Culture

What's Still Great

What Is It About ‘Metropolitan’?

By 4.9.14

On March 16, Whit Stillman's debut comedy, Metropolitan, left the Netflix streaming library. Such changes are routine—doubtless, Metropolitan will return. Still, I mourned its departure, and I wasn’t the only one.

Metropolitan, on paper, is not an especially lovable movie. “When I think about it,” wrote a friend as he recommended the movie to me, “this Metropolitan movie is sort of awful in most respects.” And it is. It’s awkward, often at odds with itself, and pretentious. It’s a comedy, but a major subplot is about date rape. It’s a character-driven film, but half the cast is forgettable. It’s all about the dialogue, but the dialogue is incredibly artificial. Some of the actors can’t really act.

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Flick Story

Muppets Take Siberia

By 4.9.14

The new Muppet movie, Muppets Most Wanted, is basically 1981's Great Muppet Caper if you make Kermit self-pitying, Piggy helpless, and Russia the villain. Also, there are several gulag dance scenes.

The Great Muppet Caper is my own favorite Muppet movie: a thoroughly entertaining, refreshingly messageless slab of '80s cheese, whose dashing villain Nicky the Parasite made my little heart go pit-a-pat. So I wasn't sure how much I wanted a new film with self-aware framing-device songs, international travel, jewel heists, and Muppets in prison. Haven't we already got one? Muppets Most Wanted even has a quick clip of Esther Williams-style synchronized swimming, in homage to the wonderful “Ah, Miss Piggy, it's you!” sequence from Caper. But the opening of Most Wanted had some charming jokes, including a great Swedish Chef/Ingmar Bergman gag, so I settled in and hoped for the best. 

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The All-American Captain America

By on 4.7.14 | 5:14PM

On Friday night I reluctantly dropped $17 to watch Captain America in 3D. Sliding into the cushy seat with a bag of popcorn and a Diet Coke, I hoped the experience would be worth it. Truthfully, I’m no die-hard Marvel fan, but by the time I left the theater, Cap had stolen my heart and ignited it with patriotic pride.

I was worried about classy Cap being thrown into the mess of our age. I’d rather him stay in 1940 so I could dream of time-traveling back to the good ole days when women wore skirts instead of yoga pants. Instead, I thought he successfully injected our cynical world with a dose of WWII American pride. 

So you can imagine my shock when I read Armond White’s scathing review of the film. He writes:

[Captain America] Evans’s emblematic face has no emotion behind it. What he conveys, actually, given the way the actor plays down physical passion in favor of bland duty, is a political anachronism.

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Gay Activists: Be Tolerant. Or We Will Destroy You!

By on 4.4.14 | 6:11PM

We have made great strides in the policing of thought in this country. Just ask Brendan Eich, one of the founders of Mozilla, developers of the web browser Firefox. Eich had just landed a promotion to the big chair as Mozilla's CEO. He lasted all of nine days. The reason? Back in 2008 Eich donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. The unearthing of this donation led to protests from gay rights activists and the high profile call for a boycott of Firefox by dating site OkCupid.com. Eich, as many people in circumstances such as his, was stricken with the sudden desire to "spend more time with his family" and quietly resigned.

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Beer Spectator: Who Does the Three-Tier System Truly Serve?

By on 4.4.14 | 10:41AM

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” -Abraham Lincoln

As any good American knows, Prohibition tarnished almost every cultural good. The last vestiges of that oppressive regime still haunt our drinking habits.

One such vestige jumped up in Florida recently, where distributors are actively denying competition by stifling brewpubs.

 A bill in the Florida Senate

would force craft brewers to sell their bottled and canned beer directly to a distributor. If they want to sell it in their own tap rooms, they would then have to buy it back at what is typically a 30-40 percent mark-up without the bottles or cans ever leaving the brewery, according to Joshua Aubuchon, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Florida Brewers Guild. 

The rule would not apply to draft beer.

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#CancelBillZeiser: A Response to Robert Stacy McCain

By on 4.3.14 | 3:17PM

In Plato's Republic, one of the definitions of justice is "to do well to friends and to harm enemies." Robert Stacy McCain's lengthy rebuke to yours truly was an attempt to do right by his friend, Michelle Malkin. It was also, I think, a friendly warning to a budding conservative writer not to mess with Malkin, a woman of considerable and well deserved fame. Robert asked me, rhetorically, if I want to go to war with the Divine Ms. M. I would be crazy to seek out such conflict, a point Robert made in a tweet alerting me to the coming smackdown. Let's go to the tale of the tape: @BillZeiser, 1010 followers on Twitter. @RSMcCain, 81 thousand followers. @MichelleMalkin, 692 thousand followers and counting! Look upon my tweets, ye Mighty, and despair!

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The Inconsistency of Feminism and Sex-Selective Abortions

By on 4.2.14 | 1:07PM

Yesterday the American Conservative published an insightful piece, “Here’s the ‘Missing’ Evidence for S.D.’s Sex-Selective Abortion Ban” by Jonathan Coppage.

Coppage does excellent work researching and explaining the evidence behind sex-selective abortions in the United States, sadly concluding that the facts reveal this practice does, in fact, occur within our borders.

South Dakota just became the eighth state to pass a ban on sex-selective abortions, and in doing so, ignited rage from pro-choice advocates. They immediately conjured up the race debate, claiming laws against sex-selective abortions were inherently discriminatory toward Asian-American women and were entirely unnecessary.

Citing scholarly and journalistic works, Coppage debunks the theory that these abortions never happen in the United States, but gives the opposition a break. He says their arguments that this is not America's primary domestic issue, and that laws alone won’t solve the problem, are viable.

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Help Make A Documentary on Kermit Gosnell

By on 4.2.14 | 12:49PM

Gross media negligence on the Kermit Gosnell trial has left many disgusted.

That case signified the turning of the tide against late-term abortion, as more states pass legislation banning and regulating the gruesome process every day. In fact, this may be the “Uncle Tom” moment of the abortion movement, as younger Americans come to realize what abortion actually is.

While I don’t usually rally for fundraising causes, this one is worthy.

Ann and Phelim Media, an independent production company, is trying to crowdsource $2.1 million over the next forty days to produce a movie about Kermit Gosnell. You can find more at this link.

To actually be an “Uncle Tom” moment, the pro-life movement needs a piece of pop culture. A documentary seems fitting.

If you are so inclined, please give. If you donate $25, you’ll get a copy of the DVD for free. Help these guys spread the truth about this killer.

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Special Report

A Russian Knockout

By 4.2.14

A Russian triumphed over an American this past weekend. World Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev soundly defeated Cedric Agnew. Meanwhile Russia seems poised to regain its status as a world power, to the embarrassment of the United States.

After a week of President Obama fecklessly alternating between weak insults and moralistic assertions, and even as Secretary of State John Kerry walked away with no resolution from another Sergey—Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister—Kovalev scored a resounding win—a win for the boxer, and also a win for the many Russians in the audience.

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Sorry, Rand Paul: Hispanics Aren’t Going to Vote GOP Either Way

By on 4.1.14 | 3:21PM

United States Senator and prospective presidential also-ran Rand Paul warned Republicans today that until they get "beyond deportation," they will be ineffective at courting Hispanic voters. Politico reports:

“The bottom line is, the Hispanic community, the Latino community is not going to hear us until we get beyond that issue,” he said at a conservative event. His comments came immediately following a discussion on work visas, in the context of a broader address about reaching out to that community.

“They’re not going to care whether we go to the same church or have the same values or believe in the same kind of future of our country until we get beyond that. Showing up helps, but you got to show up and you got to say something, and it has to be different from what we’ve been saying.”

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