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,
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