Now THIS Is An Unethical Movie Review!

True, it comes to us from The Daily Kos, so it shouldn’t be news. That far, far Left site jumped the ethics shark so long ago, the shark was a Megalodon, and the Julie Principle was devised for such situations. The Daily Kos is dishonest, biased, and believes in stimulating its loyal progressive-wacko readership by any means necessary, so why is Ethics Alarms pointing out that it is again doing what it does and can be relied upon to do, without shame or regret?

Just this: unethical film, stage, and book reviews are a passion of mine, and I’ve never seen one this bad.

The headline at the Kos is “Movie review: ‘My Son Hunter’ is a soft-porn conspiracy flick for weird conservative incels.”

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Tolerating The New Racism

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How long will it be before fair social critics, principled elected officials and ethical Americans firmly and decisively say “enough”?

Freed from the restraints of common sense, fear of hypocrisy and language by the George Floyd Freakout as well as the resulting Black Lives Matter Great Terror, writers, educators and politicians are openly engaging in racist speech and assertions without, apparently, fear of condemnation. After all, it is easy to tar any critics as racists themselves, because the new, acceptable racism is targeting whites. They think being characterized as monsters, murderers and habitual oppressors by virtue of the color of their skin is cruel and dehumanizing, the fools! Don’t they know it’s true?

I reached my limit regarding this Orwellian farce even before the ugly death in Minnesota of a career criminal from a likely drug overdose was exploited to justify riots, property destruction and the demonization (or intimidation) of anyone who couldn’t claim to be “of color.” Surely others unjustly vilified are reaching their limits as well. I hope so. History’s record of what happend to groups that meekly accept denigration and blame-casting in the vain hope that it will all “blow over” is not encouraging.

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The Inherently Incompetent Profession: Film Reviewer

I noted just now, as we were debating the virtues of “Deadpool 2” in this post, that the New York Times savaged “Aquaman,” though it is shaping up as a huge hit with audiences.  Earlier this week, the Times reprinted excerpts from the original reviews of classic Christmas movies in its pages, showing how the Times’ arbiters of film quality had originally given a “thumbs down” to “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and “Scrooged,” as well as some theoretical Christmas fare as “Die Hard,” and a personal favorite, the Christmas horror movie “Black Christmas.” (Pop Quiz: One director was responsible of two of the films mentioned above. Which two, and who?)

This raises an issue—again—that I have thought about often. Why should anyone pay attention to what a movie critic thinks? They are so far from typical viewers it’s ridiculous. They see too many movies; they see the same plots and devices over and over again. They develop powerful biases against performers, directors and whole genres. To take an example from the Christmas list: “Black Christmas” pioneered the mysterious serial killer movie, well before “Halloween,” and added some important tricks to the genre to come.  Most reviewers dismissed it as “too violent.” In other words, they would never see such a picture if they weren’t paid to do it. Slasher films, however, are not made for such individuals.

What movie is made for the people who hate that kind of movie? I’m pretty literate in film history, technique and direction, but I have no more business reviewing a super-hero film like “Aquaman” than a fish. Why should my opinion of a movie that I would never buy a ticket from dissuade someone who likes such films from buying one? Continue reading

Political Correctness Files: X-Men, People Magazine And The Case Of The 6’4″ Dwarf

"Hey, look! It's Tom Selleck!"

“Hey, look! It’s Tom Selleck!”

Apparently political correctness in the media now requires affirmative misrepresentation.

The People Magazine review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” contains this sentence:

“You’ll understand her motivation when you meet Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a government type who creates the sentinel project, and is even more sinister than his Magnum P.I.-by-way-of-IBM looks would suggest.”

For anyone who has seen the movie, or even anyone familiar with the (excellent) actor, Peter Dinklage, I have this question: What is odd about that quote?

For it is extremely odd. Continue reading

Hollywood Ethics: Variety’s Conflict of Interest Problem

That show biz media “bible”, Variety, finally seems to have reached the point where it can no longer pretend that its inherent conflicts of interest don’t exist. The magazine is simultaneously in the business of promoting movies, TV and stage shows, accepting expensive ads from producers, and depending on inside access for its reporting,  yet it purports to offer objective critical reviews of the output of the very people and companies whose patronage it depends upon to exist. It’s an impossible balancing act, and truth be told, Variety reviews have never had much credibility in Hollywood or anywhere else. But whatever pretense of integrity the publication had came crashing down with a lawsuit by Calibra Pictures, a small independent film company that had signed a $400,000 contract with Variety in which the publication promised to help Calibra’s new release, “Iron Cross,” ( featuring the final performance of the late, great, Roy “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” Scheider, who died in 2008) find both a distributor and critical acclaim. [ Ethics Violations #1 and #2Dishonesty and Breach of Integrity: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and don’t sell your independence and objectivity] Continue reading

Spoiling “Precious”

Courtland Milloy is a Washington Post Metro columnist, which means that his job is to decry racial outrages even where there are none. This time around, he has been offended by “Precious,” the nearly universally acclaimed movie about an abused black teenager, and attacks it with gusto. [Typically I would link to the piece here. I’m not, and you will soon find out why.] Continue reading