Middle East TV Correspondents Prepared for an Armageddon That Didn’t Arrive

Middle East television correspondents donned flak vests, helmets, and other military gear last week in anticipation of a crushing wave of violence and hysteria they were certain would follow President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Experts on the region who uniformly opposed Trump’s move—which the U.S. Senate voted 90-0 in favor of as recently as last summer—predicted …

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Gary Oldman: A Career in Gifs (New Substandard!)

In the latest Substandard (subscribe/review, unless you want Vic to quit; if we don’t make it to 500 reviews by the end of the year I can’t see him signing up for another tour), Vic, JVL, and I discuss, um, watches, before moving on to Darkest Hour (I liked it; JVL did not; Vic was mixed) and Gary Oldman. I’ve made my case for Oldman in Darkest Hour elsewhere, but what I’d like to do here is use the medium of the blog post to more fully praise his career. What I mean by this is, rather than writing an essay or putting up some listicle with capsule reviews from his years onscreen, I think we can use the form of the blog post a bit more creatively to take a tour through his career—to fully experience his range and the breadth of his transformations. When people say “character actor” they sometimes mean “that guy I recognize from a bunch of movies.” But Oldman is rarely recognizable. And he’s never the same twice.

(Notably absent from this montage: Tiptoes.)

So, after the embed, let’s take a peek at Gary Oldman: A Career in Gifs.

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BREAKING: Middle East Has Not Gone Up in Flames

Jerusalem

Because it is preposterous to insist that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, the political clique opposed to the United States’ recognition of this plain fact—that is, almost all of the western foreign policy establishment, journalists, commentators, former Obama and Clinton administration officials, European politicians and bureaucrats, United Nations cretins, and so on—settled on a different strategy to oppose it.

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WAFCA Winners Announced

Dunkirk

As you may or may not know, I am a member of the world’s most important and influential collection of critics, the Washington Area Film Critics Association. Each year we are tasked with deciding which movies are, objectively speaking, the best. It’s a solemn duty, and one I take very seriously.

You can see the whole list of nominees and winners here. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to note who I nominated, who I voted for among the finalists, and who won. I may add a comment or two. Please feel free to yell at me about any of this on Twitter; we at Sonny Bunch, Inc. take all of your comments and concerns extremely seriously and will respond to them in the order they are received.

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‘The Disaster Artist’ and Other Cult Classics (New Substandard)

In this latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, tell your friends, leave a review!), we discuss The Disaster Artist (Sonny rehashes his review of it), The Room, and what defines a cult classic.

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New Poll Shows Room for Growth in Pro-Vader Campaign

Interesting new poll out from Morning Consult reveals a great deal about the state of play in the Star Wars Universe. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Here’s the topline:

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Days of Media Rage about Jerusalem

A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock mosque in the centre

I lived in Jerusalem, Israel, for two happy years, and much of my work ever since has involved U.S.-Israel relations. I should know better, yet still I am surprised at the rending of garments and apocalyptic predictions pouring forth from western pundits over something that will not change a single stone in the holy city, or a single person’s access to its holy sites, or a single border—and that overwhelming majorities of Congress and virtually every president and presidential candidate has endorsed for decades. Chalk it up in part to the hysteria that has characterized our political debates in the past two years, and also in part to the enormous influence that former Obama administration officials have in setting media narratives and frames for covering issues on which the current president repudiates the approach of the previous one.

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American Hero, Actor Admits the Empire Did Nothing Wrong

Adam Driver is probably best known for playing Kylo Ren in Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens: TK One More Subtitle, but he should be known for being an American hero (he signed up for the Marines shortly after 9/11) and one of the most interesting actors of his generation. After all, Driver managed to make the most interesting character on a show called Girls a guy. He gets a lot of credit for that alone.

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Denzel Washington’s Not-Great Movies, Ranked (New Substandard)

On the latest Substandard (subscribe, review, etc.), we talked a bit about Denzel Washington and how he’s great. I mean, obviously. But we highlighted the fact that he has a very low number of true misses: his batting average is incredibly high for a guy that’s been working for 30 years or so. Even his movies that aren’t necessarily great (American Gangster, say, or Flight) are generally pretty good. And he elevates fare that otherwise might be dismissed as generic shlock (The EqualizerUnstoppable) simply by being there.

But, of course, they’re not all winners. And I mentioned on the show that I had made a list of his worst films. Then I never got around to unveiling it. So, after the embed and for the first time EVER, you will see Sonny Bunch’s list of Denzel Washington’s not-great movies. I say “not-great” as opposed to “bad” or “worst” because, I mean, honestly, even The Magnificent Seven is still pretty okay. I know, I know: this is an exciting moment for all of us. But calm yourselves. You won’t do any good freaking out now. Listen to the show. Breathe. Then read on.

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We Got a Vast, Unaccountable, Unconstitutional Agency Because Elizabeth Warren Compared Mortgages to Toasters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sixteen hundred bureaucrats with the power to charge billions in fines, with a $600 million budget outside of the congressional appropriations process, and all because Elizabeth Warren compared mortgages to toasters.

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The Injustice of Justice League and Thanksgiving Bracketology (New Substandard!)

In this special Substandard Thanksgiving episode (subscribe, tell your friends, leave a review), we spend an inordinate amount of time dissecting Justice League.

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2020 Democratic Hopefuls Tell the Truth About the Clintons—and Then Run Scared

Two Democratic senators—both women, both eyed as likely 2020 presidential candidates—made strong statements recently that appeared to send an important message to the party: The time of the Clintons is over.

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Notes from a Whiskey Competition

Last week I served as a judge for an international whiskey competition, to which friends and colleagues expressed all manner of encouragement. “Lucky you!” said one. “Lucky bastard,” joked another.

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Climate Alarmists Warn of Coming ‘Mass Extinction Event’: Don’t Worry, They’re Always Wrong

climate change protest

Scientists are once again sounding the alarm that humans are destroying the planet, and we’re heading towards a “mass extinction event.”

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Murder on the Substandard Express

Look, I’m not saying that this episodes ends with the revelation that JVL, Vic, and I joined forces to murder Jonah Goldberg on a fancy train for accumulating more reviews for his podcast in a few short weeks than we have in over a year. But I’m not NOT saying it either. You’ll just have to listen to the whole thing to find out. And if you want to save Jonah, you can do so by leaving a review of the Substandard here.

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