Celebrities

Cinematic Correctness

Sir Ian Fleming and Cubby Broccoli are probably rolling over in their graves. James Bond 007 has been a formula that has worked. It created a franchise around a suave, sophisticated, educated, debonair and witty womanizing British spy. Whether the dashing Sean Connery, the corny Sir Roger Moore, the rigid Jeremy Dalton, the one-trick pony George Lazenby, the slick Pierce Brosnan or the moody Daniel Craig – the formula has been a massive winner. The Bond franchise has grossed $14.7bn inflation-adjusted.

There are suggestions that James Bond will be replaced by actress Lashana Lynch. The first female Bond. There is probably absolutely nothing wrong with her acting at all. The question is will the producers flunk at the box office by ripping up the script of what has always worked? It is 100% their decision to toy with the tried and tested formula but as ever, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

To be honest, Idris Elba would make a good Bond. He fits all the stereotypes of the role and fans would watch it on his ability rather than his skin tone. The producers could celebrate being woke and the franchise would retain its (relative) believability quotient.

Political correctness seems to dominate Hollywood of late. Whether complaints that not enough actors of colour were represented in Dunkirk or JK Rowling copping flak from LGBT activists because Albus Dumbledore wasn’t openly gay enough in the Fantastic Beasts film, it seems there is a push to make writers and producers conform. Why can’t films just be those made as their writers intended without enforcing politically correct overtones? Surely if there is a market for “politically correct” movies, the champagne socialists of Hollywood will be the first to jump all over it.

Sadly, many of the Best Picture winners selected at the Oscars (with elements of political correctness) in the past decade have been flops with the paying customers. It is interesting that $100m+ box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004. Since 2004 it has been hit and miss. 10 films in the last 14 have failed to breach $75mn. Real-life stories – Argo, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic and The King’s Speech – all cleared $100m at the box office. Maybe audiences can gel to the real-life aspects?

Brokeback Mountain grossed $178m because it didn’t propose to be anything other than a story set around gay cowboys. Milk, grossed $55m because it was a factual story about known gay activist, Harvey Milk. A good film by the way. Bohemian Rhapsody, the story about Freddie Mercury, has raked in over $900m at the box office. It was a factual tale and representative of a period in time.

To keep up with the times, perhaps we should demand that Meryl Streep become the next Shaft and Samuel L. Jackson portray Hillary Clinton in a movie about the 2016 election? How about Jackie Chan portray Michael Jordan in a basketball film about the Chicago Bulls? Why not cast Charlize Theron as Adolf Hitler in the next WWII film and have Arnold Schwarzenegger roleplay her wife. At least he won’t struggle with language? Perhaps do a rerun of Star Trek with Capt. Jane T Kirk? The options to rewrite history or fantasy are endless.

Why did Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese and Bill Paxton rake in $350m but First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong draw in only $45m in North America? Same space theme – two different results. Apollo 13 celebrated the pride in failure as American ingenuity was able to rescue the damaged spacecraft. Maybe home audiences repudiated Gosling’s film for deleting the pivotal moment the US flag was planted on the moon. Small stuff? Don’t play with audiences. They bite.

The lack of political correctness is a drawcard to the Bond franchise. We can laugh at the double entendre and innuendo. We can marvel at the spectacular car chases, death cheating moves, his Casanova-like charm and underdog victories against evil henchmen. Will audiences believe that a woman will be able to knock out a monster of a man 3 times her size with her fists? Will we want to see a poor defenseless woman stripped naked while tied to a chair while her privates are belted with a shipping rope by a Le Chiffre type character? Or will she be promiscuous to extract information from would-be villains? Perhaps she confronts Graham Norton as the villain this time?

Perhaps the new Mr. Moneypenny will have his heart skip a beat every time the new 007 tosses her Philip Treacy on the hatstand outside M’s office. Maybe Q will design a machine gun in a Hermes Kelly handbag? Perhaps a dart firing pump from Manolo Blahnik? Perhaps the Aston Martin will be replaced by a pink Tesla so we can tackle environmental issues as half of London is set ablaze?

People fell in love with Star Wars because it was all about lasers and space ships. Not because it ticked the diversity (although the Star Wars Bar was as diverse as one could imagine) and inclusion boxes. How dare the poor harmless Jawas or Ewoks be murdered by white supremacists aboard Imperial Battlecruisers. Were the Sand People just misunderstood? What about the animal cruelty that was inflicted on the poor tauntauns on Hoth?

Maybe the franchise is testing the waters by proposing Lynch. We’ve already had Halle Berry play Jinx, the NSA agent in Die Another Day. There have been countless female villains throughout the franchise too – Rosa Kleb, Xenia Onnatop, Miranda Frost, Elektra King, Fiona Volpe, Helga Brandt, Mayday, Bambi & Thumper. All added their own spice. Yet it was always James Bond that was the drawcard.

Ultimately the box office will tell the story. Die-hard Bond fans will likely be cringing at the thought. Maybe CM is just too much of a purist and detests change for the sake of it, especially if it is just about appeasing activism.

Desperate Housewife exposes the utter hypocrisy of the liberal elite

The admissions scandal rolls on. Nothing shouts “elitism” more than these champagne socialists cheating to get their kids into top colleges. How ironic that the very people that push liberal values of equality and fairness to the point of nose bleed. get outed like this. The same people that bang the drum of progressivism in acceptance speeches and pontificate their sanctimony at any public appearance. Hypocrisy in the extreme.

Desperate Housewives (now there is a pun) star Felicity Huffman, along with 13 others are likely to plead guilty in cheating their way into top schools for their kids. These 14 are among 50 who paid bribes of $25m to cheat college exams and ensure they got into elite schools. While the media is busy taking their pound of flesh, perhaps we might want to consider the actions of the vendors of such nefarious schemes. Little mentioned about that. Do admissions departments of the elite colleges need an independent audit?

Whatever the outcome, how little faith could Hollywood have in the progeny to have to do this? We all want the best for our kids. Surely those millions earned from Hollywood could hire the best tutors to help little Jimmy or Jenny get there on their own steam. How could they not instil the very values they spend so much time lecturing Main Street on to their own kids? What a slap in the face of the children to have their parents do this behind their back. How many kids of famous stars have we seen struggle to live under the limelight of their parents? CM wouldn’t be surprised if many of these kids end up with issues having to wear this stigma, not of their own making.

Will Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris return the generous donations she received from Huffman? Harris has been exceptionally quiet post Jussie Smollett too. Double standards go hand in hand with liberal values.

If only they could be tried by Chicago’s Cook County SA’s office like Jussie Smollett. Call in a few favors and have all charges dropped! Jussie is guilty as charged according to the SA even though his verdict is one of innocence.

Jim Jefferies – what goes around comes around

Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies shot to stardom on the back of his “gun control’ skit post the Parkland school shooting last year. He now has a regular slot on US TV.

Comedy cuts across almost limitless bounds. It triggers some and makes others convulse with laughter. We should accept that. To give Jefferies his due, he can be very funny. Usually vulgar but pointed.

However Jefferies deliberate misrepresentation of Jewish vlogger, Avi Yemini, was reprehensible. Yemini’s responses were edited and cut in ways to answer totally different questions that were asked in an attempt to smear him. It was unethical on every level.

The irony of the “hidden recording” taken by Yemini was that Jeffries himself was exposed for the very anti-Islamic remarks he accused his guest of. He even scribbled a mock drawing of Mohammed and agreed with much of what he criticized Yemini for. Hypocrite. How ironic that the comedian who thought he was interviewing a total dummy now looks the fool.

Regardless of whether one likes Yemini or who he represents or not, it does not give anyone, even a comedian, the right to smear in such a duplicitous and sanctimonious manner. Yemini warned Jefferies he may invite death threats for his blasphemous actions.

Serves him right. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Superintendent smashes secrecy surrounding Smollett settlement

What the Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in this video is 100% correct. He said, “They wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth. But no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.” Mayor Emanuel was also front and centre on Smollett’s unfair dragging of Chicago’s reputation through the mud and the damage his hoax will have against those who have real hate crime claims in future. Smollett has his slate wiped clean.

This is the perfect example of why identity politics is so poisonous. Here was a man potentially willing to make a claim against two innocent white people and jail them for up to 20 years for hate crimes not committed just to bump his salary and smear 63mn Trump supporters at the same time.  He still claims innocence! No morals, no ethics and in Emanuel’s words “is there no decency in this man?

Claims are being made by the media that George Soros donated $408,000 to a super PAC that supported Cook County State Attorney (SA) Kim Foxx’s campaign. While Foxx recused herself on conflict of interest grounds, the First Assistant SA Joseph Magats, who has served in the SA office for three decades, saidThe bottom line is, we stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him…The fact that Smollett feels that we have exonerated him, we have not. I can’t make it any clearer than that. So how does that weigh up to the dismissal of 16 felony charges? Smollett served two days of community service which can be seen here.

To think of the disrespect shown to the excellent investigative work and evidence filed by the police. Do we believe Jussie’s comments on the verdict, “I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of”? What a fine bit of acting.

So much for dignity and respect of the rule of law to Americans. What a farce.

The victim who deserves dignity and respect?

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What a farce. Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor who staged his own ‘homophobic and racist’ hate crime by falsely accusing MAGA hat wearing whites in ski masks, has had all 16 felony charges dropped. The state attorney’s office said that his volunteer service in the community and willingness to forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city was behind the decision.

Smollett’s lawyer said,

This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion…That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result…Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”

A victim? Dignity? Respect? Perhaps if Jussie believed in extolling those same virtues he wouldn’t have wound up in court.

Let’s see how quickly Hollywood and the left re-embrace him as a champion of human rights. Afterall he’s not guilty. He was pushed into this and attacks of the kind Smollett faked continue to surge. How inconvenient that the FBI reports anti-Black hate crimes have more than halved since 1996. Anti-LGBT hate crimes in absolute terms have fallen from a peak of 1,439 cases in 1998 to 1,130 in 2017.

2019 Golden Globe ratings down again

It is no surprise to learn that the initial ratings for the Golden Globes In 2019 were down on 2018 which were down on 2017…which were down on…Get the picture? It was the worst showing in a decade.

It seems the formula is so bust that even deliberately leaving Trump mocking out of the corny gag lines saw another 5% drop this year. Despite little competition in the time slot and following on straight after the Chicago Bears vs Philadelphia Eagles (38mn viewers), 20mn switched channels to something other than the Golden Globes.

Who actually took the time to watch The Oscars last year? Viewers voted with their eyes sending ratings down 16% on 2017 and 40% on 5 years ago. Perhaps The Oscars could take a lessson from 90 years ago and stick to silent movies!

From Nielsen:

The 8 p.m.-11 p.m. portion of ABC’s telecast averaged an 18.9 household rating and 32 share in Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That’s down about 16% from the 22.5/37 rating generated by the 2017 Oscars.

Same with the Emmys.

Neilsen noted the 2018 Emmy awards show pulled in 10.172 million viewers (-4%) and a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, it’s lowest ever. The 2000 Emmy’s drew in 21.8mn by comparison.

Some may talk to modern day luxuries of streaming which might flatline these dreadful numbers but the reality is Hollywood’s obsession with shaming its intended viewers is the more likely culprit.

Perhaps ABC & NBC need to host these events at a local Hollywood pensioners club from here on in. Save the millions lavished on sets and award movies based on a Bingo wheel. Celebrities can go in smart casual (Cate Blanchett insists on recycling clothes) and dine on a sumptuous smorgasbord with complimentary soft drinks at the beverage bar. Now that would be worth watching.

Golden Globes stay in the gutter

The Golden Globes, after years of ratings plunges, thought working smut into the gig was a way to bring the audiences back. Where on earth were the words, “Break out the tissues because you’re going to want to masturbate to all of them” funny? CM is not trying to be a modern day Mary Whitehouse, but were Sarah Oh’s introductory remarks those that resonate with all of the “pet” causes of the champagne socialists? What happened to #METOO? Let’s talk about group self pleasure. How hilarious?! Sadder the attendees were in raptures.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Hollywood and hypocrisy are mutually inclusive terms. Why would anyone rally behind these out of touch juveniles? When they’re not in rehab they’re telling average Main Streeters to listen to their prophetic words of wisdom. They’re the very reason so many films are failing at the box office. Sure video on demand, streaming and cable has changed things somewhat but the truth is the woeful content is behind the demise.

The audience figures should tell them they are indeed the out of touch ones.

Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film in all formats continues to head south.

It is interesting that $100m box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004 after which it has been hit and miss since. 9 films in the last 13 Best Pictures have failed to breach $75mn. The 4 that didn’t miss were all about real life stories – Titanic, The King’s Speech, Argo and A Beautiful Mind. Funny that.

Instead of realizing that their interpretation of identity driven art isn’t sinking in with the public, Hollywood is now prepared to blot the history books – such as deleting the flag planting on the moon scene in ‘First Man’ – to destroy the very formula that seems to resonate with audiences.

Such is the level of extremism in Hollywood these days that people of colour and women have been summarily overlooked to suggest putting in a transgender star for James Bond 007. They’re so obsessed with identity. Why not just appreciate “talent”? Maybe Idris Elba would make a good Bond because he fits the suave, tough guy image of the films. Not because of his skin tone. People watch the Bond franchise for the formula, not to wait with baited breath to see Caitlyn Jenner in the lead role to show Ian Fleming was always a progressive LGBT activist at heart.

Maybe we should let Hollywood stick to its “we know best” attitude. Let it follow its heart and let the free market decide its fate as it is already doing. Celebrities think doubling down is the answer. No wonder they’re screaming for equal pay for equal work as the industry stumbles.

Let them preach about the dangers of climate change as they board their private jets, protest border walls from their gated mansions and stand up for gun control with their armed security guards nearby.

Maybe Sarah Oh was on the money for once about the attendees? After all the Golden Globes like many other award ceremonies are all about stroking egos inside their own tight knit club.