Tag: Hollywood

The worst thing you can tell anyone who nevertheless probably needs to hear it is, “Calm down.”

I was with some stand up comedians recently – all of them successful – and when the subject of another stand-up comedian came up…

There’s a great old movie called The Women — it’s from the nineteen thirties, but it still seems hip and contemporary…

I don’t know how to tell this story, and I can’t imagine that I won’t regret it. But here goes…

The scariest words in the English language are, “You don’t remember me, do you?”

A famous actor once tried to describe the rigors of being in production…

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, movie producer Dallas Sonnier joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to talk about his recent project “Run Hide Fight” and how movie creators are branching out and expanding content beyond Hollywood.

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1984 is a specific year. In 1984, Tetris was first released, Ghostbusters hit theaters, and Virgin Atlantic made their first flight, however, most of us don’t think of those events when we think about that year. Thanks to George Orwell, 1984 has become synonymous with government overreach, complete control of the populace, and the thought […]

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On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Host Ben Domenech and Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky review how Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s wife, faked being a Spaniard for years and what it exposed about the media’s corruption.

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.

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. 

If we want to change the world, we need to believe that it is possible for people to be better than their worst mistakes. Transformations aren’t born of shame. If we want to change hearts, we have to be willing to do the hard work, with them. Vanderpump Rules had the opportunity to do the work, to show how you change people’s hearts, and they missed it.

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.

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.

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.

It’s hard for us to imagine a time, less than 50 years ago, when no matter who you were, you basically couldn’t have a movie of your choice each night, to see in your home at a time of your choosing. You flat out couldn’t buy a copy of a feature film no matter how much money you offered. Even wealthy people in America’s other great cities and industries—Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, you name it, even haughty New York—didn’t have that privilege. By contrast, in Hollywood, once you were “in”—part of the so-called Bel Air circuit, you just placed a phone call, and a studio delivery man would bring you whatever current film you wanted for home viewing, no charge. This was elite privilege at its most rarefied.

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.

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.

So, I’m there in the diner and for the next four hours — did I mention it was a diner and bar — I watch all these actor folks “accept” for “whatever” while speechifying endlessly trying to convince everyone (and, no doubt, themselves) how engaged, woke, and socially conscious they were while not realizing that being crazy emotional about everything doesn’t prove you have more than a paper-thin intellect or something actually worth saying.

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:

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.

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.

…You could binge-watch the entire first season of “Afterlife” instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself ’cause his wife dies of cancer and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.