Tag: Hollywood

Ep. 257 – This week’s episode feature Dave’s interviews at The Real Side Radio; Movie Critic Christian Toto, purveyor at HollywoodInToto.com discusses the controversial Netflix film “Cuties”, Sam Elliott, Burt Reynolds, and the Oscars. At @22:43 Jon Gabriel, Editor in Chief at Ricochet.com discusses the “Harris-Biden Administration” and why Arizona may be big trouble for both President Trump and Senator Martha McSally. At @42:22 Billboard’s Top 40 pop recording artist Ricky Rebel discusses his viral video MAGA (YMCA parody played in full at the end of the interview), and his thoughts on the Lefts’ identity politics.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why I’ve Grown to Hate the Movie “Camelot”

 

Let me begin by saying that, yes, this is a rant and may be fueled by at least one or more strong cups of coffee but mostly because my wonderful autistic son loves watching this movie as often as possible and I must try to block it from my consciousness as I putter around our quarantined house. I realize this film was released decades ago in 1967 and smack dab in that forgettable era when hygiene-challenged flower children were dropping acid and fornicating like rabid vermin and communist-sympathizing anarchists were throwing Molotov cocktails at police (nothing really changes, does it?) but it’s high time, as it were, to get my disgust and disdain for the putrid film off my chest.

The anti-historical nature of the film. Whether a King Arthur existed or ruled is the stuff of legend even though there are tantalizing clues as to his possible existence in Glastonbury, England and elsewhere in documents that are dated around 300 years after he would have lived. But if he did exist, then he is thought to have possibly been a Roman-Brit or maybe even a Welsh chieftain who ruled a portion of England at the tail end of the 5th century and into the early 6th. Camelot the movie, however, doesn’t bother with history or is concerned in any way about being historically accurate.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. We Are Missing the Best Part

 

In early June, Bravo reality star, Stassi Shoroeder was fired from her role on the series Vanderpump Rules. Known at first for her mean-girl antics, Schroeder had dramatically evolved over the eight seasons into a more compassionate human. The reason for her firing were accusations by a former castmate, none of which were denied by Schroeder. Accusations she had previously spoken about publicly and admitted her wrongdoing. You can read in detail about them here. 

I don’t defend the actions of Schoeder. But by firing or “canceling” people for their imperfections, are we missing the best part? What if Bravo hadn’t fired her and instead, they used the next season to demonstrate how to effectively hold people accountable while leaving space for them to grow? Vanderpump Rules is a reality show after all, and what better way to model the realities of reconciliation, than including Schroeder in the next season. If we truly want to move toward a world with less racism, hatred, and prejudice, we have to be willing to do the work. Shaming people for their mistakes without offering any constructive path of restoration, isn’t going to change hearts. 

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, author and film director Chris Fenton joined Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the damaged relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and the United States based off his experience distributing major Hollywood films in China. Fenton’s newest book, “Feeding The Dragon,” was released on Tuesday.

Fenton explained the false impression he and so many others in Hollywood and in American companies broadly believed that globalism was an intrinsically good thing. Due to the hope of increased revenue and the American influence pervading Chinese culture, Fenton said so many Americans overlooked the theft and other crime that would be developed.

Libby Emmons and Paulina Enck, joined Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss Harry Potter author and radical feminist J.K. Rowling’s stance against transgenderism. Both Emmons and Enck are contributors at The Federalist, and Emmons also serves as senior editor at The Post Millennial.

Many on the left have recently attempted to cancel Rowling for her recent essay warning against the dangers of the transgender movement. Enck, a long-time Harry Potter fan, defended Rowling’s work as valuable and impactful regardless against Rowling’s personal opinions. Emmons observed there’s a demand for artists and writers to adhere to certain ideological identities, but she argued that their work ought to remain separate. The two also dove into criticisms of cancel culture more broadly.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We Are in Freefall

 

In a world gone mad, Marxist zombies riot, burn, loot and murder in every major city in America (and many European capitals) over the death of the hero/criminal George Floyd. Corporate America, Hollywood celebrities, etc., fall all over themselves to confess their white guilt. Statues and monuments are torn down and it no longer matters if what they represented was good or not because it’s total nihilism. And the people who are charged with the authority to maintain order and protect us stand by and do nothing.

Under these circumstances, it’s not hyperbole to say that our country is in moral and intellectual freefall.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Bel-Air Circuit

 

“The Bel-Air Circuit” was once among the most inside-y of showbiz insider terms. Technically, it exists in no Hollywood rule book, but it’s one of the most important invisible, little known social networks of the film industry. For a century, the Bel Air Circuit (with or without the dash) has referred informally to envied members of the Los Angeles-based film industry so elite that they have professional projection facilities in their own homes, tiny but fully equipped 35mm movie theaters, to screen their own films as well as those of competitors. This was once incredibly rare.

Even today, these charming, oversized 1920s-to-’50s houses, these fake English manors and Versailles chateaus, keep coming up on the real estate market. They are worth far more because four discreet projection view ports cut high into the living room wall are silent testimony of the long-ago presence of glamour: Barbara Stanwyck, Irving Thalberg, Humphrey Bogart, or Ava Gardner.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Overlooked Series for TV or Movie Adaptation

 

The Game of Thrones book series is nihilistic nonsensical bilge. But it makes for “good” television because that sort of mess seems to be popular in today’s culture, what with all the sex, sorcery, and savagery. As an actual story though? It’s terrible. Which is probably why George R.R. Martin could never finish it – it had no real logical “out”, no escape from its cycles of violence and revenge, save what the HBO writers could force together. Until HBO picked it up, though, it was unlikely fare for Hollywood treatment – Hollywood typically shies away from overly long fantasy cycles simply because such things are very expensive to cast and produce well, to say nothing of finding good writers to translate novels into scripts you can actually film. For all the awfulness of its story, I do give full credit to HBO for the solid work they put into the project over nearly a decade – one can deplore the story but still admire the brilliant and extremely skilled craftwork involved in telling it, and (more importantly) sticking with it at that high level for so long. Would that The Hobbit had been given that same dedication.

And now it seems we are to receive another attempt at telling the story of Dune. I am not excited at the prospect. The David Lynch film of the 80s was terrible. The SciFi Channel’s miniseries of 20 years ago was much better. But why Dune? Why yet another attempt? If Hollywood is looking for that next “big epic”, surely there are other and better stories to tell? Dune, the first book, is interesting, but has its weaknesses, while the rest of the series gets rather strange. Haven’t other authors written better and more compelling fantasy or science-fiction epics? Or must we continually return to just a few “classics”, like Amazon is trying to do with its pending Tolkien series? I would like to propose a few other authors and series that Hollywood should consider instead, and would invite you to make your own suggestions as well.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Phoenix at a Nadir

 

So, I’m at a diner last Sunday and the Oscars are on. But the sound was off. Which I considered Thomas Aquinas’ Sixth Proof of the Existence of God. So, as I glance up at the screen and the first award’s announced, Brad Pitt bounds onstage to grab it and I’m thinking “The man is 56. His hair’s gotta be getting a lifetime achievement award.” Actually, it was for best supporting actor, but either way, my not caring could’ve been measured in mega-tonnage till a waitress gets up and, much to my chagrin and over my internal screams of “C’mon, God, I’ll do anything you want if she just doesn’t–,” but it’s too late. She grabs the remote and doesn’t just flip on the sound, she turns it up to its “This is gonna ruin Richard’s night” level (for “Spinal Tap” fans, yes, that is higher than 11). Now, I’m in show business so I understand all the inner technical workings of how things go, but for the uninitiated, you know what happens when you turn the sound up on an awards show? Actors speak and you’re forced to listen to them!

Now, I’m not saying actors are dumb … just … lacking breadth. And … depth. But, to be fair, if you’re a world-class talent in anything, you’re probably focusing on that from a very early age and aren’t a walking library. My guess is as a teenager Serena Williams probably thought “Anna Karenina” was the Estonian qualifier she bageled the hell out of in Berlin last week.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Super Bowl: A Data Point on the Re-emergence of Roman Decadence

 

A friend of mine recently lent me a book called The Social Results of Early Christianity, by C. Schmidt, Professor of Theology in Strasburg. The impetus for the book, written in the 19th century, was an essay contest proposed by the French Academy “to trace the influence of Charity on the Roman World during the first centuries of the Christian era.” The first third of the book is devoted to describing various facets of Roman society and culture as they existed at the appearance of Christianity.

The parallels of pre-Christian Roman culture to the ethos of secular Western culture in our own age are numerous. Chapter 3, section 5 addresses the “Occupations of Slaves. Actors. Gladiators.” The Super Bowl, with its garish halftime show, represents a unique confluence of the actors and gladiators in American entertainment. Schmit’s description of the state of Roman entertainment I found especially pertinent:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. February Group Writing: Advice from Popular Culture

 

From Hollywood to kids’ cartoons, to sappy inspirational Facebook posts, entertainment culture is full of advice on how to live our lives. Imagine the consequences of taking this wisdom seriously. Actually, you don’t need to imagine: our culture is littered with living examples of men and women who embraced the subtle and not-so-subtle popular messages. Still, it would be interesting to flip through a book called A Year of Living Hollywood. Here is some of the most common propaganda of social media, celebrities, and movies:

1. Follow your heart. This pretty saying comes first because it’s our culture’s favorite. I remember years ago asking a wise older friend for advice about getting married, and this is what she said to me, very tenderly though: Follow your heart. I was confused. My very problem was that I had followed my heart, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere. What I needed was some sensible input, help weighing up the pros and cons and identifying flags of all hues in this relationship.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hollywood: The Scene That Celebrates Itself

 

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais did the unthinkable Sunday night: he made an awards show interesting. As millionaire celebrities and billionaire moguls congratulated each other at the start of another tedious awards season, Gervais took a flamethrower to the house of cards.

In this room are some of the most important TV and film executives in the world. People from every background. They all have one thing in common: They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow. He’s coming for ya. Talking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes. Shut up. Shut up. I don’t care. I don’t care.

We’ve got three compelling martinis to help you ease back into that first day back at work or school. Join Jim and Greg as they applaud comedian Ricky Gervais for hammering Hollywood for its hypocrisy and self-importance at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday evening on topics ranging from Harvey Weinstein to Jeffrey Epstein to Chinese sweat shops. Jim also urges President Trump to stop threatening to strike cultural sites in Iran because military targets make much more sense and discussing cultural sites could turn other nations against us. And they cringe as the video of Julian Castro endorsing Elizabeth Warren comes across as inauthentic, with Castro coming to Warren’s house, telling Warren how wonderful she is, and Warren agreeing with him.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hollywood Directors in the Golden Era: 3 Autobiographies

 

I picked Raoul Walsh’s “Each Man in His Time” (1974) off the shelves. I very seldom look at it; it’s one of the least re-read of my film books, scoring maybe one and a half re-reads in forty-five years. Walsh, born in 1887, worked as a young man for D.W. Griffith and his career as a director was already fifteen years on when sound came in. Amazingly, his work would span all the way from “Birth of a Nation” to the end of the Fifties. Walsh credibly manages to equate the end of his directing career with the end of classic Hollywood altogether, and ties in the deaths of Humphrey Bogart (1957), Errol Flynn (1959), Clark Gable and Gary Cooper (1961) as being the last of the major stars of the classic period.

Like many autobiographies, we can guess that some of these detailed memories were written years before Walsh turned 87, and I have no doubt that some or even a lot of it is exaggerated. But this is one of those books where you have to say “If even a third of this is true…” as Raoul Walsh stands on the set of “Intolerance”, rides with Pancho Villa, directs Fox’s first sound film, discovers John Wayne, has an affair with Pola Negri and about, oh, 500 other women, goes to the racetrack with Winston Churchill, becomes a regular guest at San Simeon, and takes Jimmy Cagney to the “Top of the world, Ma!” Quite a life.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Weinstein, Messing, and McCormack: A Study on Power and Control

 

“Will and Grace” was a TV show that aired about a decade and a half ago. It was based around the lives of four friends, two of whom were gay, living in New York. The show was funny; it was good, it made me laugh. NBC decided to bring it back, but this time their goal was to do as many seasons as they could bashing President Trump and his supporters. And bash they did, for three entire seasons. And it was as boring as can be.

Eric McCormack and Debra Messing play the title characters, Will and Grace. Now McCormack and Messing have both taken their roles as Trump bashers off the set and into the streets of Twitter.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Say You Want a Revolution, Part 3

 

In a recent post, we revisited fifty years ago, a cultural turning point with many similarities to today’s, a tumultuous, angry year when much of Hollywood saw mass audiences respond to Easy Rider and M.A.S.H. But inadvertently, it triggered a powerful law-and-order backlash whose inexhaustible fury would ensure that Archie Bunker, General Patton, Dirty Harry, Popeye Doyle, Vito Corleone, and Charles Bronson would provide the most iconic screen moments of the early Seventies.

To understate things, it sure seems today like a lot of people in this country, tens of millions of media consumers, are frustrated by their relative powerlessness. The Woke Market is not as big or bigger than the rest of America put together, and yet you’d never know that if you looked at a list of current films or TV shows. We can debate the reasons why, but there’s clearly an unsatisfied need to hotwire a path to cultural change, because whatever market mechanism is sending a corrective signal to the media, it’s not reaching enough of a real response.

Marshall Herskovitz, writer, director and producer (thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Dangerous Beauty), drops by to talk about how he got his start in Hollywood, when he decided he’d rather fail and leave the business than keep writing things that didn’t feel like him, the TV movie that kick-started his and partner Ed Zwick’s careers into high gear, and what kind of reboot he would do for thirtysomething if the opportunity arose. Learn why he, Ed, and Winnie Holzman wound up sobbing when they had to do the DVD commentary for the My So-Called Life pilot, why they were terrified of Claire Danes, and why the way we define risk is so destructive in our society. Marshall shares how making Dangerous Beauty (one of Bridget’s all-time favorite films) was his all-time favorite experience in the business, what the film meant to him, and the reason for its incredible longevity after initially bombing at the box office. They discuss everything from the extreme the changes in the movie and television industry in the last 10 years, to the truth about climate change, how Democrats are getting the messaging wrong, the difference between investment and cost, and how the economy is like a bottle of wine. Don’t miss Bridget’s story about Jared Leto and Marshall’s story about Brad Pitt.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Silver Screen? Or Distant Mirror?

 

Half a century ago, as the final year of the Sixties unfolded, Hollywood studios looked at the youthful trends of the previous year and loaded themselves up with inexpensive campus political dramas, left-wing fare that would be ready for release in the spring and summer of 1970. “The Strawberry Statement”, “The Revolutionary”, “Revolutions Per Minute” and “Zabriskie Point” were one-sided bets on what audiences at the dawn of the Seventies would be eager to pay for—sympathetic, appealing violent dramas and coarse comedies about campus rioters who sleep around and curse a lot. To the chagrin of Hollywood planners, who were usually stuck with two-year lead times on feature film projects, they bet wrong. There will always be an audience for violent drama and coarse comedy; it was the “rioters” aspect, the anti-police violence as entertainment that proved to be an astoundingly tin-eared wrong step on Hollywood’s part. It would cause an enduring, decades-long counter-reaction that at the time was dismissed as a transient “backlash”.

The Vietnam War was still near its height as springtime ’70 brought on the protesting season, as it’s been in much of western Europe since the 1830s or thereabout. The first Earth Day was planned for April 22, and would be the most peaceful of the year’s mass demonstrations. The campuses were already primed to explode. Mine literally did in March, when a homemade bomb killed its radical builder and leveled a Greenwich Village townhouse. When President Nixon announced an incursion into Cambodia—okay, raids, an invasion, let’s not be too fussy—the semester was nearly over anyway and many campuses, although non-violent, were also non-functional. When four students were killed at Kent State University on May 4th, school ground to a halt all over the country.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Say You Want a Revolution, Part 2

 

Here’s what this post, and last week’s post are about: The cultural changes in the media that Ricochet readers don’t like didn’t happen by pure accident. They took decades. We propose equally patient, persistent, but ruthlessly effective efforts to push culture in another direction over the next 20-plus years. We are chewing over how to create or capture a big chunk of tomorrow’s media and the arts. It’s a myth that nothing can be done about the entertainment business. Success is Hollywood’s definitive history teacher.

@drewinwisconsin raises a tough point. He said, “So that’s probably why it’s important to try to change or break the current system rather than try to build an equivalent system that will have no users. Consider how much power and scope Google+ had, and it still couldn’t survive against Facebook. And that’s Google — already a malignant influence.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How the Nerds Took Revenge

 

We were all once nerds, or cool kids, jocks, bullies, dorks, AV cart-pushers, theater geeks, motorheads, preppies, break dancers, valley girls, wastoids, heshers, skaters, surfers, outcasts, and teacher’s pets. Microchip technology was nascent as we learned the term “hacker” from Matthew Broderick changing his grades via modem, while Anthony Michael Hall demonstrated how hyperactive geeks could end up with the Homecoming Queen.

We delighted in watching nerds take revenge. After all, those narcissistic jocks deserved it, which became an oft-repeated trope in many films of the 1980s. The smartest, but most socially awkward would exact vengeance on anyone who previously shunned them, both men and women. While comedic in tone and extremely satisfying to watch at the time, there’s no doubt that said retribution has since morphed into something darker; the entitled psyche of yesterday’s and today’s disenfranchised.