Of all people, you'd think a movie director would understand the importance of sticking to the script. But no . . .
There was a delicious moment on this afternoon's "Hardball." Host Chris Matthews had billed a new movie as standing for the proposition that Saudis hate Americans [note the screen graphic]. But when the movie's director came on, he declined to buy into Matthews's sweeping generalization, pitched capitalism as the answer to the region's problems, and even speculated that Iraq war has helped America's relations in the Middle East.
In his opening tease, Matthews proclaimed "Let's talk about why the Saudis hate us . . . in our second story tonight, why do Saudis hate Americans?"
Then, after an interview about Iran with Mario Cuomo [yes, he's still around], Matthews, teasing the next segment:
The problem with writing politicized movie reviews is that often most of what is seen depends on the viewpoint of the reviewer. Such was the case of the dueling movie reviews of "3:10 to Yuma" in the Huffington Post. Bill Robinson saw this movie as an allegory about the Iraq war:
As the reviews will tell you, it's an exceptional film, with gorgeous photography, stunning action and hypnotic, sublime performances. But what I am surprised I have not read, are the all-too-real parallels to Iraq.
Reliably liberal New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis lauded activist-actor Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour," the latest documentary of environmental apocalypse.
"To judge from all the gas-guzzlers still fouling the air and the plastic bottles clogging the dumps, it appears that the news that we are killing ourselves and the world with our greed and garbage hasn't sunk in. That's one reason 'The 11th Hour,' an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity, is such essential viewing. It may not change your life, but it may inspire you to recycle that old slogan-button your folks pinned on their dashikis back in the day: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
Here's something you don't see that often: The major movie studios are engaged in a bidding war over a book written by someone who served in the military and is...an outspokenly conservative Republican.
[T]here's a frenzied Hollywood bidding war going on today over the No. 1 book on The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list: Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes Of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell. Studio toppers are interrupting their vacations to try to get this book which was sold to Little Brown by superagent Ed Victor for a seven figure advance.
Perhaps we should have expected this but apparently The Bourne Ultimatum which opened this weekend is chock full of liberal proganda. So who is making this charge? Some vicious rightwinger with an axe to grind against liberal Hollywood producers? Nope. This is the claim of a liberal movie reviewer, Anthony Kaufman, who wrote the following in his Huffington Post blog, Jason Bourne: An Anti-Cheney American Hero?
A stinging rebuke against Cheney-esque black ops and torture tactics, Universal Pictures' The Bourne Ultimatum is more than just a heart-stopping international espionage thriller: It is Hollywood's most direct attack against the Bush Regime since George Clooney's one-two punch of Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana. If those more "sophisticated" dramas preached to the choir about our deteriorating civil liberties and oil-fueled overseas obsessions, the third film in the mega-successful Bourne action franchise offers up a picture of corrupt clandestine leadership for all to see -- where every Matt Damon fan can also enjoy high-powered American government officials as arch-villains committing treasonous and reckless activities without oversight.
Although most reviews of the comedy movie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, were generally scathing, a Huffington Post blogger has claimed that you need to wear "special gay decoder glasses" to really appreciate the message that seems to have been hidden from the other reviewers. Joan Garry, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), admits that she at first hated this movie:
First it was the traumatized Vietnam veteran, now are Iraq vets set to become the next "progressive" cliché?
Being the strapping patriot sort of folks that they are, the Hollywood left is gearing up to release a bunch of anti-military movies that portray veterans of the Iraq war as deranged psychopaths, screwed up by an "unjust" war. The New York Times's Michael Cieply reports (h/t Instapundit):
Now some in Hollywood want moviegoers to decide if the killing is emblematic of a war gone bad, part of a new and perhaps risky willingness in the entertainment business to push even the touchiest debates about post-9/11 security, Iraq and the troops’ status from the confines of documentaries into the realm of mainstream political drama.
A recent article by writer Manish Vij, The Apu travesty, in The Guardian has stirred up something of a hornets nest of controversy as was chronicled here in NewsBusters. Vij took a strictly PC approach and condemned the portrayal of Apu from "The Simpsons" as being racist. However, his opinion is far from universal among people of ethnic Indian background. Journalist Saptarshi Ray who is based in the Washington, D.C. bureau of The Guardian has a very different view of the Apu character in his response, The wonder of Apu:
In this day and age of Political Correctness it can almost be expected that someone will object to the portrayal of Apu in the upcoming "The Simpsons" movie as racist. Sure enough, writer Manish Vij, made just that accusation in the July 17 issue of the British newspaper The Guardian with an article titled, The Apu travesty:
...The Simpsons has long irritated some Indian-Americans because of the thickly stereotypical character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the effete cornershop owner with fractured English, excess fertility, bizarre religious practices, illegal immigration status and a penchant for cheating customers.
Apu is quite a unique character on The Simpsons. Unlike the show's parodies of policemen and Irish-Americans, he's the only character to mock a small American minority relatively unknown in the mainstream, and he's by far the most visible immigrant. For desis (South Asians) growing up in America, just one eighth as concentrated and visible as in the UK, Apu shadowed us at every turn.
Michael Moore is still waiting for an apology from CNN. On July 13, he released a letter that threatened to become the cable network’s “worst nightmare.”
“Think again. I'm about to become your worst nightmare. 'Cause I ain't ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. ‘The Most Trusted Name in News?’ I think it's safe to say you can retire that slogan,” wrote Moore.
Ironically, in the letter Moore admitted to being treated well by CNN in the past.
Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday wants abortion. In the movies, that is. In her July 15 piece Hornaday complains that two box office successes this summer, “Waitress” and “Knocked Up,” feature main characters that are pregnant. Both are unmarried and less than thrilled with their pregnancies. Both have their babies.
“It’s a setup that has some viewers, especially women who came of age in a post-Roe v. Wade America, wondering just what world these movies are living in.”
Well, Ann, they’re living in the modern day world where the number of out-of-wedlock births among 20- and 30-something women is dramatically up, according to a poll conducted by Pew Research. Just look at Brangelina, if you want to see what that looks like in real life.
Townhall.com's Josue Sierra's blog today shares with readers just how "SiCKO" the state of Cuban health care is.
Not every Cuban gets the Potemkin village treatment Michael Moore gave 9/11 workers featured in his latest documentary.
Click on this link to see how ill-equipped and run-down the average Cuban hospital is. Sierra links to the original blog post by Stefania Lapenna at "Free Thoughts." The photos were taken by one Dr. Darsi Ferrer.
Tavis Smiley's interview of Michael Moore, aired June 29 on Smiley's eponymous PBS program, is just another reminder of the ridiculous lack of credible journalism which goes on at the taxpayer-funded network.
The interview was nothing more than Smiley lobbing softball after softball straight over the plate while Mr. Moore hit his talking points out of the park on everything from the "far right"to a wage gap between whites and African-Americans.
Smiley’s ceremonial first pitch was enough to clue in viewers that there would be no attempt on Smiley's part on conducting an unbiased or challenging interview. “You have done it again,” Smiley gushed to the veteran political filmmaker.
Not only does Moore advocate for socialized medicine, he also gets to let loose against what he calls the "far right" (anyone who doesn't think socialized health coverage is the answer) and portrays himself as someone who just wants to enlighten America on the "facts."
Below is part of the interview (emphasis mine), followed by my analysis:
This is a little old as it was published last Thursday, but MTV's Kurt Loder (pictured at right) did a yeoman's job in dissecting Michael Moore's paean to socialized health care, in a movie review on MTV.com entitled, "'Sicko': Heavily Doctored."
While Loder conceded that Moore's handpicked stories of bureaucratic madness are "horrifying, and then infuriating" and praises scrutiny of HMO manager Kaiser Permanente, the MTV personality quickly turned to slamming Moore for a one-sided propaganda film that failed to present viewers with a command of the complexities of providing health care to a nation of some 300 million people. Portions below in bold are my emphasis:
Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never
more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative
interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down
in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18,000* people will
die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked
that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture
unspools. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform,
no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are
only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not
to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of
proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has
no use for any of them, save one.
On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined the accuracy of the claims presented in Michael Moore's film Sicko. Gupta found that while there are complaints about America's health care system, "you won't find medical utopia elsewhere." Although Gupta did not show much skepticism in reporting that life expectancies in Cuba are about equal to those in America despite being outspent by American 26 to 1 in health care, the CNN correspondent did report that in countries with tax-funded universal health care, that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants."
Gupta discussed the waiting lines that exist in some industrialized nations, and found that "Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures," although he also found that "only Canada was worse than the United States when it comes to waiting for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem." After informing viewers of the higher taxes paid in other countries, he also relayed that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants" as health analyst Paul Keckley informed viewers that "15 to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system run by the government." (Transcript follows)
Joseph Berger's New York Times column on education today doubled as a film review. "Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College's Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality" criticized an anti-PC documentary, "Indoctrinate U," by bringing in an incident that occurred at Vassar college that was not even featured in the movie. Berger actually defended Vassar punishing a conservative campus publication by defunding it and shutting it down for a year.
"A new documentary is making the rounds that argues, with vivid examples, that the nation's colleges are squelching freedom of expression and are no longer free marketplaces of ideas.
"The film carries the striking title 'Indoctrinate U,' and was made by Evan Coyne Maloney, who describes himself as a libertarian and is looking for a national distributor.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
The front of the Washington Post Style section on Saturday was dominated by two features on Hollywood stereotyping. At the bottom was Teresa Wiltz suggesting that Angelina Jolie playing Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl in "A Mighty Heart" is somehow comparable to blackface minstrel shows. But that's not as odd as the top story by William Booth on stereotyped Arab villains, illustrated by the cartoon image of Jafar, the villainous vizier in the Disney cartoon "Aladdin." Earth to the Post: everyone in "Aladdin," heroes and villains, is Arab.
Booth's story actually only raised the issue of the opening song lyrics of "Aladdin," which joked about vicious ear-slicing barbarians, which the Arab-American activists successfully pressed Disney to remove. After that scrubbing, I imagine the children would also hear about "Ali Baba and the Forty Upstanding Merchants." The star of the Booth piece, retired professor Jack Shaheen, also deplored the Fox drama "24" as "the worst of smears" for portraying American Arabs as the terrorist next door. Booth began in Los Angeles:
Reviews for the movie "Evan Almighty," opening in theaters today, have been largely lackluster. The general consensus is that the talents of Steve Carell and the rest of the cast are largely wasted and the religious theme is somewhat bland. The plot in a nutshell is that Evan Baxer (Carell), recently elected to Congress, is recruited by God (Morgan Freeman) to become a modern-day Noah, building an ark in order to serve humanity on a Biblical scale.
Bruce Newman, reviewing the film for "San Jose's Mercury News," poses a vital question for any serious moviegoer:
One thing that's never clear is whether Evan has been elected to Congress as some kind of Rush-lovin', wilderness despoiling neo-con. And if not, why the first piece of legislation he hitches his star to is a bill that will open the national parks to development. This is boilerplate conservatism, and yet that doesn't seem to be who Evan is.
It was bound to happen. A Sci Fi film is being produced presenting humans as the evil, alien aggressors invading a peace loving alien planet, the allegory, according to the producers, being a comment upon the "imperialism" of the United States. Innocent aliens being killed by evil, imperialist space faring humans and it appears to be all George Bush's fault... again.
Science Fiction has used the alien invasion over and over for decades supposedly as an allegorical statement about the human condition contemporary to the production of a given film. In "Independence Day" the aliens are here to destroy us. This film was ridiculously criticized as nothing but "American jingoism" with Americans imagining themselves the saviors of the world because, with the USSR fallen, Americans were the only remaining superpower. Conversely, in the classic 1951 film "The Day The Earth Stood Still", a friendly alien visitor to Earth is shot down by the evil military and it is we, rather than the aliens, who are the bad guys. This film was supposedly about the Cold War but at least we humans were characterized as simply fearful in the 50s classic. Perhaps that benefit of the doubt for humanity is now gone as far as this new cartoon is concerned?
USA Today reports on "Terra", a new cartoon with voice work from the likes of Danny Glover (no selling point for the film there!), Dennis Quaid, Ron Perlman, Luke Wilson, Amanda Peet, Rosanna Arquette and James Garner.
As we all know, Andrea Mitchell having told us so, Chris Matthews is no liberal. However the Hardball host did emphatically state on this afternoon's show that, at least when it comes to health care, he agrees with Michael Moore.
Matthews had just aired an impromptu interview that MSNBC's David Shuster had snared with Moore when the filmmaker appeared on Capitol Hill today on the occasion of this week's release of his latest work, "Sicko," regarding health care in the United States. In both Shuster's depiction of Moore's views, and in Moore's own statements in the course of the interview, Moore made clear that he wants to eliminate private-sector participation in health care insurance.
As Shuster put it: "in this movie, Moore calls for the end, the end, of for-profit healthcare."
In the aired interview, Moore described private-sector insurers as a "racket" and said "I want private insurance companies out of the equation."
So how did Matthews react to Moore's call for the killing of private-sector health care?
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case. Healthcare in this country is not working.
Sometimes, it’s a little tough for the Fox News-bashing left to stamp the Ailes Network with the Uniformly Right-Wing complaint. For example, it’s not every day that Fox News looks liberal on CNN. But I caught the new commercial for leftist propagandist Michael Moore’s new mockumentary "Sicko" on CNN late this morning. One of three ecstatic reviewers in the TV ad is Roger Friedman of FOXNews.com ("Brilliant!")
Is that one of those tricky studio edits that doesn’t really represent the critic’s opinion? Um, no. Friedman’s online review was a rave. It began: "Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, ‘Sicko,’ deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity."
Mireya Navarro of The New York Times took 32 paragraphs in her June 10 Fashion & Style section article to tell you what I'm about to in one sentence. (h/t Clay Waters of NB sister publication TimesWatch)
Liberal Hollywood doesn't feature women having abortions in TV and movies very often because it's bad to alienate a sizable chunk, if not an outright majority, of your audience who are pro-life.
Of course, you can't fault Hollywood for being pro-choice where it counts to them most. Choosing plotlines and conventional stories that boost the bottom line. That is, unless you're an artiste who is forever battling the crass capitalistic forces of banality, like say, Christopher Keyser. You know, the cinematic Michelangelo that gave us the late-1990s Fox drama 'Party of Five.' Navarro thought it important that we hear from him and other liberals in the industry who lament this one area where Hollywood remains mostly conservative, if only because they feel the heat rather than see the light.
Maybe Michael Moore should listen to people who actually have socialized medicine—at least those who are allowed to disagree with their government’s policies. Singer Elton John’s partner David Furnish slammed Michael Moore and his latest docuganda “Sicko” for misrepresenting the quality of the US health care system. On June 02, Furnish stated, ”[America] was the only place to get good treatment”(emphasis mine):
News magazines love to float above the real news and focus on nebulous trends, and perhaps none are more nebulous than the sudden popularity of the "beta male," as represented by Al Gore. The "cultural dispatch" by writer Jennie Yabroff celebrates Gore as "the proto beta male" who’s "having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author, and a potential dark-horse presidential candidate."
Yabroff’s article in the June 4 edition was headlined "Betas Rule: What do Jim from 'The Office,' Shrek and Al Gore have in common? They're beta males—losers who are winning. Look out, alpha dogs." While the grasping, ambitious "alphas" are out, Gore and Bill Clinton are singled out as the hottest political embodiments of sensitively surrendering men, as if they have no ambitions at all:
The international press is currently enthralled with the Cannes Film Festival, and the usual celebrity suspects who push the agenda of the Left at such events. Bradley Jacobs, an editor for "Us Weekly," appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and reported on two such celebrities and their current projects - Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Moore. Jacobs was particularly enthusiastic about Moore and his last two film projects, and gushed, "I was a big fan and proponent of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,' and I have to say that I thought ‘Sicko' was even better."
Jacobs, who was reporting live from Cannes, even went so far to make a personal appeal of sorts for "Sicko," the latest film from Moore.
Multichannel News magazine reports that the History Channel will air the documentary "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed" on May 28 at 9 PM. But it has some unconventional movie pundits.
Eric J. Smith felt "History should be applauded for the diverse group of commentators it has drawn together. Politicians Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich give their opinions alongside journalists Linda Ellerbee, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. And their voices are joined by intellectuals like Camille Paglia and Mary Henderson (author of Star Wars: The Magic of Myth), directors Peter Jackson and Kevin Smith and comedian Stephen Colbert."
Jonathan Last notes there's also Iranian commentary on the last installment of the series.