A Lazy Review of ‘Oppenheimer’

by Shelt Garner

I almost didn’t go see Oppenheimer because I felt I knew enough of what happened in the movie from Tik-Tok videos that I didn’t need to. But I felt compelled to see it and I’m really glad that I did.

My key takeaway from the movie was that Christopher Nolan wanted to keep the audience off kilter in an effort to reflect what happened in real life with Oppenheimer. There were some pretty big twists in the confirmation plot line that I just didn’t see coming.

And, what’s more, the issue of if the United States should have dropped the A-Bomb was another interesting moral conundrum. It’s kind of sad that the dropping of the A-Bomb is one of a number of loaded historical issues that is almost impossible to talk about honestly without risking being “canceled.”

Anyway, in general, I really liked the movie. It is definitely a “dude” film in that it deals with “dude stuff.” I’m not suggesting women won’t like it or that women can’t do “dude stuff,” just that the audience for the film is obvious men who want to see other men do “dude stuff.”

The seemingly ever-growing number of issues that are taboo to even broach in our “woke” modern world is enough to make one just want to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. I still think, though, that it’s at least possible that the existential nature of so-called Fourth Turning may cause all our notions of “woke” discourse to seem rather quaint.

I’m Really Struggling With The Specifics Of My Heroine’s Appearance

by Shelt Garner

Oh boy. I know, in general, my heroine’s phenotype, but when it comes to her hair I’m having a real struggle. There is so much I can do with what she does with her hair that I find myself at a loss as to what I think would be the best option.

I vacillate widely from moment to the next about how she does her hair as the story opens. In this third draft, I’m really taking how I introduce my heroine a lot more seriously. I don’t want to sexualize her in any sort of gratuitous way because if I did anything like that there would be “woke” portions of the audience that would that would pitch a fucking fit.

They would say I’m just another horny CIS white male who is wants to fuck my heroine and is obsessed with boobs. As such, I am really self-conscious about how much I talk about my heroine’s appearance. And, yet, at the same time, I want to give readers a clear understanding in their mind’s eye of…her appearance.

My heroine kind of looks like this in my mind’s eye.

As a CIS white male writing from the POV of a female POC it’s kind of a no win situation. Woke people just want me to drop dead, not try to give them the representation they claim to want in their fiction. Only transgender, undocumented Mexicans can tell the type of stories I want to tell. Forgive me, I’m a bit grumpy and tipsy at the moment.

Anyway, you have to give me credit for at least understanding the sticky wicket I’m wading into. I get it. I’m a CIS white male, a member of the patriarchy and I should just shut up and let women and POC tell stories. But I’m an asshole and have a story to tell.

I’m trying to be as empathetic as possible, all things considered.

Of Olivia Munn & A Picture Not Being 1,000 Woke Words

by Shelt Garner

So, here is a picture that has apparently “triggered” the more “woke” amongst us:

The reason is — there aren’t enough non-white people in the picture. And, yet, Olivia Munn is there, hamming things up in a very conspicuous manner and she ain’t white.

So, I suppose the issue is — either Olivia Munn isn’t close enough to the camera to suit the “woke” people who are complaining, or these “woke” people are upset there aren’t any black people in the picture and an Amerasian person doesn’t count towards the “white liberals have to have x number of non-white friends at their dinner party not to be hypocrites” metric?

To me, the issue is not the whole suck-your-own-cock woke nature of things, but how fucking wealthy everyone in this picture is! Everyone in the picture above has GOT to be at LEAST a multi-millionaire and they live in their bubble of liberal whiteness with pretty much total disregard for us Poors.

What’s more, this picture from Kristen Bell also gives us validation of our most basic assumptions about celebrity — they really do all know each other and that’s why nepobabies control everything.

While I general believe the whole idea of “woke” is everything and nothing relative to the need of an ambitious Republican lawmaker trying to scare up votes, it’s shit like people attacking the Bell picture that really does annoy me. Should they have strategically put Munn closer to the camera to put at least one non-white person closer to the frame?

I dunno. I guess I’m not woke enough.

The Misogyny Directed Against Phoebe Waller-Bridge For Her Role In ‘Dial of Destiny’ is Shocking

by Shelt Garner

I found Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s role in Dial of Destiny to be one that established her as a Hollywood star. And, yet, from the way some commenters talk, you would think that not only did she suck, but that she took over the movie in a “woke” attempt to hand the Indy franchise over to her.

Now, here’s the context — there was a massive amount of bonkers chatter on YouTube that the time travel element of the movie was originially meant to be a way to turn Waller-Bridge into Indiana Jones by erasing Harrison Ford’s version from time altogether. They really got themselves worked out into an anti-woke Hollywood lather about this possibility.

And…then…it didn’t happen.

They claimed “victory” over the evil forces of Woke Hollywood, but I have my doubts. While I understand the fears — that definitely does sound like something Kathleen Kennedy would do to Indiana Jones — I just am not prepared to believe that was ever seriously considered, much less shot.

But, who knows.

The key thing to remember is I think, ultimately, the issue of who to turn the Indy franchise over to will be mooted because of technology. Soon enough, our digital assistant will scan our face, determine our mood and give us a very specific Indy movie that is completely different anything anyone else is watching at that particular moment.

It seems a foregone conclusion at this point.

I do wish, however, that Waller-Bridge could get her own franchise playing Dr. Susan Calvin of the I, Robot short stories. That would be great!

The Problem With The Movie ‘She Said’

by Shelt Garner

I really liked the #MeToo books She Said and Catch And Kill. They were insightful and interesting. But I find myself watching the movie adaptation of the former book and it comes across as a humorless Very Serious Film.

I’m just starting it, but I can see what it didn’t do very well in the box office, especially given how divided America is. The movie doesn’t seem to have much heart. It takes its subject matter So Seriously that it can come across as sort of plodding.

But I’ve just started. Maybe it will get better.

‘Protect Trans Kids’ Is The Clit Of The Culture Wars

by Shelt Garner

If you want to see how fucked up American politics are, look no further than the issue of “protect trans kids.” Because of all the disinformation flying around this issue — from both sides — I’ve given some serious thought to what I think about the issue.

The key take away from this particular clusterfuck is….there really aren’t that many “trans kids” to protect. It’s not like there are thousands of children who are demanding they take the medical steps necessary to transition. There are a lot of sexually confused kids — like there have always been since the dawn of time — who don’t know what they are or what they want and they’re being used as pawns on “both sides” to make political points.

Because the Left makes a big deal about “protect trans kids,” the Right flips out that there are “trans kids” that need to be “protected” in the first place.

The whole thing is very very fucked up because, from my experience, if you don’t cling to the established center-Left narrative about “protect trans kids” even though there really aren’t that many trans kids to protect….you are in for shit ton of trouble. From both sides! Either the Left things you’re Satan, or the Right demands you becoming just as hysterical as they are about this issue — and other culture war issues — for them to accept you.

Ugh. Fuck all that.

I totally validate the alarm and anger that a lot of Trans Rights advocates have stimming from violence and all that. My only concern is maybe be a little less crazy when it comes to demanding everyone hone to the extremist dictates of the “protect trans kids” narrative.

Vibe Check: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Discourse Is The Worst Discourse

by Shelt Garner

There is so much to unpack about Blazing Saddles. And I’m lazy and don’t want to give this post the proper research, so think of this as more of a off-the-top-of-the-head vibe check than something you might find on, say Vox.

Anyway, the misguided discourse about Blazing Saddles is it “couldn’t be made today” because it uses the N-word and all that. The people who say such things usually are older, white and get “triggered” by just the mere mention of the term “woke.”

But that is A LOT going on with this movie.

The chief thing is the context in which the movie was made. The movie was intended to be a critique of white racism. And, yet, because it came out a long time ago and because of how Blue and Red no longer interact with each other unless they’re screaming at each other, Reds think that the fact that the movie “couldn’t be released today” is a sign of the decline and fall of Western civilization.

This brings up to interesting questions.

One is, would these “anti-woke” MAGA people feel the same way if, instead of being “triggered,” “cultural Leftists” embraced this hypothetical version of the movie being released today? I mean, white people — and specifically the type of people you consider MAGA — are portrayed in the movie as racist morons. The very thing that MAGA is very, very touchy about being considered today. So, the pining after this movie on the part of MAGA is a result of a lost of context — they’re taking broad, anti-racist satire at face value and liking what they see.

Which brings up the SECOND point.

Given the misguided and conflated understanding of the movie that MAGA has — that it being released was a symbol of when America was “great,” what does that mean about MAGA? Why is MAGA so eager to be able to say the N-word if they don’t think of themselves of racist? Why are MAGA people so angry and aggrieved all the time?

The answer is, of course, that MAGA is a symptom, a side effect of the loss of power by straight white Christian men. (I fucking hate MAGA, by the way.)

Anyway. You could pretty much write a 10,000 word New Yorker article about this movie and still not convince some MAGA people that they’re missing the entire point of the movie!

What I can compare it to is how women’s fashion magazines sometimes have nudity, but all some dudes see — despite the context — is “tits and ass.”

The Oscars Should Embrace Gender-Neutral Acting Categories

by Shelt Garner

I think it’s time to end the gender-specific acting categories at the Oscars. I believe this not because of any passionate fondness for non-binary people, but rather I just think its time.

Just like how I believe young women should be required to sign up for Selective Service, I think we should give male and female actors the opportunity to go head-to-head. I’m well aware that there are A LOT of problems with this idea. The whole non-binary issue — which is what the Little Gold Men podcast focused on — is besides the point.

We need to move past having Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, etc, so the point where men and women are judged by their ability head to head as opposed to sequestered by sex. From what I tell from the Little Gold Men podcast, The Academy is very, very slow to change such things.

I wouldn’t focus on the whole non-binary issue if I was marketing this for the broader public. I have no problem with non-binary people, but if their concerns are played up in any change of the categories then a lot of mainstream people will roll their eyes at how clueless Hollywood is.

But if you just say this is a “modernization” of the Oscars, then I think a lot of people will embrace it without all the “woke” fuss.

Or not. What do I know.

Could Phoebe Waller-Bridge Be The Next James Bond?

by Shelt Garner

I’ve heard some chatter here and about that Phoebe Waller-Bridge might be tapped to write and direct the next James Bond movie. She already did a touch up of the No Time To Die script and she apparently really impressed the James Bond family in the process.

Given the dynamics of Hollywood, it’s at least within the realm of possibility that Waller-Bridge might not only write and direct the next James Bond, but BE James Bond. How they would pull this particular hattrick off, I don’t know, but that’s why they pay them the big bucks.

They did kill James Bond off in the last movie, so anything is possible. Even though Waller-Bridge would do a great job as James Bond, if a woman was James Bond every “anti-woke” crusader worth their talking head status on Fox News would freak the fuck out in a very, very public manner.

And, remember, there were rumors that the producers of the next Indy movie wanted to use time-travel to reboot the franchise so Waller-Bridge would be the next Indy. Apparently, at least according to the dubious YouTube movie grapevine, that idea has been shelved.

Anyway, it will be interesting how things develop going forward. Waller-Bridge definitely is a very talented woman and of all the people I could think of who might bring back the good olde days of campy James Bond updated for modern sensibilities, Waller-Bridge is definitely at the top of the list.

Woke Hollywood Is Sexless Hollywood

by Shelt Garner

One of the reasons why I’m so pleased with the appearance of the movie No Hard Feelings is it’s a saucy, spicy “hard comedy” like I remember back in the 1980s. With the rise of Hollywood’s bifurcation into Woke and Comic Book genre movies all the sauciness has been drained from the movie going experience.

I fucking hate this woke test.

It’s all very strange.

Most people explain it this way: with the rise of abundant online porn, the #MeToo moment and “intimacy co-ordinators” Hollywood has just given up on giving adults the type of entertainment they once had.

I definitely believe there is credence to this idea, just like there is credence to the idea that all the angry young men who might otherwise start a punk or rock band now are keyboard warriors on Reddit.

And, yet, the case could be made that if we go from the success of Cocaine Bear to an equally successful No Hard Feelings that all the quibbles that Hollywood has had about saucy, raunchy hard comedies will fade away.

Hollywood as it should be. Wink.

But the thing I’m worried about is sexless the “woke cancel culture mob” is when it comes to entertainment. Gen Z apparently wants everyone to be “realistic” (read: unattractive) in their media and they also totally “over” any sort of sexxy time in entertainment for some strange reason.

So, we have no sex and we have no rock and the only thing we have left is drugs.

It’s all very curious. But there is a market for adult-oriented, saucy entertainment like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Wedding Crashers and The Hangover.

So, there is a possibility that if No Hard Feelings is a hit that Jennifer Lawrence will join Tom Cruise as someone who “saved Hollywood’s ass.” I do wonder how much the pandemic is responsible for this New Era in Hollywood in the sense that it scared the ever living shit out of movie studio executives to the point that they decided to go back to basics.