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A Sunday afternoon (not) at the movies

End of an Era

Oliver Del Signore and I have exchanged movie reviews for somewhere between 15 and 17 years. The first Saturday of every month (or as soon after as we could manage), we’ve emailed reviews and ratings to each other, along with General Observations on Life.

This weekend was the last. The end of an era.

Over the past several months, we’ve both found ourselves increasingly disenchanted with the films we’ve seen and the people who make them. The idea of supporting, even in a small way, elitists who’d rather see We the Peasants dead than armed, bigots who increasingly believe that free speech (ours, not theirs) must be curbed, and Ancien Régime aristocrats who believe that we are evil — and disposable! — if our values don’t match their whims … it’s all become too much.

Oliver has found himself reading more and turning off many movies after 15 minutes. I still think there are marvelous movies, and even better streaming/DVD series out there, but too much vulgar, mediocre, increasingly politicized crap and too many vulgar, mediocre, increasingly politicized, self-righteous twits responsible for it.

Though our reasons differ slightly, we both found ourselves sliding into the same Slough of Despond at the same time and groping toward the same solution.

Oddly, at the very time we were mutually turning away from movies, we both came to cherish the ritual of exchanging movie reviews more than ever. So the decision to end the monthly sharing is both a relief and a sadness.

We’ve promised to drop occasional notes if we happen to see something outstanding — a Crazy Rich Asians or an Isle of Dogs. I’m still getting a few films from the library; he and his wife still keep streaming service on hand for the grandkids. But movies and discussion of films as a regular part of life? All done.

And Hollywood deserves it

I’m amused as heck to hear that the august Academy Awards still hasn’t found a host for this year’s Oscars following Kevin Hart’s walkaway.

That linked article is four days old, but last I heard the situation was the same — and with the broadcast coming up in just a few weeks.

I’m no big fan of Kevin Hart’s comedy (Central Intelligence was funny, but because of the goofy dynamic between him and Dwayne Johnson), but I think he may have given Hollywood a sound wake-up slap by ditching the hosting job.

If his “sin” (making homophobic jokes 10 years ago, for which he has already repeatedly apologized) was so unforgivable to Hollywoodians that they still demand, all these years later, that he grovel, repent, reform, and become an ally of his least-forgiving critics, then there’s no winning. Not for anybody who takes the job he spurned, but also not for the many gays who just want to live and let live and are as sick of SJW persecution as the rest of us.

The only winner might have been Kevin Hart himself, who whatever his history and whatever his comic style, now looks like the only adult in the room — and one of the few people attacked by the Red Guard PC squads to refuse to grovel. (Some of the accusations and demands for groveling have gone beyond the absurd. There is literally nothing one can say or do in public any more that won’t offend somebody, somewhere — provided the somebody enjoys the publicity garnered by picking out and magnifying the most petty possible offenses.)

Oscars hosting is reportedly a low-paid ($15,000) job anyhow, for which hosts have to write or hire writers to produce a lot of their material. Then they get up there and get savaged for every misstep — and there are always missteps. It’s become a bad gig — and anybody approached now knows they’ll not only be under PC scrutiny for every stray pronoun, but also that they’re a sloppy second choice after Kevin Hart.

Pretty ironic that Hollywood, never exactly an exemplar of shining conduct, can’t find anyone “pure” enough to suit them. The Oscars deserve this. Those pecksniffs deserve exactly what they’re getting.

Any chance they’ll learn from this and back off the PC snottery any time soon?

Dunno. Doubt it.

Crawling out of the cultural sewer

And I have to tell you, Faithful Readers: I love you dearly, but I’m not sure how much longer I can slog through the cultural and political sewer that the Internet has become.


  1. Fred M.
    Fred M. January 6, 2019 1:11 pm

    I wish you sun and calm seas.

  2. MP
    MP January 6, 2019 1:31 pm

    Man, do I understand your last statement, Claire. I long ago pretty much gave up on the Internet and only use it for mandatory research (both work-related and personal), communicating with family and friends, and to visit a few select sites that I know and trust. Such promise has become so horribly corrupted. Like just about every other human endeavor of great promise, I guess…

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold January 6, 2019 2:38 pm

    I wish I could disagree with you, Claire, but I haven’t seen a movie I wanted to take my wife to for years. Out of dozens of channels the only TV my family watches are reruns.

    Friday evening on TV we saw the 1959 Charlton Heston “Ben-Hur.” I remember when watching the Oscars was about movies like that. No more. We recently saw back-to-back ads for the hit piece on Dick Cheney and the puff-piece on R.B. Ginsburg, and that’s today’s Hollywood. Oscars? Who cares?

    I’m convinced they took Bill Cosby out because his TV message was “Black families can make it if they work hard at it.” But when they did, the left let loose a PC tiger that none of them know how to control.

    It’s like the right and the left are both yelling, increasingly desperate to get their message to the vast middle, who have largely tuned out. Nobody’s listening any more. There’s nothing on either side worth listening to.

    If the Oscars want viewers they should ask Trump to host. If they turned him loose, I bet he’d do it. I’d buy popcorn for that.

  4. Comrade X
    Comrade X January 6, 2019 2:54 pm

    Claire, I understand completely.

    I do want to find a mountaintop and barricade the gates and I also am afraid that movies & the internet are more of an addiction than any drug.

    But since I have no interest in giving up me zigars nor adult beverages my attention will be towards responsible usage, same goes for the usage of the culture of our culture instead of just a boring road of going cold turkey.

  5. Stealth Spaniel
    Stealth Spaniel January 6, 2019 4:31 pm

    Last 2 movies that I saw worth anything were John Wick-1 & 2. Revenge movies, plain and simple. Keanu Reeves was interesting on a talk show: he spent 3 years going to shooting competitions so that he was believeable in the movie(s). I liked watching the shooting and scrambling. I grew up in LA, and the Hollywood has lost its way. The public wants to be entertained. If I need a preacher or a goodness consular-I will find one.

  6. Kurt
    Kurt January 6, 2019 7:10 pm

    Claire, there are still plenty of excellent movies out in the world, and series to see on disk.

    Right off the top of my head, I can recommend at least four movies, and as many series.

    A Quiet Place – excellent, and while not exactly libertarian, it is extraordinarily family-focused, and a very grown up thriller, rated PG13. Can’t wait until my 9yo is old enough to watch it

    Captain Fantastic – very libertarian/freedom focused, and family-focused as well, truly one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time

    Leave No Trace – deals with some of the same themes as Captain Fantastic (especially family and reaching adulthood), as well as being libertarian/freedom oriented and yet quite different in many ways from it.

    Spiderman: Into the Spidervers – an animated, fairly demented and fun take on Spiderman. My wife and I the 9yo and 4yo to see it, and we all liked it.

    Orphan Black – truly outstanding SF, and Tatiana Maslany deserves much more in the way of accolades than she’s gotten.

    Vikings – great period authenticity, borrowing both from the sagas and history. Violent, to be sure, but when dealing with the Vikings nothing else can be expected.

    Stranger Things – outstanding SF set in the ’80s, with excellent themes of friendship and family solidarity, but it earns its TV14 rating.

    The Americans – sometimes violent, and always tense, about a Soviet sleeper cell in the US during the ’80s, which also pays attention to family, and to the costs of duplicity and delusion.

    Of course re-watching (and introducing children to) old movies is great fun.

  7. Kurt
    Kurt January 6, 2019 7:28 pm

    I’ve been thinking about my response, and it wasn’t a great response to your post, as you’d already stated that there are good things to be had for viewing.

    So, other thoughts…

    I’m a bit of a fatalist – I won’t say realist – in that the crap that floats around on the Internet and papers (I don’t watch TV) doesn’t deeply affect me much any more.

    This is not to say I don’t get mad and want to vent (see especially the recent stupidity in the Atlantic magazine regarding “reformation” of the Senate), but the impulse passes soonish.

    There’s little we personally can do to stem the tide directly, although speaking out is good. Instead, I’m plotting and planning to try to set up my family for the best chances of getting a decent education and chances of riding out economic downturns and political conflict.

    The world will spin on, regardless of what I do, and I might as well try to live as good a life as I can, and take pleasure where I find it.

    That’s sometimes really hard, but it’s what I strive for.


  8. M
    M January 6, 2019 7:35 pm

    I’ll admit to not understanding why Movies/TV/Streaming/”Big” sports leagues fill some folks when there are books. Yet it is sad that those like you who chose to watch for interest aren’t fed by those who choose to produce for propaganda. If you are investing time – Sweet Bean directed by Naomi Kawase might interest.

  9. Jim B.
    Jim B. January 6, 2019 8:16 pm

    I don’t blame you. It’s one of the reason I’ve taken to watching YouTube. But I’ve also started watching Anime a couple of years ago. I’d suggest “Initial D” and “Attack on Titan”, but you probably don’t like cartoons, despite adults liking those two I’ve mentioned.

  10. Saturday Links | 357 Magnum
    Saturday Links | 357 Magnum January 12, 2019 8:14 am

    […] Claire Wolfe of Living Freedom Blog – A Sunday afternoon (not) at the movies […]

  11. Murkan Mike
    Murkan Mike January 12, 2019 12:05 pm

    I rarely key up the pc to watch a movie, and the last movie I saw was only because 3 of my buddies reccomended it. It was “True Grit” with the Dude playing Rooster Cogburn. I’ve been re-watching it for at least 4 years, and whenever I get an itch to watch a movie, this is the one I watch. My wife said that after watching it over 20 times, I need to find another movie to watch. I found a great replacement, “Buster Scruggs” and it’s by the same guys that made Real Grit. A fantastic movie, and if you are time challenged like I am, it’s even better because it’s a bunch of short movies that individually are fantastic works of art. Since i usually doze off after 15 minutes in front of the PC, this is a great movie for me. My wife can’t watch “The Girl Who Got Scairt” because she cries a lot. I personally get moved from “Meal Ticket”. Very good stuff. Very well filmed and very well put together.

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