Category: Movies

LBJ: I Hardly Knew Ye

By , August 29, 2014 9:26 am

I’m reading–well, listening to, anyway–Robert Caro’s Pulitzer prize winning biography of LBJ, a bio he refers to as a study of political power, how to acquire it and how to use it. I’m almost through with the second volume, Means of Ascent. The first volume, Path to Power, which chronicles his life (and his ancestors’s life) up through his years in Congress and his first run at the U.S. Senate–which he lost only because his opponent–literally–bought more votes than he did and then only because Johnson got a little cocky on the day of the election, is an enthralling read. (In case this sentence is a little too complex [a little?], here’s the essence: The first volume is an enthralling read.) The second volume has proved its equal.

Means of Ascent discusses Johnson’s time in the armed services during World War II and his second run for the Senate, an election he literally bought, paid cash for. This comes as no surprise to the reader. At this point in the story, the reader has already read where Johnson stole a student election in college, stole another election for the presidency of an organization of congressional staffers, stole an actual congressional seat, and attempted to steal a Senate seat in a special election.

I’m reminded of a great line from the movie Patton. The great general is facing Rommel in North Africa, and he’s beating him. George C. Scott, as Patton, peers through his binoculars at the unfolding spectacle and says, “Rommel… you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Methinks more than a few politicians and their operatives have read Caro’s biography of LBJ.

Two Movies You Probably Missed

By , July 17, 2013 10:41 pm

My wife, step-son Joe, and I were talking movies tonight, and I mentioned two that neither had seen. You probably haven’t either: Trent Harris’s Reuben and Ed and John Candy and Eugene Levy’s little mocumentary gem, The Last Polka.

A spoof of The Band’s rock documentary, The Last Waltz, The Last Polka tells the tale of the Schmenges, Polish brothers who become famous for their polka music. Told with a very straight face, the film includes interviews with 60 and 70-something fans camped out on city sidewalks, hoping to score tickets to the Schmenges’ last polka performance. Catherine and Mary Margaret O’Hara also star, along with Rick Moranis.

Reuben and Ed is harder to describe. The cast includes Howard Hesseman, Karen Black, and Crispin Glover at his weirdest. In an effort to save his marriage to Black, Hesseman has signed up in a multi-level sales company and is desperate to find people for his down line. Crispin Glover agrees to become his first, but only after they bury his dead cat that has laid frozen in his freezer since its death. Once you’ve watched the movie, you’ll never forget the multi-level’s mantra: Power through Positive Real Estate. And you’ll laugh every time you think of the scene in the desert with Hesseman, Glover, the dead cat, and a cooler.

And I’ll leave it at that.

. . . Faint Praise

By , February 7, 2013 8:16 am

A Connecticut Congressman is upset because the movie Lincoln portrays the state’s senators voting against the proposed 13th Amendment to abolish slavery when in fact they voted for it. That’s interesting, but even more so–to me anyway–is the following quote from historian Christian McWhirter, a researcher with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln:

Lincoln is an exceptionally good Hollywood historical film, so I think we have to have a certain amount of tolerance for certain amount of error. (Emphasis and italics supplied)

To put a face on the obvious (and to rework the quote a bit), Mr. McWhirter could have said what he said this way:

For Hollywood, that wasn’t a bad historical movie–if you ignore all the errors.

Oh, and then there’s this, lest we forget:

Going through the movie script vote by vote, CNN found that the important details are correct. By the narrowest of margins, after a breathless and unpredictable roll call, the amendment passes, with most Republicans in favor but many Democrats opposed. (Emphasis supplied)

By the way, I enjoyed the movie.

Here He Comes to Save the Da . . . Oh, My Gosh!! . . . Where Are His Pants?

By , December 7, 2012 4:32 pm

Superman’s suit has been re-designed.

Trapped by the Non Mormon

By , February 2, 2012 4:49 pm


Caused me to think of this

Mitt, Trapped by the Donald?

Jesse Stone

By , July 30, 2011 5:36 pm

My wife and I discovered an interesting TV series starring Tom Selleck. No, not Blue Bloods, though we enjoy it as well. No, the Jesse Stone series is better all around. Better story. Better cinematography. Just better.

Selleck plays the new police chief of Paradise, Massachusetts, a small coastal town. Formerly of the Santa Monica police department, he’s recently divorced, has a drinking problem, an attracts women like . . . well, like boys in high school dream.

Check it out.

Mamet’s Hits Just Keep On Coming

By , May 23, 2011 4:09 pm

I remembered reading this from The Village Voice in 2008 while I was reading this in The Weekly Standard from last week about David Mamet’s conversion of the left to the right, liberal to conservative. The first article, an essay actually, by Mamet himself, had the better title: “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead’ Liberal.” The second is the story of what’s happened since.

Read both. Maybe–if you find yourself on the left bank–you’ll be persuaded to convert too. After all, his family looks happy.

Obrigado Hollywood

By , April 12, 2011 10:59 pm

The movie “Fast and Furious 5 Paints a Corrupt Image of Rio.”

Well, At Least My Kids Will Be Happy

By , February 12, 2011 2:49 pm

Ann Althouse isn’t.

The movie trailer for Atlas Shrugged is out. Atlas Shrugged Part I, I mean.

It is a pretty thick book after all–I guess.

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