One thing I’ll say about Joe Biden: He certainly has the potential to be the weakest, worst president we’ve ever had.

 

**

 

Here’s the thing about that whole “fair and balanced” motto at Fox News: Reportedly, Fox wants to entice viewers from across the political spectrum by including more liberal points of view, i.e., by becoming more “fair and balanced.” Makes sense, I suppose, from a business perspective.

But to many Fox loyalists, “fair and balanced” meant something different. In a media landscape dominated by liberal outlets like the broadcast networks, CNN, and Hollywood, Fox made the overall landscape a bit more balanced by giving conservatives a place of refuge. If Fox wants to go more 50-50, politically, that will make what is already an unbalanced media even more skewed to the left.

That is why, I think, conservatives are abandoning Fox for channels like Newsmax TV.

 

**

 

British Babe 1

 

Diana Rigg died … two months ago. How the hell did I miss that? They might need to revoke my Weekly Reviewer license, if I keep missing things like that.

If you are of a certain age, Diana will always be two characters: Mrs. Peel on The Avengers, and the first-and-only Mrs. James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (pictures below).

 

Mrs. Peel

 

Mrs. Bond

 

Diana Rigg in September and Sean Connery in October: All my favorite British spies are dying.

 

**

 

I watched the much-maligned Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix – not a masterpiece, but nowhere near as bad as some reviews would indicate.

Could it be that liberal critics are predisposed to dislike anything that might appeal to Deplorables? Just asking.

 

**

 

British Babe 2

 

Speaking of critics, most of them are also rather hostile toward the Gemma Arterton miniseries Black Narcissus on FX.

Below is a video clip from the show, in which Gemma gets “blacked” by an egotistical player (Idris Elba, also blacking Gemma in the picture).

 

 

Blacked, for the uninitiated, is what the kids call it when a black dude scores a piece of ass from a desirable white girl.

 

Just kidding about the video. Gemma plays a nun in Black Narcissus. The clip is from a 2016 film called 100 Streets.

 

**

 

 

Certainly one of the ugliest.

 

**

 

 

As corrupt as we are now learning that Obama was, if I were Trump I’d take this as a compliment.

 

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This election has me scratching my head, to put it mildly. Looking at the size of the crowds at Trump rallies (above), and then watching as a guy whose speeches can’t draw crowds large enough to fill a parking lot, somehow attracts 77 million voters ….

So, the “silent majority” was actually composed of Biden voters?

 

**

 

 

Too many weird things going on. Our leaders keep telling us how dangerous this virus is, and that we must all wear masks and social distance. And then we see: Gavin Newsom (above) enjoying a maskless, distance-free, indoor dinner party; maskless Nancy Pelosi having her hair done at a salon; the maskless Lori Lightfoot and Dianne Feinstein; the maskless Cuomo brothers, and so on, all of them flagrantly ignoring their own mandates.

Why aren’t they afraid of the dangerous virus? We all know what cowards most politicians are, so where is their fear?

 

**

 

Maybe something like this happened:

 

Aliens:  You people are destroying your planet. Your citizens will revolt over income inequality. We can help you. Here is a virus. Spread it throughout the world. This will create chaos and undermine faith in your institutions. And then, once you have the people under your thumb, institute The Great Reset.

World leaders:  OK!

Aliens:  We are here to help. We will set the table for you because we are here …

 

 

Hey, my conspiracy theory is no worse than your conspiracy theory.

 

**

 

I’m half expecting the next civil war to take place in the hallways of Fox News. Seems that since the election, more than a few Fox anchors and reporters, who have been in hiding for four years, have been emboldened to come out as the pro-establishment, anti-Trumpers they really are.

There is a name for people like that: weasels.

 

**

 

 

In the past, The Crown hasn’t shied away from showing the warts on Britain’s royal family. The difference in season four is that the family flaws no longer seem relatively benign. This season, Elizabeth and her brood often seem downright odious.

 

**

 

 

This is disturbing. Why is Politico checking out my LinkedIn profile? Are they compiling some sort of “enemies list”?

 

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Evil (above) is one of those shows of which, in retrospect, you question certain scenes that weren’t particularly logical. But it doesn’t much matter because, while you’re watching it, you don’t really notice the flaws. It’s too fast-paced and the dialogue is too sharp. It’s entertaining.

Any series – especially a network show – that produces numerous “what the fuck?” moments is alright by me, and Evil did just that, especially in episodes four and nine.

On the downside, the series does go a bit off the rails in its second half. The emphasis seems to shift from our three heroes debunking bogus claims of demonic possession to: “Let’s throw in every wacky, Satan’s-hiding-in-the-closet plotline we can think of!”

 

**

 

On the one hand, I have to agree with Democrats who are calling for post-election “unity.” Sounds nice. Sounds like a welcome relief from four years of national strife and chaos.

On the other hand, calling for unity now takes some real chutzpah, given the way Democrats have behaved for the past four years.

 

**

 

Tucker Carlson said something on his show Friday night that really pissed me off. Here is what he said:

 

“If you ever wondered where the dumbest people in America live, you just saw it: in the Minneapolis City Council and in your neighborhood philosophy department.”

 

Listen, I was born in Minneapolis and I live (near) there now. Carlson pissed me off because … he’s correct.

 

**

 

Season four of The Crown is premiering this weekend on Netflix. Yes, it’s a great show. But sorry, Elizabeth, the best queen on Netflix this year is this one:

 

 

**

 

We here at The Grouchy Editor are going to do everything in our power to ignore this kind of crazy, nuts, and deranged advice:

 

 

You can read the article here.

 

**

 

 

 

 

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Knock Knock

 

Normally in movies like Knock Knock, director Eli Roth’s (sort of) home-invasion thriller starring Keanu Reeves and two young beauties, the audience has someone to root for. I couldn’t find anyone I liked in this mash-up of Fatal Attraction and Lolita; I pretty much wanted everyone to go down. Which removes a lot of the suspense from a suspense film.

Architect Reeves and his artist wife represent the Southern California 5 Percent, a vapid couple with perfect house, perfect kids, and perfect dog. Genesis and Bell (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas), who inveigle their way into Reeves’s house when his wife and kids are gone, represent entitled young people. When it turns out that the girls have something more sinister in mind than just sex, the battle begins. Like I said, I didn’t care who won.

But it’s competently directed, and the performances of Izzo and de Armas are spot-on chilling. Izzo, by the way, was Roth’s real-life wife at the time. Judging from the amount of skin she displays in this and other Roth productions like The Green Inferno and Aftershock, the couple seemed intent on becoming this decade’s answer to Brian De Palma and Nancy Allen.  Release: 2015   Grade: C+

 

Above, Izzo gives her all for director Roth and actor Reeves.

 

**

 

The Social Dilemma

 

“Everything in moderation.” 

 

(I didn’t attribute the above quote because if you do a search on it, you’ll find that it’s credited to everyone from the Apostle Paul to Oscar Wilde to Jimmy Smits. In other words, it’s like everything else on the Internet: untrustworthy.)

 

To me, The Social Dilemma is most powerful in its last half hour. Until that point, the Netflix documentary offers nothing particularly new. It’s a critique of the power of advertising on human psychology, something we’ve known about for a long time, especially since the advent of TV. But in the final third of Dilemma, when the film depicts the impact of Facebook et al. on countries like Myanmar, the Philippines and, yes, the United States, and how their misuse can undermine democracy and the very social fabric, well, that’s the frightening part.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and their media cousins care only about attracting eyes and keeping them. If that means sensational clickbait and fake news that leads us to tear each other to shreds, oh, well. We can’t say we didn’t “like” it.  Release: 2020  Grade: A-

 

**

 

The Invisible Man

 

The best parts of this retelling of H.G. Wells’ science-fiction novel reminded me of the basement scene near the end of The Silence of the Lambs. Imagine Clarice Starling hunting and being hunted by an invisible foe – but in this case many times over the course of a two-hour film. That’s the predicament faced by Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man, in which a violent ex uses invisibility to stalk and torment her. Much of what transpires doesn’t pass the logical smell test, but then it is a movie called The Invisible ManRelease: 2020 Grade: B+

 

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Edited by Sun Yung Shin

 

I’m not going to pretend that I have any special knowledge about how to improve race relations in this country. But I do think a good place to start is by reading books like this, in which an old white boy like myself (born and raised in Minnesota) hears the stories of people of color who also live here. Editor Shin compiled 16 essays written by Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans who are either lifelong Minnesotans or transplants to the state, all of them hoping to break through the stereotype of “Minnesota Nice” to take a deeper, often troubling, look at what makes this region tick.

As you might expect from any compilation of essays, some of the stories are more resonant than others. One essay, “Disparate Impacts,” left me thinking, “This isn’t particularly good. The author isn’t very skilled or talented, and she is blaming systemic racism for her own personal failings.” Another essay, “People Like Us,” had me thinking, “This guy really nails it. ‘Minnesota Nice’ is a misnomer; it’s actually ‘Minnesota Polite’ laced with passive-aggressiveness.”

But most of the stories left this impression: “Wow. I had no idea.”

 

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“You’re Fired?”

 

 

I’ve been expecting to see the “You’re Fired” headline. I just assumed the nation’s liberal media have been salivating for four years at the prospect of publishing those two words.

How come I haven’t seen it? Is it because the election results are not yet official? I wouldn’t think that would deter some outlet like, say, The Huffington Post, from gloating over Trump’s fate.

Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.

 

**

 

The cursed election seems to be over, so it’s time to wax philosophical and assess my new reality. I’ll start by saying, “Maybe I’ve been wrong.” It certainly wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last. Maybe ousting the Orange Man was a good idea, after all.

The future belongs to Millennials and Gen Z, not to me, and maybe the youngsters really will lead America into a better, fairer world. Maybe the excesses of unfettered capitalism have simply grown too onerous.

Maybe Trump was a last gasp for a business model that no longer works for this country. Perhaps I am too much mired in the old ways of doing democracy.

So, I’m willing to admit that maybe I was wrong.

And yet I have a hard time picturing Joe Biden or Kamala Harris issuing much of a challenge to our corrupt ruling class.

One thing I’m quite certain about. As Bette Davis put it so memorably in All About Eve: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

 

**

 

What we said in December 2016:

 

 

Apparently, there were simply too many alligators and crocodiles for Donald Trump. Along with the usual suspects (media, Hollywood, academia), Trump had to fight corporate America and even many Republicans. (Do you really believe that Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell are Trump fans?)

Our ruling class was too comfortable with the status quo to let the upstart Orange Man upset their cushy world.

 

**

 

Trump Accountability Project

 

 

This proposal, which actually exists, will be a brilliant way to “heal the nation.” Just come up with a list that Hitler and Stalin would be proud of so that progressives can punish anyone who doesn’t share their views. And then put Sandy Cortez in charge.

It makes Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” seem quaint by comparison.

 

**

 

From the Daily Mail:

 

 

**

 

I need a break from politics. Let’s check in with YouTube personality Lara Fraser before the Sexism Accountability Project comes after The Grouchy Editor for violating its “horny-hetero-male” policies:

 

 

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R.I.P. 007

 

**

 

I’m at the point where I don’t plan to vote for or against Trump or Biden. I’m going to vote against the media.

 

**

 

Since most of us agree, at least in theory, that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I’m suggesting to conservatives that, should Trump lose the election, they immediately launch investigations, lawsuits, and impeachment proceedings against President Biden.

Hey, if that was fair for Trump, it must be fair for Biden.

 

**

 

 

Should things go badly on Tuesday, and America rushes toward its destiny with George Orwell’s 1984, I am envisioning my future self as either a) Rod Taylor’s character in 1960’s The Time Machine, in which I will be stranded in a society of airheaded snowflakes (Millennials), who are periodically terrorized by the physically repulsive Morlocks (Deplorables); or b) the old man (Peter Ustinov, above) in Logan’s Run, who is the only person left on Earth with memory of things like free speech and books.

 

Above, a Deplorable attacks a Millennial in The Time Machine

 

**

 

My fear is that, should Biden prevail, it will be because people who don’t follow politics believe that the only way to halt our endless riots, boycotts and protests is to give Trump the boot.

These folks might sigh heavily and say to themselves, “I give up. Let’s try someone else.”

OK sure, Biden might bring some (temporary) relief. But at what cost?

 

**

 

What No One Seems to Be Talking About:

 

Maybe we don’t talk about this because we already have our plate full battling the coronavirus, but … what’s to stop some other evil entity – be it China again or some other country – from unleashing another virus on the world? And what if the new virus is even more deadly?

 

**

 

 

I’m old enough to remember the “British Invasion” of the early 1960s, and it was a thing to behold – especially in music and movies. The Big Three back then were The Beatles, Alfred Hitchcock (The Birds, Psycho) and last but certainly not least, Sean Connery’s James Bond.

So, forgive me if I’m a bit depressed over the passing today of another giant of my childhood.

 

**

 

Dinkle (Not) vs. King

 

 

Last week, I said I’d get back to you if Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit went sour. It didn’t.

I’m going to give it Grade: A.

I don’t do that very often.

 

**

 

It’s Halloween. Let’s end this review with the scariest ad of the season:

 

 

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I don’t know how to play chess. In the past, I didn’t care to learn because chess seemed like a boring game to me. Today, I confess I don’t play because chess intimidates me. If I were to begin playing and then suck at it, and continue to suck at it, I might have to admit to myself that I am not smart enough for this intellectual pursuit.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued by the so-called Game of Kings. I read a book about American chess genius Bobby Fischer (Endgame), watched a documentary about him (Bobby Fischer Against the World), and was moved by 1993’s Searching for Bobby Fischer, Steve Zaillian’s drama about a child chess prodigy.

And now there is Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, an addictive miniseries about another chess wunderkind, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (pictured above).

I am finding the climactic chess matches between Beth (Taylor-Joy) and whatever (always male) opponent she is matched with just as exciting as Rocky Balboa’s boxing encounters with Apollo Creed. No, wait; I am finding the scenes in Queen’s Gambit more exciting.

Rocky can swallow all the raw eggs in the world and cry “Yo, Adrian!” until he’s blue in the face, and he is still not as intriguing as the socially stunted, steely-eyed Beth Harmon in Queen.

Of course, I’ve only seen the first three episodes. If future episodes suck (unlikely), I’ll get back to you.

 

**

 

 

Kristen Welker was surprisingly good as a debate moderator. Also, she looked smashing in that outfit.

 

**

 

At this point, I’m guessing that everyone who is going to vote knows who he or she is going to vote for.

Then again … I remember driving to my polling place in November 2016, and still not being entirely sure about who I planned to vote for.

 

**

 

Dinkle vs. King

 

 

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Silly me. I thought the week’s big news would stem from Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, which instead has been the week’s big snooze.

Although I will have to say, it’s good that we got to the bottom of whether she hates puppies (Sen. John Kennedy) and whether she’s raped anyone (Sen. Mazie Hirono).

 

**

 

 

“Why would the NBA take 500 million dollars-plus from a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing?” — Megyn Kelly to Mark Cuban

“So basically, you’re saying nobody should do business with China ever,” Cuban retorted. “They are a customer of ours, and guess what, Megyn? I’m OK with doing business with China.”

 

By that logic, Cuban would have had no problem “doing business” with Hitler in 1944.

 

**

 

 

I’ve always felt that the danger of “election interference” from Russia pales in comparison to election interference from Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey. Seriously, who has more influence on social discourse in America, Russian political ads, or the overlords of Facebook, Twitter and Google?

 

**

 

The Banality of Evil

 

I used to think the face of evil looked a lot like this:

 

 

Not anymore. Now I think the face of evil looks like a frat boy:

 

        Mark Zuckerberg                      Sundar Pichai                       Jack Dorsey

 

The problem with these guys is that they have no background in journalism, yet their platforms have been thrust – big-time – into the arena of politics. And nerds-at-heart Jack and Mark and Sundar want nothing more than to be in with the “cool” people. Because they are nerds.

Come to think of it, that’s the same problem most mainstream journalists have.

 

**

 

Twitter and Facebook are censoring Donald Trump, the White House spokeswoman, House Republicans, and the New York Post – and there are still Democrats who scoff at the idea that social-media titans are attempting to swing the election to Joe Biden?

 

 

**

 

 

What she said.

 

**

 

 

I’m throwing another lifeline to Netflix’s To the Lake. It’s a good show that is apparently getting zero attention (a measly three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes). If Netflix could give a boost to Schitt’s Creek, surely it can raise the profile of this gem.

 

**

 

It’s been years since I watched The Price Is Right, but I happened to be home in the daytime recently and good grief. Is there a more attractive woman than Price model Manuela Arbelaez (below)?

 

 

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by Sidney Lumet

 

We often hear movie directors described as artists (the good ones) or box-office kings (all too often, the bad ones). But I think that the best of them might better be described as superb “craftsmen.” They don’t just mold the story and the actors; they are on top of every technical detail. Think of Alfred Hitchcock — or Sidney Lumet.

Making Movies is a great book for film students and film nuts (people like me). It is not for you if you are seeking juicy gossip about celebrities. You’ll also be disappointed if you are interested in biographical information about Lumet. Other than a few brief mentions of his wife, there is next to no personal data.

But Lumet, who died in 2011, directed some of my all-time favorite films, including Fail Safe, The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon and Running on Empty. Behind-the-scenes details about any of those gems are catnip to me. This book is loaded with them.

Some of Lumet’s observations about the trials and tribulations of making films are dated, because this was published in 1996, long before digital movies and streaming services like Netflix became commonplace. But what hasn’t changed is the passion and devotion to a single goal common to most great movies — and great moviemakers. For that sort of thing, this is a book for you.

 

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