An R-rated flick about a bunch of friends having an orgy gets hailed in today's Weekend Arts section as a "friendly, ramshackle comedy" albeit "somewhat laugh-deficient" while a G-rated drama about a young golfer being mentored by a retired pro is panned as a "stultifying hybrid of instruction film and Christian sermon" that "swoons into its own solemn sanctimony."
The ratings-hungry producers/exploiters of "reality" TV are in an ongoing search for “edgy” people who are combustibly watchable and whose lust for fame overrides any sense of moral judgment. Then they act shocked when their “characters” self-destruct.
The latest Exhibit A: the suicide by hanging of Russell Armstrong, the husband of one of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” His death came just weeks before Bravo planned to begin airing its second season, in which he would be ridiculed before millions. Sadly, this isn't the first time.
Richard Corliss, a liberal film reviewer who found Oliver Stone's "W." too tame for his tastes has decided to let his readers know that, some two years and seven months since the 43rd president left office, he's still not over his anti-Bush derangement.
Corliss shoehorned his strange asides about President George W. Bush -- and 2012 presidential hopeful Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) -- in his August 18 review of this summer's remake of "Conan the Barbarian":
Showtime's TV series "Dexter," whose sympathetic portrayal of a serial killer already plumbs the depths of depravity, managed to sink to a new low by adding blasphemy to its formula of grisly vigilante murder. Two promotional videos released by Showtime, previewing Season 6 of "Dexter," mingled sacred images with the show's recurring theme of vigilante murder.
The first video (cynically titled "Thank God"), showed serial killer Dexter Morgan walking through a room of statues of Jesus, angels, and Catholic saints and ruminating on his purpose in life - which just happens to be murdering guilty people.
NBC's going to have a tough time with critics from both directions on its new show "The Playboy Club." Radical feminist Gloria Steinem casually dismissed the series in a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association confab in Los Angeles. Steinem, who once went undercover as a Playboy bunny, strongly suggested the show was exploiting the past to feed the male need for nostalgia in tough economic times.
TV critics weren't buying NBC's claim the show was female-empowering. “I hear someone use the word ‘empowering’ but I’ve heard from my female readers that a show centered on Playboy…they don’t see it as empowering,” said one TV critic. “And your central story involves a woman who needs to rely on a man to get through the crisis that she in the middle of. How is this show empowering and how are you going to be able to sell female viewers on this show -- a show centered on a nudie magazine -- as empowering?”
Note to TV networks: Don't even think about downsizing the disproportionate airtime you give gay characters and issues. The bean-counters at GLAAD are watching.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), in its fifth annual "Network Responsibility Index," recently ranked 15 networks based on their inclusion of LGBT characters on original primetime shows that aired nationally.
Amid all of the spurious talk about "tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires" (defined incongruously by the left as anyone with income of over $200,000), the Obama administration and its media lackeys are trying to raise support for an increase in taxes on corporate jets.
It's well-known that the amount of money that potentially would be raised by closing this loophole is miniscule, it'd take 5,000 years for it to equal the new debt added just last year, but since we're talking about tax cuts for the wealthy, it's worth noting that the Hollywood Left actually has managed to get a significant number of tax deductions to promote television and movie production. Magically, however, we aren't seeing much discussion about closing these tax loopholes from the elite media.
While it was less than loved by critics, there is no question it was a commercial success. In fact, some would say it is Pixar’s most obvious grab at a pay day, appealing to the NASCAR set without even the thinnest of veils. But I would argue its middle-American appeal goes much deeper than its subject matter. Indeed, I believe Cars is a vehicle for the conservative, science-denying belief known as Intelligent Design.
He may have a lot of talent as a musician but when it comes to radical Islam, Prince isn't particularly original in politically correct Hollywood. In an interview with a British newspaper, he said that women living in countries where they are forced to wear the body-covering burqa garment enjoy doing so.
"It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion. There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that," he told the Guardian.
In The Big Lie, the heroine is a woman named Sandra, who lost her husband, Carl, during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. A particle physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider, she figures out a practical way to travel back in time, so she ventures from present day to Manhattan an hour before the first plane hits the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. She rushes to his office at a risk-management consulting agency, but since she has aged 10 years, Carl can't quite accept that it's her. And even though she brings evidence on her iPad, neither her spouse nor his co-workers believe her warnings. "The meat of the story is her trying to convince these 'experts' that the terrorist attack is about to happen," Veitch says. "So it's essentially a taut emotional drama with the facts and questions surrounding 9/11 sewed into it."
Born blocks from the NBC soundstage in 1984 to parents in the entertainment industry, Ben Shapiro is a natural choice to write a book about Hollywood. For his new book "Primetime Propaganda," Shapiro has studied decades of television content and interviewed a bevy of powerful Hollywood producers to document the degree to which they have created a political and cultural revolution of permissive leftism.
The project gets off to a harsh start. In his introduction, Shapiro attacks "traditional" TV critics on the cultural right for being "worse than useless," suggesting some unnamed conservatives are insisting TV should not be watched. “When conservatives treat television as the Golden Calf, they leave no choice but to lay low the unbelievers -- and most of us continue to continue occasionally glancing at the offending cow."
That may sound like an overblown title, but if you read Ben Shapiro's new book,"Primetime Propaganda, The True Hollywood Story Of How The Left Took Over Your TV," you will see it isn't overblown in the least. Ben doesn't just speculate here. He goes to the source.
He interviews the movers and the shakers of Hollywood who admit their own bias and their own agenda. You may have heard Ben's interview with Glenn Beck this morning. Glenn asked him how he got access to these big wigs. Ben said it was because of his last name (Jewish) and the fact that he went to Harvard. They just assumed he was "one of them." The few that did bother to google Ben, declined to be interviewed. So, this fascinating book takes us into the minds of the people who bring television into our home. They clearly state how they want to influence our kids with their political views.
Government support for the arts can easily go very wrong. "Indie" bands in Canada are often funded by the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), and Life Site News found this amazing story:
Canadian punk group "Living with Lions" has drawn outrage for its obscene anti-Bible artwork and representation of Jesus Christ on their new album – funded by the Canadian government.
The album, entitled "Holy S—-," is designed to look like a Bible, with black cover and gold writing, yellow, faded pages, and lyric layout similar to Bible verses. It is subtitled, "The Poo Testament," and represents Christ as excrement...
The notion that conservative political views can stunt one's acting career in ultra-liberal Hollywood is occasionally derided as exaggeration at best, or conspiracy-mongering at worst. So it behooves us to point out the actual victims of this sort of McCarthyite blacklisting.
The latest person to provoke the wrath of Hollywood's thought police - or at least to reveal the consequences of that wrath - is former "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton. Heaton claims that she has been denied roles precisely - and explicitly - because she is "lumped together with conservatives," according to PopEater.com.
In an interview with John Hudson of the left-wing magazine The Atlantic, screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin described where he gets his news and quickly launched into a tirade against conservative media figures: "Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful. It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans. They're my generation's Joe McCarthy..."
Sorkin claimed Beck and Limbaugh were guilty of "tarring anyone who disagrees with them with schoolyard epithets and, of course, being 'un-American' or even on the side of America's enemies....They appeal to the worst in the worst among us..."
In the 10AM ET hour on NBC's Today on Monday, co-host Kathie Lee Gifford applauded the new HBO movie on the 2008 financial crisis, 'Too Big to Fail,' as "not a partisan film at all." However, after asserting that "It didn't take one side or the other," she touted the liberal moral of the story: "that greed is what got us there and lack of regulation."
Left-wing actor Ed Asner, who plays the role of billionaire Warren Buffet, came on to promote the film: "...this movie is practically a study course. You go back and learn each time that you watch it....you become involved and very informed..." He added that the "tragedy" of the crisis "has not been repaired yet." Gifford agreed: "No, it certainly hasn't. Everything's still in place for it to happen again."
BuzzMedia.com bills itself as "pop culture amplified." It recently acquired a former Turner Broadcasting site called "The Frisky."
BuzzMedia's press release announcing the acquisition said that "The Frisky has struck a major chord with female audiences for its authentic voice and fierce sense of humor."
Last Tuesday, The Frisky "Guys" section contributor and Julie Gerstein, whose occupation per her profile is Style Editor, criticized another web site's 25 Hot Guys under 25 list. You see, Ms. Gerstein fiercely believes that Crushable.com's Number 13, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, should not have been on the list because -- and only because -- he is pro-life:
Twenty-nine years after her death, novelist Ayn Rand is coming to a theater near you. After many failed attempts, her 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged" has been made into a film.
In an age when overspending, overreaching, higher-taxing and overregulating government increasingly strangles the private sector, robbing us of our liberties and transforming the country into the model of a socialist state, Rand's story reminds us how far ahead of her time she was and just how dangerous a time we live in now.
Are you one of them small-gubmint conservative weirdos? A critter who cringes when someone tells you they're from the government and there to help you? Well, answer this: are you, or have you ever been . . . a fan of The A-Team?
Because, yes: one of Rachel Maddow's guests has, with a straight face, advanced the argument that Mr. T and company were complicit in undermining Americans' belief in the benign powers of government. David Sirota made an appearance with Maddow on her MSNBC show this evening to promote his book that advances the A-Team-as-enemy-of-government-love theory.
In a report for Thursday's CBS Early Show, contributor Taryn Winter Brill fretted over the impact of movie theater popcorn on Americans' waistlines: "Have you ever wondered how many calories you're actually consuming in that large popcorn with butter? You probably don't want to know. Pretty soon, though, you may not have a choice."
Moments later, nutritionist Katherine Brooking declared the popular concession treat to be "a calorie bomb waiting to explode." Brill then touted a government solution to the problem: "Hoping to defuse this high caloric catastrophe, the FDA is working on a provision in the health care law requiring chain establishments which serve food to list the calorie count of their menu items." She added that Brooking and others "applaud the move."
Actor and filmmaker Harry Shearer, best known for his voice work in 'The Simpsons', blasted the news media in a speech to the National Press Club on Monday.
Specifically, he singled out the media's "myth-making" tendency - its constant desire to fit current events into mostly pre-formed narratives. "What I’m calling a ‘template,’ is based on facts. Some facts. A partial collection. The first dusting," Shearer claimed. "It then becomes adopted as ‘the narrative.' The mental doors lock shut, and no further facts are allowed in."
Well it’s that time of year when all of the rich leftists in Hollywood get out their $40,000 dollar gowns, put on their millions in jewelry, climb into their limos, and head up to the Kodak Theater to pat themselves on the back for being working class heroes. I couldn’t care less about which picture or actor gets a trophy, I just love listening to the political correctness and monumental hubris on display for the world to see.
For his documentaries on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Cuban-American filmmaker Agustin Blazquez’ takes a truly revolutionary approach. Rather than expecting officials of Castro’s police state to reveal facts, Blazquez interviews eye-witnesses to Castroism who are (get this!) free to reveal facts without threat of Castro’s firing squads and torture chambers!
This might be the most revealing anecdote about the intolerant culture of present-day Hollywood in, well, ever. Get this: some genius producer at Sony digitally removed the words Holy Bible from a Holy Bible in a scene because he thought the sight of a Bible might hurt the film’s appeal beyond the Christian community — probably because he’s projecting and assuming everyone’s as bigoted as Hollywood.
After some pressure from the family on which the film is based, he did put it back, but who thinks this way (he asked himself rhetorically). Good grief, there are all kinds mainstream films today where you see glimpses of various social and political symbols. Remember all that obnoxious PETA junk in Lethal Weapon 2, a movie I’ve only watched about a million times. But how many films these days show teenagers with the chicken track peace symbol on their book bag or a Greenpeace poster on the wall?
The other night while watching the Super Bowl, I became increasingly aware that the Angry Left might have a point about the Giant Corporations. Not that the game was not exciting. It was. Those quarterbacks can really heave the ball. Suddenly it is in their hands, and suddenly it is in a receiver's outreached arms, having passed through a forest of opposing players' arms. Both teams were composed of players who apparently were made of rubber. They hurled themselves at one another and occasionally at the hard turf and simply bounced. Occasionally they did not. Sometimes they were injured, occasionally rather badly. But for the most part, they seemed amazingly resilient. It was a hell of a battle, and doubtless the better team won, but I cheered for both teams. They were great.
Had I only to watch the game, I would have been happy, though even happier had I lowered the volume of the inane commentary. Possibly the networks have an agreement to hire garrulous, loud, excessively male commenters who have very little to say but say it repetitiously. Unfortunately, it hardly adds to the excitement of the game. Rather, it adds to the confusion of the programming, and there was a great deal of confusion Sunday night. For whole stretches, I sat there stupefied by the confusion, most of it provided by the ads and by the garrulous commentators. Not much can be done about the ads, which seem to get more stupid and incoherent every year, but something can be done about these excessively virile loudmouths.
In an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl for CBS's Sunday Morning, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made his latest attack against Sarah Palin, ranting: "I have a big problem with people who glamorize dumbness. And demonize education and intellect. And I'm giving a pretty good description of Sarah Palin right now." [Audio available here]
Stahl made no effort to challenge Sorkin's vicious personal attacks, simply remarking: "He seems to be having a second career these days, going after Sarah Palin. In an essay for The Huffington Post, he called her a 'witless bully.'" Given the media's concern with civility and harsh political rhetoric in the wake of the Tucson shooting, one wonders why Stahl did not condemn such language.