Rocky

Not rated yet!
Director
John G. Avildsen
Runtime
1 h 59 min
Release Date
21 November 1976
Genres
Drama
Overview
When world heavyweight boxing champion, Apollo Creed wants to give an unknown fighter a shot at the title as a publicity stunt, his handlers choose palooka Rocky Balboa, an uneducated collector for a Philadelphia loan shark. Rocky teams up with trainer Mickey Goldmill to make the most of this once in a lifetime break.
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PJ Media Staff4
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • The Top 10 Ultimate Tough Guy Movies
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'STRAW DOGS - Trailer - (1971) - HQ', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Editor's Note: See James Jay Carafano's article from yesterday for the opposite of the films on this list: 10 Tinseltown Turkeys That Make Real Men Choke.10. Straw Dogs (1971)Dustin Hoffman made his bones as a misfit Hollywood Holden Caulfield in The Graduate (1967). Who would have thought of him as an action hero? "Bloody Sam" Peckinpah, that's who. The director of the Wild West's wildest tough guy movie, The Wild Bunch (1969), followed up with a controversial film starring Hoffman as a meek math professor on sabbatical in rural Cornwall. When a bunch of rowdy locals storm his home, Hoffman goes all Rambo proving his "manhood" in an orgy of violence. Even Hoffman's character can't believe what happens. "Jesus, I got 'em all," he mumbles at the end of the movie. This film cemented Peckinpah's place as the king of his generation's tough guy moviemakers. For some unfathomable reason, the movie was remade in 2011. Stick to the original. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/11/28/the-top-10-ultimate-tough-guy-movies/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
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  • 10 Films Set Around Thanksgiving That You Can Stream Tonight
    Lifestyle Looking for a movie to watch this holiday that’s at least somewhat relevant to the season? Perfect. We’ve got you covered.These films aren’t necessarily about Thanksgiving, although a couple of them are. Regardless, they each have some connection to the holiday and provide a welcome escape. Here are 10 films set around Thanksgiving that you can stream tonight: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Tower Heist (2011) Official HD Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); #10. Tower HeistCapitalizing on real-life headlines regarding Wall Street graft and investment Ponzi schemes, Tower Heist imagines how the staff of a high-rise luxury apartment complex would react to the news that their most high-profile tenant had squandered their retirement savings. The comedy stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, and Alan Alda.When Alda’s Wall Street billionaire is arrested for scamming investors out of their money, Stiller’s building manager recruits Murphy’s petty thief to help the defrauded building staff steal their money back.Thanksgiving Connection: The titular heist occurs during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.Streaming options: Available to rent/buy on Amazon and Vudu. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/11/27/10-films-set-around-thanksgiving-that-you-can-stream-tonight/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
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  • The 10 Best Films of the 1970s
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King (1975) Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 10. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)A roaring, timeless Kipling adventure directed by John Huston and starring the incomparable duo of Sean Connery and Michael Caine, the film is simultaneously a swashbuckling imperialist adventure and a cautionary tale about venturing into dimly understood lands to take advantage of easy pickings there. The scene in which the two old soldiers laugh their way out of doom -- their voices cause an avalanche that seals an unpassable chasm -- is a mini-tutorial on the payoff from looking at the bright side. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/6/13/the-10-best-films-of-the-1970s/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
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  • CNN: A Loss Leader For Its International Operation
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll Paul Mirengoff of Power Line explores CNN's myriad woes:In my view, CNN's problem is that it matter-of-factly presents the news from a liberal perspective. Viewers might watch an old-fashioned, matter-of-fact news cast on cable television, but only if they are confident that it actually is down-the-middle. Tone, in other words, should match content.Viewers might also watch left-liberal dogma if it is entertaining, although MSNBC's use of this model is hardly a raging success. But at least its tone matches its contentHowever, viewers clearly have no use for slanted news presented blandly. Thus, Anderson Cooper, who found it so amusing to talk about "tea-baggers," finds himself losing at times to repeats of shows on MSNBC and HLN, according to the New York Times. And liberal Larry King, formerly CNN's rock, has only a little more than one-fourth of Sean Hannity's audience, is losing to Rachel Maddow, and is even threatened by a new host, Joy Behar (a comedian) on HLN.I tend to view CNN's U.S. broadcasts as a kind of loss leader for its international operation. Even so, this is getting to be ridiculous.CNN is owned of course by Time-Warner, and the latter half of that corporate moniker is short for Warner Brothers, one of the pioneering motion picture companies. And it's not a coincidence that the American movie industry is kind of loss leader for their international operations as well. Most Hollywood movies are produced as much, if not more, for the overseas market. American audiences have demonstrated since 9/11 that they reject Hollywood's toxic brew of anti-Americanism, pacifism, multiculturalism, and the like, preferring only to turn out for popcorn fare such as Transformers 27, Ocean 253, and Rocky 39. And even then, increasingly grudgingly so.The film industry and 24-hour cable news were both American inventions; as nutty as Ted Turner can be, he certainly deserves kudos for getting there first on the cable TV platform. But apparently, the diversified multinational corporations that now produce these products are, apparently with the exception of Fox's Roger Ailes, rather embarrassed to be making products geared primarily towards an American sensibility.And yet, apparently they wonder why, when it comes to their American viewers, the feeling is mutual. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2010/4/1/cnn-a-loss-leader-for-its-international-operation/ ]]>
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Christian Toto6
Hollywood In Toto



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • HiT Podcast Episode 3 John Nolte ('Rocky' 0:48) ('La La Land' 4:03) ('Beautiful Loser' 9:01)
    Episode 3 of the Hollywood in Toto podcast features an exclusive chat with John Nolte, former editor of Breitbart News' Big Hollywood. Nolte shares why liberal messages matter in our pop culture age.
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    (Review Source)
  • HiT Episode No. 114 Marshall Lewy (Wondery Podcasts)
    HiT shares why the media blew it on the 'Leaving Neverland' rollout, recommends a movie that helped inspire 'Rocky' and interviews Marshall Lewy about what makes Wondery's podcasts such a sensation.
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    (Review Source)
  • HiT Rewind: ‘Rocky III’
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    rocky III review

    A fear overcomes you as you watch “Rocky III” for the first time in, well, ages.

    The super sequel out-earned its predecessor and cemented the franchise in the process. Oh,

    The post HiT Rewind: ‘Rocky III’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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    (Review Source)
  • The One Reason ‘Creed II’ Cruelly Disappoints
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    creed II review Jordan stallone

    “Creed” was a revelation. “Creed II” is … a sequel.

    That’s not the worst thing you could say about a “Rocky” film. Remember “Rocky V?” No? That’s for the best.

    The post The One Reason ‘Creed II’ Cruelly Disappoints appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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    (Review Source)
  • ‘Star Is Born’ Is One-Third an Instant Classic
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    star is born review lady gaga bradley cooper

    Believe the hype over “A Star Is Born” – with a large asterisk attached.

    Lady Gaga may snare a Best Actress Oscar for her first starring role. She’ll likely do

    The post ‘Star Is Born’ Is One-Third an Instant Classic appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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    (Review Source)
  • Don’t Forget This Underdog Sylvester Stallone Franchise
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    escape plan 3 sylvester stallone

    Sylvester Stallone is that rare Hollywood animal who has kicked off not one or two but three successful film franchises.

    Stallone is more than an actor for hire in each.

    The post Don’t Forget This Underdog Sylvester Stallone Franchise appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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    (Review Source)

Murray N. Rothbard (a.k.a. Mr. First Nighter)2
The Mises Institute



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Arts and Movies - Vol. 10.3, March 1977

    The Oscars. About the TV show, the less said the better. It was dull, grim, boring, ugly, the least cinematic of the Oscar award programs. One longed for good old Bob Hope and his repetitious oneliners. As to the awards themselves, they were a titanic struggle between Rocky and Network, so close that even the knowledgeable Sidney Skolsky flubbed on three of his six major predictions on the winners. If justice had triumphed, All the President’s Men—by far the best movie of 1976—would have won in a walk, and Alan J. Pakula would have won for his excellent direction. But the producers of APM had made the grave tactical error of opening the film at the beginning, instead of toward the end, of the year, and Hollywood forgets. As it is, we should be thankful that Jason Robards won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role as Ben Bradlee in APB, the most subtle acting performance of the year.
    Given the freeze-out of APM, the victory for Rocky was something to be cheered, not only for the film’s own substantial merits…

    Read More...
  • Arts and Movies - Vol. 10.1, January 1977

    The Front, dir. by Martin Ritt, with Woody Allen and Zero Mostel.
    I went perfectly prepared to like The Front: Woody Allen has always been funny, and the HUAC persecution of Hollywood Communists and fellow travelers was surely a despotic and unwarranted attack on freedom of the press. The howls of protest in the press by old Social Democrats I figured to be merely an unwarranted throwback to the old apologetics for the Red hunt. But I must report that The Front is the bomb of the year.
    In the first place, it’s not funny at all. On the contrary, the picture, in the course of an absurdly crude defense of “the Hollywood Ten” et al. is precisely the sort of dreary, left-wing “message” movie we used to be plagued with in the 1930’s and 40’s — in short, the sort of movie the Hollywood Ten used to make. It’s fine to have good guys and bad guys in a film, but there must be subtlety, richness, in short art to make it palatable The Front, like its counterparts in the bad old days…

    Read More...

Josh Neal1
No Apologies



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • Friday Night Culture Wars: Rocky
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Millennial Woes1
Scandza Forum



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


  • My Entire DVD Collection [multi-parter] | Rocky Collection | 2:56:40 |👎
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Kyle Smith3
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Hillary Clinton Hasn't Seen "Rocky"
    Hillary Clinton, currently comparing herself to Rocky Balboa, may not have seen the movie she’s referring to….It’s true that Rocky never gave up. It’s also true that he lost. But if she’s trying to say, I too, am being beaten by a black guy, she’s absolutely right.]]>
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  • Proof that #OscarsSoWhite was a total overreaction
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    david oyelowodenzel washingtondiversitylupita nyong'oMoviesnate parkeroscarsoscars 2016oscars 2017will smith “Oops.” “Nevermind.” “Sorry we brought this up.” “We were wrong.” Surely that’s what last year’s Oscar protesters will be saying next winter, because it looks like last year’s Oscar blackout was an anomaly. Next year, by all appearances, will be the year of #OscarsSoDiverse. After last week’s Toronto Film Festival, many films about black life have emerged as serious Oscar contenders. “Moonlight,” a coming-of-age story about a young black boy in Miami struggling with his sexual identity, was hailed as a triumph that could win nominations and awards, maybe even the Best Picture Oscar. Footage from “Hidden Figures,” a feel-good movie about black women working at NASA in the 1960s that has been called “The Help” meets “The Right Stuff” and stars Taraji P. Henson and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, also earned raves. So did “Loving,” another fact-based historical drama, this one about the 1958 case of Mariel and Richard Loving (Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) that resulted in the Supreme Court finally backing interracial marriage. As did “A United Kingdom,” in which David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike play a prince from Botswana and a British typist who fall in love in 1947. “12 Years a Slave” star Lupita Nyong’o is being touted for another Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in “Queen of Katwe,” about a Ugandan chess champ. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington is starring in and directing “Fences,” which hasn’t been screened yet but is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning August Wilson play and is expected to be a strong awards contender when it’s released in December. And then there’s “The Birth of a Nation.” It’s a highly acclaimed film about the Nat Turner-led slave uprising in 1831 Virginia that way back in January sparked Oscar buzz at the Sundance Film Festival for its star, co-writer and director Nate Parker, although subsequent revelations that Parker had been tried and acquitted in a 1999 college sexual-assault case brought by a woman who later committed suicide have dampened enthusiasm for the picture. Oscar voters are being reminded that other artists with morally dubious records have won awards and the film earned standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival, where attendees were well aware of the news about Parker’s past. SEE ALSO No, George Clooney, the Oscars aren’t racist George Clooney is absolutely right: The Oscars don’t look like... So, next year’s Oscar slate could include as many as five or six or seven films with black protagonists, all of which were in development long before last winter’s outcry. So what was all that fuss about in January, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences engaged in a public ritual of self-flagellation over the lack of black nominees? The social-media protests left the academy scrambling to institute a huge affirmative-action program, extending invitations to hundreds of members of minority groups, including some who seemingly have had little impact on the motion-picture industry (America Ferrara? Really?). The program is boosting minority representation in the AMPAS from 8 percent to 11 percent in one year. Chris Rock delivered a hilarious opening monologue as host of the 88th Oscars, saying “Why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole ­no-black-nominees thing has happened at least ­71 other times.”EPAYet all last year’s Oscar slate proved was the existence of statistical noise. In a country in which blacks are about 13 percent of the population, it isn’t surprising that the number of black nominees for acting prizes might sometimes be zero (as it was last year) and sometimes be five (as it was in 2004). Blacks are statistically over-represented in some categories (four of the last 10 Best Supporting Actress winners) and under-represented in others (only one Best Actress winner ever). Overall, things pretty much even out, at least lately: if you look at the last 15 years, 10 percent of acting nominees have been black, or almost exactly the same representation as you’d expect (blacks composed 12 to 13 percent of the US population in that period). Besides, why would the same group of people — Oscar voters — have suddenly turned racist between 2013 and 2015? In 2013, black artists won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and the Oscar for Best Picture for “12 Years a Slave.” ‘Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now.’ Last year was simply not a particularly strong one for black cinema. Activists complained that Will Smith wasn’t nominated, but his film “Concussion” was a critical and commercial flop. “Straight Outta Compton” was expected by some to get a Best Picture nomination, but that film was made more for entertainment than art. “Beasts of No Nation”? A brutal, hard-to-watch film about African civil wars that grossed a paltry $91,000. The seventh “Rocky” movie “Creed” also had many admirers, but sequels rarely get Best Picture nominations (seven in the entire history of the Oscars). No fifth, sixth or seventh installment of any franchise has ever gotten a Best Picture nomination. Maybe the #OscarsSoWhite campaign made the Academy take a good hard look at itself, and maybe that’s a good thing. There still aren’t many black (or female) directors. But the protesters missed what was happening right under their noses: Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
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  • Football: The New Boxing
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The Wall Street Journal points out that three football movies have now been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (I continue to be dumbfounded by the success of “The Blind Side,” which joins “Heaven Can Wait” and “Jerry Maguire”), as against four boxing movies (“The Champ,” “Rocky,” “Raging Bull,” “Million Dollar Baby” but not, sadly, “The Harder They Fall”). Only two baseball movies have ever been nominated (“Field of Dreams,” “The Pride of the Yankees”). Football’s profile is improving: More football movies have been made in the previous 15 years than in the preceding 70. ]]>
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John Nolte2
Daily Wire / Breitbart



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • ‘Creed’ Review: Beautiful Love Letter to Rocky Balboa and Sylvester Stallone
    This review is unforgivably late because I’m a bit of an agoraphobic. Showing the kind of maturity and self-confidence we don’t see too often in Hollywood, or anyplace else these days, even after his 2006 triumph “Rocky Balboa,” Sylvester Stallone released the reins of the character that made him famous, turned them over to a young director named Ryan Coogler, and didn’t even participate (officially) in the writing of the screenplay. The result is “Creed,” a movie both Stallone and his iconic character Rocky Balboa richly deserve. Coogler wisely updates the franchise without attempting to reboot or rewrite it. He also recognizes and pays tribute to the mythology of the previous six installments, and does so without edging into spell-breaking self-awareness. “Creed” works primarily as another chapter in the realistic evolution and journey of a character America has lived with and cherished for four decades. As a means to make believable Rocky re-entering the ring at age 60 in “Rocky Balboa,” Stallone again proved his storytelling genius through the exploitation of the greedy carnival that often surrounds the boxing world. This was also a natural part of the evolution of a character in a lifelong quest to prove Mickey and
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  • 'Skyscraper' Review: Pretty Good, but Dwayne Johnson Deserves Better
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The perfectly fine Skyscraper is another reminder Dwayne Johnson has exactly zero classics to his name.
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Crosswalk2
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 4 Ways Sports Films Connect Guys to God
    Here are four ways that sports films can connect guys to God.
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    (Review Source)
  • Cinema Surprises
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Movies Some time ago, we asked readers to tell us about their "movie surprises"—films they weren't necessarily expecting much from, but were wowed enough to leave an impression.We've all seen these movies. Maybe we just went along for the ride with friends, or went just to please a significant other, mildly rolling our eyes as we sat down in the theater. But two hours later, as the credit rolled, our low expectations had been turned upside down by a pretty good flick after all.Here are some of those reader responses:I was surprised by Millions. We went to see it at an art house in Tacoma, Washington. It is now one of my favorite movies.—Tim Foutz Some that surprised me include The Iron Giant, with a truly Christ-like picture in a children's movie; Rudy, with its realistic portrayal of working-class life (something you just don't see from Hollywood); Silent Running, a low-budget sci-fi film that made me think seriously about a world with its natural resources depleted; and The Strait Story, with its final understated scene saying more about love and reconciliation than any other film I can think of.—Robert Dunbar Years ago, Rocky caught me totally off guard. More recently, O Brother, Where Art Thou? did it again.—Sam Little Bruce Almighty and Liar, Liar both totally surprised me as I had Jim Carrey pegged as playing only certain types of roles that I did not enjoy. And Bruce Almighty was so much deeper than I expected. Click is another one; I never would've watched this if not recommended by two friends who said I had to see it. I was blown away by how deep and moving it was, despite the Adam Sandler crude humor.—Michelle Habrych My biggest movie surprise was Lars and the Real Girl. It didn't do well at the box office, which is too bad. More people should have seen this film. I did purchase it on DVD and am sharing it with my friends and family.—Sheila K. Fredericks googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Nothing could ever equal my biggest movie surprise: Star Wars. When a male friend told me about it, I thought there was no way I'd like a tale about a sci-fi war. If it isn't about romance, I'm not interested.When I finally broke down and saw it, it was one of those huge moments. The very first visual—the words moving away in a virtual sheet into a very realistic outer space, and then the big cruiser comes over the screen and we are looking at the underside of it and listening to sounds in Dolby stereo for the first time—light years ahead of anything that had ever been done in special effects before. John Williams' score made even the music both familiar and thrilling.I felt like I was witnessing history.After seeing it, we didn't want to leave the theater.We could hardly wait to see it again.It was common among my college-age friends for people to have seen it ten, twenty times. We couldn't get enough of this exciting new experience. It was like filmmaking had jumped ahead hundreds of years. —Debbie Wood Several years ago, as an avid science fiction fan, I decided on a whim to check out Galaxy Quest with my boys. It has since become one of our all-time favorite films. Not only is virtually every line quotable ("Mum's the word!"), but embedded within the "sci-fi" satire ("Do the rolls help?") lies the timeless message of becoming more authentically oneself through community, empathy, and self-sacrifice. Long live the Thermians!—Stacey Larin Since I loved Strictly Ballroom, I watched Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School. It's so much more than Rocky-does-ballroom-dancing.It's a story about grief and growing up, letting go and fighting for what you really want.—Kath Davis Waitress, starring Keri Russell. It took me a while to get into it because the behavior of the husband was so upsetting, but the end just blew me away. I was a wild young woman, and having my first baby in my early 20s literally changed my life, just like Jenna's in this movie.The song she sings, "Baby, don't you cry, gonna make a pie" sticks in my head, and now I sing it to my little girl.—Heather Davis Our biggest surprises were all foreign films: Dear Frankie, Duma, Rabbit-Proof Fences, Rare Birds, Millions. Most American movies are garbage in terms of plot, morals and overall quality.—Greg and Kelli Gilbreath Finding Neverland. I was astonished in the wonder which this movie captured Peter Pan.—Clyde Godwin Most of the films that my husband has rented—"guy movies" that I sat down to watch "for just a few minutes"—have been the most surprising for me.When the characters are really developed and I care what happens to them, I am hooked.These have become some of my favorites: The Untouchables, the Die Hard films, and The Godfather trilogy.—Sherrie Gumienny I was totally surprised by Speed Racer. I went into the (empty) theater and was totally surprised at how entertaining the movie was.—Jerry Bullock Mr. Bean's Holiday. After having seen and not really liked Bean: The Movie or Johnny English, my expectations were very low for this film.I did not expect the movie to have the charm and style of an old Charlie Chaplin silent.I did not expect it to be laugh-out-loud funny for our whole family—especially my 11-year-old daughter, who does not laugh at many movies!I did not expect to be quoting this movie—the lead character speaks very little and the rest of the cast mostly speak in French or Russian. And I certainly did not expect to want to own a copy of for my own library. We loved it!—Tamara Goff Recently, I finally watched It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. I've long known it was considered a classic, but what a delightful treat! It may now be my favorite romantic comedy. Intelligent, sweet, funny—both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so it's not just a "chick flick."—Annette Gysen Adventures in Babysitting is one of the best surprise movies for me. Ididn't even want to see it, assuming that it wasgoing to be justanothersilly teen comedy, but it was so much more. Through every misadventure, our heroic sitter would keep uppermost in her mind the responsibility to her charges.I still love this movie!—Karen Willingham These surprised me in one way or another by being better than I expected: Groundhog Day, Once, Children of Men, Changing Lanes, Lars and the Real Girl, Dan in Real Life.—John Bibee googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); My biggest movie surprise this summer was the documentary [email protected]/* ...
    (Review Source)

Counter Currents Staff1
Counter Currents Publishing



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • Mad as Hell: How Broadway Ruined Network
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]5,521 words

    When asked to name my favorite film, I have a tough time choosing between Fight Club [2] and Network. I was delighted, therefore, when I learned that Network had been turned into a Broadway play starring Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad [3]. What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, everything, as it turned out.

    In order to communicate why this Broadway play is so bad – so importantly bad – I must give at least some brief account of why the film is so importantly good. Network was released in 1976 and swept the Oscars, winning in three of the four acting categories (Best Actor: Peter Finch; Best Actress: Faye Dunaway; Best Supporting Actress: Beatrice Straight). Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay also won, and the film should have won Best Picture, but lost out to Rocky (a fine film, but nowhere in the same league). Network was Chayefsky’s follow-up to 1971’s The Hospital, for which he also received an Oscar. (The Hospital deals with many of the same themes as Network, and is arguably just as good – suffice it to say that it is well worth seeing.)

    Network tells the story of Howard Beale (Peter Finch), host of the Evening News at UBS, a fictitious fourth network. Beale’s ratings are disastrously bad, as are the ratings of everything at UBS, which hasn’t had a single show in the top twenty. For those of you across the pond: “ratings” refers to how many people are watching a program on American TV, not to how well a program is reviewed by critics. “Ratings” are important because networks can sell commercial time on highly-rated programs for huge amounts of money. Low-rated programs cost a network advertising revenue, and thus are usually cancelled in short order. The inescapable conclusion is that American television exists to show commercials about products to potential consumers, while the programs are just lures to get people to watch the commercials.

    This system encourages network executives to think solely in terms of the popularity of programs, rather than their aesthetic or intellectual merits. It encourages networks to pander to bad taste. More importantly, it encourages network programmers and showrunners to worsen the public’s taste, and even their morals, by appealing to the baser elements in human nature in order to titillate and attract viewers. Anything to get ratings, in other words. This is a major theme of Chayefsky’s screenplay: the power of television to corrupt. Indeed, it is usually the only theme mentioned when the film is discussed, though Network deals with much more.

    In any case, with poor Howard Beale’s ratings in the crapper, UBS decides to fire him. The news is broken to him by his old friend Max Schumacher (William Holden), who is head of the news division. The next day Beale announces on the air that he is being fired and then informs the viewers that, because he has nothing else going on in his life, he intends to kill himself. Needless to say, this creates something of a controversy. The network brass are appalled, but Beale persuades Schumacher to allow him to appear one last time to make a dignified exit. “I don’t want to go out like a clown,” he says. But Howard is being disingenuous. As soon as he is on the air, he explains that he threatened suicide because “I just ran out of bullshit [4].” “Bullshit is all the reasons we give for living,” he explains. “And if we can’t think of any reasons of our own, we always have the God bullshit.”

    The result of this tirade is that Schumacher loses his job, and the network dismisses the entire thing as a “disgraceful episode.” That is, at least, until the ratings come in. Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), the beautiful and ambitious head of programming, sees this as a golden opportunity. She envisions Beale as a “magnificent, messianic prophet inveighing against the hypocrisies of our times” and convinces the network to put him back on. Everybody thinks Beale is a curmudgeon going through a major mid-life crisis. In fact, he is going mad. He begins hearing voices, which command him to preach the truth to a nationwide audience. “Don’t worry, we’ll put the words in your mouth,” the voices say.

    This revelation culminates in the most famous scene in the film: Peter Finch’s stirring on-air speech, punctuated repeatedly by the words, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore! [5]” It’s one of the greatest scenes ever shot for a motion picture, and became a catch-phrase in American popular culture for years afterwards. When I saw Network on the big screen when it was revived at the Film Forum in Manhattan a few years ago, people in the audience were weeping during this scene (and I must admit my own eyes were moist). The reason is that Chayefsky’s words and Finch’s passion speak in a profound way to our dissatisfaction with the emptiness of modern life – which, of course, has only intensified since 1976. “I don’t have to tell you things are bad,” Beale begins, continuing:

    We all know that things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything’s going crazy. So we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house and slowly the world around us gets smaller, and all we ask is please at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my hairdryer and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone. Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad!

    [6]
     

    This is a film about much more than television. It’s about the creation of “mass man,” or Nietzsche’s “last man,” who really is happy if left alone with his TV and his steel-belted radials.

    The response to Beale’s speech is sensational. All over the country, viewers go outside or go to their windows and scream, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (Chayefsky uses the brilliant device of setting the New York scenes against an electrical storm – simultaneously conveying chaos, madness, and the wrath of God – a device he also uses in The Hospital.) But it’s not clear that the response isn’t yet another manifestation of what Beale later decries as the public’s tendency to just mindlessly follow whatever TV tells them to do. It’s not clear that you really can make the Last Man as mad as hell. In another brilliant monologue [7], Beale tells his audience:

    If you want truth, go to God, go to your guru, go to yourselves! Because that’s the only place you’ll ever find any real truth! But, man, you’re never going to get any truth from us. . . . We’ll tell you any shit you want to hear. None of it’s true! But you people sit there – all of you – day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds – we’re all you know. . . . You’re beginning to think the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God’s name, you people are the real thing! We’re the illusion!

    Beale ends by imploring his audience to turn off their television sets immediately – “right in the middle of this very sentence I’m speaking! Turn them off and leave them off!”

    We can imagine the viewers at home once again wildly enthusiastic at Beale’s words. Wildly enthusiastic, and not turning off their television sets! Of course they don’t turn them off. If they turned them off, they would miss out on Beale’s next sensational broadcast. They would miss out on their new hero, Howard Beale, telling them how to dress, how to eat, how to raise their children, and how to think – so as not to be like those people who just do what the TV tells them to do. And they would miss seeing the sensational new program that follows Beale’s, The Mao Tse Tung Hour (more on that later).

    Ultimately, Beale goes too far: He attacks a merger between UBS’s “parent company” and a shadowy entity backed by Saudi money. Beale is summoned into the office of the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Jensen (Ned Beatty). What follows is another stunning monologue [8], this time from Beatty (while Finch merely listens). Jensen informs Beale that he has “meddled with the primal forces of nature!” Which turns out to mean that he has meddled with the forces of globalism. “You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples,” Jensen says, continuing:

    There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. . . . It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. . . . Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

    In short, Jensen proceeds to lay out the substance of the Kojève-Fukuyama “end of history” thesis: global capitalism (a.k.a. “liberal democracy”) will overcome national boundaries and animosities and turn the entire world into one, big shopping mall. But at history’s end, we find always the Last Man, blinking. Thus, Jensen’s speech ends as follows:

    And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality – one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock – all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

    [9]

    I don’t know of any speech in an American film that is intellectually richer, more challenging, or more provocative than this. And here we may note that the real “mad prophet” of this story is Paddy Chayefsky. Like a great work of philosophy or literature, Network only seems more prescient and “relevant” with each passing year. It is truly remarkable.

    In any case, Beale leaves Jensen’s office literally convinced that he has seen the face of God. He accepts Jensen’s teaching and dutifully begins to spread the gospel. When next Beale appears on his program [10], he informs his audience that the individual is “finished”:

    It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some two hundred-odd-million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods. Well, the time has come to say is “dehumanization” such a bad word? Whether it’s good or bad, that’s what is so. The whole world is becoming humanoid, creatures that look human but aren’t. . . . The whole world’s people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, numbered, insensate things.

    [11]

    On one level, Beale has finally recognized the magnitude of what has been done to modern man – done by mass media, propaganda, the culture of narcissism, and the soul-rotting influence of capitalist comfort and abundance. Beale has realized that he hasn’t really been talking to anyone. One thinks of another great speech, this one delivered by Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner:

    Look at you. Brainwashed imbeciles. Can you laugh? Can you cry? Can you think?. . . In your heads are the remnants of a brain. In your hearts must still be the desire to be human beings again.

    But what if there really isn’t? Suppose that desire has been killed in them – thoroughly killed. This is frightening, but it is entirely possible.

    Yet in not only acknowledging this, but making peace with it, Beale goes off the rails. He goes from trying to make his viewers “as mad as hell” about their dehumanization, to persuading them to accept it as not so bad after all. His speech is cut off in this scene, but we know where it’s headed: He will suggest to his audience that although they may be humanoid, at least in this brave new world all anxieties will be tranquilized, all boredom amused. This I cannot accept. I know that many souls are lost for good (indeed, many have no souls at all). But there are others who do have, in their hearts, a desire to be human beings again. We have to fight for those souls, and fight to destroy the world of Mr. Jensen.

    In the end, Howard Beale is destroyed, his soul corrupted. (A fact that is acknowledged later in the film by the Schumacher character, in case you think this is just my interpretation.) As the narrator of the film states, “It was a perfectly admissible argument that Howard Beale advanced in the days that followed. It was, however, also a very depressing one. Nobody particularly cared to hear his life was utterly valueless.” Beale’s ratings plummet, and soon Diana, whose career had been made by the success of Beale’s show, is casting around for a replacement (“What about that terrific new messiah ABC was supposed to have signed up as our competition?”). However, it transpires that Mr. Jensen was perfectly serious when he said he wanted Beale to preach his worldview. He wants Beale to stay on the air, no matter how low his ratings go.

    In desperation, Diana meets with her network associates and plans the assassination of Howard Beale: “The whole thing would be done right on camera in the studio. We ought to get a fantastic look-in audience with the assassination of Howard Beale as our opening show.” And this does indeed come to pass, in one of the most famous conclusions in cinema history: Beale is gunned down by members of a terrorist group, just as his show opens. The film closes with the narrator’s voiceover: “This was the story of Howard Beale. The first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.”

    I hope the foregoing has made clear why I have such a high opinion of this film – and why I was so excited to see it adapted for the stage. I did not consider such an adaptation to be much of a stretch. Network is not spectacle. There are no car chases or exploding death stars. It is mostly all talk – exquisite talk, but talk nonetheless. It seemed a natural for the stage. And, of course, in recent years multiple films have been turned into plays or musicals (The Producers, The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein, Spamalot, etc.).

    [12]

    Network’s adaptation for the stage is the brainchild of British playwright Lee Hall, who has had a string of stage successes in the last twenty years, and written several screenplays. One of his plays is Billy Elliot, the story of a boy from the tough, working-class North of England who, despite facing opposition and prejudice, dreams of being a ballet dancer. The Pitmen Players tells the story of a group of miners who learn about art and set out to become painters. (For some reason, both these plays make me think of that Monty Python, reverse D.H. Lawrence skit [13] about the boy who aspires to be a coal miner.) Another success was Spoonface Steinberg, the tale of an autistic Jewish girl dying of cancer. Hall’s opera Beached created controversy, however. It tells the story of what happens when a gay retired painter encounters some children at the seaside. After six months of rehearsals, the school that provided the child actors threatened to pull them unless lines like “I’m queer” and “I’d prefer a lad to a lass” were removed from the libretto. (Some verbal compromises were agreed to, and the production continued.) Contrary to all appearances, Hall is not a big, flaming poof. But he might as well be.

    His adaptation of Network opened in the UK at London’s National Theatre on November 13, 2017 and ran until March 24, 2018. Bryan Cranston starred as Howard Beale. The performance I saw (a preview at the Belasco Theater in Manhattan) also starred Cranston, and closely followed the staging of the London production. The setting is a live, on-stage television studio, with an onstage restaurant called “Foodwork,” where audience members who were willing to pay a lot more were served a three-course meal. (I’m not kidding.) A huge television monitor dominated the stage, and throughout the play cameramen followed the actors, projecting close-up images onto the screen. This gives one the experience of watching both a play and a television show. It is one of the better ideas in the production. The play also includes attempts at involving the audience, such as getting everyone to yell “I’m as mad as hell” (which I did with enthusiasm, while my neighbors remained mostly silent).

    Hall’s play follows the plot of the film very closely, and faithfully preserves a large amount of Chayefsky’s brilliant dialogue. The central story of Howard Beale is presented more or less just as it is in the film, and a major subplot is preserved (an affair between Schumacher and Christensen, not mentioned in my earlier account). Nevertheless, Hall does make a number of changes, and some of these are important and revealing. I’ll start with the minor issues first. Hall sometimes alters Chayefsky’s dialogue, shortening, expanding, or just tweaking some exchanges. In every case, the change is not an improvement. Indeed, if one knows the film well (and I know it practically by heart), one misses every line that is omitted – and the changes to perfectly-good lines are jarring and seemingly pointless. In order to adapt the film for the stage, Hall also has to invent lines and a few short scenes. This is not, in itself, unreasonable: adapting any work of art from one medium to another always requires changes. But in every case, Hall’s own dialogue is flat, uninspired, and pedestrian. It’s like reading a student’s plagiarized term paper, where all the good bits aren’t original and all the original bits aren’t good.

    [14]

    Hall’s major change is to cut entirely one of the film’s most famous subplots, which contains some of Chayefsky’s best satire and funniest dialogue. The subplot concerns Diana’s efforts to create a television show centered around the activities of a terrorist group. Through Laureen Hobbs, an activist affiliated with the American Communist Party (a character clearly based on Angela Davis, and played brilliantly by Marlene Warfield), Diana makes contact with the Ecumenical Liberation Army. The Ecumenicals are obviously based on the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped Patty Heart in 1974. (Chayefsky even equips the Ecumenicals with their own kidnapped heiress!) After some persuasion, they agree to star in their own network TV show, The Mao Tse Tung Hour. (It is these individuals who, in the film, carry out the assassination of Howard Beale.) Diana promises, “I’m offering you an hour of primetime television every week into which you can stick whatever propaganda you want. That’s a lot better than handing out mimeographed pamphlets on ghetto street corners.”

    The scenes involving Laureen Hobbs and the Ecumenicals deliver some of the biggest laughs in the film – all of it at the expense of the Left. Though Chayefsky was himself a man of the Left (or, at least, considered himself to be), he was wise to the fanaticism, dogmatism, and absurd ideological wrangling that Leftists engage in. (The Hospital also contains scenes that parody Leftist ideologues – specifically, protesters.) The leader of the Ecumenicals is a giant black man called The Great Ahmed Kahn. When Laureen Hobbs meets with him to pitch the network’s proposal, he is devouring a bucket of fried chicken (one of several crypto-racist moments in Chayefsky’s work). Laureen says, “I’m going to make a TV star out of you. Just like Archie Bunker.” “What the fuck are you talkin ‘bout?” he replies, his mouth full of KFC.

    Perhaps the funniest scene is the one where network attorneys meet with the terrorists to negotiate their contract. It is at this point that we realize that Laureen Hobbs has been corrupted by her deal with Diana, and has morphed into an arch-capitalist showbiz tyro. In the midst of negotiations, she explodes in anger, pointing at the Great Ahmed Kahn:

    Don’t fuck with my distribution costs! I’m making a lousy two-fifteen per segment and I’m already deficiting twenty-five grand a week with Metro! I’m paying William Morris ten percent off the top, and I’m giving this turkey ten thou per segment, and another five to this fruitcake! And Helen, don’t start no shit about a piece again! I’m paying Metro twenty-thousand for all foreign and Canadian distribution, and that’s after recoupment! The Communist Party’s not gonna see a nickel of this goddamn show until we go into syndication! I’m not giving this pseudo-insurrectionary sectarian a piece of my show! I’m not giving him script approval! And I sure as hell ain’t cutting him in on my distribution costs!

    Ahmed Kahn ends the quarrel by firing his pistol in the air and offering a compromise: “Man, give her the fuckin’ overhead clause.” This dialogue is pure gold – and all of it is excised by Lee Hall. The reason he gave was that the story of Howard Beale is the heart of Network, and he wanted to focus on that. And yet he includes the subplot about Diana’s affair with Max Schumacher, even though it is presented in an almost perfunctory fashion, with much of the best dialogue omitted. One wonders if the barbs Chayefsky directs at the Left didn’t hit a bit too close to home. One wonders if Hall saw himself in Chayefsky’s portrait of a phony activist, spouting Leftist drivel from out the back of a limousine, rushing to the barricades to fight for her overhead clause and her subsidiary rights.

    As to the story of the affair between Diana and Max, it includes some of the best, most memorable lines in the film – especially the scene where Max decides to leave her:

    Max: You need me. You need me badly. Because I’m your last contact with human reality. I love you. And that painful, decaying love is the only thing between you and the shrieking nothingness you live the rest of the day.

    Diana: [hesitatingly] Then, don’t leave me.

    Max: It’s too late, Diana. There’s nothing left in you that I can live with. You’re one of Howard’s humanoids. If I stay with you, I’ll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You’re television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain . . . and love.

    [Kisses her]

    Max: And it’s a happy ending: wayward husband comes to his senses, returns to his wife, with whom he has established a long and sustaining love. Heartless young woman left alone in her arctic desolation. Music up with a swell; final commercial. And here are a few scenes from next week’s show.

    [Picks up his suitcases and leaves]

    [15]
     

    Almost the entirety of this priceless dialogue is eliminated by Hall. One is left wondering what the point was in retaining the Max-Diana affair at all.

    But what’s worse than any of these changes – far worse – is Lee Hall’s attempt to inject his own politics into the play. You knew we were coming to this, didn’t you? In the course of Howard Beale’s speech about the Saudi takeover of UBS, he warns his audience about efforts by “the Arabs” to buy up American companies and property. “Hell, they already own half of England,” he says. As is made clear in the film, the issue Beale has is with foreign interests controlling the American economy – especially when it affects the news business and the entertainment industry.

    In the play, Hall has Cranston growl the words “the Arabs” every time he utters them. And, unforgivably, he embellishes Chayefsky’s dialogue. Cranston warns us that “we’re going to be ruled by a bunch of emirs and mullahs and shahs!” The intent is crude and obvious: Hall is turning Howard Beale into a race-baiter. We are supposed to be reminded of all those “reactionary” voices raising alarm about the ongoing Muslim invasion of Europe. (Keep in mind that this was created for the London stage.)

    I’m at a loss to know where to begin to deal with this, as we have here such a tangle of foolishness and confusion. Does Hall actually think the point of the speech in the film was that Howard revealed himself to be a “racist”? Or is Hall well aware that this is his interpolation, and if so, how does it in any way complement or enrich the major themes of Network? And does Hall even understand what those themes are? The point of Network is not “beware of the power of television to create demagogues.” Is Hall really such a dullard that he could work for years with this material and think that it all reduces to that?

    To see Chayefsky’s poetry mucked up with this crude PC propagandizing positively sickened me. Watching this scene, I began to halfway suspect that perhaps the whole reason for reviving Network as a play was to warn us about Donald Trump. One can see the logic of that: former reality TV star becomes demagogue, spouts hateful rhetoric, divides country, grabs pussies! But, no. No, I thought. It can’t be that loathsomely simpleminded and conventional. Boy, was I wrong, as we shall see.

    As an aside, let me mention the irony of the Jewish Chayefsky warning us about Arab control of the media. I know that if I don’t mention that, someone will in the comments. Yes, Chayefsky’s own prejudices are rather obviously displayed in the film. There is Max Schumacher, the only character who seems to emerge uncorrupted. The film never explicitly identifies him as Jewish, but the name seems to be giving us a strong hint. And one of Chayefsky’s most negative characters is, of course, the icy, Nordic Diana, significantly surnamed “Christensen.” One suspects Max’s affair with Diana is a kind of wish-fulfillment for Chayefsky: his great winter romance with the sexually-aggressive schiksa.

    The exact same situation occurs in The Hospital, in the affair between the middle-aged Jewish Dr. Bock (George C. Scott) and the emancipated, affluent, WASPy Miss Drummond (Diana Rigg). Incidentally, when Network’s director, Sidney Lumet, proposed casting the pro-PLO Vanessa Redgrave as Diana, Chayefsky angrily dismissed the idea because of her politics. When Lumet (also Jewish) told Chayefsky that this amounted to “blacklisting,” the latter responded, “Not when a Jew does it to a Gentile.” (This incident was reported by Lumet in his memoirs.) Honestly, I do not care. These issues aside, The Hospital and Network are genuinely great films.

    Speaking of casting, Bryan Cranston was without question the best part of this production, and he won the Laurence Olivier Award for it. Yes, it was a pleasure to see Cranston, who I loved in Breaking Bad. Yet his performance as Howard Beale suffers by the inevitable comparison to Peter Finch. It’s clear that Cranston is concerned about such comparisons, as he deliberately tries to play scenes very differently from Finch. Finch shouts and gestures, working himself up into a state of quasi-religious ecstasy. Cranston, by contrast, is low-key. Indeed, he almost whispers parts of the “mad as hell” speech. It’s watchable, but it doesn’t work. One longs for Finch. A low-key Howard Beale simply won’t do. Sometimes there really is only one right way to play a role. Cranston should have damned comparisons, and given us the passion that the role requires.

    Nevertheless, as problematic as his performance is, Cranston towers over the other actors. Indeed, some of the other performers were downright amateurish. Tatiana Maslany as Diana was particularly objectionable. Maslany looks to be in her twenties, and is typical of many females of her generation: awkward, unfeminine, and nasal-voiced. Faye Dunaway managed to be feminine, poised, and as tough as nails. Maslany’s delivery was so damned flat I longed for Faye every time she opened her mouth. Several times, I was so embarrassed for her I cradled my head in my hands. I acted in high school drama with girls who could act better than this. There are also predictable nods to political correctness in the cast. One of the key roles (not mentioned earlier in this essay, but played in the film by Robert Duvall) was given to a young black man who did not so much act as recite his lines (lines which were, I fear, a bit too complex and literate for him to handle). The London production also featured a black actor in the role.

    So flat, dispassionate, and uninspired were these performances that midway through the play I felt like I was watching my favorite film being acted out by kids. (Sort of like that video that went viral a few years ago, of that children’s production of Scarface [16].) No one in the cast (save, perhaps, Cranston) had the gravitas of a Finch, a Holden, a Dunaway, or a Duvall. And no wonder. To paraphrase what Max says of Diana in the film, they’re TV generation. They learned life from Bugs Bunny. This is what happens when you hire an all-NPC cast to star in a play warning us about NPCs.

    But I have not yet come to the worst of it: Lee Hall actually changes Chayefsky’s ending.

    After Howard Beale is shot, Cranston rises from the stage, sits down at the edge, close to the audience, and begins speaking. Why? Well, to tell us what we should think the point of the story is, of course. Cranston proceeds to inform the audience that the whole problem with the foregoing was people believing in “absolutes.” We know we’re in trouble, he told us, when people are too convinced that they are right about things. Really? That’s it? That’s the message of Network? A sophomoric relativism? Of course, the audience – full of Left-wing New York morons convinced they’re absolutely right about everything they believe – erupted in thunderous applause at this attack on believing that anyone is absolutely right. If Cranston had squatted down and taken a dump all over Chayefsky’s script, the effect would have been the same.

    [17]

    Oh, but worse things were to come, gentle reader! Hard to imagine, but true. After the cast took their bows and left the stage, the crew projected a series of images on the giant monitor. They were scenes of American presidents taking the oath of office. The footage began with Gerald Ford, who was President when Network was filmed. Most of the audience remained in their seats, watching the footage. But I knew where this was headed, and began elbowing my way out. By the time I climbed the stairs to the top of the mezzanine, the footage had gotten to Barack Obama. Like a theater full of trained seals, the audience began cheering and clapping. And, you guessed it, when Trump came on the screen, boos and hisses filled the theater.

    Yes, folks, no humanoids here. Nobody who dresses like the tube, eats like the tube, raises their children like the tube, and thinks like the tube. Nobody mass-produced, programmed, numbered, and insensate. Nobody, it goes without saying, with a sense of irony (standard liberal affliction). And nobody who learned a damned thing from this brilliant story, which still shined through in spite of the witlessness of Mr. Hall, and the amateurishness of his performers.

    Fuming, I made for the exit – when suddenly a single voice rose above the boos, directed at Trump. A single male voice was cheering. And then that same voice screamed “Make America Great Again!” I’ve no idea where the guy was sitting, but his voice boomed out across the entire theater. I watched the responses of the audience. Some gasped. Some laughed as if they thought the guy was kidding (after all, who in that theater could possibly disagree with them?). Some laughed as if they thought he might be part of the show. Feeling cheered, and immensely gratified, I left the theater.

    Well, I thought, at least one guy was as mad as hell – and, I suspect, isn’t going to take this anymore.

    ...
    (Review Source)

The Unz Review Staff1
Unz Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Chris Rock's Oscar Monologue
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo2NbVRyZtQ Chris Rock’s Opening Oscar Monologue: A Transcript FEB. 28, 2016 CHRIS ROCK: Man, I counted at least 15 black people on that monitor. I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. So y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now. But this is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host, because we’ve got all this controversy. No, no black nominees, you know, and people are like “Chris, you should boycott. Chris, you should quit. You should quit.” How come there’s only unemployed people that tell you to quit something, you know? No one with a job ever tells you to quit. So, I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard. But, I realized, they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. You know? And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart, O.K.? I don’t need that. Kev right there — Kev makes movies fast. Every month. Porno stars don’t make movies that fast. Now the thing is, Why are we protesting? The big question: Why this Oscars? Why this Oscars, you know? … You gotta figure that it happened in the 50s, in the 60s — you know, in the 60s, one of those years Sidney didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years. Say ‘62 or ‘63, and black people did not protest. Actually, as I pointed out in Taki’s last month, Sidney Poitier won best actor for his 1963 movie “Lilies of the Field” in 1964. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time, you know? We had real things to protest; you know, we’re too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. You know, when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short. But what happened this year? What happened? People went mad. Spike got mad, — got mad, and Jada went mad, and Will went mad. Everybody went mad, you know? Jada got mad? Jada says she not coming, protesting. I’m like ain’t she on a TV show? Jada is going to boycott the Oscars — Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited. Oh, that’s not an invitation I would turn down. But I understand, I’m not hating. I understand you mad. Jada’s mad her man Will was not nominated for “Concussion.” I get it, I get it. Tell the truth. I get it, I get it. You get mad — it’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. Yeah, you’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for “Wild Wild West.” O.K.? Thing, you know, this year, the Oscars, things are gonna be a little different. Things are going to be a little different at the Oscars. This year, in the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Hey, if you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories. That’s what you need. You need to have black categories. That’s what I said in Taki’s: “One possible response to the Oscar black lack would be to create a separate category just for blacks so they are assured of always winning something.” You already do it with men and women. Think about it: There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting. C’mon. There’s no reason. It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate ‘em. You know, Robert De Niro’s never said, “I better slow this acting down, so Meryl Streep can catch up.” No, not at all, man. If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories like Best Black Friend. That’s right. “And the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes. This is Wanda’s 18th Black Oscar.” But here’s the real question. The real question everybody wants to know, everybody wants to know in the world is: Is Hollywood racist? Is Hollywood racist? You know, that’s a…you gotta go at that at the right way. Is it burning-cross racist? No. Is it fetch-me-some-lemonade racist? No. No, no, no. It’s a different type of racist. Now, I remember one night I was at a fund-raiser for President Obama. A lot of you were there. And, you know, it’s me and all of Hollywood. And it’s all of us there. And it’s about four black people there: me, uh, let’s see, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove. You know, the usual suspects, right? And every black actor that wasn’t working. Needless, to say Kev Hart was not there. O.K.? So, at some point you get to take a picture with the president, and, you know as they’re setting up the picture you get a little moment with the president. I’m like, “Mr. President, you see all these writers and producers and actors? They don’t hire black people, and they’re the nicest, white people on earth! They’re liberals! Cheese!” That’s right. Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it ain’t that racist that you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, “We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.” That’s how Hollywood is. But things are changing. Things are changing. We got a black Rocky this year. Some people call it “Creed.” I call it “Black Rocky.” And that’s a big, that’s an unbelievable statement. I mean, cause “Rocky” takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. “Rocky” is a science fiction movie. There’s things that happened in “Star Wars” that are more believable than things that happened in “Rocky,” O.K.? But hey, we’re here to honor actors. We’re here to honor actors, we’re here to honor films. There’s a lot of snubs, lot of snubs. One of the biggest snubs no one’s talking about: My favorite actor in the world is Paul Giamatti. Paul Giamatti, I believe, is the greatest actor in the world. Think about what Paul Giamatti has done the last couple of years. Last year, he’s in “12 Years a Slave” — hates black people. This year he’s in “Straight Outta Compton” — loves black people. Last year, he was whooping Lupita; this year, he’s crying at Eazy-E’s funeral. Now, that’s range. Ben Affleck can’t do that…. You know, everything’s not about race, man. Another big thing tonight is — somebody told me this — you’re not allowed to ask women what they’re wearing anymore. There’s this whole thing, “Ask her more. You have to ask her more.” You know it’s like, You ask the men more. Everything’s not sexism, everything’s not racism. They ask the men more because the men are all wearing the same outfits, O.K.? Every guy in there is wearing the exact same thing. You know, if George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on, and a swan coming out his ass, somebody would go, “What you wearing, George?” Rock is part of the Revolt of the Comedians, with his friend Jerry Seinfeld out front, over the last couple of years of senior comedians complaining about political correctness that contributed to the current climate that Trump is tapping into. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Soiled Sinema4
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  • Shanks
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    A couple years ago, I recall an ex-girlfriend and I having a merry conversation about how many holocaust stories—in their innate improbable absurdity—oftentimes resemble Grimms' Fairy Tales, as if Jews were trying to exploit the childhood fears of Germans (and whites in general) against them while injecting them with a sort of ‘reverse of blood libel’ via the shoah mythos (after all, as history surely demonstrates, world Jewry certainly knows a thing or two about blood libel accusations).  In that sense, I was somewhat intrigued when I discovered that a corny kosher conman like William Castle (House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts)—a sort of poor Hebrew huckster’s Hitchcock—concluded his film directing career with a bizarre Grimm-esque filmic fairy tale. Indeed, Castle’s shockingly unforgettable and strikingly singular swansong Shanks (1974)—a film that, not all that surprisingly, was nearly impossible to find for decades until it was released on DVD by OliveFilms in 2013—is arguably the most covertly kosher fairy tale film ever made, as if the auteur was projecting his own perverted (im)moral perspective on the goyim via the timeless myths of the goyim. Indeed, hinting at heeb-on-shiksa pederasty worthy of Der Stürmer and turning the goyim into a sort of herd of morbidly mechanical cattle-cum-golems, the film might be PG-rated but it is unequivocally fucked up and a true testament to Castle’s creepy kosher psyche, which is thankfully not camouflaged by too many tasteless gimmicks. With that being said, I still find it to be Castle’s most rewarding and unforgettable film, if not for oftentimes seemingly unintentional reasons. A clever hack with an unquestionable talent for successful promotions and gimmicks that got people into theaters to watch films that very few sane people actually wanted to endure, Castle not surprisingly had his greatest hit as producer and not as an ‘auteur.’ Indeed, Rosemary's Baby (1968), which features the director-turned-producer in a Hitchcockian cameo, is undoubtedly the most noteworthy film that Castle ever worked on and he was thankfully smart enough to get fellow Israelite Roman Polanski to direct it. Of course, as a film based on a novel by fellow tribesman Ira Levin with both covert and overt Jewish satantists tricking some dumb young shiksa broad into being raped by the Devil and ultimately getting impregnated with the bastard son of Satan as a sort of anti-Mother Mary figure, Rosemary’s Baby ultimately exposed Castle’s sense of racial loyalty and playful contempt for the dumb goyim, albeit in a slightly more sinister fashion than the countless largely worthless schlock films that he actually directed.  With Shanks, Castle not only revealed certain racial hostilities, but also some rather odd, if not downright odious, personal obsessions.


    Undoubtedly, it is symbolic of Castle’s talent-for-promotion-over-art and strong Judaic identity that he created publicity for a fake German play entitled Das ist nicht für Kinder (aka Not For Children) ostensibly penned by a fake aristocratic Jewish playwright named Ludwig von Herschfeld (also Castle’s invention) starring self-loathing krautess Ellen Schwanneke (who apparently fled Germany after Uncle Adolf invaded Czechoslovakia) by vandalizing the outside of Stony Creek Theatre, which he just leased from none other than Orson Welles, with painted swastikas to make it seem as if he was being attacked by bloodthirsty National Socialists. In short, not unlike some ADL lawyer, Castle had a seemingly instinctual knack for exploiting persecution for profit, albeit in a vaguely artistic fashion.  Apparently, swastika graffiti charade was a great formative experience for Castle as it taught him the power of publicity and even led to him being hired by much hated Hebraic studio head Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures where he eventually had the honor of working as an associate producer on his old pal Orson Welles' classic film noir The Lady from Shanghai (1947).  Aside from his early work in theater and brief collaboration with Welles, Castle would not dare to dabble with something resembling real art again until the very end of his career when he produced Rosemary's Baby and directed Shanks.  While I think very little of most of his work, these two films alone warrant Castle being remembered as a notable figure of American cinema.

    Needless to say, Castle’s final film, which naturally features Judaic stars, deals with themes of persecution and radiates a certain (slightly hermetic) Hebraic essence. According to Castle in his own memoir Step Right Up!: I'm Gonna Scare the Pants off America (1976), he initially had no intention to direct Shanks and only decided to when the film’s exceedingly eccentric star Marcel Marceau—a French-Jewish mime famous for his ‘Bip the Clown’ stage persona—talked him into it. Apparently wanting total control over the production, Marceau must have seen Castle as a weak director and exploited him thusly, hence why the film seems quite different from most of the other various entries in the director’s fairly large and eclectic oeuvre (while best known for horror, the director worked in virtually every single genre while working as a for-hire studio hack before going independent in the late-1950s).  Still, the film is pure and unadulterated Castle in terms of its shameless semitic schlock factor.  Indeed, there is certainly a reason that John Waters has an eternal hard-on for Castle.  Either way, Shanks features Castle's most Jewy character as a nebbish schlemiel and pathetic putz of the super schmendrick sort as portrayed by a literal kosher clown with a wild and wiry Jewfro.


    In his book Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence (2012), kiwi political scholar and esotericist Kerry Bolton notes in regard to the metapolitical Weltanschauung of the great American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft that he, “...saw Jewish representation in the arts as responsible for what Francis Parker Yockey would call ‘culture distortion.’ New York City had been ‘completely Semiticized’ and lost to the ‘national fabric.’ The Semitic influence in literature, drama, finance, and advertising created an artificial culture and ideology ‘radically hostile to the virile American attitude.’” Undoubtedly, as both a horror fan and someone that can surely relate to Lovecraft, I must say that Shanks is a somewhat more esoteric expression of semitic culture distortion in celluloid form, so naturally it should be no surprise that it is also the sort of film that Freud might see as a mild masturbation aid due to its odd oneiric wet dream tone and focus on the complete and utter manipulation of other people as puppets. Indeed, if there is any film that more clearly depicts the stereotypical Judaic fantasy of completely controlling and manipulating the goyim like puppets, it is Castle’s curiously, if not creepily, captivating swansong. While featuring outwardly Occidental story conventions of Grimms' Fairy Tales, the film is unequivocally covertly kosher in terms of its dubious sentiments/message and (lack of) morality, which of course is one of the main (yet less obvious) reasons as to why the film is so particularly anomalous.

    Aside from the film’s strong covertly kosher character, it is also a sort of aesthetically schizophrenic cinematic artifact that might be best described as seeming like what might happen if the brain-damaged bastard son of Jacques Tati and Vampira directed a playful zombie film sans blood and guts. While the film technically does not feature what is conventionally called zombies, it does include undead beings of the reanimated corpse variety and they can kill. In fact, one might assume by reading the film's promotional material that it was a pro-zombie affair as indicated by the curious description of the film as, “a new concept in the macabre in which the Good come out of the grave and the Evil are sent to fill the vacancy.” From a Hebraic horror angle, these sort of mechanized corpses certainly be seen as a twisted post-religious twist on the Jewish folklore tale of the Kabbalistic anthropomorphic ‘golem’ being (which, of course, is a story that has influenced a variety of films ranging from the German Expressionist classic The Golem: How He Came Into the World (1920) directed by Carl Boese and Paul Wegener to the mostly mediocre Roddy McDowell vehicle It! (1967), among countless other examples‎).

    While star Marceau attempted to make Castle promise that Shanks would not be a horror movie like most of his famous films, the film clearly straddles a refreshingly blurry line between horror and fantasy, which is undoubtedly one of its more positive attributes. In fact, it is easily the eeriest and most unsettling Castle film that I have ever seen (which I guess isn't saying much). Likewise, it is also the artiest and most idiosyncratic Castle movie that I have ever seen, as if the filmmaker just caught a Georges Franju marathon and forgot he wanted to be the hokey heeb Hitchcock for a second. In short, Shanks is something resembling art from someone I thought was incapable of art, but then again star Marceau (who notably plays two very different roles), screenwriter Ranald Graham, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Joseph Biroc (It's a Wonderful Life, Ulzana's Raid) also made serious creative contributions to the film. Interestingly, despite not even being well known when it was released, the film’s musical score by Jewish composer Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire, Spartacus), which incorporates motifs that were originally commissioned for (but notoriously rejected by Stanley Kubrick) for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), was actually nominated for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score for the 47th Academy Awards in 1975. 


     Set in a world that, somewhat paradoxically, seems simultaneously anachronistic yet timeless, childish yet senile and perverse yet wholesome, Shanks is somewhat of an admirable failure that has much to interest cinephiles beyond its strange collection of collaborators. Indeed, aside from featuring elements of a trashed Kubrick score and notable performances like a very young and virile Don Calfa of The Return of the Living Dead (1985) fame as a sadistic biker bro, the film seems to be Castle’s curious attempt at making a sort of silent film, which makes sense considering it stars a famous mime in the almost-too-fitting role of a simple-minded deaf-mute. While the film does feature some sparse dialogue, the story is told with the help of simplistic silent era style title cards and the film even features a sepia tone sequence in what is arguably the most ‘darkly poetic’ moment of the entire film. While Castle reveals very little respect for the actual art of filmmaking in his memoir, it seems like he actually had fun making Shanks, as if he knew it would never be any sort of hit and simply used the opportunity to do what he always wanted to do.  Although just speculation, I cannot help but think the film was also largely inspired by Castle's nostalgia for the silent era films of his youth.  After all, in 1963 Castle took the artistic risk of directing a subpar remake of James Whale's pre-Code horror-comedy The Old Dark House (1932).  While directed by legendary gay Englishman Whale, the screenplay was actually penned by British Jewish playwright turned politician and Zionist activist Benn W. Levy, hence the kosher character of the humor that probably appealed to Castle.


    As if he assumes the audience are retarded children (his lifelong career of cinematic gimmicks certainly hints at this), Shanks begins with a rather literal inter-title that reads, “William Castle PRESENTS A Grim Fairy Tale.” Of course, the film is certainly Castle’s equivalent to Curtis Harrington’s Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971) in terms of its Grimm-esque adult fairy tale quality (also, both films are inhabited by quirky Judaic stars). At the very beginning of the film, deaf-mute puppeteer Malcolm Shanks (Marcel Marceau)—an expert lip reader with the spirit of a child who is surely an idiotic savant of sorts—is depicted giving a puppet show using marionettes modeled after friends and family members to happy kids while his beautiful blonde love interest Celia (Cindy Eilbacher) and an eccentric old inventor-cum-dandy named ‘Old Walker’ (also Marceau) watch on in ecstatic delight. While his sadistic sister Mrs. Barton (Jerusalem-born Belgian Jewess Tsilla Chelton, who was part of Marceau's troupe) and alcoholic brother-in-law Mr. Barton (Philippe Clay, who was also part of the troupe) see Malcolm as a loser and mock his peculiar puppeteer talents, Old Walker is so delighted with his puppet show that he takes him under his wing as a lab assistant at his rather quaint gothic mansion where he does morally dubious yet ultimately successful scientific experiments involving the use of electricity to reanimate dead animals, including frogs and chickens. Naturally, when Old Walker unexpectedly croaks, Malcolm decides to use the reanimating method on him, thereupon symbolically becoming the master of the dead master (after all, Malcolm was Old Walker's protege).  As a proud puppet-master, it is not hard for Malcolm to make the transition from fiddling with marionettes to the undead, though it is somewhat creepy how much unexpected joy it brings to his initially rather bleak and stagnant life.  Of course, Old Walker is not the only corpse that Malcolm decides to reanimate as simple bad luck among certain fearsome family members eventually provides him with an entire troupe of completely subservient undead human-puppets.



    As the sole breadwinner of his decidedly dysfunctional family, Malcolm naturally comes into trouble when he dares to withhold some money from his savagely stupid dipsomaniacal brother-in-law, who is such a mean-spirited bully bastard that he smashes an Old Walker puppet that hapless protagonist was in the process of making. Luckily, Malcolm gets revenge by (somewhat unintentionally) killing Mr. Barton with a surprisingly deadly zombie chicken in what proves to be an absurdly stupid Castle-esque death scene. Thankfully, Malcolm’s luck doesn’t run out that day as his similarly abusive sister is killed in a ludicrously lackluster suburban hit-in-run accident while she is, rather ironically, attempting to prevent her reanimated husband from getting hit by a car. While Malcolm eventually buries the corpse of Old Walker out of respect for his generous mentor, he takes great joy in cavorting around town with his reanimated sister and brother-in-law while completely controlling them just as they once controlled him.  Not longer a violence dysfunctional family that trades punches and kicks for hugs and kisses, Malcolm even seems to have a lot of fun simply watching TV with his personality-less family members, which was not a privilege he was afforded when they were officially still alive. For whatever reason, Malcolm even thinks it is a good idea to flagrantly flaunt his undead family members and their odd (read: completely unnatural) body contortions to his childlike love interest Celia. Quite predictably, Celia—a seemingly underage little lass that practically radiates virginal purity and untarnished goodness—gets a little freaked out when she eventually realizes that the Bartons are literal dead meat, but she is also extremely excited about a birthday party that Malcolm has planned for her and, like women tend to do, is willing to overlook the dubious complexities of the undead family dynamic. For Celia’s present birthday, Malcolm is preparing a cute marionette modeled after her. Unfortunately, she will not live long enough to properly enjoy it. 


    For her big birthday celebration, Malcolm prepares Celia a sort of lavish Victorian dinner where the guest of honor sports a beautiful white gown that was owned by Old Walker’s assumedly-long-dead wife and the zombie Bartons act as both the servants and entertainment. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the fun and games come to a swift and ugly conclusion when the mansion is quite unexpectedly invaded by a small gang of bikers led by a big buff buffoon named Goliath (Biff Manard). While the bikers initially entered the mansion in a desperate attempt to revive their leader Beethoven (Phil Adams) after he fatally crashed his motorcycle on a road nearby the estate, the outlaws soon forget their dead leader and immediately begin following the lead of Goliath as he encourages them to fulfill stereotypical negative biker stereotypes like raping, pillaging, and even killing. Indeed, despite a noble attempt made by his haggard old lady ‘Mata Hair’ (Helena Kallianiotes) to stop him, Goliath decides to rape assumed virgin Celia. Meanwhile, a biker with the somewhat fitting name ‘Einstein’ (Don Calfa) plays around with Old Walker’s experiments after Malcolm is beaten and tied up. When Malcolm eventually escapes from his bondage, he is greatly dismayed to discover Celia’s corpse lying outside in the yard. While the bikers further demonstrate their affinity for mindless sadism by playing around with the undead Bartons using Malcolm’s remote control, the vengeful protagonist opts to unearth Old Walker and uses him to execute a murderous revenge campaign against the savage biker outlaws. After zombie Old Walker strangles and drowns most of the bikers, Malcolm gets in an epic Rocky-esque fistfight with Goliath on top of the roof of the mansion that eventually results in the latter falling to his death. In a display of poetic necrophilia, Malcolm then reanimates Celia’s corpse and the two begin to dance romantically in what is a literal Danse Macabre moment. Somewhat unfortunately, the film does not end there, but instead comes full-circle and returns to the very beginning, thereupon ultimately revealing that the entire story is bogus and was nothing more than the protagonist’s sick twisted fantasy. In the end, the film concludes with a quote from the great British satirist William Makepeace Thackeray that reads: “Come... let us shut up the box and the puppets = for our play is played out.” Interestingly, while Castle certainly did not know it at the time as he “felt 1975 would be a big year” for him as a filmmaker and he certainly did not plan for Shanks to be his swansong, Thackeray’s quote ultimately proved be a fitting coda to his filmmaking career. 


     
    Notably, in his memoir, Castle claims that Marcel Marceau, who was naively hoping that Shanks would “play forever,” once asked after they finished the film: “Be truthful with me, Bill. Do you think that SHANKS will be better than ROSEMARY’S BABY?” It seems that Castle had a pretty good idea of his talents (or lack thereof) as a filmmaker and was not exactly satisfied with the final result of his film as he apparently replied to Marceau by stating, “I don’t know, Marcel. You were great, but I think I might have failed you. Your world of mime and my world of horror may not mix. Only the audience will tell us.” Unfortunately, after more than four decades, the audience has spoken as Shanks is hardly considered one of Castle’s classic films, let alone any sort of horror classic or otherwise, which is rather unfortunate as, I for one, personally feel it is his most artistically merited film.  Indeed, the film is just too innately idiosyncratic for the masses, including film dork and seemingly most Castle fans.

    While Stanley Kubrick was so cryptic and sensitive (?) about his actually quite stereotypical New York City Jewish intellectual background to the point where he would actively erase all Jewish traces from his source material (e.g. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)), British Jewish film scholar Nathan Abrams argues in his insightful text Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual (2018)—a book that is, somewhat ironically, arguably as incriminating as Kevin McDonald's classic The Culture of Critique (1998) in terms of exposing the hermetic motivations of Hebrews—that all of the American auteur’s films are, at the very least, covertly kosher. In fact, Abrams even argues that Kubrick actively sought to destroy all prints of his first feature Fear and Desire (1953) because the film is too overtly personal and, in turn, Jewish as is especially personified by the character Private Sidney (played by fellow Jew and future filmmaker Paul Mazursky)—a sort of implicitly Judaic stand-in for the filmmaker—who is hardly a flattering portrayal of a Hebrew soldier as he is a psychologically feeble intellectual that not only suffers from debilitating paranoia and posttraumatic stress, but he also senselessly murders a young fisherwoman (Virginia Leith) after disturbingly attempting to molest her. Undoubtedly, the titular character of Shanks will probably seem similarly disturbing to most white gentile viewers as his peculiar behavior and questionable motivations are similarly kosherly curious. Surely, it is no great irony that, whereas as a great filmmaker like Kubrick started his career with his most incriminatingly and unflatteringly kosher character, Castle concluded his career with such a character.



     While the Kubrick and Castle had next to nil in common, there is still this glaring perennial Jewish connection and it is impossible to truly understand either filmmaker without taking it into serious consideration.  In fact, just as Kubrick did with his films, Castle opted to drop any mention of Jewishness and antisemitism for his Crusades period action-adventure film The Saracen Blade (1954) despite those racially-charged elements being central themes of American negro Frank Yerby's source novel.  Incidentally, both men also married blonde Aryan women (indeed, while Kubrick curiously married the niece of great Nazi era auteur Veit Harlan, Castle married a Dutch immigrant).  Of course, all the main ingredients of Castle's swansong are completely kosher and, in my less than humble opinion, it is nearly impossible to completely appreciate the film without considering these facts.  Whether it was inspired by ancient Aryan fairy tales or not, there is no way that a goy could have ever directed a film like Shanks.  While I seriously doubt Castle would appreciate it, I cannot help think of the strangely otherworldly Judaic quality of the film and be reminded of Alfred Rosenberg words, “The life of a race does not represent logically developed philosophy nor even the unfolding of a pattern according to natural law, but rather the development of a mystical synthesis, an activity of soul, which cannot be explained rationally, nor can it be conceived through a study of cause and effect.”  Indeed, it is easy to point to perversion and control fantasies when attempting explain the implicit Jewishness of Castle's film, but it is ultimately more of a visceral metaphysical matter when it comes to such a particularly preternatural cinematic work.



    Undoubtedly, Abrams’ book is not just helpful in terms of studying Kubrick semi-esoteric Jewishness, but also when it comes to Jewish films and characters in general, especially of the male persuasion. In that sense, it is no coincidence that the worst villains of Shanks are virtual a stereotype for all the things that Ashkenazi Jews have historically loathed about European gentile masculinity.  Indeed, as Abrams explains in regard to the Jewish ‘ethnical’ code of menschlikayt, it, “…rejected goyim naches, a phrase that ‘broadly describes non-Jewish activities and pursuits supposedly antithetical to a Jewish sensibility and temperament.’ Literally meaning ‘pleasure for/of the gentiles,’ […] It can therefore also be interpreted to mean a ‘preoccupation with the body, sensuality, rashness, and ruthless force,’ as manifested in such physical activities as bearing arms, horse riding, dueling, jousting, archery, wrestling, hunting, orgies, and sports in general. Denied the right to participate in such activities, Jews instead denigrated them, consequently also disparaging those very characteristic that in European culture defined a man as manly: physical strength, martial activity, competitive drive, and aggression.” While they might not be completely conscious of this while watching it, white gentile viewers will ultimately find Malcolm Shanks’ exceedingly inexplicable behavior, lack of masculinity, and almost pathological passivity to be the most ‘horrifying’ aspect of the film and not the dumb bikers, who are little more than muscular ciphers. Indeed, just as Henry Frankenstein is the true monster of James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), so is the eponymous protagonist the real ‘monster’ of Castle’s film, though I seriously double Castle and Marceau—two Jewish outsiders—would agree with that as they surely highly identify with these cinematic creatures.  But then again, the film was advertised with the poster tagline, “Deliciously Grotesque.”

    For better or worse, Castle is a sort of classic cult film legend. As demonstrated by his cameos in classic New Hollywood era flicks like Hal Ashby's Shampoo (1975) and John Schlesinger's The Day of the Locust (1975), Castle had already even achieved the respected cult icon status among great director of the era shortly before he died even though his horror films had already become quite passé.  A couple decades later, Joe Dante would pay tribute to the filmmaker with the Castle-esque hero portrayed by John Goodman in Matinee (1993).  Castle certainly earned his star Marcel Marceau's lifelong respect, as the Hebraic frog states in the Jeffrey Schwarz doc Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007) that, “I think he was a wonderful director” and he even describes Shanks as a film where, “Everything was poetic.”  Indeed, in a sick twisted semitic way, like if Bruno Schulz had the spirit of an extroverted businessman, the film is the poetic final word of a shameless schlockmeister that one would assume didn't have a single poetic bone in his entire body.  In short, the film that manages to shatter certain stereotypes while also painfully upholding others.  While I usually would not be able to stomach Judaized Teutonic fairy tales that are blessed with everything from the baroque to bathos, Shanks reminded me that sometimes effectively eerie fantastic horror is possible via cross-cultural mongrelization.



    -Ty E
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Over the Top
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    This is a film of undecidable cult status. When you view this film, you are almost exorcised of most Hollywood standards and are completely...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Joe
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
     Undoubtedly, if the white working-class and white bourgeois united as an anti-leftist, anti-globalist collective, they would...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Spike of Bensonhurst
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Admittedly, I have a soft-spot for Italian-American greaseballs, especially when they are as ill-tempered, self-centered, and idioti...
    ...
    (Review Source)

VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • Charles Bronson remembered
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Charles Bronson remembered

    By coincidence, I saw Charles Bronson’s greatest film for the first time in a theater, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, just a week or so before his death at the weekend. Bronson was not a great actor, in the histrionic sense (he had no range, subtlety or wit), but he could do something just as difficult and (in the hands of the right director, like Sergio Leone) just as good. He could *be* on screen. He embodied in himself an image, a screen persona with consummate comfort, as if he was just being himself. And if you doubt that even literally playing yourself on screen is not as easy as it looks, check out Brett Favre in THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY or Monica Lewinsky in her SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE appearance.

    Bronson’s character, which almost never changed, was taciturn and brooding like John Garfield, stoic and tough like John Wayne. He followed trails blazed by Clint Eastwood, both in Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, and then later in the urban-vigilante genre. He was a man you didn’t wanna mess with, but was righteous enough not to mess with you for no reason. In other words, it was an image of pre-therapy masculinity. This summa cum laude graduate of the School of Hard Knocks (in real life as well as a screen persona) had all this chiseled onto a face that was perhaps the ugliest ever on a Hollywood leading man. But that leather face was perfect for Leone’s grubby, dusty, gorgeously-lit and -framed pictures. And the harmonica.

    Besides being raw material for the virtuoso Leone, Bronson was also good in solid unpretentious 60s action films like THE DIRTY DOZEN and THE GREAT ESCAPE (the latter of which is one of the few films I remember seeing and liking quite a bit before the cinephilia bug bit in the late 1980s). I also think the first DEATH WISH film is not bad (it got boring by repetition; the reputation of the original ROCKY suffers for this same reason). But Bronson’s great late role is his lead character in the Walter Hill tough-guy picture HARD TIMES. The climactic bare-knuckle-boxing fight at the end could star nobody else but Bronson, because it *was* Bronson. Its virtues were his virtues. It’s an aging man, scrapping through the Depression with nothing but his bare hands, and doing it with no histrionics or self-analysis. The fight is shot like no other climactic fight that I can recall. It takes place in real time, with no music and not much editing or any form of flash. There’s a lot of grunting and pushing, and is grubby and tough. The fight has both a logical trajectory and is competitive enough for long enough (and then increasingly less so) that you see how difficult it is to beat up somebody who’s just as tough as you. And it ends as it does because of an understanding of masculine honor and virtue. You may lose the game, but there’s still honor in playing by the rules. Don’t pretend you won’t lose though. Bronson finally lost the game of life, like we all do … eventually. RIP.

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    September 3, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

    27 Comments »

    1. I agree that the fight between Cheney and Street in Hard Times was probably the best ever choreographed. But if you look closely it is anything but realistic, for reasons I regard as obvious but won’t go into now. It just shows you how exciting something can be, how seemingly realistic it can be without being realistic at all.
      Questions:
      How tall was Bronson?
      When and how did he start to work out?
      Did he use rope climbing as exercise?
      Was he a [heavy] smoker?

      E-mail me! A.C.

      Comment by Arch Campbell | March 27, 2008 | Reply

    2. I can’t find a source that I trust, but Bronson couldn’t have been very big. Remember the early sequence in “The Dirty Dozen” when Lee Marvin makes all the convicts line up in size order? Bronson was near the far left, with the short guys (like John Cassavetes and Trini Lopez).

      In part, of course, he looked small because Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland and (especially) Clint Walker were very tall. But I’m guessing Bronson was 5’8″ at most.

      Comment by astorian | April 4, 2008 | Reply

    3. Having grown up in Mumbai India,on Spaghetti westerns,The Westside Sories,Dr.Zhivago,Dr.No,My Fair Lady and so many other films,i do not why i took a special liking to Charles Bronson.Maybe,the way he conducted himself on the screen without much shouting or ranting,without being ruffled by any problem,is what made me feel that i also wanted to be like him.His projection of a strong screen personality was maybe something i was wanting to be in real life.The Strong Macho Man.

      Comment by subhash sirur | August 20, 2008 | Reply

    4. Do you know what charles bronson’s work out routine was?

      Comment by Michael Phillips | December 17, 2008 | Reply

    5. I read once, during the making of Breakout Pass, Bronson did rounds on the heavy bag and ran two miles a day. From looking at his early work ie. Man with a Camera, he had a naturally athletic physique.

      Comment by Justin Matin | December 20, 2008 | Reply

    6. Thanks Justin! I always admired bron’s physique, especially in his later years. Is their any comments from other actors, about bronn’s workout routine, because I remember that tony curtis, and jim brown raving about physical fitness. Thanks justin for replying to my message.

      Comment by Michael Phillips | December 26, 2008 | Reply

    7. Man justin, forgot to say bronson’s physique, and bronson’s workout routine, instead of bronn’s or bron’s. Man that drinking on christmas can mess you up! thanks man, and take care.

      Comment by Michael Phillips | December 26, 2008 | Reply

    8. Yes, it was Bronson that got me interested in Bodybuilding. However, latter on I realized, it was not so much that he had huge muscles like Arnold, it was that he had very little body fat. Look at his films like “You can’t Win them All” at the beginning, or Violent City (Also known as The Family) This man was then nearly 50 years old. Amazing that know one ever convinced him to write a fitness book.

      Comment by nicolas | January 26, 2009 | Reply

    9. Yes, and the most amazing thing was, that his body never really detoriated ever, until he suffered from that illness, at the end of his life. If he didn’t have that disease, I belive bronson, would still have the same physique that he had from the sixties! Was wondering if anyone else had info on charles bronson’s workout routine.

      Comment by Michael Phillips | January 29, 2009 | Reply

    10. Just saw Chato’s land. He must have had one heck of a workout routine. Him and Bruce Lee had the most lean and muscular builds I have ever seen. Would be interested in the routines followed by Charles Bronson.

      Comment by Mac | March 3, 2009 | Reply

      • I understand he did Isometric Exercise. There is some inmate in England who changed his name to Charles Bronson and is a devotee of Isometrics, but John E. Peterson (Isometric Power Revolution) referred to the actor Charles Bronson as being the product of Isometrics. If you men want to follow suit and get in that sort of shape we woman would be very happy.

        Comment by Tina | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    11. Charles Bronson not only had a hell of a physique, he behaved like old-fashioned WWII generation men did. He was a veteran of service as a gunner in the air force, and I believe saw combat. Guys like him, and Lee Marvin always had an extra authenticity to me in war films, because they’d experienced it firsthand in real life. Sorry to disappoint, folks, El Bruto just took good care of himself, and had very good genetics.

      Speaking of guys with amazing builds, Clint Walker was (still is) giant, and I have never seen such a huge chest on a man. What a beast that guy is! Nice guy, too, from what I hear. Anyway, look up Clint on Google and see if you don’t agree that Walker puts all these pretty boys today to shame in masculine terms.

      Comment by Pete | August 8, 2009 | Reply

      • I totally agree. Clint had a fantastic build & was incredibly handsome. He was one of a kind & in my opinion he does put all of the pretty boys to shame. And he IS a very nice man. I’ve met him a few times at the western festivals he attends. He’s a very humble, kind man. They dont make them like him anymore. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to have met him, talked to him & shaken his great big hand! It was an honor.

        Comment by Kim | October 14, 2010 | Reply

    12. Jack Klugman used to room with Charlie while both were struggling actors in N.Y.,NY.

      According to him, Charlie did push-ups between milk cartons (for added range of motion, and resistence), and also rigged a rope in their backyard to climb. Climbing a rope is more difficult than chin-ups, or even pull-ups. I assume he did some form of sit-ups too. He also ran a few miles.

      Comment by DM | December 12, 2009 | Reply

    13. I remember reading that Bronson was 5’10” and weighted about 165lbs when he was in his mid-40’s. Which is taller than someone above speculated. He was my main motivation for getting and staying in shape. I started working out and watching what I eat when I was 16. I’m 52 now and still lift weights and do cardio for an hour and a half 4 or 5 times per week.

      He also took a ton of vitamin supplements and smoked heavily. Kind of a stark contradition if you think about it.

      In addition to the movies listed above, Death Hunt (with Lee Marvin) was another really good Bronson movie.

      Comment by Marco | September 3, 2010 | Reply

    14. Charles Bronson was and is one of my HERO’s
      growing up . THEY DON’T MAKE MEN LIKE HIM
      ANYMORE …………….

      Comment by SAM | April 26, 2011 | Reply

    15. A note to Steven – I expect that it would make things seem strange at first, but the majority of people I have spoken to reckon it is still worth trying.

      Comment by genetic denim | August 22, 2011 | Reply

    16. According to Michael Winner Charles Bronson was always training in between shooting and was apparently quite inventive using things like bungee cords etc. to exercise his arms and legs.

      If you look at films like the Mechanic when he was already quite old he was running and even working his fingers so that he could break a glass just by pushing his fingers inside – he used elastic bands to develop his finger muscles.

      It should be remembered that Charles Bronson was a miner, a boxer and had done other physical jobs in his life as well as being in the navy. You only have to look at how he held himself to realise how well muscled he was. Although unusual for the day there were other well built and athletic stars such as Yul Brynner (an ex circus trapeeze artist, hatha yoga expert etc.), Woody Strode (ex decathlon, football star etc., Ron Ely who was a swimmer and boby builder.

      Comment by kEITH pEIRSON | September 26, 2011 | Reply

    17. Bronson was 5’8″ tops and I can tell by looking (as a long-time boxer and trainer) he would have weighed high 150s in his prime (he had lean legs). His muscular definition was 95% genetics.

      Comment by matt bowen | February 21, 2012 | Reply

    18. BEST ARM DEVELOPMENT IN CHOPPING WOOD IN The Magnificent Seven

      Comment by paul nelson | June 29, 2012 | Reply

    19. best scene in the Magnificent Seven-Bronson chopping wood

      Comment by paul nelson | June 29, 2012 | Reply

    20. There is no doubt that one would have to be blind to not perceive Bronson as a major badass. His physical build was beyond impressive and he seemed like a humble man. I defy anyone on this blog to come up with a name of an actor in current entertainment that would hold a candle, with respect to aura, physical build and hard core macho man portrayal ability to Bronson. It simply, pathetically, is not politically correct. Yeah, I like Neeson but he is not in Bronson’s league. Hard Times was and is a “Top 10” entry on my badass films list. At least that’s my opinion.

      Comment by Walt | October 25, 2012 | Reply

    21. Color cameras are, in a natural way, considerably more top-quality and present a clearer image.
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      Comment by air max 2009 | November 14, 2012 | Reply

    23. The fellow that was in the movie Silverado and Urban Cowboy reminds me of Bronson….can’t recall his name but he was muscular with quite reserve…

      Comment by gary7gary russell | May 7, 2013 | Reply

    24. She wears this hand-me-down badge with honor and look where it got her.
      You have just accomplished another item on your list. You’re the best-looking bridesmaid in the bridal lineup.

      Comment by canary bridesmaid dresses | June 3, 2013 | Reply

    25. 12 years ago I was working on a job with a man who was 61 at the time. We got to talking. He said had once seen Clint Eastwood and Charels Bronson in a bar somewhere in the mountains in California. (I don’t remember when he said this happened.) He said the two of them were sitting at a table and drinking and smoking. I asked, “Oh, did they smoke?” He answered, “Like trains. But, they smoked those little cigars….not cigarettes.”

      He said some drunk, biker guy at the bar said something to them about being, “Movie tough guys.” He said that Eastwood ignored him, but Bronson didn’t. When the guy walked over to the table, Bronson stood to meet him. He said the guy said something else (I forget what); and Bronson said, “I’ve been fighting assholes like you all my life.” Then Bronson hit him just one time and knocked him down. The bartender broke it up.

      I said, “It was probably a set up. Probably one of their stunt buddies.” But, the guy said he saw it, not 10 feet away, and that it was not fake.

      Comment by Sam | June 21, 2013 | Reply


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John Podhoretz1
Commentary Magazine



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  • Rockslide
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Sonny Bunch1
Free Beacon



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  • ‘Creed II’ Review
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The Federalist Staff6
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 'The Fate Of The Furious' Shows The Dangers Of Masculine Populism
    (”Rocky” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Vin Diesel is the Sylvester Stallone of this generation, and the “Fast and Furious” franchise is his “Rocky.” These simple stories succeed when sophisticated filmmaking seems to be all about sickness of soul. They are stories about ethnic pride and manliness in lower socioeconomic classes that stand in opposition to the liberal myth of progress and the people who succeed in such a world. It’s worth pursuing the comparison because it says a lot about American movie-making and populism. If you recall, the original “Rocky” was not just an exercise in American myth-making about self-made individualism. It was also a realistic look at the difficulties of grounding an American man’s sense of dignity when American culture is in a crisis of confidence. “Rocky” was released into late-’70s economic depression and cultural malaise, its protagonist from a working-class neighborhood. It is no accident that Balboa’s nickname embodies the ethnic identity and strength so important to the character and community’s redemption arc—the “Italian Stallion.” There was a similar authenticity to the “Fast and Furious” story, where the pride of standing against the laws meant you have no future in America. But that’s inevitably been sacrificed in the sequels. So what happened to the “Rocky” sequels? Well, in America it’s hard to argue with success, so they abandoned moral realism: After all, who gets tired of winning (Trump campaign promises aside)? Rocky ended up being the face of the Reagan era—fighting the Russians in red, white, and blue shorts. Stallone did likewise in his “Rambo” sequels, also a major letdown after the original, fighting alongside the primitive but noble Afghans, and fighting again in Vietnam—to win. With Stallone, America was going to get its wounded pride back. Outsider Heroes Who Nobly Fight the Establishment Like Stallone, Vin Diesel has taken on the mantle of populism, but for a new age. Technology and diverse casts including strikingly attractive girls are necessities of this age, just like ethnic pride and struggle were necessities of that age. This is ultimately about creating a product that gives the American working class its dignity, in a time where it rightly senses power is centralized in the hands of elites who don’t seem to know what they’re doing. I’m not saying these movies are all about politics, or secretly political. I’m saying that they depict social situations where the people have to look for outsider heroes who fight the establishment. So let’s think more about the manliness problem. Another thing Vin Diesel and Stallone have in common is an understanding of the yearning for nobility that brings people to action movies. They want familiarity with manly men; they want to believe that manliness could be tamed—by camaraderie, by the love of a good woman, by lessons learned yielding to temptation. They also hope being noble could mean being somewhat successful. Diesel, more than anyone since Stallone, sells people on the idea that rebelling against the system is not necessarily self-destruction. People want that so badly that Stallone has made a new fortune in the last decade by bringing back the old actors of ‘80s action movies in the “Expandables” trilogy. Diesel is doing the same thing, even bringing in action mainstay Jason Statham, also of the “Expendables.” Why We Are So Fast and Furious Vin Diesel is the true heir of the action movie, which was the last American attempt to say that moral virtues matter irrespective of intellectual virtues. That manly men do not need to be jerked around by tech oligarchs. With Disney-Marvel, America has turned the previous generation’s villains into our heroes: The sarcastic sociopathic sophisticated types played by prestigious British actors in the 80s—Alan Rickman in “Die Hard”—are now tech-scientific geniuses with an oligarchic contempt for most people and who are utterly incapable of love and friendship, such as Benedict Cumberbatch in “Dr. Strange.” The reason Vin Diesel sells is aptly summarized in the title “Fast and Furious.” Fury is the natural response of manliness to marginalization. Why is there a sophisticated, upper-class blonde white woman of a certain age as the antagonist in “Fate of the Furious”? Because she is the perfect image of class privilege emasculating lower-class men. This is utterly ignored, but it’s no secret: Even the trailer for the new movie shows how this woman manipulates the man into betraying everything sacred to him just so she can get more power. It’s all about anti-elite sentiment. After the elections of 2016, it’s much harder to ignore it than it used to be. As for speed, that is freedom of the soul. Whenever I go around America, I count the many reiterations of muscle cars of the ‘70s— throwback Dodge, Ford, and Chevy designs equipped with the bells and whistles of new technology. There’s a reason these cars still sell. Compared to the many indignities of everyday life, fast cars are a bit of a lesson about manliness—how to use power for good. The love of tuning cars also speaks to a certain freedom American men enjoyed before technology made it impossible for most to repair cars. The yearning for freedom is everywhere on display in this series of films, because in the new world of technology, there’s nowhere you can run from the state, from surveillance, from being embedded in situations not of your choice. What future is there for these passions that center in manliness? In a future of driverless cars you don’t even own, but rent for access whenever you feel like it, without any attachment, we trade fast and furious for quick and comfortable. But the yearning for a kind of dignified manliness is still there, and those who see that will make a lot of money speaking to it. ]]>
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The Weekly Standard Staff1
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Substandard Show Notes, Episode 1.14 (Sports Movies and Harry Potter World)
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Tim Markatos1
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • At the Limits of Masculinity: Foxcatcher (Miller, 2014)
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⚠️ 𝐄𝐃𝐆𝐘 🔥 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓 🔥 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 🔥 (𝐍𝐒𝐅𝐖?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


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The Weekly Substandard Podcast1
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