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It is that time of the year again and, like it or not, movies will be talked about extensively until March 13th, 2023 when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will once more gather to preen before the cameras and occasionally say idiotic things about politics.  It is a chance for movies we […]

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Jim and Greg discuss House Speaker Kevin McCarthy rejecting Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee, with Jim explaining why the move is good politics and good policy. They also groan as Rep. George Santos criticizes comedians and other politicians for making fun of his serial mendacity. And as former Vice President Mike Pence admits having classified documents, they wonder just how many of our top officials are careless with sensitive materials.

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After a Christmas and New Year’s hiatus, we return to the halls of the Ricochet Grand Library. Chapter 59 saw Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey bring home the golden laurels (and hearty fruitcake, don’t forget) for the best crossover that never was for Seawriter, who asks: What was the best fictional story with aviation as […]

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Quote of the Day: My Hometown? Ricochet

 

In the 2022 film, Vengeance, a resident of a nowhere town in Texas is asked to describe where he lives by a New Yorker.  Ty the Texan responds, “This is the most wretched, godforsaken stretch of land on the face of the earth. And I’d never leave.”

Ben the New Yorker (played by writer/director B.J. Novak) answers, “Yeah. That’s how I feel about Twitter.”

Brianna Brown Keen (Photo: Eugene Powers/Shutterstock)

This week Dennis talks to Thomas Julin – a top litigator for the First Amendment – about the #TwitterFiles and exactly what Section 230 means in practice.

Movie Review: ‘A Man Called Otto’

 

I understand why film buffs get irritated when there is an English-language remake of a well-regarded foreign film. It seems disrespectful to the original, and suggests that American audiences are too lazy to read subtitles. The former is always going to be in the eye of the beholder, although most adaptions are probably done out of affection for the original work. If there are too many changes, it would support that conclusion. The latter is, in part, probably true. It does seem that foreign language films have difficulty reaching American audiences because subtitles are distracting and require a different sort of engagement.

The biggest reality, though, is that you need to adapt to the audience. American audiences are not so much unsophisticated as they are locked in their own paradigms. We relate more to familiar surroundings, to experiences that we are likely to encounter. We are a racially mixed culture, but there are enclaves within the broader culture that have limited experience with some parts of the world. Every writer, speaker, and artist who is trying to reach a particular audience knows that they need to craft their work in a way that the intended audience will respond to.

The source material for this Tom Hanks vehicle is a well-regarded Swedish film that was the highest-grossing foreign language film in the US the year it was released. It was nominated as the Best Non-English film by the Academy Awards that year. It brought in less than $3.5 million at the box office in the States. Assuming an average price of $10 a ticket, that means that it was seen by about 35,000 people in a theater in America. That is a small segment of the potential audience, regardless of why so few got around to seeing it. An English language remake gives the story a second bite of the apple and a chance to let the audience find it. If you want to criticize the film and compare its artistic merit to the original, that is fine, but first evaluate the film you are criticizing, rather than its reason for existence.

Join Jim and Greg as they are pleasantly stunned by CNN’s Don Lemon telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he seems more measured in his reaction to Biden possessing classified documents than he did to the Trump case. They also roll their eyes at the organization behind the “study” suggesting gas stoves are bad for respiratory health – and wonder if the 3 Martini Lunch is indirectly responsible for this nonsense. Finally, they go through the latest lies uncovered about Rep. George Santos, whether we know anything about this guy, and whether he can stay in Congress.

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Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were a big part of the early Motown sound, and 1965’s Ooo Baby Baby was one of their biggest hits. Written by Smokey and Pete Moore, one of the Miracles, it reached #15 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #4 on Billboard’s R&B chart. Backed by Motown’s “Funk Brothers” musicians and […]

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I’m not much of a Grateful Dead fan, especially when they jammed, but when they buckled down for two song-based, more acoustic, albums with harmonies, “American Beauty” and “Workingman’s Dead,” well, I can like them just fine. And “Ripple” is the standout track from “American Beauty.” To me, it’s the standout track from the Dead’s […]

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The Saturday Night Classics posts are continuing in memory of the late Randy Webster.  As is done with QotD and Group Writing, simply indicate the week of your preference in the comments to be listed below.  Saturday Night Classics is a weekly post of a “classic”song, often of the pop music era, posted on Saturday. […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they start the day with some encouraging news about Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin and his recovery from cardiac arrest. Then they welcome the news that lockstep liberal Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will not run for re-election in 2024 and discuss what that open race might look like. They also discuss Day 3 of the stalemate over who will be the next Speaker of the House and point out that some opponents of Kevin McCarthy have principled reasons for withholding support while others just seem to enjoy the political theater. Finally, they sigh as incoming California Rep. Robert Garcia plans to be sworn in on a copy of the first-ever issue of the Superman comic book.

Movie Review: The Whale

 

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way immediately, yes, it is extremely likely that Brendan Fraser will follow Will Smith as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor. I don’t want to take anything away from his performance, but there is a sociological reason for this to happen in addition to the artistic achievement.

Fraser has been largely absent from the film world since his heyday twenty years ago. A story about his physical decline and about abuse by Hollywood entitled power players suggested a career that was largely in the rearview mirror. This is a comeback story, and the guy making a comeback is one of the most likable fellows you are going to encounter.

This is perhaps the perfect counter-programming to last year’s disastrous ceremony, where the eventual winner of the acting prize assaulted the host and was not removed from the venue but actually got up a few minutes later to receive an award that was overdue but was now clouded by controversy. Two years after presuming a win by the late Chadwick Boseman, only to be shown as craven exploiters of the emotional turmoil, the Academy needs a clear win for a popular player that will generate little controversy and much-needed goodwill.