Signs and Portents

In noting a pair of interesting and sort-of-related developments this last week, I am wondering if they are an indication of just how deeply angry ordinary Americans of a deplorably conservative bent are with the panjandrums who provide our entertainment, of the pro-sports and movie varieties. The first is the fact that ratings for the NBA finals are cratering, and other pro sports aren’t very far behind. The Commie Crud probably is discouraging physical attendance at games, for sure, and ostentatious displays of partisanship for Black Lives Matter on the part of players have definitely ruined any pleasure in watching games for viewers who just want to forget about politics and protest for a while. It’s also a very bad look for well-compensated and privileged Black players – a good few of whom are not precisely paragons of gentlemanly and law-abiding behavior themselves – to go on national television openly expressing solidarity with an assortment of Black thugs, addicts and criminals who have had fatal encounters with various police forces in the last couple of years.

Black lives may indeed matter, but it certainly doesn’t look as if the lives of Black business owners, Black police officers and random innocent Black citizens caught in exchanges of lead disagreement between Black gangsters matter don’t seem to matter very much at all to the most outspoken BLM supporters in various sports. We suspect that the lives of White citizens are valued even less, although one might think that the money paid by White fans for season tickets, sports memorabilia and product endorsements might earn at least a little apolitical courtesy. It would appear not … and sportsball fans of all colors are abandoning the stadiums, fanship and broadcast games with alacrity. It might be that professional players of some sports might have to have a second job to support themselves in the off-season, unless the Chinese fans and endorsement dollars keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

The second development was the closing of theaters in the Regal (US) chain, and those in the UK run by the parent company Cineworld. The primary cause is, of course, the enforced closings of places due to the Commie Coronavirus Crud. Let’s face it, going to an ordinary multiplex to see a movie had become less and less a fun thing to do, in the face of rising ticket prices, noisy patrons, ear-splitting audio levels, projector bulbs kept dim to spare expensive replacements, and now the opportunity to catch the Commie Coronavirus Crud sitting in an enclosed space for two or three hours among strangers in the dark … er, well … you first.

The last movie I made a special effort to go see was at an Alamo Drafthouse, where at least an effort is made to ensure courteous behavior among the audience, and they serve food and drink during the movie itself, and my daughter went with friends to a move at an Evo Entertainment outlet a couple of months ago to see 1917,  a venue which offers movies, a bar and sit-down restaurant, bowling, paintball and a game arcade; there is some kind of future for movies … there may even be a revival of the old-fashioned drive-in movie theater.

Assuming that there are any new Hollywood releases out there that anyone wants to see … which is the other half of the challenge facing movie theaters. The big blockbuster movies that ordinarily would have had a huge opening weekend have nowhere to go, except possibly to a pay-per-view opening on streaming video … and that $30 a pop for the live-action version of Mulan was perhaps not a brilliant notion for Disney. Has anyone heard anything about how that went down among the audience? I haven’t seen anything, so I suspect that it didn’t do well at all. And with the Hollywood entertainment establishment going all woke for the insatiable throbbing dick of diversity, as well as dunking enthusiastically on conservatives generally, there’s even less to look forward to at the multiplex. I’ll content myself with foreign movies in subtitles and old releases on DVD. Discuss as you wish.



38 thoughts on “Signs and Portents”

  1. I’ve clicked past the NBA finals a few times. Every time they pan across the court that slogan is shoved in your face. Why do they think anyone wants to see that? And to be honest all sports media turned me off a decade or more ago when they decided that the audience needed to know they were all far liberals for some reason.
    Movie theaters where I live are all still closed. There are going to be a looooot of folks from NY moving south in the next year, please ask them if they’re from upstate towns, and be nice and welcoming to them if so, it’s really not their fault.

  2. Are there any BLM martyrs that weren’t felonious thugs? Do the BLM types realize they’re inviting the conclusion that black men are criminals generally speaking, if a random selection of them (as BLM would have us believe of the cops) turn out to be thugs?

    Sportsball, sports media (hell, make that all of the media), and Hollywood, for my money (literally) cannot die soon enough. One has to wonder if any of these institutions can ever regain some standing with the American public, and if so, what it would take to do that. I suspect that the “woke” athletes are going to be in for quite a shock at the next round of salary negotiations.

  3. I was enough of a fan to follow a team without trying to make sense of the inane yammering of the supposed experts. I would at least have the TV on during the game. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve watched more than the Super Bowl and maybe a playoff or two. The leaden pace, where every down requires more preparation than D-Day, with the never ending commercials interspersed with the inane yammering mentioned above has turned me off. Now this. I will refrain from sharing where they can put the whole thing, folded five ways so all that’s left are points.

    I work in the shadow, nearly, of the AT&T blister and the Ranger’s new pup tent. I wonder how much the taxpayers of Arlington will be on the hook if it all implodes. Blister because I usually refer to it as Arlington’s big wet kiss on Jerry Jones’ rear end and carbuncle is too technical.

    All the rest either never had me or lost me years ago, they didn’t seem to care then, I doubt they’ll make me a priority.

    The movies have put themselves into a corner where every one has to be a blockbuster or it’s a disaster. Unfortunately for them, all the people bringing down eight digit pay checks are no better at out guessing audiences then they ever were. So anything that manages a decent box office will be duplicated endlessly until they’re sure the genre is most sincerely dead. They haven’t convinced me to put down any of my money for at least ten years.

  4. But it does seem that she had appallingly bad taste in boyfriends. She seems to have been – from the stories that I have read – basically a facilitator for her former boyfriend.
    Bad choice on the part of the PD to break into her apartment, though. From some of those stories, she was fired as an EMT for stealing drugs from the ambulance she was assigned to.

  5. WRT movies–I’d been down to watching maybe 1 a year for a number of years now, and then only when my wife wanted to go. (Dunkirk was good.). No Netflix, no cable– somehow what has been on offer, even when it isn’t politicized, hasn’t sparked any enthusiasm.
    I’d rather read a good book.

  6. RE: Breonna. Another of the population who can not see the consequences of their actions. Breonna lived with a drug dealer in a location where drugs were received and distributed. It was inevitable that someone (Police or gangsters) would come looking for the dealer’s stash and/or cash. Since she didn’t move from that location when she found a new sweety, when their door got kicked in, she had two “smart” options; 1) be on the bedroom floor calling 911, or 2) be climbing out the window. Instead, she stood up in the midst of a firefight and got dead. Breonna didn’t have the smarts to become an effective nurse, no “situational awareness”, etc. Other than routine duties, patient care requires the ability to deal with complex environments. Breonna just stood there.

  7. I didn’t go to the movies that often, primarily because there were few mainstream movies (all that the big chains ever showed) that I wanted to see, but I’m still sad about the theater closings. Despite noisy, downright rude, patrons and ever higher prices, I enjoyed the communal experience of going to the movies. Going to the movies was also something I did with my family. At Christmas and Thanksgiving, when we gathered together from far and near, we always saw at least one movie together. Now going to the movies is something people did in the olden days.

  8. Not all were “thugs.” I haven’t heard that Breonna was accused of violent offenses.

    That’s a minor quibble, and bit of a straw man. She herself might not have been accused of violent offenses, but the fact that her most recent boyfriend putatively assumed that someone pounding the door was either a) her ex-boyfriend, coming for revenge, and/or b) thugs trying to rip off his drugs, and consequently started blasting speaks volumes, I think.

    Can we agree that her boyfriend was a thug, unless he was one of those mostly peaceful drug dealers? And that it appears that he used young Breonna as a bullet sponge. If so, chivalry, truly, is dead.

  9. I haven’t been to a movie theater in nearly 2 decades. Nor have I watched many movie videos during that time. From a recent Instapundit posting, I saw Documentary PBS Gail Halvorsen The Candy Bomber :the Berlin Airlift. Couldn’t find it again on Instapundit, so went to YouTube.

    While I am not a happy camper at NBA political stances in recent years, as far as I can tell I hadn’t contributed anything to NBA coffers before my discontent, so my discontent with the NBA is financially irrelevant to the NBA.

  10. I’ve been a fairly avid moviegoer my whole life. At a guess, I’ve seen about 5000 movies in theaters in the last 50 years. The most ever was 4 in a day, other than occasional themed film festivals/marathons, such as a Planet of the Apes Marathon, which had all five of them back in the 70s at a Drive-in. Attendance has gone down with increased prices and alternative venues such as DVDs/BRs, also the disappearance of the “discount matinee” and the “dollar theaters”, but increased now that I get “Senior” prices, which tend to be the lowest)

    While I hate “woke” shit, it is/was possible to avoid most of it. The Marvel CU movies for the most part avoided too much wokeness to this point (even Black Panther and Capt. Marvel were not horribly bad — I never felt I was being lectured to, even with the opportunity to do so). James Bond also managed it until this latest iteration, which might or might not suck.

    The really stupid thing is they’ve been shooting themselves — and the theaters — in the foot with the endless pushback on the major films.

    The industry NEEDS a major tentpole film — Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, or No Time To Die (Bond) — to get people to come back to the theaters.

    And yes, for a movie like that — especially the first two — they WOULD come, I’d argue. But the severely disappointing response to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet scared the hell out of them. The problem is that it’s no gauge. Tenet is a somewhat muddled mess. I don’t think it’s bad but it damned sure is hard to follow and hard to figure out. I suspect it will do a lot better when you can watch it a second time through on DVD/BR, but I suspect it would have had a disappointing box office even without CV. It’s just hard to follow, and its time-travel kind of plot is convoluted. It’s a very interesting idea that it’s based on, but it just doesn’t seem all that well done — in a year (1998-99) that had Dark City, The 13th Floor, and The Matrix exploring the concept of virtual reality, Tenet is Dark City, not The Matrix. Certainly not bad, but not “WHoa!!” either.

    There are a lot of good movies out there which don’t beat you over the head with woke shit. Avoid the woke ones and give the sleepy ones your money. Hollywood is one place where money matters somewhat. There’s a limit to how much they are willing to take a bath on some concept crap.

  11. Part of the challenge of protesting is getting and keeping the public’s attention. Ambiguous cases are often stickier in terms of media attention because the relative weakness of the case invites argument. Think of the Martin-Zimmerman case. If Zimmerman had actually been what he was originally portrayed as the story would likely have fizzled out fairly quickly (see Dylan Roof). The fact that he was not guaranteed the public furor would be sustained by the constant back and forth between the two sides. In a very real sense, Zimmerman’s innocence was actually an advantage to the BLM organizers, because it guaranteed that the issue would remain visible.

    It’s rather sad actually, and the inevitability of this kind of thing existing somewhere in a country of 300 million means we’ll be dealing with this for a long time.

  12. the writings of anyone who capitalizes “white” and “black” can be safely ignored. please do not vote.

  13. I have played and loved high school, college and pro football all of my life (well, not so much playing now) and am an avid fan and watcher. I use it as a nice escape for a few hours a week. My family knows when I watch football that I just want. To. Watch. The. Game. It’s the only time of the week I actually capture 100% for myself. By the way, nice job by my Bears last night.

    All of that said, I am pleasantly surprised at how super good I am at 100% ignoring all of the lectures, preening, kneeling, and all the rest. It just doesn’t matter to me. Lets’ get to smashing each other, boys.

    I still have my Bears season tickets. The first couple of warm weather games I attend and we use those to gather friends from college and others to tailgate and see each other. The rest of the games I give to customers. It’s a nice thing to rally around and everyone knows when it’s time to get together. Of course, not this year.

    The Bears were very prompt in issuing refunds when they cancelled the fans from the games.

  14. When the entertainment industry (studios) was run by Jewish guys from Europe, they knew exactly what they had to do and made sure they pleased the audience. Interestingly in some of the stories about Oliva de Haviland after her death, you heard about her and Reagan’s efforts to thwart the Soviet (communist) influence in Hollywood. Dalton Trumbo was no innocent martyr to HUAC. The bulk of the talent and producers are always hedging their bets, guessing that looking lefty makes you somewhat safe to hire in the future.

    Since to assure this safety in Woke times, you have to put such blatant signals in your work that it looks almost Soviet. Disney is finding this out with China.

  15. Couldna happened to nicer people…and they aren’t nice!

    The wife and I went to our local one-screen cinema to see a movie made of a book by a local writer. There were about 60 viewers. We enjoyed it.

  16. I’m not a big sports fan, but did lift weights for a while. I knew some crazy people who lifted, and I would guess they overdid the steroids, when Trump was in the hospital. I think he is still taking them, it would explain a few things. ;)

  17. I knew some crazy people who lifted, and I would guess they overdid the steroids, when Trump was in the hospital. I think he is still taking them, it would explain a few things.

    Anti-inflammatory steroids != anabolic steroids.


    You know estrogen is a steroid, right?

  18. I am a movie fan but not mostly what has been produced the last few years. I have a large collection of DVDs of classics. My wife and I have seen a few until the Chinese flu. “1917” was one, “Dunkirk” was OK with a few odd moments, “The Cold Blue” was very good. The Clarence Thomas documentary was about our speed.

  19. “You know , right?”
    There is no way to fill that sentence in and have the answer be affirmative for penny lol.

  20. We watch movies in our retirement fairly often; I love the way Direct tv can record everything John Ford directed or Jimmy Stewart acted in – and it can stay for a year until the night you want to see it. The movies from the war years (39-47 or so) stand up – at least for us. But that’s a whole different thing than theaters – we go to a movie every couple of years and then it is somewhat from duty. There’s so much on tv – you tubes and old movies, etc. – it is easy to find something to watch, but that’s because if you have tastes like ours you are essentially living in a time warp. Since human nature hasn’t, really, changed, the old ones are as powerful as they were then and listening to Ella Fitzgerald still charms.

    It is true, after an interview or comment pops up, the sense that I never want another cent going to pay that person’s salary seems to take over for the industry as a whole. People that see Weinstein as a “god” or think Trump should be killed have no right to lecture anyone about ethics. But they do.

    My husband stopped watching sports years ago, except for the Aggies, of course. I never did – well, I do more now, because that’s part of growing old together, I guess. The bios of Thomas and Grant were wonderful – that’s more what tv does, of course.

  21. We must not lose sight of the true tragedy of this Presidential cycle. Megan Markle was apparently too busy breaking up the Royal Family and house hunting to enter even one primary. I can hardly wait for 2024 when she should be able to give this her full attention. Then we can forget about irrelevancies like the Supreme Court to extrapolate China policy from the height of her high heels.

  22. I’ve mentioned this one before, long ago… From 2008, shortly before the election.

    How to Get So Dead in This Town
    Robert J. Avrech – Emmy Award winning screenwriter.
    In the spacious, well-appointed conference, I’m at the tail end of a script conference with a group of high-powered studio executives.

    It’s a good meeting. The company is enthusiastic about my latest spec script.

    Spec scripts are not studio assignments. Instead, I wrote it on my own time in the belief that I’d find a buyer, and thus attach myself as executive producer and reap much higher financial rewards. Owning and controlling my own scripts, though risky, is one of the best ways for a Hollywood screenwriter to control his career. My batting average with specs is, so far, pretty darn good.

    The production company optioned my script almost as soon as it hit the market

    Now we’re discussing a rewrite—actually, more like a polish. I also have to deal with some below-the-line budget problems. Figure out a way to cut a few million from the script and make it doable. I figure I’ll scale back on the massive action scenes and combine several locations.

    The execs are a creative, experienced group. Their notes are solid. I’ve known most of them for a long time. We’ve been in Hollywood for some 20-plus years. I like and admire these execs. Always respectful of my Orthodox Judaism they go out of their way to schedule lunch meetings at kosher restaurants.

    We’re all on the same page, script-wise. I’m thinking: this is fab-u-lous, we’re gonna make an excellent movie.

    I’m also gripped with a huge sense of relief because the meeting did not include the standard and obligatory George Bush-is-worse-than-Hitler pre-meeting chat.

    Yup, it’s all smooth and professional — until the meeting devolves into sheer lunacy.

    “Okay,” announces the senior studio executive, “I just want to make sure that everyone in this room is voting for Obama.”

    To the left of me a junior executive goes: “Well, sure, of course.”

    To the right of me another executive nods his head up and down like a bobble and mutters: “We need Obama so badly.”

    Let’s be honest, folks: I can just grunt in the affirmative and be done with the whole wretched ambush.


    The studio exec is smiling, all charm and fuzzy-wuzzy, but his eyes betray confusion. I mean, Hollywood is in the tank for Obama, all except for a handful of out-of-the closet Republicans and even more who dare not voice their conservative beliefs for fear of being blacklisted. This is not paranoia, It’s just the way it is for Hollywood Republicans swimming in an ocean of liberals.

    “Earth to Robert?”

    All eyes are on me. My colleagues are shifting uncomfortably in their super-comfy leather chairs.

    Everyone in Hollywood takes it for granted that if you work in Hollywood you are a Democrat. Hollywood people, whose job it is to imagine stuff, find it hard, if not impossible, to imagine a Republican in their midst.

    I feel like a Marrano, a secret Jew, unveiled before the Inquisition.

    Time to man-up.


    “Look, I don’t talk politics. I’m here to make a movie.”

    Seriously, the studio exec looks like he’s just had a glimpse of the apocalypse and his head is about to explode.

    He’s like: “You are kidding, right?”

    I’m totally absorbed in the incredibly complex task of closing my MacBook and shtupping it into my briefcase.

    I glance up, all eyes on your faithful blogger.

    G-d in heaven, I silently pray, puh-leeese let loose with an earthquake—not massive and corpse strewn, mind you—just awesome enough to send everyone scurrying for their lives and get me the heck out of this totalitarian canyon.

    Is my prayer answered?

    No, it is not.

    I’m like: “Let’s just make a great film together.”

    My studio executive goes all Ludwig Wittgenstein on me.

    “You’re not voting for Barack. That means you’re voting for John McCain,”

    Now I’m focused on zipping up my laptop case. It’s unbelievably complicated and demands all my attention.

    Smiling through a deadly combination of disbelief and rapidly escalating anger: “Robert, this is not a democracy in this room. You don’t get to abstain.”

    I love liberals. They’re so not liberal it’s almost a fulfillment of George Orwell’s 1984.

    “Look, I don’t discuss politics or religion in business meetings. Sorry.”

    Sure, I could say that I’m voting for McCain-Palin, but I don’t feel like playing in their playground. I want to create some simple boundaries.

    “Sarah Palin is such a backward step for women,” chimes in a young, slender D-girl. DG is an Ivy League grad, overeducated, overbred and fashionably undernourished. She invariably shows up at meetings poised for the runway in Prada, Armani, Dolce Gabbana, plus a seemingly endless supply of Manolo Blahnik pumps, footwear whose combined cost is more than the GNP of several third world countries.

    I shrug, trying to give the impression that I’m way too stupid to process D-girl’s sophisticated political analysis.

    Finally, my agent—G-d love him—claps his hands together and all hyper and energized and trying desperately to create a Ho Chi Minh style diversion announces that this is a great script, that the notes are great, that we all have great relationships, that we’re going to make a great movie, and it’s all so, you know, great.

    Oddly enough, I don’t feel so great.

    In the elevator going down to the parking lot my agent chuckles and calls me a four-letter word. He does this with great affection.

    “Why don’t you just give ’em what they want?”

    “As Barack Obama once sad: That’s above my pay grade.”

    “It’s a good thing you have so much talent or you’d be so dead in this town.”

  23. I couldn’t care less about professional sports. As to the theaters, I am not surprised about Regal – and many other businesses. How are they supposed to stay with constant expenses such as rent and property taxes keep coming? And no income?

    The govt many mandate closure, but they certainly aren’t going to ease the burdens of their constituents by cutting them a break on taxes, nor, I suspect, most of the landlords.

    The only movie in recent times I regret not being able to see on the big screen, was Greyhound. Locally I have only attended Century theaters – Cinemark – and what they are showing now is a curiosity. They show all “old” movies such as Back to the Future, with no showtimes.

    Personally for the most part I would prefer these to most of the latest from Hollywood.

    One of the best movies I saw in the Big Screen in recent years was North by Northwest a few years ago. Fathom Events sponsors these restored movies.

    Seeing Cary Grant stuck on the field with the biplane on the big screen was the way in which Hitchcock intended.

  24. “insatiable throbbing dick of diversity” – I love your site generally but that made me LOL for a while. Nicely done!

  25. Then we can forget about irrelevancies like the Supreme Court to extrapolate China policy from the height of her high heels.

    Shouldn’t we consult Willie Brown about this?

  26. Does it count for nothing with you deplorables that these selfless celebrities have generously taken time from the limited interval they have available before their next stint of rehab to try to lead you gently onto a path of righteous enlightenment?

    If imbecilic stupidity is driven from the realm of public discourse, these benighted souls would be rendered mute as the Gaza Sphinx. Have you no compassion?

  27. C’mon, MCS, they got naked. Nothing proves you’re a serious thinker quite like expressing your position in your birthday suit. Socrates probably did that.

  28. So you couldn’t make my head explode (it was close), now you are trying to make me lose my lunch? You’re killing me, Larry.


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