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":
Two years ago, Time critic Richard Corliss wrote an article that clearly must have resonated at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscar telecast was sinking in the ratings, he wrote, because the nominees were largely unwatched by the masses. It used to be that the Best Picture prize went to mainstream box-office hits. "Now when the nominations come out, people try to catch up with the finalists, but it's almost like homework."
The 2010 Oscar nominations clearly signal that Hollywood is trying to return to a broader vision of the Oscars, as something more than an insular critics’ circle that likes only the self-consciously arty and obscure. That signal came most obviously with the announcement that there would be ten nominees for Best Picture. That list hadn’t seen 10 nominations since 1943, when the winner was "Casablanca."
Arty films that almost nobody has seen are still there – like "An Education." But arty blockbusters are there as well, like "Avatar" – current box office gross: $601 million -- and the animated film "Up," with $293 million. (By contrast, two years ago, the Best Picture box office leader was "Juno" – at $85 million when the nominations came out.)
Time writer Richard Corliss lamented the decline and fall of Air America radio Thursday, and the decline of the Democrats: "It died a year and a day after Barack Obama's Inauguration, and two days after Obama's Democrats all but officially became a minority party in the U.S. Senate." Despite that pessimistic note, Corliss insisted that Air America’s failure said absolutely nothing about the appeal of liberalism in America:
So why is poli-talk radio so dominated by Limbaugh, when the country is not? Because, even for people who don't agree with him, he can be monstrously entertaining; he makes great radio. He and his clones may dominate as a radio format, and energize the conservative base and annoy liberal politicians, but their success is not a reflection of the mood of the country at large. And in the ratings, the whole contingent of the Radio Right is outpointed by NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." That's where the liberal listeners so desired by Air America went for their news and (covert) commentary.
Some of us told anyone who would listen in 2004 that Air America would have serious trouble succeeding in commercial radio when liberals already had a station in most American cities in their NPR news and talk station. But it’s funny that Corliss would use supposedly balanced, taxpayer-funded NPR to be the ideological opposite of conservative talk radio.
Five years after The Passion of the the Christ conquered the multiplex, it might be instructive to recall the media coverage as Brent Bozell chronicled it in two columns. He offered tribute to Mel Gibson and a rebuke to godless Hollywood in the week before the movie came out:
The mass unveiling of Mel Gibson’s cinematic vision of "The Passion of the Christ" on 2,000 screens – a massive debut for a foreign-language film with subtitles -- has the entertainment elite a bit frightened. After all, how many decades have elapsed since Hollywood has been in any way associated with Christian orthodoxy?
The one who is not frightened is Gibson. He is a man who has made his own brave and generous sacrifice, putting tens of millions of dollars and his own film career on the line for a daring and controversial cultural event. He is a man who can sit in front of Diane Sawyer as she looks like she’s sucking on a lemon and honestly proclaim his humble Christian beliefs, to be a "fool for Christ" before the world.
The death of Paul Harvey has resulted in some very respectful notices in the media, like Richard Corliss of Time magazine. (Except for this sentence: "The rosy sentimentalist was also a fretful conservative; he backed Joe McCarthy's search for imaginary Communists in the State Department." ) Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer is highlighting Internet scribblings offering a more impolite reflection, of the rot-in-Hell variety. Ken Layne, the operator of the liberal blog Wonkette, trashed Harvey, and Rush Limbaugh:
The best thing about Paul Harvey -- humble old Paul Harvey with his solid family life and one (just one!) wife who was with him until her death in 2007 -- is that his peak audience was millions bigger than Rush Limbaugh's largest audience.’
Fat sex-creep Rush peaked with 20 million listeners in 2003 (all downhill since then!), while Paul Harvey peaked with 22 million. And while Paul Harvey was long mocked by hipsters and comedians, he sure wasn't hated. In fact, Paul Harvey was one of the most admired people in America for half a century. Rush Limbaugh is despised by most Americans, while his only fans are mouth-breathing angry losers.
Bill Maher's new alleged "docu-comedy" came in tenth at the weekend box office. Brent Bozell's culture column noted that the God-mocking HBO star can't seem to scare up a controversy (despite appearances on ABC, CBS, and NBC shows):
The film is called "Religulous" – a lame merger of "religious" and "ridiculous." One reason it’s not urgently mentioned is that while everyone knew "The Passion" was going to be an enormous box-office hit, Maher is hearing the sound of crickets in the fields of controversy, which may match cricket sounds at the box office.
Frank Rich of the New York Times attacked Mel Gibson and "The Passion" with a feverish pitch, but he hasn’t penned a word about Maher. Maher can mock Hasidic Jews as subhuman monkeys in his Internet ads, but Frank Rich is too busy chasing after Sarah Palin with his flamethrower. He has a problem with orthodox Christians, but certainly not with Hollywood atheists who think the Jews are as silly as any other faith community.
The second film based on the Narnia books, "Prince Caspian," roared like Aslan the lion at the box office in its first weekend, grossing an impressive $56 million in theaters, and supplanting "Iron Man" as the most successful movie in America.
Why the continued success of the "Chronicles of Narnia" films? Time movie reviewer Richard Corliss takes a stab at that question, with a unique angle, comparing "Caspian" to "The Golden Compass," the first movie installment of Philip Pullman’s dark atheist trilogy which viciously attacked God, Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular.
"Narnia" author C. S. Lewis was a fervent Christian theologian. "Compass" creator Pullman proclaimed his books were about "killing God."
Even in sympathetic appreciations of Charlton Heston's life and career, his conservative activism for gun rights was often treated as a sour note. Richard Corliss in Time felt compelled to write "He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association."
Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star's trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried had only one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land -- like Moses.
As part of the publicity push for their left-wing movie Lions for Lambs, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise sat down with Time’s Richard Corliss for an article titled "The Lions Roar." But these lions have a very typical Hollywood Left message. In America, it’s very tough to speak out against war. "Standing up is very, very difficult," said Streep. "We vilify the people that do speak up. You're told you're not supporting the troops." Redford added: "If you're against us, you're not patriotic." They also say the American people don’t care so much about war as they do about celebrity dirt, and according to Streep, we face the tragedy of the unheeded peace-loving left: "we went forward, in the face of all sorts of warnings that are now proven to be the truth. Americans have been anesthetized by good fortune."
An update on an earlier Rush Limbaugh post: On her blog at Salon, Joan Walsh reports that the charge from New York magazine's David Edelstein’s suggestion that Rush Limbaugh had threatened Time’s Richard Corliss in 1995 with an old porn piece in the leftyVillage Voice drew a very hostile e-mailed cry of "BS!" from Corliss. Wrote Walsh:
I saw the post Wednesday night and was about to link to it, but I decided to track down Corliss for comment first. He strenuously denies Edelstein's claim. Here's what he e-mailed:
"The David Edelstein column, as it relates to me, is total [B.S.], unfounded and irresponsible. Rush Limbaugh never called me, ever, and never uttered a hostile word in my direction. He certainly never defamed me, which leaves him one up on Edelstein.
In New York magazine, film critic David Edelstein (not to be confused with L.A. film critic David Ehrenstein, the man who launched the "Magic Negro" controversy) whacked away at Rush Limbaugh’s "freaky and terrifying" and even "psychopathological" story of how he intimidated a journalist by threatening to go into his personal life and his past writings.
Edelstein is scared by a Media Matters item on how Limbaugh criticized the new ProPublica investigative journalism group and its search for exposés with "moral force" – Rush made the point that investigative journalists have their own foibles that no one exposes – and said he once threatened a news magazine cover story writer that he could dish dirt back at him. Edelstein charged that Limbaugh was intimidating Time's Richard Corliss, who in return offered a "rather gentle" treatment of Limbaugh: