With his approval numbers sinking to 39 percent a week ago, according to the Gallup tracking poll, President Obama isn't alone in having a bad summer. So isHollywood.
Entertainment Weekly calls gross receipts for what should have been a blockbuster July 4-6 weekend "downright terrifying." Writes EW, "Not only were grosses down 45 percent from last year's holiday, according to Boxofficemojo.com, but it was Hollywood's worst July 4weekend since 1999. (And that's not taking into account inflation. In fact, this was the worst July-holiday weekend for ticket sales since the summer of Dragnet in 1987.)"
Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie was finally noticed in The New York Times Friday – on the front page. The news story was “Heady Summer, Fateful Fall for a Conservative Firebrand.” Notice how “fall” had two meanings?
The Times has failed to notice Michael Moore’s nasty divorce and how his hypocrisy about wealth has been revealed. But D’Souza is front-page fodder mostly for his admitted violation of campaign-finance laws:
Hardball host Chris Matthews is quite the cinemaphile, frequently working movie references into his banter on the MSNBC program. So it was rather surprising when the MSNBC anchor made a whopper of a gaffe on his July 24 program regarding an iconic moment in the climactic lightsaber duel in the middle chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. It seems Matthews remembers Luke Skywalker losing the duel when Darth Vader cut of his arm, not merely his right hand.
The botched movie reference was made by Matthews as he relayed how the fictional villain has a higher favorability rating (58 percent) than any real-life 2016 presidential prospect, including Hillary Clinton (55 percent). Here's the relevant transcript (video follows page break):
Fred Thompson, a former senator and presidential candidate who returned to an acting career, granted an interview to The Hollywood Reporter to promote his new movie “Persecuted,” the story of a televangelist framed for murder by powerful government officials.
Thompson acknowledges that conservatives in Hollywood have “a tougher road to travel” and try not to advertise their political views:
“This is no longer a Christian nation. In fact, it never has been,” says the Democrat senator in the Christian indie film “Persecuted,” opening in theaters July 18. It attempts to address the question of what the U.S. would look like if religious pluralism would have its way forced in by the federal government.
Sen. Harrison (played by Bruce Davidson) was explaining to televangelist John Luther (James Remar) as to why a religious equality bill should be passed. The movie is quite timely, fresh on the heels of the Hobby Lobby ruling.
Dinesh D’Souza shocked the movie world in 2012 with his anti-Obama documentary "2016," which became the second highest-grossing documentary in U.S. movie history. On July 2, he unveiled his new documentary called "America: Imagine the World Without Her." It has already grossed $5 million in its first week.. One fictional competitor, the abortion-promoting comedy “Obvious Child,” barely grossed $2 million in its first month.
But there’s a more dramatic contrast. Film critics are supposed to judge art, but their liberal politics are smeared all over their reviews. Metacritic.com collects and analyzes movie reviews. “Obvious Child” drew a high Metacritic.com score of 75 (out of 100). For D’Souza’s “America,” it was a ridiculously low score of 14.
Would right-wingers like a larger presence in mainstream news and entertainment media, or would they rather grumble about the MSM’s liberal bias while patronizing conservative media outlets? To American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, it’s clear that the second is correct.
Waldman’s peg for his Wednesday post was a National Review piece by editor and publisher Adam Bellow on the need for a conservative counterculture that would produce novels, movies, music, and so on. Apropos of Bellow’s comment that it’s too bad righties have “hived ourselves off into our own politicized media bubble,” Waldman snipes that conservatives want very much to stay inside said bubble, even though it leaves them prone to “all kinds of pathological beliefs and behaviors.”
It would have been shocking if the abortion comedy Obvious Child hadn’t been celebrated on Melissa Harris-Perry’s weekend show on MSNBC. But the spin on Sunday morning’s program could not have been expected.
“MHP” wanted to know if abortion opponents just couldn’t handle the uncomfortable truth about women’s sexuality and how women’s bodies operate. She asked Obvious filmmaker Gillian Robespierre if her abortion comedy could be a good educational “tool” for mothers to share with their daughters as they mature, and the answer led to the term “laminated uterus.” (Video below)
Gillian Robespierre, the feminist director of the abortion comedy Obvious Child, is not a fan of Fox News, as she revealed in an interview with Matt Juul Wednesday in the Boston Globe.
Asked about sexism and feminist hashtags on Twitter, she said "like, I’m watching a lot of CNBC and Fox News in these [expletive] hotel rooms and it’s just making my head spin. It just makes me really sad. It doesn’t feel like we’ve come too far, but then it feels like we have come far because we’re talking about it right now." It makes her have violent thoughts about the people on Fox:
After several tantrums about how movies with keep-the-baby messages spread “consoling fictions,”Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday was duty-bound to adore the “abortion comedy” Obvious Child, but did she have to embarrass herself by insisting it “may be the most pro-life movie of the year”?
Somehow, the movie Juno presented abortion as a “non-option,” but Hornaday loves a movie where keeping the baby is never an option. Depicting an abortion as the center of a “romantic comedy” is “cultural watershed territory," she oozed at review's end:
The feminist film critics can exhale now. Someone has finally concocted their dream movie: an “abortion comedy.” Because apparently nothing sounds funnier than an unplanned one-night stand and a courageous destruction of God's most beautiful and most innocent creation.
It's called "Obvious Child." Feminist lingo sells this monstrosity. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jenny Slate plays Donna Stern, a standup comedian who “is forced to face the uncomfortable realities of independent womanhood for the first time.” A “drunken hookup – and epic lapse in prophylactic judgment – turns out to be the beginning of a hilarious and totally unplanned journey of self-discovery and empowerment.”
How radical is Hollywood? There are two competing movie projects sure to lionize Edward Snowden betraying America’s secrets. Naturally, one of them is helmed by Oliver Stone, who bows to no one in casting America as a global supervillain. See his Untold History of the United States bilge on Showtime.
"This is one of the greatest stories of our time," said the leftist director. "A real challenge." Stone has repeatedly called Snowden a "hero" and slammed President Obama as a "disgrace" for his "Bush-style eavesdropping techniques." A rival Snowden movie based on Glenn Greenwald's Snowden book No Place to Hide is also in the works from Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond movies. Alongside the Brian Williams softball special on NBC, there’s a “Snowden business” emerging:
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Correction appended. Seth Rogen did not send the tweet mentioned below.)
Lights, action - cue the Leftists! Or, what comes around, goes around.
Seth Rogen, a Hollywood favorite as star or a supporting player in such gems as Knocked Up, The Green Hornet,The 40 Year Old Virgin and more, is having what one might call a Martin Niemoller moment. Niemoller was the German Lutheran pastor who had the nerve to publicly oppose Hitler, being rewarded with seven years in a concentration camp. Niemoller famously wrote of the experience:
Feminist Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday was the first one to see Hollywood sexism in the stabbings and shootings of one sick young man at the University of California-Santa Barbara who killed six. Hornaday tweeted out her article: “In a shooter's videotaped diatribe, reflections of the sexism, insecurity and entitlement that plague Hollywood.”
Hornaday wrote that as Elliot Rodger bemoaned his life of “loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desire” and “arrogantly announced that he would now prove his own status as ‘the true alpha male,’ he unwittingly expressed the toxic double helix of insecurity and entitlement that comprises Hollywood’s DNA.”
A new biopic about Ronald Reagan is in pre-production, and Paul Bond at The Hollywood Reporter relayed that Manifest Film Sales has picked up international sales rights and will introduce the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival.
The producers of the $25 million film, simply called Reagan, "inked a deal for a U.S. release on 3,000 screens and $35 million in prints and advertising." It doesn’t sound like a Oliver Stone hatchet job, but is based on his historic role in bringing down the Soviet empire.
In Saturday’s Washington Post, they published a letter to the editor from a Paul Whittemore in Spotsylvania, Virginia, who noticed the Post’s movie critics never attempted a movie review of God’s Not Dead, which has so far grossed $55.5 million at the box office and tiptoed back into the top ten this weekend.
On March 21, the Post could only report “This movie did not screen in time for critic review in Weekend.” As if the Posties couldn’t buy tickets at the cineplex? Whittemore also noticed the naughty, porny movies they did not skip:
The accountants in Hollywood don’t have to believe in Heaven to notice the box-office numbers on recent movies with religious themes. “Heaven Is For Real” opened in the days before Easter and grossed more than $22 million, coming in second for the weekend, just $3 million behind the latest “Captain America” blockbuster (in its third week). The movie‘s per-screen average — $8,895 — was far above the rest of the top five.
“Heaven Is For Real,” like many movies, is based on a best-selling book. It’s a real-life story about four-year-old Colton Burpo and his visions of Heaven after an emergency surgery in 2003. Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list. Eventually it made its way to number one.
Ten years ago, Mel Gibson unveiled his massively successful movie The Passion of The Christ. It came out on Ash Wednesday (February 25, 2004), but is often re-viewed on Good Friday. It had a worldwide box-office gross of over $611 million.
In our Special Report on religion coverage that year, we explored how the TV networks attacked Gibson's movie as extreme, divisive, and potentially harmful -- one CBS reporter even called it an "ecumenical suicide bomb" -- and how that differed from their fascination with theories in The DaVinci Code:
In the world of Hollywood politics, U.S. News & World Report is hyping "Peter Pan's Lily-White Tiger Lily Problem." Warner Brothers is making a movie called "Pan" (due in July 2015), and the Indian princess Tiger Lily is being played by white actress Rooney Mara.
“This casting choice is particularly shameful for a children’s movie,” an outraged petition said. “Telling children their role models must all be white is unacceptable.” Tierney Sneed at U.S. News highlighted how this "stings" for the Native American actors:
So who ya gonna believe: Paramount or Director Darren Aronofsky? Either “Noah” is sure to be a hit with the 86 percent of religious people who are aware of the film (Paramount), or it’s the “least Biblical Biblical film ever made” (Aronofsky).
It's all a bit confusing right now for the film whose ending has been reshot and recut, gone one way and another, signalled a Hollywood re-embrace of the Biblical epic or Hollywood imposing its values on the Good Book. Try to make sense of this March 11 paragraph from Huffpo:
In a fun feature on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, “Lie Witness News,” he sends a camera crew out onto the streets of Los Angeles to ask pedestrians about events that have not happened. But the people are too embarrassed or ill-informed to realize the fake-out and offer their opinions on the non-existent premise.
Monday’s (March 3) Special Report with Bret Baier ended with an excerpt from an “Oscars Edition,” proving, Baier explained, how “the locals were not exactly well-versed on this year’s top flicks.” Painful hilarity ensues.
In the Washington Post’s free commuter tabloid Express on Thursday, writer Kristen Page-Kirby wrote a little “Film Riffs” feature about Jesus movies headlined “Jesus Is Magic” (yep, also a title of a snide Sarah Silverman special).
Page-Kirby explained that “In ‘Son of God,’ out Friday, Diogo Morgado plays Jesus of Nazareth, a homeless rabbi who spent a chunk of his childhood as a refugee. Jesus can be quite the box-office draw.” She then listed five movies, none of which were the massive Mel Gibson box-office hit we all remember from 2004. Guess what topped the list instead?
Reading the transcript isn't enough. Roll the video, listen carefully, and at the end you'll catch Ronan Farrow's nervous little laugh as he asks an African-American guest whether, in assessing movie-industry diversity, it "matters" that Steve McQueen, the black director whose film has been nominated for an Oscar, is British.
Such are the PC pitfalls once one wades into the bog of diversity bean-counting. But beyond the specific subject matter, Farrow's teensy twitter suggests, as other critics have noted, as here and here, how green and unsure of himself is the young man MSNBC hopes to make a star. View the video after the jump.
I don't have to explain to anyone how television is much more risque, with some programs being downright lewd, than it was decades ago. But I want to tell you about something that can change the course of values in television and movies.
Once upon a time, about as edgy as it got was Barbara Eden's "I Dream of Jeannie" character, who showed her trim tummy, and Elvis swinging his pelvis on "The Ed Sullivan Show" — though the broadcast screen only captured the upper half of his body as he did.
In a world where Woody Allen can get a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes at the same time his adopted daughter accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was a child (Allen has repeatedly denied it), and where a film "The Wolf of Wall Street" sets a record for use of the F-word, it is a wonderment that an obscure, low-budget film called "Alone Yet Not Alone" has had its Best Original Song Oscar nomination withdrawn for allegedly violating ethical rules.
Yesterday my colleague Scott Whitlock noted how the CBS This Morning program had sidestepped a controversy in Hollywood regarding the revocation of an Oscar nomination for a song featured in a Christian-produced motion picture titled Alone Yet Not Alone. Academy officials charge it was improperly promoted
But apparently not every liberal media outlet is ignoring the story. Some, like the Daily Beast are covering it in order to revel in the news and to smear the folks who produced the film.
Although to date there has been no evidence directly tying him to either matter, Chris Christie has been accused of playing politics with the GW bridge closure and the granting of hurricane-relief funds to Hoboken. So naturally it's fair game to analogize Christie to the head of cinema's most infamous, murderous crime syndicate.
Fair game, if you're MSNBC that is. Today's Morning Joe segment on Christie treated viewers to a 'Govfather' logo, based on the famous puppet-master logo from "The Godfather." View the video and images of the original and MSNBC logos after the jump.
What happens when a teenager who came into the world as an unplanned teenage pregnancy ends up with an unplanned pregnancy of her own? Will she bend to all the “helpful” insistence that she needs to exercise her “right to choose” before she is, as one callous presidential contender put it, “punished with a baby”?
This is the plot of “Gimme Shelter,” a new movie that departs from the feminist pack mentality of Hollywood. Agnes “Apple” Bailey -- played in a breakout role by “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens -- looks like a poster child for Planned Parenthood at the film’s beginning: sixteen years old, down and out after living in a series of foster homes, and now living with a drug-addicted mother who sometimes beats her.
A few years back, during the Media Research Center's annual gala I was honored to pay tribute to the family of a real American hero, Michael Murphy, the Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the first Congressional Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan, and the first since the Vietnam War. Few in the room knew the story because only Fox and a handful of other outlets told it.
When the medal was announced in 2007, William Kristol noted on “Fox News Sunday” that the news received a tiny fraction of the coverage given to the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel that year was awarded to Al Gore and the UN “climate change” alarmists. That award received endless accolades from the sycophantic press. Kristol joked about the fans oozing over “what sacrifices he made” to make a scary documentary (while making fortunes of money off the issue as well).