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Hollywood glamour fades in face of un-American actions

Marshall Frank, Community columnist 1:00 a.m. ET Feb. 24, 2017 (Pub. by Florida Today)


What is it about Hollywood celebrities that make them think their excrement smells like garden roses? Do they truly believe the whole world should love them as they love themselves?

Why should mere mortals like us pay attention to far-left slants from propagandists like Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn? Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Penn, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg and others are all great actors and directors. But their claim to fame is pretending to be other people and getting paid mega-millions. That’s it.

They don’t save lives. They don’t fight for our country. They don’t fix veterans issues or support cops who risk lives daily for them. Sure, they donate to charities for tax credits and pretend to be humanitarians. Very few would have the moxie to give up a first-class airline seat to an American soldier, as did Amy Adams.

They are, for the most part, beneficiaries of the capitalist system they claim to abhor. And God forbid their favorite presidential candidate loses. Their fame gives them power few others will ever have.

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Patriots Day” –  9

In a word: Gripping

     One of the best true-story epics I’ve seen in years. 

     This is all about the Boston Marathon bombing of April, 2013; the preludes, the murderous scenes, the panic, the suffering, the investigations, the apprehensions, the intimate stories of victims, cops and killers, and the aftermath, all woven together in a film people can digest and keep track of.

     Mark Wahlberg is the lead actor plying a Boston cop with personal problems of his own, always compelling, but the movie is not about the acting, it’s about the story. John Goodman, complete with 100 pound weight loss, plays the Boston Police Commissioner and Kevin Bacon plays the lead FBI agent in charge. They are all good. But so are the bit actors. Even better is the snippets about the sub-plots, the people who suffered, their families, their kids, the conflicts between law enforcement agencies, the perils of law enforcement when a simple cop is ambushed for no reason stripping his family of his love, the limbs lost by decent people and the stress imposed on cops in all agencies.

     Neither is the movie politically correct. The killers are portrayed as they were,

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Most movie stars are arrogant and self-absorbed. They live in a bubble rife with fantasy and make-believe, blind to the realities of daily life for average people. I admire actors like Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, Ben Affleck and Scarlet Johansonn, because they are so very good at what they do. Unfortunately, too many live within that bubble, oblivious to the real world outside. 

     There are a few exceptions. One of them is a 42 year-old woman named Amy Adams. She’s beautiful, she’s talented, she’s very successful. She grew up in a military family and worked as a restaurant server as a young woman before chasing her dream to be an actress. She also learned to be humble.

     Such was the case in just three years ago when she spotted a U.S. Serviceman board an aircraft in Detroit. Amy Adams arranged with a Flight Attendant to give her first class seat to the soldier, while she took his seat in coach. She didn’t intend for the story to get out, but it did. 

    Recently, she was being honored in Hollywood by her name being etched into the Stars Walk of Fame. When asked to speak, she first thought of introducing

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LA LA LAND” – 8 ½


In a word:  Refreshing.

     Finally, a musical! Yea. A movie without guns and bombs, explosions and terror, blaring sound effects, raw sex and vile language, bad music, unfunny comedy and computerized characters.  It should be doomed at the box office, but I suspect the opposite. Why? Because it’s really good. And, it’s at the top of the charts for awards, including Golden Globes for Best Picture, Best actor and actress (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) and best Director, Damien Chazelle. The Academy Award nominations are not out yet, but I’m sure this movie will follow the trend.

     Nothing complicated here. It’s a story about two young people who meet and fall in love. He’s a jazz pianist, she’s a waitress/wannabe actress hoping to be discovered in Hollywood. Naturally, complications set in and nothing goes perfect, as they are both driven by their ambitions that take them in different directions.

     What makes the movie is the chemistry between Gosling and Stone, as though living in fantasyland, with scenes reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, dancing and singing under starlit skies.  (Gosling is no Kelly, but he sure has the heart) Emma

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“Manchester By The Sea” –  6 ½


In a word:  Depressing.

If you’re swayed by Golden Globe award nominations, you’ll rush to the theater because this film is high on the list for Best Movie, Best Screenplay, Best actor (Casey Affleck) and actress (Michelle Williams).  I will accede that Casey Affleck’s performance is worthy of recognition, but to evaluate this as a great movie is a stretch.

The story completely centers on and down-and-out character, a Quincy, Mass., handyman/janitor who resides in a shoddy room, and lives with a number of horrid memories that has shaped his life, including the tragic loss of two of his kids, and the end of a marriage that followed. Later, Affleck’s character is brought back to Manchester after the death of his brother, where he is reluctantly willed to be the caretaker of his 16 year-old nephew. Much of the plot centers on the on-going rift between pitiful uncle and angry nephew, including shouting matches and boring conversation that is rife with the distracting “F” word in almost every sentence.

This is not a movie for anyone who is ADHD, because they will go nuts waiting for something to happen as the film

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“Nocturnal Animals”  –  9 ½

In a word: Gripping

     One of the best drama/suspense movies in a long time.

      A woman named Susan receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, a man whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The movie then follows the actual manuscript, titled, “Nocturnal Animals,” which revolves around a man whose family vacation with wife and daughter turns violent and deadly after being confronted and by three crazy men on a lonely road at night. It also continues to follow the story of Susan, who finds herself recalling her first marriage and confronting some dark truths about herself.

     The story gives us three intertwining scenarios; The woman (played by Amy Adams) in present time, her early life with the ex-husband/writer (played by Jake Gillenhaal), and the fictional scenario as written into the story-line of the novel. Woven together, it offers a unique and continuous perspective to the viewer that keeps us glued to the screen as though reading a perfect novel where you cannot stop turning the pages.

     Amy Adams gives us another outstanding and realistic performance worthy of Oscar consideration. Jake Gillenhaal will certainly receive a nomination, if not an outright winner.

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“Bad Santa 2”  =  3


In a word: Gross

     Times have sure changed – for the worse. The movie should be X-Rated, but that would be a box office death sentence.

     While there are no scenes where sexual organs are actually exposed, there might as well have been because nothing was left to the imagination, physically or verbally. It’s as though the writers and producers sat down and conjured up a movie wondering how far they could push the proverbial envelope and get away with it. How many scenarios can be wrought with simulated sexual activity? How much dialogue can be saturated with continuous references to filth and body parts?

     Yes, I know all about creativity and the boundaries we allow for letting the juices flow. I’m fine with some of that. I’m no prude. I’ve been in the Marines, a major police agency and been exposed to the lowest levels of life. I’m fine with reality. But this wasn’t reality, it was contrived.

    Here’s a mea culpa. While I feel conflicted in writing this review, I will admit that some of the scenes were funny enough to draw genuine laughter. But it was not worth the levels of

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