July 22, 2014

Now Playing

(Reviewed June 30, 2014)

An austerely beautiful film by the Anglo-Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski that could hardly be a greater departure from his earlier My Summer of Love

Under the Skin
(Reviewed May 14, 2014)

A memorable portrayal of an interplanetary seductress disguised as a disguised Scarlett Johansson

The Other Woman
(Reviewed May 6, 2014)

An often funny revenge fantasy for wronged women which either doesn’t know about or can’t allow itself to show its more serious side

Le Week-End
(Reviewed April 11, 2014)

An unfunny comedy whose reason for being appears to be a celebration of the extravagant self-pity of its central character

ENTRY from July 16, 2014

This summer I once again presented, on behalf of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Hudson Institute in Washington, a series of six movies shown at the Hudson Institute. The general theme this year was Middle America and the Movies. The series concluded on Tuesday, July 15th with a screening of Breaking Away of 1979, written by Steve Tesich and directed by Peter Yates. It starred Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie. Before showing the film, I spoke for a few minutes about it as follows.

Welcome to the sixth and final movie of this year’s series on Middle America. I want to start tonight with what LeBron James said in his public announcement about returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers — that’s a basketball team, by the way — after four seasons with the Miami Heat:

My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio. . . to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.  Full Entry

Media MadnessMy book Media Madness, is available for order from Encounter Books. Less a polemic than an attempt to understand the origins of the mass media’s folie de grandeur, the book is a warning even to those who are deserting the big networks, newsweeklies and large-circulation dailies not to carry with them into the more attractive world of niche media the undisciplined habits of thought that the old media culture has given rise to. To order this book, click here.

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback, is Honor, A History, which was first published in 2006. A study of Western cultural artifacts, from the epics of Homer to the movies and TV shows of today, it is focused on explaining why Western ideas of honor developed so differently from those elsewhere — and especially from the savage honor cultures of the Islamic world. The book then goes on to trace the collapse and ultimate rejection of the old Western honor culture from World War I until the present day and to suggest the conditions that would have to prevail for its revival.

Recent Articles

Dean of Contradictions June 9, 2014.
The savage, satiric, sympathetic Swift — From The Weekly Standard of June 9, 2014 ... Full Article

Bad words May 31, 2014.
Literary decorum is obviously on the way out in the media, but must that mean there is no longer any such thing as news not "fit to print"? — From The New Criterion of May, 2014 ... Full Article

Among the Supremely PC May 31, 2014.
Hollywood’s idea of morality and religion, like its idea of everything else, boils down to self-congratulation — From The American Spectator of May, 2014 ... Full Article

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