Wednesday, November 2, 2022

THE FABELMANS looks like the last film anyone needs

Steven Spielberg's upcoming film is, of course, about him.  That might have been interesting about two decades ago.  Not really now.


He's not Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese or even Paul Schrader.  Meaning he doesn't have art going for him.  Like Jackson Browne pointed out years ago (to MUSICIAN MAGAZINE), Steven Spielberg is the film equivalent of Barry Manilow.  Barry makes you tap your toe and even might make you smile.  But there's nothing there.  It's candy.  Spielberg makes candy.  People used to gobble it up.

Used to.

In the last two decades, he's had one misfire after another.  WAR HORSE bombed (it made less than 80 million in North America and it cost $79 million to shoot).  THE TERMINAL broke even.  MUNICH bombed (look at the budget, look at the domestic gross), THE ADVENTURES OF TIN-TIN bombed ($79 million in ticket sales in North America versus a $135 shooting budget). BRIDGE OF SPIES was a success (not a big hit) but only because of a very low shooting budget ($40 million) with only $72.3 million in ticket sales in North America.  THE BFG bombed -- $140 shooting budget, $55 million in North American ticket sales.  THE POST cost $50 million to shoot (wasted money, there are no special effects) and only made $91 million in ticket sales (also grasp that Tom Hanks got gross points on that so the studio made even less than $91 million). 

LINCOLN was a hit. But it's not the scary or joy that made Spielberg famous.  (ET, JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and other fluff.)  READY PLAYER ONE was a bomb.  ($175 million shooting budget -- forget all the other costs and it only made $137 in North American ticket sales.)  And then there's WEST SIDE STORY which cost $100 million just to shoot.  Outrageous.  And only made $38.5 million in ticket sales in North America.  He was an idiot.  When it was originally made, they cast Natalie Wood as Maria but brought on many of the Broadway cast.  Why did they cast Natalie Wood?  Because Jack Warner wasn't an idiot.  He knew a film like that needed a box office star to pull people in.  Spielberg was an idiot.

Now comes THE FABELMANS.  Didn't we already see Steven played by Robin Williams in that awful HOOK?  Now we've got Michelle Williams as his mother looking uglier than she ever looked.  Who wants to pay money for that?


Be sure to read "BROS: An American Film Classic (Ava and C.I.)" and thank you to Ava and C.I. for leaving the Jamie Lee Curtis joke in.  I loved that joke.  :D


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, November 2, 2022.  Joe Biden stumbles and fumbles in Florida, an Iraqi woman is set on fire by her husband and mother-in-law, and much more.

Poor Joe Biden, if he only he could be an infomercial president maybe they could edit out the mistakes.  He made a number of them in a speech in Florida yesterday.  Too many mistakes, in fact for any outlet to note all of them. Victor Nava (NEW YORK POST) reports:

President Biden claimed on Tuesday that he spoke to the man who “invented” insulin — even though the doctor died before Biden was born. 

The president’s comments came during an event in Hallandale Beach, Florida, during which he touted his administration’s efforts to lower healthcare costs for Americans. 

“How many of you know somebody with diabetes, and needs insulin,” Biden asked the crowd. 

“Do you know how much it costs to make that insulin drug for diabetes? … It was invented by a man who did not patent it because he wanted it available for everyone. I spoke to him, OK?” Biden claimed.

Dr. Frederick Banting and professor John James Richard Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1923 for their 1921 discovery of insulin. Banting died in 1941 and Macleod in 1935. Biden was born in 1942.

Not only did Joe Biden not speak to any of those people but, as SKY NEWS points out, insulin was discovered, it was not invented:

However, insulin, a hormone produced in the body, was never invented, but was discovered by Sir Frederick Banting.

The late physician and scientist died at the age of 49 on February 21, 1941.

Biden was born on November 20, 1942.

President Joe Biden misstated during a speech on Tuesday that inflation was caused by the war in Iraq, before correcting himself to say the war in Ukraine. Biden said he misspoke because his son, Beau Biden, died in Iraq.

[. . .]

"Inflation is a worldwide problem right now, because of a war in Iraq and the impact on oil, and what Russia’s doing … excuse me, the war in Ukraine," Biden said. "I think of Iraq because that’s where my son died."

Biden made a similar statement in Vail, Colorado, on Oct. 12.

Media in Iraq also noted the Biden Blunder.

And then there was this (from official White House transcript):

And, well, look, let me start off by saying I love Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I make no apologies.  (Applause.)  She is not only one of my best friends in the United States Congress -- I know I don’t look it, but I served 36 years in the Congress.  (Laughter.)  And I spent time working with Debbie.  She wasn’t there nearly that long when I was there.

But my point is we became good friends, because she has enormous integrity.  Enormous integrity.  She has a sense -- a sense of understanding what people are going through, and she plays it out.  She works it out.  And so, she was one of my biggest, biggest supporters in helping me not only pass but draft and move some of the legislation we’re going to talk about today -- a couple pieces of it. 

And I don’t have a greater friend in the United States Senate, and I don’t have a greater friend when I was Vice President nor as President.  So, Debbie, thank you, kid.  I don’t know where you’re sitting, but -- oh, there you are, Debbie.  Thank you.

Did you catch it?  If not, THE DAILY MAIL:

Speaking alongside Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is hoping to get re-elected in Florida's 23rd district, in greater Miami, Biden mistakenly referred to her as a senator.

'I don't have a greater friend in the United States Senate,' he said.

'And I didn't have a greater friend as vice president, nor as president. 

He made many, many more mistakes.  The one I'm not seeing pointed out?  He also read his stage directions off the teleprompter ("Hold for a second").  

Again, if he didn't have to appear live, these things could be edited out -- and certainly many in the press will pretend it never happened -- but he does have to appear in public and these appearances continue to question his mental fitness.

Maybe a man who turns 80 this month isn't up to the demands of being president?  Maybe in 2024, we could support someone who was in their sixties or fifties or forties?  Someone with a little energy left in them?

US Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder acknowledged during an official briefing yesterday that active-duty US military personnel are not only deployed inside of Ukraine, but are operating far away from the US embassy in Kiev.

The day before, an unnamed US Department of Defense official said at a background briefing that “U.S. personnel” had “resumed on-site inspections to assess weapon stocks” in Ukraine.

Reporting on this announcement, NBC News noted that “these inspectors in Ukraine appear to be some of the first members of the U.S. military to re-enter the Eastern European country since the start of the war, outside of military guards posted at the U.S. Embassy...”

During Tuesday’s on-camera briefing, Travis Tritten of asked, “The military has personnel inside of Ukraine, who are doing weapons inspections now. I’m wondering what the rules of engagement for those personnel are if they are fired on by the Russians or they are targeted by the Russians.”

Ryder replied, “We do have small teams that are comprised of embassy personnel that are conducting some inspections of security assistance delivery at a variety of locations.”

“My understanding is that they would be well far away from any type of frontline actions, we are relying on the Ukrainians to do that, we are relying on other partners to do that…. They’re not going to be operating on the front lines.”

He continued, “We’ve been very clear there are no combat forces in Ukraine, no US forces conducting combat operations in Ukraine, these are personnel that are assigned to conduct security cooperation and assistance as part of the defense attaché office.”

To this, Tritten replied, “But this would be different because they would be working outside the embassy. I would just ask if people should read this as an escalation.”

Ryder claimed that the US action was not escalatory, and simply refused to answer Tritten’s question about what the US would do if any active-duty US troops were killed.  

Turning to Iraq, GULF NEWS reports a woman was set on fire:

A heated argument followed when the woman said that she was not good at it [cleaning fish] and her husband interjected and sided with his mother. In a fit of rage, the mother-in-law and her husband poured gasoline on her and set her on fire.

The horrific crime sparked outrage on Iraqi social media, with most of them calling on authorities to take strict action against the culprits. Following the incident, the victim’s husband was arrested, but his mother is still at large.

According to figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior for 2021, which were cited by “Sky News,” there were 873 reported incidences of domestic violence, with 786 of them involving abuse against women and 87 involving violence against children.

In other news, AL MANAR notes:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani sacked a number of senior officials appointed by his predecessor, a few days after a vote of confidence in his cabinet.

Al-Sudani’s cabinet was approved by lawmakers on Thursday, after a year of political stalemate.

Sudani, citing the government’s “interim” status, reversed many appointments made by former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi during the October 2021 elections during a cabinet meeting.

“According to the Supreme Court, an interim government does not have the right” to make such senior appointments, Al-Sudani said in his first press conference as Prime Minister.

He also promised to combat widespread corruption, describing it as “a tremendous threat to the Iraqi state, more dangerous than all other threats that have weighed on Iraq.”

In the US and around the world, you can see the comedy classic BROS -- in the US it is now on streaming platforms.

The following sites updated:

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