In case you didn’t have enough already, here is yet another reason why I don’t look to Hollywood for scholarly political analysis:

Woody Allen has a strange take on the democracy that allowed him to become rich and famous.

Uh, no. The United States is not a democracy. It is a representative Republic. There is a difference, but one that is obviously missed by the writer of the article.

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia (that we translated), Allen says “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

But wait – there’s more!

The director said “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

Do you think President Obama could get the trains to run on time if given unlimited power?

I have no desire to see anyone become a dictator in this country, even a conservative Republican whom I support 100%. I want the government to do just those few things it is supposed to do, as outlined in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and nothing else. Simply put, I’m an adult, and I don’t need some government parental-figure telling me what I should and should not do. But I’m not an immature Hollywood celebrity who desires someone else control his every decision.

The legal battle has been joined. On one side are Hollywood directors and moviemakers, and on the other side are companies such as CleanFlicks, who sell and rent movies with profanity, graphic violence, nudity, and sexual content removed. For instance, Kate Winslet’s famous nude scene in Titanic (providing a movie miracle) has been edited out at CleanFlicks. The CleanFlicks website clearly states that its movies are edited to remove objectionable content, so it’s not like the customers can claim they have been unjustly denied their right to ogle British boobs; they knew they were renting or buying an edited version of Titanic when they walked into the store. In fact, CleanFlicks’ customers patronize the company precisely because they want to see movies with the “naughty bits” excised. Ironically, CleanFlicks can demonstrate that it is providing what its customers truly want, while most big-name Hollywood movie companies cannot.

Enter the plaintiffs, hereafter referred to as “the crybabies.” “Our creative artistic expression is being violated! Waah! This is censorship! Waaaah! Call our lawyers, now!” And, surprise, sue happens.

Into the fray wades U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch of Colorado. Matsch ruled that CleanFlicks et al must cease and desist all selling and renting of edited movies, fork over the goods forthwith, and get on with the business of going out of business already. Brace yourselves — here comes Judge Matsch’s justification for siding with the crybabies:

[Moviemakers'] objective…is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies. There is a public interest in providing such protection. [CleanFlicks'] business is illegitimate.

I guess the judge also believes there is a public interest in CleanFlicks filing for bankruptcy. Funny, the public was certainly interested enough to patronize the companies which provided the editing service, but public interest be damned — apparently the judge knows better what is in the public interest than the public itself.

I don’t patronize any of these now-endangered companies, but I don’t see that they are quite the bugaboos the judge and the crybabies have made them out to be. I laughed when I read that the editing companies caused “irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression” of the crybabies. Their “creative artistic expression” is far from the untouchable paragon of virtue that the judge and crybabies would have you believe it to be. Doubt me? Well, here are a few titles “for your consideration,” as they say in the movie biz: Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, From Justin to Kelly, Glitter, and Gigli, to mention just a few (there are many, many more film titles of similar “quality” produced every year). I can’t help but believe that if CleanFlicks were to edit out all objectionable material from these films, the only thing left would be the FBI warnings. And the crybabies can’t whine too much about people modifying their “artistic expression” when they willingly compromise it themselves, each time they acquiesce to creating airline and edited-for-TV versions of their films.

It seems that the real boobs in this situation are not the ones Kate Winslet paraded in Titanic, but the crybabies themselves. Where’s the service to edit them out?

So I dragged the wonderful wife off to the theater to see King Kong finally. We both liked the movie, and we understand why it is a box office hit. TPK says there are parts that seemed to drag, but I think she is crazy. I don’t know what part I would trim, but the bug scene certainly gave me the jibblies. So two thumbs up from both of us for the movie.

The movie experience gets thumbs down. Is it just me, or are more people talking in movies? I was tempted to turn around and say, “Would you please be quiet? If I wanted a movie commentary, I’d turn on the director’s audio track.” To make matters worse, there were three batches of wanna-be commentators seated around us. Now don’t get me wrong, I love talking back at the movies we watch. It’s a bad habit I picked up from Mystery Science Theater 3000. But I don’t do that in the theater. TPK says that if she must comment, she will whisper to me. I asked her how often I whisper stuff to her, and the quick answer is I don’t.

Why should I shell out money to go see a movie with Chatty Cathys, crying babies, and kids saying loudly, “Daddy, why is she dead?” I don’t mind seeing movie previews, but I object to commercials. And I really object when there are more commercials than previews. With TV and audio technology the way it is, I can get movie-quality entertainment at home without JuJuBes stuck to the floor and popcorn scattered around. And if someone is chatting loudly behind me, I can pause the show and tell TPK to take the phone into the other room.

Yes, there are some benefits of seeing a movie in a large theater with a bunch of people you know and like. But I have to ask myself if going to the theater is really worth it when I can rent as much as I want with the Hollywood MVP program (and Blockbusters still sucks).

I don’t think it will be too long before I skip the theater altogether and do just DVDs.

Well, it’s Oscar night, and the Hollywood glitterati will gather and swoon about their achievements. They’ll clap and applaud themselves in a multi-hour circle-jerk of self-aggrandizement. And I don’t care.

I love watching movies, but I have no desire to see any of the five nominated for Best Picture this year. In case you didn’t see these movies (most people haven’t) and have missed the gush in the news, here are the five nominees for the Best Picture category:

For a comparison, and to refresh your memories, here are the ten top grossing films released in 2005:

Gross Movie
$380,262,555 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
$288,060,759 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
$287,153,504 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
$234,280,354 War of the Worlds (2005)
$216,326,425 King Kong (2005)
$209,218,368 Wedding Crashers (2005)
$206,456,431 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
$205,343,774 Batman Begins (2005)
$193,136,719 Madagascar (2005)
$186,336,103 Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Here we have two groups of movies: the first judged by the inner circle of Hollywood to be the best, and the second voted on by moviegoers as worth their money to the tune of almost 2.5 BILLION dollars. Intelligentsia vs. hoi polloi. And speaking as one of the hoi polloi, I have seen eight of these ten top-grossing movies. I will eventually see
King Kong, but I have no desire to see Wedding Crashers.

I also have no desire to watch the Oscars tonight. I’m surprised I cared enough even to write this much about them.

p.s. I will make one Oscar prediction: there will be no mention of Theo van Gogh–his life, his work or his untimely demise–just as there was no mention of him last year.