“La La Land” Lands With A Thud; It’s A Dud!

Here we go again.

It must be remembered that Hollywood is a world unto itself – a hubbub of a bubble; the ultimate echo chamber.

And this year the cries bouncing off that bubble and echoing around in that chamber is that Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” is the musical masterpiece of the year.

We beg to differ.

After a recent viewing of “La La Land” with an average audience – not an “industry” audience, mind you – the crowd upon exiting was left muttering “what were all those critics talking about?”

What we saw was a mumbling, disjointed mish-mash with not one memorable song or performance. Ryan Gosling did his best with the material he was given but playing against Emma Stone he might as well have been hitting tennis balls against a brick wall. Stone’s acting goes from A to Z with nothing in between. No shading. We get the tearing, blurting bits that we saw so well in, well, “Birdman,” for example. And she keeps throwing that back at us.

As musicals go, this one didn’t. Go.

From the opening sequence, once the actors open their mouths to sing the words got lost and we knew we were in the hands of a second-rate director. The composition within the frame was crowded and without perspective, not unlike a smartphone user who’s never sure where the action is so they just point where the movement goes. Cinematography is an art. A cinematographer has a grand vision that encompasses light, composition, movement, depth, color all in a complex language that conveys a dramatic purpose to a film.

In “La La Land” the cinematography was non-existent.

And don’t give any credence to those critics who cite the beauty of the “shots” such as Griffith Park. A camera held still and rolling “film” on an object is not cinematography.

Most of the scenes in “La La Land” were so underlit that Stone and Gosling’s faces were in shadow. And when they are supposed to be singing, audiences want to SEE the mouths of the actors.

Dramatic tension. As in Chazelle’s “Whiplash” this film has a tacked-on, fake dramatic turning point that comes out of nowhere and appears in one scene at a dining table. Coming from left field, audiences are blind-sided. “Well, guess we’re going in that direction.”

Chazelle is still an immature filmmaker. Here he’s not unlike a trolley car driver who’s got his passengers on a trip then decides to jump the track. Passengers – except for gullible Hollywood-ites – don’t enjoy bumpy rides.

The most egregious example of a director who is clueless over what to do with a musical bit is Stone’s little audition song toward the end. It’s meant to be powerful yet, Chazelle has Stone frozen in place, not moving a muscle, under a hard spot, for the entire song. We’ve never seen someone sing a song as if they were standing in front of a firing squad, but this bit would surely qualify.

The film’s ending is an example of what happens when you give a director final cut. They always find a way to make it longer and confusing and waste any goodwill they might have garnered from the audience up until that point.

*********************

There’s more. Much, much more.

And we’ll write about that when we find the time.

At this point we’ll remind everyone to rush out and see Hollywood’s fav flick from last year – “The Revenant.”

Oh, you don’t want to waste your time on that boring slogfest, either.

Advertisements

Trump Wants Control Over Women – Take Away Abortion

Donald Trump stated on “60 Minutes” that he would attempt to seat a Supreme Court Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump stated he wanted the option of abortion to be tossed back to the state level – like slavery used to be a state level issue.

If a woman wanted an abortion and it was illegal in her state then, Trump said, she could just “go to another state.”

We wonder if our billionaire president will pay for her bus fare for that theoretical trip. Or alternatively, will he help raise and support and put through school and then employ all the millions of unwanted children that will be born when abortion is made illegal.

 

Anti-Trump Protesters? Try Organizing. Not As Much Fun, But More Practical

An anecdote: A friend who is a university teacher told us of a post-election class where many of their students were so distraught about the Trump election. The teacher then asked how many had voted.

No one raised their hands.

Meanwhile, thousands are storming through the streets across America. We wonder how many of them can actually name their local congressman. Or how many had voted.

Before anyone goes out to cause a ruckus in the cites of America they need to show proof they actually showed up to vote last week. Otherwise, they are pretenders to this revolution.

****************

We had a record low voter turnout in this most-important election in 2016. Only 55%. A 20 year low according to news reports.

And everyone’s surprised about the results?

Shouldn’t that be news? That in the most important election in our recent history almost half the nation chose to say “I don’t care”?

****************

Earlier this year there were protests across the UK when the nation voted for the Brexit resolution, catching many of the young, urbanite population offguard. They hadn’t voted either. It was a big, rural voter turnout that enabled Brexit to go forward. So, those who didn’t vote, protested. Too late.

****************

There are times for protests. This isn’t one of them. If it makes you feel better, howl at the moon. Get it out of your system.

Then, go to work. Organize. Talk to other people. Go online and get information. Find your senator and representative. Contact them. Don’t be angry. Come up with some positive ideas. Know other people like yourself who are concerned? Form a group. Organize. Get more members. Meet at your local library. Don’t like what the Democrats/Republicans did? Start your own party. Or join the local Democratic/Republican party and see what you and your friends can do about making changes.

Go online. Do research. Find others who share your views or, possibly, talk reasonably with those who oppose you. Gain understanding.

Organize. Become the start of your own movement. Be a positive force for change. (Yes, crass politicians have co-opted that “change” thing, but it’s always possible to take it back.)

****************

Protesting may feel good in the short term. But, it’s America’s obsession with feeling good in the short term that has essentially brought us to where we are today.

Don’t like something? Tweet about it. Text someone. Post something on Facebook/Instagram/Whatever.

But that’s not going to change anything.  Real change takes a lot of work. Real change takes a lot of…organization. People-to-people work. Not staring into the smartphone stuff. And these days that’s all you see around you, people staring into their phones, attention span, well, wait, my phone just beeped!

Protesting is easy. Just check the location of the latest protest site on your phone and head over. Walk down the street. Hold a sign.Yell.

Protesting, at this point, is a sign of weakness. You may think you are empowering yourself. You may think you are validating your viewpoint or emotions. You may feel better about yourself. But, as any adult should tell you, feelings are short term.

Protesters? Essentially, you’re throwing a temper tantrum cause you lost and the other side won. 

And isn’t THAT what Trump and his minions threatened to do if they lost?

( Suggestion: If you happen to be at a protest, grab a bunch of them and take them home for a political organizing coffee-clatch where you can get some real work done!)

 

 

 

 

 

And Hillary Still Doesn’t Get It – Blames FBI

Face it. Trump won the presidency because the Democratic Party of these United States of America shoved Hillary Clinton down our collective throats as their benighted candidate before the primary season even began.

The Wikileaks emails from the Democratic National Party proved that they derailed Bernie Sanders candidacy and did all they could for Clinton. But anyone following the campaign knew this before any leaks confirmed it.

And Hillary Clinton, the quintessential Washington insider without a moral or ethical compass who has, over the years, grown a shell around her as hard as a 300 year old turtle, has never owned up to any mistake she or her husband have ever committed over the tempestuous decades of their careers.

And she still doesn’t get it.

The news reports have Hillary blaming her election loss not on her massive personal and campaign shortcomings but on the fillip of FBI Director James Comey’s late-term mis-steps.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/12/hillary-clinton-blames-one-comey-letter-for-stopping-momentum-and-the-other-for-turning-out-trump-voters/

********************

We still point to our own report early in the campaign when Hillary was at a big private fundraiser in some big mansion where a young black woman managed somehow to gain entrance and challenge Clinton about her husband’s crime policies. What did Hillary do? Her henchmen threw the young woman out of the mansion.

That’s how Hillary courted the black vote – in private and reality. She ignored them and had them tossed out of her mansion while taking huge checks from the money men.

That’s what Hillary Clinton has been doing for years with her husband. The evidence is all over the place. Even her own daughter Chelsea tried to stop the corruption when they brought her into the Clinton Foundation and Chelsea found out about $100,000 handshake meetings businesses gave her dad while supposedly doing “charity” yet dad Bill kept the money.

********************

And America’s Democratic Party and most of the media went right along with the attempt to christen Hillary Clinton as the Savior of America – The Agent of Change. A fighter for the downtrodden.

Hillary Clinton was a half-dead horse they all dressed up as a Kentucky Derby Winner.

It didn’t work.

 

*********************

It comes down to a lack of Leadership.

There was no leadership in the Democratic Party and they failed the American people. Someone like Bernie Sanders who was a true believer and who had grown his own movement into a genuine power was thwarted.

There was no leadership in the Republican Party.

Over and over again Republicans like party chairman Reince Preibus said they had to “respect the wishes of the electorate” when they voted for Donald Trump. But primary victories are notoriously won by appealing to small, narrow sections of the population. And Trump did this through craven race-bating, hate-mongering that no one ever stood up to. And when the ugliness worked on that small level, he took it to a higher level. And now there is, literally, going to be a buffoon in the White House. A twittering, bankruptcy-loving, vindictive small-minded man who holds grudges against anyone who he thinks has slighted him in any way whatsoever.

And that man is in control of the biggest armed force in the world.

We know this: He is a little man and he is scared to death. He has no one around him of any experience who has any proper national or international expertise and when the media cites his VP Mike Pence everyone should know Pence was a second-rate governor of a sparsely populated Midwest state who botched every policy in that state he had to deal with.

*******************

But we’ll survive.

Good people rise up in difficult times. We’ll need lots of good people – citizens and politicians.

Don’t expect or trust the media to do anything constructive. The media has their own agenda and at the bottom of that agenda…is corporate profits. (When Trump first appeared the CBS News president at a meeting declared it “was bad for America but great for our ratings!” That tells you all you need to know. When you read something, question the source, question the writer, question their agenda.

*******************

People who supported Trump all have their own agendas. We prefer to make the distinction that their choices are made out of ignorance – a lack of information.

We believe – strongly – that Donald Trump will NEVER follow through on his strongly stated goals. We believe when Trump does take action it will be blunderbuss-worthy. Eventually, all those who supported him will see him as the charlatan he always has been. There will be corrections driven by an enlightened electorate.

It’s only 2 years till the next election…

*******************

Besides, how many millions of those who voted for Hillary knew they were voting for a very imperfect candidate who, if elected, would never have done anything noteworthy, would never have followed through with all those policies that she never had until Bernie Sanders made her realize they were what America wanted ( Income inequality? It cannot be denied that the Clintons took in over $20 million in speaking fees to Wall Street and multi-nationals, as per their tax returns).

*******************

Yes, there is that Supreme Court issue. We’ll have to come back to that…

 

 

Why Trump? Corporate America, Corporate Media, Ignorant Americans

Walk into any Walmart Superstore. It’s full of Trump supporters. People whose incomes have been driven down and are left to scrounge around the aisles for Chinese-made products at “low prices” that for them are all they can afford.

And Sam Walton’s relatives are all Arkansas billionaires living off the backs of the poverty of the American people and thanks to the Chinese government’s trade policy and Chinese slave-level labor practices. (Yes, feel free to ignore those propaganda commercials Walmart runs about “Made In America.” Simply look at the boxes of every product on the shelves and see for yourself the Made In China facts.)

Do those Trump voters comprehend the economic forces behind this? No. And ignorance drives Trump’s supporters. (Note: ignorance here is merely a lack of knowledge, not a slur on intelligence.)

Starting in the 1980’s it has been common practice in top US business schools – yes, even Trump’s own alma mater Wharton School of Business- that a corporation must lower production costs at the expense of everything in order to enrich executives and shareholders. No longer was a company essentially a well-tuned operation of workers and management and executives all striving for the good of the company. It all became “Profits Uber Alles.”

[For one of the best dramatizations of this see the  1954 film “Executive Suite” Dir. by Robert Wise with William Holden. (Okay, you’ll have to put up with June Allyson’s saccharine act but try to ignore that.) William Holden’s inspiring performance alone could make any schoolchild want to be an entrepreneur!]

*******************

How many Fox News viewers even know the history of their beloved network’s patriarch, Rupert Murdoch? How many know about the bastard out of Australia who bought up papers in the UK, honed in on yellow journalism and turned politics so ugly until they were illegally spying on the Royal Family and blackmailing politicians?

How many know that Murdoch had a specific, crass agenda when he made his huge Fox purchase to gain entry to the US? That he was going to use it to twist people ’round a rigid, very focused right-wing agenda? And then Murdoch followed through on that plan. And how he later purchased Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal so he could espouse crackpot right-wing theories through one of America’s most respected economic newspapers?

Really, how many know this?

And the joke is all those millions of Fox New-heads believe there is a Great Left Wing Media Conspiracy when they don’t know that they are the lemmings of the Weathered, Withering Lizard Rupert Murdoch. It’s great comedy. Really, it is.

In a Shakespearean way, Murdoch’s sons are ensconced in Hollywood running his entertainment empire and worried how the network’s right-wing politics might damage the brand’s West Coast business. At last word, the sons weren’t too worried and were even willing to let the network run wild, to the point of letting Fox run those vitriolic, anti-Semitic campaign commercials created by…the NRA. (And, really, isn’t that scary enough? Do you think Hollywood will just lie down for this, simply because Fox has money and, now, political power?)

********************

Our friends on the Left don’t get left out of this, either. Wednesday morning what did millions of Americans see on their doorsteps with their New York Times? The massive headline:

HER REIGN BEGINS

And inside:

WE HAVE A NEW LEADER: A WOMAN. LET US GIVE HER A CELEBRATION THAT IS BEFITTING OF THE WIND OF CHANGE SHE REPRESENTS: MODERN AND FORWARD-LOOKING.

And Americans wondered “What the f*ck?” until they realized The New York Times and Netflix had BOTH got it so wrong in their printed 4-page advert wraparound for a TV series about some queen on a VERY WRONG morning.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2016/11/09/pro-hillary-oops-netflix-wraps-ny-times-suggestive-her-reign-begins

*********************

That’s how blindered, how off-base, how out of touch the New York Times and the Left Wing media is with the broad swath of America that actually voted for Donald J. Trump.

CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Huffington Post. They just don’t get it. They have created their own echo chambers of unquestioning non-journalistic thinking where all the hot button issues of economics, race, trade, immigration and foreign affairs have set answers.

And any discussion on those issues are dealt with as battles, face-offs between combatants.

Well, not exactly. There are the dunderheads like Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Chuck Todd who have no concept of rhetoric or a pungent follow-up question and would have allowed Richard Nixon off the hook for Watergate. It is exceptional that these personalities – yes, personalities because we cannot call them journalists – do not accept the fundamental belief that it is their JOB to get to the TRUTH of a politician’s statement. They let a politician say whatever they want, and let the court of public opinion decide what is “true” or not.

Look where that got us.

*********************

We cannot allow The Media to create the False Narratives that they have throughout this election cycle. 

The Media, left-wing, right-wing,  – in production meetings behind the scenes that the public is never privy to – set agendas. Those agendas are never in the cause of a Healthy Political Discourse. 

The Media wants friction. The Media wants and thrives on conflict.

When we are making decisions that will affect the course of our lives and the future of the nation we must have discourse that is cool and level-headed, even with those of opposing viewpoints. Because politics is always about compromise – Look at the past. Look at those oft-referenced Founding Fathers who compromised, compromised, compromised and eventually came up with some very good ground plans for a youthful nation.

********************

On a holistic level, go outside, look at Nature. It’s Fall. Everything is cyclical. Trees lose their leaves but they’ll be back come Spring. There are fallow periods and there are bountiful times.

Or, to go with a sports analogy: As the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told all his panicked fans during a losing streak the team was having: “Hey, relax.”

And he was right. The Packers started winning again. And the world was okay, again.

National Press Ignores Ben Carson Financial Scam

Never before in the history of the United States Presidential elections has a candidate ran simply for the purpose of the financial enrichment of himself and his friends.

Ben Carson is doing that right now.

And the entire national press has the facts and is ignoring the story.

As Ben Carson’s Campaign Tanked, Top Advisors Reaped Millions

http://docquery.fec.gov/pres/2015/YE/C00573519.html

The facts released in Carson’s campaign fourth quarter spending statement showed that of the $22 million he raised, most of it was paid out to companies of his friends and associates who were in charge of – RAISING MONEY.

That’s right.

Carson’s entire campaign is essentially about getting money and paying it to his friends who got that money.

It’s all in his federal campaign forms.

And the national press has ignored it.

Carson continues to run even though he has no shot whatsoever to win. Why?

Because he and his friends can’t make money if he isn’t in the game. His websites are up and running and still seeking funds from his religious “true-believers.” How cynical is that, Doctor Carson? He’s still showing up – at churches – giving speeches. Getting money. True believers.

Ben Carson’s campaign has always been a national joke, run not by a professional campaign manager but by his personal business manager.

Why has the national press ignored these outrageous facts? Because they don’t take him seriously. They chose to ignore Ben Carson’s historically scandalous campaign finance scam.

The same way the press refused to take Donald Trump seriously for months and months and refused to challenge him, to set the record straight on his scandalous business dealings.

Now the nation is up to its neck with the mess of the fascistic Trump.