Big Hollywood’s been in this pop culture/politics battle for over two years now and I’ve been in it for almost seven. And this is where we are at with “The Undefeated” (which opens today):
Corrupt MSM- check.
A three-year crime committed against Sarah Palin- check.
The election of our lifetime a year away- cha-freakin’-eck.
Now … it’s all up to you.
And don’t let me down. I’m famous for holding on to a grudge like it will save me from a fall.
Besides getting a nomination for outstanding miniseries or movie, the project also earned nods for Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper, who portrayed brothers John and Robert Kennedy, respectively, and for Tom Wilkinson in his role as family patriarch Joe Kennedy.
Congrats to Joel Surnow and the rest of “The Kennedys” cast and crew. This is well-deserved and then some. I found the mini-series as compelling as anything Surnow has done, including “24.” It was also brilliantly acted, especially by Kinnear and Pepper, who offered up performances as opposed to impersonations. Most impressive, however, was the plot-structure. You had an overall character arc for all the main players that played throughout the series as a whole while each individual episode contained its own addictive drama. Like “24,” this was essentially the story of a flawed but honorable man constantly forced to make impossible choices.
Too bad Emmy voters aren’t in charge of the six or seven media conglomerates that run absolutely every facet of our entertainment world. Not to take anything away from Reelz, who did a superb job promoting their acquisition, but this was a top-shelf piece of entertainment and history that didn’t deserve to be tarred with a dishonest controversy. I walked away from the series admiring both John and Bobby Kennedy even more than I did before. For all their foibles, the series presents them as patriots with a deep love of country and God. The Kennedys were not Leftists, they were old-school Democrats — something closer to today’s conservatives. And my guess is that this was the message the Left didn’t want to get out about their “liberal” heroes.
Don’t you love it when things work exactly like they are supposed to? Netflix raises their prices. Blockbuster counter-moves. Oh how I love me some America.
There is no better value in the world than entertainment. From electronics to the software it brings to us, we get more quality and bang for the buck in this arena than any other. Why? Because the big, fat, bloated, corrupt, intrusive, incompetent government pretty much stays out of everyone’s way.
What say we apply this same theory to health care and education. Who’s with me?
–ANDREW KLAVAN WILL BE ON RUSTY HUMPHREYS MONDAY AT 5:35PM. ANTICIPATE THIS OVER THE WEEKEND AND THEN LISTEN IN HERE.
–OUR FRIEND HUNTER DUESING HAS A COOL NEW BLOG CALLED “MOVIE MAN CAVE.” CHECK IT OUT.
CLASSIC PICK FOR SATURDAY JULY 16TH, 2011
1:30 PM EST Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943) — A loner gets caught up in a posse’s drive to find and hang three suspected rustlers. Dir: William A. Wellman. Cast: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes. BW-75 mins, TV-14.
There are too many impressive elements in this masterpiece to list there, so I’ll focus on just two. The first is the runtime. In this era of 135 minute comedies (comedies!), the astonishing amount of human drama director Wellman fits effortlessly into just 75 minutes is a miracle all on its own and one today’s filmmakers should take the time to study. Pacing is becoming a lost art in the world of motion pictures and “The Ox-Bow Incident” is where any filmmaker looking to crack the code of that problem should start.
The second element is Dana Andrews’ timeless and Oscar-worthy performance. Anyone who’s read me for any period of time knows I sing Andrews’ praises at every opportunity. If asked to choose one actor who has never received his due from history, it would most certainly be this incredible performer who, regardless of the role, always brought with him an unspoken reservoir of melancholy and empathy that grabs hold of you and never lets go.
Andrews is surrounded by a great cast here and all give superb performances, but for my money this is his film and his alone. Andrews effortlessly steals every scene and the haunting emotional impact you’re left with after the credits roll would be nowhere near as profound without his presence. If you watch “The Ox-Bow Incident” tomorrow afternoon, watch Andrews and then tell me I’m wrong.
Dana Andrews was a one-of-a-kind whose underrated body of work is joy to discover.
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