Divorcing Hollywood

I used to like going to the movies. When I was growing up, going to the movies was an occasional treat. In the very early days, it was the drive-in movie double-feature. Likely this was because it was cheap, and Dad was a grad student with a family, and on a tight budget: JP and I in our pjs, with bedding and our pillows in the venerable 1952 Plymouth station wagon, the back seat folded down, and falling asleep almost as the titles for the second feature rolled; Charlton Heston as El Cid, seen dimly through the windshield of the Plymouth, between Mom and Dad’s heads, and the rearview mirror. Sean Connery as James Bond, bedding another of an enthusiastic series of chance-encountered and spectacularly-endowed women, and me thinking, as I dozed off, “Oh, that’s nice – she hasn’t got a hotel room, and he’s sharing his …”
Yeah, I was six or seven years old. That’s what it looked like to me, curling up in the back of the station wagon, as my parents finagled their own low-budget date night. Later on, it would be a Disney movie in one of the splendid, then-sadly-faded old picture palaces in Pasadena; the Alhambra, the Rialto, or the Academy, accompanied by Granny Jessie – this after much discussion of which movies appropriate for grade-school age children were available at a matinee showing. This would be one of only one or two movies we saw in a theater for the entire year, so we would choose very carefully, indeed. I think Granny Jessie was grateful when we were able to appreciate somewhat more mature fare, such as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy.

We were not without connections to The Business in a back-stage manner, though. (The Business; every town has a Business – a main, if not the tentpole employer.) For at least a decade and a half, we attended a small Lutheran church convenient to Beverly Hills/North Hollywood, which drew on a number of parishioners thus employed – mostly in technical specialties, but now and again recognizable personalities would show up among the congregants. For a brief period, Betty Hutton coached the children’s choir, teaching us to belt out “Shine on, Harvest Moon.” For a number of weeks, Mom noted an attractive young blond woman at services, assuming that she was one of the foreign au par girls (of whom where were any number in attendance during those years). The blond girl was Elke Sommer. Her public image in those years was of a Germanic sexpot, but in real life she was a devout and observant Lutheran.
We also had a familial connection to The Business, in the form of one of Granny Dodie’s nieces. As an aspiring actress, she met and married a guy who was a solid B-list actor in the 1950ies. Nothing to me, particularly, save that their sons also went into The Business, and eked out a mild degree of success in it. The sons’ familial resemblance to Dad – especially as they mature – is so marked that I can’t watch either of them doing a love scene on screen without squicking out. “Oh, ICK, Dad!” The connection is sufficiently remote – second cousin degree, I think? – that we’ve never thought of trading on it. We have pride, you know.

When I finally returned from the decade+ stint overseas – one of the joys of being Stateside was that I could go to movies in the multiplex to see a movie on opening weekend! We didn’t have to wait six months for it to turn up at the base theater! And then … it seemed that around about the late nineties, there just wasn’t much that we wanted to see any more. The one movie series that the Daughter Unit and I waited for, with breathless impatience was the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Since then, most everything else left me with a serious case of the ‘mehs’ – a remake, a comic book hero, some earnest bit of politically-correctitude, or ultra-violent with car crashes and gunfire substituting for witty conversation and intelligent plotting. I’d catch a movie in theater maybe once or twice a year; more often on DVD. For a couple of years, I was getting DVDs to review for a small news and culture website, but now we have streaming service and access to all kinds of non-Hollywood content. I will leave to one side the ragingly-liberal bent among Hollywood denizens, plus the screaming hypocrisy of loudly condemning Harvey Weinstein and his casting couch (and potted plant) … and then appearing at award shows on the red carpet wearing a wisp of a gown which barely covers nipples and pubes. Girls, if you don’t want to be treated like a piece of easy meat by the powerful? Don’t dress like a piece of meat for sale to the highest bidder – and if you must do so for the sake of your so-called career, then please stop complaining about the quid pro quo. On all that – done with Hollywood movies, nearly done with television content produced by the same.
I didn’t watch the Golden Globes, of course – it’s practice for not watching the Academy Awards. So – I’m divorcing Hollywood – can I have custody of creative originality, please, since it doesn’t seem like they are using it, to any perceptible purpose?

60 thoughts on “Divorcing Hollywood”

  1. IIRC, the last time I went to a movie theater was about 15 years ago- and it was a foreign film. I stopped TV when I couldn’t be bothered with the change to HDTV. Too much hassle to reprogram everything when I saw maybe an average of an hour a week- British comedies and football games.

    Interesting stories about the actresses at your church.

  2. Yeah, Gringo – it was … interesting. I don’t remember Elke Sommer in any detail, but I do remember Betty. She was a vivid personality; I rather disapproved of her dress sense. She wore pedal pusher trousers and as she was older than Mom – I kind of thought that was unseemly.
    Hollywood is loosing us ‘militant normal’ citizens, I believe. But they haven’t yet begun to feel the full pain of having done so.

  3. We saw “Dunkirk” and “They Shall Never Grow Old.” Those were our trips to the movie theater this year. The local theater in Oro Valley (Just north of Tucson) has a series of classic movies they show through the year. I suspect they get better attendance at those.

    We did see the Entebbe movie and it was awful. The Palestinian terrorists were the heroes.

    Chapaquiddick was good and I was surprised anyone made it.

    I had to do a search of all of 2018 movies to remember the last two.

  4. “Hollywood is loosing us ‘militant normal’ citizens, I believe. But they haven’t yet begun to feel the full pain of having done so.”

    A big part of the market for films in now international….the producers may be more concerned about keeping the Chinese market open to their films than about marketing to a 50% slice of the American population.

  5. .the producers may be more concerned about keeping the Chinese market open to their films than about marketing to a 50% slice of the American population.

    Oh, I think the international market has been dominant for a decade, at least.

    I remember when “Dallas” was popular world wide and people thought all Americans lived that way.

    The anti-American tone of so many recent movies has serious foreign policy implications. No wonder they hate us.

  6. $100M is a hit Hollywood movie. Say tickets average $10, then that’s 10M tickets sold, so even if there are zero duplicate attendees (not true, of course), that’s 3% of the population seeing their movie. And that’s what they call a hit. The fact is that it’s too easy to make a ton of money in Hollywood, so why would the vermin who run the industry care about appealing to the great unwashed masses, when they can get filthy rich by just focusing on a tiny fraction of people?

  7. I go to the movies frequently but it isn’t for the current Hollywood faire. Saw a wonderful movie a couple weeks ago – they shall not grow old –

    What a spectacular movie – and technology put to good use – those old shaky B & W movies came to life


    Plus, Fathom Events has a great program – once a month, a classic movie.

    Well, not everything a classic – in addition to North By Northwest, Vertigo, Casablanca they have shown Smokey and the Bandit – but hey, I’ll even take the latter over Spiderman XXIII.

    Mary Queen of Scots is great, although that didn’t come via Hollywood.

    I guess Hollywood and I are separated; but I haven’t given up on movies.

    Oh, one more spectacular movie – and independent – Free Solo


  8. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

    That was a great one. Culture, media, humor, movie markets, the studio system, politics – what else has changed since it was made?

    Do Millennial audiences laugh at early-1960s humor?

    What are the demographics of the audience for Get Smart reruns?

  9. Oh, one more spectacular movie – and independent – Free Solo

    My wife wants to see that. We decided to order the DVD.

    The classic series in Oro Valley is probably similar, Bill. It’s just that we have gotten out of the habit. It takes something special to get us out of the house. Like Opera.

  10. I remember my parents taking us to the drive-in theater to see a double feature of Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. I’ll never forget it because we also could see a meteor shower in the sky. It must’ve been the late summer Perseids. Of course, the drive-in was outside of town away from city lights. I think we brought blankets and sat on top of the station wagon, alternating between the show on the screen and the one in the sky, wondering if a real E.T might be up there.

    I was at the tail end finale of the drive-in heyday. They closed it when I was just finishing high school. It’s funny to think about it now. It was the end of a long tradition of teenagers going to the drive-in on dates for the express purpose of making out with each other. I know I paid to attend several movies there with my girlfriend without actually seeing many of them.

    It was all fairly innocent. No one went too far, if you know what I mean. At least I wasn’t aware of anyone. It was just a public place for semi-private intimacy. I can’t think of anything like that today. It wouldn’t be tolerated. Thankfully, I suppose. Do kids even go out on dates anymore?

  11. Mike, if you can, see that on the big screen. The cinematography is absolutely spectacular. You wonder how they did it and they had fellow climbers position themselves at strategic spots. I think the guy was nuts personally. Imagine hanging on a vertical wall 3,000 feet up with a half inch crevice to place your feet and hands. One of those things that if I believe he tried it 10 times statistics and fate would catch up to him

    This has to be one of the greatest athletic feats ever done.

    I was thinking this morning too, the fourth remake of a star is born is excellent. Didn’t know Lady Gaga had the chops

    I think what we are all talking about art of so many of the Hollywood movies with social justice warrior themes in them.

    In the way most of the stars behave at the Academy Awards.

    There are bright spots here and there.

  12. The Russians are Coming . . .

    My dad took me to see it when I was a kid — the only time he and I went to the movies together.

    He served in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII. Oh, wait, I remember another time. He took me to see PT-109.

    I thought of The Russians are Coming the other day when I was pondering a commenter’s (insincere) claim that if we needed a wall on the southern border then we needed a wall on the northern border. That got me thinking about the place I grew up, the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. I was trying to imagine a horde of migrants coming ashore up there. Even though there are endless miles of wild beaches, there is no way it would not be noticed, eventually. Imaginary hilarity ensues. Frances McDormand would have to be in the cast.

  13. Brian
    $100M is a hit Hollywood movie.
    One year I bought a pass for an independent film festival. I saw about 20 movies on that pass.The quality of those low-budget films impressed me-good cinematography and good stories. You don’t need $100 million to make a good movie.

    I have a memory of a drive-in-movie when a preschooler. Marilyn Monroe was on the screen. I was fast asleep within minutes.Decades later, when an adult, I saw a Marilyn Monroe movie on TV. She was a good comic actress.

  14. It was the end of a long tradition of teenagers going to the drive-in on dates for the express purpose of making out with each other.

    I have fond memories of hayrides for the same purpose plus you could drink beer.

  15. I sure like the memories recalled by commenters old enough to remember going to the Drive-In with Mom and Dad. I’m one of ’em. Very sad to see Drive-Ins have disappeared so much throughout the country. Nothing can simulate the experience of the Drive In, an iconic part of the U.S. Thanks for prompting my memories of same. Hadn’t crossed my mind in too long a time.

  16. I also went to see “Dunkirk” in a theater – the only one I’ve gone to in at least two years. I would have liked to see “They Shall Not Grow Old” but it only showed for one day in San Antonio, and we had a client meeting that day at that time.
    Otherwise – I am watching “Watership Down” in Netflix, and I did watch “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” via the same.
    I am reminded again of what some commentors have said in discussions touching on this: a movie is a short story. A novel is a miniseries.
    For a novel to be made a movie and not make it hours and hours, and hours long – so much has to be excised and simplified. I am rather liking the Watership Down series in that respect.

  17. I hope the version of “Watership Down” is the older one. I understand the new version is PC from top to bottom.
    I read that novel to my kids when they were young and was able to show the real Watership Down to them when we were in England during their teens.

  18. I think that “Titanic” will turn out to be a bigger disaster for the movie business than it was for Cunard. It is the first movie I remember that cost substantially more than $100M.

    When I heard that, I thought that this would prove that even Cameron could spend more on a movie than it could possibly make back. Instead, it seemed to show that if you spent enough, millions would pay to see how you did it. That seems to have come to an end.

    I wonder what they’ll come up with next. I think a lot comes down to the fact that the ones in charge of the studios have no more idea what will be successful than I do. If they admitted this, they would be out their obscene pay checks. Instead, they trot out a succession of plausible sounding formulas that are supposed to guarantee profit. We have “bankable” stars that heven’t been in a profitable picture in decades or sequels or franchises.

    For the first 50 years of the business, there wasn’t much competition. A lot of great films were made along with a lot more crap that still worked because they were the only game in town. If you showed it, they would come. Once a movie ended its run, it ceased to exist for all intents and purposes. Now, in addition to having to compete with all of the other options, they have to compete with all of the good stuff they’ve done til now.

  19. When I heard that, I thought that this would prove that even Cameron could spend more on a movie than it could possibly make back. Instead, it seemed to show that if you spent enough, millions would pay to see how you did it. That seems to have come to an end.

    See Waterworld.

    An excellent book on the movie business is by legendary screenwriter Wm Goldman

  20. I liked “Waterworld” but only because of the sailing. The story was preposterous. A friend of my son’s actually sailed the catamaran in the movie. As my son started the Transpac Race that year, his friend brought the Waterworld catamaran out to the start to watch.

    I took my mother to see “Titanic” when it came out. She was 14 when the ship sank. She laughed at the sex scene in the car.

    There is a pretty good book on “Heaven’s Gate,” too.

  21. I just got back from seeing Free Solo in IMAX (didn’t realize with parking my “ticket” would be nearly $30) – but what spectacular footage.

    That and They Shall Not Grow Old are the 2 movies of 2018.

  22. I remember when “Dallas” was popular world wide and people thought all Americans lived that way

    Jerry Springer had a lot to do with how Americans were perceived, as well.

    It was all fairly innocent. No one went too far, if you know what I mean.

    LOL, in the 70s, I certainly did. Plenty of privacy considering the windows were totally fogged up. And it wasn’t unusual. But the 80s were more conservative than the 70s, no question. I suppose students were, too. I actually ticked off my GF once because I actually DID want to watch the movie. LOLZ.

    You couldn’t do that anywhere as easily in modern cars, anyway. They don’t have the room.

    I saw a Marilyn Monroe movie on TV. She was a good comic actress.

    I recommend Asphalt Jungle, an exceptional John Huston flick, about the “dark side of human endeavor” — essentially a new idea at the time, of doing a picture about a crime from the side of the criminals. It’s one of Monroe’s first notable roles. You can see in it what made her into a star even then. It’s a very small part but she is captivating even so. I’m going to offer a note of warning below to anyone younger reading this, regarding older movies like Asphalt Jungle: The pacing will bore you, if you aren’t prepared for it.

    As to modern movies, yeah, there’s a lot of preachy crap. But there have been a number of good movies released.

    Pretty much any of the Marvel movies from Iron Man onwards have been fairly good. Pretty much any of the Pixar animated movies have been good. There are exceptions, but there ARE good flicks to be found.

    I’ll make the following observation —
    Movies can be broken into about four different eras, base on key changes/events in the business.
    1) Silent movies to Talkies. Kinda DUH. The movies that followed are very different, and the acting requirements changed, so a lot of actors from before could not change with it. With speech, overacting was no longer needed. Some of the earliest talkies still had issues with not Getting This. Notable films: Cimarron, Grand Hotel, It Happened One Night
    2) “Casting To Type” to “Method Acting” Until Brando, movies were cast mostly based on how you LOOKED. There were movies which were “cast against type” — you made the blonde into the bad girl — but acting changed radically when Brando hit the screen. Now people were really acting, not “looking the part” Notable Movies: Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, Marty
    3) The Hays Code to the MPAA. Before the MPAA, the Hays Code ruled movies and put ridiculous constraints on movies, notably that married couples depicted in movies could not be in the bed together, even if they were married in real life (sold a lot of twin beds, no doubt). A man and a woman could not even SIT on the bed together, fully clothed, unless they each had one foot on the floor (Dunno about you, but pretty sure I could find a way to have sex in that position). No question, you can argue that nudity and sex are used too casually in modern film, but still, the old way was too extreme, see any Spencer&Hepburn film. Notable films: Midnight Cowboy, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassssss Song (The latter for being given an automatic ‘X’ because Melvin Peebles refused to submit it to an all-white judgement jury)
    4) MTV — this one is the most subtle of the shifts. Strangely enough, the biggest effect of MTV was probably on movies and (eventually) on TV. The methods used to make videos short and visually appealing — quick cuts, various FX, and other forms of visual shorthand — all these pacing techniques slowly worked their way into movies made during the 80s, such that people who grew up watching movies made after 1990 can have a hard time watching pre-1980 movies (“Is anything going to freaking happen, GEEEZ this is sooooo freakin’ slow!!”), and people who grew up watching pre-80s movies have a hard time watching post-90s movies (“I hate these modern pictures, it’s all SLAM! BANG BOOM! ZIP ZIP ZIP!!”). Movies made during the 80s are hit or miss as to how the pacing goes. Mind you. anyone can LEARN to enjoy the older or newer pacing, you just have to be patient with it. And kids who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s are best off, as they probably got a lot of exposure to both pacing levels. But it does mean that, if you’re going to watch a movie with someone young, they probably need to be warned ahead of time that an older movie will be very slow to them until they’ve watched enough of them that they get used to it.

  23. We just got back from seeing “Free Solo,” largely on Bill’s recommendation. It was OK. My wife loved it.

    The climber guy is definitely a Aspergers Syndrome case. His mother said his father was one so, I guess, he comes by it honestly.

  24. I saw Mary Poppins Returns and it was the first movie I’ve seen in theaters in three or four years.
    I can watch a movie or two from a Redbox every now and then but it’s mainly unwatchable dreck.

    But as long as China is paying Hollywood’s bills, expect nothing to change.

  25. Sgt. Mom: Check around locally again for “They Shall Not Grow Old” – I thought I’d missed it too, but up here in Silicon Valley it’s got another showing scheduled in a couple weeks at a longish list of theaters including the local multiplex. I plan to catch that one.

  26. It seems to me that Hollywood and the Networks are pushing a lesbian and gay agenda; creating an atmosphere of acceptance, even when everyone knows that sodomy is wrong. Even original Netflix or Hulu programs push an agenda that everyone knows is evil.

  27. “A novel is a miniseries.”
    I don’t think anyone under 40 knows what a miniseries is…

    Bah, I’m 35 and remember various miniseries—- to the point that I SUGGEST it as a way to adapt novels! Usually, at least the opening novel has too much to be adapted to video form without a miniseries. Lonesome Dove comes to mind as the earliest example for me.


    My husband has a theater subscription thing just so he can take the kids to see movies.

    ….we have four kids old enough to do movies…and enough credits to do two “take everybody” shows…. do the math. :(

  28. Your childhood and adult movie experiences track mine almost step for step. I was a child of the 60’s, and movies were a Special Event that we would sometimes don coat and tie to attend. We would see no more than 3-4 movies a year, and it was always Disney or similar fare, from Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson to Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. They would be shown at massive, old, ornate film palaces from the 20’s and 30’s, with continental or Arabian motifs, like The Alhambra, The Ritz or The Melba. My parents went to their rare movies at the drive-in as well: I first (sleepily) saw Atlanta burn around Rhett and Scarlett from amidst a bunch of quilts and pillows in the back section of a 1966 Buick station wagon.

    As a high school and college student and young adult I saw every movie that came out. But after marriage and kids, of course we saw kids’ movies. Until the kids stopped going with us, and I was free again to see whatever I wanted. And I found I didn’t want to anymore. Or didn’t want to see what there was to choose from. Because even though there were five times the number of movies being released since the 90’s than there were in the 70’s, there was nothing offered I remotely wanted to see.

    For at least 25 years the movies have been horrible and depressing. The America they portray is completely foreign to me and to everyone I know. We can’t recognize anyone or any attitudes in American Beauty or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or any of the despairing, hate-filled fiction-masquerading-as-history movies by Oliver Stone. They are just totally foreign to us.

    So I stopped going. The last movies I saw in a theater were the LOTR series and 2-3 of the early Harry Potter movies. Before those it was Shakespeare in Love. We just quit seeing them. Now I listen to BBC radio dramas and audiobooks, and watch Turner Classic Movies instead (although it’s difficult having to suffer hard-left host Ben Mankiewicz).

    I didn’t want to stop going to the movies, but I had no choice. We didn’t leave Hollywood: Hollywood left us.

  29. I don’t believe I’ve been to a movie theater in 15= years, they’ve managed to almost totally lose me. I very occasionally buy a new movie on DVD, but that’s about it. These days, I’m more likely to buy anime than a Hollywood product.

    I admit there are a few books I’d love to see made into movies. If you could find a suitable, intelligent, action-adventure actor for the lead role, “Hell’s Gate” would make an excellent retro-techno-thriller along the lines of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. As a quick thumbnail sketch, it involves stopping a joint Nazi/Imperial Japanese effort during WW II to launch an attack on the US from a plateau in the middle of the Amazon jungle using sub-orbital spaceplanes (Sanger’s concept).

  30. Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and Cunard to this day despises the White Star line. It’s like all their ships sank.
    I felt Hollywood leave me about ten years ago and have little use for them.

  31. I go to a couple of movies a month but I go by myself, the theater is walking distance from my apartment, and T-Th before 6:00 p.m. they have four buck tickets for those of us of a certain age, and I find my critical sense tends to go down with the price of the movie. Around the corner is an art theater and they often have six buck matinees. It’s quite rare that I will actually drive to see a picture and I think the last one was “Darkest Hour.”

    Until a couple of years ago we had a sixteen screen theater in the area (suburban Detroit) that had shows for two or two and a half dollars, and I was perfectly happy with a lot of movies at that price. But ten bucks or more for a movie, twenty plus popcorn if I have a date…very little is worth that. There’s stuff on cable, including on demand, and YouTube has a lot of movies…I’m working my way through the “Carry On” movies these days.

    But yes, they’d rather worry about the Chinese market, and of course what sells there is not the smaller and more reflective picture.

  32. Hollywood itself is born of the most exploitive of judgments: classism, racism, sexism, ageist. Movies are largely about appearances but in the past, entertainers at least kept any disdain for their fans and their politics well hidden. Movies, comedy and tv these days is just the audio/video equivalent of a Midnight Oil concert; concern rock. “HEY YOU! In the front row! STOP SMILING!”

    Most movie money seems to be made as a subsidy from merchandising and product placement so, they don’t need us watching. Be kind & return the favor.

  33. “in the past, entertainers at least kept any disdain for their fans and their politics well hidden.”
    The studio system certainly had its advantages. Keeping the “talent” from destroying the business was a big one. Also, in the early days of Hollywood the studios were run by their creators, who knew what the market actually wanted. Later generations of executives who gained power of an existing big business are selected for their ability to maneuver up through the bureaucracy, rather than actually to build/create/sell something people want. (It might be an interesting experiment to overhaul corporate law so that a corporation can’t outlive its founders. Once they die, the corporation dies as well, with some graceful winding down period. Then those who can create and build a new entity could do so, and those who are just parasites are scattered before they can do too much damage on what someone else built.)

  34. It seems to me that Hollywood and the Networks are pushing a lesbian and gay agenda; creating an atmosphere of acceptance, even when everyone knows that sodomy is wrong.

    I don’t really care that much about sodomy in private but The POPE is now pushing that agenda!

    That guidance arrived this month in the form of 3,800 words of coded generalities the point of which is: take no votes, condemn no one, especially homosexuals in the Church. Place responsibility upon the whole body of bishops, united in prayerful penance, and practice mutual forgiveness. To do otherwise, to “point fingers” at malefactors, is to define the Church as the “idol” of one of humanity’s tribes and as the servant of its mores. This would divert the Church from the overriding need to align itself with greater humanity’s greater causes—protecting the environment as well as incoming Third World migrants.

    President of the U.S. bishops’ conference Archbishop Daniel Di Nardo pronounced (most of) his colleagues “not happy” with the pope’s November demand. Presumably, they were even less happy with his guidance. For them to dodge personal accountability by trying to bury the sex abuse scandal in a cloud of operationally meaningless words is to alienate themselves from their flock—which, in America, is also the Church’s sole pecuniary source. But the pope is the pope. As Mao Zedong used to say, fish begin to rot from the head.

    We went to the “Free Solo” movie on timer, assuming that the previews would not be shown, as they were not for the Peter Jackson movie. They were there and louder than ever. Every preview was for a comic book movie, each louder and grimmer than the last one.

    I try to screen out typos but I am having a lot of trouble with a new laptop plus autocorrect.

  35. Hi, Sgt. Mom. I grew up in Pasadena in the ’60s and, like you, saw many movies at the Rialto and the Academy (before it was divided into a multiplex). Also, the United Artists, the Crown, the State, and the Colorado. By any chance, was the drive-in you mentioned the Hastings (in the Hastings Ranch neighborhood of Pasadena)?

    The problem today is not the lack of quality material out there, it’s the flood of outstanding content washing over us via regular cable, pay cable, Blu-ray/DVD rental (Netflix), and streaming services (e.g., Netflix and (Amazon) Prime Video). We’re truly living in the golden age of movies & TV (including the greats from the past available for renting or streaming). The challenge is to filter out all of the crap that is also out there. It’s sort of like panning for gold. There’s some tedium involved, but the payoff is worth it. That’s work I’m happy to do!

  36. Hi, Jay! Yes, we loved going to the movies in the grand old theaters in Pasadena – but I think that the drive-ins that we went to as kids must have been out in the San Fernando Valley, near to where we lived in Sun Valley, AKA Roscoe.
    There was an old-style drive-in diner called Crazy Dogs, which in the early days had the waitresses on roller-skates. It was THE teen hang-out, then. They were famous for hot pastrami sandwiches, which were fabulous, even after the fad for roller-skating waitresses faded away.

  37. And then there is the matter of…the Coen Brothers. A treasure always and everywhere (btw Fargo was an Indy film). Their most recent, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is dizzyingly good. The fact that it’s a Netflix thing rather than an MGM thing is of no more interest to me than whether my T-shirt shipped from Bangladesh or Lowell, Massachusetts

  38. “hypocrisy of loudly condemning Harvey Weinstein and his casting couch (and potted plant) … and then appearing at award shows on the red carpet wearing a wisp of a gown which barely covers nipples and pubes…”

    Good article until this. Many innocent (and well-dressed) young actress (and even actor) wannabes were molested and raped by Hollywood tycoons. This included children. A little more research would have easily yielded that information.

    Otherwise good article.

  39. Yes, we loved going to the movies in the grand old theaters in Pasadena

    I remember standing in line on Colorado Blvd waiting to see “Tom Jones” when up walked my microbiology professor. Everybody went to the same movies in those days.

    “Tom Jones” was pretty racy for those days.

  40. to MikeK: if you didn’t like “Entebbe”, try “THe last King of Scotland” .

    No thanks. A friend of mine, when he was in Saudi Arabia on business for MacDonald Douglas, sat in a sauna with Idi during this exile.

    Idi began as pro-Western and the Israelis built his airport, a big help when they had to invade it.

    I’m assuming that “Vice” the latest anti-American offering of Hollywood will be another left wing flop. The number of ads on Facebook suggests the trouble it is in.

  41. I thought Last King of Scotland was OK until towards the end when the movie started to descend into the surreal, dreamy sequences. The first half of the movie was crisp and engaging, but they switched to flashy editing because they didn’t seem to know how to end it. Forest Whitaker was awesome, but the guy who played the physician was a forgettable contrivance. Who really cared about him by the conclusion?

    The Coen Brothers are good when they have good actors. Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski, together with Walter and Donny, were some of the all-time great characters. The Dude bumbling around as a latter day Venice Blvd Sam Spade was inspired. On the other hand, any of their movies with George Clooney can be safely ignored. Coen Brothers roles are always cartoonish caricatures, so it takes someone skilled at the craft to make it work.

  42. I remember back in the late 80s or so for a while people asked why so many child actors turned out so badly, turning to drugs, crime, etc. That question isn’t asked anymore, but we all know the answer is that Hollywood is full of the most depraved and disgusting predators you can possibly imagine (and far worse than most of us can), and horrific things are done to anyone wanting to break into the industry, including children.

    I actually think that Hollywood and the general media and political establishment, both in California and nationally, have covered up the “truth” about Weinstein, which is that he is completely typical of the people who run that cesspool, and in fact his proclivities were far, far tamer than most of his colleagues (Spacey, Singer, etc., etc., etc.).

  43. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, Brian – that Weinstein is not the worst or the only abuser. And I can only imagine that those child actors who have turned out well – or at least, as functioning, apparently-well adjusted adults who never have featured in the tabloids – had clued-in and ferociously protective parents. Didn’t Sean Astin say something of the sort in an interview last year, about his parents practically standing guard over him?

  44. Yes, it was Elijah Wood I was thinking of – And yes, Sean Astin’s parents are also in the business – as my father’s cousin and cousin-in-law was. Which might account for the fact that their sons are relatively sane and moderately successful. Having a connection means not having to make a pit-stop at the casting couch.
    Poor Judy Garland – such a messed-up life. I’ve often thought that Shirley Temple’s parents set the standard for parenting star children. When she was not actually on-set shooting a scene, she was away at lessons and leading a normal child’s life. No indulgences and liberties. Of course, she was a good bit younger than Judy when she hit stardom, so the parental units had a good bit more say and control.

  45. What MGM did to Judy Garland was horrible – uppers, downers – don’t know about sexual abuse.

    And no, historically Weinstein is far from the only one.

    But while it is not PC I wonder how many women subject themselves to this in the hopes they will advance? I mean, being invited to a hotel room?

    Golly Gee!

    It was with the Cosby trial that I had to wonder how many women throw themselves at you? Of course to drug them is evil. But if you are a connected star in Hollywood you wonder how many young women throw themselves at you?

  46. You have to wonder how much politics drives all investigations and trials. Of course just look at the Clinton foundation.

  47. Yes, of course young beautiful women (and men) throw themselves at those who are gatekeepers to fame and fortune in Hollywood. Why do you think the likes of Harvey Weinstein go into the movie production business? How else would he get that sort of attention? Similarly, why do trash like Andy Cuomo go into politics? Because how else would he gain the immense power he wields? Some men want sex, some want power, the problem is systems that have focal points that can be taken over by garbage men like them.

    There are countless women who were given the choice and walked away in disgust, and we’ll never know their names. And there are certain very rich and famous women who we all know who made numerous movies for Miramax who we are apparently all supposed to pretend are pure as the driven snow. Like I said, it’s all a huge coverup of the insane depravity of that entire industry.

  48. Not only a cover-up, but the hypocrisy is on full display during the Academy Awards. But I think much of the public is starting to catch on.

  49. This is what is angering the public about the recent Gillette commercial. It portrays ostensibly middle class, middle American males as somehow so inherently debased that they require constant surveillance, interventions, and reeducation. Meanwhile, it’s post-American institutions like Hollywood and cable newstainment infested with male feminists in sheeps’ clothing that are the real problem.

  50. There is a certain irony in wealthy Far Left anti-Americans living in gated communities in Malibu making movies in Canada for the Chinese market. But we don’t have to watch.

    Fortunately, making movies is not a Hollyweird monopoly. Strongly recommended — a relatively low-budget 2013 Japanese movie, “The Apology King”. A delightful thought-provoking clever comedy about a man who specializes in the Japanese art of helping people apologize. One of those movies where things escalate hilariously from a minor traffic accident in which a young woman accidentally dents a gangster’s car to an all-out international diplomatic disaster.

  51. There are lots of classic movies I can watch. I was just reading, “On the Road to Tara,” which is the story of the making of the movie “Gone With the Wind.”

    I looked and found I don’t have a copy of the movie and ordered one. I did have a copy of “The Prisoner of Zenda,” which Selznick was making at the same time.

    Margaret Mitchell’s life was interesting, too.

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