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Tag Archives: Hollywood

Michael Medved: “Lessons Learned” on Oscar Night

The over-riding message from this year’s Academy Awards? “We’ve Learned Our Lesson!” Responding to the #MeToo movement and reports of erotic exploitation and sexism, presenters and Oscar winners frequently alluded to the scandal and made sanctimonious pledges to crack down on wrong-doers.

After complaints in recent years about scant Oscar attention to people of color, numerous black and Hispanic celebrities appeared on stage and Latinos won some of the most important Oscars—including Best Picture, Best Director, and best Foreign Language Film.

And after last year’s epic snafu with Warren Beatty announcing the wrong Best Picture winner, this year he received the right envelope.

Despite such improvements, a long predictable ceremony, with no blockbusters in serious contention, yielded some of the lowest TV ratings in Academy history.

Have the lessons really been learned?

Time will tell.

 

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Michael Medved: 2017: A Breakthrough Year for Hollywood Heroines?

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Hollywood’s so desperate to get past harassment scandals that industry insiders have proclaimed 2017 “the year of the strong woman.” Box office returns show that the three top moneymakers in America all featured female protagonists: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Wonder Woman.” “Women truly emerged as the giants of cinema this year,” said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

 

Of course, it’s also noteworthy that this trio of top films, as skillful and enjoyable as they were, all counted as sequels or remakes of properties dating back more than 40 years—hardly triumphs of daring originality!

 

Somehow, these rehashed projects got new life by casting glamorous new actresses: Daisy Ridley of “Star Wars” is 25, Emma Watson of Beauty and the Beast is 27, and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot is 32. It’s hardly a shock to see moviegoers happily investing their money to gaze up at youthful screen goddesses with striking good looks.

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Hugh Hewitt: Our Culture And The Sexual Misconduct Crisis

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Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the good thing that can come when a bad thing happens.

The recent wave of sexual misconduct is very disturbing.

We can probably call this “the Great Purge,” how American society woke up and rid itself of bad and boorish behavior—sometimes worse than bad and boorish, sometimes criminal—from men taking advantage of their powerful positions.

The good thing in all of this is the opportunities for recourse that are now being afforded young women who had been victimized, simply for wanting to get ahead in their careers.

Their stories are finally being believed and the bad actors, mostly men, are being forced to walk the gang plank.

The good thing inside the bad thing is that our daughters and even our sons will not be forced to endure this kind of behavior. They should be promoted based on merit and ability and hard work. Nothing more. Those taking advantage of them should indeed be purged.

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Michael Medved: Wonder Sets A Wonderful Example

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Among holiday season releases, the splendid new film “Wonder” has earned spectacular success—finishing second in pre-Thanksgiving box office, with enthusiastic reviews and an impressive $27 million in ticket sales.

The story follows a 10-year-old with facial birth defects, braving his first year of school with support of his loving parents, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Behind the scenes, “Wonder” involved surprising collaboration between conservatives and progressives in Hollywood. Participant Media produced Al Gore’s global warming films and other left-leaning message movies while Walden Media is best known for family-friendly fare that affirms traditional values, like the popular “Narnia” series.

Despite different histories, these two companies managed to work together backing this new film—a cinematic gem that’s completely apolitical, while celebrating strong families, kindness and every-day decency. If left and right in Hollywood can get together behind the fundamental virtues the nation needs most, shouldn’t our representatives in Washington make every effort to follow their example?

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Michael Medved: No Market For Mauling The Middle Class

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“Suburbicon”—the prestigious new movie release from director George Clooney—features Matt Damon and Juliane Moore with a screenplay co-written by the Oscar-winning Coen brothers.

The film opened with high hopes on more than 2,000 screens, but proved to be a commercial disaster with just $2.8 million on opening weekend. Even more shocking, “Suburbicon” got a dismal D-minus grade from CinemaScore.

Why the negative response?

It’s billed as an expose of “white privilege”—depicting a fictional suburb in 1959 that reacts to its first black family with disgusting violence and bigotry., while highlighting corruption, adultery and murder by the seemingly bland middle-class family at the center of the dark comedy.

Actually, the public is tired of Hollywood plutocrats who look down on the hard-working, decent suburban lives that many citizens live, and loathes the condescending assumption that the American dream has become the American nightmare.

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Michael Medved: When Political Correctness Tops Personal Decency

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The New York Times recently reported on allegations of shameless sexual harassment by Oscar-winning movie mogul Harvey Weinstein from dozens of young women.

In his bizarre response, Weinstein acknowledged that he “caused a lot of pain” and planned to temporarily step back from corporate power in order to concentrate on therapy. He also promised to compensate for his wrong-doing and “channel that anger” by launching a major campaign against the NRA, while pledging “to make a movie about our president” in order to force Trump’s retirement.

In other words, the guilt-ridden executive hoped for redemption by bashing political opponents rather than improving himself, implying that however badly he behaved, conservatives are worse. He thereby embraced the classic leftist fantasy: that political correctness matters more than destructive personal behavior, no matter how loathsome.

Emphasizing public posturing above private conduct can’t deliver either personal happiness or societal decency.

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Michael Medved: No Rational Explanation for “It”

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After a miserable summer for movies, with box-office down some 15 percent across the board, September brought a big surprise: a modestly budgeted fright-fest with no big names smashed all records for horror films or for September releases in general.

“It,” based on a 1986 Stephen King novel and a ’90s TV miniseries, centers on an ageless cannibal clown who arises from the sewers of a Maine town every 27 years to murder and mutilate local children. A group of outcast 13-year-olds does battle with this demonic force, while the film’s only adults engage in incest, sadism, attempted rape, child abuse, and wanton cruelty.

As in many Stephen King stories, supernatural power functions only on the dark side, never balanced by the goodly or the godly. The only genuinely scary aspect of the whole “It” phenomenon is the public reception for this mediocre product: the $117 million in opening weekend business is as grotesque as anything on screen.

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