Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Matthew McConaughey’s Counter Cultural Speech

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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Remember moments of Oscar night rebellion? Marlon Brando comes to mind. Someone on Twitter said they were happy that the Oscars were devoid of politics.

Actually, politics did enter the artistic arena–it’s just that for the average God-believing American, it went unnoticed because it is part of their culture.

For the Academy, though, Matthew McConaughey’s speech was profoundly counter cultural and “weird”.

This is where we are in America: Thanking God, humbly and passionately, is viewed as strange, different, and even subversive.

America has been transformed, alright. You’re a rebel if you’re a sincere God believer and willing to say so.



The Hunger Games And Children: Who Should See This Movie?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Hunger Games premise is not for the faint of heart: children are offered up as sacrifices to appease the central government gods who control 13 districts. [See more about an explanation of the movie in Part I of my Hunger Games Series.]

Here are the tributes:

You’ll note that some are babies. And, in fact, in a wrenching scene one of the youngest of them dies a brutal death. And the protagonist Katniss Everdine gives the child funeral rites even though she is a competitor.

The kindness in the midst of the brutality causes a riot in the dead girl’s district.

It is a lot to take in for an adult. For a child? Well.

Not all children should see this movie. In fact, children under 10 – 12 shouldn’t see the movie no matter their constitutions. There is some good reasoning here as to why.

One of my older children (14) is especially sensitive and won’t be seeing the movie either until it’s on a small screen, the movie can be stopped, and the issues explained. Also, the books must be read first.

My twelve year old daughter did see the movie. She’d read all the books and didn’t seem to grasp the horror of forcing children to fight each other to the death.

She sat curled into my arms at a couple points during the movie. Seeing is believing, evidently.

While the filmmakers did their best to minimize the blood and gore, the graphic nature of kids breaking necks, stabbing and slashing, poisoning, etc. disturbs all but the most detached.

The books are actually more graphic and distressing. As I shared in my previous post, I was so sickened by the premise that I put the book down.

Many books deal with children as protagonists in life and death situations — Lord of the Rings (in the books the Hobbits were coming of age), Ender’s Game (6 year old protagonist), Black Beauty, Lord of the Flies, etc.

Children read these books, evaluate them, and process them on a different level. Their lack of life experience is a help here. In books, one imagines what one has experienced and apply it to the reading.

The movie gives no such room. The violence is there to see.

There is great risk watching the movie Hunger Games of becoming the voyeur watching the reality game. The American audience, especially, weaned on Survivor, the Bachelor, etc., can be immune to the human difficulty and suffering.

Children are used as pawns and killed while, as a friend stated, trying to hold on to their humanity. This is a subject only the more mature can process. Beware of robbing your child’s innocence with this movie.

If you doubt your child’s ability to handle it, wait.

[More about the cultural relevance in the next installment.]



The Hunger Games: The Wrong Conclusion [Part 1]

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Nothing written about The Hunger Games movie is right. Why? The movie isn’t right. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely.

It didn’t occur to me while watching the movie, but when I read Ed Morrissey’s review (meh, derivative) and then this Socialist’s site (best movie ever), I knew something was wrong with the movie. And when I read this Psychology Today review, I knew something was wrong with the psychologist and our culture [More about that in another post].

People who saw The Hunger Games saw a different movie depending on whether they read the books or not. On the optimistic side: most teens read the books. On the pessimistic side: most parents had not. This lead to two very divergent perspectives on the movie.

The Hunger Games trilogy books describe a dystopian, post-Civil War future where the central government is rich off the backs of twelve districts of slaves. The central government uses technology, coercion, and laws restricting any form of self defense (no guns..no bow and arrows, even–thus Katniss’ hidden, handmade bow and arrows).

The central government controls by dividing commerce. There are agrarian, fishing, and in Katniss’ case, energy producing districts. Katniss’ father died as a slave in a coal mine to produce energy not for his business or his employer but for the government who would then redistribute the commodity in just enough measure to keep work going to meet the needs of the other districts and to keep the central district in the luxury they were used to.

The oppression, lack of ownership, lack of right to bear arms, lack of free speech, lack of freedom of association, and the central-command misery induced by this situation were never clearly spelled out in the movie. Those who read the books, filled in the blanks. Those who didn’t, took home an entirely different message.

As one liberal reviewer said it, “This is a movie about the 99% and the 1%.”

Uh no. This book was about the oppression of communism and the failure of redistributionism. It was also a book about self-determination and freedom. These are all very American concepts.

The personal despair caused by the oppression really wasn’t fairly portrayed, either. Peeta fed a starving Katniss (a little CGI work to show her emaciated would have been helpful) at great risk to his own life due to reducing his ability to trade on the black market. His mother would beat him.

After Katniss’ father died, the family was starving. Her mother had completely lost her mind. Collectivism creates individual misery.

Meanwhile, the central government was indulgent: a combination of Elizabethan England, coked out models, and crass material excess. Their entertainment was Roman gladiator meets reality show spectacle where children fought to the death as tributes to “peace”. All the districts, including the central one, offered up one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as tribute and penance for their warlike past.

The premise of the book was so horrifying to me, I had to put the book down. My daughter, in contrast, seemed strangely unbothered–until she saw the movie.

And the horror of it all would is compounded by no context. If it isn’t made clear what the characters will be fighting against, it’s difficult to grasp their desire for freedom. That is, if they’re free and just down on their luck, that’s a different story line. If rich business owners in each district controlled all commerce, that would tell another story.

That would be the storyline the left wants to promote–thus, the 99 and 1% reference.

Critics and fans of the movie must read the books. Without the story, what is a pretty good movie already, becomes an excellent, and scarier, movie. They’re not tough reads and they’ll give the needed context.

Whether it was intentional or just lost on the cutting room floor because of film length, more attention to the foundational why of the story would have helped.

In the next post, I’ll talk about whether children should attend the movie and how to talk about your kids who do go to the movie.



The New Hollywood Blacklist: What You Can Do To Help Conservative Hollywood Fight Back

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Imagine being afraid you’ll lose your job because you believe the people to blame for 9/11 are the Islamofascists who plotted it. That’s what one Hollywood writer, Daniel Knauf endured. Here’s what he said:

Toadies in the MSM assert that there is no Blacklist in Hollywood.

And they’re right.

It’s not necessary because Hollywood is a very, very small, very, very ruthless town, where a few key words spoken in the right ears can absolutely wreck a career–code-words like “difficult,” “high-maintenance” and “uneven.” When you can obliterate a fellow professional with a few well-chosen phrases, why maintain something as crude and inelegant as a Blacklist?

How dare anyone even suggest that there’s a Blacklist against conservative artists and performers?

Blacklists are for mouth-breathers.

Blacklists are for knuckle-draggers.

Blacklists are so… so… Republican.

And so I kept my mouth shut. And a funny thing happened: The longer I was forced to withhold my opinions and beliefs, the brighter they burned in me. Funny. Oppression has a way of doing that to the oppressed.

Ask any Soviet defector…

For years, I bit my tongue, nodding and making non-committal sounds while listening to the most virulently noxious Leftist spew imaginable: Explicit rape-murder fantasies directed toward Palin, Coulter, Malkin and Ingraham; blithely expressed wishes of cancer, assassination and mutilation of Bush, Cheney and Limbaugh; the snide denigration of “civilians” (i.e. anyone not in the entertainment business) in the “flyover states” (i.e. everywhere except New York and east of the Golden State Freeway–Pasadena, for instance is a “flyover state”); and, of course, the endless venomous, profanity-laced screes against the Tea Party.

Even more shocking was the rampant hypocrisy, the endemic corruption, the casual thievery–from producers ordering custom built doors and windows for their homes from the construction department, to having their Beemers and Benzos topped daily with gas by Transpo. All on the studio dime.

Meanwhile, any actress or female writer can tell you that the Casting Couch is alive and well in contemporary Hollywood. And it’s absolutely fascinating just how many male producers and execs time their set-visits to coincide with nude-scenes…

And forget about “diversity.”

Please, go read the whole thing.

Hollywood and the Left use their political correctness–sexism, racism, environmentalism–as a sword and a shield. They would skewer Rush Limbaugh, destroy him, and happily do it while their own side commits grievous insults of the worst, most virulent kind. More here.

They do it so people will be afraid and so people will shut up.

And many in Hollywood are afraid and have stayed quiet. Who wouldn’t be afraid of being Black Listed? Andrew Breitbart gave them courage and a voice.

Across this fruited plain, there are all sorts of folks either too cowed or too weary to take on the liberals.

The folks in Hollywood have to endure the leftist mentality in the surreal insanity of an utterly narcissistic culture. They need help. They need an army of Breitbarts.

So what are conservatives doing to help the Hollywood types?

Are we buying Robert Davi’s music CD’s and watching his movies? I interviewed him. Get to know him here. See what he said about Andrew Breitbart here.

Are we supporting Gary Sinise’s charities?

Are we signing up for Daniel Knaup’s new production? Sign up here. (Just need an email.)

Are we listening and buying Five for Fighting’s music? See what John Ondrasik says here.

Are we watching Chuck to support Adam Baldwin? Buying Firefly (something you should do no matter what, anyway, because it’s perfect.)

Are we supporting Patricia Heaton, off of Twitter right now, as she bravely stands for what’s right?

Are we standing for Kirk Cameron while he stands for traditional values? Do we stand for his free speech even if we disagree with him?

Are we downloading the Children’s app [full disclosure: I am helping promote the app -- business sent to me via Andrew Breitbart, by the way]: CherryTree? It’s for children. It’s safe. It’s free. And it’s being developed by Hollywood conservatives Dan Kessler and Allen Covert. These men, by the way, are wonderful. I had the joy and honor of walking around CPAC as these two Hollywood men, locked in liberal land, received hugs from adoring conservative fans.

If Andrew showed us anything, he demonstrated an absolute faith in the conservative movement–from conservative moms doing Tea Parties fearing for friendships to Hollywood actors fearing for livelihoods.

We need to do better helping each other, building each other’s businesses, hiring each other, buying each other’s products and promoting the work of dedicated conservatives–some risking everything.



Oscars: All About Boomers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Who ever thought that the Boomers would kill the youth culture? They’ve managed to.

It’s all old-aged melodrama now. Reality doesn’t apply to Boomers. They will not get old.

Shhh…don’t tell them, but they’re old.

I don’t necessarily mind that people are reassessing their activity level and what it means to be old.

Still, the self-indulgence of these folks is grating. Perpetual adolescence by an entire generation is lame.

P.S. Where was Jack Nicholson?

Also, why the Grammy’s were better than the Oscars.



The Suits They Love: Jim Nelson And Jennifer Rubin Will Choose For You

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Conservative bloggers outside of the Beltway have been hopping mad at Jennifer Rubin, ostensible conservative journalist (née blogger), for what they perceive as shameless bias against conservatives and conservatism.

Politico wrote a story about her obsessive anti-Rick Perry writing (60 columns!) and apparent coziness with the Romney team.

When Redstate blogger and CNN commentator Erick Erickson noted that he didn’t think Rubin was conservative and likened her political bent to being a member of Likud, the Israeli political party, Rubinfired back:

“You want a Washington Post journalist to comment on an anti-Semitic screed by some blogger?” Rubin asked. “My arms are not long enough to punch down that far.”

This response was giggle-worthy —for a couple of reasons. The smug self-importance while throwing the victim card while, um, punching down, reinforced criticisms rather than countering them.

Erickson went on to apologize for insensitivity, saying he intended the Likud comparison as political shorthand for Rubin’s positions (meaning that she’s good on national security and terror but not much else), not as loyalty to Israel over America.

Jeff Duntz, conservative Jewish blogger at Yid With A Lid would have none of it, “Erick is not the most subtle person around. If he were to make a charge of dual loyalty, the reader would be hit over the head with it.”

He goes further, “..maybe to the readers of the very liberal Washington Post she is a conservative, but to the rest of us conservatives she is nothing more than an arrogant ‘not conservative blogger’ who is not a big fan of either conservatives or bloggers.”

And yet, many of her beltway conservative media friends closed ranks. The defense? They know her. She’s nice.

And while it’s probably true that she’s a nice person, it doesn’t quite address the central criticism: that she’s biased against the conservative cause.

But more on that in a minute.

Last night, a fuming friend presented me a hastily torn out Letter from the Editor from G.Q. Magazine. The editor, Jim Nelson, a former CNN news producer and failed screenwriter vented his overworked spleen against…you guessed it, Rick Perry.

His paragraphs were long and convoluted–the kind of writing you’d expect from someone who has trouble finding the keyboard keys because the anger-induced adrenalin surge would be better suited to outrunning a bear. In this case, Jim Nelson was afraid he couldn’t outrun alpha-male Rick Perry. He’s the bogeyman and he’s coming to get meeee! Here’s a sample:

But I imagine that, come primary time, a lot of GOP voters, hoping to extend a middle finger to Washington, will find that fat little finger in Perry’s hand. Is he crazy? Who isn’t these days? Those throw-the-bums-outers will love Perry’s brand of craziness. He’s like Ron Paul without the diapers.

There’s more where that came from. Michele Bachmann isn’t spared, nor is nearly every mainstream American, forget conservative, idea: Boy Scouting is good, repealing Obamacare is wanted, the Commerce Clause is abused, etc.

Nelson edits a male fashion and lifestyle magazine, and has decided to go down the Graydon Carter road of mistaking his audience for people who care about his leftist opinion about the Republican primary contenders. Here’s the demographics:

TOTAL AUDIENCE: 6,612,000
Median Age: 34.3
Age 18-49: 82%
Median HHI: $72,738
HHI $100,000+: 31%
Gender: Male 73%/Female 27%
Education: Attended/Graduated College+ 70%
Employment Status: Professional 50%
Marital Status: Single 63%/Married 37%

Source: MRI Spring 2011

PROFILE OF AFFLUENT AUDIENCE:
Median Age: 39.9
Median HHI: $157,606
Gender: Male 82%/Female 18%
Education: Attended/Graduated College+ 83%
Employment Status: Professional 70%
Marital Status: Single 38%/Married 62%

Source: MMR 2011

Any guess how this demographic votes? Yeah. It’s no wonder print media of all sorts is losing readership. If the fury I witnessed is any indication, the magazine has lost another subscriber.

Jennifer Rubin writes for the Washington Post. She replaced Dave Weigel, the self-admitted non-conservative who voted for Nader, Kerry, and Obama, in that order. Before going to the WaPo, Jennifer wrote many places but found one of her homes at Pajamas Media, where I also wrote, and sometimes write. Her writing there was fair, and more importantly, balanced.

Conservatives who read her work now wonder why a conservative writer at the WaPo is needed at all—at least a conservative like this one. Far from being a haven of conservative thought, Rubin’s columns are informed by the same fundamental worldview as her liberal compatriots at the newspaper, like Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein—the same worldview which permeates the pages of the Post every day. Call it the “big city mayor” approach to government—or even the Big Brother approach.

To summarize: Government is a benevolent force, lead by intelligent people who will find solutions for the folks who don’t know better.

Unabashedly conservative politicians—particularly those who come from rural, southern, or western backgrounds—provoke panic for people with this worldview.

Whenever pundits like Jim Nelson or Jennifer Rubin start to lose it over the rugged individualistic, common sense, rather straight-forward, red-white-and-blue American ethic espoused by someone like Rick Perry, the movie Talladega Nights comes to my mind. Nearly every stereotype of the middle American bumpkin was thrown into that movie. And yet, the movie was a smash hit. Middle Americans, as it turns out, have a sense of humor about themselves.

What Hollywood meant as scorn, the viewers embraced. The jokes on them, smirk those in the know. If numbers mean anything, and in electoral politics and movie theaters, they do, the exact opposite is true.

Unlike the media consumers, members of the Smartypants Set™ most certainly do not have a sense of humor–unless you consider unironic allusions to being the 1% like New York University professor Jay Rosen made while being taped during his journalism class humor. Well. He thought he was funny.

Sensibility saviors and cultural vanguards take their role as gatekeepers for the ignorant masses deadly seriously. And a guy like Rick Perry and all the state-college-educated, gun-toting, Air Force-flying, Bible-loving, NASCAR watching, baseness sticks in the craw of the Smartypants Set™.

They are, as candidate Obama noted, “bitter clingers.” They just won’t let go of their cherished American traditions.

The common people, “provincial” as Jennifer Rubin described Perry, embarrass them. In the end, it’s all about how they feel. And being lead by a commoner, even a highly successful one, does not suit.

So, Jim Nelson has Barack Obama—suave, urbane and best of all, he knows how to wear a suit. And Jennifer Rubin has Mitt Romney—suave, urbane, and best of all, he knows how to wear a suit.

It doesn’t matter if the suit is empty or the suit isn’t conservative. The point is, these people don’t make the cultural elites uncomfortable. They are their people. They speak a language that resonates with news editors and commentators and even Washington Post bloggers journalists.

Increasingly, and regretfully, it’s a language not spoken anywhere but in the cloisters of Higher Ed and newsrooms and Hollywood and worst of all, Congress. It’s uniform, uninformed and anything but inclusive. There’s little diversity of thought, if any, and the unifying theme is “We know better than you.”

The tenor of the language is getting increasingly shrill and hysterical.

Jim Nelson’s screed was ill-thought out and tinged with paranoia.

Jennifer Rubin’s repeated bashing has become strangely personal. In her case, the willingness to print every spurious rumor as fact as long as it maligns Rick Perry (while ignoring nearly every other Republican candidate) is neither very objective nor very journalistic–well, not in the romantic journalist-as-objective-reporter nonsense she ascribes to.

Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky New York University journalism professors, and in Shirky’s case, a consultant to the New York Times spoke of how the New York Times created Barack Obama. Together they gloated and spoke of Chardonnay and shaping the news to diminish conservatives and elevate liberals.

Here’s the real takeaway: The media is neither objective nor in touch with the culture they seek to shape. They, like Obama, believe America, and especially conservative America, is fundamentally flawed. They don’t see a distinction between your average evangelical churchgoer and a snake-handler. They seek to poison the well for any politician or person espousing conservative ideology even in the face of the abject failure of their own.

This worldview is detached, egotistic and condescending. And as long as people who ascribe to it are allowed to dictate who is an acceptable leader and who isn’t, we’ll always end up with empty suits.

Updated already:

Here’s Jennifer Rubin’s latest.



Podcast: Nathan Wurtzel and James Lileks On Pixar, Dan Riehl On Pulling The Plug On Reid’s Wife

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Dr. Melissa Cloutheir discusses Pixar and the great success of a American company within a American industry. She is joined by Dan Riehl to discuss his current residence in the 7th level of hell.

James Lileks of The Bleat and Nathan Wurtzel of The Catalyst Group talk Pixar and other animated movies. I argue for The Iron Giant and Wall-E. Much disagreement ensues.

And then the Dan Riehl lobs more bombs–talking Christianity, God in government, the fall of the Republic and does America have hope?

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Podcast: Twilight Edition

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sarah K. Fleming of Twits.ws and John Hawkins discuss teenage sex, the appeal of vampires, why it might be more damaging for young girls to have sex with older guys than the other way around and more….

Also, Sarah reveals a secret her husband Frank of IMAO would rather no one knows.

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When Melissa isn’t on the radio, you can find her at melissaclouthier.com and on Twitter. Her username is MelissaTweets.