A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “CHAPPAQUIDDICK” – 8.5

“Chappaquiddick”  –  8.5

 

In a word:  CYA

     I know that’s not really one word, but it’s all in the definition, because that’s what the movie was all about: Covering Your Ass.

     What’s good about this docudrama is the authenticity injected by writers and the director. There were many opportunities to suggest or infer sensationalism, sexual activity, or even corruption at the highest levels of government, but the movie makers stuck to the facts as they were known without adding sugar and spice for effect.

     This is a true story about a car accident, the death of a young woman, and a powerful senator who, with the help of his top aides, did all they could to cover the truth. What came across stronger than any other emotion for the viewer, was then reality that the only thing that the self-absorbed senator cared about was himself and his political future.

     Most of us older folks will remember the tragic accident on July 18 of 1969 in which young Mary Jo Kopechne, age 28, died by drowning in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy around 11:30 p.m.  Kennedy got out, and swam to shore. Mary Jo perished. In the script,

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SANCTUARY CITIES AND ANARCHISM

Sanctuary cities and states that are advocating for the protection of criminal illegal aliens from federal law enforcement, has nothing to do with compassion and/or pro-immigration viewpoints.  It’s all about power.   

     Not long ago, leading Democrats and Republicans shared concerns about “illegal” immigration while vowing to take measures to control the border and dispatch law enforcement to deal with “illegal” activities.

     Many democrats of years passed have called for stricter measures against illegal immigration and much stronger border enforcement, even including expanding the wall along Mexico. 

     In his 1995 speech to congress, President Bill Clinton stated, “We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

     Sound familiar? President Clinton actually initiated an enforcement campaign against employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens for American jobs.

     In 2010, President Obama made a speech, stating, “The presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigrating legally. Indeed…the legal immigration system is as

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DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG DEALERS UNREALISTIC

This article, by yours truly, appears as an op-ed in the March 24, 2018 issue of Florida Today newspaper.

President Donald Trump is advocating for new sentencing laws applying capital punishment to drug dealers. Bad idea. Here’s why.

True, drug traffickers are among the scum of the earth, directly and indirectly contributing to addictions that affect millions of human beings, particularly youth. I would agree that they deserve the harshest of penalties, but not death.

It is only a matter of time before the death penalty is be out the door. Capital punishment is now banned in most all advanced and industrialized countries of the world. Only one-fourth of nearly 200 nations still retain the death penalty, which mostly include countries in Africa and the Middle East, thus putting the U.S. in such company as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan.

Most polls, including Gallup and Pew Research, reveal the popularity for executing criminals has waned to below 50 percent, the lowest in 45 years. Close to 100 executions per year took place in the late 1990s. Those numbers have declined significantly to under 30 each year nationwide.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 2,817 prisoners currently occupy

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WAS THE PARKLAND COP A TRUE COWARD?

People said heads must roll. The chief of police? The cops? The NRA? The FBI? After all, there must be someone we can fault when things go wrong, particularly when life is lost.

    In the wake of the horrific slaughter of innocent people at Marjory Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, folks are anxious to cast blame on the most obvious culprits, guns and bad cops. This is reminiscent of Ferguson, Missouri, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson was publicly scorned by citizens and media pundits for shooting a helpless “unarmed” teen to death before all the true facts were known. Never mind that the kid was 18, weighed 300 pounds, was charging the cop in a menacing fashion and had already assaulted the officer by trying to steal his gun.

     Fast forward to Deputy Scot Peterson, 54, the School Resource Officer at Parkland, Florida. This man served a stellar 33 year police career that ended sharply on February 14 when 17 people, mostly students, were murdered by a crazed, well-armed gunman inside the High School. We learned that Peterson was the officer outside the closed doors of the school when the shootings were happening and failed to enter and, perhaps,

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “GAME NIGHT” – 3

GAME NIGHT” – 3 OUT OF 10

 

     This is the best bad movie in a long time. I mean BAD, really BAD. Matter of fact, it was so bad, I couldn’t stop watching. Normally we walk out of really stupid movies, but this one had so many goofs and screw-ups, we stayed glued to the screen just to see what would happen next from the “stupid” list.

     Basically, the story is a spoof on adults getting together in a fun setting to play trivia games and then a “detective” game where everyone is a victim or investigative team. Then, the “crimes” come to life, though the dum-dums in the cast are too “dumb” to realize it, and think death and mayhem is all part of a comedy act. Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman play a married couple hosting the big night which bring in four other game players, plus a key character who plays Bateman’s brother. The on-line synopsis goes like this:   

          Max and Annie’s weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother Brooks arranges    murder mystery party — complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “RED SPARROW” – 9

RED SPARROW – 9

     In a word:  Intrigue

This is a well-done spy thriller starring A-actress, Jennifer Lawrence who, like in Hunger Games, captivates the viewer with non-stop twists and turns, action and international intrigue. Other reviews, as in Rotten Tomatoes, are not as generous as this, but I feel confident in dubbing this one of the better spy thrillers in a long time. Not being a great fan of shoot-em-up films, this picture was an exception. The core attraction is Jennifer Lawrence who is featured in at least 95 percent of the movie scenes, including one in which we see much more of Lawrence than one would expect.

Lawrence plays an injured ballerina from the Russian Bolshoi, who converted to a young intelligence officer assigned to seduce a American  CIA agent who handles the most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young officers collide in a charged atmosphere of deception and inevitably, passion that threatens not just their lives but the lives of others.

Her primary motive for getting mired into Russian counter-intel stems from a need to protect her mother from being outcast by the Russian government into a life of squalor and dependency. Lawrence’s

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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE OSCARS

Allow me to brag.

     Not too long ago I wrote a movie review on “The Darkest Hour,” in which I commented: 

Not only should the make-up people be nominated for an Oscar, so should Gary Oldman, who well deserves winning it.” (for playing Winston Churchill)

     A month earlier I wrote a movie review for “Thee Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” in which I commented:

          “…every expression every nuance, every word spoken (or unspoken) by star, Frances McDormand, the quintessential thespian. This is what Oscar performances are made of.”

     I’m proud to say that these predictions were accurate. Identity politics aside, this was a year in which these particular awards were truly given to the best, which is what it’s all about.

     Best movie and Best Director went to “The Shape of Water,” for which I cannot comment, because I chose not to see it.

     The Academy Award Show, as expected, remains a platform for Hollywood elite, who make a living pretending to be someone else, cannot miss an opportunity on world stage to predictably  throw left-wing political jabs around, most of which garnered a chuckle or two, but no hearty laughter. 

     The main culprit is

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