Monthly Archives: May 2021

The Mule


In the crotchety-old-man phase of Clint Eastwood’s long career, I prefer his 2008 drama Gran Torino. But The Mule, directed by Eastwood in 2018, is very much a “Clint Eastwood movie.” That means I’m on board.

Eastwood’s Earl Stone is an elderly ne’er-do-well who stumbles into a new career as a “mule” for a Mexican drug cartel. Earl capitalizes on his harmless appearance to transport cocaine and other bad things from state to state.  The question is, how long will his luck hold out?

If you prefer a goofy, affable Eastwood to a cantankerous, retired Dirty Harry — the Eastwood we got in Gran Torino — then Mule may appeal to you more than it did to me.  Release: 2018  Grade: B-


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Who’s Full of It Now?


Let’s do an accounting:


Donald Trump said it was quite possible that the “Wuhan Virus” came from a lab in China, rather than from some bat in a wet market, or wherever.

His detractors said “hogwash!”

Looks like Trump was right.


Trump said a wall would work on the Mexican border.

His detractors cried “hogwash!”

Joe Biden is now thinking about continuing the wall. Looks like Trump was right.


Trump said the Russian scandal was a hoax.

His detractors yelled “hogwash!”

Five years later, the only president who seems to be in bed with Russia (and China) is Biden.

Looks like Trump was … well, you know the drill.




Thank goodness we have Twitter, Facebook, and Google all censoring conservative views about the border crisis, the virus, and Russia/China, or we’d be in danger of learning the truth.





I’m thinking what we need is a “Gutless Sellout Hall of Fame,” composed of famous Americans who betray their own country in pursuit of Chinese cash.

Let’s start one. Here are two nominees for the inaugural class:




Newest nominee for the “Gutless Sellout Hall of Fame”? This bonehead:



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Better Late Than Never, or …

Too Little Too Late?



Biological weapons are scary. Who’s to say that COVID-19 isn’t just the first in a long string of viruses about to be unleashed on the world?

I certainly no longer believe anything the clownish Dr. Fauci has to say. He’s much too busy planning the Hollywood story of his life. Starring, of course, Brad Pitt. I can’t wait for the scene where Fauci lies to Congress about the U.S. funding the Wuhan lab.


So, yeah, China is the villain in this drama — along with our own money-grubbing elites.





This organization is targeting “woke” corporations and naming names in an attempt to shame the shadowy honchos who hide behind beloved institutions like Coca Cola or Disney. That’s a good idea.

Rather than getting angry at an amorphous, untouchable corporation, go after the cowardly villains at the top. After all, aren’t we told that “corporations are people”?




Seems like we are rapidly transforming from a “nation of laws” to a “nation of rules.”

Unlike laws, rules can carry the weight of law without the burden of being constitutional.

Meanwhile, actual laws can simply be ignored. Just follow the rules, pal — or else.

Thanks, Millennials.





I don’t know why these scandals still come as (a little bit of) a shock to me. You’d think that by now, after reading books about celebrities like Johnny Carson and gossip sites like Crazy Days and Nights, I’d know better than to believe the Hollywood P.R. machine.

Now it’s Lucy’s turn to face the ugly music. Good grief.






This Netflix movie from Austria is getting lukewarm reviews, but silly me, I kind of liked it. The Strange House is not particularly scary, but then it isn’t supposed to be. It’s a spooky little flick aimed at the whole family.

It’s like Stranger Things was in its first season: mildly ominous, but with a big heart.


The Strange House isn’t getting a whole lot of buzz. Army of the Dead, on the other hand, is getting tons of buzz.

I watched it yesterday. It was … OK. By that I mean it’s entertaining mayhem, but nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times before.





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by Neil Gaiman


Fantasy, or “magical realism” when the story is aimed at adults, is not my favorite literary genre. For instance, I was unmoved by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s much-praised, magical-realism-infused One Hundred Years of Solitude. But there are exceptions to my rule.

I find that if I like this kind of stuff, it’s usually because the tale is told from a child’s point of view (or an adult recalling his or her childhood). That’s what I liked about the Harry Potter books, or Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Gaiman’s short novel is a mashup of childhood nostalgia (To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind) and terrors triggered by something out-of-this-world (as in Something Wicked). Ocean’s narrator, now middle-aged, recalls his 7-year-old self encountering a trio of magical female neighbors. The women help him fend off all manner of demons, both fantastic and all-too-real.

Perhaps I’m just an unimaginative, jaded adult, but I enjoyed the book for its circa 1960s nostalgia. Not so much for its magical mumbo jumbo.


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I am mystified as to why Netflix often has the Midas touch when it comes to producing original TV shows, while at the same time it cranks out so many Lifetime network-level original movies.

The same streaming service that gives us, for example, the superb Ozark, this past week premiered Oxygen and the Amy Adams vehicle The Woman in the Window.

Oxygen, from France, wasn’t exactly “bad,” and it does feature one truly memorable sequence when the heroine discovers what actually happened to her immediate environment (she’s confined to a claustrophobic pod). But I’m guessing I won’t remember much about the movie six months from now.

Window won’t make anyone forget its most obvious inspiration, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The much-anticipated thriller boasts an impressive A-list cast, with Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Julianne Moore lending support to Adams, who plays an agoraphobic who apparently witnesses a murder across the street. It is also apparent that Netflix, or some other entity, spent a bundle on the production itself.

But the story? Nah. Watch Rear Window again, instead. Or Ozark.


Top, Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. Bottom, Amy Adams in The Woman in the Window.





I guess I feel about Joe Biden the way so many lefties felt about Donald Trump. I can only observe the guy for a limited period of time while the country falls apart. Then I turn to Netflix.





Evidently, proofreading skills — or writing skills, or editing skills — are no longer a requirement to write headlines for most Web sites. If anyone can please explain the meaning of the Little Fish headline above, I will send you a free copy of The Woman in the Window.


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Sex scandals, treason, and too many crimes and misdemeanors to count.

Judging by the corrupt people who run this country, I’m beginning to wonder if certain Middle East countries might be right. Has America become “The Great Satan”? Our leaders seem to behave that way.

Heavy sigh.

Screw politics. Let’s talk about TV.





I was into Netflix’s adaptations of Harlan Coben novels, including The Stranger, Safe, and The Woods. I’m not so keen on the latest Coben offering, The Innocent, produced in Spain. Each episode is told from the point of view of a different character, which is a change of pace but not necessarily a welcome one.

Coben’s stories are so twisty and convoluted that they work best when we have just one or two protagonists to follow as the plot unfolds. Focusing on a new character for each of eight hours is simply too much.

On the other hand, if you dig Spanish ass, this is a show for you. Can you say, “strip-club scenes”? Can you say, “many strip-club scenes”? Pretty much every female lead appears in at least one pole-dancing routine. A sampling:


Asia Ortega (above and below)



Juana Acosta


Aura Garrido





Peaky Blinders: OK, so I’m a bit late (eight years late, to be exact) to this British period drama.

Methinks the show might have been overshadowed during its initial run by contemporary series like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, et al. But it’s very well done. And how come the Brits have so many superb actors?





I take back what I said about America possibly being The Great Satan. That distinction clearly belongs to China — along with the Western companies that do business with it.







One more picture of The Innocent star Aura Garrido, not because it’s from The Innocent (it’s not), but because we like it:



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Dear Republicans:

Never underestimate the power of a politician buying voters.

It doesn’t really matter if Joe Biden’s policies will bankrupt the country, or if his crew is hellbent on erasing patriotism, culture, and the middle-class way of life.

As long as we get $1,400 checks, “free” daycare for our infants and/or a “free” college education, whoever’s handing out the cash will get elected. And re-elected.

Also, the more the rich squawk, rightly or wrongly, about higher taxes, the more popular the tax will be.





I don’t understand how TV critics can review new shows based on just a handful of episodes, which is something they routinely do. Isn’t that like watching 15 minutes of a 2-hour movie, and then turning in your verdict?

Granted, critics can’t wait for something like Gunsmoke, which ran for 20 seasons, to conclude before gracing us with their opinions. But viewing something like, oh, maybe half a season before you begin typing might be nice.

Having said that, I watched the first two episodes of Mare of Easttown and I recommend it.


Hey, I would have watched more, but two episodes were all they offered during HBO’s freebie week and I didn’t want to subscribe.






Frank Luntz


Why I dig Tucker Carlson: He has the balls to go after sacred cows that everyone else leaves alone — like Friday night when he tore pollster Frank Luntz a new one. I, for one, had no idea that Luntz is, in reality, a corporate shill with Democrat leanings.

I’d watch Tucker’s new show on Fox Nation, but I don’t want to pay for the subscription.





Fellow Minnesotan Kelly Carlson was interviewed on Fox News the other day — I’m not entirely sure why; I guess she’s now a proud housewife or something — and it occurred to me that I haven’t seen her in anything since I was a regular viewer of Nip/Tuck.

I remember thinking that it was too bad she didn’t do any nude scenes. Silly me. She certainly did do nude scenes, like this one from Starship Troopers 2:






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