Archives September 2009

RECENT MOVIES – CRITIQUES

 

However unsolicited, here’s a few comments about some recent movies. Granted, we all have differing tastes, but these are the best and the worst, in my humble movie-lover’s opinion. The summer selection was pretty bad this year with one, perhaps, worthy of any Oscar contention, that being Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep will probably get another nomination, her performance was amazing.

Rating on a scale of 1 – 10

Pelham 1-2-3

One of those remakes that got it right. Exciting, suspenseful shared with a human drama. Excellent performances by Travolta and Denzel Washington. Give it an 8.

My Sister’s Keeper

A cancer story that pulls at the heart strings. A departure in parts from the book, but I like the movie ending better. Cameron Diaz transforms into a heavy role, believable and sincere. Abigail Breslin, child actress, is powerful and charming…as always. Stealing the spotlight, is the victim herself, Safia Vasilieva. Give it an 8 ½. Rent it, you’ll be captured

 Public Enemies

Another John Dillinger flick to heap onto the pile. It’s actually a good movie, but I had a hard time with seeing Johnny Depp in his character. Give it a 7

 The Proposal

Light comedy, stupid plot, but entertaining if you’re interested in lightening up. Sandra Bullock is, the usual Sandra Bullock. No Oscar contender here. Give it 6 ½

 Funny People

We walked out after twenty-five minutes. Adam Sandler, who could not share the same stage with greats like Jackie Gleason, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, and more, should be more discriminating in accepting roles that are beneath him. Pure, unadulturated crap trying to pass as humor. Give it a Zero = 0

Julie & Julia

By now, movie lovers certainly know this is a cleverly written story about a modern woman who idolizes the life and works of Julia Child, and goes about trying to duplicate all her recipes. Thus the film flips back and forth from back story of fifty years ago, to today. Streep is incredible, and so is Amy Adams who is blooming to become one of the greats of the silver screen in this century. Give it a 8 ½

 Orphan

A not-so-innovative script about a couple who adopts a little girl, then finds she is mentally disturbed, causing havoc and misery to their lives. It’s acted fine by Vera Farmiga, Peter Saarsgard and Isabel Fuhrman (the child), but falls short by over dramatizing and photographing the horror scenes. Give it a 7

 500 Days Of Summer

Based in Ireland, a warm and loving story about a woman (Summer) and her newfound lover, and the relationship that spans 500 days. Good movie. Not a great movie. Give it a 7

Inglorious Basterds

Not for everyone, but I enjoyed the setting, the story, the humor and most of the acting. Set in WW II, a group of military Jews set out to kill all the Nazis they can find. My one problem, was accepting Brad Pitt in the role of a Tennessee Jew with a southern accent. Give it an 8

Perfect Getaway

The best part of this movie was the spectacular scenery of Hawaii. A weak plot about a pair of newlyweds who go on a hiking trip in Hawaii, only to find themselves in the middle of a murder story. Meanwt to be suspenseful, but it falls short. Acting is substandard, as is the directing. Might be entertaining to the younger set. Give it a 5

Gamer

Hi-tech, sci-fi thriller with zero plot and lots of kerky jerky camera action and stupid dialogue. At least, that’s the way it was for the first 30 minutes, because we walked out. Video game nerds might like it, but not the mature set. Gerard Butler is generally good, but not in this one. Give it a 2.

 The Informant

Based on a true story about a frumpy executive who turns in his corporate echelon to the FBI, but gets caught up in a series of his own stupid lies. Matt Damon does a remarkable job of transforming his usual macho persona into an intellectual nerd. Interesting, but no Oscar contender. Give it a 7

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

Trapped by evangelicals. No..that’s not the plot of the movie. It’s the dilemma for the audience. I should have vetted the movie better, but we were simply going by a few by-lines and promo pictures, which made it look interesting. Once inside, we were subjected to a story line which was nothing more than an old man evangelizing to three young boys the way of Jesus Christ. While devout Christians may have found this movie to their liking, others who are not so inclined will walk out, as we did…and then complain to the management, that if we wanted a sermon about following Jesus, I’d attend a church service. Give it a Zero

Whiteout

The best part of this picture is visiting Antarctica and the south pole. By the time the movie was over, we had to put on our sweaters, though the outside temps were in the 80s. An old story plot about crazies and murder, hand held cameras making it hard to discern what the heck is going on, and fair acting by Kate Beckinsale and others. Give it a 6

Surrogates

Far out. If you don’t like the movie, you’ll still walk away remarking about the incredible imagination of the creators. A futuristic film about humans living their lives through surrogates (robots)…with some suspense and excitement built in. Bruce Willis is good. Might be nominiated for special effects, but not much else. Give it a 6 ½

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

KEEP POLITICIANS OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

Someone recently asked to clarify my position on why it’s inappropriate for the president of the United States to be making speeches to school kids in their classrooms. It was a fair question. After all, his speech seemed relatively innocuous, mostly advice about staying in school, and so forth.

Here’s the problem, in a nutshell.

It’s wrong for any politician, republican or democrat, senator, governor or president, to be electronically feeding information into children’s classrooms. It’s just as wrong for Bush and Reagan as it is for Barack Obama. Here’s why:

No politician anywhere, no matter who, commits to such an endeavor without first weighing and deciding the political benefits. It’s a calculated move, not just by the president, but by his team of advisors. Those who think altruistically, that it was some heartfelt need to pass his thoughts on to youngsters en masse, live in dreamland.

The political benefit is simple. While the outer message may seem harmless, there is a more subtle message being spoon fed to kids; This president is a really great guy. This president is to be admired. This president is a hero. Wowie, what a great president.

I realize this was only one speech, but it’s a beginning. It all starts with baby steps. And it should be stopped in its tracks.

Folowing the speech, there are no counter politicians to make other remarks.  Thus, it’s a one-way indoctrination effort, which in turn, is designed to sway the minds of those kids when they reach the voting booths in 2012 and 2016

I’m sure this is a carefully thought-out plan, not so much by Mr. Obama, but by the powers behind him within the party, who are thinking ahead to the next election. Fifteen year-old kids vote next time. Even 11 year-olds will vote in 2016, perhaps for the chosen successor to Mr. Obama. The kids are a fertile reservoir for mind games.

One doesn’t have to be a historian to know that this is an old ploy, having been used by government despots in years past, that being, to reach out to children where minds are fresh and pliable. The most extreme, or course, was Hitler. But, it was also used by Mao, Stalin, Castro, and Ho. Reach out to the children. Gather the youth. It’s an old, but effective, tactic.

Mr. Obama was not wrong to tell kids to stay in school. But there are parents, teachers, sports figures and rock stars our there, all kinds of role models and heros, who are doing just that, who aren’t manipulating kids for political gain. We should keep politics out of the classroom, and to do that, we must keep politicians out of the classroom. All of them.

Recently, there has been a hoopla about kids being indoctrinated to sing praises of Obama in the classroom. Some say, it’s a one-time anomaly, but it’s not true. That’s also reminiscent of oppressive nations in years past. Administrators and teachers who endorse such a policy, should be fired. Parents, meanwhile, should express their outrage and demand these things be stopped. It’s not any different than indoctrinating kids to love Allah, God or Jesus in public schools. That’s not what the kids are there for.

To be further aghast, here’s a trio of videos which exhibit these kinds of indoctrinations. Pay particular attention to the third link:

Click here: YouTube – BARACK OBAMA KIDS

Click here: School kids taught to sing praise to Obama – video

Click here: YouTube – School Children Sing Praises of Obama

Greatest All-Time Variety/Comedy Shows

Whatever happened to the variety/comedy shows? You know, the ones where they played before a live audience, mixing comedy skits with singers, guest stars, dancers and an hour of laughter. The best ever, in my humble opinion, was the Carol Burnett Show. She had it all. Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and the best; herself. Every show began with a monologue, questions from the audience with ad lib quips, that Tarzan sreech, and the washer woman character that no one could imitate.

As the saying goes, they don’t make like they used to. The younger folks don’t know what they missed without seeing these wonderful shows. Yes, I’m glad I was around when they were big hits, but they also sadden me when I watch the poor excuses we have today for comedy in comparison.

No canned laughter for these folks. But it wasn’t needed. Just watch any episode of “Burnett” or “Jackie Gleason” and you’ll find plenty of that authentic laughter coming from the people in the studio. Something about fake laughter that I resent. It’s as though the producers of these shows don’t trust us to know what’s funny.

Anyway, here’s my top ten for the greatest variety shows of all time. (With a few links to spice it up)

The Carol Burnett Show

YouTube -Tim Conway’s Elephant Story  

The Jackie Gleason Show

Click here: KINESCOPE HD: HOW SWEET IT WAS

The Dean Martin Show

YouTube – Drunk Airline Pilot

Sonny And Cher

Click here: YouTube – Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour #4

The Smothers Brothers

YouTube – The Smothers Brothers – Part 3

The Colgate Comedy Hour

YouTube – Jerry Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour

colgate comedy hour Videos

The Show Of Shows

The Ed Sullivan Show

Red Skelton Show

Milton Berle Show 

 

What say you…my fellow senior citizens?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

DON'T LIKE OBAMA? YOU'RE A RACIST!

Perhaps it’s time for Jimmy Carter’s admission into a nursing home.
In a recent town hall meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Carter expressed his feelings that the outburst by South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (“You Lie”) at the president, was an act of racism. He further added, “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”
Is that the best you can do, Mr. Carter? Are you unable to dispute the level of truth-skewing by President Obama? Can you not stick to the issue at hand, without accusing people of a motive you cannot support?
Please, news media. You paid no attention to Reagan’s comments in his post presidential years, please do the same with the man who should never have been president in the first place.
True, Joe Wilson’s spontaneity was uncalled for and he was reprimanded for that by the House. He also apologized to the president, not for what he said, but for the rudeness of the moment.
That being said, it would only take a pea-brain to equivocate any and all anti-Obama feelings as “racism.” Seems, when pro-Obama people run out of any intelligent debate on an opposing argument regarding the president, they reach out for the last resort — the race card.
I have had friends accuse me of racism because of my opposition to many of Obama’s beliefs and policies. I would ask: Is that the best you can do? Can you not debate the issues without injecting race? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I criticize the costs of his health care plan, why does it enter yours? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I worry about his selling Israel out to the Arab world, why does it enter yours? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I distrust his character and worry about his past sordid relationships, why does it enter yours?
So, who’s the racist?
Was it racism when millions of people disagreed with Colin Powell’s sales pitch to the UN? Was it racism when millions of people disagreed with Condi Rice on matters in international diplomacy? Is it racism when readers disagree with syndicated columnists, like Walter Williams, Clarence Page and Thomas Sowell, all who happen to be black?
In many of my past writing, and in my book “Militant Islam In America,” I sharply criticized President G.W. Bush for his chummy and harmful relationship with the Saudis, and for starting the unnecessary Iraq war. Does that make me a racist, because President Bush was white?
Now comes former president, Jimmy Carter, who cannot think of another reason for people to disagree with Mr. Obama, other than the fact that he happens to be black. And we listen to him.
Shame on everyone who buys into that.
Cal Thomas wrote a compelling article, same subject, which covered the issue better than I. Some of you will say, “Well, what else, he’s a conservative!” To those, I would submit: We can learn from smart people on both sides of the aisle. I have learned from liberal writers, as well as conservative. Because Thomas is usually conservative, that doesn’t automatically render him incorrect.
Read his op-ed.
Cal Thomas : The Racism Card – Townhall.com
 
 
 
 

DON’T LIKE OBAMA? YOU’RE A RACIST!

Perhaps it’s time for Jimmy Carter’s admission into a nursing home.

In a recent town hall meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Carter expressed his feelings that the outburst by South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (“You Lie”) at the president, was an act of racism. He further added, “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

Is that the best you can do, Mr. Carter? Are you unable to dispute the level of truth-skewing by President Obama? Can you not stick to the issue at hand, without accusing people of a motive you cannot support?

Please, news media. You paid no attention to Reagan’s comments in his post presidential years, please do the same with the man who should never have been president in the first place.

True, Joe Wilson’s spontaneity was uncalled for and he was reprimanded for that by the House. He also apologized to the president, not for what he said, but for the rudeness of the moment.

That being said, it would only take a pea-brain to equivocate any and all anti-Obama feelings as “racism.” Seems, when pro-Obama people run out of any intelligent debate on an opposing argument regarding the president, they reach out for the last resort — the race card.

I have had friends accuse me of racism because of my opposition to many of Obama’s beliefs and policies. I would ask: Is that the best you can do? Can you not debate the issues without injecting race? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I criticize the costs of his health care plan, why does it enter yours? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I worry about his selling Israel out to the Arab world, why does it enter yours? Race doesn’t enter my mind when I distrust his character and worry about his past sordid relationships, why does it enter yours?

So, who’s the racist?

Was it racism when millions of people disagreed with Colin Powell’s sales pitch to the UN? Was it racism when millions of people disagreed with Condi Rice on matters in international diplomacy? Is it racism when readers disagree with syndicated columnists, like Walter Williams, Clarence Page and Thomas Sowell, all who happen to be black?

In many of my past writing, and in my book “Militant Islam In America,” I sharply criticized President G.W. Bush for his chummy and harmful relationship with the Saudis, and for starting the unnecessary Iraq war. Does that make me a racist, because President Bush was white?

Now comes former president, Jimmy Carter, who cannot think of another reason for people to disagree with Mr. Obama, other than the fact that he happens to be black. And we listen to him.

Shame on everyone who buys into that.

Cal Thomas wrote a compelling article, same subject, which covered the issue better than I. Some of you will say, “Well, what else, he’s a conservative!” To those, I would submit: We can learn from smart people on both sides of the aisle. I have learned from liberal writers, as well as conservative. Because Thomas is usually conservative, that doesn’t automatically render him incorrect.

Read his op-ed.

Cal Thomas : The Racism Card – Townhall.com