Category Archives: Entertainment

Breitbart: the New Elvis Presley?

On the subject of Breitbart, I have a comment on an image regarding him I see on the web often:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=breitbart+is+here+poster&id=81F9E389543F735442F5228DB59719A9AC906E58&FORM=IQFRBA

Does Does anyone else think it seems like a kind of creepy religious icon, and is Breitbart being deified partially because of his untimely dealth?  Like a new Elvis Presely?  I think the image above evokes something like this of Jesus below:

The treatment of Breitbart’s  hair seems to me to evoke the crown of thorns.

The slogan Breitbart is Here seems quite creepy too.  Pretty clearly Breitbart isn’t here, unless you think he has supernatural powers.  Is he watching us all RIGHT NOW?

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Kids Prefer Cheese: Marriage Proposal

Kids Prefer Cheese: Marriage Proposal.

Who is Dagny Taggart? Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Coming to Theatres April 15th

I’ve read Atlas Shrugged, and thought it was a good story in two ways.  First, it teaches that people’s professed motives aren’t always their real ones.  Second, it does warn of mindless conformity and politics in one form or another making all decisions.  Otherwise, I’ve always  found her characters to be wooden, and far too preachy of a philosophy that was heartless, ultimately megalomaniacal, as well as Godless.

Furthermore, having seen the fountainhead, the wooden nature of Rand’s character in that film was perhaps greater than in the book.  Difficult as that is to believe.

This post gives me reason enough to want to see the movie.

Who is Dagny Taggart? Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Coming to Theatres April 15th
santitafarella
Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:43:33 GMT

Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the movie (which depicts the first third of Ayn Rand’s famous novel of ideas) comes into general release on April 15th, and I must say that the following YouTube teaser clip posted by the film’s producers is super-promising:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .

And philosopher David Kelley (a Princeton graduate and author of a widely used textbook) has seen the film and is impressed:

The completed film was shown today for the first time in a private screening. It is simply beautiful. With a screenplay faithful to the narrative and message of the novel, the adaptation is lushly produced. The acting, cinematography, and score create a powerful experience of the story.

Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart, the woman who manages the Taggart Transcontinental rail system with intelligence and courage while fighting interference from the president of the company, her incompetent brother James (Matthew Marsden), and his political cronies. Schilling is well-matched with Grant Bowler as steel-maker Hank Rearden. As the story opens, Rearden has just started producing a new alloy he invented; and Dagny is his first customer. . . .

For over half a century, Rand’s novel has been a lightning rod for controversy. It has attracted millions of devoted fans—and legions of hostile critics. A poor adaptation could be ignored by both sides. This adaptation can’t be ignored. It is way too good. It is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand’s vision of capitalism as a moral ideal. Whether you love the novel or hate it, Atlas Shrugged Part I is a must-see film.

Blogger and Rand enthusiast, Hans Schantz, also attended an invitation-only screening. He was preparing for a big disappointment, but was more-than-pleasantly surprised:

When I heard my favorite novel was being made into a movie, all the available omens boded ill: a “low-budget” production, with “no-name” stars, made independently – without the adult supervision of a real Hollywood studio, and rushed into production at the last minute to avoid loss of rights. It sounded like a recipe for disaster. . . . 

I began to understand – as I should have from the start – that independence is a virtue. Ayn Rand’s challenging prose would never have made it through the filter of a major studio without having been seriously blunted and adulterated. The resulting film would have been a caricature, not a capturing of the novel.

Further, a modest budget enforces an austere simplicity that enhances, rather than dilutes the message. A film with the “big-name” stars variously associated with the project over the years would have been more about the stars than the story. I admit that, in my mind’s eye, I always envisioned an Atlas Shrugged movie as an elaborately stylized visual blending of 1930’s vintage art-deco technology and film noir set in a pseudo-1950’s world with hardboiled, chain-smoking heroes. The film I foolishly thought I wanted would have been a tragic mistake – a mistake that would have transformed Atlas Shrugged into fantasy and undercut the dramatic relevance of Ayn Rand’s ideas to a modern setting. The Spartan, contemporary production is set in the near future, but that quality only serves to make the message more relevant and the story the star.

And of the Rearden YouTube scene posted above, Hans Schantz writes the following:

The released scene is NOT a fluke. It is not an accident. It is a representative sample. The rest of the film really is that good – better actually, because the individual scenes compliment and reinforce each other to create a harmonious whole, true to Rand’s story, superbly executed, and well done. The casting was outstanding, with no weak links.

Barbara Branden also saw the film and is enthusiastic about it:

I am delighted, overwhelmed, and stunned.

Yesterday, I saw Atlas Shrugged Part I, the movie. In advance, I was tense and worried. What if it was terrible? In that case, no one would consider a remake for years, if ever. I didn’t think it would be terrible, especially after I saw a clip from the film : the scene where Rearden comes home to his family after the first pouring of Rearden Metal. The scene was very good indeed. But….

The movie is not so-so, it is not OK, it is not rather good — it is spectacularly good.

This is all great news. Though not a Randian myself, I have always liked Ayn Rand (her blunt, unapologetic, and self-confident atheism and Apollonian-Promethean vision of what human beings can be are an intoxicating draw for me), and I’ve been hoping to see a successful contemporary screen adaptation of one of her novels. It looks like we’ll have one on April 15th.

And I can’t help but wonder whether the first of the three novel adaptations will make for a feminist film. The first third of Ayn Rand’s novel, after all, focuses on Dagny Taggart, a female Promethean fighting for her place in the public realm (a realm traditionally dominated by men). Instead of asking who John Galt is, this first film in the trilogy might inadvertently ask and answer a very different question (though Randians might cringe):

Who is Hillary Clinton?

I’ll be going to the film asking whether I’d want my daughters, when they reach their teens, seeing it, and whether it might prove empowering for them. Dagny Taggart, in the novel, is a refreshing alternative sexual persona: neither the compliant angel nor empty-headed whore, but the intellectual woman; the business woman; the public woman. (The woman weak and stupid men fear.)

Dagny Taggart, the castrating warrior princess?

We’ll see.

Who is Dagny Taggart? Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Coming to Theatres April 15th
santitafarella
Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:43:33 GMT

Super Bowl Ads

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Fearless

I watched this for the second time I think tonight.  I really like this film.  I think it leads you to great insights about life.  Maybe the main one is we mostly let our lives be ruled by fear.

The first few minutes are fantastic.  Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) leads a handful of survivors away from a horrific crash of an airliner in a corn field.  He then leaves to find a hotel room forgoing any opportunity to be ministered to by first responders, interviewed by reporters, or consult with an attorney.

Ectasy

Instead he rents a car drives from the crash near Bakersfield to Los Angeles planning to visit an old girl friend, listening to the radio cranked up, feeling the wind in his face with his head out the car window, pausing to to just sit by the car drink in a stunning purple desert landscape. 

Desert View

Knowing now more than ever that life with all its pain and suffering is at least punctuated with moments of intense maybe even painful beauty, he lets it be and takes in the landscape.

Old Lover

Listening to the former lover, he takes in her story that her life is a “disaster”:  disappointing children, a husband denied promotion who sleeps with a student.  Knowing more than ever what a real disaster is, he knows and tells her and I think most us of that:  our lives are not disasters.

Crash!

Finally, a representative of the airline catches up with him and offers him train travel back to his home in San Francisco.  Fearing liability and to speak the truth,She euphemistically speaks of the “emergency landing”.   Not fearing speaking directly and truthfully, he directly corrects her to speak as he does, of the crash.

Having faced death and having felt able to accept its apparent imminence, the liberated Max asks to fly back to San Francisco, and does.  He teeters between a sense of invulnerability and indifference toward death.

Having faced death and having felt able to accept its apparent imminence, he is unshackled in many ways from the conventions most of live by:  fear of offending by speaking too directly; fear of drinking in the experience of the moment because what may be around the corner; fear of what people may think when maybe it doesn’t matter what they think; finally fearing to recognize that everything is our choice – living is a choice we don’t have to make and whining we “have” to do this or that is mostly a cop out.

Most of the rest of the film deals with his difficult path to reconcile these revelations to the life he had when left on the flight.  His honesty often becomes cruel.  His acceptance of his mortality becomes recklessness.  Having learned so much, he forgets one crucial fact.  Much of the meaning of life is in your few deepest relationships, and cruelty and recklessness endangers his marriage and family.  Alienated from his family, he bonds with a fellow crash survivor, who he guides to acceptance of death of a child in the crash.

So what do I take away from all this?  Don’t confuse inconvenience with disaster.  Don’t miss the joy from the ability to live in the moment.  Any moment could be your last.  Don’t confuse making a choice to avoid bad consequences with “having” to do anything.  Don’t be afraid to tell the truth, but don’t be cruel.

My Other Blog is …

About movies and entertainment.

Given my small readership this may seem a little audacious.  But I blog mostly for myself anyway, and I wanted a place for entertainment oriented material than I would see as the focus of this blog.  Also, I wanted to experiment with bloggers as a platform (no I don’t think I’ll leave wordpress).  At blogger you can edit your templates without paying for an upgrade.  If that seems worth it, I might pay for the upgrade here.

You’ll find the new blog at:

BruceTheVideoBuff.blogspot.com

Come visit. Not a lot to see yet though.