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Monday, January 14, 2013

Golden Globe Awards

“There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot dogging it.” — Clint Eastwood

Last night after a day of exciting NFL divisional playoff football I watched theGolden_Globe_Trophy Golden Globe Awards on ABC with my wife and daughter. I do not normally watch these self-aggrandizing shows where performers grudgingly give awards to each other for performances they thought they should have been noted for. It’s the business of Hollywood to promote itself to the press, their agents, and each other. The movie going public selects its favorites with their pocketbook. Sometimes I fantasize on awards show for engineers and scientists. Perhaps in this way we could motivate more kids to study math, science and engineering rather than import them from India.

As usual with these award shows they had two bimbo hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, cracking jokes about the awards and the nominees. As the camera panned the assembled guests some were frowning while most were giving guarded applause. One of the more obnoxious gags of the night was when they said; "When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron" — Poehler referring to Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the movie "Zero Dark Thirty," which has stirred controversy over its portrayal of the torture of terror detainees.

Speaking of Zero Dark Thirty at least the Golden Globes, unlike the Motion Picture Academy, recognized Bigelow’s film for best picture, best director, and best actress. I guess they are not as left-leaning and political correct as the AMPAS.

The best actress award went to Jessica Chastain for her role as the tough,Jessica-Chastain-in-Zero--010 dedicated CIA analyst in Zero Dark Thirty. Her acceptance speech was short and to the point claiming she had to work hard laboring in the fields of Hollywood trying to advance her career. Of course she thanked Bigelow and the cast and crew of Zero Dark Thirty and then she closed with a special thanks to Sony executive Amy Pascal for “protecting the film.”

One of the more boring and confusing speeches was given by Jodie Foster for receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. She rambled on for five minutes trying to tell America she was a lesbian and that she was retiring from acting, but would not be silent.

"I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I've never really been able to air in public," she began after the requisite thank-yous. "So, a declaration that I'm a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now huh Jennifer? But I'm just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I'm going to need your support on this."

So what was the big announcement after this buildup? "I am single, Yes I am, I am single."Jodie-Foster

The speech went on. Foster made what sounded like a plea for privacy for celebrities, thanked a bunch more people before making what certainly sounded like a retirement announcement.

"This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else. Scary and exciting and now what? Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter," she said.

"Change, you gotta love it. I will continue to tell stories, to move people by being moved, the greatest job in the world. It's just that from now on, I may be holding a different talking stick."

After her five minute soliloquy I looked at my wife and daughter and asked them if they understood what she was talking about. Neither of them could answer my question.

This was a good year for conservative leaning films and TV shows. The best TV drama award went to Showtime’s Homeland as did the awards for best actor and actress in a TV series — Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. Lewis plays a Marine who was captured and turned traitor by al-Qaeda terrorists and Danes is the bi-polar, but brilliant, CIA analyst who was out to catch him.

The political thriller "Argo," and its director Ben Affleck, ended up taking home the night's honors for best motion picture drama and director.

The awards were a nice consolation prize for Affleck, who failed to score a best director Oscar nomination. "Argo" was, however, nominated for Best Picture.

The film's lamentable prologue, which blames America for Khomeini's rise, is filtered through the slight fog in director Ben Affleck's brain as is the epilogue, which is voiced by Jimmy Carter. In between is a stirring account of a clever CIA plan to liberate several Americans from Iran's revolutionary hell. Canadians have not looked this good since Sergeant Preston took his pension. Speaking of fog, one CNN reviewer faulted Affleck for casting himself and not a Hispanic in the lead role of a Hispanic CIA officer. This reviewer praised the more ethnically sensitive Johnny Depp for turning down the role of Pancho Villa, unaware, I suspect, however, that Depp's next role is as Tonto in the Lone Ranger. Just picture Depp saying “kemosabe” every time he addresses the masked man.

Hugh Jackman won the best actor in a motion picture award for his role in Les Misérables and as I stated above Jessica Chastain as an actress for her role in Zero Dark Thirty. Les Misérables as Christian Today notes, "It's not often that we go to the cinema and are confronted with the message of God's grace." But that message drives the plot of this unabashedly Christ-centered movie. Hollywood used to make movies along these lines all the time, but not even in its golden age did they make one this smart, visually sumptuous, and musically rich. Bring your Kleenex, especially during that rousing “Hear the People Sing” chorus that puts chills up your spine. Once you hear that you will walk around for weeks with the melody running through your head.

All in all the Golden Globe Awards was somewhat entertaining except for the constant commercial breaks that extended the time needed for the awards and the acceptance speeches way beyond the time needed. I was pleased that Argo, Homeland, Lewis, Danes, and Chastain received awards. They could have done without the gags by the two bimbos, Jodi Foster’s incoherent soliloquy, and the long, rambling acceptance speeches where the winners thanked everyone including their gardener. Jackman and crew did thank Boublil and Schönberg for writing the original Broadway musical score, but neglected to mention Victor Hugo. You can read the complete list of this year’s Golden Globe Awards by clicking here.

According to Jack Cashill of American Thinker here are a few films of 2012 with a conservative or Christian bent. Cashill states:

“I admit to using the word "conservative" loosely — we are talking about Hollywood, after all. It here refers to those films that are at least respectful of the American experience and generally supportive of faith, family, and/or country. A film can score as much as 50 on the quality scale and 50 on the conservative scale, the latter graded on a Hollywood curve. The two values are equally weighted. Although it may not seem obvious, 2012 was a better year than most.”

Here are a few of the Films on Cashill’s list with their scores:

Dark Knight Rises 75

In the third of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, Batman comes out of retirement to battle "Bane," the kind of action hero only an Occupy Wall Streeter could love. In full OWS mode, Bane schemes to overthrow the ruling class and blow up Gotham City until thwarted by one-per center Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman. Indeed, not even Scrooge McDuck had a butler. Q 35, C 40.

Hitchcock 77

This underappreciated film chronicles Alfred Hitchcock's ordeal as he attempts to make Psycho, a movie that would have made no conservative's list when released 50-plus years ago. What commends this film is its surprisingly sensitive portrayal of the Hitchcock’s' marriage. I say "surprisingly" because marriage is a subject with which few in Hollywood have any lasting experience. Q 40, C 37.

Anna Karenina 78

The new movie version of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina might be a bit stagy for some tastes, but any movie that -- a) stars Keira Knightley and b) allows Leo Tolstoy's contempt for liberalism to play itself out on screen -- is surely worth watching. In the novel of the same name, Anna's feckless brother adopts a liberal attitude in the same spirit he smokes cigars, says Tolstoy archly,"for the slight fog it diffused in his brain." Not much has changed. Q 38, C 40.

Flight 82

Says one knowing reviewer, "this film makes perfect sense as the latest installment of an acting career birthed in Pentecostal spirit." A previous installment was Denzel Washington's intriguing Book of Eli. In Flight, his character, an airline pilot charged with flying drunk, chooses not to escape punishment through a legalism — my audience was rooting for him to do just that — but chooses instead to face his own failings and seek redemption. In that the film shows the temptations our pilot hero faces, one of whom in her full frontal glory, it is not necessarily for the kiddies. Q 40, C 42.

Act of Valor 84

This film about global anti-terrorism stars a group of real life Navy SEALs. OK, given the skill sets involved, the acting is not about to win anyone an Oscar, but the combat sequences may be the best ever put on film. The movie reflects the SEAL's values, which includes, in this movie, their respect for wives and children. Warning: your Code Pink date may never talk to you again. Q 36, C 48.

Zero Dark Thirty 86

Our Democratic friends rarely tire of boasting that that their guy took out Osama bin Laden, but this film presents them with something of a conundrum. Through "enhanced interrogation," several scenes of which the audience is treated to, the CIA developed the intel that led them to Osama. With some accuracy, a Salon reviewer called the film "a celebration of George W. Bush's most destructive policies." Yet the "torture" scenes are love-ins compared to, say, Tarantino's in Reservoir Dogs. No one gets injured, and if the terrorist doesn't know it, the audience does.

Despite the early rumors, this movie does not at all glorify President Obama. He appears only once, and then on a TV screen assuring a 60 Minutes interviewer that America never indulges in torture. The CIA agents watch and say nothing, but the look on their faces says, "Yea, sure, whatever." They are used to being betrayed. As one operative observes, "You don't want to be the last one holding the dog collar when the oversight committee comes." Q 44, C 42.

Lincoln 88

Republicans haven't looked this good on celluloid since, well, forever. The movie focuses almost exclusively on their struggle to overcome Democratic resistance and pass the 13th Amendment — with all the skullduggery such fights entail. To its credit, the movie does explore the liberties Lincoln took with the Constitution during wartime, but my purist friends make a mistake in thinking the Constitution favored the South's position. To deny a class of people liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and, on occasion, life itself and to still expect the protection of the Constitution is to rather miss the point of our founding documents. Q 46, C 42.

End of Watch 90

Although in and out of the theaters much too quickly, the boldly incorrect End of Watch may well be the best cop movie since The French Connection. The two patrolmen protagonists are brave, capable, and in love with their wives. You don't see that very often in the movies, any of that. More unusual still, they deal with the kind of bad guys real cops see in the mean streets of LA, not the sleazy businessmen and Serbian thugs Hollywood favors. Q 46, C 44.

If you have missed any of these films and have cable TV you might want to catch them on Pay-Per-View and save a few bucks by not running out to the theater. I know I will do this, although I have seen a few of them already and I agree with Mr. Cashill’s comments on the ones I have viewed, especially Zero Dark Thirty and Act of Valor.

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