Tag Archives: drama

The best and worst movies of 2012

So I have had time to reflect on the few gems among the tripe from this year and once again prepared to offer my Top 10 List of movies of 2012. And like previous years,  I can’t find 10.

I was hoping for a full list this year. But The Hobbit ran too long, focused too much on dwarves eating, paid more attention to effects than character, and then didn’t have an ending. I wanted a dragon, goddamnit, not as a tease but as a character! The Odd Life of Timothy Green was cute, would make a good date movie, but I can’t justify it on a top list. Red Dawn was great in terms of the patriotism and mood, but I’ll admit the production quality, while certainly higher than the first, is still a bit shaky. Brave, while well done, is not as good as some of its other Pixar counterparts. And I know I may be the only one, but I find John Carter endlessly entertaining.

Now just as a quick reminder I have 4 criteria for great art.
Remember I have 4 basic criteria for great art.
1. It must be enjoyable (I have some kind of positive emotional reaction)…so that throws out most of the critic’s picks out.

2. It must understand human nature
3. It must use the tools of the medium well
4. It must have a meaningful and correct theme.

So here we go. The top 7 films of 2012. (For the movies that I’ve done full reviews of, I have them linked in the titles.)

#7. Cabin in the Woods

“Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of – Am I on speakerphone?”

Usually you wouldn’t see a horror movie on any top list because it’s a silly genre. But Cabin in the Woods is a merciless critique of the horror genre and all its stupid tropes. And it is done with wit, with skill and with a wonderful mocking of the horror genre.
This is obviously a little weak at meeting my 4 criteria, but it’s lambasting a genre that never lives up to them, so I think the weakness comes from the source not the material itself.

The Avengers6. The Avengers

“With everything that’s happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old fashioned.”

We all love this film. We all waited for the several years for it to come out. We doubted if it would be any good after we saw how bad Captain America was. But Whedon pulled it out and gave a film that was not only entreating but developed the characters in ways we had not seen in the previous films.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, comic book characters have replaced the myths and legends that pervious societies used to convey ideals of heroism and virtue, and for all the flaws of the individual Avengers, we see something to strive for in terms of human nature within them.

M Bond5. Skyfall

M: Not very comfortable, is it?
Bond: You gonna complain all the way?
M: Go on! Eject me! See if I care!

I would say this is both the best Craig Bond film yet, and the most mature Bond film of all time (I still say that GoldenEye is the best Bond, but that is certainly up for debate). The movie offers us a deeply moving closure to the Bond/M relationship, a chance for Bond to grow as a person, and of course all the final pieces of the Bond mythology (Moneypenny, Q, Martini’s shaken not stirred, not to mention the car from Goldfinger). And at last we had a Bond villain that was both frightening and over the top in the way only a Bond villain can be.

Its only flaw is that it didn’t continue with the plot that the last two films with the Quantum (SPECTRE?) organization. Just one line from Bardem of “I got information from your friends at Quantum, they really hate you Mr. Bond” or something like those lines, it would have kept the plot line alive without ruining the pacing of the film. I can only hope we come back to this plot in the next film.

Now some have complained about the pacing of this film, but I think it’s because they made this film a five act story instead of the three acts we have become so used to. It’s a more complex story requiring a more complex structure.

But this movie quotes my favorite part of my favorite poem. How can I not love that:

Though much is taken, much abides, and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are… One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

4. Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the Curve
“Now get out of here before I have a heart attack trying to kill you.”

Not Eastwood’s best performance of the year (that would involve a chair), but it is still a great movie. It serves as a great counterpart to last year’s best film Moneyball. Moneyball showed up that in life we must adapt or die. Trouble with the Curve shows that any new innovation shouldn’t throw out all the old tried and true methods—that life is more than just numbers. That there needs to be balance. And it does this with three very unbalanced characters who together grow and learn from each other.

Okay those are the also rans who are on the list because a Top 3 would be rather sad…now let’s get to the three I actually had a hard time ordering.

3. ArgoArgo

“Bad news, bad news. Even when it’s good news, it’s bad news. John Wayne in the ground 6 months and this is what is left of America.”

This is the movie that the best director Academy Award should have gone to (stupid Academy). Affleck manages to have this movie go from a good thriller to a hilarious dark comedy and back to great thriller seamlessly. The skill required to take the tone of movie in radically different directions without making it jarring or seem forced is something most directors are smart enough to not even try. Affleck does it without flaw.
Maybe it’s that Hollywood hates Ben Affleck. Yes he’s made some very questionable acting choices (he’s not a terrible actor but he does pick terrible scripts on occasion). But between Gone Baby, Gone, The Town, and now Argo Affleck has cemented in my mind as one of the great actors of this generation. While I disagree with him on most politics I am more pleased that he is not running for the Senate because this means there will still be more great movies to come.
Anyway Argo is a great film. It shows the creativity of our people in the intelligence services. It shows the unscrupulous and inept people whom an anti-Semite like Carter surrounded himself with (oh, let’s leave them all hanging because of the optics on a mission). Affleck manages to gives us excellent characterization on a large cast for a movie this short. The only reason I would say that this is not the best film is that the theme of this film is not as momentous as the next two films.

2. The Dark Knight Risesdark-knight-rises-cast-1920x1080

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulder to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”

Christopher Nolan outdid himself again with this film. In this retelling of A Tale of Two Cities we have a skillful critique of the philosophy that says all wealth is evil and an equally damning critique of those who would use this lie to gain power over. And to top it off they give us a philosophical discussion of the nature of fear, heroism and living the good life. I only give Affleck my call for best director by mere fractions due to his ability to switch tones in the film so well, but Nolan is also a truly great director who took a story that was little more than fluff and action and gave us three films of depth and soul. He made us care about Bruce Wayne the person, not just the costume, and he showed us what a hero is and can be.
This film should win best screenplay, but again I fear it won’t.

1. Les Miserables

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Les Miserables Posters
This film does stand a good chance of winning the best picture award it so richly deserves. While I have previously commented on some flaws in the directing and editing this movie still soars above the rest. It gives us salvation and redemption, tragedy and comedy, passion and vengeance. And it does it in possibly the hardest form to work in, the musical. It is without question the best film of 2012.

So what was the worst film of 2012? Promised Land for bad politics? Lincoln for finally proving Spielberg has only hype left and no talent? Life of Pi for taking a book with an infantile understanding of religion and spirituality (I liked the points it made, but it made them so poorly) and let it be directed by one of film’s worst directors? Taken 2 for the plot line of, dad didn’t want daughter to go to Paris because it’s unsafe, but hey, let’s have a family get together in Istanbul, because that’s gotta be safe? Atlas Shrugged II for being even more poorly made than the first even though it had more money (oh please let them recast everyone again for the third)? Cloud Atlas for being a pretentious and tedious attempt to redo The Fountain? Zero Dark Thirty for breaking more federal intelligence laws than any other film in history? Twilight for, well, being Twilight? The Lorax for being useless bullshit? Safe House and Flight for making me realize the glory days of Denzel are over, and I have no hope of them coming back.

No this dishonor of worst film of 2012 goes to Prometheus. Prometheus? Yes, Prometheus. This may come as a bit of a shock. After all, while not the best prequel ever, it wasn’t that bad. It was a great thriller, kept me on the edge of the seat nearly the entire time. It had some pretty good character development. It was well done. So why is it the worst film of the year? Well first I thought the movie was flawed because it asked massive questions about the nature of life, the universe and everything…but it failed to provide even a hint of answer. Which made it unbelievably dissatisfying. But that was only why it wasn’t going on the top of the list. Little did I know when I first saw it that there were answers in the original script. I’m not going to go into how bizarre these answers are, (I only have two words and a link, follow at your own risk: Space Jesus ) but let me just say that if that was the original intent of Ridley Scott then this is by far the dumbest movie I have ever heard of. Ridley Scott has made some of the best films ever created… this is not one of them.

Which movies am I looking forward to?
A Good Day To Die Hard (Mindless fun), 42 (could be pointlessly preachy, I hope not), Oblivion (I’m still unsure what this is about), Iron Man 3 (mindless fun), Thor 2 (mindless fun), Much Ado About Nothing (Whedon does Shakespeare, need I say more), Man of Steel (Nolan please give me a fourth great superhero movie), Red 2 (mindless fun), Ender’s Game (this all depends on the visuals for the game).

As you can see not exactly a list composed primarily of deep films. So it will be a short list again next year in all likelihood.

What do I have no intention of seeing?
Star Trek and Hangover III

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Movies for Conservatives: Les Miserables

Les Miserables Posters

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”

Les Mis a movie for conservatives?

Yeah.

But let’s first talk about the qualities of the movie apart from political or philosophical points.

The High Points

This is the play in all its glory.  And the play is a truncated version of one of the most moving books ever written.  All the passion, all the empathy there.  You will cry for Fantine.  For Eponine.  For Gavrouche.  For the revolutionary Friends of the ABC.  For Javert. And of course for Valjean.  Bring tissues this is movie that you will cry at, a lot.

And this movie has a few truly wonderful scenes that supply motivation that was missing in the play.  For instance it has Javert arrive on the same day that Fantine is dismissed from her job, which gives a reason for Valjean not taking a more serious interest in her case.

The movie also supplies little moments from the book that were never in the play, like Grantaire standing by Enjolras at the moment of execution.

I think director Tom Hooper created something truly genius with the live singing way this movie was made…however it appears in the early scenes that there was certainly a learning curve involved in using this technique (I wish this wasn’t the first movie to do it so Hooper could have had something to reference).  But for any inconsistency it brings up at some moments, it adds deeply to the rest of the film and emotional impact of the songs.

Les Mis HathawayAnne Hathaway deserves an Oscar.

And Russell Crowe’s singing was a pleasant surprise.  He added more humanity to Javert than any actor I have previously seen.

The Low Points.

I feel there was a lot that got left on the editing room floor. At 2 hours and 37 minutes this was pushing it for most movies nowadays and I’m pretty sure if all the little things that were taken out were put back in it would be well over 3 hours.  And since Hollywood has no intention of returning to the idea of an intermission (to me this makes no sense as most of the money comes from concessions and if there is a break at an hour and a half we would be more willing to buy soda since we wouldn’t have to worry about running out to the rest room and we would buy food at the halfway mark as we would be hungrier by that point…but at least it seems that way, real data I’m not privy to might show otherwise) they were probably forced to make some heavy cuts to the movie.  This creates some odd pacing issues, where certain parts feel a little rushed.

Also, and it may be a personal issue that others may not have a problem with, I was not overly impressed by Jackman’s singing. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to a deeper more sonorous voice for Valjean.

On the technical points, the movie is one of the best of the year, the acting and visual work was spectacular. The editing needs work (or at least a director’s cut DVD…please.) and the directing while exceptional still could have been just a little better (I think the high cost of production may have prevented doing reshoots that other films might have done)…Hooper gets an A not A+.

The Political/Philosophical Points

Did you know this was Ayn Rand’s favorite book?  It was.  Kind of puts any thoughts that Les Mis is liberal out of the “obviously” category doesn’t it.

Okay let’s look at some of the points. On their own merits.

“I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me.  Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free. I speak I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”

Jean Valjean is a convict, yes. But while that’s all that Javert sees, we’re supposed to see more.  We’re supposed to see the successful businessman who not only created a whole industry in a town, bringing it out of poverty and into an economic renaissance, but who also out of Christian charity (not guilt, it should be noted that if you read the book Valjean is motivated by a desire to be a better person, not by guilt about his prior actions) creates hospitals and schools for the poor.  In a day and age when lesser writers like Dickens would just recycle the terrible image of the robber baron, Hugo gave us a noble businessman as an example of what others should be. It should also be noted that in a very Atlas Shrugged kind of way, Hugo has no illusions that once Valjean is forced to run the industry and the town is not able to survive in its thriving state without Valjean’s leadership. The book to a great degree, with touches still in the movie, shows that prosperity is driven by captains of industry.

“Take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation.  Take my love, for love is everlasting.  And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Further it should be noted what a deeply religious story this story is.  It is God and the Bishop of Digne, not government that redeems Valjean.  God and faith permeate all levels of this story.  Faith ironically is what drives both Valjean and Javert.  And it never condemns any form of faith, showing that all those fallen (except sadly Javert, whom I’m sure Hugo would have placed there) together in heaven.

The novel, the play, and now the movie praise faith.  It’s a rarity these days in serious well produced films.  And given the desperate need for spirituality in our modern world, something like this must be embraced.

“Let us die facing our foe […] Let others rise to take our place until the Earth is FREE!”

And dare we forget that much of the second half of the story is taken up by an uprising by Republican revolutionaries, seeking a return to law and not the capricious whims of a king.

“But, but, but” some liberals will complain.  The book is about helping the poor, and how unjust the criminal justice system is.  Those are liberal issues. And what they fail to realize is that these are different times and different issues.  The poor in 19th century France were starving (a problem with accuracy is that even the slums of France look too pretty in this movie…honestly we wouldn’t have felt comfortable actually watching what the “The Miserable” of 19th century France looked like…it wasn’t quite Nazi Concentration Camp, but certainly not as pretty as this film depicts it), the poor in 21st century America are suffering an obesity epidemic.  Hugo critiqued those who were lazy and those who felt entitled.  Poverty of the kind Hugo witnessed in France was what he wanted us to feel empathy for, modern poverty would not likely bring as much empathy from Victor.  And he would be horrified by the lack of the churches and religion in the government welfare that modern liberals champion.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t compare the legal system that punished Valjean for 20 years and hounded him for life for stealing a loaf of bread to our modern system…yes we have problems, but we have the kind of problems Hugo would have only dreamed of.

“Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.”

Of course for me one of the most revealing passages in Les Miserable is when Hugo takes a moment to critique communism.

(It should be noted the terms Socialism and Communism at the time do not have the same meaning now…what he calls Communism would be more in line with modern European Socialism…the term Capitalism was first used in 1854, 8 years before Hugo published Les Miserables—it took him nearly 20 years to write—and its usage as a economic system did not begin until Marx used it in 1867, 5 years after Les Miserables was published.  So he could never expect to hear him use the term capitalism even thought that seems to be what he’s calling for.   He certainly did not have the term cronyism which describes the economics of 19th century France better than anything.  So pay attention to the systems and practices he is referring to, not the titles, as he had no access to the title we currently use.)

“The reader will not be surprised if, for various reasons, we do not here treat in a thorough manner, from the theoretical point of view, the questions raised by socialism. We confine ourselves to indicating them.

All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems.

First problem: To produce wealth.

Second problem: To share it.

The first problem contains the question of work.

The second contains the question of salary.

In the first problem the employment of forces is in question.

In the second, the distribution of enjoyment.

From the proper employment of forces results public power.

From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness.

By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood.  The highest equality is equity.

From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity.

Social prosperity means the manhappy, the citizen free, the nation great.

England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters.

Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor.

It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides.

It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it.

The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.

[…]

Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.”

[Emphasis added]

You will notice he is proposing such things as universal education, due process of law, and property rights.  He condemns any attempt for everyone to have their fair and equal share and envying the wealthy.  He proposes that people be paid just wages for their work (which was an issue then, not so much now). He proposes to make every man his own master, that everyone may earn wealth.  I can’t speak with certainty what political path Hugo would take in the modern world, but I can be fairly certain that if a modern day liberal went back to see him, Hugo would try to slap the stupid out of the Occupy trash.  I can also be mildly sure that Hugo might encourage the building of a few barricades against some of the government overreaches of the modern world.

All in all, the story is one of the value of liberty, of the individual, of redemption through works and of God.  Those are conservative themes if I ever heard them.

“Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night

It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the Earth there is a flame that never dies,

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

We will live again in Freedom in the garden of the Lord.

We will walk behind the plowshares.  We will put away the sword.

The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?  Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!”

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Movies that show rich people as being good #10: Holiday

“I don’t want her dough I want to earn it myself.”

Any long time reader of this blog will know that I love movies (and books, but book reviews are a little more difficult to do) but I’ve pretty much run out of holidays to tie to movies (yes, there seems to be a holiday for every day on the calendarbut that would be pushing it) so I’ve decided to start looking at particular themes and genres.

So I’ll first turn to a theme I’ve seen a lot of in the recent coverage of the presidential election and in movies: the rich.  Specifically this obscene fallacy that rich people are all evil.  Evil I tell you, EVIL!  Romney’s worth $250 million, thus he must be evil! (Let’s just ignore the rich Democrats who earned their money in ways extremely less ethical than Romney’s way of earning his money, Mitt is evil because he is rich.)  However those of us who deal in the real world know this is not the case: there are some very, very good rich people in the world and some very, very evil ones.  There are good ones who earned their money and good ones who inherited it.  But you don’t see this very much in the realm of film.  You see the liberal nonsense that all wealth is ill gotten, either stolen, swindled, cheated from the poor or the result of criminal or corrupt practices.

But then again this is Hollywood we’re talking about.  Take a look around most films and TV shows. The rich live in opulence that in reality most of the top 1% couldn’t hope to afford.  The middle class in film seems to live in houses or apartments five times the size of what most of those really in the middle class (even the upper middle class) could usually afford to get.  And the poor seems to constantly live in a state somewhere below the poverty of the third world.  In short Hollywood’s idea of classes is a little skewed (and by skewed I mean ignorant and psychotic).

So the problem was that I tried to find my usual 20-30 movies.  I couldn’t.  There are not 20 good films that show rich people in a positive light.  10 with a few honorable mentions.  So we’re stuck with 10.

So here are my criteria for these 10.

  • The character must be admirable and have made their money through ethical means (yes inheritance is ethical so long as the original money was inherited).
  • The character must be really rich.  By that I mean they have to have enough money to retire for the rest of their life, never work another day, and still live a comfortable life style.

You’d think with such limited requirements I’d have more than 10, but no 10 is all I could find.

So let’s start with #10

Holiday (1938)

 “If I’m going to get stuck with a rich girl, I’ll just grit my teeth make the best of it.”

We start with one of the greatest romantic-comedies of all time, Holiday, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.  It is based on a play my Philip Barry, a playwright who loved to show that the rich were human (with their good and their bad) as much as every other class.  The film is directed by great director George Cukor (you should know that name, he’s only the director of Gone with the Wind, The Philadelphia Story, Adam’s Rib, Born Yesterday, Pat and Mike, My Fair Lady)

The story centers around the Setons, a family of bankers of whose wealth places them in the highest levels of American society.  The father is set in his ways of a misguided reverence for money.  Oldest daughter Linda (Katherine Hepburn) is the black sheep and free spirit.  Youngest child and only son Ned, an artist at heart, is slowly being destroyed by his alcoholism because he doesn’t have the spine to tell his father he won’t be a banker.  And younger daughter Julia is very comfortable in her social strata and is looking for a man who can guarantee she will always be kept in wealth.

The problem is Julia settles on Johnny Case (Cary Grant) a successful up and coming businessman, and our first example in Hollywood of the admirable rich.  A regular genius he reengineers a failing company during the Great Depression for the firm he works for (hmm…buying failing companies and through reorganization of management making them successful…sounds very familiar) into a profitable business…in the process making himself a cool million in on its stock.  (in 1938 when this film was made a million would be about 15 million in 2010 dollars, so yeah he’s rich). But despite being a millionaire at 30, and all through his own work add brains, Johnny Case understands what money is actually for (something his fiancée does not).   Being happy.

Johnny:  But…I’m afraid I’m not as anxious as I might be for the things most people work toward. I don’t want too much money.

Edward:  Too much money? Johnny:  Well, more than I need to live by…You see, it’s always been my plan to make a few thousand early in the game, if I could, and then quit for as long as they last, and try to find out who I

There needed to be more movies with these two…

am and what I am and what goes on and what about it…I’m sure Julia understands…don’t you, Julia?

Julia:  [laughs, uncertainly]. I’m not sure I do, Johnny…

[…] Even if it turns out to be one of those fool ideas people dream about then go flat on.  Even if I find I’ve had enough of it in 3 months time, still I want it.  I’ve got a feeling if I let this chance go by there’ll never be another one for me.  So I don’t think anyone will mind if I just have a go at it.  Will they Julia?  Will they dear?

This classic shows the truth that it is not money that corrupts, more that it allows the corruptible to be even more vile.  Case wants to use his money to be happy because he knows that making money isn’t his primary goal in life and he won’t listen to those who say otherwise.  He is not only intelligent and competent, but he is happy and ethical and won’t violate his principles.

Even if you haven’t seen the film, I’m probably not spoiling anything by revealing Cary Grant actually gets Katherine Hepburn not the other sister.  Duh.  And here we see that someone born to money can be just as good as Cary Grant’s Case who started with nothing and earned it all himself.  She also embraces life at its fullest, cares about others, and does not compromise her values.

This film also subtly praises true capitalism in that it shows that through intelligence and work one can go from rags to riches even in the midst of the Great Depression.

Yes, Barry is fair in his depiction of the rich.  From the father of the Seton family who knows only his social class and doesn’t dare offend any of its traditions (competent at his job, not evil, but not necessarily living life to the fullest), to Julia who wants protection that wealth brings and nothing more, to the pro-fascist cousins of the family (remember this was 1938 and there were many stupid enough in all classes to think fascism held the answers for economic woes).   But even these are merely balance to show that the rich are not some terrible caricature or a group of white knights, they’re human and, as within any group, there is a wide variety of character.

Even the somewhat vapid Julia has an inkling of the proper nature of wealth…when trying to win Case to her side she states:

If you think that you can persuade me that a man of your energy and your ability possibly could quit at 30 […] But you haven’t any idea yet at how exciting business can be.  Oh Johnny see it through, you’ll love it I know you will.  There’s no such thrill in the world as making money.

This is true of some people.  Some businessmen enjoy creating things, businesses, systems, products because they can.  The great titans of industry from Vanderbilt to Jobs did it because they were driven to create, and they did thrill at creating wealth.  Case is not one of them and there is nothing wrong with that either as while he wants to find himself, he wants to do it on his dime, not someone else’s.  Julia’s problem is her narrow-minded belief that everyone has to fit into her model, and also the hypocrisy of why doesn’t she go out and build her own fortune (yeah it’s 1938 and women’s liberation hasn’t happened yet, but there were women in Congress at this point, no reason other barriers couldn’t be broken…especially in a movie starring Hepburn, a woman who broke barriers and traditions wherever she found them).  So her words are true, even if coming from her they ring hollow.

Honorable Mention

As I said there are a few honorable mentions that depict the rich well, but not so well they make it onto my top ten list.  The first of these is The Philadelphia Story.  Another joint venture of Barry, Cukor, Grant and of course Hepburn.  It’s a wonderful romantic comedy about high society.  And while Hepburn and Grant are admirable and rich, the issue of wealth is more setting than theme in this film.  The nature of money and why we seek it is central to Holiday, in The Philadelphia Story wealth is just a backdrop.  And so while it shows some wonderful (and some not so wonderful) people it ranks only as an honorable mention on this list…although one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time in its own right. 

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