Category Archives: Sunset Boulevard

An old film title… there are times when we will post a column about a movie – a new one or an old title, however – there are times when the story matches the dark times we are living in today.

Abolishing Freedom Under the Guise of ‘Woke’ Hollywood

I recently wrote about one of my favorite movies – “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”­ – noting that its message seems more relevant to our times than when it was first released. After penning that article, I pulled the movie out for a re-watch and found that yes, “Mr. Smith” rings even more true for our time than I remembered.

When the movie was over, one of my family members gave a little laugh and asked, “Can you imagine Hollywood doing a remake of that movie?

That rhetorical question underscored the idea that anything Hollywood touches these days turns into some type of “woke” monstrosity, well diversified and obscuring the original meaning of the story. Yet perhaps this was the plan all along: to confuse and control our minds to such an extent that even our entertainment sends subliminal messaging about the political course of our daily lives.

Taki Theodoracopulos examines this idea in the November issue of Chronicles Magazine, traveling down woke Hollywood lane, imagining what some of these classic movies would look like if remade today. It isn’t pretty. Continue reading

Demolition Man ~ Journey to the Future

Stallone’s 1993 film eerily foreshadowed the 2020’s

Sylvester Stallone’s 90s movie Demolition Man featured a star-studded cast and was a huge hit with viewers at the time.

And the 1993 sci-fi film has taken on a new lease of life in recent years as eager fans re-watching the epic are convinced it predicted the future.

Viewers have noticed a whole host of eerie similarities between the futuristic pacifist utopia San Angeles – formerly Los Angeles – and the 2020s. Continue reading

You Are What You Eat: 50 Years of Soylent Green

The dystopian science fiction film has become a little too familiar.

For membership in the pantheon of iconic, climactic movie lines, you’ll find a few obvious contenders, like Rhett Butler’s “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and Rick Blaine’s “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” But few can match Charlton Heston’s immortal warning at the end of a film released fifty years ago, Soylent Green. (If you know it already, or even if you don’t . . . read on!) Continue reading

Benson: About Western/Southern “Civil War” Movies

HyperFocal: 0

For a little recreation, instead of following the news channels, I put on the Western movie channel and watched Outlaw Joey Wales. I’ve seen it several times before but it is always good for a little recreation and there is a certain amount of truth to it. It was a Western/Southern that Clint Eastwood made back in 1976, I think, and if I am correct, he never made another Western until 1985. I can recall thinking after watching it several years ago that I wonder if Hollyweird warned Eastwood about making anymore movies like it, lest his film career suffer for it. I read the book it was taken from by Forrest Carter. Needless to say the book wasn’t exactly like the movie – but then they seldom are Continue reading

Often History Ain’t What You Think It Was ~ Custer’s Faulty Intelligence

Like me, many of you may have seen the decades old movie about George Armstrong Custer titled “They Died With Their Boots On.” If I remember correctly, in the movie, Custer said the Seventh Cavalry was being “sacrificed” in order to give reinforcements time to get there so they could wipe you those nasty Indians. While such drivel was great for the movies, historically it was balderdash. But then, who expects truth out of Hollyweird anyway?

I’ve seen several movies over the years where Custer’s last stand was part of the script. None of them got it right. Custer is usually portrayed as the mythical hero upholding “truth, justice, and the American way”. Of course some of our “history” books don’t do much better. Continue reading

The Den of Parasites!

It may be 5 years old – but some things will NEVER change! ~ Ed.

Hollywood studios are “drenched in the blood of innocent children” according to Mel Gibson who claims the consumption of “baby blood is so popular in Hollywood that it basically operates as a currency of its own.”

I remember a passage in the bible that says “if anyone hurts one of these children of Mine, it would be better if a millstone were tied around their neck and dropped off into the deepest part of the sea” ~ Rod

“Scarface” Startles Anew on the Criterion Channel

It’s time to watch Howard Hawks’s gangster masterpiece again.

The prime beneficiaries of Prohibition were gangsters, and the prime beneficiaries of gangsters were the Hollywood filmmakers who, in the late nineteen-twenties and early thirties, turned them into some of the most enticingly lurid characters ever seen in movies. The real-life gangster Al Capone was refashioned in the 1932 drama “Scarface,” directed by Howard Hawks and starring Paul Muni – a celebrated stage actor with little film experience – as a gangster so appallingly, flashily fascinating that the movie was accused of making the criminal life look too appealing. Hawks’s “Scarface” was “The Wolf of Wall Street” of its day, and, like Martin Scorsese’s extravagant, exuberant 2013 drama about financial grifters, the film’s allure and enticements are a crucial part of its substance. (“Scarface,” long available to stream on a variety of platforms, is newly available to stream on the Criterion Channel, in a clear and vivid transfer.) Continue reading

“If we burn, You burn with us!!!!”

…and 2020 is merely the beginning!

Mockinjay is Coming…

“If we burn, you burn with us” — those were the fighting words that rallied support behind the symbol of the rebellion: The Mockingjay.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), when pushed to her limit, became the symbol of hope and change that Panem’s Districts were so dearly in need of. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ was 123 minutes of being on the edge of your seat, almost holding your breath to see what would unfold next. Even though I had read the books, I found that the cinematography, acting, and screenwriting were compelling enough for me lose myself in the narrative. Continue reading

Burn it, Burn the Train!

February 1, 2009 – During these past eight years or so, I have watched the unraveling of our once great Republic – signified by the words of our former President, George W. Bush, who is reported to have referenced the Constitution as, “just a goddamned piece of paper.”

Well Mr. Bush, maybe it now is damned. It is because of the weakness of your leadership and policies, which has brought us the likes of “the One” and the caliber of people, who have come to Washington with him – in addition to those who so numbly believe that this modern-day “Moses‘ can deliver us from the bondage, which this nation has been has so blindly been sucked in to. This ‘unraveling’ has been coming at us in the form of a runaway train – and I see not the light at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading

Get Off My Lawn!

January 11, 2009 ~ I saw a movie last night, and today I feel like the main character in the film. Walter is a veteran of the Korean War, just buried his wife of 45 years, has no relationship with his two grown, married sons, and doesn’t know his grandchildren – all of who are waiting for him to croak, so that can get what’s theirs – or his. He hates, ‘Zipperhead’s, ‘Gook’s, ‘Slopes’ and ‘Buddha-heads’. He has no tolerance for most ethnic peoples – including 3 ‘spooks,’ with whom he has an altercation, while defending his next door neighbor – a ‘Gook.’ I didn”t sleep well.

The year is 1972, and life was simpler for my wife and I. We lived in a small, third-story walk-up at the far Northern border of Chicago, in Roger’s Park just before the bend that took us past Calvary Cemetery leading into Evanston. Our bedroom window overlooked the parking lot of the next complex, with a view of a beach the shore of Lake Michigan. Each weekend, we could go down to the beach, and the Hare Krishna’s always had a pot of free ‘veggie stew’ to offer. They had taken over a massive old apartment building called “The Yacht Club,” which was at the south end of the beach. Later that year, we bought our first home.  Continue reading

The Silent Witness of “Metropolis

A remnant from the late ‘20s, “Metropolis” has come into the light once again and in a more complete way. While the industrial environment and modern work have changed, the concern for social justice and questions about technology are just as intense as they were when the film premiered.

In a search for movies considered classics, I came across the 1927 film, Metropolis. Not knowing what to expect, I was nevertheless interested to know why it was a famous classic of silent film. In watching it, I soon realized why. The film is a work of outstanding artistry. It projects a future reality given the date of 2028. Not at all like modern movies, it is simply a piece of stunning artwork and theater made on film. The skillful and amazing visuals are difficult to describe and have to be seen. They present the mechanical detail of futuristic industrial scenes and activity with intricate beauty that feels astounding. The imaginative cityscape is also a beautiful piece of artwork. The story is accompanied by wonderful background music which is a treat in itself. I think others have written of these aspects more fully than I can here. What I would like to address in particular is its religious aspect. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” ~ A Coded Message?

The 39 Steps is one of five films that Alfred Hitchcock made in England about espionage in the mid-to-late 1930s. These films capture the growing threat felt in Britain from foreign powers. In their scenarios the nation’s security was nowhere more threatened than by spies hiding in plain sight…

The Thirty-Nine Steps – A novel.

Then a film: The 39 Steps.

In the end, that became part of our cinematic DNA. We all know the plot, or think we do.

What if, within the frames of the Hitchcock’s movie, there was a code? A warning of what then was taking place in England.

In the year that it appeared on movie screens – 1935 – it is easy to forget the England from which it emerged: a nation on the brink of something. Continue reading

Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell is a masterpiece

Richard Jewell, the film, is a perfect analogy for what the FBI and DOJ have done to President Trump, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and the American people.

Clint Eastwood’s new film is the true story of how the FBI destroyed the lives of Richard Jewell and his mother after the 1996 bombing at Centennial Park in Atlanta during the summer Olympics. Jewell was a security guard at the park who noticed an unattended backpack under a bench. He alerted other police on the scene, who determined that it was indeed a bomb. Jewell and the other police immediately began moving people away from the scene. The bomb did explode; two people were killed and many were injured, but Jewell’s actions saved many lives.

For a few days, he was a hero, but then the FBI began to focus on Jewell as the perpetrator because he “fit the profile.” He lived with his mother, wanted to be a policeman, and had lost several security jobs for various reasons, including once for impersonating a police officer. That is all they had, all they needed — not a shred of real evidence beyond their conviction that he must be guilty because he fit the profile. Continue reading

The Perversion of the Days: Eyes Wide Shut

Attirement of the Bride (La Toilette de la mariée) by Max Ernst

The day Jeffrey Epstein turned up dead in a New York jail cell, I decided I needed to write something about Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Stanley Kubrick’s last and weakest movie.

Epstein has quickly faded from the headlines, so let me remind you briefly of who he was. Epstein was an American Jew who enjoyed immense wealth from unknown sources, hob-knobbed with the global elite, including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, and was a pervert with a taste for underage girls, meaning that he was a serial rapist. He is also accused of sharing these women with his wealthy and powerful friends, which would have implicated them in marital infidelity and statutory rape, making them subject to blackmail. Continue reading