On his HBO show, Real Time, comedian Bill Maher has repeatedly asked his interview guests about the possibility that, should he lose his bid for re-election in 2020, Donald Trump might refuse to step down as President. By and large, his guests have tended to pooh-pooh the idea as alarmist or paranoid. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr assured Maher that there are institutions that would take care of such an eventuality and forcibly usher the vanquished former president out of the building.
I have to say, and this isn’t often the case, but I’m with Maher on this one, in that I don’t find such reassurances to be, well, reassuring. There may be institutions with that purpose, but exactly how much exercise have they gotten in the last 200-plus years? Is there really a playbook in case a defeated president refuses to relinquish power?
Continue reading “The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave?”
What responsibility does a filmmaker have when making a film that claims to be “based on a true story” or “inspired by actual events” (or whatever weasel words they use to warn us that they’re making some of this shit up)?
Continue reading “Based On A True? Story”
I’m willing to bet good money that most of the people who are aware that the Chargers NFL franchise plays their home games in Los Angeles do not reside in the City of Angels but in their former home of San Diego, where the heartbroken local football fans are painfully aware that they no longer have a home team.
Continue reading “Los Angeles’ Billion Dollar Orphans”
Since the release of TRON: Legacy, the 2010 sequel to the 1982 pioneer in computer-generated filmmaking, there has been an ominous specter lurking on the horizon. That film featured a digital version of 1982-era Jeff Bridges, and it was unconvincing in a way that audiences found off-putting. Even with the relatively unsuccessful effort to digitally recreate a realistic human, many people saw the handwriting on the wall. As technology advanced, someday it would be possible to convincingly recreate a realistic human character with CGI.
Continue reading “Hollywood and Digital Frankenstein”
In my post about Green Book, I outlined how I thought mainstream Hollywood, as represented by the Academy Award voters, is often content to congratulate itself for its liberalism on racial issues rather than move the discussion forward. Another sign that Hollywood still has much to learn is that the two very talented but very white guys behind Game of Thrones are developing a new project for HBO called Confederate, an alternate-history series in which the Confederacy survives the Civil War and lasts into the Civil Rights era with slavery still intact. Personally, I hope that Benioff and Weiss have so much fun making their Star Wars film trilogy that they forget to circle back to this project.
Continue reading “HBO’s Confederate Problem”
As a movie, Best Picture winner Green
Book was fine, I guess. It’s certainly worth seeing for the
performances of Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in the lead roles, but the
fact that Mortensen was considered the lead actor while Ali was the supporting
actor is a clue to why this movie is problematic.
Continue reading “Hollywood’s Green Book Problem”
I frequently hear, when someone feels they are being unfairly silenced, wholly specious claims that their First Amendment rights have been violated. A celebrated example was when, Phil Robertson, one of the guys from the reality show Duck Dynasty, made appalling remarks about LGBTQ+ people and atheists and the A&E network (very briefly) removed the show from their schedule. People who largely share Robertson’s homophobic views cried foul, claiming that A&E had violated his First Amendment rights. Many people pointed out that this was bullshit, but some for what I think are the wrong reasons.
Continue reading “A Non-Conforming Take on the First Amendment”
The #MAGA crowd has a nickname for what they see as the
irrational hatred liberals have for their Lord and Savior, Donald J. Trump.
They call it “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” In their eyes, the left is
inexplicably apoplectic because their Great Leader is somehow making America
great again by giving away trillions to billionaires, bankrupting the treasury,
and by not making Mexico pay for a wall.
Continue reading “Russia Derangement Syndrome”
When Marvel Comics creative force and nerd-culture icon Stan Lee passed away in November of 2018, Bill Maher marked the occasion with a snarky dismissal of Lee’s cultural relevance, suggesting that the popularity of comic book movies and the election of Donald Trump to the presidency are both signs of the dumbing down of American culture. Needless to say, comic book nerds lost their shit.
Continue reading “Bill Maher vs. Stan Lee”
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, one of two Muslim
women elected to Congress in the Blue Wave of 2018, is feeling the heat,
recently succumbing to pressure to apologize for tweets that the political
establishment deemed anti-Semitic.
Rep. Omar committed the unpardonable sin of suggesting
that the United States government’s often indulgent attitude to the State of
Israel might be influenced by political contributions by the lobbying group
AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
In reality, there was nothing counter-factual or
anti-Semitic about her remarks and she should never have needed to apologize.
Continue reading “With Friends Like These…”