In the latest episode of The Substandard—literally the only podcast you, or anyone else, should be listening to—JVL, Vic, and I discussed Alien: Covenant and the career of Ridley Scott. You can download the show here (and also leave a review, if you feel like it) or listen below. Below the podcast, I want to briefly …Read More
Of all the news I expected to break last night, “Republican GOP Candidate Assaults Reporter” was not up there. But, well, here we are:Read More
Of all the news I expected to break last night, "Republican GOP Candidate Assaults Reporter" was not up there. But, well, here we are:
Of course, when I suggested that it was Probably A Bad Thing for an American candidate for public office to go around assaulting people who ask him questions, Twitter informed me that, Actually, This Was Just The Liberal Media Making Stuff Up Again, SMDH. I guess Fox News didn't get the memo:
At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!"
Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.
The Weekly Standard also seems unaware that this is a Sorosian conspiracy, highlighting the similarities to the time John McCormack was treated poorly by a Martha Coakley campaign staffer:
Two, the Gianforte campaign's lies about Jacobs are even worse than Gianforte's physical attack on Jacobs. Lying about anyone is wrong, but a journalist's livelihood depends on his reputation for honest and accurate reporting. My biggest concern after the Coakley incident—which occurred a few months after another campaign called the cops on me for asking questions (persistently but politely!) and then lied about my behavior—was that the Coakley campaign would spin the story, and some people wouldn't believe me. It was quite a relief that there was videotape to confirm the accuracy of my reporting.
After it became clear that the assault happened, the good people of Conservative Twitter were happy to inform me that this was either good because the librul media has it coming or it doesn't matter because no one gets angry when conservatives are attacked. So, you know, nothing to see here, move along, oh look a squirrel, pull the lever for the GOP candidate!
Anyway. I'm entirely sympathetic to Gianforte's frustration with reporters; lord knows I've wanted to shriek "I'm sick and tired of you guys!" while choke-slamming a writer into a table hundreds—nay, thousands!—of times. You try dealing with people who say "hey boss, I filed" and then when you look for their story you see that they forgot to put the file where it's supposed to be and you can't get in touch with them because they've gone outside for a smoke—a trip that takes about 10 minutes, since, as you know, The Washington Free Beacon rests atop a majestic skyscraper many floors above local trade publication THE POLITICO. Just sitting there, the frustration mounting, the clicks slipping away because a writer doesn't know how to use Dropbox like a competent grade school student—yeah, I get it man. That must have felt good.
But it's still wrong! You can't just go around hitting people who displease you; this is, like, literally the first thing children learn in preschool. Use your goddamn words.
Too bad it doesn't matter if this has changed the minds of the 70 percent of people who are going to vote by mail in Montana!
Montana: share of all votes cast by mail
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) May 25, 2017
Now, as Harry Enten notes, there's an open question as to whether or not early voting has anything other than a minimal effect. And you should take my suggestion that we should get rid of early voting because no one knows what will happen in the closing days of a race with a grain of salt since I support just about anything that makes it harder to vote, given that I believe fewer people should vote because most people are too ignorant to be trusted with the franchise. But common sense suggests that, hey, at the very least there are some folks who might decide to sit this one out altogether rather than vote for the physically violent nutcase or the nudist colony's favorite singer. Sure, there are those who can rationalize just about any act of lunacy from a candidate that has their preferred party affiliation, because lol nothing matters. That being said, an actual act of physical violence might—just might!—be enough to tip a race away from a person utterly lacking in self-control, especially when the race is likely to be extremely close.
I guess what I'm saying is, if you haven't already cast a ballot then you should vote for Evan McMullin in Montana. That worked out so well last time.Read Less
Of all the disturbing things I saw during last night’s episode of The Americans, perhaps most disturbing was the ad for Jägermeister.Read More
Of all the disturbing things I saw during last night's episode of The Americans, perhaps most disturbing was the ad for Jägermeister. A crowd of freaks gathers in an ice cavern or some sort of frozen rave (are raves still a thing?). Maybe they aren't freaks—but they're all in masks and makeup, so they're essentially the guests from Eyes Wide Shut. A silence envelops them as they huddle round in a mysterious ceremony. I half-expected to see some poor soul strapped to a chair, waiting to be tortured à la Hostel. Instead, the attendees watch in silence as a bottle of the German "herbal elixir" Jägermeister is cracked open, quite literally: The bottle was contained in an ice block. After enough ice has been chipped away, the bottle is poured into a glass and a Teutonic ice queen takes a sip. She then announces to the crowd: "Of course it's cold. It's German."
Here's the three-minute director's cut:
Of course it's cold. It's German. Is this an admission that Germans are cold people or that Germany is cold or that Germans like cold things? I can tell you Germans don't like ice in their drinks. Ice water is not exactly common. A woman who grew up in Germany told me the reason for this: Her friend's parents said if you had a hot meal and cold water, your teeth would shatter. My host-mother in Trier simply explained that nothing was cold because her husband had sensitive teeth. Fair enough.
Still, what a strange commercial, though I suppose it's better than comedian Dave Attell‘s idea for a Jägermeister ad:
A guy comes out of a hedge. He's covered in mud and blood. He's holding one high-heel shoe. ‘Did I just eat a stripper?' Jäger.
It's worth pointing out that in the early 1970s, Jägermeister sold about 500 cases to the United States. It was a digestif popular in German immigrant communities. (Digestifs are still popular in Germany and Austria. They come in tiny bottles you can usually find near the cash registers at the Supermarkt.) But the man handling U.S. distribution, Sidney Frank of New Rochelle, had an idea:
"I came up with Jägerettes," Frank told Inc. in 2005. "I thought a pretty girl can always help you selling, and I noticed that one girl I had in California would go to 80 tables in a room and say, Open your mouth. She asked, Would you like a Jägermeister? And 80 percent of 'em said yes."
College kids were doing Jäger bombs as a dare—not because they're delicious. (A friend convinced me to try Jäger and Red Bull once. Once.) But it worked: from 500 cases a year in 1973 to 200,000 cases in 1990 to more than 3 million cases some 20 years later. Annually, the Mast-Jagermeister company now does more than 7 million cases worldwide.
The late Sidney Frank was a genius—that idea of attractive young women going around bars asking customers to sample some new product continues to this day. (Frank also invented Grey Goose vodka, which he sold to Bacardi in 2004 for $2 billion.)Read Less
I'm currently reading Jonathan Taplin's Move Fast and Break Things, which I feel should have the subtitle, Actually, Tech Companies Are Bad And Things Were Better When People Did LSD And There Were No Libertarians.* I was especially amused by Taplin's faux-horror here:
Yes, Amazon should really be nicer to the people who steal from it. How thoughtless! (From Jonathan Taplin's "Move Fast and Break Things.") pic.twitter.com/FUH3yeIzD4
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) May 23, 2017
I mean, if I could do this to people who steal movies or music online, I would totally do it. I'm sure Taplin would too! Name and shame those who steal; it's more efficient than throwing them all in prison and serves as a warning to those similarly inclined. (Though one wonders if it would have any real effect upon online piracy, given its ubiquity and the fact that the Amazon's shaming comes with actual consequences, e.g., job/income loss. The "This shithead stole movies" stamp would probably become a badge of honor for a certain subset of Internet dickheads.)
Anyway, I don't think Amazon goes far enough! Photos of people with "TERMINATED" stamped on them is a good start. But there's so much more they could do! For instance, any and/or all of the following should be implemented:
- Those caught stealing are forced to do a skit about why stealing is wrong whilst being pelted by batteries taken from the battery aisle of the warehouse; the worker who throws the biggest battery wins a $5 Amazon gift card.
- The walk of shame from Game of Thrones, but through the frozen food section of the warehouse. More emasculating.
- Thief moved from the Amazon warehouse to any random slaughterhouse in the country to see what real hardship is like.
- Force thief to review all one star reviews for grammar and/or capitalization. If they do not go mad within the first 12 hours, reassign them to the C suite.
- Cut off the hands of those who steal from Jeff Bezos. Nail those hands to the door of each warehouse as a warning to the others.
- Heads of thieves removed, placed on pikes on warehouse floors as a warning to others. (h/t)
- Thieves locked in rooms playing nothing but Baby Einstein clips over and over and over again. If they do not go mad within the first 12 hours, reassign them to the warehouse's daycare.
- (lol there's no daycare)
- (lol they're actually exiled to an alternate dimension haunted by the scarred vestiges of defeated dreams)
- (lol Bezos acquired this dimension in a little-known merger five years or so ago; monetizing it has been a bit of a challenge so, for now, it's more useful as a holding pen for wicked employees)
- Thieves are held until there are enough of them to mount a WWE-style Royal Rumble for the entertainment of Peter Thiel and his fellow tech billionaires. First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Second prize is a set of knives. Third through thirty prize is a trip to the Dimension of Defeated Dreams.
Look, theft is a real problem in warehouse settings and anything Amazon can do to keep my costs down, I appreciate. After all, I'm not going to save $2 on a copy of Taplin's book if every jackaninny with access to Amazon's warehouse floors is just walking out the door with all manner of stuff, am I?
*This is an only-very-slightly-tongue-in-cheek description of the first third of the book, which is all I've read so far. I might write more later after I've finished the whole thing. I might not. I'm sympathetic to Taplin's complaint about the Internet harming artists and have written about this at great length elsewhere; I'm far less sympathetic to the idea that Amazon et al are imperiling democracy. Indeed, I think there's a deep contradiction at the heart of Taplin's argument that, on the one hand, monied technocratic elites are crushing democracy while simultaneously decrying the fact that Donald Trump (for whom I have no love, as you know) circumvented or appropriated gatekeepers to appeal to the people. If anything, the election of Donald Trump (assuming you don't support him) seems to confirm Peter Thiel's skepticism of the demos (even as Thiel himself supports Trump). Maybe Taplin squares that circle later in the book, I'll let you know.Read Less
Actor-humanitarian Sir Roger Moore died today at the ripe-old age of 89. On television he was Simon Templar in The Saint, but he is best known for playing British Secret Service Agent 007 in seven James Bond films, from 1973 to 1985.Read More
Actor-humanitarian Sir Roger Moore died Tuesday at the ripe-old age of 89. On television he was Simon Templar in The Saint, but he was best known for playing British Secret Service Agent 007 in seven James Bond films, from 1973 to 1985. And while I perfectly understand fan attachment to the original 007, Sean Connery, Moore was the Bond I grew up with.
I saw The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me, and For Your Eyes Only on television, and Octopussy and A View to a Kill in the theater. My friend's dad derisively called him "babyface" and said his acting was too corny. A former colleague said Moore was not a great actor and a terrible on-screen kisser. Sure, he wasn't as dark as, say, Timothy Dalton. He didn't seem to get too cut or too bruised like Daniel Craig. Especially in later years, you could tell he wasn't doing a lot of his own stunts. None of that mattered to me. By the time he did A View to a Kill, Moore was 57 years old—but still able to take on Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. He was a master at delivering those English quips. His hair was always neat! And did I mention funny? Moore even spoofed himself in Cannonball Run as a James Bond wannabe whose real name was Seymour Goldfarb, "heir to the Goldfarb Girdle fortune."
Like all the 007 agents, Moore's Bond drank his vodka martini shaken, not stirred. But in Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, 007 is not at all exclusive with his libations. His first drink is a whisky, and while he does imbibe in vodka, Bond more memorably asks a bartender to make a cocktail involving gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet called the Vesper. The shaken-not-stirred vodka martini phenomenon can be traced back to the first Bond movie, Dr. No.
So let us raise a glass to Roger Moore. But a glass of what, exactly? In the book Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 Years of James Bond Movies, Moore reveals himself to be a martini purist, i.e., one with gin:
My gin of choice is Tanqueray, and the vermouth has to be Noilly Prat. Take the glass or cocktail shaker you are using, and, for two sensible-sized Martinis, fill 1/4 of each glass with Noilly Prat. Swill it around and then discard it. Next, top the glasses up with gin, drop in a zest of lemon, and place the glasses in a freezer or ice-cold fridge until you are—or should I say she is—ready.
Oh, James!Read Less
BY: David Rutz
“I was just trying to have fun.” Remember these words. They’re part of the dramatic centerpiece of New York Times television writer Dave Itzkoff’s May 17 feature on Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. They are Fallon’s explanation for his unforgivable sin of—what? A DUI? A hit-and-run? An extramarital affair? Worse. He tousled Donald Trump’s hair. Eight months ago. For …Read More
"I was just trying to have fun."
Remember these words. They're part of the dramatic centerpiece of New York Times television writer Dave Itzkoff's May 17 feature on Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. They are Fallon's explanation for his unforgivable sin of—what? A DUI? A hit-and-run? An extramarital affair?
He tousled Donald Trump's hair.
Eight months ago. For five seconds. And the Internet can't let it go.
Watch if you dare.
Described by Itzkoff as "widely criticized"—Internet-speak for "my media friends and I did not like this"—Fallon, yes, did a friendly interview on Sept. 15 that ended in him messing up the future president's infamous golden mane. (For the record, this was not the first controversial presidential candidate whose hair Fallon has tousled.)
Fallon's response to the furor, then and now, is, um, quite reasonable:
"I didn’t do it to humanize him," Mr. Fallon said, explaining this moment to me. "I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do.’"
Sounds like Fallon was just having fun.
HOW DARE HE???!!!
The argument of the piece is that because Fallon has decided against joining his comedy cohorts like Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and Seth Meyers in the #Resistance, his ratings have suffered.
Fallon isn't backing down from the criticism, saying, "I don’t want to be bullied into not being me … Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humor or my show."
The fact that he has to say that eight months after the fact is remarkable, but this isn't the first major publication of 2017 to delve back into HairGate.
For instance, The Daily Beast‘s Matt Wilstein had his arms crossed very tightly when he wrote this scold piece in January:
— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) January 31, 2017
My favorite part is this deep-dive into the show's effect on the voters:
In fact, at least one voter in Virginia said she voted for Trump specifically because he seemed "very humble" on the Tonight Show.
Mother of God. Trump's loss to Hillary Clinton in Virginia might have been 212,031 votes instead of 212,030. And don't get me started on all those coal miners in the Rust Belt who bolted for Trump because his hair got russled (polling data for this assertion is unavailable).
Or take this ludicrous Newsweek piece by Alexander Nazaryan, which un-ironically calls Fallon the "least woke comedian" in late-night. It opens by dramatically contrasting, among other politically charged segments, Jimmy Kimmel's heartfelt monologue about his infant son's heart condition with Fallon interviewing Amy Schumer about her new movie.
You know, the sort of thing that happens on late-night.
"Fallon’s desire to be liked, once his main asset, has become a lethal liability," Nazaryan writes.
Yes, Fallon is dead in the water. According to the Times, Fallon's show is "still profitable and strongly supported by advertisers."
Forget how dumb it was to expect someone with a segment on his program called "Lip-Sync Battle" to morph into Charlie Rose. What's annoying about all these articles is what none of the writers can bear to admit: Fallon not getting on board with the homogenous blob of liberal anger at Trump rocks their comfort zone.
They certainly aren't angry that a comedian would do something to comfort a powerful politician. Otherwise, they'd be up in arms about:
Bee's segment endorsing Hillary Clinton as the "baddest bitch" ever to run for president
Meyers crying (and not in a funny way) over Hillary Clinton losing.
Colbert sycophantically letting Barack Obama take over his show.
Trevor Noah telling Obama he's an "inspiration" to him.
But no, that was all well and good.
As far as Trump, though, call him a Russian "c—— holster" if you must, but don't you dare touch his hair.Read Less
In the latest Harris Poll EquiTrend rankings, Five Guys triumphed over the forces of evil and displaced In-N-Out at the top of the burger chain rankings.Read More
In the latest Harris Poll EquiTrend rankings, Five Guys triumphed over the forces of evil and displaced In-N-Out at the top of the burger chain rankings. According to Science™—and you wouldn't want to be a Science Denier™, would you?—Five Guys is the best, most beloved burger brand around:
JVL, Vic, and I argued about the best of the best burgers in the latest mini-episode of the Substandard, which you can download via iTunes (leave a review while you're at it, especially if your name is Jonah Goldberg; my understanding is that he loves it when people flack for reviews) and other fine podcasting services. I would assume. I never use anything but iTunes.
Or you can listen to it here:
Obviously, Five Guys is the best. And Five Guys is the best because it has the best array of toppings. But with so many options, how do you know which ones to get to maximize the burger-to-topping ratio without overwhelming the burger itself? Behold, the perfect burger:
Five Guys Cheeseburger, with ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, sauteed onions, mushrooms.
That's it. That's the perfect burger. Put nothing else on it (lettuce? gtfo) and leave none of the above off of it (I don't care if you don't like mushrooms, develop your palate you philistine). Don't @ me, I don't care about your garbage opinion.Read Less
BY: Andrew Stiles
Donald Trump’s impeachment is imminent, and the majority of his cabinet is implicated in his treason. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be our president in 2017. It was her turn. She won the popular vote, but lost the rigged election because of Russia. Fortunately, there’s a good chance that Hillary will be sworn in as president before …Read More
Donald Trump's impeachment is imminent, and the majority of his cabinet is implicated in his treason. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be our president in 2017. It was her turn. She won the popular vote, but lost the rigged election because of Russia. Fortunately, there's a good chance that Hillary will be sworn in as president before the end of the year.
Straightforward from here:
- House Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.
- House of Representatives votes to impeach the president. (Vote succeeds on second attempt, after initial vote is derailed by House Freedom Caucus demands of $10 billion in spending cuts for every article of impeachment.)
- Secret Senate Subcommittee on Water Safety, Space Militarization and High Treason (SSSWSSMHT) convenes at the top of the Washington Monument to review findings of the FBI investigation.
- Paul Ryan doesn't show up to his 6 a.m. P90X class. Search parties deployed.
- The SSSWSSMHT issues a fiat justitia proclamation, thereby affirming the articles of impeachment and declaring Donald J. Trump an enemy of the state. A tea crate containing the proclamation is ceremoniously dumped into the Potomac River.
- Sen. Susan Collins performs a citizen's arrest of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz after his alleged "foot surgery" is revealed to have been an elaborate ruse to assassinate former FBI Director James Comey with a bionic foot-approximating IED personally designed by ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- Paul Ryan still missing. Mitt Romney elected Speaker of the House by unanimous vote.
- Trump apprehended by SEAL Team Six while attempting to enter the Russian consulate in Washington.
- Melania Trump files for divorce.
- Vice President Mike Pence detained by Senate chaplain after being indicted by classified military tribunal aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford.
- Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his private guard of Freemason mercenaries escort Trump and Pence to a holding cell at Joint Base Andrews where they await transfer to a CIA black site in Poland.
- Mitt Romney sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. U.S. stock markets post double digit gains in next day's trading session. ISIS surrenders unconditionally. North Korea and Iran agree to unilaterally dismantle their nuclear weapons programs.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin arrested in INTERPOL sting operation and granted immunity in exchange for his testimony against Trump.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House advisor Steve Bannon arrested by NATO police force and incarcerated in Global Jail.
- President Romney resigns after 12 days in office after federal investigators uncover his ties to the Latter Day Soljas, a Mormon organized crime network suspected of laundering money for FSB shell corporations in the United States.
- Senate president pro tempore Orrin Hatch sworn in as 47th President of the United States.
- Fugitive Paul Ryan is captured in Texas during Operation Jade Helm II after a joint strike force of North American Union troops raids Alex Jones' fortified compound. Jones escapes and remains at large.
- Hillary Clinton is paid $650,000 to deliver the keynote address at the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals annual conference in Seattle.
- Deadspin publishes an unauthorized copy of the video mentioned in the Steele dossier purporting to show Donald Trump engaging in a very unusual situation with Russian prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow. The majority of the 55-minute video involves an extended argument over the bill.
- Anthony Weiner escapes from federal prison.
- President Hatch flees the country after a New York Times investigation uncovers evidence implicating him as a key player in the Latter Day Soljas criminal empire. Hatch resurfaces days later in the Donetsk People's Republic, where he is granted asylum.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sworn in as 48th President of the United States.
- Melania Trump and Breitbart News editor Matthew Boyle are wed in a private ceremony in the bride's hometown of Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
- Fugitive Anthony Weiner, aka "Octavius Thunderdong," is arrested again after exchanging lewd Snap Chat messages with an undercover FBI agent posing as Chelsea Manning.
- Donald Trump goes missing from the Polish dungeon.
- In a statement released by his attorney, Mike Pence says Trump escaped by using aggressive negotiating tactics on the guards, and insists "it wasn't a magic trick, or anything like that."
- In an extended tweetstorm the following day, the former president explains that he definitely did escape using magic. Trump says that after drawing upon the sacred powers acquired via the Orb of Destiny on his trip to Riyadh, and reading Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich during his time in prison, he has achieved "galactic intellect" and "conquered the paradox of transdementional navigation [sic]." He describes being treated "very fairly and honorably" by the "true media" on Earth 47B where he reigns as king. He wishes Matt and Melania the best of luck in their future endeavors.
- Mike Pence misses his friend, but feels a little annoyed that Trump didn't share with him these newly acquired cosmic powers.
- President Tillerson invokes Article X-9 of the "hidden constitution" and calls for a new presidential election.
- Independent candidate Bernie Sanders wins the Electoral College in a three-way race against Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Alex Jones, running in absentia.
- After delivering his victory speech to the nation, Sanders is immediately apprehended by Saudi special forces and members of the Moroccan Royal Guard, who chant "We're with her!" in Arabic while carrying Sanders away in a duffle bag and heaving his limp body into a black "Scooby van."
- Hillary Clinton installed as 49th President of the United States.
- In her first act as chief executive, President Clinton preemptively pardons everyone implicated in the Pizzagate scandal.
- Members of the Trump family sue Deadspin for publishing the scandalous tape and are subsequently awarded $1.2 billion in punitive damages via summary judgment.
- We did it!
I am fascinated by this paragraph from a Deadline writeup of Alien: Covenant‘s mediocre box office opening. Specifically, the bolded line:
As social media monitor RelishMix noticed on the social buzz heading into the weekend, "For the casual moviegoer, there remains sincere confusion over where the series is at this stage. Viewers are wondering if this is a Prometheus sequel, a prequel or some offshoot within the series that has nothing to do with the original characters like Ripley. Others still were wondering if the film was related to Interstellar because of the similarities in the musical score. And, comments specific to the ‘Crossing’ short, directed by Ridley Scott, express more confusion. Will this be part of the DVD extras as a deleted scene? Is it important to see this before Covenant — or after?" Also, it didn’t help that during the early development of Alien: Covenant nee Alien: Paradise Lost, Scott was wishy-washy on whether the sequel would be the further adventures of Prometheus‘ Noomi Rapace character Elizabeth Shaw. Early on that was apparently the plan, then there were headlines that she dropped out of the production, followed by news that she was definitely aboard and shooting scenes. Well, Rapace isn’t in Alien: Covenant except for in photos.
So many thoughts!
- I think it is reasonable for people to have been confused by the marketing of Alien: Covenant, especially with regard to the shorts that were released on YouTube ahead of the film. It was entirely unclear if these were scenes from the film, preludes, interludes, or what.
- That being said. If you were confused as to whether or not this movie was related to Interstellar, you're probably an idiot.
- I mean, really dumb.
- It says "ALIEN" right in the headline.
- Many of the ads featured the classic xenomorph. Many of the ads also featured Michael Fassbender playing a David-like android, last seen in Prometheus.
- THE TITLE HAD THE WORD ALIEN IN IT FOR GOD'S SAKE.
- The music actually didn't really sound that much like the score for Interstellar?
- I mean, there were echoes of Prometheus and the original Alien in the score of Covenant—I thought it was a nice, if occasionally clumsy, synthesis of the two—but not so much Interstellar.
- As best as I can tell Hans Zimmer had nothing to do with this score and Jed Kurzel didn't, like, call him in for spot work.
- Do you think this was something a marketing dickhead tried to sneak into Deadline on the theory that the people there will print any stupid thing?
- I'm curious what conversations in households such as that were like. "Hey, honey, want to go see Alien: Covenant?" "Is that the sequel to Interstellar that's out now?" "Maybe? They do sound pretty similar." "Eh, let's just stay in and watch The Counselor; I'd rather watch something by Ridley Scott."
- Can we stop these people from further polluting the gene pool?
- Seriously, the marketing people are just screwing with Deadline, right? No one actually thought this was related to Interstellar, did they?
Anyway. I liked Alien: Covenant despite the fact that once I started watching it I realized it wasn't about Matthew McConaughey's efforts to reach Anne Hathaway on a faraway planet. But, you know, maybe you could do that one next, Sir Ridley?Read Less
More than a dozen women and men accused of witchcraft in this sleepy New England village are criticizing President Donald Trump for saying the current investigation of possible ties between his campaign and the Russian government is “the greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”Read More
Salem, Mass. — More than a dozen women and men accused of witchcraft in this sleepy New England village are criticizing President Donald Trump for saying the current investigation into possible ties between his campaign and the Russian government is "the greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
"Gimme a break," said one elderly resident of Salem accused of witchcraft. "I’m going to be hanged on Gallow’s Hill because a bunch of girls had spasms."
"The president has it easy," added one of the main defendants in the case. "He’s worried about a memo. I, on the other hand, have to worry about the Court of Oyer and Terminer making spectral evidence admissible. Spectral evidence!"
"There is much value in the interpretation of visions and dreams," countered Boston minister and Trump supporter Rev. Cotton Mather, the author of Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, a publication some have regarded as "fake news." "For one thing, it's a great help when asking the accused what did she know and when did she know it."
A spokesman for the Court of Oyer and Terminer called it "a stretch" to compare the president’s troubles to the trials in Salem. "You’ve got, on the one hand, an investigation involving mass hysteria and demonic possession. And on the other hand, we have these witch trials."
A judge on the court who spoke on the condition of anonymity asked, "What’s the worst that could happen? Resignation? Because we just sentenced a man to death—he was crushed by stones." Nevertheless, the judge added that "we cannot think of a better special counsel than former FBI director Robert Mueller, a man of good German stock. We all greatly admire him and his unimpeachable integrity."Read Less
In the latest Substandard, Vic, JVL, and I lamented the passing of Powers Boothe (a longer remembrance here, if you’re interested) and discussed the latest film from Guy Ritchie, Chav King Arthur. In an effort to troll me, JVL claimed to like it, going so far as to say it’s the third-best Guy Ritchie film.
This is codswallop, as the kids* say. Codswallop! Chav King Arthur is trash and everyone knows it. Indeed, it is right near the bottom of any proper appreciation of Guy Ritchie’s films. Which, after the podcast, we shall rank.Read More
In the latest Substandard, Vic, JVL, and I lamented the passing of Powers Boothe (a longer remembrance here, if you're interested) and discussed the latest film from Guy Ritchie, Chav King Arthur. In an effort to troll me, JVL claimed to like it, going so far as to say it's the third-best Guy Ritchie film.
This is codswallop, as the kids* say. Codswallop! Chav King Arthur is trash and everyone knows it. Indeed, it is right near the bottom of any proper appreciation of Guy Ritchie's films. Which, after the podcast, we shall rank.
Not Ranked Because Not Seen: Swept Away. Seriously, did anyone see that?**
This is a movie that literally closes with psychiatrists sitting in front of the camera and explaining what the "ego" is in order to help you make sense of the what you've just watched. It's fascinatingly terrible. Avoid at all costs.
7. Chav King Arthur
I mean, c'mon.
6. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
I am 80 percent sure I saw this movie but I cannot remember a single thing about it.
5. Sherlock Holmes
Not the best movie—or, even, like, the fifth-best iteration of Sherlock Holmes in recent years—but it gets by on Robert Downey Jr.'s charm.
4. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
I think I would like this movie more if it weren't for the color palette, which I recall being roughly the same shade of brown above throughout. (Obviously, not the same exact shade, but there's a weird dirtiness to the to the film that I've just never cared for.)
3. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Possibly a beneficiary of recency bias effect, given that I just watched it this weekend to see if it was as bad as Chav King Arthur (spoiler alert: it's literally one trillion times better). I love the way that Ritchie plays with splitscreens and I think the light, jazzy editing works so much better than it does in CKA. My one problem with the film is that I think the casting of the Russian and American spies was backwards? Like, Henry Cavill should've been the dour Russian and Armie Hammer the charming American conman/art thief/spy? I dunno, it just didn't feel quite right while watching it.
(I don't actually remember this shot from the film but it came up when I was searching for Rocknrolla gifs and now it is my favorite gif of all time.)
Tom Hardy. Idris Elba. Gerard Butler. Dynamite cast. Fun movie. Sadly underseen. Where's that sequel you promised us, Guy? Quit making shite tentpoles and get back to thing you're good at. Speaking of which…
The fact that Brad Pitt didn't win an Oscar for his turn as the pikey bareknuckle boxer in Snatch is proof that the Oscars are worthless garbage. Pass it on.
*who were born in 1872
I think we have a frontrunner for Free Beacon Man of the Year, folks:
A man is suing a Round Rock woman for texting during a movie date at the Barton Creek Square theater, according to a petition filed in small claims court in Travis County.
Brandon Vezmar, 37, of Austin filed the claim Thursday against his date. He is asking for $17.31, which was the price of the movie ticket to a 3D showing of "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," he told the American-Statesman Tuesday.
Mr. Vezmar, a/k/a America's Last Hero, grew tired of his date's incredible rudeness and asked her to either stop texting or go out of the theater when she turned on a goddamn flashlight in the middle of a darkened room where people had gathered to watch a motion picture.
"It was kind of a first date from hell," he said. About 15 minutes after the movie began, Vezmar said, his date started texting on her phone. "This is like one of my biggest pet peeves."
In the petition, Vezmar said the woman "activated her phone at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages."
Eventually she did leave the theater, and—much to the delight of everyone else who had come to watch a movie without a thoughtless cretin blinding them with her disgustingly annoying smartphone, no doubt—she did not return. Mr. Vezmar did the only reasonable thing: ask to be repaid the cost of the ticket. Filing suit is the last recourse for this man of action.
How did the thoughtless harpy respond to his reasonable request to stop being such a discourteous dullard in public?
The woman said Tuesday she only texted on her phone in the theater two or three times.
"I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody," she said. She was texting a friend, who was having a fight with her boyfriend, she said. "It wasn’t like constant texting."
I hope she loses and is punished with treble—nay, quintuple!—damages. This isn't Nam, dear, there are rules.Read Less
BY: Daniel Halper
“No one in the White House likes or respects Trump.” Those are the words of a source with very close ties to a number of officials in the White House explaining the views of key personnel advising the president. It’s also the most helpful explanation of the dysfunction currently facing President Trump. When you talk …Read More
"No one in the White House likes or respects Trump."
Those are the words of a source with very close ties to a number of officials in the White House explaining the views of key personnel advising the president.
It’s also the most helpful explanation of the dysfunction currently facing President Trump.
When you talk to Trump loyalists, they tell you that the president is surrounded by a slew of opportunist, conniving, disloyal staffers who are serving themselves and not the man who won on Election Day.
One Trump transition official griped to me Tuesday, "He left all the people who like him out of the White House."
Take Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s final campaign manager. The co-host of Morning Joe said yesterday that, after defending her boss on live TV, Conway told Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough and company, "Blech. I need to take a shower." Conway, the hosts said, explained she was only doing the job for the money. She is now White House counselor—and works in an office once occupied by Valerie Jarrett.
"The notion that I am serving for ‘the money' or ‘a paycheck' is absurd," Conway said today, adding of Trump, "I know him, I respect him, I believe in him, and I am confident in his capacity to be a successful and transformative president."
My understanding, though, is that much of the staff is skeptical towards if not outright hostile to the president. And the consequences of the shared dislike have been devastating, among them a slew of leaks that has kept the administration on the defensive and unable to pursue the agenda of the president. Trump is hardly able to have a conversation or meeting at the White House that doesn’t somehow get retold to the press within days. The more embarrassing the scoop, the better.
Shortly after his inauguration, the details of Trump's tough phone conversation with the Australian prime minister were soon made public. And most recently, when the president reportedly told Russian officials information obtained via intelligences services, details of that privileged conversation were leaked almost immediately.
One anonymous former campaign official blamed the leaks on dissatisfaction. "Dissatisfied people leak, so clearly a lot of senior advisers are not happy," the source told The Hill.
The president has also been ill-served by holdovers from the previous president, whose allegiances do not align with the president's own.
By contrast, President Obama was surrounded by members of his staff who thought he could walk on water. President George W. Bush staffers believed their boss to be a decent and honorable person and a bold chief executive.
Now, it's true that both former presidents in some ways suffered from the unwavering loyalty of their aides. They rarely were told no, and dissenting views were not heard. But Trump's predecessors also benefited tremendously by being able to trust and rely on their underlings.
To be sure, there are plenty of people who both love and respect Trump. But for some odd reason they are outnumbered in this White House.
As the transition official recommended, "[Trump] needs to put in the people he can trust, the ones who were there with him from the beginning."
"He brought in the swamp," the official added.Read Less
BY: Bill Gertz
The media feeding frenzy triggered by a sensational Washington Post story alleging President Trump leaked classified information to the Russians ended abruptly today—like biting into a popcorn kernel and breaking a molar.Read More
The media feeding frenzy triggered by a sensational Washington Post story alleging President Trump leaked classified information to the Russians ended abruptly today—like biting into a popcorn kernel and breaking a molar.
"What I'm saying is really the premise of that article is false, that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security," said White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
The three-star general spoke to reporters and was about as categorical as possible in discussing an Oval Office conversation that no doubt is classified.
The anti-Trump press still clung to the Post story, with the usual suspects on cable channels parsing McMaster's remarks as somehow a non-denial denial or some such formulation.
But an easier way for the White House to solve the dispute would be to release the official memorandum of conversation, known as a memcon, of Trump's May 10 meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Memcons are the official record paraphrasing what transpired at this sort of high-level meeting and are normally produced by a State Department official. The Trump-Lavrov memcon is probably stored away in a computer file at Foggy Bottom bearing the subject "Memcons" and will likely be classified "confidential"—the lowest security classification. The reason is that such meetings rarely are used to discuss highly classified information.
I know this because one of the biggest scoops of my journalism career came from just such a document 21 years ago.
Two weeks after then-President Bill Clinton met in Sharm el Shaykh Egypt with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, a confidential memcon of the meeting was sent by cable to the U.S. ambassador to Moscow.
I was able to get a copy of it. For news reporters, documents are like gold because, unless they're forgeries, they have much greater credibility than secondhand anonymous sources. (The sources in the original Post story on Trump's White House meeting were anonymous.) Several other news outlets, including the once-esteemed New York Times, were quick to follow the Post story. Don't expect corrections.
My story on the Clinton-Yeltsin meeting ran in a six-column story across page one of The Washington Times on March 27, 1996, under the headline, "Clinton Vows Help For Yeltsin Campaign." The subhed was: "Arkansas' interest in poultry dispute discussed at anti-terrorism summit."
The summit would later be dubbed the Chicken Summit since it exposed the Bill Clinton style of leadership—going to bat for his political donors and other vested interests in his home state of Arkansas.
During the March 13 meeting with Yeltsin, Clinton began by telling Yeltsin that since they were both running for president the United States would implement "positive" policies toward Russia to boost Yeltsin's election bid.
In exchange for American support, President Clinton wanted Yeltsin to clear up "negative" issues—like a poultry dispute involving Moscow blocking imports of U.S. chicken.
"This is a big issue, especially since about 40 percent of U.S. poultry is produced in Arkansas," the memcon said. "An effort should be made to keep such things from getting out of hand."
The White House spokesman at the time, Mike McCurry, didn't deny the exchange, but lamented that the president ought to be allowed to have a private conversation without it showing up on the front page of a newspaper.
Clinton said his secretary of state, Warren Christopher, would discuss U.S. backing for Yeltsin with the Russian foreign minister, longtime KGB man Yevgeni Primakov.
"The main thing," Clinton said, "is that the two sides not do anything that would harm the other. Things could come up between now and the elections in Russia or the United States which could cause conflicts."
Earlier that month, Clinton had ordered his staff to fix the Russian ban on poultry as soon as possible. One of Clinton's major political contributors was Don Tyson, owner of Tyson Foods, Inc. and a major chicken producer.
The Times scoop is not online, but I've reproduced it below the fold.
Clinton vows help for Yeltsin campaign
Arkansas' interest in poultry dispute discussed at anti-terrorism summit
By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
March 27, 1996
President Clinton, in a private meeting at the recent anti-terrorism summit, promised Boris Yeltsin he would back the Russian president's re-election bid with "positive" U.S. policies toward Russia.
In exchange, Mr. Clinton asked for Mr. Yeltsin's help in clearing up "negative" issues such as the poultry dispute between the two countries, according to a classified State Department record of the meeting obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Clinton told Mr. Yeltsin that "this is a big issue, especially since about 40 percent of U.S. poultry is produced in Arkansas. An effort should be made to keep such things from getting out of hand," the memo said.
White House and State Department spokesmen confirmed the authenticity of the memo but declined to comment on what they acknowledged was an extremely sensitive exchange between the two leaders.
The memorandum on the March 13 talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, does not quote the two presidents directly but paraphrases in detail their conversation.
According to the classified memorandum, Mr. Yeltsin said "a leader of international stature such as President Clinton should support Russia and that meant supporting Yeltsin. Thought should be given to how to do that wisely."
The president replied that Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov "would talk about that" at a meeting in Moscow. The meeting ended last week.
Mr. Clinton told Mr. Yeltsin "there was not much time" before the Russian elections and "he wanted to make sure that everything the United States did would have a positive impact, and nothing should have a negative impact," the memo said.
"The main thing is that the two sides not do anything that would harm the other," Mr. Clinton said to Mr. Yeltsin. "Things could come up between now and the elections in Russia or the United States which could cause conflicts."
The memorandum, contained in a cable sent Friday by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, was marked "confidential" and was intended for the "eyes only" of Thomas Pickering, U.S. ambassador to Russia, and James F. Collins, the State Department's senior diplomat for the former Soviet Union.
The memo said Mr. Clinton suggested that the chicken dispute and others like it could be made part of talks beteen Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin.
Mr. Gore announced Monday that Russia has lifted the ban on U.S. chicken imports that had been imposed out of concern that the chicken was tainted with bacteria.
The Washington Times reported March 8 that Mr. Clinton intervened personally in the poultry dispute late last month.
The president's directives to his staff to solve the problem right away benefited powerful Arkansas poultry concerns. Among them is the nation's leading producer, Tyson Foods Inc., whose owner, Don Tyson, has long been a major contributor to Mr. Clinton's campaigns.
U.S. poultry exports make up one-third of all U.S. exports to Russia and are expected to total $700 million this year.
Asked about the memo on the Clinton-Yeltsin meeting, White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry said yesterday that it is "inaccurate" to say Mr. Clinton promised to orient U.S. policy toward helping the Russian leader's political fortunes. Rather, he said, the president wanted to make sure that issues in the two countries do not hamper good relations. The poultry issue was raised in that context only, the press secretary said.
Mr. McCurry, who said he was present at the meeting, also said the president was referring to "positive relations" between the two countries and not political campaigns.
Those present at the meeting included Mr. Christopher, CIA Director John Deutch, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and, besides Mr. Yeltsin, four Russian officials, including Mr. Primakov and Mikhail Barsukov, director of the Federal Security Service.
During the discussion, Mr. Yeltsin outlined his political strategy for winning the June presidential elections and said he still had doubts about running as late as last month.
"But after he saw the Communist platform, he decided to run," the memo said. "The Communists would destroy reform, do away with privatization, nationalize production, confiscate land and homes. They would even execute people. This was in their blood."
Mr. Yeltsin said he will begin his campaign early next month, traveling throughout Russia for two months to "get his message to every apartment, house and person" about his plan to strengthen democracy and reforms.
"The aim of Yeltsin and his supporters would be to convince the candidates one by one to withdraw from the race and to throw their support behind Yeltsin," the memo said.
Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov is "the one candidate who would not do this" because he is "a die-hard communist," and Mr. Yeltsin noted that he "would need to do battle with him."
Mr. Yeltsin dismissed former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev as "not a serious candidate."
"He had awoken one morning and decided to run and would wake up another morning and decide to withdraw his candidacy," Mr. Yeltsin said of his predecessor. "This would be better for him because he now had some standing and if he participated in the elections, he would lose any reputation he had left."Read Less
News broke* last night that Powers Boothe died at the age of 68, and there was much sadness. Few played a steely eyed, gravelly voiced badass with the joie de vivre of Mr. Boothe.Read More
News broke* last night that Powers Boothe died at the age of 68, and there was much sadness. Few played a steely eyed, gravelly voiced badass with the joie de vivre of Mr. Boothe.
His most iconic role, especially for those of us who came to adulthood during the so-called Golden Age of Television, was that of Cy Tolliver, the pimp with a heart of black who served as Al Swearengen's foil on Deadwood. Whereas Al's wickedness tended to serve both himself and the community he was hoping to build, Cy's brand of villainy was both a bit more selfish and a bit darker—and Boothe was the perfect man to embody the purveyor of high-class flesh.
A stocky, well-built 6'2″, Boothe brought a looming menace to the role—doubly so because there was always a hint of sadism just behind his narrow eyes. Or perhaps just above them; a protruding brow made it seem as though he was forever frowning, even as he tossed off an evil grin. Nowhere was this complex brand of menacing faux-friendliness better seen than in the seventh and eighth episodes of Deadwood‘s first season, when Cy takes under his wing a pair of teenage grifters—or, at least, appears to. He is wise to their game from the get-go, and violently dispatches with the both of them in order to "persuade" his top girl to stick around.
The sequence is hard to watch, in large part because of the barely controlled cruelty that Boothe projects: leaning over the backrest of a chair turned round, he's loose, relaxed, and yet manic, a rage building inside. Boothe's silver voice slips into a hoarse yell as Cy's anger grows. Though difficult to stomach, the scene helps drive home a point. Swearengen, for all his brutality, all his killing, was a businessman. Cy, on the other hand, was a barely constrained fiend, one just waiting to get out.
As it happens, Boothe played a key role in two of my favorite westerns: Deadwood and Tombstone, in which he played Curly Bill. It was this performance that allowed Boothe to achieve immortality in the most modern way possible: memehood.
And deservedly so: who else could sneer "bye" like that? But it's another line of Curly Bill's that I remember with greater fondness:
Fewer lines of dialogue are more useful in real world situations.
And then, of course, you have Boothe's turn as the colonel in Red Dawn. One of the key takeaways from Boothe's bit part is that if you put the dialogue into the mouth of one of our great character actors, you can get away with just vomiting up information for the viewers.
It will likely be of interest to readers of the Beacon that Boothe was one of the few out-of-the-closet conservatives in Hollywood; he provided the voiceover narration for one of John McCain's campaign ads in 2008:
The family asks that his fans make donations to the Gary Sinise Foundation in his honor.
*And then kind of unbroke and then was confirmed; Twitter's history of spreading fraudulent celebrity RIPs makes it kind of a crapshoot to take anyone's word for it, even when the initial word comes from someone (like, say, Beau Bridges) who should have firsthand knowledge.Read Less