Category Archives: Movie Review

A Screenwriter’s Responsibility

I have been a fan of Robert Avrech’s Seraphic Secret for a number of years. He has really given me an appreciation for classic Hollywood. Plus, he is an Emmy award-winning screenwriter. He knows his subject, which is movies.

Something he said that has stayed with me. I will have to paraphrase it. As an industry, Hollywood is a tremendous force for molding public opinion. for good (as they did in WW2) or bad (in my memory from Vietnam through today).

That’s why when they report on history and use too much “artistic license” they are doing a disservice to the viewer.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal:

it is the courage to continue that counts.

That quote is attributed to a man I have long admired – Winston Churchill. He was truly a man for the times in 1940. With the foreign policy of Neville Chamberlain an abject failure, the decision to pick Churchill as the next Prime Minister was far from unanimous. The movie I saw this afternoon, Darkest Hour,  filled in some facts that I did not  know.

Churchill had 25 years of political failure that prepared him for his greatest role. Years that would have crushed virtually any other politician.

I remembered a wonderful BBC production from 1981 called The Wilderness Years, when during the 1930s at an age he was expected to retire from politics, he was ridiculed as the lone voice warning the country about the coming of Hitler.

Well worth seeing to remind one of Britain’s precarious times, and the remarkable man fate chose to shoulder the burden.

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By lex, on February 28th, 2012

Very much in the eye of the beholder, according to the admittedly partisan Hinderaker, who surveys the legacy media’s response to “Act of Valor“:

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Wind River


This has been an unusual year, as far as movies go. I have seen 2 memorable movies this year, which is 2 more than the average year. The first was Dunkirk, of which so much has been written nothing more need be said. Well, one more thing.

If seeing it at an IMAX theater (recommended), don’t buy your ticket 30 minutes before the show and expect a good seat. I sat in the 3rd row craning my neck ever upwards at the 6 story screen. Which necessitated my seeing it again.

On the advice of a fellow Lexican (MarineMom) I went to see Wind River. It is a limited release movie but if your area has it I’d recommend it. It is about the death of a young Indian woman, and the interaction of the young urban FBI agent (who had jurisdiction), played by Elizabeth Olsen) and the Wyoming Fish and Game tracker, played by Jeremy Renner.


Besides the beautiful cinematography of the Wyoming landscape, it has a wonderful screenplay with many memorable lines and scenes.

Dealing with grief was one of the subplots.


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Resurrection Of An Archaic Term


Just saw a wonderful movie today and the screenwriter(s) introduced a term not used in 60 years.


Yes, before they became made of tubes, then transistors then silicon, “computers” were a job title reserved for people, usually women, adept in math who did many mundane (but necessary) mathematical computations.

Just saw a movie that dealt with a very special computer, Katherine Johnson and 2 of her friends who were instrumental in getting manned spaceflight a reality for NASA. And they were African-American.

Johnson was a math protege at the age of 6 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Wonder how they computed the orbital reentry point at 17,000 mph to place the capsule within 20 square miles of ocean? How they were able to develop heat shields to withstand thousands of degrees in reentry?

Johnson was at the center of it.

It’s a wonderful story of perseverance of 3 women (overcoming the barriers of being female and black) and being a major influence in early NASA.

Hidden Figures. Worth seeing.



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The Birth Of A True Fast Food Franchise?




I can remember in the mid 1960s a friend of my  parents wanted a McDonalds franchise.

Among the qualifications was to get into a virtual line with other would-be franchisees. When an opportunity became available – anywhere in the country – the next person at the front of the line would have that offered. Meaning that if you lived in San Diego and the next new McDonalds was going to open in Des Moines, IA  you either took  it  or went to the back of the line to start the wait all over.

They were that coveted.

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True Courage

Don’t Order A Large Drink For This Movie


There’s really only a small handful of movies in my opinion that remain true to showing the horrors of combat. Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was one of them, as was Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers. 

Gibson’s new movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is in this category. It is a story about an Army soldier that movie producers have tried to make for 60 years.

As with most heroes – virtually all of them in my opinion – they are very humble and do not wish the limelight. You won’t find any of them bragging about their exploits in a bar trying to impress people.

A Hero for my definition here is anyone who served honorably in combat.

In this instance, the subject of this movie, Desmond Doss, a humble man from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was even approached by Audie Murphy years ago to obtain movie rights.

All Doss  wanted to do after the war was tend his garden and be left alone. A few years ago before his death, he relented and allowed a movie to be made. What makes this subject unique in a war movie is that he enlisted as a C.O. – Conscientious Objector – after Pearl Harbor. Because of his strong faith, he refused to pick up a weapon. From Basic Training to the battlefield.

It is a story of faith and courage, both on and off the battlefield.

He was even willing to face a court marshal for his beliefs.

It was during the court marshal  scene that my bladder over-pressure light went on as a result of the large Diet Coke.

And it was glowing brightly.

But the scene was so compelling I did not want to leave the theater so I was out of my seat and standing along the wall, not wanting to miss anything integral to the movie (which was written so tightly that virtually every scene was integral).

The battle scenes of Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa were uncomfortably realistic.

As to what Doss did to be the first Conscientious Objector awarded the Medal of Honor – you will have to see the movie and learn of this amazing story.


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