Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred's Out And About Time.

So Fred Thompson has withdrawn his candidacy. Good. The guy was all the rage among conservatives before he got into the race. Conservatives saw him as their guy in a race where no other Republican candidate is. But he never capitalized on all the buzz and he ran a terrible campaign. His debate performances were incredibly lackluster until South Carolina. He looked corpse-like at times. Even in South Carolina the only life he showed was when he was attacking Mike Huckabee. Big deal. At least Huckabee did something with his political career in Arkansas. What did Thompson really do with his time in the Senate? Not much. The bottom line from my perspective is that Thompson turned out to be a lightweight. Don't think so? Go read his columns he published on Townhall.com before he entered the race. (Here.) Not much of substance there.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Praising Cloverfield.

Cloverfield is the most nerve-wracking movie I've seen since The Blair Witch Project. The two movies share more than tension. Like its predecessor, Cloverfield's filming is part of the movie. Whereas in most movies the characters pretend there is no camera, in Cloverfield the camera is part of the movie. It's a clever technique for bringing the audience into the movie and ratcheting up the tension to an almost unbearable level.

Cloverfield's film technique might be contemporary but in one way the movie is a throwback to an earlier era when producers ruled Hollywood. Today is the era of directorial power. Yet, all the buzz about Cloverfield is over the fact that it is J.J. Abrams' new movie. Abrams didn't direct the movie and he didn't write it. He produced it. Of course, Abrams is the producer of the TV show, Lost. On TV directors and writers still take a back seat to producers. Cloverfield is a bit of a TV movie in that regard.

That being said, Cloverfield is directed and written well by Matt Reeves and Drew Goddard, respectively. There are two stories in the movie. There's the plot one expects from a monster movie: puny humans running from the giant monster attacking New York and futilely fighting back. Woven into this plot rather effectively is the development of a love story between two of the survivors. The movie even weaves in a backstory without departing from its unconventional filming technique. The backstory, like the main plot, is told through scenes apparently shot on the camera used by one of the characters. The monster story is exciting and tense but it's the plight, courage, and heart of the characters that make this movie something worthwhile.


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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Jimmy Carter Of The Republicans.

In 1976 Jimmy Carter came out of nowhere to win the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. One thing always stuck with me from his campaign and that was the way he would say to his supporters, "I love you."

Now another previously unknown Southern governor has come out of nowhere, this time with a chance to seize the Republican nomination. Mike Huckabee reminds me of Carter in the way he talks about being the right-winger in the Republican race "who doesn't hate anybody."

Tonight in his victory speech he emphasized that theme when he said that "running for office isn't about hating those who are in front of us, it's loving those who are behind us." (MSNBC video here at 7:08 to 9:22.) The election season has just begun and much can happen between now and the Republican convention, but I think that emotional appeal is going to resonate with GOP voters.



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