Musings

More Oprah Insanity

I wanted to continue to unpack Oprah Winfrey’s inane ramblings on Good Morning America. I absolutely cannot stand daytime television and its ridiculously simplistic and saccharine philosophy. Watching these audiences shrieking and screaming hysterically on command, forming cults of personality around people like Oprah and Ellen Degeneres, like the new American church, is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

In the course of telling people their highest calling in life was to “be themselves,” even if they were born a sociopath, I guess, she said this gem: “That’s why all the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world. That’s true. No matter what you look like.”

Huh?

“All the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world.”

So does that also mean “All the voices of the world mean something if your voice is not in alignment with all the voices of the world”? Or in other words, “if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world, all the voices of the world mean nothing.”

So is she saying everyone should just disagree all the time? There’s a general consensus around the world that murder is a bad thing, right? Unless you’re a terrorist. Surely we shouldn’t disagree with that?

Or if we all agree that you should treat other people with decency and respect, that becomes meaningless because we all agreed on it?

I’m not bringing this up to be snarky, and I don’t think Oprah is even arguing that. I think she doesn’t understand and/or hasn’t put any thought at all into what she’s saying. She just thinks it sounds good and it’s what her audience wants to hear.

If Oprah was just some guy on a street corner with a bullhorn spouting nonsense, it wouldn’t matter. But millions of people take her word for the Gospel (yes, I’m deliberately using religious terms), and just a few weeks ago there were people seriously talking about her running for president. And remember when she announced Barack Obama was “THE ONE”? Yeah, so maybe we should pay more attention to her insanity.

What does it mean to ‘be yourself’?

Oprah, just being herself

When asked her advice to young girls on Good Morning America, prospective presidential candidate and media mogul Oprah Winfrey replied, “The highest honor on Earth that you will ever have is the honor of being yourself.” She went on to add, “Your only job in the world, people think your job is to get up and go and raise money and take care of your families and stuff, that’s an obligation that you have but your only true job as a human being is to discover why you came, why you are here.”

When I was younger, I used to buy into this line of thinking. “Be yourself.” “Discover yourself.” “Discover why you’re here.” But if you start unpacking these ideas, they’re really just meaningless, and in the end, terrible advice. It’s the kind of thing you say to be utterly inoffensive and avoid taking an actual position or giving useful advice.

What does it mean to ‘be yourself’? Is every individual born with some innate purpose they need to discover? If so, how do you know once you’ve discovered it? Is it always good to be yourself? What if you’re a terrible person? What if the purpose you discover leads you to make bad decisions that negatively impact your life?

She continued. “Every one of us has an internal guidance, a GPS, an intuition, a heart print, a heart song that [speaks] to us. Your only job is to be able to listen and discern when it’s speaking versus your head and your personality speaking, and if you follow that you will be led to the highest good for you, always.” That’s crazy. People make terrible decisions following their hearts instead of their heads all the time.

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Worst Academy Awards in History

To no one’s surprise, most Americans decided not to watch a bunch of pampered, virtue-signaling millionaires pat themselves on the back at this year’s Academy Awards. With an average of 26.5 million viewers, it was the least-watched Oscars in history, down 19 percent from last year.

The raw numbers don’t even tell the whole story. 26.5 million viewers today are a lot smaller percentage of the population than forty years ago. In 1970, 43.4 percent of U.S. households tuned in. Forty-three percent!

What do you expect when literally hundreds of people in Hollywood knew about Harvey Weinstein’s outrageous behavior for decades, did nothing about it, or worse, helped to cover it up. Then they have the audacity to get up on stage for four grueling hours and lecture all of us about how we need to be more virtuous? Give me a break!

I’ve read plenty of excuses about how declining interest in the Academy Awards parallels declining interest in award shows or live events generally. That may be true, but do you really think an Oscars focused on entertainment, popular movies, and which was a reasonable length wouldn’t have pulled in a lot more views?

I guess I can only speak for myself, but I love movies and I’m staying away from the theater because it’s overpriced, the movies are crappy, and I’m constantly annoyed by having social and political messages shoved in my face in every film. So I have even less desire to watch an awards show in which everyone congratulates themselves over that sorry mess, and I think a lot of folks would agree.

Jessabelle: Mediocrity Lurks in the Bayou

A woman torments her wheelchair-bound daughter from beyond the grave with VHS tapes in this voodoo-themed supernatural thriller. Written by Robert Ben Garant and directed by Kevin Greutert, Jessabelle (2014) keeps you guessing until the end, but an engaging mystery and attractive lead isn’t enough to save this mediocre horror film from Blumhouse Productions.

Tragedy strikes pregnant Jessabelle “Jessie” Laurent (Sarah Snook) when her fiancé Mark is killed in a car accident, which also causes her to miscarry and become paralyzed from the waist down. Now wheelchair-bound, she returns home to Louisiana to live with her father, Leon (David Andrews). For some reason Leon has kept her mother, Kate’s (Joelle Carter) old bedroom sealed and reopens it for Jessie. Neither Jessie nor their housekeeper seem to think this is odd.

Jessie, who believes her mother died of a brain tumor, discovers tapes her mother recorded as a message for her eighteenth birthday. This instigates several disturbing encounters with a dark-haired phantom (Amber Stevens West). Leon tries to destroy the tapes but ends up burning to death. At his funeral, Jessie reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Preston Sanders (Mark Webber).

Together, Jessie and Preston investigate the strange events and their connection to a local voodoo church. They discover a baby’s skeleton buried in the bayou with the same name and birth date as Jessie. The local sheriff (Chris Ellis) discovers the child’s origin too late to save Jessie, who is attacked by the ghost of Kate and a voodoo priest named Moses (Vaughn Wilson). I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s a crazy plot twist that might have been interesting if it was developed a bit more.

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Mediocre Movies of 2017

I watched a lot of movies in 2017. Some were great, and some were awful, but many were somewhere in the middle. They had the potential to be decent films but like Bobby Hill, something just wasn’t right. These movies are fun to watch but ultimately forgettable. A lot of them suffer from uninteresting or poorly developed characters, or have great characters but suffer from an identity crisis.

Here’s a list of a few mediocre movies released in 2017 (in no particular order):

Alien: Covenant stars Katherine Waterston as a colony ship scientist named Daniels, and Michael Fassbender, who plays dual roles as two androids named David and Walter, in a sci-fi horror film and the latest installment in the Alien franchise. It was directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper. John Logan is an accomplished screen writer, but this was Dante Harper’s first screenplay. Michael Green (of Sex and the City and Green Lantern) and Jack Paglen are credited with writing the story. So many different writers is probably why Alien: Covenant felt like so many different films. [Read more…]

Wind River. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker and an FBI agent team up to solve a double homicide on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Wind River is writer-director Taylor Sheridan’s latest offering. Sheridan is known for writing Hell or High Water (2016) and Sicario (2015) and acting in a number of TV dramas. Wind River takes place in Wyoming in early spring and has a very Western feel, despite its snow-swept mountains. Stunning cinematography was not enough to make up for extremely slow pacing and lack of compelling story. Wind River is labeled a “murder mystery thriller film,” but isn’t either of those things. [Read more…]

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12 Strong: Exciting but Embellished Portrayal of Operation Enduring Freedom’s Opening Salvo

Twelve special operations soldiers team up with the Northern Alliance to strike back against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in 12 Strong (2018). Written by Ted Tally and Peter Craig, and directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, 12 Strong is based on the book Horse Soldiers (2009) by Doug Stanton. Unfortunately, epic battle scenes and a compelling real-life story aren’t enough to rescue this film from its lackluster execution and direction.

Green Beret Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) is moving to a staff job when terrorists destroy the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. With the help of Chief Warrant Officer 5 Hal Spencer (Michael Shannon), he convinces Lt. Colonel Max Bowers (Rob Riggle), Commander of 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, to allow him to rejoin his team and deploy with Task Force Dagger against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

In Uzbekistan, Captain Nelson convinces Colonel John Mulholland (William Fichtner) to allow his team to go in first by displaying confidence and a knowledge of Afghan history, despite never having served in combat. Prominent members of his team include SFC Sam Diller (Michael Peña) and SFC Ben Milo (Trevante Rhodes). Together, they must earn the trust of an unpredictable Afghan warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban), and help him defeat his Taliban rivals around the city of Mazar-i-Sharif using U.S. air power.

Mullah Razzan (Numan Acar), leader of the Taliban forces, is a dark-haired, mustache-twirling villain who executes a woman early in the film for teaching young girls to read. After several confrontations and missteps, Captain Nelson wins Dostum’s trust and together they overwhelm the Taliban in the “Tiangi Gap” and free Mazar-i-Sharif, mostly on horseback.

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Movies I Hated in 2017

Right now, some high-powered consultants are being paid more than I’ll ever make in my lifetime to figure out why Hollywood movies are bombing at the box office. I’m sure they don’t want my advice, but here it is anyway: Enough with the annoying political and social messages! Audiences go to the theater to be entertained, not lectured or preached to. Hollywood has become the Rod Farva of the film industry–trying so hard but failing so tragically.

While I can’t blame all these dumpster fires on big budget studios, here are a few examples of the worst films released in 2017 (in no particular order):

The Hatred. Someone reportedly spent $800,000 on this piece of garbage. Four college coeds and a young girl must survive the night in a farmhouse haunted by an ex-NAZI and his daughter in The Hatred, written and directed by Michael G. Kehoe. The horror genre has long attracted up-and-coming filmmakers willing to take risks on shoestring budgets. This sometimes leads to cinematic masterpieces but often amounts to trash fit for the landfill. This film belongs solidly in the latter category. This is probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. The Hatred amounts to nothing more than a YouTube jumpscare short with a budget. [Read more…]

Rough Night. When Jessica “Jess” Thayer decides to plan a wedding while running for state senate, she’ll need a little help from her college friends, Alice, Frankie, Blair, and Pippa, to pull off a wild bachelorette party in Miami. Hilarity ensues when the ladies get drunk, snort a bunch of cocaine, and accidentally murder a male stripper, all while leading Jess’ loyal fiance, Peter, to believe she wants to cancel the wedding. In the end, they get away Scott free because, well, I guess manslaughter isn’t a thing in Florida. Comedy gold! This isn’t just a bad movie, it’s a morally reprehensible one. [Read more…]

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