April 15, 2011

Ding! Ding! Ding! Roger Eggbert Goes OFF!


Poor Roger Eggbert. Forced to sit through such tedium when all he really wants is his leftism spoon-fed to him in some pablum. I'm not sure when he turned into such an asshole, but he really is.

I feel like my arm is all warmed up and I don’t have a game to pitch. I was primed to review "Atlas Shrugged." I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that I could discuss. For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."

Yes, I'm sure that's exactly what it sounds like to you. Oddly enough, you share that view entirely - remember when you, Mister Rich Man, wrote that piece about how you didn't want to be kept alive artificially and then you almost died but your wife said not to pull the plug? And after much expensive intervention (which I'm sure didn't cost you a dime in premiums or expenses; thus we could ALL afford it) you lived after all and you were glad? And this is why you want all of us to be forced into Obamacare and lose our good insurance plans? Yeah, pot? Meet kettle. Ebert's on board, pull up the lifeline. Hypocrite.

There are however people who take Ayn Rand even more seriously than comic-book fans take "Watchmen." I expect to receive learned and sarcastic lectures on the pathetic failings of my review.

No sirrah, I shall merely point and laugh. And express my contempt.

And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault.

Yeah I remember that. Millions of people watched it. And his career is still cooking along last I checked. Even if he is a bit of a dingbat.

I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand’s 1957 novel could understand the film at all

Ok, so first off, you didn't understand it. I wouldn't brag about that, but OK - we shall keep in mind that you do not understand what you are reviewing. As a matter of fact, you should have stopped right there.

and I doubt they will be happy with it.
So OK. Let’s say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, you’re an objectivist or a libertarian, and you’ve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown. It’s not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?

Well, to be entertained it is likely one would need to actually understand the film in the first place, no? Normally if I don't understand something I don't feel justified in mocking it. I would normally at least bother clicking a few links to understand the subject matter at least a tad first; maybe even ask a few questions. As to people who understand it not liking it?

Well, sorry Dilbert but that's a HUGE fail. See, http://www.atlas-shrugged-movie.com/2011/02/earlybird-reviews-of-the-full-atlas-shrugged-movie-spectacular-solid-faithful/ we've got glowing reviews from David Kelley, Hans Schantz, Big Hollywood, REASON.com, Hustle Bear http://hustlebear.com/2011/02/28/im-so-relieved-the-atlas-shrugged-movie-was-fantastic/, and oddly enough the MOST glowing review comes from an Ayn Rand biographer, Barbara Branden. See what a difference understanding the subject matter makes? Except I think you're playing dumb just a little in order to have more negative things to say. You pretty quickly pulled the words "objectivist" and "libertarian" out of your muddled little brain, didn't you? Wonder how that happened.

Based on the one leaked scene I've already seen, I'm aching for more - see, movies are so endlessly, tediously left-oriented, you BET we're waiting for this.

For the rest of us,

Us? You're rich; you're not one of us. Nyah!

it involves a series of business meetings in luxurious retro leather-and-brass board rooms and offices, and restaurants and bedrooms that look borrowed from a hotel no doubt known as the Robber Baron Arms.

So there goes the pretense that you didn't understand it. You know exactly what you're doing. You just don't LIKE it.

During these meetings, everybody drinks. More wine is poured and sipped in this film than at a convention of oenophiliacs. There are conversations in English after which I sometimes found myself asking, "What did they just say?" The dialogue seems to have been ripped throbbing with passion from the pages of Investors’ Business Daily. Much of the excitement centers on the tensile strength of steel.

The story involves Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling), a young woman who controls a railroad company named Taggart Transcontinental (its motto: "Ocean to Ocean"). She is a fearless and visionary entrepreneur, who is determined to use a revolutionary new steel to repair her train tracks. Vast forces seem to conspire against her.

It’s a few years in the future. America has become a state in which mediocrity is the goal, and high-achieving individuals the enemy.

I'm sorry, how is that the future again? Oh, yeah, it isn't. It's NOW. And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about as you rail against greedy evil corporations and greedy evil rich people and how much more they should be forced to hand over and how much they should be shackled and regulated. Because that isn't going to work. We're onto that shit.

Laws have been passed prohibiting companies from owning other companies

Sounds like you understand it. Remember that next time you scream for "regulation! Stop the deregulation of business! More regulation!"

Dagny’s new steel, which is produced by her sometime lover, Hank Rearden (Grant Bowler), has been legislated against because it’s better than other steels.

Ah, the Handicapper General in Harrison Bergeron. Who wrote that, Vonnegut? Yes indeed How futuristic is THAT? I mean, nothing like that goes on in the real world today, right? (I could start with "progressive" taxation but that's a tad obvious...we'll look into this "futuristic" reality more later. I'm interested now.)

The Union of Railroad Engineers has decided it will not operate Dagny’s trains.

I could have sworn there were a few unions right NOW that were refusing to do their jobs unless their pay was raised and their power extended...now where did I read about that? Hmmm...

Just to show you how bad things have become, a government minister announces "a tax will be applied to the state of Colorado, in order to equalize our national economy." So you see how governments and unions are the enemy of visionary entrepreneurs.

Hmm, yes, I can see how unrealistic...oh, wait. Spread that wealth around, Ebert! I accept Mastercard and Visa.

But you’re thinking, railroads? Yes, although airplanes exist in this future, trains are where it’s at.

Um...well I guess I missed the part where freight is hauled now largely by airplane and not by trucks and trains and boats. I'll remember next time I have to sit for ten minutes and wait for the freight train to finally get past. Oddly, I just got done spending two years in shipping/receiving for a large warehouse - we didn't have many pilots coming in to get their paperwork signed; it was all truck drivers. Stupid regressive company. And what president and vice president have recently been going on and on and on about how the key to the future is high-speed trains? Hmm...I can't quite remember who said it...

When I was 6, my Aunt Martha brought me to Chicago to attend the great Railroad Fair of 1948, at which the nation’s rail companies celebrated the wonders that were on the way. They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. "Atlas Shrugged" seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains.

So do a certain president and vice president. Their names still escape me.

Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie.

Now here's where I stop and let you in on something; there's a reason for that. See, a thousand page book that is not just a story, not just an economics lesson but also a philosophy involves a lot of EXPOSITION. And it's very difficult to translate that exposition into another media, another format, like film. I think it's quite a clever idea to do it using the news. Especially after the collective four year orgasm we've had to watch in the media concerning a certain president whose name still escapes me.

It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?

The movie is constructed of a few kinds of scenes: (1) People sipping their drinks in clubby surroundings and exchanging dialogue that sounds like corporate lingo; (2) railroads, and lots of ’em; (3) limousines driving through cities in ruin and arriving at ornate buildings; (4) city skylines; (5) the beauties of Colorado. There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

See, I happen to know something concerning Ayn Rand and city skylines; that just tells me the people behind this film really GOT it. Ayn Rand did not believe in building memorials. She believed that the NY Skyline WAS our memorial. So, win.

Oh, and there is Wisconsin. Dagny and Hank ride blissfully in Taggart’s new high-speed train, and then Hank suggests they take a trip to Wisconsin, where the state’s policies caused the suppression of an engine that runs on the ozone in the air, or something (the film’s detailed explanation won’t clear this up). They decide to drive there. That’s when you’ll enjoy the beautiful landscape photography of the deserts of Wisconsin. My advice to the filmmakers: If you want to use a desert, why not just refer to Wisconsin as "New Mexico"?

Um...yeah I could see where that would really annoy...what? See, you're failing in even the rudimentary aspects of your profession here. This film has been optioned for a long long time. Many years. The last time they tried to make it their female lead (Angelina Jolie) had to drop out; there have been millions spent in other attempts. The option was going to run out in TWO MONTHS, so the filmmaker had two MONTHS in which to get the screenplay written, gather the money, select a cast and start production or he would have lost it altogether and the tens of millions he has spent. So, like the good little sheeple you are, instead of rewarding the fact that these people have pulled off a spectacular feat - an Herculean feat, one which all the other reviewers are lauding as something that was impossible, but pulled off spectacularly, you choose to...gee, you choose to punish achievement don't you? Good boy! Now roll over play dead. No, I won't scratch your tummy.

"Atlas Shrugged" closes with a title card saying, "End of Part 1." Frequently throughout the film, characters repeat the phrase, "Who is John Galt?" Well they might ask. A man in black, always shot in shadow, is apparently John Galt. If you want to get a good look at him and find out why everybody is asking, I hope you can find out in Part 2. I don’t think you can hold out for Part 3.

Well most of us already know - this story has been around for 50+ years and "going Galt" is part of a pretty familiar lexicon even to people who haven't read it. And honestly he wasn't supposed to make an appearance until part 3, but they have to give us a LITTLE something, don't they? Call it an Easter Egg. And I'll call your review a big fat juicy turd. No, I don't have to see the movie first; see, we've already established one can pronounce judgment without understanding, so there it is.

Irresponsible: if you can't see it, watch it at Moonbattery


Larry said...

You are going to love this film. I can't wait for parts 2 and 3 to be released.

If Eggbert hated it, that in and of itself is a great reason to see the film.

Anniee451 said...

Hehe; so you know about Egghead too, eh? He's really too much. And yes, his derision is plenty of reason to go see it :P And all the other leftists hate it too; all the complaining about how it's all white people and ZOMG rich people?!? Evil!

I'm gonna have to see what Medved does with it, too. Just keep me away from Phyllis Schlafly - she reviewed Juno and couldn't have been more wrong about the content (it's almost as if she reviewed it without actually watching it. hmm.)

Anniee451 said...

Interesting - http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/03/24/its-time-to-go-galt-atlas-shrugged-movie-is-a-winner/ He nailed it - said Roger Ebert would trash it and probably Medved too (I sorta figure he might.)

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Anniee451 -

Your excellent comments on McCarthy's blog arguing with the nincompoop lawyer brought me to your blog. Glad it did.

I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 14 and used to give out copies of it to girls in high school. That was successful... not in getting girls interested in me, but in illustrating how I needed to be a bit more discriminating in whom I gave them to! I have really looked forward to seeing A.S., and had planned on seeing the film tonight (opening), but the vagries of life have postponed it until Sunday.

I thought your dissecting of Ebert's review was well done. He does a poor job and a biased one, and then uses that pathetic technique of slandering his objectors (as it were) before we have a chance to be heard.

And you are certainly going to prove correct about Medved. That guy is a piece of... work. I typically cannot stand to listen to him for more than ten minutes, but I have noticed that he takes EVERY opportunity to call libertarians "losertarians". He cannot have a much higher view of Objectivists, and probably doesn't know the difference.

Anyway... glad to find you, though I don't have much time for blog-reading. I'll check in occasionally. Thanks.

Anniee451 said...

Sheeeit; had a whole comment for you and it got eated up.

Anyway, thank you so much for stopping in; you're welcome anytime. I do hope after Stephen retires you'll keep coming! (That's gonna leave a mark, innit?)

I didn't know Medved was so out of touch, I've enjoyed some of his stuff in years past. Well ok I enjoyed Hollywood v America. Haven't read him much since then lol. I'm not an objectivist but a libertarian; but I'm glad these protagonists are all the way on the edge - right into the objectivism. Because it's necessary to make the point. Point being that they are not harming anyone or coercing anyone and that beyond that they have no duty that can or should be enforced on them by law. Now I do not agree with the protagonists (Galt's speech comes to mind) completely; I'm a religious believer, so I couldn't - but like I say, hammering home the point that they have a right not to be compelled beyond harming no one is important. So I'm REALLY looking forward to this!

Hopefully you get a minute to come let us know how you liked it after you see it!

The positive reviews are just pouring in!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>> . . . I'm not sure when he turned into such an asshole, but he really is.

What're youz kiddin'?
He was ALWAYS an asshole!

But Michael Medved... oh, Michael "Fucking" Medved! (Yeah, you saw it right! I dropped an F-bomb. Doesn't happen often, but Michael Medved can bring it out in me.) Please, don't get me started...

There is no one on the Political(Pseudo-)"Right" that I despise more than Michael Medved. He's as phony as a a six-and-a-half dollar bill! That boy is pure NEOCON, a deceiver, a liar, and the scum at the very bottom of the barrel. Give me a socialist who is at least HONEST about being a socialist, but don't ever give me a socialist who is "pretending" to be conservative, and insults our intelligence by believing we won't be able to see through his act!

Medved - everything about that prick pisses me off, not the least being his smarmy, conceited, demeaning (toward genuine conservatives) personality.

Oh... I asked you not to get me started!

Come to think of it, I doubt there's anyone in the political realm whom I dislike more - Left OR Right.

OK, back to that a-hole Eggbert and more enjoyable stuffs. Here's a spoof of Siskel & Eggbert's old movie reviewing show. This stuffs is live!

"Where's my bitches?!?"
"That shit could really happen!"

“Sneakin’ In The Movies”, my favorite segment from the (hilarious) movie ‘HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE’. Must-See!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

For anyone interested, here is what The New American magazine’s website had to say about the movie ‘ATLAS SHRUGGED’.

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

Anniee said...

"What're youz kiddin'?
He was ALWAYS an asshole!"

Hehe; well I guess he was tempered by Siskel or something; that's the last time I saw any of their reviews, and I was likely either somewhere in the transition from left to where I am now or just wasn't thinking about it at the time. Siskel couldn't have been as bad as this moron, was he? I remember him as somewhat likeable.

Wow, Michael Fucking Medved...damn, boy! I seriously didn't know; like I said, last thing I really paid attention to was Hollywood v America and that was well when was that? Almost 20 years ago. Time she do fly. He seemed ok then and really for like many years while the kids were growing up we just rented movies (or maybe went to see a Disney flick) and frankly I had this amazing video store guy who watched *everything* and had impeccable taste. All I had to do was ask him what to watch and what sucked and he always knew. Like 100%. Plus I never really bothered with reviews anyway; if I wanted to go see something I did and if I didn't I didn't.

So...he slipped under my radar, the SOB. Well I won't get you started but if you ever think of anything specific to look up let me know. Whatever it is I trust you, it must be bad :D

Anniee said...

Oh, and thanks for the link, looking now.

Anniee said...

That was hilarious - I'm sending that to everyone lol. Salarius. Those two are awesome.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I never paid much attention to Siskel & Ebert’s show. I mean, I caught portions of episodes here and there, so, like everyone else in America, I was hip to the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” bit.

I have more knowledge of Eggbert based on some of his WRITTEN movie reviews that I’ve read over the years. He was just a fool. As far as his political views go, I can’t specifically recall any reviews where he made them very obvious (although it’s been a long time since I’ve read his stuffs), but just based on some of the movies he praised, panned (and was involved in the making of), I would have made an educated guesstimate that he was on the Left.

But as an intelligent movie reviewer he… well… he just WASN’T.

As for Medved…
No reason to feel embarrassed if he’s pulled the wool over your eyes. One must really pay attention for an extended period of time, and listen and analyze his political commentary, rather than his movie reviews.

Yes, based solely on his movie views, he comes across as a Social Conservative, and to some extent, that is probably accurate. But it’s when you get deep into his political stances, views of foreign policy (pure, unadulterated NeoCon!), his out-of-hand dismissal of every single conspiracy “theory” and his condescending attitude toward those who challenge him on it (be assured, he would label me “a nutjob wacko”), and his blatant LIES in the face of truth in order to continue deceiving his audience – that’s when you begin to see through Michael Medved.

Of course, he’s not the only one out there who is deceiving We The People and dismissing the important truths and covering up the machinations of the Elite behind the curtain, but the personality he exhibits while he’s doing all that TOTALLY rubs me THE WRONG WAY.

He’s just an A-List Prick. I used to listen to a little of his radio program just to see how far he was willing to go (how much he would lie) in order to fool the audience, but then I gradually stopped listening altogether because I found myself wanting to put my fist through my car radio speakers.

But, yes, based only on his movie reviews, one would get the impression that Medved is one of the “good guys”, arguing for decency and conservative “family values” and all that stuffs.

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Anniee -

I have to concur totally with Stephen about Medved. When I said "he is a piece of... work", you KNOW what I REALLY meant. I hate the guy. He always - without fail - acts as though he is "reasonable" and that anyone who wants to take any stand on principle is indeed a wacko. He has (or at least had... i am not sure because, like Stephen, I no longer listen because I want bitch-slap the condescending asshole) "Conspiracy Day" one a week. In that format, he allows people to say essentially ONLY the type of conspiracy they believe in, then he cuts them off and calls them insane or stupid.

Frankly, anyone who would even attempt to call the bastard must be insane, because you will not get a fair hearing from him, nor even a chance to make your case.

But mostly, I wanted to check back in with my brief review of Atlas Shrugged. Keep in mind that I have wanted to see this on the big (or small) screen since 1969. I and my few teenaged friends used to discuss how we'd like to make the film and who we'd have as actors in each role. To me, this movie is essential. It is the dream of a lifetime to see it made. I have thought that since our culture is so visually oriented and does so little reading, and that a well-done movie can influence thought so effectively, that this film has the potential to possibly change things.

Stephen tells me that is too optimistic. I am sure he is right.

That being said, I loved the movie. It is certainly not perfect, but keeping in mind that it was rushed through production and that the budget was so small, they did a fine job. If they'd had a bigger budget they could have spent more money on a higher quality soundtrack, a few more of the (now de rigueur) special effects, and maybe a better film editor. I thought the acting was perfectly acceptable, though not top notch. Dagny Taggart was very nicely cast, I thought, as were the villains. The Wesley Mouch character was very like Barney Frank. HA!

This is a tough story to tell, as the tale is just a vehicle to convey the philosophy. That is the aspect I am most concerned about with the movie. I am not sure enough time was spent laying the groundwork showing WHY these industrialists are the "producers", why they are entitled to keep they fruits of their labors, and why their wealth is actually theirs and not the unfairly gained benefits of the work of their downtrodden employees.

Well, maybe they will make sure that those distinctions are well drawn in the second and third parts. I hope those sequels get made. Let's all go see the movie so there will BE those parts. As teens we had concluded that the story was just too big to be done as a movie. We thought that a 7 part mini-series (of 2 hours each) a la Roots might be enough.

The movie as obviously a labor of love for those that made it.