crew getting trapped in a Centers for Disease Control quarantine of a building where everybody catches a version of rabies and dies. (What is this, a trend?)
Burn After Reading (R): A dippy personal trainer gets caught up in a government plot, doesn’t know what he’s doing, and gets shot in the face, and so much for Brad Pitt.
Body of Lies (R): Leonardo di Caprio pretends to be a rugged CIA agent and we're lectured again about the moral rot of American foreign policy manipulators.
The film critic -- who gave the film just one and a half stars -- cracked that the script sounded like recycled Maureen Dowd cartoons and scoffed at the "uneven pleasure" of seeing "first-rate" actors portraying political figures they "don't respect" (emphases mine):
Its shortcomings are remarkably similar to those of its major characters. Near the beginning, Donald Rumsfeld ( Scott Glenn) proclaims that he doesn't do "nuance." Neither, alas, does Stone.
[Warner Brothers] has temporarily blocked the release of the DVD version of the 1987 film Hanoi Hilton, which will feature an interview with John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, about his imprisonment in Hoa Lo prison during the war.
The film, which gave a favourable portrayal of US prisoners, will now be released on November 11 - a week after the election.
For a guy that has practically made a career out of regularly accusing the Bush administration of lying to get America into a war, comedian Bill Maher clearly isn't opposed to telling fibs if it serves his financial interests.
Such was exposed by CNN Monday when Maher and the director of his new film "Religulous" admitted -- without the slightest hint of remorse -- they had lied to get people -- including political and religious figures -- to appear in the movie.
In fact, one evangelical pastor said that he thought he was participating in a PBS documentary and never would have agreed to the project if he had been told Maher was involved (video embedded right, full transcript follows):
The "Today" show has yet to promote the conservative satire An American Carol, that spoofs Michael Moore but they did find time to invite on Josh Brolin to plug Oliver Stone’s George W. Bush biopicW. on Tuesday's show. Co-anchor Matt Lauer interviewed Brolin, who plays the title character, and noted critics were expecting "a political hatchet job" of the President, to which Brolin, defended Stone as he claimed the controversy surrounding the director of such factually murky films like JFK and Nixon, was "hogwash."
However Brolin admitted that one of the reasons Stone tabbed him to play Dubya was because there was something sort of "mean" about the actor. And in describing how he perfected his Bush impression Brolin observed there was an "apish quality," about the 43rd president.
The following is the full segment as it occurred on the October 14, "Today" show:
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.