Tuesday, January 3, 2023

10 Worst films of 2022

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That's  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "THE PEW loses it."   Ann and Stan here with one more joint-post following up on our "2022 in film (Ann and Stan)" is their annual look at the best in film. and Stan's "2022 in film (Ann and Stan)

 We offered  with out look at the year's finest in film.  However, a few of you e-mailed asking about the worst because we had floated the idea of doing our picks for the top three films and using the rest of our space to go over the train wrecks.  Well here are the ten worst films of 2022.


Hideous film.  It was supposed to be the end of the series and the ads promised you a confrontation between Jamie Lee Curtis' Lauri and the monster Jason.  Instead, the film was about Jamie Lee's granddaughter falling in love with a bad boy who was more evil than Jason and who torments Jason.  The big confrontation for Laurie comes in the last 20 or so minutes of the film.  Throughout, you are strung along waiting to see what you paid to see but being forced to endure one dull courtship scene after another that played out like a really bad teen soap opera on THE CW.  And insult to Laurie, an insult to Jamie Lee and one of the worst films of 2023.


There is only one Buzz and it's Tim Allen.  DISNEY tried to deny that they weren't punishing Tim but they fired Roseanne Barr for her politics (don't e-mail us 'racism, we're both African-American and we don't see her joke as racist) and they dropped Tim's hit show LAST MAN STANDING.  It didn't take Patricia Heaton calling DISNEY out for everyone to realize that Tim was pushed aside because of his politics.  LIGHTYEAR didn't just flop.  It left a bad taste in the mouth that has seriously effected other DISNEY animated releases.  They need to address that issue and they need to stop hiring people based on political stands.  We are not calling on the corporation to change their guidelines for employees and the workplace.  We actually applaud those stands.  But we are saying that it was a mistake to deny Tim the role he made famous and it is a mistake to hire or not hire based on someone's politics.  If they're right for the role, they need to be cast in the role.


After the bomb that was Steven Spielberg's WEST SIDE STORY, you'd think the great Spielberg would come back with something strong.  Instead, he offers this nonsense.  Michelle Williams gives a lousy performance, looks lousy on the screen and is a case of Jew-face.  We don't approve of Black-face.  Why would we approve of Jew-face?  Look her up, his mother looked nothing like Michelle Williams.  Why did he cast her?  If he saw his mother as beautiful, that's fine.  We're all allowed to see our parents in our way.  But if he saw her as beautiful, he should have cast someone like Nicole Kidman.  By 2016, Michelle's looks were gone.  And so were any surprises she might deliver.  Her performances have become a standard cliche.  She draws attention to herself as if to say, "Look at me, I'm acting."  Well, she's trying to at any rate.  Awful film sunk by an awful actress -- a deserved box office bomb. A big stinking bomb.  


AMSTERDAM was another big box office bomb.  And let's make a point here. BROS was the best movie of 2022.  When it wasn't selling tickets, the right-wing was screaming bomb and cackling with glee.  It ended up making back over half its production budget (14.8 million ticket sales).  Seven weeks after it was released, THE FABLEMANS still hasn't made that much in ticket sales nor has AMSTERDAM. And those two films had production budgets much higher than the $20 million for BROS.  They have not made back half of their production budget.  These were true bombs.  And these films deserved to bomb.  A<STERDAM,  from rage-a-holic David O. Russell, was supposed to be about the attempted overthrow of the US government -- a plot Smedley Butler exposed (see his book WAR IS A RACKET) and one that British outlets (including the BBC) will note Prescott Bush was a part of.  But David makes a dull film that rewrites history and turns  As C.I. noted, everything about it was off including the dialogue which in no way reflects the period and goes to what a poor writer David is.  Speaking of bombs, if you're looking for BABLYON, you won't find it on this list.  Why?  Like most of North America, we avoided the film.  We're only detailing films we actually saw. 


Sadly, we saw this.  At least we caught it on HBO and didn't waste money on tickets.  It's the tale of ended friendship and, honestly, if we were Brendan Gleeson and had to endure all those cow eye moments from Colin Farrell, we would have ended the friendship as well.  What might have made the film work?  Uh, maybe if you set the film in 1923, the people act like it's 1923.  You don't impose the present upon 100 years ago.  It could have been a modern film.  But artiste Martin McDonagh chose the setting (he wrote the script, he directed the film) and there's no reason for it.  He brings nothing of 1923 to the film.  A huge waste of time.


For years, Tom was groomed by older men.  Robert Duval in DAYS OF THUNDER, Paul Newman in THE COLOR OF MONEY, Dustin Hoffman in RAIN MAN . . . Paul Rudd once compared these men to Walter Brennan during his hey day.  And now?  Tom has become Walter Brennan.  And grasp that by the time Brennan was making John Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE with Henry Fonda, Brennan was only 52.  That's eight years younger -- younger -- than Tom Cruise is right now.  Letting the US military dictate the script, Tom was able to get the aerial footage that is the film's only selling point.  A woman's in the cast (Jennifer Coolidge) but Tom was more convincing back in 1986 pretending to be attracted to Kelly McGillis.  It's really something to grasp that the only woman Tom ever had chemistry with onscreen was Rebecca De Mornay.  Even sadder, the only person he ever seemed to be in love with onscreen was little Jonathan Lipnicki in 1996's JERRY MAGUIRE.   He's the male Joan Crawford whose hung in by his teeth and nails for five decades of stardom.  A real shame that he has so little to show for it.  Tom's lucky that AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER was released so late in the year.  Otherwise TOP GUN: MAVERICK would not be the biggest moneymaker of 2022.  Released in the US on December 16th and the film now has a global box office of $1,401 million.  $1,488 million is how much Tom's movie grossed -- and it took a month after its US release for it to gross a billion world wide (14 days was how long it took AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER to reach that mark).  (Both films were released earlier outside the North American market.)  


Everything about this film was false -- including the 'heroes' of the film who, in reality, were capturing Africans and selling them off into slavery.  False is also the notion that fatso Viola Davis could be a warrior with that pudgy body.  Angela Bassett, in BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, looked formidable.  Viola?  She just look fat.  And squat.  And lazy.  And that kind of describes her performance as well.  The film never reached 70 million in ticket sales in North America.  A woman who looked like a warrior might have delivered at the box office.  Oh, well, maybe Viola can find work in one of Tyler Perry's films.

3) TILL.

Grandma Whoopi Goldberg just knew she knew what kids today wanted and it was a bad film about Emmett Till.  In her ivory castle, Whoopi doesn't know about any events impacting African-Americans that took place after the 60s.  Corn on the Boomer!  So she took time off from attacking the Jews to promote this bad film she produced and tried to act in.  One critic, you may remember, felt her performance would have been more convincing without that fat suit.  This resulted in our favorite movie moment of 2022 that was not in a movie: Whoopie fuming on THE VIEW that she wasn't wearing a fat suit.  Oh, Whoopi, next time just say "Thank you" and be grateful that most people haven't seen you in over a decade and have no idea just how overweight you've become.  The film's a bomb.  9 million world wide in ticket sales. 


It's a story as old Hollywood, a young ingenue puts out for a director with the hope of a film career.  The only twist?  The director was a woman: Olivia Wilde.  The ingenue?  The hairless like a sphynx Harry Styles.  Harry, next time you fork it over for a role, have a talented director mold you.  Olivia is not a talented director.  She's now demonstrated that with two films -- two films that North America has largely ignored.  Even when she posed -- what director doesn't -- for the cover of VANITY FAIR with her ass exposed and in the air.  The good news is Harry's dumped her.  The bad news is that MY POLICEMAN goes a long way towards arguing that Harry's best filmwork just isn't up to speed.  


We both, wrongly, thought this was the film Armie Hammer got replaced on.  That, we felt, explained how the dud that is Owen Wilson ended up in this romantic comedy.   He offered no chemistry.  He's a bad actor.  And no one wants Jennifer Lopez to end up with someone so milquetoast.  However, this bad film is far worse than we realized.  SHOTGUN WEDDING is the film Armie dropped out of.  That film will debut on AMAZON at the end of the month.  So that means this film got a greenlight by an idiot who wanted to pair Jennifer with Owen.  By the way, grasp that 2022 was the year we found out that Armie's wife was working with the women floating allegations against him and her messages that have now been published show her orchestrating the whole thing to get custody of the kids.  It's past time Hollywood stopped ostracizing Armie.

Going out with C.I.'s "

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, January 3, 2023.  2023 is just starting and so much already to cover.

Barbara Walters passed away as the year was winding down.  I've put up videos about that and that's about all I planned to do.

Needs a hair cut has the nerve to say of the women on THE VIEW -- and I'd assume past and present because they're talking about the past and the present, ""First of all, no one on THE VIEW is really all that qualified to be talking about politics."

I believe what he means to say is that women aren't qualified to speak of politics.

THE VIEW was created by Barbara Walters.  She is a famous journalist.  She even interviewed Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and did so because of the war drums pounding -- not to encourage war but to  give Americans a look at who Assad was.  And she did it over the initial objections of ABC brass.  That was one of Barbra's last power moves as a journalist.  

Meredith Viera -- whom I loathe -- may be a game show host to the little weiner boys of THE VANGUARD, but Vieira was a professional journalist. She joined THE VIEW in 1997.  She began her professional journalism career in 1975 -- along the way, that includes being a correspondent for 60 MINUTES and WEST 57TH.

Lisa Ling was one of the best hosts THE VIEW ever had and Lisa was and is a journalist. 

Rosie O'Donnell ran MCCALLS (into the ground, some might argue, but the magazine was already struggling before she came on board) from 2000 to 2003. 

Joy Behar is a comedian who has long been a talk show host. 

We could go through the list all day.

But many of the women have journalism backgrounds.  

And they're not required to have that.  "All different backgrounds" -- that's what Barbra introduction to each show would note, she wanted to bring together women to discuss the news of the day.

I'm not claiming THE VIEW was ever epic breaking TV.  But it was a step forward and I need to note something before Barbra Walters passes so she can get the credit she deserves.  Today, there's THE CHEW and so much else outright copying THE VIEW.  And we've had, for example, a news/public affairs program (CBS MORNING NEWS) that featured Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King at the same time.  When THE VIEW came on, women weren't on.  They were the smiling wifey that a Jane Pauley (I've never been impressed with that ___) or a Joan Lunden (who was at least a sweet person) portrayed next to the male host -- and female guests weren't really on that often -- not on the Sunday chat & chews, not on the public affairs programs.

Barbra wanted a program that was made up of women -- plural -- who would conduct interviews and comment on the events of the day.  She wanted to take the TV cameras to the majority of the world -- women.  It was successful and it's been so copied that it's very easy, all these years later, to not give her credit for what she did and what she accomplished because it seems so natural and so obvious.  But what she did was groundbreaking for commercial, broadcast television.  (Bonnie Erbe did something similar for public television with TO THE CONTRARY WITH BONNIE ERBE starting in 1992, five years earlier.)  Barbara deserves credit for that.

When she passes, her obits should note the ground she broke as interviewer and how she went on to break more ground with THE VIEW.  I'm not a friend of Barbara's and I'm not a big fan of her work but I do give her credit for what she did on TV.  And, to her credit, she never shied away from reactions.  I haven't watched THE VIEW in years and that's probably because Barbara's no longer a part of it.  When she was, I could call her after the broadcast and she'd take the call even though she knew if I was calling, I was calling to gripe.  My calls usually didn't even open with a hello.  They usually opened with an "I'm enraged."  Such as when Meredith proved to be the ultimate bitch on air and, no, I will never forgive her for that.  Joy has stated to me that she went too far that episode (yes, you did, Joy) but was caught up in the times.  Caught up in the times?

This was when THE VIEW went right wing -- shocking for viewers of today's show.  They didn't just go right wing, they spent 'hot topics' trashing Jane Fonda.  Excuse me.  Lisa didn't trash Jane.  Lisa watched with discomfort as the others trashed Jane.  Lisa tried to speak up but was talked over (yelled over) by Joy and Meredith.  Which I also pointed out to Barbara who wasn't on that day's show but was on the next day's show and made a point to sit next to Lisa for support.  It was outrageous..  It was the biggest nonsense you'd ever seen in the world and there are people in their 20s who probably would never believe it happened, certainly not on the 'lefty' VIEW.  It happened.  And I will never, ever forgive Meredith for it. The venom and hate that she snarled and unleashed?  I will never forgive her.  They were so eager to appear to be Republican that they went to town on Jane in the most disgusting way.  It was out of bounds.  And that point was made, to Barbara's credit, by Barbara on the next day's show.  

So don't think I'm some devotee of the show who catches every episode.  

But I do appreciate what Barbara did and how she changed television.  

So let's give her credit for that.

And that's 2021.  It's 2023 now.  I don't have much to say.  I didn't like her that much.  I had reasons for that -- solid reasons -- that went to her professional career.  

I really don't need Megyn Kelly offering her thoughts on Barbara as a mother.  I really don't.  I don't know anyone who thought Barbara was a good mother.  I don't know anyone who didn't see the adoption as a desperate measure to save a failing marriage.


I would only comment on one of Barbara's marriages, and I have over the years.  That would be Merv Anderson.  The first time she married him, I have no comment on him.  The second time?  Barbara destroyed that marriage and she did it to be political to her friends.  She chose her friendship with certain Republicans -- and I can name them -- over her marriage to her husband.  She did an interview where she went after someone and that someone was a big moneymaker for her husband's business.  Now I've gong into that in the past at THIRD and I think it's pertinent today because that does go to her work.  

But this nonsense that she was a bad mother?  She was born in 1929 and she was a driven as any male and I'm not recalling Megyn holding any man accountable for his fathering.

She was a bad mother.  

It's a single sentence.

It's not a nine minute plus segment.

Nor is your own parenting, Megyn, which I'm told would make an entire book.  So maybe lay off a dead woman who was not your mother and who did as well as any of us expected she would as a mother.  It's strange because I didn't think one way or the other of Megyn until this morning when I got on the stair master and looked for something to stream.  I saw Megyn's nonsense and thought it might be about something worthwhile.  It wasn't.

I then called around to ask, "What's the deal with her?"  I got one horror story after another about Megyn as a parent and was also formed that she works with an anti-LGBTQ+ organization.  

Another friend of Glenn Greenwald's who is anti-LGBTQ+?  Marcia was right to name him "The Most Disgusting Person of 2022."  He's making self-loathing a lifestyle choice.

Moving onto another story in the news, the Hunter Biden laptop.  Josh Boswell (DAILY MAIL) reports:

The Department of Justice is trying to prevent disclosure of 400 pages of sensitive documents on Hunter and Jim Biden's dealings with China, Russia and Ukraine – by pretending they don't exist.

Colorado lawyer Kevin Evans sued the department in March after it failed to comply with his request for records on the Bidens' dealings under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Evans, a FOIA expert, asked for documents pertaining to 'any relationship, communication, gift(s), and/or remuneration in any form' between the president's son Hunter or brother Jim, and China, Russia or Ukraine.

He said government lawyers first admitted in court to having at least 400 pages of 'potentially relevant' documents – but are now trying to get away with saying they can 'neither confirm nor deny' the existence of any records that match his request.

A Justice Department prosecutor, David Weiss, is currently considering a criminal case against Hunter with potential allegations of money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying and tax crimes in relation to the First Son's overseas business dealings.

The 400 pages are not the only cache of Biden records being sought from the government.

The National Archives and Records Administration is preparing to release hundreds of Obama White House internal documents containing information about Hunter's relationship with controversial Ukrainian gas company Burisma, Business Insider reported this month.

 Over the weekend, a story of violence emerged from Iraq: a mass arrest following an assault.  Nik Martin (DW) reports:

Sixteen young men were arrested Saturday in Iraq's automonmous Kurdistan region after a viral video showed a teenage girl being attacked by a group of youths.

The incident took place a day earlier at a motorbike rally in the suburbs of Sulaimaniyah, the region's second city.

Footage of the attack was shared on social media, sparking widespread condemnation.

It shows dozens of young men and teenage boys following the girl before some of them assaulted her, kicking her against a car.

AFP notes that the woman attacked was 17 and "The incident took place in the suburbs of Sulaimaniyah, the Kurdistan region´s second city, where footage shared online showed dozens of young men and teenage boys following the girl before some of them assaulted her, kicking her against a car."  Holly Johnstone (THE NATIONAL) adds:'

She was reported to have been attacked after arriving at a motorcycle race where men asked that women be excluded.

While the Kurdistan Region has laws against domestic violence and is often upheld as an example of more progressive attitudes towards women, gender-based violence remains a problem.

At least 24 women were killed in such circumstances in the first half of 2022, according to a local anti-trafficking and women's rights foundation.

The “senseless assault” is the result “of a barbaric narrative used systematically against our women”, said Rewaz Faeq, the speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, said in a post on Twitter accompanied by video of the attack.


In Baghdad today, the militias remember Qassem Soleimani a thug who the United States murdered with a drone.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) notes:

Candles were lit by mourners as others waved Iraqi and Iranian flags near the airport.

Although the Iraqi parliament denied that Tuesday is an official holiday, the provinces of Baghdad, Basra, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Muthanna and Diwaniyah in the south announced an official day off to mark the occasion.

It is expected that other Shiite majority provinces will join in and suspend official working hours. However, northern provinces with a Sunni majority have ignored the anniversary.

Iraqi militia leaders such as Iranian-backed militia chief Hadi Al Amiri and Asaib Ahl Al Haq’s Qais Khazali called for an end to the US presence in the country.

In his own country of Iran, the dead man's facing more of a pushback.

Let's wind down with this from Kyle C. Velte's piece at TRUTHOUT regarding the attacks on LGBTQ+ persons:

Anti-LGBTQ Court Decisions

While some anti-LGBTQ legislation was temporarily blocked in the courts, judges also joined legislatures in diminishing LGBTQ rights this year. In September, a judge in Texas held that a mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide insurance coverage of a drug that prevents the transmission of HIV could not be applied to a company that had a religious objection to such coverage. The company argued that compliance with the mandate made it “complicit in facilitating homosexual behavior,” which in turn violated its sincerely held religious belief that the “Bible condemns sexual activity outside marriage between one man and one woman, including homosexual conduct.”

This religious exemption from complying with the Affordable Care Act tracks efforts by wedding vendors seeking similar religious exemptions from state public accommodations laws so that they may refuse goods and services to same-sex couples. In fact, on December 5, 2022, the U.S Supreme Court heard oral argument on one such case: 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a case in which a Christian wedding website designer is seeking a religious exemption from Colorado’s anti-discrimination law so that she may turn away same-sex couples. She argued that application of the Colorado law violates her First Amendment free speech rights because it forces her to express a message about marriage that conflicts with her religious beliefs.

Notably, this case could further expand the ability of vendors to receive religious exemptions and thus gain the right to discriminate against LGBTQ customers. That is because the court’s previous anti-LGBTQ religious exemption case involved the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, as opposed to the Free Speech Clause that is at issue in 303 Creative. In its 2015 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court granted a religious exemption to Colorado’s law to a baker who wanted to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The court held that the adjudication process was tainted with religious hostility and thus violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. Although the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop also asserted a free speech claim, the court did not address that claim.

The free speech claim is now teed up in the 303 Creative case. If the court finds in favor of the web designer, going forward vendors will have two legs to stand on when claiming the right to discriminate — the Free Speech Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Stay tuned: The court’s ruling in this case is expected by June 2023, although many suspect that a decision in favor of the website designer is likely, based on the court’s decisions in its last term.

The Hidden Threat to LGBTQ Rights

Likely more elusive to even those most attentive to LGBTQ civil rights are a series of dangerous doctrine-shifting decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court this year that, on their surface, had nothing to do with LGBTQ civil rights. So why include such cases in a year-end wrap up of the LGBTQ legal landscape? Because these cases set the stage for significant retrenchment in the area of LGBTQ civil rights moving forward.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

One of 2022’s blockbuster Supreme Court cases, the Dobbs decision struck down 50 years of precedent when it overruled Roe v. Wade and proclaimed that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to abortion. Although Dobbs didn’t present any questions about LGBTQ civil rights, its holding imperils those rights, including the right to gender-affirming health care and the right to same-sex marriage declared in the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Why does a case overruling a constitutional right to abortion threaten same-sex marriage? Because the reasoning on which the right to abortion was based in Roe is the same reasoning on which the right to same-sex marriage was based in Obergefell. In fact, Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs explicitly invited the court to revisit — and reverse — Obergefell.

Thus, even what looks like good legislative news — the recent passage of the Respect for Marriage Act and its pending signature into law by President Biden — isn’t all that good. The passage of that act was lauded by many as a victory for LGBTQ civil rights. But it does not — and cannot — prevent the right to marriage from being taken away, as only the Supreme Court has the power to declare what constitutes a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. And after Dobbs, the Obergefell holding is up for grabs.

Should that occur, the question of same-sex marriage would return to the states, just as the question of the right to abortion has returned to the states after Dobbs. The Respect for Marriage Act would provide no protection against states banning same-sex marriage. In fact, it is likely that over 30 states would ban same-sex marriage and the Respect for Marriage Act would be powerless to stop them.

[. . .]

The court’s shift to the right has been marked by a willingness to take its opinions “in radically different directions.” Professor Mark Lemley describes today’s court as the “Imperial Supreme Court” because its recent decisions have “taken significant, simultaneous steps to restrict the power of Congress, the administrative state, the states, and the lower federal courts” in a manner that leads to the conclusion that it seeks to consolidate power in one place: itself.

Its recent LGBTQ cases reveal that the court has its sights set on further dismantling LGBTQ rights in the name of Christian nationalism. The non-LGBTQ cases of Bremerton, Makin, West Virginia and Dobbs set the stage for the ongoing retrenchment of LGBTQ rights when cases like the 303 Creative reach the court.

In sum, 2022 saw a tripartite attack on LGBTQ rights, although only two of those might be on the radar of most LGBTQ people and their allies — anti-LGBTQ legislation and anti-LGBTQ decisions by lower courts. These expressly anti-LGBTQ attacks are, of course, dangerous and cause for concern. But their explicitness means that they can be targeted by LGBTQ activists and allies; LGBTQ people can organize, rally, lobby, run for office and litigate to push back against these express attacks.

It is the third prong of the tripartite attack, the Supreme Court’s insidious shift to the right in the constitutional and regulatory spheres in non-LGBTQ cases, that is especially nefarious and troubling because these decisions hide their destructive power to undermine LGBTQ rights. The hidden quality of the threats makes it more difficult to rally, organize and set an agenda for the LGBTQ rights movement that can tackle head-on the downstream threats to LGBTQ rights posed by these cases. LGBTQ rights activists and allies will need to build more powerful coalitions in 2023 with other progressive causes, such as environmental justice advocates and '.First Amendment activists, to anticipate these downstream threats and organize to meet and defeat them.

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