Not rated yet!
Steven Spielberg
2 h 04 min
Release Date
18 June 1975
Horror, Thriller, Adventure
An insatiable great white shark terrorizes the townspeople of Amity Island, The police chief, an oceanographer and a grizzled shark hunter seek to destroy the bloodthirsty beast.
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  • The 10 Best Steven Spielberg Films
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Trailer HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 10. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)Though a bit silly in places, this followup starring Harrison Ford and Spielberg’s soon-to-be-wife Kate Capshaw was also bursting with energy and wickedly amusing stunts, not to mention the thrilling moment when Indy avoids death by slipping below a sliding door but then reaches back for his battered fedora. It’s a quintessential example of Spielberg’s good-natured wit.  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Saving Private Ryan - Officialu00AE Trailer [HD]', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 9. Saving Private Ryan (1998)Spielberg’s definitive WW II picture frequently makes no sense --  why would a simple infantry platoon try to take on an armored battalion, when all Capt. Miller’s troops have to do is stroll across a bridge and blow it up behind them? But it deserves a place in the annals of cinema history for its breathtaking, nerve-shattering opening scene of the D-Day invasion, a tableau that redefined what gritty, gruesome war realism could be.  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Catch Me If You Can - Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 8. Catch Me If You Can (2002)Leonardo DiCaprio has never given a better performance than he did as the boyish con artist Frank Abagnale, who breezes through the 1960s on forged checks and pretends to be a pilot, a surgeon, a lawyer and anything else that strikes his fancy. Alas, Tom Hanks’s Boston accent as the FBI man on his tail is unfortunate.  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Richard Dreyfuss in "Always" 1989 Movie Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 7. Always (1989)A beautifully told, romantic ghost story, this uncharacteristically disarming adaptation of Spielberg’s childhood favorite A Guy Named Joe featured the most nuanced and appealing female character he ever conjured up, Holly Hunter’s Dorinda, who loses her courageous boyfriend (Richard Dreyfuss) when he dies piloting a plane in the course of trying to put out a forest fire. He continues to exert a supernatural pull on her life even as she finds love with another man.  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Jurassic World - Official Trailer (HD)', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 6. Jurassic Park (1993)That the film was a special-effects landmark wasn’t really the key to its success: Spielberg made the dinosaurs matter by taking the time to establish his cast of characters and their conflicts well before any monsters appear. And he found brilliant ways to use his trademark tongue-in-cheek humor to offset the terror. Who else but Spielberg could get a laugh out of the familiar legend, “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear”?  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Jaws Official Trailer #1 - Richard Dreyfuss, Steven Spielberg Movie (1975) HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 5. Jaws (1975)Forty years on, the shark thriller has lost much of its shock value, and its pace now seems deliberate rather than frenzied. But the 27-year-old Spielberg’s ability to manufacture dread and suspense from a malfunctioning prop (the crew couldn’t get the damn mechanical shark to work half the time) was uncanny, and the manly camaraderie of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss as they ventured out alone into the wilderness to save the townsfolk was like that of a trio of gunslingers daring to settle the West.  var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Schindler's List (1993) Official Trailer - Liam Neeson, Steven Spielberg Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 4. Schindler’s List (1993)Releasing two defining films in a single year proved Spielberg was still operating at peak levels two decades into his unprecedented career. The problem of how to do a Holocaust film was one that had essentially flummoxed Hollywood for 50 years before Spielberg found the proper approach: Amid the squalor and the massacre, he cast his vision toward the shining light of humanity embodied by the savior Oskar Schindler, personified by the quiet dignity of Liam Neeson in a star-making performance. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2015/4/17/the-10-best-steven-spielberg-films/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • 10 Movies Millennials Must See to Understand the 1970s
    Lifestyle I knew things were bad when, a few years ago, I actually found myself missing the Seventies.Many, many American movies made during the Seventies share one overarching theme:America is falling apart!Tim Dirks' must-read, 6-part overview of the films of this era begins with this highly-concentrated, perfectly observed paragraph:Motion picture art seemed to flourish at the same time that the defeat in the Vietnam War, the Kent State Massacre, the Watergate scandal, President Nixon's fall, the Munich Olympics shoot-out, increasing drug use, and a growing energy crisis showed tremendous disillusion, a questioning politicized spirit among the public and a lack of faith in institutions -- a comment upon the lunacy of war and the dark side of the American Dream.Our own Ed Driscoll has done yeoman's work chronicling that decade's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" leftwing auteur boom: the death of the studio system, and the rise of hot young directors – Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese -- whose visions still inform American film, and the culture at large.(See also A Decade Under the Influence and Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange.)Most recently, Kyle Smith proffered his "10 Best Films of the 1970s."My list is different than Smith's because the "best" films of that era (and I agree with many of his selections) don't necessarily capture the mood of the times as well as lesser movies.What follows is a guide for millennials who are forever hearing about "the Seventies," are living with that decade's toxic cultural fallout, and who wonder what life during this tumultuous time (although, aren't they all…?) was really like.That's why I've neglected to mention anachronistic or overly escapist fare: all the bloated feel-good musicals; anything by Disney, Mel Brooks or Cubby Broccoli; all but one of Woody Allen's "early funny ones"; sweeping pseudo-period Oscar bait like Barry Lyndon, The Way We Were, New York, New York, The Sting and Funny Lady; and timeless blockbusters like Star Wars, Halloween and Rocky.(Incidentally: most movies about the Vietnam War were made in the 1980s.)However, I have included movies about the Seventies that were made later, if they accurately evoke the time period. Note: There are a LOT of these.Ideally, curious readers should get hold of the ten movies I've chosen as exemplars of my ten different themes, then temporarily get rid of their computers and phones (because it's 1972, and "Ma Bell" still hasn't shown up to activate your line). Next put on some thick polyester clothing, and eat nothing but Cheesies and Orange Crush for the duration. (The Seventies were VERY orange.)Close all your curtains to help mimic the sinister, suffocating atmosphere we marinated in.And press "play." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/6/27/10-movies-millennials-must-see-to-understand-the-1970s/ previous Page 1 of 11 next   ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • Of Roadshows and Rollercosters
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll The late Gene Siskel once said that the test of a good movie is whether it is more interesting than simply watching a documentary about its cast having lunch. Does that same basic concept work in print form? A pair of recent articles on two less-than-successful films from Universal made during Hollywood's fallow post-Easy Riders pre-Star Wars period are far more enjoyable than the actual films they're describing.First up, The Digital Bits DVD and Blu-Ray review site looks at the 45th anniversary of Bob Fosse and Shirley MacLaine's 1969 musical Sweet Charity, with an emphasis on its roadshow engagements -- which is a reminder of what was lost, for better or worse, with the coming of Jaws, Star Wars, and the modern film distribution method:Two months after sneak-preview screenings in Phoenix and Chicago, Sweet Charity had its world premiere in Boston on February 11, 1969 (several weeks ahead of opening in New York and Los Angeles). Although the Boston engagement played the Saxon (and is identified as such in the engagements listing below), the premiere event was held simultaneously at the Saxon and Music Hall.The roadshow engagements of Sweet Charity were big-city exclusives that preceded general-release exhibition. Out of hundreds of films released domestically during 1969, Sweet Charity was among only seven given deluxe roadshow treatment. Much like a stage show, they featured reserved seating, an advanced admission price, were shown an average of only ten times per week, and included an overture, intermission, entr’acte and exit music. Many of the roadshow presentations of Sweet Charity were screened in a 70-millimeter (blow-up) print with six-track stereophonic sound and were promoted as “70mm/Panavision with Full Dimensional Sound.” Souvenir program booklets were sold, as well.What follows is a (work in progress) list of Sweet Charity‘s domestic theatrical “hard ticket” roadshow engagements, arranged chronologically by date of premiere. The duration of the engagements has been included for some entries to illustrate how unsuccessful the film was compared to most 1960s era roadshow releases, especially in comparison to Funny Girl and The Sound of Music.* * * * * * * *Coate:  Would the roadshow exhibition concept work today?Hall:  No, because audiences now expect instant access, to which the slow, staggered, exclusive release pattern is antithetical.  Studios also desire rapid release because of the threat of piracy.Holston: I doubt it.  It is now possible to purchase tickets in advance for the initial showings of some films, but those tickets are not for specific seats and you don’t get deluxe programs and overtures and intermissions.  Ever since Billy Jack and Jaws, people are used to seeing a new film immediately somewhere in their vicinity.  Instant gratification.  Today no one’s going to drive into a city to see a movie that won’t come to the suburbs for months or a year — if it’s successful.  That’s what happened with the likes of West Side Story, Cleopatra and The Sound of Music.  Plus, there are hardly any huge art deco movie theaters left in inner cities.  As I researched my book I realized that roadshows and movie palaces existed symbiotically.  The roadshow depended on palatial theaters—and big premieres.  Not to mention concentration of people in cities.  Suburbs, cars, and mall theaters helped kill the “experience.”Kennedy:  I don’t think so.  Roadshows played hard to get, beginning in big cities on single screens.  Today we know most all movie will be available in many forms via the home markets, TV, streaming, etc.  Roadshows were based on limited opportunity to see them before they disappeared into the vaults.  Opening a huge movie on a handful of screens and withholding it from a larger audience for weeks or months has become too risky.  When roadshows were not well received, word of mouth killed them.  Now with thousands of screens showing the same “blockbuster” in its opening weekend, audiences are lured in before negative word of mouth spreads.  Maybe that’s changing, too.  Nowadays audiences text and tweet “this movie sucks” far and wide before its first matinee is over.Wikipedia notes that Sweet Charity "cost $20 million to make, but made only $8 million at the box office, which nearly sank Universal Pictures."As books such as Peter Biskind's Easy Riders Raging Bulls, and The Studio by John Gregory Dunne documented, Hollywood studios tried to constantly repeat the blockbuster success of the Sound of Music throughout the rest of the 1960s, with ever-diminishing results. During that period a group of Young Turks infiltrated the system and influenced by both the French Nouvelle Vague, and their own experiences on Roger Corman's B-movies, began producing deliberately cruder and more violent fare, such as Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider, eventually to the point where Steven Spielberg's Jaws, George Lucas' Star Wars and their combined effort, Raiders of the Lost Ark were B-movies and '30s-style Republic Serials done on a grand scale, with state of the art special effects.Found via Kathy Shaidle, this Turner Classic Movies article on Universal's 1977 film disaster film Rollercoaster makes two key observations: the first is that Rollercoaster is the exact same plot as Universal's previous disaster film, The Hindenberg. (Same writers, too -- Richard Levinson and William Link, who created the Columbo TV series for Universal.) The other observation is that Universal's disaster films were the last redoubt of the Hollywood studio system that began in the 1920s and '30s:The disaster films of the 1970s marked the death rattle of the Hollywood studio system and served as the establishment's rebuttal to the youthful excesses and longueurs of the New Hollywood. While Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Peter Bogdanovich were breaking the rules, journeymen such as Ronald Neame, John Guillermin, Mark Robson, and Jack Smight were put to work making The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Towering Inferno (1974), Earthquake (1974), and Airport 1975 (1974). Disaster pictures were not only a response to such personal, indulgent films as Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Picture Show (1971), and McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) but served as reminders of how the studio system worked best, as a well-oiled machine, with a capable director communicating with equal dexterity between his actors and technical staff, while honoring the dictums and caprices of the front office. Special effects and big box craftsmanship to one side, the allure of the disaster cycle lay in its revolving cast of aging Hollywood A-listers - Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Shelley Winters, Gloria Swanson, James Stewart, William Holden, Joseph Cotten, Dana Andrews - whose onscreen deaths (or the threat thereof) added instant production value.Another of these selfless efficiency directors was James Goldstone, whose seminal work was in episodic television. (In 1966, Goldstone helmed the second pilot for Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, the one that sold.) The son of an entertainment attorney and talent agent (whose clients included Elizabeth Taylor and James Thurber), Goldstone directed few feature films, and his presence in a credit crawl invariably meant the producers wanted to save money by employing someone who could deliver the goods while creating as little trouble as possible.The Hollywood studios had enough troubles in the late 1960s and pre-Star Wars 1970s, to the point where to some in the movie industry, it very likely looked as if the genre wouldn't survive. (MGM effectively went out of business during that period.) I think they can be forgiven for wanting to work with craftsmen "who could deliver the goods while creating as little trouble as possible." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/2/17/of-roadshows-and-rollercosters/ ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • Radical Celluloid Chic: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls now on the Kindle
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle  The death on Monday of Bert Schneider, the man who, along with his business partner Bob Rafelson, brought you both the Monkees and Easy Rider, brings to a close one chapter in the life and death of New Hollywood. As Mark Steyn wrote on Wednesday:Bert Schneider was an obscure figure by the time of his death, but back in "New Hollywood" - that interlude between the end of the studio system and the dawn of the Jaws/Star Wars era - he was briefly a significant figure. He started in TV in the mid-Sixties, helped create "The Monkees" and then took them to the big screen in the feature film Head. That flopped, but the next film he produced, Easy Rider, cost less than 400 grand and within three years had made $60 million. There followed Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show.But, as much as I like the latter, I prefer to remember the late Mr Schneider for his contribution to the gaiety of 1970s Oscar nights. Truly, that was the golden age of Academy Awards ceremonies. On April 8th 1975, Bert Schneider's film Hearts And Minds won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Instead of an acceptance speech, he read out a telegram conveying fraternal greetings to the American people from Dinh Ba Thi of the Vietnamese Provisional Revolutionary Government. Offstage, Bob Hope was mad, and scribbled some lines for his co-host Frank Sinatra. So Frank came out and said that the Academy wished to disassociate itself from the preceding. Then a furious Shirley MacLaine yelled at Frank that she was a member of the Academy and no one had asked her if she wanted to disassociate herself from the Vietnamese Provisional Revolutionary Government. Then John Wayne said aw, the Schneider guy was a pain in the ass.The rise of New Hollywood is a story that’s been told countless times, but one of the very best tellings is Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, originally published in 1998, but finally released in a Kindle version this week -- entirely coincidentally, the day after Bert Schneider died. Biskind managed to interview many of the original players, and wrote a compelling narrative of the collapse of postwar Hollywood and the retirement of the last of the great moguls who built the industry, and the rise of the young turks who would be, for a time, their successors. And then their own usurpation, both through drug and alcohol-induced dissipation, and because Hollywood executives, with a little help from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, rediscovered how to connect with mass audiences.By the late 1960s, the Hollywood studio system was in ruins. There were multiple reasons -- Michael Medved has blamed the demise of Hollywood's self-enforced production code and its replacement with the G/PG/R/X rating system as alienating a big chunk of traditional moviegoers in the late 1960s. Concurrently, the urban “youth” market of the 1960s felt alienated by an industry still churning out formula clones of the last big film by “Old Hollywood,” The Sound of Music. The failure of so many of those films that came in its wake, including Dr. Doolittle, Hello Dolly, Star and other expensive, out of control musicals and family-oriented movies, nearly drove 20th Century Fox to financial ruin, and ultimately caused the once-mighty MGM to effectively close up shop as a functioning studio. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); During the late 1960s, age had caught up with the industry as well. In an era whose slogan amongst the left was “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” most Hollywood crews were manned by people double that age, who had broken in around the time of World War II or immediately afterwards, and weren’t planning to leave anytime soon. As Steven Spielberg told Biskind:"It was not like the older generation volunteered the baton,” says Spielberg. “The younger generation had to wrest it away from them. There was a great deal of prejudice if you were a kid and ambitious. When I made my first professional TV show, Night Gallery, I had everybody on the set against me. The average age of the crew was sixty years old. When they saw me walk on the stage, looking younger than I really was, like a baby, everybody turned their backs on me, just walked away. I got the sense that I represented this threat to everyone’s job.”Ultimately he was -- including many of the young turks in Biskind's book, ironically enough. But prior to Spielberg's rise as an industry unto himself, as Biskind tells it in Easy Riders, there were two milestones in the birth of New Hollywood in the late 1960s. The first was Bonnie & Clyde, the second was Easy Rider. As leftwing author Rick Perstein told Reason magazine in 2008 while promoting his then-recent book Nixonland:My theory is that Bonnie and Clyde was the most important text of the New Left, much more important than anything written by Paul Goodman or C. Wright Mills or Regis Debray. It made an argument about vitality and virtue vs. staidness and morality that was completely new, that resonated with young people in a way that made no sense to old people. Just the idea that the outlaws were the good guys and the bourgeois householders were the bad guys—you cannot underestimate how strange and fresh that was.But along with Bonnie & Clyde's subversive script (written by Robert Benton and David Newman, who got their start at Esquire magazine, then at the peak of its journalistic style and influence), at least the film had a known-star in Warren Beatty, a ravishing looking Faye Dunaway, whose career was still in its ascendency, and a veteran director in Arthur Penn. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/12/15/easy-riders-raging-bulls/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • 'Schindler's List is the Worst Jewish Film of All Time'?
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle That's not my headline; it was in the subject line of the email sent to me by Tablet magazine's PR contact -- and minus the question mark, to boot.  Liel Leibovitz writes at the Jewish-themed magazine that "Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List is both a moral and an aesthetic disaster, an embodiment of much that is wrong with American-Jewish life" -- and seems 'surprised' (likely not) that such fighting words have stirred up plenty of controversy:Last week, Tablet Magazine published our list of the 100 greatest Jewish films of all time. At the very bottom was Schindler’s List. In a brief blurb, I called it an “astoundingly stupid” movie, which, in turn, inspired some of our readers to call me a “piece of shit” and a “neo-Nazi”—all for casting an aspersion on what, if they are to be believed, is everyone’s favorite Holocaust movie.Which makes perfect sense: More than just a regrettable film, Schindler’s List neatly reflects the Manichean mindset of many American Jews, for whom mythology trumps memory and nothing lies beyond good and evil. Those who howled at me weren’t expressing a mere aesthetic judgment; they were defending a worldview.To understand this worldview, we need only look at Schindler’s List. The film’s two main characters are Liam Neeson’s Oskar Schindler and Ralph Fiennes’ Nazi officer, Amon Goeth. The first is a philandering and greedy German who sees a little girl in a red coat and has a nearly instantaneous epiphany, realizing that life is precious and that Jews should be saved. The other is a monster; it’s no coincidence that the American Film Institute ranked Goeth at number 15 in its list of the 100 greatest villains of all time, just one spot below the slimy creature who terrorized Sigourney Weaver in Ridley Scott’s Alien. Goeth, too, is an otherworldly sort. He is not, like the real-life murderer on whom he is based, merely a hateful, opportunistic, and cruel young man who relished the chance to play god. He is impenetrable, predatory, inhuman. We have little reason to fear him more than we fear, say, the Nazis in Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark or the shark from Jaws; all are terrifying, but all are the sort of baddies we’ll only ever see on-screen, not the kind of ordinary and crooked and all-too-human scum living quietly next door and waiting for a stab at power.There's no doubt Spielberg's sense of World War II history can be off-putting once you get beyond his powerful sense of composition, fluid camera motion, and John Williams' score. As Mark Steyn noted 15 years ago, there's plenty of nihilism and moral equivalence at work in Saving Private Ryan, the next WWII-themed movie Spielberg directed after Schindler:Purporting to be a recreation of the US landings on Omaha Beach, Private Ryan is actually an elite commando raid by Hollywood and the Hamptons to seize the past. After the spectacular D-Day prologue, the film settles down, Tom Hanks and his men are dispatched to rescue Matt Damon (the elusive Private Ryan) and Spielberg finds himself in need of the odd line of dialogue. Endeavouring to justify their mission to his unit, Hanks’s sergeant muses that, in years to come when they look back on the war, they’ll figure that `maybe saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we managed to pull out of this whole godawful mess’. Once upon a time, defeating Hitler and his Axis hordes bent on world domination would have been considered `one decent thing’. Even soppy liberals figured that keeping a few million more Jews from going to the gas chambers was `one decent thing’. When fashions in victim groups changed, ending the Nazi persecution of pink-triangled gays was still `one decent thing’. But, for Spielberg, the one decent thing is getting one GI joe back to his picturesque farmhouse in Iowa.And Ryan would be far from the only -- or the worst -- example of a nihilistic WWII film from a Hollywood that during that period definitely took Leibovitz's advice and moved far beyond good and evil. But is Schindler a “moral and aesthetic disaster,” as Leibovitz claims above? That seems more like an attempt to deliberately gin-up controversy for its own sake. As always, please discuss in the comments below.(Oh, and for what it's worth, here's my choice for the very worst Holocaust-related movie from Hollywood. So far.) class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/12/14/schindlers-list-is-the-worst-jewish-film-of-all-time/ ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • All You Need is Paint: Movie FX in the Pre-Star Wars Era
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll In the 1970s, Universal Studios consisted of two main divisions. The TV side cranked out endless formulaic detective shows for the networks. Colombo, McMillan, McCloud, Rockford, Kojak, they all defended the Universal backlot from evil-doers. The film division seemed to specialize in endless formulaic disaster movies: the Airport franchise, Irwin Allen’s Earthquake, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws -- all terrorized filmgoers, along with serving up plenty of epic cheese along the way.So it’s not surprising that in 1975, the studio turned to the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 as a film plot: it’s Airport set in the 1930s! Robert Wise could direct -- he knows his way around big movie projects! We could have a detective looking for saboteurs! We can produce the big explosion at the end in Sensurround!The result was a typical 1970s Universal potboiler -- but check out the special effects to bring the dead zeppelin back to life: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); There’s a terrific book from 2002 titled The Invisible Art (I bought my copy at the local Borders a couple of years ago for the cover price after noticing it's currently going for insane money on Amazon). It's a coffee table style look at the history of matte paintings, that’s chockablock filled with large color reproductions of the classic matte paintings created throughout the history of cinema. Some shots are simply reproductions of the completed image, but many also include the original matte painting (typically painted onto a large sheet of glass), showing the area left blank for the insertion of actors, typically via rear projection.The original idea behind matte paintings of course was that it made set production much cheaper -- only a small set need be built for the actors to appear in, and the rest of the image painted around them afterward. During World War II, when government mandates forced movie studios into building sets with a minimum of raw materials, films rarely thought of as “special effects movies” such as 1944's Since You Went Away made extensive use of matte paintings to replace large, free-standing physical sets. Flipping through The Invisible Art, it's obvious that the aesthetics of old Hollywood also helped to sell matte paintings. From Gone with the Wind in 1939, to the great MGM musicals of the 1950s, films made during Hollywood's golden era typically had a softer, more painterly look in general. Contrast this more aesthetically pleasing look to the harsh gritty films that became the vogue in the 1970s after Old Hollywood collapsed.By the 1970s, thanks to his long apprenticeship to Alfred Hitchcock, matte painter Albert Whitlock was one of the unsung heroes at Universal, crafting large vistas of destroyed urban areas for films such as Irwin Allen’s Earthquake and Hitchcock’s The Birds (arguably the predecessor to the 1970s disaster movies) to be produced. Fans of a certain popular mid-1960s science fiction TV series may recognize this classic matte painting created by Whitlock for the show's second pilot episode.For Robert Wise’s production of The Hindenburg, most of the long shots of the airship consist of Whitlock’s matte paintings. While a large model of the Hindenburg was built for the movie, many of its appearances are a photograph of the model (which now hangs in the Smithsonian), with extra details painted in by Whitlock, and then glued to a piece of glass, which was then placed atop another Whitlock painting of the landscape below. Via stop motion animation (where the image of the zeppelin was moved a frame at a time) the Hindenburg was made to “fly” over a beautifully painted landscape of 1930s-era New York. (The end of the movie switches to black and white to allow stock footage of the infamous crash to used intercut with Scott and crew on sets; Ted Turner’s crayon-like film colorization techniques mercifully not yet invented.)The result was one of the last big special effects movies before George Lucas's Star Wars revitalized the moribund film industry, and revolutionized special effects. Lucas would of course create Industrial Light & Magic, his own in-house effects department, which would bring a host of new techniques to the industry during the following decade. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2010/8/18/all-you-need-is-paint/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • Yes, the Three-Breasted Woman Will Make Her Triumphant Return in Total Recall Remake
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle There were many questions about the Total Recall remake that fans were anxious to have answered.1. Will Colin Farrell speak with an Austrian accent?2. Kate Beckinsale vs. Sharon Stone: Who would you rather wake up next to?3. Will the three-breasted prostitute from the original version make an appearance in the remake?Thankfully, Farrell decided against using an Austrian accent. As for question #2, are you nuts? Does it really matter?And yes, the reboot of the iconic 1990 actioneer will feature perhaps the most interesting character from the original; a mutant with three breasts who comes on to Arnold Schwarzenegger at a sleazy bar on Mars. At the recently completed Comic-Con in San Diego, actress Kaitlyn Leeb caused a sensation when she walked around the convention sporting her barely concealed triple mammaries.“You’re gonna wish you had three hands,” Leeb’s character purrs to Colin Farrell’s Quaid/Hauser in the Total Recall trailer as she opens her shirt. The same character (played by Lycia Naff) caused a sensation in the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but thanks to a Comic Con appearance and the internet, Leeb has gone global.Leeb is back home in Toronto after a stint in Calgary where she’s working on season six of CBC’s family drama Heartland, playing veterinary assistant Cassandra.She made an appearance at Comic Con in San Diego with Total Recall castmates Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel last weekend, stealing their thunder with a skimpy costume that revealed the realistic-looking prosthetic trio.“Total Three-Call,” trumpeted London tabloid the Sun, while photos from the event flooded the web and were published around the world.“It’s a tough industry and I’ve worked very hard for it,” said Leeb, who was also an amateur figure skater before starting to work as an actress. “It feels amazing that you’re recognized. It’s surreal, the past couple of days. It’s all new and exciting.”But while “it’s cool to be in this situation,” Leeb stresses she can’t take all the credit. “All three of them are not mine,” she said.I predict that “You’re gonna wish you had three hands" will become as famous a film quote as Roy Schieder's warning to Quint after the shark nearly took his hand off in Jaws, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."Director Len Wiseman has an impressive track record, having directed Beckinsale in the first two Underworld flicks (he produced the final two installments), while also helming the fourth film in the Die Hard franchise, Live Free and Die Hard. All were blockbusters and there's no reason to believe that TR will be any different.Colin Farrell might not have Arnold's muscles, but he appears athletic enough to carry off the role of Douglas Quade. Both Beckinsale, who plays Quade's wife Lori, and Jessica Biel, who plays the sultry resistance leader Melina, are the action heroines of their generation -- strong, beautiful women who don't mind getting their hands dirty. The last trailer for the film reveals a much different landscape than the sterile atmosphere in the original:The biggest problem the film will have is common to all remakes; everyone knows the ending. The big surprises in the original won't be a surprise to those who have seen the 1990 version, but because of the near cult status of the Schwarzenegger version, fans will no doubt accept that fact and enjoy the ride regardless.As summer escapism, it doesn't appear to get much better.Total Recall opens nationwide on August 3. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/7/25/yes-the-three-breasted-woman-will-make-her-triumphant-return-in-total-recall/ ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • Hollywood's 'New Abnormal' and The Death of the Movie Star
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll As veteran Hollywood producer Lynda Obst makes abundantly clear in her enjoyable new book Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business, Hollywood’s got a fevaaaah, and the only prescription is cranking out more and more superhero and sci-fi franchises. Warner Brothers has Batman and Superman, Paramount has the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises, and Disney has Marvel Comics and now Star Wars as well.Beginning with the subhead of her book’s title, Obst calls this “The New Abnormal” -- the Old Abnormal she defines as the revolution that Spielberg and Lucas ushered into Hollywood via Jaws and Star Wars, and basically exhausted itself sometime after 9/11. (Obst explored some of the reasons why in the excerpt of her book in Salon, which we blogged about a couple of weeks ago.) Of course, the Old Abnormal itself replaced an earlier abnormal cinematic era -- “New Hollywood." That was the post-studio system period, when Hollywood stopped ingratiating itself with the audience, and started producing all those dark cynical (and occasionally brilliant) films that dominated the pre-Lucas 1970s, an era whose alpha and omega works were summed up in the title of Peter Biskind’s definitive history of New Hollywood, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.Obst explains the formula for ‘The New Abnormal” thusly:1. You must have heard of the Title before; it must have preawareness.2. It must sell overseas.3. It should generate a Franchise and/ or Sequel (also a factor of 1 and 2).And when you’ve got franchises and sequels, you have much less need for expensive, temperamental superstars. Which explains this recent headline in the London Independent: “The last action heroes: Have Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Brad Pitt lost their mojo?”Studios now have more control over their product when stars are not involved. This is especially true of superhero movies. The exception that proves the rule came recently when Robert Downey Jr caused a ripple by threatening to stop playing Iron Man. The studio dithered, no doubt knowing they could save a fortune by letting him go. Fans balked and the studio relented. A hefty payday will see him star in Avengers 2 and 3, a comic-book ensemble that doesn't need Downey Jr in it to guarantee bums on seats.A caveat is that the appeal of the stars seems to have not been so diminished in foreign markets, especially nascent territories such as China and Russia. There has been a big shift in Hollywood studios' attitudes in the last 10 years as the takings from foreign markets have started to dwarf those of domestic audiences. So while After Earth was deemed to have bombed in America, foreign takings a week later softened the crash landing.The reaction of Cruise and Smith to their box-office numbers suggest they are in consolidation mode. Cruise has abandoned plans to star in an adaptation of 60s TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and announced that he's making a 5th instalment of Mission: Impossible. There's also talk that he's considering turning Jerry Maguire into a TV show. Will Smith has been on American talk shows downplaying the weak opening of After Earth and, while talking about looking for more risks in his choices and moving away from blockbusters, he has also been rumoured to be preparing for sequels of Bad Boys, I, Robot and Hancock. Although his Men in Black franchise has seen each sequel make less money than predecessors. The stars are following the studios in relying on their best-known characters to sell their movies.What's intriguing is that there seem to be no successors to Cruise, Pitt and Smith. The recent huge blockbuster franchises have been superhero movies, Batman and Spider-Man, or ensembles based on books, Harry Potter, Twilight and Lord of the Rings. It's hard to imagine Christian Bale breaking box-office records outside of the bat-suit. The summer blockbusters have evolved away from being star vehicles as studios have hit on a formula where they can call the shots. That's bad news for the non-tights-wearing action star.It’s actually not all that “intriguing” as to why there are few successors to Cruise, Pitt, Smith, and their older partners-in-greasepaint such Bruce, Sly, Harrison and Schwarzenegger (and Mel Gibson before he nuked his career). They're the last remaining action-oriented superstars before the rise of World Wide Web completely demassified pop culture beginning in the mid-1990s. Since none of these actors are getting any younger, Hollywood has increasingly relied upon the sci-fi and superhero franchises that existed before the demassification of media to provide a reason for audiences to go out to the movies.Unfortunately, the result is  a dismal chart such as this, reproduced in Sleepless in Hollywood as a damning portrait of Hollywood’s lack of creativity: Click to enlarge.On the other hand, there is a new hope, to coin a cinematic phrase, which we'll discuss right after the page break. (Pick up some popcorn in the lobby while clicking over.) class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/7/1/death-of-the-movie-star/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
    (Review Source)

John Nolte5
Daily Wire / Breitbart

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Countdown: The 165 Greatest American Movies Ever Made (66-90)
    Hud (1963) You don’t look out for yourself, the only helping hand you’ll ever get is when they lower the box. Another one of those roles Paul Newman could have easily won the Best Actor Oscar for. Here he plays one of the most despicable, amoral characters ever; a full-throated villain in the charismatic package of the perfect physical specimen that was the 38-year-old. Presented in stark, Oscar-winning widescreen black and white (gorgeously filmed by the legendary James Wong Howe), Hud is an unsparing morality tale that makes the audience just as complicit as the young man played by Brandon DeWilde. We too are at first charmed and fascinated by Hud; by his composure, his cool, his cynicism, the mistaken impression he is merely being his own man. Slowly, though, the facade is peeled away until the private hell we leave Hud to feels like justice. Oscars went to a never-sexier Patricia Neal, as the housekeeper torn apart by her attraction to Hud’s virility and potential, and the the fact that she has seen enough of life to know that his rotted core can only mean a life so miserable the sex will eventually not be worth it.  Melvyn Douglas
    (Review Source)
  • Countdown: The 165 Greatest American Movies Ever Made (165-141)
    Lists are subjective and almost always widely criticized, argued, and debated — which is the whole point. This is especially true for movie lists. Nevertheless, the top 100 movie list released by the BBC back in 2015 is one of the most derided in recent memory. The BBC polled 62 international film critics and asked them to choose the 100 greatest American films of all time. About half the list is little different from the one compiled and updated by the American Film Institute every decade. The other half is full of surprises. There is no right or wrong answer to listing your favorite films. It is all subjective. Regardless, it is still a shock to see 62 film critics choose a bunch of films everyone has written off as, at best, marginal: Spike Lee’s forgettable 25th Hour (2002) at #94; Michael Cimino’s infamous 1980 debacle Heaven’s Gate at #98; Hitchcock’s swing-and-a-miss Marnie at #47, etc. You can see the full list here. The BBC’s surprising omissions, however, are too many to list. Rather than argue with the BBC, I decided to come up with a list of the greatest American films ever made. It was impossible, though, for me to
    (Review Source)
  • ‘Poltergeist’ (2015) Review: Here’s What I Remember Before Falling Asleep.
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea a “Poltergeist” remake was coming. So it was just a coincidence that after a number of years, I popped the 1982 original into the DVD player. Obviously, the hope was for some real scares.  Thirty-three years may have passed, but I still remember being impossibly young, sitting in that dark theater with my friends, and having a terrifying blast as vengeful American Indian spirits terrorized the Freeling family. The original “Poltergeist” is no longer scary. Not even a little bit. What it is, though, is absolutely charming. The lack of frights did nothing to diminish the story’s entertainment value. You immediately fall in love with this family. The characters are all well-defined, including the supporting cast. And there are too many warm and funny moments between them to even begin to list. “Poltergeist” (1982) is so much more than a haunted house movie. Producer/co-writer (and rumored director, though Tobe Hooper is credited) Steven Spielberg created a lovely slice-of-life filled with painstakingly perfect physical and relationship details that capture so well family and work life in 1980s suburbia. This was one of Spielberg’s early and overlooked gifts. Go back and watch “Jaws,”
    (Review Source)
  • 'Poltergeist' (2015) Review: Here's What I Remember Before Falling Asleep.
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea a “Poltergeist” remake was coming. So it was just a coincidence that after a number of years, I popped the 1982 original into the DVD player. Obviously, the hope was for some real scares.  Thirty-three years may have passed, but I still remember being impossibly young, sitting in that dark theater with my friends, and having a terrifying blast as vengeful American Indian spirits terrorized the Freeling family. The original “Poltergeist” is no longer scary. Not even a little bit. What it is, though, is absolutely charming. The lack of frights did nothing to diminish the story’s entertainment value. You immediately fall in love with this family. The characters are all well-defined, including the supporting cast. And there are too many warm and funny moments between them to even begin to list. “Poltergeist” (1982) is so much more than a haunted house movie. Producer/co-writer (and rumored director, though Tobe Hooper is credited) Steven Spielberg created a lovely slice-of-life filled with painstakingly perfect physical and relationship details that capture so well family and work life in 1980s suburbia. This was one of Spielberg’s early and overlooked gifts. Go back and watch “Jaws,”
    (Review Source)
  • 'Jurassic World': A Look Back At 25 Years of 'Jurassic Park'
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    In a movie-world before superheroes and comic books and franchises and universes, Concept was King, and in 1990 author Michael Crichton came up with a doozy. Imagine, Crichton fantasized, that a mosquito drew blood from a dinosaur and then got covered in tree sap — frozen in amber. Then imagine that tens of millions of years later, modern-day scientists uncovered that mosquito with a bellyful of still intact dinosaur DNA. Then they cloned the dinosaurs! Then they opened a dinosaur wildlife park! Then all hell broke loose! That is as good as a concept gets. Who doesn’t want to see that movie? Naturally, Crichton’s book was a bestseller and Hollywood came running. Luckily for us, director Steven Spielberg was interested. Lucky for him, as well; 1993 would end up being the height of his now-five decade career. Almost six-months before releasing his multiple Oscar-winner “Schindler’s List” in December of 1993, Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” landed in theatres on June 11 and promptly blew the doors off of the box office — and everyone’s minds. The franchise would romp on through 8 years and three more films before entering a 14 years period of hibernation. The dry spell ends Friday with the
    (Review Source)

Millennial Woes1
Scandza Forum

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • My Entire DVD Collection [multi-parter] | Jaws | 3:25:15 | 👍
    (Review Source)

The Federalist Staff5
The Federalist

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Mike Huckabee's Flawed 'Jaws' Analogy Has Trump Getting Eaten By Shark Hillary
    Mike Huckabee’s Flawed ‘Jaws’ Analogy Has Trump Getting Eaten By Shark Hillary October 13, 2016 By Mary Katharine Ham Sometimes an analogy just doesn’t play out the way you want. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was on “The Kelly File” Monday night when he swam up the wrong metaphorical stream, getting his preferred candidate cornered by a Great White. In an attempt to downplay the effect of recently leaked tapes of Donald Trump speaking crudely of women and his sexual conquests, Huckabee compared the brash GOP presidential candidate to Capt. Quint in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic movie, “Jaws.” And they wonder why Hollywood hates them pic.twitter.com/7YJxixbzVf — JORDAN OKUN (@Jzokun) October 11, 2016 “He’s vulgar, he’s salty. He might even get drunk. But hold on, here! He’s the guy who’s gonna save your butt and save your family. And, so at the end of the day, when he kills the shark, you’re happy about it. Now, Hillary is the shark. She’s gonna eat your boat. She’s gonna have open borders, immigration out the kazoo. And, so the choice is do you vote for Captain Quint, who’s gonna save your family, or do you vote for the shark? That’s the choice you get to make.” Kelly, maintaining a genial side-eye during this extended analogy, paused before delivering the spoiler on this classic to Huckabee: “Now, governor, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Captain Quint got eaten by the shark at the end of that movie.” Huckabee, realizing his mistake, shook his head and smiled sheepishly. “But he died saving the other people.” Kelly, who apparently knows this movie really well, wasn’t going to let it slide. Kelly: ‘But he died and went down in flames and the shark won between the two of them.’ Huckabee: ‘The shark didn’t win. The shark got blown up.’ Kelly: ‘After it ate him.’ Kelly closed the interview with her own rendition of Quint’s sea shanty: “Farewell and adieu, my fair Spanish ladies.” “Any analogy can fall apart. Work with me, here. This is a good one,” Huckabee said in a style reminiscent of “please clap.” It may indeed be a very good one, especially given the pace of October surprises, but not for the reasons Huckabee thinks. Richard Dreyfuss backed up Kelly: Quint did not kill Jaws. https://t.co/jSSRmGE9hD — Richard Dreyfuss (@RichardDreyfuss) October 11, 2016 Mary Katharine Ham is a senior writer at The Federalist. Photo Fox News, Kelly File Donald Trump Fox News Hillary Clinton Jaws Megyn Kelly Mike Huckabee Richard Dreyfuss Steven Spielberg Copyright © 2017 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1463670073398-2'); }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column-mix', placement:'below-main-column', target_type:'mix'}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); 0 Comments /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */ var disqus_shortname = 'thefederalist23'; // required: replace example with your forum shortname /* * * DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */ (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. comments powered by Disqus ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • The Making Of 'Sharknado 4' May Be As Insane As Watching It
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    You either get it, or you sit back in bewilderment and wonder how anyone could derive enjoyment from such an enterprise. As polarizing as the “Sharknado” experience may be, one thing you have to grant is the legitimacy of the franchise. This Sunday will deliver the fourth iteration of the cyclonic action series, and it has morphed into a summer tradition for many. Ask ten people why they enjoy the films so much, and you are liable to get uniform answers: “It’s just so ridiculous that it’s funny!” But press these fans more, and ask them to describe what about this bad film appeals to them so much, and you are liable to get 10 differing answers. For last year’s edition (“Sharknado 3: Oh Hell NO!”) I wrote at length about the mystique that led to the phenomenon, and it was something not only unclear to fans but also the filmmakers. For this installment, there is built-in intrigue. How will they top the over-the-top action? Will Tara Reid make the final cut? And just how will they justify a shark-choked storm system in the desert? (This year’s entry is set in Las Vegas.) Much of the media focus will be on the stars and plethora of guest appearances, with David Hasselhoff drawing most of the star wattage on an endless string of cameos. I’m more focused on the thought and efforts behind the origins of these offerings. One of the primary reasons I savor bad films is fascination with their creation. If the disaster is the result of ineptitude, then one can catalogue the amateurish missteps during its formulation. The “Sharknado” series is an intentional gaffe, where a studio aims for the ludicrous and delivers uproarious results. I reached out to the source to get a feel for what it is like to craft a film most think lacks craftsmanship. Not An Artisanal Film Production “A strategy? No, nothing like that,” screenwriter Thunder Levin answered when I asked if he or the studio had a game plan for these titles. “We barely had a concept in place for the first two movies. But when the second film went on to break the ratings records for The SyFy Channel, we were pressed to then come up with more material.” The infamous studio aptly named The Asylum delivers the Sharknado franchise. Approaching its twentieth anniversary, the discount studio has found a lasting business model in producing basic cable movies and feeding the (once-robust) DVD market with “mockbusters”—productions that mirror major theatrical releases. One recent example: An animated kids’ tale about a traveling fish, titled “Izzie’s Way Home.” Three summers back, The Asylum team thought they had just delivered another in a long line of creature features for the cable network. Then the Internet blew up. The premiere of the first Sharknado film in 2013 created an unforeseen online firestorm of interest. “I’ll tell you how surprised I am,” Producer David Latt said in one interview. “I don’t even understand this now—after the release. What is the story here? Why is everyone interested?” The Twitter uprising soon led to encore showings, higher ratings, and calls for a sequel. As a sign of the cultural impact, the Sharknado production team now regularly treks to the San Diego ComiCon to promote the films. I asked Levin what it has been like to not only generate scripts at a regular pace but with the added pressure of needing to be more outlandish each summer. “The shooting schedule is quite narrow. And with all of the hype and interest, the truth is we are actually running to catch up,” he said. Being a smaller player in Hollywood fosters a collaborative ethic in the productions. This means it is not simply a case of an author selling a script and banking the check. “I’ve been on set for the first three films,” Levin said. “I’ve had to do rewrites and help in other ways.” This also has led to screen time for the screenwriter. However, it saddens me to report that Thunder will not be reprising his role from “Sharknado 3” of Mr. Benchley, a nod to the author of the “Jaws” novel. The Curse of Too Much Along with tight timing and the need to top being over-the-top, there is another challenge in scripting this series. The surge in popularity means hordes of acting talent from various celebrity strata seek to get in the films. Promotional trailers tout the appearance of Hasselhoff and “Everyone else who said ‘Yes’!” That large participation rate is another reason Levin is more involved with the shooting. “I do have to write the scripts now with an eye towards creating opportunities for those appearances. I will make roles for a specific actor ahead of time, but there are always late casting decisions made as well,” he said. “That leads to rewrites to make room for them. Sometimes the original actor intended for a role will have to back out, and just as often we will get a surprise addition, so I have places throughout a script where a new arrival can be given a part.” Then there is the problem of too much talent: “Once we were out on a remote location and discovered we had two such actors show up to play the same character.” That’s the kind of work needed for an on-the-fly production. “We got together, and it was decided that I would have to rewrite on the spot, and create a completely new character so we could fit both of actors in. Except we were in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t have my computer, and there was no desk, and nothing to actually write on,” Levin said. Fans should appreciate the lengths some artists will go to deliver the goods. “I brought my dog with me to the set that day. He had just completed filming a scene, in fact. I had to call him over and make him ‘stay’ so I could quickly write out a few new pages right there — on his back.” Now that is the kind of dedication that leads to three sequels. Sunday The SyFy Channel hosts a shark movie marathon, including all four movies of the franchise, culminating with the world premiere of “Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens,” at 8 p.m. EST. ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • It's Not The Envelope—The Oscars Keep Choosing The Wrong Film
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    When the Best Picture award was given to “La La Land,” it was not a surprise. Hollywood loves musicals, and is always seeking to present musicals with awards. While not a fan of musicals outside of “The Blues Brothers,” this makes sense: musicals are difficult to make. They combine elements of music, acting, singing, and dancing all in one production. Alas, the euphoria for the producers of “La La Land” was short-lived. As it turned out, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope. Minutes later, we found out the Best Picture winner was Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age film, “Moonlight.” This time the envelope was correct. Unfortunately, the choice of “Moonlight” for Best Picture was not. Instead, it appears to have fallen victim to the “message movie” trap of choosing the best movie of the year. When Did Best Picture Choices Go Wrong? Voting-based awards will invariably lead to debate—because for the most part, it is a subjective issue. When “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” won in 1975, it was not difficult to make a compelling case for “Jaws” or “Dog Day Afternoon.” That’s not to say “Cuckoo’s Nest” didn’t deserve the award—but that other choices would have been just as worthy. However, since 1980, Best Picture winners usually fall into specific categories. First, there are the “socially aware” movies: Academy voters focus on the social aspect of a film and choose to award it over something more deserving. The Academy also, at times, has a penchant for choosing films that elicit the response, “What the hell were they thinking?” In that vein, it would be hard for anybody to make a case for “Ordinary People” winning in 1980 over “Raging Bull.” The former is a terrific film with stand-out performances from Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton, and Mary Tyler-Moore. It touched on themes such as suicide, the loss of a child, feelings of inadequacy in the face of siblings, and more. “Raging Bull,” on the other hand, is a masterpiece and arguably Martin Scorsese’s best film. Some have argued that the Academy simply was not ready for the impact of “Raging Bull.” But it was recognized by voters. Robert De Niro won Best Actor for his portrayal of boxer Jake LaMotta. “Raging Bull” stood out in every aspect of filmmaking—from the acting to direction, cinematography to script and story. The Oscars Often Go To Bewildering Choices That blunder aside, no Best Picture winner encapsulates the combo of head scratcher and blockbuster favoritism better than “Titanic.” The film was a box office juggernaut, knocking “ET” from the perch of the highest grossing film of all time. It made Leonardo DiCaprio a household name for young teenage girls everywhere. Despite being a special effects stand out, “Titanic” was plagued with a hokey script, a well-worn storyline, and mediocre acting. That didn’t matter. The movie was nominated for 13 Oscars and won 10, including Best Picture. Meanwhile, “L.A. Confidential” is a film that wraps up every element of the “Best Picture” category into its two-hour running time—story, directing, acting, script, and production value. It remains one of Oscar’s biggest snubs. Other odd choices include “Shakespeare In Love” over “Saving Private Ryan,” arguably one of the best war movies ever made. Another is “The English Patient” over “Fargo.” Have you ever watched “The English Patient” more than once? “Fargo,” meanwhile, demands multiple viewings. “Moneyball” was so much better than “The Artist.” And all I remember from “Chariots of Fire” are guys running in slow motion to Vangelis’s synthesized score. The movie that should have won, “Raiders of The Lost Ark,” is close to cinematic perfection. Films Often Win For Their Message, Not Their Merit Despite all these bewildering moments the Academy has provided over the last 36 years, it’s nothing compared to the head-shaking moments they’ve bestowed upon audiences. Nary a chance exists when voters, examining Best Picture nominees, choose films that convey an “important message” to audiences. Channeling a message via film is not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s bad when films wins because of their message, and not because they’re superior. The following all fall into that category: “Dances With Wolves.” Used as a means of highlighting the plight of Native Americans. The film does not hold up well and is filled with cartoonish stereotypical characters, none of which are memorable. What should have won: “Goodfellas.” Scorsese unfairly snubbed again. “American Beauty.” Highlights suburban white families and the issues they deal with on a daily basis. It’s loaded with clichéd characters doing clichéd things along with a clichéd script. What should have won: “The Insider.” Michael Mann’s film, which explores the intersection between corporate America and journalism, is a tour de force. Al Pacino and Russell Crowe both delivered Oscar-worthy performances. “Million Dollar Baby.” It “created a dialogue” about issues such as women in sports and assisted suicide. What should have won: “Sideways.” Alexander Payne’s road trip comedy/drama served up equal parts of laughter and heartache. Pinot Noir was never more popular as a result. “Crash.” Forget about undeserving. This overrated muck shouldn’t have sniffed a nomination, let alone take home the big prize. It’s the kind of film about racism that is safe for people to say they liked because it blends clichés and narratives about racism people aren’t afraid to discuss. Complete with unrealistic, wooden characters, a lousy script and giant plot holes, it’s one of the worst choices the Academy has ever made. What should have won: “Brokeback Mountain,” ‘Capote,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” or “Munich.” Any of them were more deserving. ‘Moonlight’ Is Very Good, But Not Oscar-Worthy “Moonlight” fits the criteria of the “message” movie. It’s a beautiful film with standout performances from some of the cast. It’s a moving film that allows the viewer to connect with the main character through three stages of his life. The story of Chiron, shown in three separate stages of life, is illustrated in believable detail. He grows from an innocent, young black boy into a hardened drug dealer in 12 to 14 years. The fact that Chiron is gay makes his story that much more compelling. That said, the film suffers from familiar tropes: the drug addicted mother, poor casting (Trevante Rhodes is just not believable as the adult Chiron), and it doesn’t quite have the courage to explore the issue of sexuality with the two gay characters. Critics were united in their praise, and therein lies the problem. Because of the subject matter—and the fact that the entire cast and director are black—it would seem some critics are hesitant to point out the film’s flaws, for fear of being criticized themselves. Movie critic Owen Gleiberman talks in great honesty about the politicization of film criticism in a podcast with Bret Easton Ellis (Go to minute 70), using “Moonlight” as the springboard for the conversation. They both agree that identity politics is what keeps people from being negative about the movie. The Film With The Greatest Artistic Value Should Win It’s a shame this happened because the film is worth seeing. I would recommend “Moonlight” to anybody, but it is not a better film than either “Hell or High Water” or “Arrival.” Both of these films explored familiar territories but in a way that elevated them from run of the mill dramas to Oscar-worthy art, aided by standout performances by cast members in both films. The fact that “Moonlight” creates some societal discourse about race and sexuality does not mean it is the best movie of 2016. Hopefully, at some point, the Academy will put aside the tendency to judge Best Picture based on societal trends, and instead just choose the best movie of the year. ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • ‘Star Wars’ Killed American Cinema By Creating The Blockbuster
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    By the simple fact of making and continuing to make so much money, ‘Star Wars’ became the film everyone wanted to make again.
    (Review Source)
  • How Limited CGI Created The Power Of The Original ‘Jurassic Park’
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Sequels usually fall the flattest when they try to recapture the original quality. That will never happen here, because the original is so special.
    (Review Source)

Murray N. Rothbard (a.k.a. Mr. First Nighter)3
The Mises Institute

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Arts and Movies - Vol. 8.10, October 1975

    Jaws. dir. by Steven Spielberg, with Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfus, and Roy Scheider.
    Jaws is a good, scary movie, no doubt about that. But it is hardly the best movie of all time, or even the scariest. And so that film hardly warrants its runaway best-seller status, the long lines at movie theaters throughout the country, and its rapid climb to the biggest box-office draw of all time. It is what used to be called “good hot weather fare”, and no more than that.
    In the recent disaster genre, Jaws is better than “The Towering Inferno”, and far better than the turkey “Earthquake”, and is happily free of the, phony moralism of the earlier pictures. The highly touted shark scenes are indeed terrific: (whether they overrate the shark menace or not I leave to the shark specialists.) One problem is that there are several important clinkers in the movie, including especially its idiotic ending, which violates both the letter and the spirit of the Peter Benchley novel. More important is the uniformly poor quality of the acting, a flaw which we can lay straight at the door of young Spielberg. Roy Scheider is patently miscast in the important role of the sheriff…

  • Arts and Movies - Vol. 10.6, June 1977
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Star Wars, dir. by George Lucas. With Alec Guinness and Carrie Fisher.
    First came the hype. That Star Wars is going to be the biggest popular film success since Jaws means very little. So every season is going to have its oversold smash hit, so what? But the difference, the new.hype, with Star Wars was its overwhelming acclaim among the critics. Usually the masses whoop it up for a Jaws while the critics go ape over Bertolucii or Fassbinder. Yet here they were in joint huzzahs, with the critic from Time flipping his wig to such an extent as to call it the best movie of the year and making Star Wars the feature of that week’s issue.
    But the oddest, the most peculiar part of it was what my fellow-critics were saying: “Hurrah, a fun movie-movie”; “good escape entertainment”; “a return to good guys vs. a happy ending again”; “movie fare for the entire family”; “like Flash Gordon” etc. Here were men and women who have spent the greater, part of their lives deriding these very virtues…

  • Arts and Movies - Vol. 10.12, December 1977
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Good Movies! In the past weeks, we have seen several excellent films—a remarkable statement from our ordinarily jaundiced perspective. Three of them have been comedies, and unusually fine ones. One of the best, and surely the least heralded, was Semi-Tough, Michael Ritchie, dir., with Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Kris Kristofferson, and Bert Convy, and Lotte Lenya. Semi-Tough is, first and foremost, extremely funny, featuring on-target and acidulous satires of Est (“Beat”), Rolfing (“Pelfing”), Gravity Therapy and all the other modern psycho-lunacies. In fact, its major theme is a satiric look at the whole psycho-babble culture. Lotte Lenya is superb as Clara Pelf (“You can only learn through . . . Pain!” she declaims in her thick mittel-Europeanaccent, as she digs her elbow into Burt Reynolds’ chest.) Bert Convy is excellent and incisive as the smarmy Werner Erhard look-alike…


Counter Currents Staff4
Counter Currents Publishing

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • Coen? No, Caan: Reflections on Slither
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,743 words

    Slither (1973)
    Directed by Howard Zieff
    Screenplay by W. D. Richter
    Starring James Caan, Peter Boyle, Sally Kellerman, Louise Lasser, Allen Garfield, Richard B. Shull, & Alex Rocco

     “What the f*** am I doing here in a vegetable stand in the middle of nowhere?”

    TCM recently held an Ed Begley night,[1] [2] and first up was Rod Serling’s Patterns, which I’ve talked about here before [3], and I was looking forward to seeing it in a good, cleaned-up print, unlike the muddy, deteriorating mess the local government-owned channel had unreeled. And it was indeed a pleasure to watch again, but the real surprise was what had been programmed in the preceding timeslot: Slither, a movie I have vaguely heard of now and then since it came out in my teens.

    I never saw it, until now, but for some reason it had stuck in my mind all these years; was it an ad, or a preview [4] I saw back then? Without an Internet, and sites like IMDB, or DVDs (when did videocassettes arrive?), not to mention the film itself apparently disappearing without making much of an impact, I had only rumors and hints to go on, picked up by accident now and then, like a heroic journalist piecing together a vast conspiracy.

    And not doing a very good job of it. I had formed the notion that it was an early Robert Altman film, and involved ordinary folks innocently swept up in in the fallout from some vast criminal or political caper. The one frequently occurring reference – and thus far the only accurate one – was their being pursued by a sinister black van, the nature of which was never revealed.

    I can only assume that my impressionable young mind, lacking any accurate information, had mashed together various tenuous connections to films of the same era: Sally Kellerman must have suggested Altman (M*A*S*H, 1970), Peter Boyle the sinister conspiracy (The Conversation, 1974), and so on. Perhaps it was a sort of icon of the zeitgeist?

    As it turned out, the film was a revelation. Actually, it’s kind of a small-scale, auteurish version of the big-budget, established-star-filled It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963). IMDB says [5]:

    While searching for a small fortune of embezzled money, an ex-con, a small-time bandleader, his doting wife, and a kooky drifter find themselves being followed. Their chase takes them to trailer camps, bingo halls, laundromats, and ultimately, a showdown with a group of unconventional bad guys.

    First off, it’s an absolutely beautiful film, and it wasn’t until the end credits that I learned why: László Kovács! The great ex-Hungarian cinematographer, who photographed every great film of the ‘70s-‘80s that Vilmos Sigmond didn’t.[2] [6]

    Thanks to Kovács, it has that lovely, autumnal, “golden hour” look common to the films made during that second Hollywood Golden Age, when serious, small films for adults were all over the place; the time before Jaws and Star Wars convinced Hollywood that the future lay with big explosions.[3] [7]

    Coincidence, correlation, cause, conspiracy? The high point of American cinema and Whiteworld took place almost simultaneously.

    The cast. My God, the cast! How can you not love to see all these people on screen together?

    Another small pleasure of such films is the archaic, lost technologies on display. Boyle’s washed-up big band musician (and big bands themselves were dying out in the post-war era) has transferred all his rare 78s to tape . . . eight-track tape. Kellerman sends Caan to a diner bathroom to obtain a condom from the coin-operated machine therein (I haven’t seen one of those since my college days, although one did figure in an episode of Bottom). Garfield looks for a forwarding address for endless, awkward moments in a small card file balanced precariously on his knee – a Rolodex would blow his mind!

    I’m not sure it counts as technology, but the two “sinister” black vans (actually, 1972 Dodge motorhomes [8], apparently) are customized, non-functional monstrosities that look like something a 13-year-old boy would come up with after seeing Mad Max, or those head cameras [9] in Albert Brooks’ Real Life (1979).

    And yet, as the film reminds us, this is the cutting edge of Western civilization: Boyle’s Airstream trailer is government surplus, having been used to quarantine the astronauts after the Moon landing.

    Speaking of the Moon landing, perhaps the most striking thing about the film, for people like us, is how gosh-darn white it is. At a certain point, I started to notice that the only black characters were menial employees scurrying around in the background of some downtown scenes. The diner scene has one black in a speaking role, to whom Caan whitesplains why he shouldn’t try to use his rifle to stop Kellerman’s robbery.

    Mostly, this homogeneity is baked in, since the movie takes place in small California towns (in the ‘70s, of course), and mostly on the road in the aforesaid Airstream, stopping from time to time in various “travel lodges” – more lost technology; do they still exist, now that everyone flies? – where the only entertainment is barbequing and bingo.

    In most any modern film, these roles with be reversed, with the white deplorables pushed to the background, while heroic blacks cure the vampire virus, defeat the aliens or, in “non-fiction” films, make the Moon landing possible with their mad calculatin’ skillz.

    If the film did focus on whites, they would be alternately rock-stupid or homicidal; not, as here, intelligent but charmingly misguided (Kellerman is always wonderful as she offers her unsolicited life advice and explanations of what’s going on).

    Which is odd, since the director, Howard Zieff, who died only recently at 81, seems to have been a pioneer of the PC casting fad. This looks to be the first in a rather small body of film work, including Streisand’s The Main Event, Goldie Hawn’s Private Benjamin, and Walter Matthau’s House Calls; middlebrow Judaica. But his main claim to fame was as a commercial director – that is to say, a director of commercials. IMDB says [10]:

    Howard Zieff’s early ad campaigns were noted for their innovative casting. Breaking from the stereotypical blond-haired, blue-eyed, old Hollywood ideal of perfection, he cast young unknowns with decidedly ethnic, un-Hollywood features, including Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss.

    Before going into the movies, he was responsible for many memorable advertising campaigns. Most memorable was the Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial [11] in which an actor must work through repeated takes for a tomato sauce.

    They then offer this “personal quote”:

    On photographing in 1967 for the “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s [12]” ad campaign: “We wanted normal-looking people, not blond, perfectly proportioned models. I saw the Indian on the street; he was an engineer for the New York Central. The Chinese guy worked in a restaurant near my Midtown Manhattan office. And the kid we found in Harlem. They all had great faces, interesting faces, expressive faces.”

    Well, this cast certainly has interesting faces. One thing that really struck me – or stuck out, if you will – is how big the women’s teeth were. I mean, Louise Lasser was always known for her huge choppers, but for the first time I noticed how big Kellerman’s are.[4] [13] Her teeth, I mean. But leaving that possibly Freudian observation aside, Kellerman does put that face to work, successfully conveying, in the diner scene [14], that sequence of moments when your date moves from sexy, to seductive but a little nutty, to full-blown homicidal maniac, à la Juliette Lewis.

    But back to ethnicity. Lasser and Kellerman are both Jews – both Russian Jews, I discover. (Does that explain the teeth?) So is James Caan, but all three have made careers playing goyim; most people seem to think Caan is Italian, what with his most famous role being Sonny Corleone.[5] [15]

    As for Boyle, IMDB [16] says:

    His paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, and his mother was of mostly French and British Isles descent. Following a solid Catholic upbringing (he attended a Catholic high school), Peter was a sensitive youth and joined the Christian Brothers religious order at one point while attending La Salle University in Philadelphia. He left the monastery after only a few years when he “lost” his calling.

    He moved to New York and converted to Judaism. . . . No, I mean, studied acting under “guru” Uta Hagen; same thing.[6] [17]

    Interestingly, Boyle, the only goy of the bunch, was quite the SJW; IMDB again:

    Peter’s breakout film role did not come without controversy as the hateful, hardhat-donning bigot-turned-murderer Joe (1970) in a tense, violence-prone film directed by John G. Avildsen. The role led to major notoriety, however, and some daunting supporting parts in T. R. Baskin (1971), Slither (1973) and as Robert Redford’s calculating campaign manager in The Candidate (1972). During this time his political radicalism found a visible platform [yeah, like we couldn’t tell from his “goyim are violent and corrupt” roles] after joining Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland on anti-war crusades, which would include the anti-establishment picture Steelyard Blues (1973). This period also saw the forging of a strong friendship with former Beatle John Lennon.

    While Caan seems to be pretty based:

    I was never politically oriented – in fact I called myself a radical middle-of-the-roader. Unfortunately, with these last two terms of our current president, my children are going to be affected by his decisions, or lack of them, in a big way.

    It’s a pretty dangerous world, so given the choices – which are not really wonderful – I am supporting Donald Trump in the hopes that his ego won’t get in the way, and that he’s smart enough to hire good people. We don’t know that, but we pretty much do know what Hillary will do. So if Trump listens to the people he hires and he has a great cabinet, the scale tips that way for me. We need a hawk right now.[7] [18]

    Well, there is that JudeoCon touch about “listening to the right people,” but still rather out there for a Hollywood guy.

    Allen Garfield, on the other hand, plays, as per usual, a schlubby, vaguely Jewish small-time crook [19].[8] [20]IMDB clues us in [21]:

    New Jersey-born Allen Garfield was trained at the Actors Studio in New York City. He had a prolific career on the stage before making his film debut in 1968. His stocky build and nervous, jumpy mannerisms fit well with the weaselly criminals, lecherous villains and corrupt businessmen and politicians he excels in playing – a perfect example of which is the Beverly Hills police chief in 1987’s Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Midway through his career he reverted to his real name of Allan Goorwitz, but not long afterwards decided to stay with his stage name, and went back to Allen Garfield. In the early 2000s, Garfield suffered from a series of strokes that prevented him from acting again.

    There are a lot of Jews in California, of course, but he really looks out of his element in small-town Stockton. He’s what “Grammy Hall would call a Real New York Jew [22].” We find him in his run-down office, which seems to have been disassembled in New York and rebuilt for him here, and eating what seems like a stereotypically New York lunch—some kinda sandwich, like pastrami, with a giant pickle and a cream soda. The big joke here is that ultimately the bad guys turn out to be him and his brothers, who all share the same vaguely schlubby New York tax-preparer look, right down to the big glasses and green short-sleeve shirts, and they stick out unassimilably in the crowd at the trailer park bingo game.[9] [23]

    So whatever the director’s predilections, we are still at a moment in Hollywood when Jews can be the bad guys, and white folks are kooky and laughable but endearably human for all that; not the crazy, treacherous, world-dominating bigots of today’s entertainment world.[10] [24]

    It’s a Ghost and Mr. Chicken world, which won’t change until Mel Brooks rolls out Blazing Saddles.[11] [25]

    Of course, the real question is, is it any good? Yes, it is. It’s certainly worth a couple of hours at basic cable prices. It’s like the first draft of a Coen Bros. movie, and you can’t convince me that they haven’t seen it and been influenced by it. Not everything works, but there were a few moments when I did actually laugh out loud at an unexpected bit of lunacy, such as Moe Green bringing ice cream cones back to the black van, and wolfing all three down as he kills time outside with Sonny Corleone;[12] [26] or when Caan runs out of the diner, looks back, and sees Kellerman shooting up the place, off in the distance like an Edward Hopper painting, with little screams and gunfire barely on the soundtrack. (How she turns up later, unscathed and unexplained, is one of many loose ends). There’s even the obligatory vehicular chase, which seems like a parody of the one from Bullitt [27], only with two menacing vans and a house trailer.

    Above all, it’s recommended as a beautifully-filmed time capsule of the last time white people ruled the world.


    [1] [28] That’s crusty but benign, as the folks from Network (“The best movie ever,” says [29] Trevor Lynch) would say, Ed Begley, Sr., although his annoying spawn, Ed Begley, Jr., recently decided to dispense with the suffix and go by just plain Ed Begley.

    [2] [30] I’ve written about Sigmond, Kovács, and Joseph Mascelli, the three legendary cinematographers, in the context of their early work for the likes of Ray Dennis Stekler and Arch Hall, Sr., in my review [31] of the latter’s cult classic, The Sadist.

    [3] [32] See, of course, Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998). “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is about the 1970s Hollywood, a period of American film known for the production of such films such as The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, Jaws, Star Wars, The Exorcist, and The Last Picture Show. The title is taken from films which bookend the era: Easy Rider (1969) [Kovács] and Raging Bull (1980). The book follows Hollywood on the brink of the Vietnam War, when a group of young Hollywood film directors known as the ‘movie brats’ are making their names. It begins in the 1960s and ends in the 1980s.” — Wikipedia [33]

    [4] [34] Prowler Needs a Jump says [35], “Another great thing about 70s films is the natural look of the actors. They’re not all shined up with perfect teeth and zero body fat. They look like regular people. They wear bellbottoms and jeans shirts and crappy poly blend sports shirts with white belts. They have average complexions and sticky-outy teeth. Slither has that in spades.” I wouldn’t say that about Kellerman and Lasser, as their teeth seem too perfect, unless that’s what he means by “sticky-outy.”

    [5] [36] Alex Rocco played Moe Green, and when he and Caan have a small, comic scene here, it’s like an outtake from an alternate version of The Godfather. Prowler Needs a Jump adds: “Alex Rocco . . . who, by the way, is billed as Man with Ice Cream. Man with Ice Cream! The year before, Rocco was Moe Greene, who was making his bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!”

    [6] [37] Hagen’s biography seems to have been, as Miles Mathis would say, “scrubbed”; I can only find references to her “German” birth, but nothing religious or ethnic one way or another. Given her milieu, I would be surprised to find her not to be Jewish; not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    [7] [38]James Caan Believes Trump Makes the US an Offer it Can’t Refuse [39]”: ‘”I’m very pro-Israel, and I can’t like anybody who isn’t,” said Caan, who visited the Kotel, put on tefillin.’

    [8] [40] “It’s hard to shine up Allen Garfield . . .” Prowler Needs a Jump, loc. cit [35].

    [9] [41] They’re like a combination of future Saul Goodman at the Nebraska Cinnabon, with his earlier bingo-calling shyster.

    [10] [42] “But greed alone – and therefore Marxism alone – is not enough to explain the behavior of the media. One can be a gentleman and a patriot and still make money. No, one must also add such elements as alienation from and hostility toward the dominant culture, boundless cynicism, and crazed, hate-filled ethnocentrism to the mix to explain the modern media. In short, one has to add Jews (and their spiritual kinsmen and collaborators).” Trevor Lynch, op. cit. [29]

    [11] [43] Jim (Gene Wilder): “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know . . . morons.”

    [12] [44] Vince Gilligan would turn this into a ten-minute silent sequence with Mike and Saul on Better Call Saul.

    (Review Source)
  • “Where are the People that Run this Place?” Arch Hall, Jr., King of the ’60s Psychos
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    4,944 words

    [1]The Sadist [2]
    1963; B&W, 93 minutes
    Directed by James Landis
    Starring Arch Hall, Jr., Helen Hovey, Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning, Don Russell

    “The whole film is filled with a feeling of heat and agony, a constantly blazing sun shining down into a barren waste land of dead cars and dead bodies. Flashes of hope are rare and always beaten down with such hatred and force that the viewer almost hopes it won’t come back . . .” — (IMDb review)

    Like most who fancy themselves aficionados of the B, or even the “bad” film, I was familiar with the rather, ah, distinctive performances of the teenaged Arch Hall, Jr. in both Eegah! (1963)[1] and Wild Guitar (1962). I have not seen his cinematic swan song, The Nasty Rabbit (1964, also by James Landis[2]). But this year, my Thanksgiving Treat was finding, buying, and viewing a DVD of Arch Hall, Jr. in his penultimate, and greatest work, The Sadist.[3]

    Now, the tale of Arch Hall, Sr. and Jr., is well known to the bad film community. Basically, Arch Sr., an independent producer of sorts, decided his son, Arch Jr., could be the next Elvis, and began to craft a series of films to introduce the love-starved masses to their new teen idol.


    Arch Hall, Jr., Teen Idol

    Unfortunately, for the Halls and their audiences, Arch Jr.’s most notable feature, bedsides a pudgy, doughy body, is a rather unusual face.[4] It’s an odd, pushed-in kind of baby-face, surmounted by several inches of greasy pompadour hair.

    Despite the general mockery, not only on MST3k, some directors seem to like this kind of look. It rather reminds me of Ettore Garofolo, in Pasolini’s contemporaneous Mamma Roma [4] (1962); more recently, a similar kind of face and pompadour certainly hasn’t hurt Leonardo di Caprio’s carrier, first as teen heartthrob and then as serious actor with Martin Scorsese.[5]

    But I was not at all prepared for Arch Hall, Jr.’s transformation here. This is the birth of a cinematic legend.


    Arch Hall, Jr., Psycho Killer

    Before Terrence Malick’s Bandlands, before Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, before the book and movie In Cold Blood, there was a stomach-churning little serving of under-cooked turkey called The Sadist.[6]

    So here’s the set up:

    Three people driving into Los Angeles for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull off into an old wrecking yard where they are held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend. (IMDb)

    Three math teachers, that is, on their way to ball game — whoo hoo! With the admirable swiftness of the B movie, a number of things are quickly established — apart from being math teachers on the way to a ball game, when the car breaks down we learn that both men know a lot about fixing cars (plot point!) and the woman, Doris, doesn’t seem to understand the simplest rules of baseball when patiently explained to her by the elder teacher; she may teach math but, being a woman, she’s not that bright.[7]

    Now, the latter is what would be called typical ’50s, B movie misogyny, but I’m more interested in the first point. The two male teachers, one old enough to be the other’s father, both belong to the last generations when men were expected to be able to do things. If your car broke down, you fixed it. These new-fangled postwar electrical appliances were a different thing, of course, being both complicated and dangerous;[8] for those, there were specialist (men, of course) who ran repair shops and even made house calls. If your son (me) needed a bookcase, you (my father) didn’t go to IKEA, you went to a lumber yard, bought enough planks and built it yourself.[9]

    When danger arrives, in the form of the new postwar generation, represented by one Charlie Kidd (note the name: child, pirate, Wild Boy) the two male teachers, old enough to be father and grandfather, figure he should be easy to handle; “He obviously doesn’t know much about cars” is the key to their cunning plan.

    But as the real men of that generation learned, all that being good around the house won’t save them. Another thing carefully established is that they took the mountain route to avoid the desert in the afternoon; this is a liminal spot, between mountain and desert, suitable for some sort of mythological tale or initiatic ritual.[10]

    The elder teacher for some reason put me in mind of Gary Oldman’s version of Commissioner Gordon (a point we will return to) while also for some reason suggesting, along with the black & white photography and minimal setting, one of those old “industrial films” by companies like Centron or Jam Handy that Mystery Science Theater would mock. It’s a relevant connection (industrial films, not MST3k) since it was around this time that Herk Harvey broke out of the world of Centron with his independent horror legend, Carnival of Souls (1962).

    Looking around the wrecking yard,[11] the elder teacher finds a house, presumably the owner’s, where lunch is laid out for four, “apple pie still warm” on the table[12] as he reports back (having given it a pat or two, purely in the interests of science).

    With the black and white photography, the minimalist setting, the absence of other people despite evidence of habitation (we never do find out exactly what happened to “the people that run that place”), the ’60s time period, I began to get a kind of Twilight Zone vibe[13] (with the elder teacher looking more like Burgess Meredith now). We’re about ten minutes in — did I mention, the movie takes place in real time, even with a few bursts of radio commentary from the missed game?[14] — and things sudden take a decided turn for the worst.

    But first, about that cinematography. With that crack about “industrial films” and the minimalist, apparently vérité setting, I may have led you to think it looks cheap and washed out. Not at all; and here’s the first sign things are not as they seem with this “B” production.

    The camera work is by one “William Zsigmond.” If that sounds familiar, he is; you know him as Vilmos Zsigmond, possibly the greatest cinematographer of the American film world.[15] The following year, the Hungarian immigrant “got his union card” by filming The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies [6] for Ray Dennis Steckler[16] (along with fellow future camera legends Joseph V. Mascelli [7], author of the still-standard textbook The Five Cs of Cinematography [8], and László Kovács [9] (listed as Leslie Kovacs).[17]

    This, however, would be his first American film, and I can’t help but think that the presence of such a future legend would account not just for the high quality of the camera work, but the sudden upturn in Arch Hall Jr.’s film presence.[18]

    For it is Hall, Jr. who strides onto the screen at this point, towering over his 5 foot nothing teenage lover/accomplice,[19] waving around a .44 Magnum, and any thought of this being a snaky campfest goes out the window. Or rather, gets shot in the face.

    Some reviews of Hall, Jr.’s performance as “thrill killer” Charlie Kidd:

    This is a characterization of fierce, elemental horror: a damaged young man on a killing spree, devoid of mercy and unwilling to listen to any rational thought. Hall has a beady-eyed, pudgy-faced look that is the stuff of nightmares. And he is accompanied by an incredibly creepy, whispering girlfriend (Marilyn Manning) who seems to feed him ideas.

    The black and white close-ups of his demonic face are terrifying, as is the rest of the camera work.[20]

    Both at the beginning of the film (a chilling introductory voice over by Arch Hall, Sr.) and at the film’s climax, the audience is given a close up of Charlie’s crazed, beady eyes peering out of the shadows — a striking effect, recalling Bela Lugosi’s famous glare in White Zombie of 30 years earlier.

    We’ll discuss the relevance of the notion of “white” and “zombie” a bit later. For now, let’s just say Hall, Jr. manages to create an on-screen persona that is probably the greatest example of the white trash nut job film archetype.

    In addition to his beady eyes and pudgy face, Hall, Jr. has admitted to studying Richard Widmark’s legendary psychopathic gunsel Tommy Udo [10] in Kiss of Death; that would explain the giggling. He also has an odd, loping walk that he sometimes forgets to use, which suggests Dennis Weaver’s fool “Chester” from Gunsmoke.[21] What also comes and goes is little bits of James Cagney; at times, he even suggests one of Jim Carrey’s dangerous idiots, especially with his odd hair and big, scary teeth.[22]

    As we’ll see, Charlie is not given to elaborate explanations, so it’s hard to tell what Hall, Jr. is trying to play, what Charlie‘s “damage” is.[23] Mental illness? Brain damage? Simple illiteracy? He certainly has a grudge against teachers. Incest victim? Inbred?[24]

    In the end, I can only imagine that he managed to channel all the frustration and public humiliation he had had to endure being Susie to his father’s Charles Foster Kane.[25]

    What’s really important hear, though, is the incredible, thoroughgoing Nihilism of this plot, written by director James Landis. We’ve seen this set up hundreds of times, going back to, what, The Petrified Forrest? We’ve seen all the moves, the deserted desert locale, the “clever plans” of the captives, the last minute rescues, over and over, albeit with occasional “surprise twists.”

    What we haven’t seen, is a film in which each and every one of those plans fails, and people, hostages and lawmen, are easily, methodically tortured and killed one after another, by a gleefully giggling psychopath. Charlie is simply an amoral killing machine, with no interest in anyone’s story, plans, or badges.[26]

    He simply loves to intimidate, threaten and murder. Period. (IMDb)

    The Sadist is more violent, more nihilistic, more transgressive, than the entire catalog of Tarantino and Stone, or even Eli Roth.

    He tears up pictures of their families he snatches from their wallets, gropes the terrified female teacher and rubs her face in the dirt, rips their clothing and pretty much makes it clear he’s going to kill all of them once the car is fixed. He also guns down two cops and shoots someone point blank right in the face. Charlie and his woman spend a lot of time sitting around sipping soda and laughing while watching their victims squirm.

    [It shows that] overkill gore, music video speed editing, loud soundtracks, computer effects, murky photography, shakycam and break-neck pacing of today often do little but distract from the meat of the story. This one takes place is broad daylight and manages to be starker, more tense, more suspenseful and scarier than most movies being passed off as horror these days. No distractions, no flash, no gloss, done on a small budget, no tabloid celebrities rounding out the cast. . . . Just a well-made film that knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it.[27]

    Landis clearly knows all the film clichés, so his contempt for them seems to suggest another agenda than Saturday afternoon B movie entertainment. Remember, this spare, deserted junkyard is located between mountain and desert, a liminal space, suitable for teaching or delivering a message. But what is the message or teaching? I suggest we look at another, more recent screen nihilist.

    Remember when I said that the elder teacher reminded me of Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon? I must seriously wonder if Heath Ledger’s Joker was in any way based on Arch’s Kidd. He’s the only other example I can think of such a completely realized psychopath, by which I mean a character so crazy he doesn’t just violate society’s rules — while still serving a function within some “well crafted” screenplay — but even the rules of cinema itself.

    In neither case do we get a clear “origin” story — the Joker makes up several just to toy with his victims, while Kidd just mumbles some boilerplate about being disliked; he makes James Dean seem like Demosthenes. One thing this does is prevent any audience empathy or sympathy.[28] In the Joker’s case, his multiple bullshit stories reflect his contempt for stories, words, plans and “schemes.” Kidd, too, notices right away that these are not just teachers but people, like the rest of us, who live by telling themselves and others stories: “big talkers” he calls them, and he loves forcing them to try to account for themselves, beg for their lives, and then coldly shooting them — plans and planners — down.

    The climactic — or anti-climactic — plan, shows us the younger teacher finally able to run off,[29] but eventually trapped in a dead end. Turning on his pursuer, he chooses his final gambit, the Berserker trope [11][30]: screaming like a banshee, he runs toward the still armed Kidd. Kidd’s gun, of course, now jams. Surely now the “hero” will win the day? No, Kidd just keeps pulling the trigger until it kicks in and shoots the guy dead. Then, he amuses himself further by standing over him, emptying the rest of his clip, giggling.[31]

    It clearly recalls the sequence in The Dark Knight where the Joker dares Batman to run him down; but here, the cops — and Commissioner Gordon — are already dead and can’t save the day.

    Both Kidd and the Joker are men who have realized that the modern world is an illusion whose end time has come[32] and while away their lives amusing themselves by forcing Oridnary Joes — us — to admit it to ourselves. In this they perform a perverse kind of teaching function. In The Sadist, the teachers get taught a lesson.

    Speaking of guns and plans, one foiled cinematic cliché has the teachers trying to keep a running count of his shots, anticipating that he’ll soon run out. (They are, after all, math teachers). Kidd, of course, easily foils this by simply having more clips, and taunts them for their idiocy. One wonders if this is the origin of Dirty Harry’s famous “Do you feel lucky [12]?” speech in 1971, especially we are told that Kidd carries the same .44 Magnum as Harry. Of course, Harry Callahan is supposed to be the Good Guy, fighting the Zodiac-inspired psycho, but Harry seems so crazy to both ordinary citizens and fellow cops, and the psycho is such a pantywaist compared to Kidd, that Harry and Kidd may be playing the same role as Psycho Teachers.

    Though it may be doubtful or impossible to determine now if Arch Hall, Jr. influenced Ledger, I’m certain the influence can be found inn Rob Zombie’s House of a 1000 Corpses, as well as its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. All three films share the same nihilistic worldview, the same “white trash” contempt for city slick-talkers too busy gabbing away to see what’s in from of their faces.[33]

    Cinematically, both share the audience-expectation-overturning trope of two investigating cops being summarily killed; the second dies like the elder teacher, forced to kneel and wait (along with the audience) for the headshot — Zombie presents this Tarantino-style, a long overhead shot with loud, “ironic” country music (Slim Whitman?) while Landis has a tighter, more original idea: Kidd chugs down a Coke, having promised to kill the old man when he’s done.[34]

    Above all, The Devil’s Rejects shares The Sadist’s nihilistic rejection of movie-style heroism. Otis drags his motel captives out to a similar desert junkyard wasteland and taunts them as they feebly try to resist and escape.

    “Boy the next word that comes out of your mouth better be some brilliant fucking Mark Twain shit. Cause it’s definitely getting chiseled on your tombstone.”

    “Ha, that’s what they all say, ‘Fuck you.’ Well it ain’t gonna save you. It don’t scare me none. And it certainly doesn’t make you a fuckin’ hero! You want to see what happens to heroes boy? You want to see bad ass motherfucker! I’ll show ya badass!”

    Because, quite simply,

    “I am the Devil, and I am here to do the Devil’s work.”

    And what is the Devil’s work? A tradition, parallel (Steiner) if not necessarily hostile to Christianity (Evola, Crowley, La Vey), would identify the Devil’s function as initiation, in preparation for the end of this cycle and the start of the next, which begins by stripping us of our old, everyday, bourgeois illusions. As one reviewer at IMBD noted, “the victims . . . become real people upon the appearance of the Sadist,”

    In all these films, appearing in a tight cluster from 1958 to 1972, but mostly in the early ’60s, we see, in appropriate ’50s “B” movie fashion, some kind of atomic mutation has taken place. The world is ending, but the old folks — the GI Joes suckered into fighting WWI and WWII[35] — don’t know it.[36] The kids, like Nietzsche’s Mad Man, to be “psychos” (a new, dismissive word of the time) as they live out, and deliver, the new gospel of nihilism.

    Like Tura Satana’s Varla in Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! (1965), Charlie Kidd is an implacable, amoral force of nature. At first, when he drives out into the desert to chase down Doris, and abandons the car when the tires sink into the sand,[37] I thought she would use it to run him down, just as Tura is finally mowed down by the Final Girl, but instead, in a bravura B movie move, he falls into a pit filled with rattlesnakes, giving us a few more minutes of his wonderful shrieking and eye-popping.


    But like Faster, the ending is no triumph for the Good Guys over the Bad Guys. As I’ve said before, these kinds of deaths are not “just desserts” as in moralistic fiction, but mere genre conventions, serving to bring to an end a drama that theoretically would go on indefinitely — if Charlie and Varla are forces of nature, then they can truly come to an end only with nature itself: the Apocalypse, which hasn’t quite arrived.

    The Good Guys, if they survive, have listened to and absorbed the gospel of nihil; they are “changed, changed utterly.”[38] Doris simply walks away from the car, as the baseball game continues to play out inanely on the radio. But soda pop, apple pie, and baseball will never be the same.


    1. Otherwise notable for the performance of Richard “Jaws” Kiel as the titular caveman, and for an inexplicable shout of “Watch out for snakes!” that has become the stuff of internet legend.

    2. And not to be confused with Judaic culture-distorter and actor-killer John Landis.

    3. This is the 2003 Alpha Films release, which is its usual bare bones presentations: six chapter stops and that’s it. There seems to be some kinda “high definition special edition” from 2008 available as an “instant download” at Amazon, but Grandpa here hasn’t figured that stuff out yet. As we’ll see, if I were a man of an earlier generation, I’d have it all figured out by now.

    4. “I get it, he’s a Cabbage Patch Elvis!” — MST3K, Eegah!

    5. I complained about the indistinguishable baby-faces of di Caprio, Matt Damon and Mark Walberg, in contrast to Jack Nicholson, in Scorsese’s The Departed in my review of Andy Nowicki’s Under the Nihil, here and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola … & Others.

    6. “This is believed to be the first feature film based on real life serial killers Charles Starkweather [14] and Caril Fugate [15]. Mainstream Hollywood would not produce films inspired by the pair until a decade after this one. A number of films were inspired by the duo (some very loosely) and included such major examples as Terrence Malick [16]‘s Badlands [17] (1973) and Oliver Stone [18]‘s Natural Born Killers [19] (1994).” IMDb.

    7. Although later she’s smart enough to take off her heels before trying to run away.

    8. The eponymous Agent for H.A.R.M. [20] (1966), whom we’ll refer to again, rigs up a TV set to electrocute someone trying the doorknob; remember, kids, TVs are dangerous!

    9. In the educational short “Why Study Industrial Arts,” a gym teacher explains to some prospective shop students that although, yes, his industrial arts classes haven’t help his teaching gym (“Look at me now” sneer the MST3k gang), it did give him “a mechanical interest, and know-how” that help him to fix his own car if it breaks down on the road, or, when buying a house, inspect it for himself. The MST3k kids find this absolutely hilarious. (“’Why study industrial arts?’ Uh, because you’re no good at math?”).

    10. “The thing that astounds me most is how well this film has aged. The junkyard location is sort of timeless, the dialogue isn’t stilted and dated like most other films of the era and no pop culture (except Coca-Cola) date it to any specific place and time. Even “Psycho,” a film whose success they’d intended to ride the coattails of, is far more dated than this one. It’s a psychological character movie, pure and simple. And it’s because of the simplicity of the whole thing that it’ll continue to stand the test of time.” (IMDb reviewer)

    11. An interesting corollary to “back then no one locked their doors” that no one seems to realize is that at the same time, everyone felt entitled to open your door and just walk in. Several of Lovecraft’s protagonists are caught in sudden rainstorms, and just “take refuge” in some too conveniently located old manse. So do Wodehouse’s characters in suburban London of the 20s, such as in “Uncle Fred Flits By.” When was this replaced by the “pounding on the door” trope? I experienced this myself when visiting Fire Island; there were no locks, and people would not just walk into the front room, but walk all the way through the house until they found someone to visit with. This is an aspect of the re-created “small town with no rednecks” that the elite prefer to live In; see “The Gilmore Girls Occupy Wall St.” here [21] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    12. Adam Chance [22]: “You think you can’t get hurt, Doctor, because this is America? Apple pie and all that jazz? [Crow: And hula hoops and dungarees?] Well, it’s my job to keep the pie on the table, and nobody asks me how I do it!” — Agent for H.A.R.M. [20] (1966); MST3k Episode 815.

    13. According to Wikpedia, the film is a favorite of Joe Dante, who owns the 35mm print used for DVDs, and also directed a segment of the Twilight Zone movie.

    14. “It follows real time from start to finish, imprisoning the viewer (like the victims) within every second by second development.” (IMDb reviewer).

    15. The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies [6] (1964); McCabe & Mrs. Miller [23] (1971); The Hired Hand [24] (1971); Deliverance [25] (1972); The Long Goodbye [26] (1973); Scarecrow [27] (1973); The Sugarland Express [28] (1974); Obsession [29] (1976); Close Encounters of the Third Kind [30] (1977; Academy Award); The Deer Hunter [31] (1978); The Rose [32] (1979); Heaven’s Gate [33] (1980); Blow Out [34] (1981); The River [35] (1984); The Witches of Eastwick [36] (1987); The Bonfire of the Vanities [37] (1990); most recently, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger [38] (2010). Zsidmond was one of the Top 10 Most Influential Cinematographers Voted on by Camera Guild, [39] being ”in the front ranks of a new wave of filmmakers who transformed the art form beginning in the 1950s. They were “outsiders” with diverse backgrounds and different ways of thinking than the Hollywood cinematographers who worked under contracts at studios.”

    16. Who appeared briefly in Eegah! and co-starred with both Halls in Wild Guitar.

    17. See, or hear, Joe Bob Briggs’s “Introduction” and commentary track on the Guilty Pleasures DVD release.

    18. I actually rather like the cinematography of Eegah! It’s a brightly lit time capsule showing us the sweaty, greasy bodies of people wearing white dinner jackets in Palm Springs in the early ’60s.

    19. The real Starkweather’s girl was 14, but a convenient police bulletin tells us she’s a high school grad, so as to chill out the censors.

    20. As he would next year in Incredibly Strange . . . there are a few expert touches that reveal the talent behind the B-movie camera, such as a couple of Killer-can POV shotes, and a nicely done tracking shot.

    21. Weaver also played the motel “night man” in Touch of Evil (1958), which was a clear influence on Tony Perkins’ Norman Bates in Psycho (1962).

    22. Zsigmond certainly helps here, giving Charlie’s teeth and eyes a really frightening appearance in the black & white filming. Charlie’s eyes in extreme close-up fill the top of the screen in the opening; like Gaby’s in Kiss Me, Deadly, they seem to boil like jellied fire. The latter movie shares the same blinding, post-apocalyptic, hyper-real cinematography, although taking place largely in LA rather than the desert beyond; see my “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick: Kiss Me, Deadly as Lovecraftian Tale,” here [40] and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

    23. Another dangerous White idiot with a gun … excuse me, rifle: “Private Pyle, what is your major malfunction?” — Full Metal Jacket.

    24. “Star Arch Hall Jr. (“Charlie Tibbs”) and Helen Hovey (“Doris Paige”) were actually first cousins; his mother and her mother were sisters.” (IMDb). Even better: Arch Sr., film producer, plays the crooked music producer who exploits Arch Jr. in Wild Guitar; Arch Jr.’s girlfriend in both Eegah! and The Sadist is the same actress, Marilyn Manning (not Manson); Manning was Arch Sr.‘s secretary, and supposedly having an affair with him, which explains the odd cave scene in Eegah! where he seems overly amorous with Manning, who is playing his daughter.

    25. It’s not likely Robert Blake took any influence for his own baby-faced killer in the later In Cold Blood, but Hall Jr. also suggests Michael J. Pollard, who would soon debut in the equally violent, kinda Starkweather based Bonnie and Clyde (1967; young white trash lovers on the run, including cop shooting and face shooting) as well as, more recently, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, (2003), which we will soon look at again.

    26. In Coleman Francis’ 1961 desert apocalypse, The Beast of Yucca Flats, the eponymous beast is described by the ever-present narrator as “Joseph Javorsky, respected scientist. Now a fiend prowling the wastelands, a prehistoric beast in a nuclear age. Kill, kill just to be killing.”

    27. Review at The Bloody Pit of Horror, here [41].

    28. The movie is not so much influenced by as hoping to ride on the coattails of Hitchcock’s Psycho (1962); I would argue The Sadist may well be superior; for one thing, Hitchcock ruins the ending by bogging us down in several minutes of Freudian bafflegab (relieved only by our amusement at noticing that one of the cops is Ted Knight). Sadist starts off with some off-screen narration about the definition of a sadist, apparently delivered by Arch Hall Sr., in what is thankfully his only contribution to the film, but our attention is really on the crazy eyes staring at us at the top of the blacked out screen (see poster), and there’s 90 more minutes to recover the momentum. The self-defense scene in Fritz Lang’s M similarly goes astray; the National Socialists detourned it by adding it to The Eternal Jew as an example of the typically Judaic defense of the unfit and degenerate. By the 80s, “FBI manhunter” Will Graham is “sick of all you sons of bitches” and, however the Tooth Fairy was abused as a child, just wants to “shoot him out of his socks” — and does so; see “Will and Phil: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror and Manhunter,” here [42] as well as my review of Andy Nowicki‘s Beauty and the Least (Chicago: Hopeless Books, Uninc., 2014), here [43].

    29. After eighty minutes of stand-off, it finally turns out to be rather easy to just run and get away, especially if all three had done so right from the start; he‘s not very good at moving targets, but if he can persuade you to kneel down he can make the headshot as well as Lee Harvey Oswald that same year. He does accidentally kill his girlfriend as she‘s running, but she was running towards him. Is this a flaw in the screenplay, of is it meant to suggest that it’s their cowardly/heroic reliance on escape “plans” that ultimately dooms them? On the other hand, Hall Jr. was supposedly a crack shot himself, and after several mishaps with blanks, convinced the director to let him shoot real bullets, apparently quite successfully.

    30. We discussed this in reviewing Brian De Palma’s Aryan initiation epic, The Untouchables, here [44] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.

    31. In 1962’s Dr. No, audiences were taken aback when supposed new “hero” James Bond not only shoots an unarmed man (after emptying his gun for him) but then shoots him several more times in the back. Of course, he was trying to kill Bond in the first place, but it just didn’t seem cricket. While Connery at least didn’t giggle, one might suggest his famous post-killing bon mots (“Shocking, positively shocking”) serve the same function.

    32. “The end of a world never is and can never be anything but the end of an illusion.” René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Ghent, N.Y.: Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 279.

    33. I discuss these aspects of Zombie’s films in “The Return of Repressed White Wisdom in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Family Films” here [45].

    34. If its OK to wax nostalgic during such a film, one of the lovely period details is the Coke chest — not machine — that the teachers make for right at the start and which provides delicious icy cold bottled refreshment throughout the action.

    35. “I fixed tanks in the war” boasts the younger teacher.

    36. “Something’s happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear” — Buffalo Springfield; “Something is happening but you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?” — Bob Dylan.

    37. Perhaps a call-back to Eegah!, where Hall’s dune buggy, he proudly points out to his girl, has tires filled with water.

    38. W. B. Yeats, “Easter, 1916.”


    (Review Source)
  • A Quiet Place: A Review
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,001 words

    John Krasinksi, probably best known as Jim in the long-running television series The Office, is the director and star of a unique 2018 horror film called A Quiet Place. Krasinki breaks from his typical casting as a smirking “soy boy” to play a gruff and serious survivalist in this post-apocalyptic drama. The film shows us what the world would be like if Earth became infested with monsters who attack any sound louder than a certain unspecified decibel level. These monsters are numerous and they move with lightning speed. The film begins after most of the human population has already been destroyed.

    The only characters in A Quite Place are a family, two parents, and their children. Krasinki plays the father. This family has managed to survive because their daughter is deaf, and thus they were adept at knowing how to communicate without sound through the use of sign language. Almost all of the dialogue in the film is in sign language (subtitled for the audience) and very quiet whispers. This makes it an unusual and tense viewing experience. The audience becomes aware of every tiny noise, and there is constant tension as various scenarios play out with the possibility that some kind of loud noise might occur, causing a monster to show up at any moment.

    The story arc is typical of the monster movie genre. We understand early on that these monsters exist, yet they are rarely seen at first, although slowly, as the situation grows more dire, the full horror of their appearance is made manifest. Analogous examples include Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Ridley Scott’s Alien. The most compelling plot point is that the mother of the family is pregnant, and as the day when she will give birth draws near, the fear of what might happen is heightened.

    Without question, A Quiet Place succeeds as a well-crafted tale and a masterwork of suspense. It is utterly terrifying, but it avoids being gruesome or disgusting, unlike so many other horror films. As a piece of science fiction, it is not the kind of movie that presents challenging ideas. It is not overtly political. Whereas other stories of survival often bring together a diverse group of characters forced to work out their identity issues under distressing circumstances, this film avoids that entirely by having all of the characters be part of the same family. Their identities are intrinsically tied to one another in the most basic way possible.

    Of course there are conflicts between the characters, but there is ultimately a prevailing sense of harmony between them. This is particularly felt because they have a special language by which they communicate and which has allowed them to survive. Their unity and their ability to work together and sacrifice are shown to be their most important values, above any sense of individuality. In one compelling scene, the wife makes the husband promise that he will do whatever is necessary to protect the children. There was never any doubt that he would, but this helps to emphasize the purpose of family. As we would say at Counter-Currents, the race must go on. Our people must survive.

    My guess is that Krasinski would prefer not to have his film interpreted in racial terms, and would rather have it viewed as a presentation of universal themes, in which the family could theoretically be of any race surviving under these circumstances. Indeed, it is a simple story. We never find out why these monsters appeared or where they came from. Nevertheless, there is something distinctly white about the aesthetic presentation of how the family survives. They secure a farm and live an agrarian lifestyle that is reminiscent of that of the majority of Americans when the country was still ninety percent white.

    If we wanted to stretch the film’s meaning a bit further, it should be pointed out that the monsters look like aliens from another planet. Simply put, this movie is about a white family trying to survive an alien invasion, and if they speak up, they are attacked and killed. Thus they must remain silent and learn to adapt to the conditions imposed upon them by their oppressors. Doesn’t this sound like the plight of white Americans today?

    If anything, A Quiet Place is refreshing because it is a break from the constant preachiness that is so typical in entertainment media these days. It is probably the sort of movie you will want to see in theaters. The audio is subtle and requires an immersive environment in order to get the full experience. While I am glad I saw it, everything about it was so intense that it was physically uncomfortable at times. It’s not the type of thing that I would watch repeatedly.

    On the other hand, if you live in an urban area and the only nearby movie theater is one frequented by noisy blacks, it might be a waste of time. Luckily for me, even though the theater where I saw it was quite full, the audience was comprised almost entirely of whites and Asians. For the most part, everyone seemed to be holding their breath simultaneously, occasionally gasping or crying out at the same moments. And yet there is so little sound in the movie that every squeak of a chair or rustle of a popcorn bag felt like an assault on the senses. I can only imagine how annoying it would be in a theater filled with Negroes.

    Although it is by no means the worst of what our people have to face, noisy Negroes at the movies are just one of the little things to which we have to adapt and cannot speak out about. One wonders how bad it has to get before white wives begin urging their husbands to promise that they will do whatever is necessary to protect their children. If this film is any indication, it means that things have to get pretty bad. Let’s hope all the soy boys turn into survivalists soon.

    (Review Source)
  • The Hidden Meaning of Resident Evil 4
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    6,020 words Famously based on zombie horror films, the Resident Evil video games have sold millions of copies each over the past two decades, and spawned a (terrible) film franchise to boot. As such, they’re an important cultural touchstone to a large segment of the gaming public, many of whom are young white men. The […]
    (Review Source)

Mark Collett1
This Week On The Alt Right

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • This Week on the Alt Right - with Greg Johnson
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    (Review Source)

Christian Toto3
Hollywood In Toto

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • How ‘City Slickers’ Did Right By American Males
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Quick, name the last great comedy that made you laugh and cry.

    Not easy, is it?

    Billy Crystal’s 1991 comedy “City Slickers [Collector’s Edition] [Blu-ray]” did just that. The film,

    The post How ‘City Slickers’ Did Right By American Males appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    (Review Source)
  • Is ‘Caddyshack II’ The Worst Sequel Ever Made?
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Is ‘Caddyshack II’ The Worst Sequel Ever Made?

    Here’s an old golf joke: What’s the best movie about golfing ever made? “Caddyshack.” And the worst? “Caddyshack II.”

    The eight-years-too-late “Caddyshack II” was an instant bomb in 1988 and

    The post Is ‘Caddyshack II’ The Worst Sequel Ever Made? appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    (Review Source)
  • HiT Autopsy: Matthew Broderick’s ‘Godzilla’ (1998)
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    godzilla 1998 review

    With a new “Godzilla” in theaters we delve into a past iteration, the misbegotten 1998 version directed by Roland Emmerich.

    Sony went through a number of prospective directors before Rollie-E

    The post HiT Autopsy: Matthew Broderick’s ‘Godzilla’ (1998) appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    (Review Source)

Death Metal Underground Staff2
Death Metal Underground

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • Over the last half-decade, metal documentaries have proliferated — there are now a handful, which is several fingers more than before. One of the more unique ones is Until the Light Takes Us, a look at the Norwegian black metal scene of the early 1990s, in that it attempts to understand not a phenomenon but the reasons it came about. We were fortunate to get a chance to chat with filmmakers Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites, who answered these questions in a single voice through collaborative writing, as they took a break from a busy schedule of promoting the film so that it can achieve the crucial next stage of distribution.

    What first attracted you to black metal as a subject? Are/were you a listener?

    A lot of people seem interested in the fact that we don’t come from a metal background, and that’s certainly true. Neither of us were ever particularly into a lot of metal before (except for doom/stoner rock – things like Sleep, Sunn O))), Earth etc). But we do come from a background of obscure experimental lo-fidelity noise rock. I mean, the leap from something like Harry Pussy or The Dead C to Norwegian black metal isn’t exactly a gaping chasm. (In case you don’t already know this, a lot of the musicians in our film are also into stuff like this — Enslaved have even collaborated with Merzbow). It’s not like we were reaching for a Sting record and accidentally grabbed a Stigma Diabolicum demo. The driving similarity in all the music we love is that it’s intelligent in some way, and psychically or culturally relevant and usually extreme in nature. Whether by way of insanity, artistry, ideology, invention or what have you.

    We were introduced to black metal by a friend (Andee Conners who owns Aquarius Records in San Francisco) who knew that it was something we were going to be into. We both really care about music, we had gotten into black metal, and we both just wanted to see a good film on the subject. That’s really how it started. We were looking for a good documentary on the subject and couldn’t find one. So it really just started as a way to find the answers to our questions, and to explore a genre that had deeply moved and surprised us, and which described an experience of being alive on this planet that had not before existed in this way.

    What kind of research did you do for the film?

    We researched extensively for a year. First, we bought every Norwegian black metal record we could find (as well as all of the precursor bands like Bathory Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Venom etc.). We listened to everything, read all the lyrics, went over liner notes. Luckily, we’re pretty obsessive so that part was fun. Next, we sought out every magazine, fanzine, blog, book, newspaper and anything else we could find and compiled giant bound books of interviews of every musician that we wanted to talk to. These books were massive, they were like telephone books consisting solely of interviews by Norwegian black metal musicians. We also spent a lot of time on review sites like Markus Karlsson’s site, do you remember that? We loved his reviews, if you know how to reach him please put us in touch, we’d love to have him to do something for the DVD.

    Did you prepare a project abstract first and shop around for funds in order to make the film?

    Yes. Before we filmed, we went to Norway and wrote a fifty page proposal, a thesis essentially, of what the film would be. This took a lot of time. It was actually helpful in that it forced us to refine our ideas, to take into account what we saw around us and to plot the trajectory of the film, of which we had a very clear vision by the time we started shooting. It also forced us to do a second round of research, because in order to explore the ideas of globalization, postmodernism and dissent (ideas that we have thought from day one were relevant to black metal), we had to read up and be sure that our ideas were intellectually sound. One of the big resources for us was a book called Jihad Versus McWorld by Benjamin Barber. Another was The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. These guys are both cultural theorists and economists, who come at things from a markedly different perspective, but both deal with the struggles of retaining cultural identity within a globalized society, and the tension this creates.

    The other big reference point was post-modernism and theories of simulation and simulacra, essentially the idea that a thing can be transformed out of existence if it is copied inaccurately enough times. That the sheer volume of incorrect copies can overwhelm the original truth, until the original truth becomes a sidenote in history, and the degraded or even just altered copy becomes the reality. People ask us all the time if we like current black metal bands. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a trick question. Yes. And no.

    What kind of reactions did you get from people when you explained what you intended?

    From people that we were trying to raise funds from, or from the musicians? Funders did not get behind this movie until we had done a substantial amount of filming. There were some amazing people who helped and supported us, but we spent a year trying to raise funding and it just didn’t work. Norway was willing to fund us but there was a catch: the movie would have to be about “American filmmakers who go to Norway to investigate black metal.” It would have to be as much about us as about black metal. Um, no thanks. So we scratched and scrambled, begged and borrowed, and ran up our credit cards to get to the point where we could raise finishing funds. We turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars because we weren’t interested in making the movie that they wanted us to make.

    With the musicians, it differed. We clicked with Gylve instantly, and he agreed to be in it right away. He was the first person we approached, and I think that helped to establish that we hadn’t just read Lords of Chaos and hopped on a plane.

    It would seem to go without saying that a film about Norwegian black metal has to have Gylve, Varg, and hopefully Hellhammer. Just, period. Or it’s just fatally flawed. Gylve and Varg, with Euronmyous, CREATED Norwegian black metal. It would not exist were it not for the three of them each playing a distinct and crucial part in the formation, codification, and dissemination of the genre. There are certainly other great musicians who have contributed a ton to the genre, but it was the originators that we knew we needed to talk to.

    We clicked with Gylve immediately, we spent less time with Hellhammer but have great affection and respect for him, and we were prepared to stop at any time, fold up, go home if we weren’t able to get Varg’s participation. We knew it would be very hard. We were relieved when, after eight months of correspondence with him, he finally agreed to meet Aaron. We were pretty confident that if we were given that opportunity we would be able to get his participation, and we did. I admit though, it was a relief, because by the time that happened, we’d been in Norway for eight months and had spent an awful lot of time and money on the film. He used to write us letters that stated that even if we made exactly the movie that he himself would make, he STILL wouldn’t be in our movie. Those were hard letters to get. But we kept on with it, and finally he agreed. Once he actually met Aaron and talked with him and was able to see where we were coming from, it was not at all difficult. He was very open and forthcoming, except in cases where for legal reasons he couldn’t say certain things on camera. Obviously, we can’t and won’t repeat any of that either. But even when he couldn’t state things, he would allude to them. He was very open with us. Of course you can’t blame him for being initially wary. He felt that he had been burned (no pun intended) by the international media circus that erupted in the early 90’s. But we were able to convey to him what our intentions were, and once he realized that we were not there to make a quickie hype piece, and that we’d actually researched the hell out of everything, and I think just based on who we are, he agreed to participate. And we think that he would agree that the film is fair, and most importantly, honest.

    Is it expensive to make a film of this nature?

    Of this nature — yes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. A big part of the expense was just the day-to-day cost of living in Norway for two years. But that was necessary. We had to spend time with the people, establish trust, etc. It wasn’t interesting to us to make a film that skimmed the surface. We wanted the film to be from the perspective of the musicians looking out from the inside. For that to be possible, we had to be inside.

    Were metal fans and bands cooperative, for the most part?

    We didn’t talk to many fans for the purposes of making the film. This isn’t like other movies about metal. But, literally everyone we met was extremely helpful.

    The eye may be said to owe its existence to light, which calls forth, as it were, a sense that is akin to itself; the eye, in short, is formed with reference to light, to be fit for the action of light; the light it contains corresponding with the light without.

    We are here reminded of a significant adage in constant use with the ancient Ionian school — “Like is only known by Like”; and again, of the words of an old mystic writer, which may be thus rendered, “If the eye were not sunny, how could we perceive light? If God’s own strength lived not in us, how could we delight in Divine things?” This immediate affinity between light and the eye will be denied by none; to consider them as identical in substance is less easy to comprehend. It will be more intelligible to assert that a dormant light resides in the eye, and that it may be excited by the slightest cause from within or from without. In darkness we can, by an effort of imagination, call up the brightest images; in dreams objects appear to us as in broad daylight; awake, the slightest external action of light is perceptible, and if the organ suffers an actual shock, light and colours spring forth.

    – Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe, Theory of Colors (1810)

    What equipment did you use — were you shooting direct to digital, using film, etc? How did you edit?

    We shot on 35mm and PAL minidv and edited on AVID (telecine to tape for the film parts), eventually outputting an HD D5 master, from which we make copies in other formats as necessary. Our original intention was to end up with a 35mm print, but expenses were too great, we couldn’t do it. The film industry imploded a few weeks after our festival premiere in LA 8 months ago. The pressures of the economy, combined with some industry specific factors, drove it into the ground. Six of the top independent film distributors went out of business nearly overnight. Ripples went far and wide, those that were left became extremely conservative in what they would fund or distribute. So the money to transfer to film just wasn’t there anymore.

    How long did the whole project take?

    Many years. I don’t like to talk about how many. It disturbs me. A lot of my life has gone into this. Aaron got very sick as well and we had to take a year off while he had surgery and recovered. We also had to spend over a year raising finishing funds when we got back from Norway. Luckily, we found that in two great companies who have been very supportive of us and of the film, even in this horrible climate for independent documentaries. We would not have finished without their (continued) support. And we found an editor, Michael Dimmitt, who loved the project and agreed to work for deferred pay. He also made it possible for us to finish the film. He actually hasn’t been paid yet, and that sucks and we feel crappy about that, but he knows we’re good for it. It takes a lot of dedicated people to make a film like this. And we’re so grateful to everyone who has helped us.

    What were some barriers you ran into?

    Money, health, equipment problems, time. I’ve had a job consistently since a few months after we got back from Norway. Aaron was ill and I was trying to support us, as well as raise money to finish the film. That was a horrible time. It lasted for over a year, and it is a very dark period in my life. I was extremely depressed, as was Aaron, and it felt like we were never going to be able to finish the film. We finally found the funding and support we needed in two companies, Artists Public Domain and The Group Entertainment, and were able to start editing. It took six months just to digitize and log our 350+ hours of footage. Finally, moving forward! Then our system crashed. We lost it all. That was so disheartening. We took a break, regrouped, got a new editing system and editor, and started over, half a year’s work down the drain. It took about two years to edit the film, we had so much material and even though we knew what we wanted, it was difficult to achieve. We were both working at this point, so our free time was very limited, and it all went into the film. I’m not complaining, but there are years of my life dedicated solely to surviving and making this film.

    Is it expensive to distribute a film so that the DVD is available on Amazon and in stores? Do you have other options to pursue for distribution?

    Well, if you make a quickie movie with a small budget and don’t invest that much into it, you can do things like release it straight away on Amazon and platforms like that. If however, you do what we did, which requires a huge investment of time, money and work, then you can’t and don’t want to do that unless you have no other option. We are currently hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt on the film. We have investors and co-production partners who did not give us nor loan us the money, they invested it in our film. So that’s one aspect of why we are committed to doing a proper release of the film. In order to legally be able to release a DVD, we have to first pay about $50,000 in outstanding expenses. So, that’s just a reality we’re dealing with.

    The other reason is that this is a creation that we have made, and there is a certain way that we want it to be presented. The film is about black metal, but we also deal with wider issues and it is relevant to the larger culture, not just fans of the genre. I am a filmmaker before I’m a fan, and a person before I’m a filmmaker, so there are a few masters that I serve when I make something. This is a communication between us and the world, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from making this film, it’s that if you don’t control your creation to the utmost degree that you possibly can, you lose your ability to do so very quickly. We refuse to see this released in an exploitation context. This is an art film, and if people want to cheapen it, we will make that as hard as possible for them to do. Some people do, by the way, want to cheapen it, just like they want to cheapen metal in general.

    Have reactions differed between metalheads and mainstream audiences?

    It’s mostly metal fans who have seen it thus far. With our sneak peek screenings, what we have attempted to do is bring the film to places with interested metal scenes and give them a chance to check it out first and give us a chance to get feedback from them. And so far, the reaction from fans has been really great. 95% of them really like the film. Even the ones who thought they weren’t going to like it. You don’t know how many times we’ve heard “I was really worried that I was going to hate the movie, but I’m happy to say that I thought it was incredible.” Mainstream audiences are more mixed in their reactions. Some of them get angry that we don’t make the musicians look like complete assholes or lunatics. But the reactions from non-metal fans has been mostly positive as well. Especially from those who like dark underground films.

    What are your hopes for this movie: what should it accomplish, who will see it, where will it fit in our pantheon of culture?

    I think it is the best documentary about a music scene ever made. You can quote me on that. It isn’t like anything else. It is not a balls to the walls expose of youth gone wild. It is not sensationalized, nor exploitative. It is elliptical. It is a contemplative look at the evolution of the creators of a scene that has all but morphed out of existence, at the forces in the culture that brought it into being, and the forces of culture that take it into a different place in the culture’s conscious (or unconscious). It’s about mechanisms in society that eradicate authorship, identity, intent. It’s about black metal, a scene and genre of music that deserves to be accurately recorded, once and for all, for whatever place in history it will take.

    Beyond that, as filmmakers, we want it to be a work that resonates with the audience. The filmmaker who has had perhaps the biggest influence on me is Chris Marker. While our film deals pretty solidly with a story and characters and a time and a place, it also borrows from Marker the notion that a film can be more than the sum of its parts and that you can weave together seemingly disparate elements and timelines in a traditionally clear-cut documentary mold and create something that will hopefully resonate on levels beyond a linear re-telling. That was our goal anyway, or at least part of it. Hitting the tone that we wanted and striking the balance between telling the story of real people but also getting at the truth at the center of the story, while also exploring the other themes that we see as part and parcel of the story, was always going to be a challenge.

    We also know that the contemplative tone and elliptical structure is going to piss off people who think that a documentary about metal should be a certain way, or done in a certain style. Our film isn’t like other works that people would superficially be tempted to lump us in with. I hope that eventually the film will be perceived as a unique work of cinema, valuable as a document of a music movement and a moment in time, but also valuable as a creative work in its own right.

    Well, you can’t be objective when you’re dealing with passionate situations, politics and so forth. I guess you can, I never have. For instance if you were objective about Richard Nixon, you would never get him or understand him. You had to be subjective to understand Nixon. You have to be subjective to understand the Hells Angels.

    – Hunter S. Thompson, interview with Freezerbox magazine (2003)

    Do you think black metal is a subculture in itself, or solely a genre of music? An ideology?

    All of the above. It is a subculture, sort of, but one made up of individuals if that makes any sense.

    What kind of audience response is required for a distributor to be interested?

    We have to reach a wider audience to make the expense of making it make sense to a distributor. And we want to reach a wider audience, because it is a smart and moving and relevant film that deserves to be seen. Due to the collapse of the indie film industry, we’ve had to really think about a way to make this all work. Our current plan is to show the film theatrically at these sneak peek screenings and festivals that we’re currently doing. This does a couple things: 1) Lets the theater bookers know that the film does have an audience, and that they won’t lose money if they book it. 2) Lets DVD distributors know that we will work like that crazy to make it worth their while, and again to prove that there is an audience. And 3) to get a break from all these people writing us all the time telling us to release the film or bring it to their town already!

    We get A LOT of requests to bring it to places all over, we plan on bringing the film around the US for special engagements through September, then we’re going to Europe in October, premiering in London at the Raindance Film Festival in October, then bringing it to a few more countries before we head back to the states to finish our theatrical run in the fall. A lot of people have been asking us to bring the film to various countries, and we’re trying, but some are very hard. Like France, they basically won’t screen the film without French subtitles, and we don’t have the money to have it subtitled. But we’re working on these things! We actually listen to the people who write to us and we try to set up screenings wherever we can. I’m actually slightly terrified by some of the ones we’ve set up, I mean is anyone going to go see the film in Atlanta? I really don’t know. But a couple people wrote and asked us to do it, so we set it up. So, I hope so. It’s a gamble. Failure at any screening is very damaging, this is a truly stressful process.

    By the way, one thing I should point out. Probably a lot of your readers, who are immersed in the metal culture, look at our film and think “this thing will sell a lot” but believe me, distributors etc. look at it and say “what the fuck is this?” The metal market is a small one by film standards, and not large enough to justify the expense alone (for distributors). Even people who like the film tell us that the film is great, but they have no idea how to market it. So we have to show them that we do. So, that’s the plan. Time will tell if it worked.

    Would you want them to show this film on prime time cable?

    I want people to have the option of seeing the film in a theater first. Magic and ritual and mysticism is all but gone from the world already, but there is something of that surviving in the ritual of seeing a film in a darkened room with a bunch of people there with the same purpose. Maybe you think that’s dumb, but you don’t become a filmmaker if you don’t respect the power of the medium. And no, that doesn’t apply to all films. A lot of films can be appreciated just fine on DVD only! But my hope is that people take something from the experience of seeing the film in a theater, and leave thinking about it, or talking to their friends, because the film is not as straightforward as some might think before seeing it. We tried to make it multi-layered, and I think we did. It’s meant to be watchable more than once, because there are things that might not be apparent on the first viewing. And that’s true of all my favorite films. But, then, I truly love film! I’ve seen some of my favorite movies countless times, and will see them countless more! And as I change, I see different things in them. A film can function as a statement, as a record, as a cipher, as a puzzle, as an experience, or as a mirror. Or all of them.

    Did your attitudes toward metal bands and fans change?

    Not really. We are fans ourselves. All fans are different. The film is very specific to Norwegian black metal. It isn’t about the fans. We’ve found the fans, by and large, to be really engaged, smart, and generous. There are always a few people who say that they will never see this film no matter what because they can’t conceive of the possibility that it just doesn’t suck. And that’s fine. There are about half a million movies that come out every year that you couldn’t force me to watch. Then there are a few who say that we should be punished for not releasing it on DVD sooner. That’s retarded. Let them go put their entire life, all of their money, all of their time, and make their own movie and then we can talk.

    Anyway, this is like people who get upset because we didn’t include certain bands or certain people, or that there aren’t American bands in the movie, and I just can’t relate to that mindset. Usually I just tell them that sounds like a really great idea for a movie, go make it. What are we supposed to say to this? Did people get angry at Spielberg when he didn’t put giant squids, barracudas, piranhas and sea-snakes in Jaws? This isn’t an encyclopedia. It isn’t journalism. It’s a movie. It’s OUR movie. It’s what we combined to make. There are an infinite number of possibilities, people create what they are moved to create. We were moved to make this, and we’re happy with the film that we made. Most people who see it are happy with it too. And if they’re not, that’s fine too, I like that some people hate the movie, I think that’s healthy. Love it or hate it, a strong response is a victory. Of course, I can say that because so far, most people have loved it. I might feel differently if more people hated it!

    Do you see comparisons to other genres and black metal?

    You can compare anything to anything else. You can compare a grape to a Ford Taurus. You can compare Einstein to the A-Team. Of course you can compare other genres to black metal. And of course, being a huge fan of black metal and other kinds of music, I see comparisons. But that’s entirely subjective and totally irrelevant. We aren’t doing that. We don’t talk in the film. The idea of the film is that the musicians themselves are the ones who are talking about it. Not cops, not priests, not fans, not musicians of other genres, and not us. Some metal fans call us hipsters (only on blogs mind you) because we like more than metal. That’s absurd.

    Do you think black metal was a moment in time, or will it continue to exist like other heavy metal?

    Both. Things change. There was certainly a lot of music that inspired the Norwegians and they in turn inspire others.

    What other films have you done, and do you plan to do?

    Our next film is a thriller that takes place on a commune. I was born on a commune. They can be a bit cultie. Some are stranger than others. Our film will have some supernatural elements as well. We want to call it Possesion, but there is already a great film from the 70’s with that name. So its working title is The Living Day.

    You seem remarkably gentle when handling metalheads. What do you think is the psychology of the average metalhead?

    I don’t really put people into different categories like that. A lot of my friends are “metalheads.” To a lot of mainstream people, I’m a “metalhead.” To others, I’m a hippie. I don’t believe that there is a generalized psychology to any subculture. There are so many factors in making a person like one thing over another, and so many differences within subcultures. If there is a similarity amongst people we’ve met in the scene it’s a certain interest in looking past the surface of things. Always a good idea.

    What would you advise a first-time watcher to do as they see your movie?

    Let the movie’s logic do its thing, don’t come with expectations or an agenda.

    Art is a creative act. Paul Klee said that art does not simply render nature, it renders it visible. The artist sees something that others do not see, and by seeing it and putting it on canvas, he makes it visible to others. Recognition art. A particle physicist at the University of Texas named John Wheeler has developed something that he calls “recognition physics.” Wheeler says that nothing exists until it is observed. Well, the artist as observer is like that. The observer creates by observing, and the observer observes by creating. In other words, observation is a creative act. By observing something and putting it onto canvas, the artist makes something visible to others that did not exist until he observed it.

    – William S. Burroughs, interview in Contemporanea (1990)

    (Review Source)
  • Musical Dissection of Pestilence “Out of the Body”
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Once upon a time Pestilence were a very capable death/speed metal band that would attain great heights with the their magnum opus Consuming Impulse. Leaving behind the speed metal of Malleus Maleficarum for greater freedom in melody and structure, “Out of the body” is by far the most popular track on this album due to its catchy main riff, guitar acrobatics and absolute intensity.

    Those are only the surface traits of what makes this song and the album a bonafide death metal classic.

    Introduction of the dominant themes:

    The song begins with a simple chromatic descent with speed metal embellishments that is both catchy and introduces the oncoming threat in the same way as horror film composers(think of Jaws) by. The step by step descent really enforces the sentiment that something is lurking in the dark while the little open note rhythm keeps the momentum going The declarative statement of the song announces the theme of parasites ravaging a human. After the initial riff has been well established there is an introduction to the climax of the song, rather than forcing the song to achieve its apex immediately the riff is played only by one of the guitars while the other one plays backing chords hinting towards the reality that will strike the narrator.


    The chromatic riff returns but with a slight variation allowing Martin Van Drunen’s emotive growl to emphasise the warning of the riff through some vague lyrics.

    In the darkness
    They crawl on places
    Where you can’t see or hear them come
    Marching silently
    When it’s dawn they will be gone

    The composition then diverts into a tertiary motif pointing ever so slightly to the climax while maintaining the chromatic nature of the main theme, as the initial warning deteriorates into anxiety and fear communicated by the subtle change to a more cadenced rhythm.

    A swelling on my body
    Makes me suffer, live in anxiety
    No time to waste
    Just open the abscess, will you please help me
    The ignorance is dominating
    Remedies you try
    I can not live this life any longer
    What is it and why?

    A return to that first theme without the slightest of variations to springboard on to the climax and final revelation of this song. Where many bands recycle riffs through a lack of ideas or ability to make riff labyrinths, Pestilence show the power of using a single theme to anchor a complex set of ideas from becoming a random riff salad. The narrator has a better understanding of the horrors being set upon him as he begins to discern a pattern of the creatures assaulting him . Notice how the drummer doesn’t use the double bass as to really enunciate that though the riff may be the same, the song is continuously progressing with the narrator.

    While you’re asleep
    They’ll enter your skin
    The search for the new place they will dwell
    They give their children
    A place to be born
    You won’t notice except for the smell

    The final piece of the development trades all the syncopation for a full on frontal assault as sixteenth notes charge at full pace with Van Drunen delivering each line through a different speaker to transmit the narrator’s thoughts of doing everything possible to combat this affliction rather than crying about it like a metalcore singer would. The powerful driving riff conveys absolute desperation and builds tension through the lack of resolution at each riff cycle.

    Mysteriousness, researchers can’t explain
    The sorrow of this eternal pain
    It’s burning stronger day by day
    Cure me, there must be a way

    Desperation, confused mind
    Never heard of the disease of this kind
    So tell me what can I do
    To leave this hell I’m going through


    The sixteenth note riff transforms into some dazzling guitar wizardry by Patrick Mameli while Patrick Uterwijk plays a chromatically ascending sequence that strays further away from the root note, forcing the listener to almost beg for some form of release but not before a tempo change. While the riff is certainly very groovy and harkens back to speed metal the perfect fourths and the circular chromaticism form a strong basis for a pensive and elusive solo continuing the building chaos in the narrator’s thoughts. A perfect way of integrating a guitar solo within the composition in mind to push the song forward and not as an exercise in technique.


    For a small moment everything stops until what is probably the greatest release in all of metal comes crashing into the speakers as that second theme returns in dominating fashion but this time returning on both sides releasing all the tension by returning to that root note as a mid pitched growl bursts through displaying the reality of the situation through a mixture of bone shattering agony and a revelation that neither science nor god can provide.  A fantastic expression of the human body being pushed beyond its limits as the narrator can only conclude by pleading for external help.

    Human blood
    The perfect place
    Birth of descendants
    Creatures living
    In my veins the horror
    Frightening, sickening
    The pain that I am bearing
    Begging, please get them
    Out of my body

    As the last note of the riff leads directly into the final development riff, a technically proficient solo absorbs the momentum taken from the climax and pushes it onto even greater heights without ever sounding pretentious or unneeded.  Though it is the final development riff, the context has changed and what was once urgent yet conscious thought is now man reduced to the primal state of an animal trying to save its life.

    Final revelation: The song concludes with the initial theme cut down and a final return to the first part of the climax followed again by an even shorter version of the initial theme.  By not adding new ideas after the climax Pestilence demonstrate restraint and assurance in the overall power of the individual parts.  The cyclical nature of the lyrics reveal that this is an eternally recurring struggle as the narrator has been trying to fight these parasites but with no success as they torment him each night only to fade away at dawn.  By returning to the dominant theme Pestilence jump on to the climax one last time without having to build all that tension from scratch as the listener is taken through one last ride of nature overcoming man and technology.

    Tags: , , , , ,

    (Review Source)

Armond White2
The National Review / OUT

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • In Us, the Woke Generation Scares Itself
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Jordan Peele depicts black American identity as a freak show.
    (Review Source)
  • CNN Fakes Movie History as Well as the News
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    New pop culture series slants toward fanboy populism.
    (Review Source)

Soiled Sinema10
Soiled Reviews

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • The Day of the Locust
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    While on a recent much-needed and long-awaited vacation where I did very little of anything aside from watching a shitload of films, I found myself almost ritualistically devouring an eclectic plethora of (mostly great) ranging from Jan Troell’s epic diptych The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972) to John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust (1975). While these particular films might seem like a curious combo as they share very little in common in both the aesthetic and thematic sense, they really highlighted for me what I both love and hate about the United States; or, the real organic settler Euro-America that created this nation and the phony Hebraic Hollywood anti-America that colonized the minds of its creators. While Troell’s singularly epic diptych—two masterful films that Terrence Malick seems to have spent his entire career attempting to model his own cinematic works after—provides an exceedingly earthly and sometimes realist yet nonetheless transcendental depiction of the great struggle involved with enterprising Europeans becoming (true) Americans after courageously abandoning their homelands and pretty much everything else they knew, Schlesinger’s film provides, in many ways, the complete opposite experience as an oftentimes gorgeously grotesque and absurdist portrait of the phony culture-distorting America where phony shallow cinematic dreams are dubiously conjured and hopelessly forsaken people and their oftentimes devastatingly deluded dreams go to die a particularly pathetic death. Not surprisingly, the films also had considerably different receptions among critics, which is why I feel the need to defend the much maligned Schlesinger feature, which I would argue is the ‘British’ auteur’s true magnum opus and greatest and most ambitious artistic achievement, especially considering its current questionable reputation compared to much inferior and, in turn, absurdly overrated films (e.g. MASH (1970), Harold and Maude (1970)) from the same so-called ‘New Hollywood’ era.  Indeed, the film is a strange reminder that, on very rare occasion, Hollywood was involved in the production of subversive cinematic art that symbolizes everything that Tinseltown represents.

     Based on the 1939 novel of the same name by NYC-bred Ashkenazi writer Nathanael West—a Hollywood insider of sorts that worked as a screenwriter on films like John Farrow's Five Came Back (1939) starring Chester Morris and Lucille Ball—The Day of the Locust is a largely plot-less and deceptively dream-like (anti)odyssey of oftentimes aberrant and even grotesque spectacle that dares to ruthlessly demolish the conspicuously counterfeit kosher Hollywood version of the so-called ‘American Dream.’ In that sense, it is hard to imagine that David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) would exist without Schlesinger’s sort of ‘Tinseltown Gothic,’ which oftentimes feels like the brooding baroque cinematic equivalent to Kenneth Anger’s gossip classic Hollywood Babylon (1959), albeit focusing on the everyday misfortunes of Hollywood’s failed nobodies instead of the tragic ends of opium-addled superstars and coveted closet-queens. Indeed, featuring strange references from films ranging from Robert J. Flaherty’s classic silent (pseudo)anthropological doc Nanook of the North (1922) to Josef von Sternberg’s classic Marlene Dietrich vehicle Blonde Venus (1932) and a somewhat fitting cameo from Hebraic horror huckster William Castle as a dictatorial studio director that literally directs his crew into disaster, The Day of the Locust is an ideally idiosyncratic piece of cinephilia for cinephiles that hate Hollywood or, at least, the phony hokey Hollywood that acts as a mask for the festering moral rot and decay that is barely hidden beneath. Of course, the best films about Hollywood tend to touch on this subject, including works ranging from classics like Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) to more obscure (and underrated) works like John Byrum’s X-rated Golden Age era celluloid grotesquerie Inserts (1975) to the Coen Brothers cult classic Barton Fink (1991), but The Day of the Locust arguably transcends all of these films in terms of sheer unending eccentricity, mirthful misanthropy, and slow-burning necrotic spirit. 

     While Schlesinger—a gay British Jew that is surely best remembered today for his Academy Award-winning gay-for-pay counterculture nightmare Midnight Cowboy (1969)—can hardly be described as ‘right wing’ or ‘conservative’ in any sort of sense, he was fairly aesthetically apolitical as demonstrated by his controversial collaborations with Nazi composer Herbert von Karajan and surprisingly vocal appreciation for Leni Riefenstahl’s films, including Triumph of the Will (1935). Undoubtedly, many of the auteur’s films can certainly be described as ‘red-pilled’ by today's decidedly degenerate standards, which probably has more to do with Schlesinger's subversive spirit as an artist than any sort of serious political allegiances. Indeed, Darling (1965) starring Julie Christie demonstrates the great perils of being a soulless careerist whore and how a misguided lust for fame and fortune can quickly turn a beauteous young debutante into a lonely and unlovable monster that treats an abortion like a hair-cut.  In Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Christie reprises the young dumb (yet delectable) know-it-all-bitch routine and portrays a so-called ‘independent women’ that thrives on hypocrisy and narcissism, makes all the wrong decisions, deceitfully uses men to run her farm and ultimately engages in petty behavior that leads to the destruction of the lives of two of three suitors that want to marry her (and, rather fittingly, she is ultimately stuck with a boorish man that she liked least of the three). In Marathon Man (1976), the Hebraic hero is arguably less likeable than the evil elderly Nazi doctor trying to kill him.  Also, Schlesinger's most famous film Midnight Cowboy can hardly be described as featuring a positive portrayal of poofters or Warholian art fags and the filmmaker himself even once described it as being “viewed as somewhat antigay.” In Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), a middle-aged gay Jewish doctor and bitchy shiksa spinster seem to thinking have an affair with the same young (and seemingly sociopathic) quasi-hustler acts as an apt substitution for marriage and children, thereupon underscoring the biting soullessness of their sad lives.

    While Schlesinger spent much of the later part of his career directing largely forgettable hack work, including the shockingly banal supernatural horror flick The Believers (1987) and the yawn-driven yuppie pseudo-psychological thriller Pacific Heights (1990), it is clear from his greatest films that he was not petty propagandist and that he had the rare ability to embrace the ugliness of humanity without succumbing to any sort of shallow sermonizing, as if the auteur was a mere passive observer among his own idiosyncratic cinematic creations. In The Day of the Locust, Schlesinger exposes the viewer to an eclectic collection of eccentrics, lecherous losers, (self)destructive drunks, lost souls, and odiously opportunistic whores, yet one never gets the feeling that Schlesinger has any unkind feelings towards these mostly forsaken individuals. At the same time, it is probably the only film where one almost feels a deep sense of therapeutic joy when kid is stomped to death in a scenario that ultimately unleashes a sort of Hollywoodland holocaust.  Needlessly to say, this is no feel-good-film, yet it somehow maintain an unexpected degree of rapture and unconventional humanistic intrigue, which are undoubtedly some of Schlesinger's greatest attributes as a filmmaker.

     Notably, Schlesinger’s mischling journalist nephew Ian Buruma once described The Day of the Locust as, “Perhaps John’s darkest picture—made at the happiest time of his life—it failed to win a major award.”  In other words, aside from being his most artistically ambitious film, it is also his most absurdly neglected and misunderstood.  As Schlesinger remarked to Buruma himself, “MIDNIGHT COWBOY, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, and THE DAY OF THE LOCUST were all made cheek by jowl. This was probably the moment I felt most liberated, when I felt I could make films on these sort of subjects. Perhaps I’ve never reached that point since.” Beyond its subversive subject matter, the film was also a long marinating passion project that Schlesinger would have to wait many years to make until he acquired the commercial and critical success that came with Midnight Cowboy and even then he faced many roadblocks from the studio and producers, which makes perfect sense considering the film depicts Hollywood as a schlocky Sodom run by virtual slave-driving sociopaths and overflowing with alcohol-addled whores that will do virtually anything just to get even the least prestigious of barely-paid positions on a seedy studio lot. In short, Schlesinger savagely yet exceedingly elegantly demolishes the legendary (plastic) glamour and shallow intrigue of unholywood while at the same time sardonically assaulting the very same sickening system that the film was made within. Indeed, even Robert Evans—the legendary (and then-relatively-young) Hollywood film producer and studio executive that completely revitalized the studio system during the American New Wave era with classic works like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Godfather (1972), and Chinatown (1974)—was completely against the film, or as Schlesinger explained himself, “Robert Evans—who ran Paramount—absolutely hated the idea of THE DAY OF THE LOCUST and said so forcibly and did anything that he could to prevent the film being made […] Essentially Bob Evans is a Hollywood man […] I think he just didn’t like what the film stood for. People in the industry didn’t like the story; they didn’t like the rather downbeat, critical attitude of West’s novel. Evans also didn’t think it was commercial, which, of course, it wasn’t.” Luckily, Schlesinger had the kosher clout to have his way and create what is arguably the biggest and most epic ‘anti-Hollywood Hollywood’ film ever and the auteur was even such a nice guy that he subsequently collaborated with Evans on the surprisingly subversive ‘Jewish thriller’ Marathon Man despite the studio executive's poor treatment of his dream film. 

    While he virtually disappears for a good portion of the film, ostensibly straight-laced WASP Tod Hackett (William Atherton)—an ivy league boy that looks like he was descended from America’s most thoroughbred Anglo-Saxon stock—is certainly the lead protagonist of the film and he soon discovers after moving into a tiny apartment with a literal ‘hole in the wall’ at a crusty complex called San Bernardino Arms in Hollywood that the town is completely morally bankrupt at all levels, as it takes a certain razor sharp unscrupulousness to not only merely compete, but especially to get ahead. Luckily for him, Hackett—a man whose name hints that he is a ‘dead hack’ of sorts—immediately becomes hopelessly infatuated with an exceedingly empty cocktease of the platinum peroside blonde philistine sort named Faye Greener (Karen Black) after encountering her living at the same apartment complex with her father and he soon finds it easy to assimilate to the amorality of his rather pathetic excess-ridden environment. Aside from being willing to do virtually anything to get into Faye’s panties, which seems to be protected by an invisible chastity belt, Hackett also discovers that he must lose his soul if he wants to establish a successful career as a pre-production artist at Paramount Studios where a hyper-cynical booze-and-porn-loving screenwriter named Claude Estee (Richard A. Dysart) takes him under his wing as a sort of protégé of mindless hedonistic perversity that entails dumb debauched parties involving primitive S&M blue movies and alcohol-driven cock fights, among other things. In a scenario that seems to have been taken from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Hackett begins working on a large Otto Dix-esque painting on his earthquake-worn wall that not only unmasks the true demonic essence of Hollywood as if the protagonist has special They Live-like glasses, but also foreshadows an apocalyptic scenario at the very end of the film.  Indeed, while Hackett comes to Hollywood to perform frivolous hack work for insipid popcorn pictures, the malignant spiritual moribundity, innate immorality, and all-encompassing soullessness begins impact that artist deeply and his art soon begins to resemble something that might be created by the bastard son of Edvard Munch and Leonor Fini.

     Despite the fact that Faye is a fiercely fake and frigid bitch that impulsively says stupid shit like, “I hate people with thin lips. People with thin lips are mean. That’s true. I read that Somewhere,” and refuses to give up even the most minuscule crumb of poontang because she is strategically saving her clearly over-appraised virginity for the ideal rich and handsome man that she absurdly thinks she has the potential to marry despite not being much more than a poor man's lobotomized Marilyn Monroe, Hackett accepts being friend-zoned because he is so hopelessly horny for her ice-cold-cunt that he is willing to wait for a day that ultimately never cums. While Faye makes it known to everyone that he thinks she is hot shit, her fairly banal blonde Barbie doll good looks are the sole thing she has going for her, as she is literally the bastard brood of a whore that abandoned her for a “magician bastard” and a washed-up dipsomaniacal ex-vaudeville performer turned failed snake oil (or ‘Miracle Solvent’) salesman named Harry Greener (Burgess Meredith). In a sane world, Faye would gladly accept Hackett as her male suitor as he is almost in every way her superior, including arguably looks, but she is deluded by big dreams of Hollywood stardom due to getting minor roles as extras in c-grade movies and—as she confesses to the protagonist—he surely is not her type.

    Aside from planning to marry a rich dude that has the capacity bloat both her ego and bank account, Faye seems to take after her estranged whore mother in terms of being naturally sexually attracted to low-status savages as demonstrated by the fact she eventually self-destructively fucks a superlatively swarthy Mexican cockfighter that lives in a garage. When Hackett declares his love to her not long after meeting her, Faye—the Hollywood hypergamic harpy par excellence—rather bluntly reveals her self-satisfied shallowness and stereotypical feminine propensity towards self-deception by responding, “Don’t make me hurt you. You’re very kind and clever, but I could only let a really rich man love me. I could only love someone criminally handsome. Please try to understand.”  As a sort of Dr. Jekyll/ Ms. Hyde grotesque caricature of the virgin-whore archetype(s) as clearly irreparably despoiled by a lifetime of Hollywood propaganda starring hunky heartthrobs like Cary Grant, Faye epitomizes virtually everything that is insufferable about modern womankind, which is quite fitting since Hollywood—a narcotizing delusion factory that produces romantic twaddle that tricks stupid chicks into fantasizing magical imaginary men and luxurious lifestyles that they will never be able to obtain—is largely responsible for women having such preposterously high expectations despite very rarely having anything to bring to the table aside from the purely physical. To Hackett’s credit, he is treated relatively kindly by Faye, especially compared to a poor sapless sap named Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland) that eventually find himself caught in her web of contrived femininity and counterfeit glamour. 

     While Faye seems to genuinely appreciate Hackett’s friendship, even after he attempts to rape her while screaming that she is a “bitch” after she rejects his rather aggressive sexual advances, she only displays visceral hatred and resentment towards poor hapless homeboy Homer. Indeed, after being forced to sell her virginity to some old fart to pay for her father's funeral when he unexpectedly dies, Faye eventually sets up a ‘business relationship’ with Homer that seems to be totally sexless and simply involves the heroine living in his house as a sort of less than subservient pseudo-wife that refuses to even make him dinner (in fact, mirthful masochist Homer ultimately becomes the servant). Naturally, Faye almost immediately begins rather flagrantly cuckolding Homer, as she not only has her fake cowboy friend and his Mexican pal move into his home, but she also even fucks the latter. Clearly disgusted by Homer’s weakness and incapacity to ‘assert’ himself with a woman, Faye seems to derive sadistic glee from psychologically torturing the poor cowardly cuck, so naturally it is only a matter of time before he completely snaps.  Unfortunately for him and his not-all-that-innocent victim, Homer, like many people that completely crack-up, loses his shit at the wrong place and wrong time in what ultimately proves to be a sort of burst of apocalyptic fury.

    Needless to say, it is only fitting that Homer is a devout Jesus freak of sorts, as it underlines the capacity of Hollywood to erode anyone’s soul, not matter how deeply religious and/or terminally sexually repressed. Of course, as someone that goes to a phony spiritually vacant proto-megachurch with an electric crucifix with the words “Give To Jesus” written across it that more resembles a vaudeville show than a serious house of worship, Homer—an extremely fearful and nervous autist of sorts that seems to be perennially internally wounded as a result of a lengthy childhood illness—is not exactly the most mentally sharp of men despite having a little bit of wealth and a nice house due to his accountant background. As someone that clearly cannot support herself, Faye only reluctantly decides to shack up with Homer after her father dies and she is left without a home, though, to her credit, she does demonstrate an unexpected degree of selfless sacrifice when she sells her much-prized virginal puss to pay for her papa’s funeral. Indeed, instead of becoming a big Hollywood starlet, Faye is forced to settle for being what she has clearly always secretly suspected she was—a cheap unlovable whore. As for Hackett, Faye’s moral deterioration does not deter his desire to defile her and he even preposterously rationalizes her cash-for-gash deflowering by stating to a drunken ambiguously Hebraic midget, “She waited till the old guy was dead. I’ll give her that much.”  Rather pathetically, even after Faye loses his virginity, Hackett still fails to seal the carnal deal.

     Considering that Faye predictably dedicates her life to increasingly ruthlessly mocking and emasculating him after moving into his home, it is only a matter of time before Homer—a terribly nervous Nellie that has absolutely nil outlet for his seemingly perpetual internal misery and misfortune—completely explodes, which ultimately acts as a catalyst to the film’s savagely surreal climax that quite fittingly takes place at a big movie premiere. Notably, the ending is somewhat foreshadowed in an unforgettable scene that would probably give John Landis—a morally dubious director that is certainly no stranger to catastrophic movie set mishaps—cold chills where a huge Battle of Waterloo battlefield set directed by William Castle completely collapses during filming and injures tons of actors and extras portraying soldiers. Despite being a fairly cold and stoic man that rarely expresses emotion aside from when less than suavely attempting to fuck Faye, Hackett, who created sketches that acted as virtual blueprints for the set pieces, is somewhat shocked by the senseless tragedy, which he immediately realizes is the direct result of both the studio’s negligence and shameless apathy towards human life. When Hackett attempts to warn the studio head about how the accident was easily avoidable and the direct result of senseless negligence, he is treated to a haircut and shoeshine from a jolly old negro and is later told by his screenwriter friend Claude that it “wouldn’t have made a difference” if people had actually died (while apathetic toward human life, Claude does get a thrill from drunken cock fights with Hebraic midgets and Mexicans). Naturally, the event inspires Hackett’s apocalyptic mural collage/painting, which literally comes to life at the film’s conclusion, at least in the protagonist’s mind. 

     At the a world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Buccaneer (1938) at Grauman's Chinese Theater is where the Hollywood dream turns into a fiery phantasmagoric holocaust. Indeed, when a creepy proto-tranny child named ‘Adore Loomis’ (Jackie Earle Haley)—a platinum blond(e) kid pervert that plays the peeping tom when his mother isn’t whoring ‘him’ out for small roles movies—dares to tease Homer one-too-many-times in between obnoxiously singing “Jeepers Creepers” and hitting him in the head with a rock, among other forms of childish degradation, he ultimately finds himself resigned to the strangely fitting undignified fate of being stomped to death. Already totally distraught because Faye has left him, the insufferable child’s taunts ultimately cause Homer to completely explode to the point where he does not even bother to notice that he stomps the kid to death in front of seemingly thousands of people, thereupon sparking a full-scale riot where he is seemingly ripped apart by an angry lynch mob while a rather rotund studio announcer unwittingly brags about the excitement of the crowd in a totally twisted scenario that really underscores the curious combination of insipidly stupid spectacle and emotion retardation that personifies Hollywood. In the end, the entire area is burned down, including pine trees, while Hackett loses his mind as he finally acknowledges the virtual hell that he has been condemned to. In the end, Faye goes by Hackett’s apartment and sadly discovers that he has wisely vacated the premises, though his rose-in-the-wall remains.  In short, this Hollywood film hardly has a happy Hollywood ending, though it is certainly bittersweet that Hackett wisely hightails it out of Hollyweird hell.  As to the status of Hackett's sanity, one can only speculate.

     Rather unsurprisingly considering its decidedly dark and respectably audience-alienating subject matter, The Day of the Locust—a big budget film that only grossed about $2,300,000, which was about a third of its cost—was one of the biggest flops of 1975 and it seems that Hollywood, including the studio that produced it, was not exactly sad about this fact. For example, as Schlesinger explained to Buruma in regard to how the film was received among friends and associates when it was first screened, “Afterward, in a rather smart Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, we found Polanski and Jack Nicholson, and a lot of people who were in CHINATOWN, sitting at the next table. They looked very embarrassed. Eventually someone came over and said, ‘I want to congratulate you,’ but they were obviously very embarrassed by their reaction—or lack of it—and so was I. I think the film generally wasn’t being received terribly well.” Apparently other people, including respected Hollywood filmmakers, were more vocal about their disdain for the film, or as Schlesinger’s official biographer William J. Mann explained in Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger (2004), “Hollywood was, quite frankly, appalled; many took the film as a personal affront. John was told that at a screening at a movie executive’s home in Bel Air, the exec’s wife stood up halfway through and apologized to her guests for making them sit through such an outrage. Even some who seemingly shared John’s spirit of challenge found the film too hard on the industry. Sidney Lumet, director of SERPICO and DOG DAY AFTERNOON, was bashing LOCUST all around town, reportedly asking, ‘How can Schlesinger shit where he eats?’ Word got back to John, who was furious, prompting a four-page hand-written apology from Lumet.”  Indeed, it seems that even fellow semitic subversive auteurs found Schlesinger's film to be an unforgivable assault on the studio system they seemingly pretended to rebel against, which is exactly why The Day of the Locust is ultimately considerably more transgressive than the filmmaker's much more widely beloved Midnight Cowboy.

    Of course, as a patently preternatural arthouse affair on Hollywood steroids that concludes with the protagonist’s and, in turn America and the entire world’s, (Hollywood) dreams going up in smoke in a violently surreal and hypnotically haunting Hollywood holocaust that can be seen as both a cold ruthless execution and deservedly cynical eulogy for Tinseltown—as if Schlesinger had some sort of (subconscious) belief that the studios had committed certain ungodly crimes and they would eventually be ruthlessly punished for said crimes in a big brutal kismetic fashion—the film was naturally doomed to offend the majority of people. In that sense, it is rather fitting that this apocalyptic conclusion is sparked by the brutal murder of an obscenely obnoxious sort of proto-tranny child, as it hints at the seemingly perennial rumors of (sexual) abuse in Hollywood as noted by people Corey Feldman as well as the aberrant sexualization and androgynization of children in Hollywood films (somewhat fittingly, the kid was portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley, who would go on to portray child killer/molester Freddy Krueger in the abortive A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake). It is also fitting that it is a largely innocent and seemingly virginal Christian man—the sort of individual that Hollywood regularly targets for abuse—ushers in this apocalypse.  In that regard, I would not be surprised if certain Hollywood producers and studio heads interpreted the film as some sort of prophetic threat where these very powerful individuals were forced to consider for the very first time in their entire lives that their degenerate movie miscreations might provoke a backlash of biblical proportions, hence the fitting setting of a Cecil B. DeMille—a filmmaker of Hebraic extraction that oftentimes took a curiously homoerotic approach to his religious epics—movie premiere.

     As reflected in its uniquely unflattering portrayal of Hollywood and its history, there is good reason that studio heads and filmmakers loathed the film, as it has a certain scathing covert contra kosher spirit. For example, before succumbing to Hollywood-inflicted alcoholism, Harry Greener semi-cryptically alludes to the Judaic control of Hollywood by stating while making certain vaudevillian shylock-like gestures, “you ain’t got a chance in hell if you ain’t one of them. You know what I mean? And they got it all locked up. To hell with them.”  Of course, the character's sentiments are not random, as famous figures even used to express such concerns, even card-carrying communists like novelist Theodore Dreiser. As Neal Gabler explained in An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (1988), “Even within Hollywood itself there was mumbling about Jewish control. For some it was the handiest rationale for thwarted dreams. Theodore Dreiser had been lured out to Hollywood in the thirties to oversee the film production of his monumental novel AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, but he had battled hammer and tongs with Paramount over what he felt was the ‘traducing’ of his masterpiece, and now he had departed, trying to raise money for a new project on tobacco monopolist James Buchanan Duke. When that failed, Dreiser blamed the Jews. He wrote a Swiftian satire suggesting that Jews be rounded up and packed off to Kansas where they could do no more harm. To a friend he wrote, ‘The movies are solidly Jewish. They've dug in, demploy only Jews with American names. . . . The dollar sign is the guide—mentally & physically. That American should be led—the mass—by thei direction is beyond all believing. In addition, they are arrogant, insolent and contemptuous.’” Apparently, such counter-kosher sentiments were not simply isolated to gentiles as Louis B. Mayer was apparently quite fond of throwing around antisemitic slurs and Jewish New York film executive Herbert Somborn even immediately plotted to get Gloria Swanson ”out of the hands of these Eastern European Jews” after marrying her. Knowing all of this, it is surely fitting that excerpts from The Day of the Locust appear in the documentary Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998), which is a sort of superficial adaptation of Gabler's book.  After all, not unlike Gabler's book, Schlesinger's film is one of the few honest examples of the hermetic Hebraic history of Hollywood.

    Needless to say, it is hardly a subtle nod to the character of the typical semitic studio director when Hebraic hack William Castle portrays a ‘fascistic’ filmmaker that screams at the crew and ultimately directs them into literal tragedy. It is also notable that said tragedy is set during the Battle of Waterloo, which is a historical event that is noted for creating a good portion of the Rothschild Banking Dynasty’s wealth. In fact, the Nazi propaganda film Die Rothschilds (1940) aka The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo directed by Erich Waschneck depicts this scenario and there’s a good chance that Schlesinger was aware of this fact as it is known that he was at least familiar with some Nazi cinema.  Even more incriminating, the pre-Code Hollywood film The House of Rothschild (1934)—a vehemently pro-Jewish production that, although quite successful as the biggest hit of the year for Twentieth Century Picture and a work that was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, is curiously completed unavailable today—concludes with Nathan Rothschild becoming the richest man in the world as a result of the Battle of Waterloo and even gleefully bragging, “Europe hides its head in shame because it borrows from the Jews.” On a more unintentional yet nonetheless still subtextual level, the film even exploited the work of old Israelites that very quite possibly worked in Golden Age Hollywood, or as Mann explained in regard to a scene involving Harry Greener, “Even less orderly was the faith-healing sequence. Several hundred extras were bused in to act as Geraldine Page’s faithful followers. ‘Old-age pensions,’ John reported, ‘many of whom had come from Jewish old people’s homes and who were confronted by three neon crosses saying, ‘Give to Jesus.’ Up on stage, the choir mistress was trying to rouse the extras by urging them to pray to the Savior. Some in the crowd didn’t understand they were to be in a movie and were terribly offended; some stormed back to the bus, complaining loudly. ‘Looking back on it,’ John said, ‘it was really very funny.’” Undoubtedly, the fact that Schlesinger personally felt that the semitic scenario was hilarious only adds to the absurdist hilarity of this scene in subsequent viewings. 

     I don’t know what motivated me to endure such frivolously schmaltzy, shallow, and just downright soulless celluloid bromide, but I recently watched George Stevens’ classic RKO musical Swing Time (1936) and it reminded me how much Golden Age Hollywood polluted the world with outstandingly artistically bankrupt kitsch crap that really has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, as if the major studios were largely run by a sociopathic race of hedonistic space aliens that had nil clue as to how to express organic human emotions and merely substituted them with the great aesthetic sin of brashly bombastic spectacle. Of course, this is just one of the many reasons I treasure a film like The Day of the Locust that, not like Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), takes an oftentimes darkly humorous approach to forcing Hollywood to drown in its own grandiloquent depravity and almost otherworldly hypocrisy while exposing its excremental excesses and ludicrous lies. In fact, I think it might be fitting punishment for the more corrupt studio heads to being subjected watching the film on a loop for eternity while being forced to shine Robert Bresson’s shoes, clean P.P. Pasolini’s toilet, and wash Carl Th. Dreyer’s underwear.  Surely, it is a sort of poetic form of cinematic kismet that Teutonic master auteur F.W. Murnau died tragically in Hollywood after having his films like 4 Devils (1928) and City Girl (1930) tampered with by the studios and then temporarily escaping to the South Pacific for his swansong Tabu (1931).  While Schlesinger would live a number of years longer than Murnau, his experience with Hollywood was not all that different as virtually all of his later films were tampered with or mere soulless hack work after the flop of The Day of the Locust. Indeed, as Mann rightly noted, “THE DAY OF THE LOCUST was the last of John Schlesinger’s ‘great’ films. It was the last time he would so completely immerse himself in an attempt to create something monumental, in which he and a group of brilliant, trusted collaborators truly sought to find an original, artistic interpretation of the material they were putting on the screen.”

     While Schlesinger's previous film Sunday Bloody Sunday was also a flop, it at least received very positive reviews from most of the right respected critics whereas The Day of the Locust was attacked by most critics, including those sympathetic to the auteur's previous films. One of the few people that seemed to both appreciate and understand the film was Judith Crist, who paid it a great compliment when she described it as a, “Consideration of the American dream by way of the factory town that dispensed it . . . To call it the finest film of the past several years is to belittle it. It stands beyond comparison.”  Crist's words are no mere puffery because, in terms of sheer scope and ambition as well as epic eccentricity, Schlesinger's arguable magnum opus is like The Wizard of Oz (1939) of sardonic (anti)Hollywood Golden Age period pieces as a (sometimes) subtle satire of the strikingly idiosyncratic sort that also packs pathos and even manages to be genuinely horrifying than the best horror flicks (undoubtedly, the conclusion of the film somewhat echoes the more phantasmagorical scenes of Herk harvey's classic Carnival of Souls (1962)).  Of course, this is no surprise as anything resembling cinematic art that comes out of Hollywood tends to defy genre and audience expectation, though The Day of the Locust goes beyond this as a largely plot-less portrait of preternatural misery and misanthropy where virtually every single character is forsaken and ‘happiness’—or, at least, any sort of long-term happiness—is exposed as, at best, a terribly naive ideal and, at worst, a shallow fantasy sold to suckers by innately manipulative Hollywood culture distorters, hence the lack of love for such a film.  In short, the film gives a way the garbage game of Hebraic Hollywood and does with a sort of understated acidic aesthetic style of one thousand dope-addled failed screen divas courteously of the great cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (In Cold Blue, Fat City).  In terms of its sort of plot-less promenade approach where the viewer randomly encounters an eclectic collection of characters like an ant at an ant hill and rather misanthropic spirit and mostly unflattering depictions of sex and sexuality, the film is certainly comparable to Georgian auteur Otar Iosseliani's Les Favoris de la lune (1984) aka Favorites of the Moon of all films.

    I recently watched David Robert Mitchell's darkly comedic neo-noir Under the Silver Lake (2018) and, while I did not find it as enjoyable or immaculate as the auteur's previous film It Follows (2014), I could not help but wallow in the fairly singular cinematic experience it provides due to its sometimes surreal approach to depicting Los Angeles as a virtual hellhole disguised as heaven where the rich and famous voluntarily prematuraly end in their lives in a tomb of hedonism due to an absurd (pseudo)religious belief that their souls will magically ‘ascend’ like ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.  Indeed, whether it be the brutal S&M sods of Fred Halsted's classic experimental homo hardcore flick LA Plays Itself (1972), the sinister quasi-vampiric Hollywood Hills brother-sister duo that drain swingers of their precious sanguine fluids in The Black Room (1982) co-directed by Elly Kenner and Norman Thaddeus Vane, or the slow-burning post-Lynchian lunacy of the Coen brothers' cryptically contra kosher Barton Fink (1991), I love films that absolutely annihilate the Hollywood dream and present Tinseltown as a nefarious nightmare that the Devil himself would be proud to call home.  After all, how else can one think of a patently phony place involved in greatly profiting from a global social engineering project that involves regularly defecates out putrid cinematic products that teach women promiscuity and abortions are a form of liberation, portray perverts and aberrosexuals as lovable bourgeois types, and have even gone as far as attempting to pass off Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as highly desirable sex symbols, among other distinctly despicable things.

    While she was mostly a dumb twat that undoubtedly inspired countless young women to ruin their lives, Marilyn Monroe was probably onto something when she said, “Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”  Of course, considering Monroe's degenerate background, I would wager that The Day of the Locust is more reliable in terms of ultimately demonstrating that one only has to simply live in Hollywood to lose one's soul and that the studios need not sacrifice fifty cents to ensnare the average person.  After all, most people are willing to shell out their own hard-earned cash to have Hollywood colonize their minds with anti-human trash that pollutes their psyche and defiles their soul.  Somehow, I think this will eventually contribute to something more horrifying holocaustic than the ending of Schlesinger's film, but then again I stopped going to movies theater to see blockbuster schlock about a decade ago because I much prefer the life-affirming misery and misanthropy of Fassbinder and Bergman to the sugarcoated celluloid cyanide of Spielberg and Singer.  Speaking of Spielberg, we can at least partly credit him and his early blockbusters like Jaws (1975) for helping to kill the artistic auteur cinema of the so-called New Hollywood era that The Day of the Locust belongs to.  While Spielberg probably wields more international influence than the average Western European prime minister, films like Under the Silver Lake and shows like Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace (2016) ultimately demonstrate that the true Faustian spirit is still not completely conquered.

    -Ty E
    (Review Source)
  • Rambo
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Within every genre, there are select films that earn the title of "Best in the Genre". For romance we have Casablanca, Drama we have Citizen...
    (Review Source)
  • Poultrygeist
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    "Night of the Chicken Dead" Troma really has come along way since The Toxic Avenger . Films from Troma have been lacking in originality late...
    (Review Source)
  • War of the Worlds
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    If there is two things that are over-played, It's disaster films and remakes. I lost count long ago how many times I've seen Earth destroye...
    (Review Source)
  • Prey
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Part of the influx of the mass-produced " Maneater " series comes Prey , a film that is attempting to steal the fame and following of the d...
    (Review Source)
  • Piranha 3D
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    I watch horror films for two reasons, both harkening back to childhood.  One reason is to get in touch with the primal, sleepless night-ind...
    (Review Source)
  • Deep Rising
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    One thing that was always consistent is my infatuation with high seas terror. Included in the past several decades are many of the quintess...
    (Review Source)
  • The Being
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Director Jackie Kong has created several horror films in the 80s but none of them are as synonymous with the terms "horror" and "bad" as Th...
    (Review Source)

Kyle Smith2
National Review

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Farewell to a Hollywood Master
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    From the Sundance Kid to the Princess Bride, William Goldman proved one of the greatest of all screenwriters.
    (Review Source)
  • Spielberg's Women
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    “Jaws” star Robert Shaw had a clever take on Steven Spielberg back in the 1970s, apparently, according to the late screeenwriter Tom Mankiewicz (nephew of “Citizen Kane” scribe Herman, son of “All About Eve” writer Joseph) in his memoir “My Life as a Mankiewicz,” which has just been published: The author got to know the actor and playwright Robert Shaw while polishing the script for “The Deep” (1977). He asked Shaw about Steven Spielberg, for whom Shaw had just made “Jaws” (1975). “Young Steven has exquisite taste,” said Shaw. “He is a wonderful director. But he has one problem: a rather plain-looking fellow, and they’re already sending private jets for him and he’s going out with actresses. Steven will never be able to make a film about a man and a woman. Ever. He’ll never know what it’s like to sing under a lady’s balcony.” I think Spielberg actually disproved this with “Always,” which is a wonderful and romantic movie that flopped, in my view, because no woman wants to sleep with Richard Dreyfuss. ]]>
    (Review Source)

Ica Reviews1
Aryan Skynet

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • A Haunted House ***
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    To make a comedy that will satisfy its target black audience, experience shows that it helps immensely for certain crucial elements to be firmly in place. Does A Haunted House fulfill these requirements? Serious students of cinema art are encouraged to consult the following checklist of quality standards, not only in judging the movie under consideration, but in all future encounters with the African-American comedy form.

    1. Stupid honkies? Check.

    2. Honkies with insatiable lust for blacks? Check.

    3. Industrial-strength-funk toilet humor? Triple check.

    4. Jewish names credited as producers? Check and double check.

    Clearly, in renting or (preferably) purchasing the remarkable Michael Tiddes joint/cinematic celebration A Haunted House, the viewer has in hand what promises to be remembered as a timeless classic to rank alongside The Ladies Man and (yes, even) Who’s Your Caddy?.

    The flimsy pretense of a plot concerns the haunting of live-in lovers Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) and serves to set in motion an unremitting cavalcade of hit-and-miss sight gags and surplus dirty jokes. In its defense, A Haunted House does contain a few genuinely amusing cheap laughs at flatulence, bad breath, body hair, the sight of Marlon Wayans sweatily humping multiple stuffed animals, shitting on his own carpet, and so forth, but the film is only recommended to non-whites or the most contemptible and unsalvageable of white ethnomasochists.

    3 stars for the full, screeching, monkey-like intensity of Marlon Wayans’s physiological investment in his part, and Cedric the Entertainer’s earthy turn in a disappointingly small supporting role as a ghetto priest. ICA’s advice: for a funnier, less disgusting movie about spooked blacks bugging their eyes out and acting like utter buffoons, see Mantan Moreland in Lucky Ghost instead.

    (Review Source)

Conservative Film Buff2

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • Steven Spielberg Ranked
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    I love all these films so it was hard to rank them. But yeah, I stand by this. For now.
    I retain the right to rearrange these at will.

    1. Jurassic Park
    2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    4. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    7. The Terminal
    8. Bridge of Spies
    9. Jaws
    10. Hook

    ...plus 12 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

    (Review Source)
  • Cat People 1942
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    A slow start, a somewhat silly premise, and too much chitchat lessen this RKO release, which was meant to start a new phase of RKO horror films. That said, the cinematography is stunning. This is to be expected from director Jacques Tourneur, who would later go on to direct the legendary Out of the Past. He utilizes shadow to great effect to manipulate the audience into feeling the presence of the, uh, feline terror, without the hassle or expense of having to train a real animal. This is particularly noticeable in the must-see swimming pool scene. Great restraint is shown
    (Review Source)

The American Conservative Staff2
The American Conservative

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • John Milius: A Real Wolverine
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    “I’ve been blacklisted as much as anyone in the ’50s,” says John Milius in the absorbing new documentary “Milius,” an aptly blusterous teddy bear of a movie directed by Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson. Milius, a self-described “Zen anarchist,” scripted some of the best films of the 1970s: “Jeremiah Johnson” (adapted from a novel by the cranky Idaho Old Rightist Vardis Fisher), “Apocalypse Now” (its title taken, explains Milius, from a button he had minted in the 1960s to mock the hippies’ “Nirvana Now” slogan), and “Dillinger” (starring the “constitutional anarchist” Warren Oates). His uncredited work includes “Dirty Harry”’s “Do you feel lucky?” street interrogation and Robert Shaw’s selachian monologue on the fate of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in “Jaws.” Milius was at once a central figure and an outlier in the early 1970s Hollywood youth moment. Though personally close to the Midasian trio of Spielberg, Lucas, and Coppola, his firearm-based antics (such as bringing a loaded .45 to a meeting with a studio executive), as much as the masculine rite-of-passage motifs in his films, seemed to place him in that unpledged fraternity of directors with decidedly non-liberal politics: Michael Cimino, Walter Hill, Ron Maxwell, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone. He completed the transition from colorful character to pariah, the documentary suggests, with “Red Dawn” (1984), which Milius cowrote and directed. “Red Dawn” is a Boys’ Life fantasy in which a gang of outdoorsy Colorado kids (nicknamed the Wolverines, after their high school mascot) resists the Soviet/Cuban occupation of their town. They run off to the mountains, sleep under the stars, play football, eat Rice Krispies for dinner, and draw up sorties in the dirt as if they were Hail Mary passes. It all sounds like a blast. Despite the ludicrous premise, the film is filled with entertaining extended middle fingers (the occupiers use registration records to locate gun owners, among them the great Harry Dean Stanton, and throw them into re-education camps) that left conventional reviewers sputtering. One of “Red Dawn’s” only thoughtful notices came from The Nation’s Andrew Kopkind, who saw it as a paean to insurgency, “a celebration of people’s war.” Milius, in this interpretation, is no jingo; he’s on the side of indigenous people fighting an occupying army. Kopkind’s essay is so good I can’t help quoting at length: Milius has produced the most convincing story about popular resistance to imperial oppression since the inimitable “Battle of Algiers.” He has only admiration for his guerrilla kids, and he understands their motivations (and excuses their naivete) far better than the hip liberal filmmakers of the 1960s counterculture. I’d take the Wolverines from Colorado over a small circle of friends from Harvard Square in any revolutionary situation I can imagine.  As the Wolverines are about to execute a prisoner of war, one teenage guerilla asks, “What’s the difference between us and them?” To which the leader of the pack responds, “We live here.” The line might just as well have been spoken by a boy in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever else imperialist superpowers alight. My favorite Milius movie is his magnum opus manqué, “Big Wednesday” (1978), in which three surfers (the trifecta of Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey, and William Katt) confront Vietnam, adulthood, and monster swells. Elegiac, evocative, excessive, “Big Wednesday” was a box-office wipeout, but since when is that a demerit? The Golden Age of American cinema, the first half of the 1970s, had room for—nay, welcomed—this asthmatic, bombastic, gun-crazy Jewish surfer from St. Louis who said, “The world I admire was dead before I was born.” But today—Mistah Kurtz, he passé. I despise Milius’s hero, Teddy Roosevelt, and I’ll bet we’ve never once cast a ballot for the same presidential candidate, but in our age of cringing yes-men and gutless herd-followers, who cannot admire a man who once explained himself to his fellow screenwriters: “I’ve suffered loss in my career for not being obedient. Believe me, the loss was little compared to the fear all you elite stomach every day. When the sun sets, I can sing ‘My Way’ with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Richard Nixon. What is your anthem?” “To be a rebel is to court extinction,” said the booze-addled and self-dramatizing silent-screen siren Louise Brooks. John Milius is an authentic rebel, a true son of liberty, and in his 70th year his work is as alive as ever. And hell, I haven’t even mentioned “Geronimo,” “The Wind and the Lion,” or “Conan the Barbarian.” Bill Kauffman is the author of ten books, among them Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette and Ain’t My America. ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • What the People Want
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Somewhere in Hollywood, there ought to be a statue to Henrik Ibsen. The great 19th-century Norwegian dramatist is often credited with the invention of theatrical realism, but this has always struck me as an unfortunate choice of word. The upper classes are no less “real” than members of the other orders of society, and Ibsen’s protagonists are as apt to break into set-piece declamation as any Shakespearean soliloquist. In my book, the theatrical master at capturing reality—internal and external—has always been Chekhov. If the word were not already exhausted from use in a very different context, I would call Ibsen’s great theatrical achievement the invention of theatrical “socialism.” That is, he created plays that were enormously successful as dramas and dealt with pressing social issues of the day, whether the effect of modernity on marriage (“A Doll’s House”) or how sexual hypocrisy helps spread venereal disease (“Ghosts”) or the vicissitudes of modern finance (“John Gabriel Borkman”). This is harder to do than one might think. Too often writers who attempt it—even great writers—wind up subordinating the psychological reality of their characters to their ideas about the issue in question. In the worst cases, you get a crude morality tale: the utterly righteous hero taking down the system. “Issue” movies of this sort are a staple of modern Hollywood, the kinds of films frequently described as “Oscar bait.” Ibsen’s play “An Enemy of the People”—reportedly the inspiration for the great Spielberg film “Jaws”—is both a perfect prototype of these crusader-against-the-system movies and, as well, the perfect takedown thereof. And the current production, of an engagingly contemporary translation by Rebecca Linkiewicz, at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, provides a rare opportunity to see this classic produced at Broadway scale with a phenomenal cast and to consider how much and how little has changed since it was written in 1882. The play is set in a small but prosperous Norwegian spa town, and the new production is set in the original period, with a set (by John Lee Beatty) of warm, unpainted timber and starkly dark Victorian costumes (by Catherine Zuber). (A flimsy, diaphanous scrim that barely obscures the stage during changes is the only odd element—perhaps intended as another signifier of rustic simplicity.) The central figure is Doctor Thomas Stockmann (Boyd Gaines), a boisterous, liberal man who only a couple of years earlier finally returned to his hometown after toiling in obscurity in the provinces. He has settled in, thanks to the help of his brother, the town’s mayor, Peter Stockmann (Richard Thomas), who arranged for him to be hired by the spa as the official medical director. Peter is Thomas’s opposite in everything: restrained, even finicky in his movements where his brother is expansive; a teetotaler where his brother enjoys a toast or two or three; fiscally prudent where his brother brags of finally earning “nearly as much” as he spends. Thomas hasn’t just settled in happily, though. He’s too restless for that. For the past year, he’s been investigating a suspicious series of typhoid cases among visitors to the baths. At the end of the first scene, his investigations have born fruit: he has definitive evidence that the baths are thoroughly contaminated by runoff from a tannery upstream. The only thing to do is shut the baths down and rebuild the water system the way he, Thomas, had suggested it be built in the first place—more expensively but more securely. His friends from the town’s liberal paper applaud him and confidently affirm his prediction that he will be hailed as a town hero. Of course, things are not so simple. The liberals—the rabble-rousing publisher, Hovstad (a sly John Procaccino), his easily-roused flunky, Billing (James Waterson), and the sober printer, Aslaksen (a charming Gerry Bamman, who benefits more than anyone from the colloquial translation)—aren’t so much interested in the health and safety of the baths as they are in using the issue as a stick with which to discredit the conservative authorities and bring in a more liberal government. Hovstad even hopes that his championing of the doctor will help to win the favor of the doctor’s daughter, Petra (Maïté Alina). And Thomas’s father-in-law, Morton Kiil (played with exquisite malice by Michael Siberry), the owner of the offending tannery, believing not for a minute in the reality of the pollution, cackles with excitement at the prospect of the stuffed shirts in government getting a good skewering. Only Thomas thinks battle won’t be necessary—surely the authorities will immediately take the necessary steps to protect the town and its visitors. Peter has no such plans, and his initial confrontation with Thomas is electric. Richard Thomas sheds his fussy reserve and lays into Gaines, and Gaines returns fire, decades of the brothers’ mutual contempt bursting into the open. The battle is joined, words are said that can never be unsaid, and Thomas Stockmann races off to the offices of the liberal paper to blow the lid off his brother’s attempt at a cover-up. It takes only one visit from the once again oleaginous mayor, though, to turn the liberals against Thomas. The corporation, he reveals, won’t absorb the exorbitant costs of the proposed renovation; if the baths are to be rebuilt, it’ll mean a steep tax hike on workers. And the baths will still have to close, probably for years. The prospect of the town’s ruination quickly turns all of Thomas Stockmann’s allies into enemies and him into the titular Enemy of the People. This is the title slapped on him by virtually the entire town at a meeting called by Thomas himself, at which he insults everyone in attendance and rails against “the majority” as the greatest threat to sane, liberal governance. It’s a bizarre speech, but brilliantly executed by Gaines and marvelously staged by director Doug Hughes, who plants the townspeople in the front row, turning the theatre audience into the attendees at the meeting. I say bizarre because no more foolish strategy could possibly be conceived for winning popular support. But what it lacks in logical sense it makes up for in psychological acuity. For this mad speech, really, is the heart of the play. There is a contradiction at the heart of progressive liberalism, a contradiction that conservatives have exploited from the beginning, in that liberalism calls for government of, for, and by the people, but it also calls for government according to liberal principles—transparency, public concern for the welfare of the needy, education to promote “enlightenment,” etc.—that are not always popular. And when the populace vote for an illiberal government, liberals all to often wind up lecturing the people about their gullibility at best, their stupidity and venality at worst. Just like Thomas Stockmann does. It’s a credit to Ibsen that he shows us just how vain and self-serving Thomas Stockmann really is, just like everyone else in town. The typical Hollywood crusader film flatters our vanity; heroes may be flawed—drunks, cowards, women “with a past”—but they find a higher calling in a great moral crusade that lifts them above their biographies and redeems their flaws, and we feel, watching, as if we’ve done the same, overcome our defects and become heroes. Doctor Stockmann’s fatal vanity, though, is inseparable from his virtue. He’s not a compromised hero: he’s not intimidated by the prospect of losing his job or his children’s inheritance (he’s blackmailed towards the end of the play by his father-in-law), but that’s because he doesn’t have the slightest appreciation of money. He wants to be worshipped generally as he is by his daughter and his off-stage sons. His vanity is the vanity of the would-be-hero—the vanity we share and that the typical Hollywood “issue” movie exploits to win us over. There’s a marvelous bit of business in the middle of the play where Thomas steals his brother’s beribboned black top hat and parades about the liberal newspaper’s office, proclaiming himself king, to the embarrassment of everyone and the exasperation of his brother, who snatches at it saying: it’s an emblem of office. To which Thomas shouts in reply: it’s a hat! Leadership, Thomas declares in his town-meeting rant, belongs by right to the noble, by which he means the noble of character, such as himself. Not the noble-by-birth, or by wealth. Or by headgear. But the key to his character—the ignoble flaw—is the demand that this nobility be publicly affirmed. Over and over in the play, the doctor effuses his thanks to anyone who agrees with him in his self-estimation. It’s almost as if he isn’t actually sure of his own worth. “An Enemy of the People” has unquestionable weaknesses, particularly in the dynamics of the Thomas Stockmann family. His daughter, Petra, is a one-note father-worshipper, and his far more sensible wife, Catherine (Kathleen McNenny), loses her ginger right when she should be gaining it, which considerably dilutes the final scene. The motivations of Captain Horster (Randall Newsome), the only character who stands by the family in the depths of their trial, are never explained at all. And the final act’s repeated tightening of the screws around Doctor Stockmann and his family begins to feel more mechanical than emotionally revelatory. But the importance of the play lies in that portrait of the doctor. It’s not exactly news that communities will not look kindly on someone who exposes their dirty little secrets, or that most people are more devoted to their livelihoods than to honesty and righteousness. Indeed, if you take a look at how anti-fracking campaigns are received in western Pennsylvania towns that have been revived from near-death by the new oil and gas rush, you’ll see that Ibsen wasn’t cynical enough. People don’t want to hear—assuming for the sake of argument that fracking’s critics are right—they may be letting their own children be poisoned; how much more readily would they poison the messenger. The news that never seems to penetrate is that those who wish to do right in the teeth of interest, like Doctor Stockmann, are also selfishly motivated, and this is a sign of their humanity, not their elitism. If they were more aware of their motivations and had a bit more humor about them—and if we were more accepting of such motivations and had a bit more humor about them—we might listen with more open ears. Which would be a good thing, because sometimes, as in this little Norwegian town, the well really is being poisoned. Noah Millman’s blog is www.theamericanconservative.com/Millman. ]]>
    (Review Source)

Mark Steyn2
Fox News

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Shark Tale
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Mark Steyn Shark Tale LI, selected cinemas E n route to the movie, I kept bumping I into local moms who told me, 'Oh, yeah, Shark Tale. That's the one that's supposed to be just like Finding Nemo.' If only. Finding Nemo is a classic of piscine animation because it's primal: the daddy fish wants to find his son, and the son wants to escape the fish tank and get back to the dad. That's the story, an
    (Review Source)
  • Voyage to Disaster
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    We have a cornucopia of entertainment for you this weekend at SteynOnline. Later tonight we'll be presenting our Mother's Day audio special. Also among our audio extravaganzas to mark the first anniversary of The Mark Steyn Club is a selection of
    (Review Source)

The Unz Review Staff1
Unz Review

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Mass Incarceration as Respect for Women's Independence
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Movies in Hollywood’s Golden Age (c. 1939) tended to be aimed primarily at female audiences: e.g., Gone With the Wind. For example, my mother and Aunt Kay took the streetcar to the movies several times per week in St. Paul, MN back then. The right of young women to go where they wanted to was a high priority in America. As street crime rose in the 1960s and 1970s, however, the female audience tended to stay home and watch television instead. In the 1970s, movies became increasingly aimed at male audiences, such as Jaws and Star Wars. There are a lot of reasons for this trend, but a big one was the decline in female freedom to leave the house in safety at night during the Warren Court liberal era. Commenter Anonas notes that Tocqueville observed the traditional American concern for female freedom of movement: Some thoughts from Tocqueville about the historic American view of severity in criminal punishment as tied to women’s freedom and respect: The legislators of the United States, who have mitigated almost all the penalties of criminal law, still make rape a capital offense, and no crime is visited with more inexorable severity by public opinion. This may be accounted for; as the Americans can conceive nothing more precious than a woman’s honor and nothing which ought so much to be respected as her independence, they hold that no punishment is too severe for the man who deprives her of them against her will. In France, where the same offense is visited with far milder penalties, it is frequently difficult to get a verdict from a jury against the prisoner. Is this a consequence of contempt of decency or contempt of women? I cannot but believe that it is a contempt of both….. He also remarks about how women are able to travel alone safely in the US, a striking example of how women’s rights are enforced on every level of society. This was 1830. Now it is widely proclaimed by respectable voices such as Hillary and Jeb that the hard fought gains against street crime of recent decades were the manifestation of irrational bigotry. Also, besides letting criminals out of jail, let’s import a lot Muslims. What could possibly go wrong? ]]>
    (Review Source)

John Hanlon1
John Hanlon Reviews

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • The Best and Worst of this Year’s Oscars
    (”Jaws” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    This year, side effects the Oscars made history. Daniel Day-Lewis won his third best actor trophy– the first time in history when an actor has won the award thrice— while Argo walked away with best picture, medical after not getting a nomination for best director....
    (Review Source)

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