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The Oscars have increasingly taken on the dimensions of a racket. Since the eligible movies are those that emerge at any point during the calendar year, and since the producers fully understand the minuscule attention span of the typical Academy dimwit, all the Big Pictures, calculated to appeal to said dimwit, are held back until December 30 or As a result, the experts were confidently predicting awards in late December to movies that no one had yet seen.

The major studios have always had special previews for Academy members i. As far as Big Movies go, it was year to head for the storm cellar. If the Pretentious Pictures come out in late December, the early summer is the time for movies that people may actually enjoy: a time for the fun movie.

Last summer, even I was lulled into a false sense of security, for the summer movies, in recent years strictly for the teenage monster-loving crowd, were in a relatively superior lot. The Fugitive, my own personal choice for Best Movie of the Year, was magnificent; in pace, timing, and tight editing a throwback to the great suspense and adventure movies of the past.

Also excellent was Search for Bobby Fischer, an unusual film that catches the spirit of the chess world and centers on a remarkable child actor himself a chess prodigy.

Can anyone imagine that billionaire Richard Attenborough and his team of crack scientists and computer mavens would construct a dinosaur park a in a hurricane belt, and b without a protective backup if the electrified fence went out?

Also Sleepless in Seattle, which however was a pathetically far cry from the romantic comedies of the s and 40s it imitates. The movie also lacks the crackling wit that is usually the hallmark of director Nora Ephron. Best Supporting Actress will probably be Winona Ryder, in the Age of Innocence, a movie which is indeed pretentious but not repellent, although La Ryder scarcely deserves the honor. The problem is that while the entire Academy votes for the other spots, only directors vote for Best Director, and the veteran schlockmeister Spielberg is less than popular with his peers.

The only other suspense at this writing is who will get the coveted spot as comic MC to keep the interminable award ceremony going, now that Billy Crystal has withdrawn after several years in the post.

And yet anyone who tries to Learn About History by going to a Hollywood movie deserves to have his head examined. Or did we learn the facts about the monster Cromwell by seeing Richard Harris in the hagiographical movie of the same name?

And yet, we are supposed to sit respectfully and in awe, as if we were in church, for over three hours, to watch what is admittedly a fictionalized version of a novel, and to act as if this is new and shattering History we are imbibing!

Also the idea that a German concentration camp commandant would shoot prisoners at random with a rifle, just for the sport, goes against everything we know about German military discipline or about the way any large concentration camp has to be run. These dramatic scenes in the movie, of course, have no grounding in historical fact whatever.

Or is that too much to ask? And yet, the only criticism of the film has come from reviewers who claim that the movie is not pro-Jewish or anti-Gentile enough, since the protagonist Oskar Schindler, a contractor who saved Jews in his employ, was a Gentile.

At this point it is difficult to see how Schindler could have been made to be Jewish, since if he were he would undoubtedly have been an inmate of the camp rather than a contractor. Times, January In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, a group of black high school students in Oakland were shepherded to see a showing of the movie, presumably to Uplift them from their usual movie fare.

The result: disaster. The kids acted the way they usually do in a movie: making noise, laughing and giggling in the wrong parts, generally not treating the picture with the reverence that the more elderly folk there thought it deserved.

Some were Holocaust survivors and one woman was sobbing. The four teacher-chaperons who had herded the kids there were themselves outraged at the ejection. Our kids have seen more violence and suffered more oppression than these people. It was long ago and far away and about people we never met. This brings me to The Piano, a movie which I fell into in a weak moment. The Piano has no redeeming feature: it is excruciatingly slow and boring; it seems to have been filmed in muddy brown, so that it could just as well have been in black-and-white; it is irrational and absurdist, with characters either having no discernible motivation or changing their motivations on a dime.

And Holly Hunter, putative Best Actress of the Year, who has always been an irrational non-actress, reaches a nadir here, her ugly lantern-jawed face made even uglier by being framed by a black bonnet, and her face fixed in an unvarying expression of grim hostility.

She is also accompanied by a daughter, conceived without benefit of a husband, of about twelve, who is equally ugly and also framed by a black bonnet, and who is also unusually irritating for a kid actor.

Kid actress might even cap the horror by winning the Best Supporting Actress award. Hunter and many of the other migrs are saddled with a phony Scottish burr so thick that it is difficult to make out much of the dialogue. Why is she mute? As she points out in her voice over narration, she stopped talking at the age of six with no idea why.

So much for the comprehensibility of these besotted characters. Unfortunately, we hear a lot of her piano playing in the movie. Hunter, of course, played the piano herself there was no dubbing in of Van Cliburn or his moral equivalent , and it shows. But this is by no means all: the time is supposed to be around the s. OK, there was a lot of great piano music current in that era.

So is she playing Chopin, or Schumann, and at least giving us a glorious soundtrack? Not on your tintype. What she plays is newly composed New Age noodling, sans rhythm, melody, or structure. So much for the authenticity of this film. And now we come to the toperoo of this move. The directress of this movie. Now the movies are displaying feminist eroticism.

Emetic, not erotic, is the proper term. About the only character in the movie who both acts well and whose motives are comprehensible is Sam Neill, the unfortunate husband, who is so Insensitive and Male Oppressive that he actually is interested in sleeping with his bride. Neill is also Insensitive enough to become enraged when he finds that his bride was fooling around with Keitel rather than himself.

For some unexplained reason, Hunter, who had spent the entire movie moping about her beloved piano, suddenly decides to tell the Abos to toss the piano overboard.

Her foot gets caught in the rope, drowning along with her damned piano. Unfortunately, however, even that small moment of delight was denied me, and she is rescued. The famous erotic scene of the two principals naked is enough to get almost anyone to swear off pornography.

Holly Hunter in addition to her pointy jaw, has shoulders like a linebacker, and she behaves just as grimly in the allegedly joyful sex scene as she does in the rest of the picture. One of the many puzzling aspects of The Piano, indeed, is why two grown men spend so much of their time lusting after La Hunter. As I said, The Piano has no redeeming feature whatever. The ineffable and pointless boredom of these motion pictures are apparently supposed to embody the alleged boredom of bourgeois life.

In actuality, it is not life, but these infernal movies, that both embody and induce boredom. The trouble, however, is not with foreigners per se. Moreover, it was not always thus. But once in a while there comes a shining exception to the rule. Disappearing fairly quickly from the screen the first time around, it came back in wake of the award.

Cinema Paradiso is a heart-felt autobiographical valentine by director and screen-writer Tornatore to the small town in Sicily in which he grew up during and after World War II. The movie is a rich tapestry of life in the Sicilian town, a town without cars or means of entertainment except the local cinema, where everyone crowds in to see the latest Italian or Hollywood product. The central character Salvatore, marvelously played for most of the film by a child actor, is fascinated by the life of the projectionist, the center of movie magic.

The projectionist, Alfredo, magnificently played by the great French actor Philippe Noiret, reluctantly becomes a mentor to the boy, whose father had been killed in the war.

When, over a decade later, the movie theater burns down, a large shining new theater is built, funded by a Neapolitan who had just won the lottery. After thirty years! The death of Alfredo, however, inexorably draws Salvatore, thirty years later and famous as a movie director in Rome, back to his home town for his funeral. He finds enormous change; the town, now packed with automobiles and TV sets, has no more use for the movie theater, which is being torn down for a parking lot.

In this world, coherent action and struggle can emerge dramatically by heroes, villains, their rank and file supporters, and by innocents caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately, the Western movie is no more, felled perhaps by endless and unimaginative repetition, but possibly, too, by the dogged leftist insistence in the later Westerns for the Indians to be the Good Guys and the whites the Bad.

The more recent innovative Hollywood genre, ranking with the Western, is the Mafia movie: the clash of heroes and villains against a mythic but reality-grounded world, updated to twentieth-century America. Some of the great directors have contributed gems to this genre. The Godfathers were perfection: an epic world, a world of drama and struggle, tautly organized and memorably written, beautifully and broodingly photographed, in which greed struggled with the great virtues of loyalty to the famiglia.

The key to The Godfathers and to success in the Mafia genre is the realization and dramatic portrayal of the fact that the Mafia, although leading a life outside the law, is, at its best, simply entrepreneurs and businessmen supplying the consumers with goods and services of which they have been unaccountably deprived by a Puritan WASP culture.

The unforgettable images of mob violence juxtaposed with solemn Church rites were not meant, as left-liberals would have it, to show the hypocrisy of evil men. For these Mafiosi, as mainly Italian Catholics, are indeed deeply religious; they represent one important way in which Italian Catholics were able to cope with, and make their way in, a totally alien world dominated by WASP Puritan insistence that a whole range of products eagerly sought by consumers be outlawed.

Hence the systemic violence of Mafia life. Violence, in The Godfather films, is never engaged in for the Hell of it, or for random kicks; the point is that since the government police and courts will not enforce contracts they deem to be illegal, debts incurred in the Mafia world have to be enforced by violence, by the secular arm.

But the violence simply enforces the Mafia equivalent of the law: the codes of honor and loyalty without which the whole enterprise would simply be random and pointless violence. Except that in its state of illegality it operates in an atmosphere charged with difficulty and danger. It is interesting to observe the contrasting attitudes of our left-liberal culture to the two kinds of crime, organized versus unorganized.

Organized crime is essentially anarcho-capitalist, a productive industry struggling to govern itself; apart from attempts to monopolize and injure competitors, it is productive and non-aggressive. Unorganized, or street, crime, in contrast, is random, punkish, viciously aggressive against the innocent, and has no redeeming social feature.

In a sense, street violence embodies the ideal of left-anarchism: since it constitutes an assault on the rights of person and property, and on the rule of law that codifies such rights. One great scene in The Godfather embodies the difference between right and left anarchism. One errant, former member of the Corleone famiglia abases himself before The Godfather Marlon Brando.

A certain punk had raped and brutalized his daughter. He went to the police and the courts, and the punk was, at last, let go presumably by crafty ACLU-type lawyers and a soft judicial system. This distraught father now comes to Don Corleone for justice. Why did you go to The State? We will take care of him properly. In a world where the idea that the punishment should fit the crime has been abandonedand still struggled over by libertarian theoristsit is heart-warming to see that the Mafia has worked it out in practice.


Mises Review

Mogal Evan Mclaren rated it really liked it Aug 18, Rothbard the journalist, cultural critic, political observer, and movement organizer. Is this feature helpful? Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Books by Murray N.


The Irrepressible Rothbard

Mises Review 6, No. Rockwell, Jr. In a few paragraphs, Rothbard destroys the prevailing doctrine of twentieth-century American foreign policy. According to the Accepted Picture, totalitarian powers twice threatened America during the past sixty years. Germany, under the maniacal leadership of Hitler, aimed at world conquest. When the United States and her allies succeeded in halting the Nazis, a new menace demanded attention. The Soviet Union, a militantly expansionist state, had to be contained during the protracted cold war.


Irrepressible Rothbard: The Rothbard-Rockwell Report Essays of Murray N. Rothbard





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