Monthly Archives: March 2023


In gripping courtroom testimony, actress Gwyneth Paltrow this week described her first date with jailed movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Here is a sampling of the emotional exchange between the actress and a lawyer: *






Jessie Buckley plays a woman who moves to an English hamlet, where she encounters increasingly, uh, bizarre males.

I considered writing a review of this British horror film, but decided it’s much easier to just comment on other critics’ reviews:



Christy Lemire of gave it 3/4 stars, calling it “a visceral experience” and adding: “it reinforces [writer-director Alex] Garland’s singular prowess as a craftsman of indelible visuals and gripping mood.”

My take on Lemire’s take: “Yes.”




Armond White of National Review wrote: “… Plus, it’s too absurd to substantiate the media’s fascination with ‘toxic masculinity.’”

My take on White’s take: “Yes.”




Kevin Maher of The Times gave it 2/5 stars, writing: “It culminates in a protracted, effects-filled birthing sequence that manages, after 90 minutes of man-hating, to be aggressively misogynistic.”

My take on Maher’s take: “Yes.”




Mark Kermode of The Observer gave the film 3/5 stars, calling it “a playfully twisted affair — not quite as profound as it seems to think, perhaps, but boasting enough squishy metaphorical slime to ensure that its musings upon textbook male characteristics are rarely dull, and sometimes deliciously disgusting.”

My take on Kermode’s take: “Yes.”




By the way, audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “D+” on an A+ to F scale.





*Hey, if the Babylon Bee isn’t going to cover this stuff, we might as well.


© 2010-2024 (text only)


The Grouch has penned 17 disturbing tales for your reading pleasure. 

Here’s a complete list of Grouch’s short stories with links (in green):



 . Rusty   “Rusty” — Happy times in suburbia.


. revelation   “Revelation” — Unhappy times in suburbia.


. homebodies   “Homebodies” — The people next door.


. ass   “The Porthole” — Be careful what you wish for.


. the ufo   “The UFO” — Stand by me … and a UFO.


. Tales From Grouch   “Carol Comes Home” — The spirit of Norman Bates.


. thwup   “Thwup!” — The case for eating more (or less) beans.


. Wisdom   “Wisdom” — Cabin in the woods.


.        “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”  Thelma helps a guest.


. Americans    “The Americans”  — Kevin goes for the gold.


.        “Margaret” — The greatest love story of all time?


. Asmat     “The Hot Tub”  — Elites enjoy some “quality time.”


. Earl Smilius     “The Climate Changer” — Earl has a secret weapon.


. Holger     “An Overcast Day”   — The important thing in life.


. small problem     “A Small Problem” — It’s not the size of the boat?


. Tales From Grouch    “Cold-Hearted Bastard” — Ken’s date is hot. And cold.


. Ted Williams    “Ted’s Head” — Ted Williams strikes out. 



© 2010-2024 (text only)


Don’t mess with these two


A common complaint about “reality” shows like Survivor: They aren’t real.

Outlast on Netflix might not be the real deal, either, but it certainly seems a lot more lifelike than most shows of its ilk. Rather than a bunch of Millennials lounging on a tropical beach gossiping about each other, Outlast has an ex-con heroin addict stealing sleeping bags from a competing team, the members of which must then spend a sub-freezing, rainy night at their camp in the wilds of Alaska. 

We’ve got conditions so dire that not one, but three, contestants drop out of the show in the first couple days. Oh, and the whole area is swarming with bears.

And did I mention the two female contestants (pictured above) who make Eva Braun and Lizzie Borden seem like Laverne and Shirley?




After watching this awkward, delightful Oscar-night interview with Hugh Grant, I’ve decided that he is my new favorite movie star.




We have to stop bailing out these banks. Let them fucking fail and if there is hell to pay, then there is hell to pay.





The year 2023 — just like 2022 and 2021 — sucks. I advise that you do what I’ve been doing. Escape, if only for a few hours, to a simpler time.

I’ve been watching the 1950s Francis comedies. You remember Francis, the talking mule? Whoever was responsible for casting the series was a genius — and I’m not talking about the performing mule. Chill Wills as the gravel-voiced jackass and Donald O’Connor as the sidekick whose voice cracks like a kid at puberty, are a hoot.

For some unfathomable reason, YouTube doesn’t have the original movie (they made seven Francis movies), so I recommend Francis Goes to the Races and Francis Covers the Big Town.




This is the kind of story you find in Popular Mechanics these days?



© 2010-2024 (text only)


Everything Everywhere All at Once


“It is a tale told by an idiot former music-video directors, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing nothing much.”

— Macbeth



Make the edits above to Macbeth’s speech, and I think that sums up Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Academy Award for best picture of 2022 went to this loud and flashy extravaganza last night and … I guess “diversity” was the big winner. Overlong and, dare I say it, over-directed, this science-fiction-slash-dramedy about a Chinese immigrant family is handsomely produced, well-acted, and often clever. But is it a film I’d care to watch again? Probably not. Not unless they cut 30 minutes from the run-time.

As for the plot — another reviewer said it’s basically It’s a Wonderful Life set in the “multiverse,” and I won’t argue with that. We know from the get-go that this rather bland family will live happily ever after; it’s just a question of sitting through two and half hours of multiverse-hopping, body-swapping, and special effects as family members grapple with (oh my!) the meaning of life.

There is simply too much jammed into such a simple story. It’s a film for movie geeks to endlessly rewatch and congratulate themselves on spotting allusions, symbols and metaphors. And it’s a film for Oscar voters to reward, if only to prove that they “get it.”  Release: 2022 Grade: B




Dragged Across Concrete


A confession: I saw the title of this Mel Gibson movie, took note of its genre (“action”), and assumed it was late-career Gibson following the precedent of late-career Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis. In other words, I figured Concrete was bargain-basement junk produced to rake in quick bucks — thanks in large part to the lasting appeal of its star.

But what a pleasant surprise! The movie has action, to be sure, but mostly it’s a thoughtful meditation on life as a cop in the age of “defund the police.” Oh, and it’s also got a suspenseful bank heist.

My only quibble — surprise, surprise — is that this is yet another film that’s simply too damn long. But overall, the film is an absorbing drama. Release: 2018  Grade: B+






The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a classic of horror because its tone was crazed camp. You didn’t know whether to recoil or laugh at the family of manic cannibals who terrorized a group of young people. If you were like me, you just gaped at the crazies in wide-eyed disbelief.

X, writer-director Ti West’s salute to Chain Saw, gets some of this stuff right. The setting, somewhere in the rural South, is suitably eerie. The slow-burn setup isn’t bad. But this is the age of art-house horror and, if you want your movie to eventually be called “classic,” it must have Serious Themes.

And so out the farmer’s window goes crazed camp and lunatic action, and in comes soulful meditations on the sadness of aging by two actors wearing lots of makeup and trying their darndest to look and sound very old. But they aren’t particularly scary. And neither is the movie. Release: 2022 Grade: B


© 2010-2024 (text only)



We need lawsuits — and we need them yesterday — against publishers like Amazon who are hiring snot-nosed college grads to “edit” classic books by retroactively removing “sensitive content.”

Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming — even George Orwell, who warned us about this kind of crap — I really don’t care if their descendants are fine with “sensitivity readers” censoring these books. Leave the damn stories alone.

It’s especially egregious to alter an e-book (talking about you, Kindle) after it’s been purchased:



I suppose this means nothing is safe. Music, movies, TV shows … all of them subject to the whims of woke “editors.”

Lawsuits, please. Yesterday.






Poker Face


I am going back and forth on this show. One of the early episodes, 2 or 3, had a completely arbitrary bit of MAGA-bashing, when the heroine is listening to the radio in her car. There was no narrative reason for the scene, other than to trumpet to Trump supporters: We here in Hollywood think you suck.

On the other hand, the fourth episode, with Chloe Sevigny as an aging rock star, had a truly brilliant final reveal.




Scott Adams has been cancelled. OK, he’s one guy.

But if this poll about race relations that Adams was referring to is accurate, how is that not a much, much bigger story?





Yup, what she said.


© 2010-2024 (text only)


by Charles Dickens


How do you write one of the most famous murder mysteries of all time? Here’s one way: You die before your novel is completed, leaving readers to speculate about whodunit to poor Edwin Drood, the titular character who goes missing and is presumed dead.

That was the case with Charles Dickens’ serialized last novel, which was just 50 percent complete when the celebrated author expired in 1870.

Actually, it seems fairly obvious who Drood’s killer is. Clues within the novel and from Dickens’s own notes and conversations with contemporaries point to one likely suspect. Or is the solution so obvious? Is it possible that the mystery of Edwin Drood is the fact that he wasn’t murdered, after all? Could Dickens have been about to pull off a Rod Serling-like twist?

Regardless, it’s a Charles Dickens story. That means most of a reader’s enjoyment derives from the colorful characters and the author’s amusing way with words.


© 2010-2024 (text only)




Gutfeld on Maher’s Podcast:


1)  I enjoyed watching the two veteran funnymen reminisce about old TV shows, old movies, and old music, probably because I am, in terms of age, a fellow traveler in their world. (I’m a bit younger than Maher, and a bit older than Gutfeld.) It was good to see longtime liberal Maher and longtime conservative Gutfeld mostly avoid politics — and completely avoid tearing each other’s throats out.


2)  I don’t know if it was the booze and marijuana talking, but it was a bit rich to listen to Maher expound on the secret of his success — speaking truth to power and always telling it like it is — when, in terms of our current political climate, in which nearly every entertainment institution embraces the political left, it is Gutfeld, not Maher, who is David battling Goliath.


3)  Maher is the wittier of the two; Gutfeld is the nicer.




The Weasel and the Wuss 



.                                         Weasel                                                                   Wuss




The problem with interviewing people like Merrick Garland (by Congress) and Christopher Wray (by Fox News) is that any topic that might prove embarrassing to them — or worse — is declared off-limits due to “ongoing investigation,” “internal protocols,” or “national security.”

On the other hand, if answering the question might put them in a positive light, they have no problem complying.

The only way to get accountability from these liars is to put them on trial.

But what are the odds of that?




After two stellar seasons on Netflix, Mindhunter has been cancelled by the streaming service. That’s too bad. It was a good show. The serial-killer drama was a David Fincher project.

The problem: Season one premiered in 2017. Season two streamed in 2019. The show’s future was in limbo until now, which you might have noticed is the year 2023.

That’s a long time between seasons. With so many shows on so many channels, it’s difficult to keep track of the series you’ve watched, much less maintain any sort of “buzz” to support a favorite show’s renewal.


© 2010-2024 (text only)