“Hey, did you hear Obama’s gonna kill our grandmas?”

Jack Black is…Nathan Spewman, Professional Mis-Informant!

Or, at least, that’s the role he’s playing in a new series of videos that he and America Ferrera have filmed in order to show their support for HCAN (Healthcare For America NOW).

I’m very much of the “politics, schmolitics: funny is funny” mindset, so I’d laugh at these videos whether I agreed with the message it’s spreading or not, but the fact that they’re arguably the funniest thing Jack Black’s done since “Tropic Thunder” doesn’t hurt, either. Unsurprisingly, though, many are too busy grousing about the overall message of the videos to acknowledge their value as entertainment.

In an article on FoxNews.com, Patrick Dorinson, GOP communications strategist and founder/CEO of Dorinson Communications, was quoted as saying, “In 20 years, no one will remember these two ‘stars’ ever existed, but the debt we will pay for ObamaCare will still be here.” Having never really watched “Ugly Betty,” I can’t speak to Ferrara’s chances at career longevity, but given that Black has already been in the business for two decades, I think it’s fair to say that Dorison was really just scrambling to come up with something that would grab people’s attention.

Yeah, I know, there are people out there who really are stupid enough to vote for or against something just because Jack Black says they should. I’m not one of them, though. I’m just enjoying the laughs.

P.S. Don’t tell anybody, but Obama’s the Devil.

  

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Movie news for a semi-new week

I was going to put this off as long as possible this week, but the movie news tonight is like a burden upon my soul.

* In case you haven’t heard, the epic speculation about just who will play the Pippi Longstocking-via-the-Velvet-Underground Lisbeth Salender of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (American style) is over. The part has gone to 25 year-old Rooney Mara. Anne Thompson has the inside dope on this relative unknown.

rooney-mara

Still, I find the comparisons with the legendary battle to cast the role of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” to be slightly much. It’s more like casting Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter or Sean Connery as James Bond.

The obvious differences aside, Connery was, by the way, very much like Mara. He was actually the second person to play the role. The first was Gene Barry in a nationality flipped 1954 TV version of “Casino Royale” in which “Jimmy Bond” was American and “Clarence Leiter” was British.

* As if we Angelenos don’t have enough problems with aliens invading our town and the ensuing legal battles therein. The President’s in L.A. raising money from the godless sodomites of H-wood with help from communist money hating writer-producer-director-moguls John Wells and J.J. Abrams. And we know what this means — a new round of liberal criticism of the Obama Administration for, yes, the traffic. Even Hef was bothered.

* I once transcribed and informally partially edited an “as told to” book by the son of the entrepreneurial founder of a major multinational with huge ties to the film industry through his son. Nikki Finke today reminds me of a quip the second-generation captain of industry quoted: “There’s nothing wrong with nepotism, as long as you keep it in the family.”

* It sounds like he’ll be okay, but think good thoughts for Michael Douglas anyway.

* Because of my recent roundtable piece with Kevin Pollak, I’ve been giving his interview program a listen. Ironically, Christopher Walken, like William “the Shat” Shatner before him, is jumping into the interview game, perhaps inspired by Pollak for all anyone knows. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ve heard.

* Some of my best friends have post-graduate degrees in psychology but, Lord amighty, headline grabbing psychologists and their journalistic/PR enablers can really produce a special kind of stupid and shallow when they go all pop-cultural on us. Get this:

“In today’s media, superheroes and slackers are the only two options boys have,” said Lamb. “Boys are told, if you can’t be a superhero, you can always be a slacker.”

They were writing the same thing when I was kid, only the terms were different. I’d give you a more detailed case on why I consider this complete idiocy, but since I’m clearly not a superhero, I must be a slacker. (H/t Anne Thompson.)

slacker

  

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“Little Obama”: what winning the propaganda war looks like

As a relatively early supporter of President Obama in the Democratic primaries, one of my arguments for him over Hillary Clinton had to do with our perception abroad. On the one hand, I thought Obama had much better ideas on international relations. On the other hand, as a side benefit, I was sure that the act of electing a man with this ethnicity, international background, and named “Barack Hussein Obama” would send a message around the world that American was a far more open, diverse, and tolerant socially than either our enemies abroad, or our GOP jingoists at home, would ever believe. That would severely undercut the message of Al Queada and other extremist groups.

It goes further than I even I imagined. Here, in one apparently completely awesome and mostly pretty absurd looking Indonesian film, we get the whole freaking propaganda package made, I suspect, entirely without the cooperation of the CIA, U.S. Army Psyops, or the State Department. This comes via HuffPo and Film Drunk, and any similarities to either version of “The Karate Kid” are purely coincidental, I’m sure.

I love that last shot. Do real kids ever lay in a perfect circle to daydream about their futures?

By the way, South African anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu didn’t really become an internationally known figure until the 1980s, by which time Obama was a college student in Los Angeles and New York City, but who said propaganda had to make any sense? Of course, electoral victory has a thousand father figures, and they are not always zany flamboyantly gay-acting bicyclists or taciturn martial arts instructors. Here’s another alternate history.

  

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Movie news for a dying decade

It’s the very last day of the aughts, the noughties, or the 2000s, whichever term you prefer, and there’s some movie news to pass along.

* It’s a funny day to have a stockholders meeting, but that’s appears to be what Marvel Entertainment did and, yes, they approved the widely heralded Disney merger. Russ Fischer at /film has the details.

* With, as far as I can see, no major wide releases or, as I far as I can tell, even large expansions to talk about and not much other information available, I’m dispensing with this week’s box office preview. However, Jolly Carl DiOrio is here to tell us that this weekend is going to look a little something like last weekend.

That’s not to say there aren’t some new movies out that you can see this week — though you’ll possibly have to live in New York or L.A. to see them. Since I dig Tennessee Williams, I’m sorry to see the bad reviews for “Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. South Korea’s “The Chaser” was a hit at home for director Na Hong-Jin and looks intriguing to me. It has also been optioned for a high profile American remake, possibly involving Leonardo DiCaprio and screenwriter William Monahan of “The Departed.”

the-chaser-movie-3

* Speaking of box office, I’m not sure this is exactly news, but, get this, “Avatar” is doing really well — it just passed the $800 million mark worldwide — and looks likely to continue to do extremely well for quite a long time. Even the busiest man in the world apparently couldn’t wait to see it in the White House movie theater (I wonder if it can show digital 3-D?) Also note that eight year-old Sacha and 11 year-old Malia were allowed to see it even though it has a PG-13 rating . Expect this to be discussed at length on the Sunday shows.

* I had to update yesterday’s post to correct this. Apparently, The Weinstein Company is going to leave “Nine” in the roughly 1,400 theaters it’s in, despite last week’s poor showing.

* It’s now “Sir Captain Picard” to you. Alongside Patrick Stewart, film and theater director Nicolas Hytner (“The Madness of King George”) just got an excuse to be extra snooty.

* Neil Blomkamp of “District 9” wants to make original films that aren’t based on older franchises and, so, has said he’ll stay away from large budgets. He’s not dumb.

  

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Doctor Who: The End of Time Part One

Before moving on to the actual write-up, let’s take a moment to offer some high praise to BBC America for showing this episode a day after it first screened in the U.K. A day! For the first time on American TV, we aren’t seeing the premiere of a “Doctor Who” Christmas special when it’s warm outside, and the Christmas-themed portions of the story don’t seem hopelessly out of place. Back when I wrote up “Journey’s End,” I pleaded with Syfy to show the various David Tennant specials in a timely manner, so that audiences wouldn’t be forced to go elsewhere to get their “Who” fix or, even worse, get bored and forget about the show altogether. Good thing Syfy no longer has first-run rights here in the States, because I highly doubt they would’ve made the same programming move that BBC America made. Further, BBC America is committed (at least for the time being) to showing the episodes uncut, which is just as if not more important. Keep it up BBCA, and you’ll keep building a devoted audience. Heck, even a week or two after the U.K. premieres would be more than acceptable in my book.

It’s always difficult to write about the first half of a two-part finale, and never more so than in this case. This episode is all over the place in tone, and yet hangs together quite nicely, although it took me two viewings to realize the latter. Yet whatever one might think about “The End of Time Part One,” there’s no denying that the bigger picture has yet to be seen, and what Russell T. Davies unveiled in this hour is only a setup for the real finale. About the first 15 minutes of this thing just zoom by, setting up one aspect of the story after another. In fact, there are so many elements that are set up throughout the hour that one wonders how they can all be addressed in the finale proper.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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