Archives for posts with tag: populist

Rough Stuff

This enjoyable Australian outback adventure stars Gareth Rickards as Buzz, a rugged “rover” hired by a group of eco-activist weenies to get them across a difficult, mountainous terrain and to the site of a new American mining venture where they plan to film a documentary on the project’s environmental impact – and the sense of urgency to their mission gets ratcheted up a notch when Buzz realizes the group is being pursued by the relentless and enigmatic “Ranger” (Jono Cheal). The characters, though never developed too deeply, are likable enough, and the movie’s rapid pacing and wilderness setting prevent it from ever getting boring. Frizzy-haired slob Sam Glissan deserves a special mention, as well, for his supporting role as the salty and indomitable Scraps.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Rough Stuff is:

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

5. Abo-empowering. While whites are allowed to play the heroic roles, a bit of ethnomasochism does creep into the film at the end when Buzz, having discovered the site of a cache of gold, abstains from seizing the booty so as to let an elderly abo have it, the implication being that he is somehow more entitled to it for having a more organic and intimate connection to the earth. It is interesting to note, however, that Buzz nearly drives himself off of a cliff after virtue-signaling.

4. Green-ambivalent. Rough Stuff stops short of discrediting environmentalism altogether, but does suggest that those activist types drawn to such causes are frequently naïve, poorly informed, fanatical, or possessed of ulterior motives.

3. Anti-feminist. The comic supporting character Skye (Katie Garfield) represents feminists as obnoxious and unnecessarily combative. Not content to keep her viewpoints to herself, she more than once attempts to infect her more feminine comrade Tori (Hayley Sullivan) with her corrosive ideology, encouraging her to be more sexually assertive and insisting that the patriarchy has conditioned Tori to deny her true wants and needs. Skye’s militancy is revealed to be hollow, however, when – after stubbornly refusing to allow a man to carry her across a stream – she finds herself stuck and petulantly cries out for help. Her pampered stupidity, too, comes out when it suddenly dawns on her that there will be no ladies’ rooms available in the outback. Women can talk tough or even shoot guns, but ultimately require rescue.

2. Anti-corporate. The eco-activist group’s leader, Eric (Jamie Kristian), turns out to be plotting a terror attack on the mining concern – which plot in turn is revealed to be a scheme of the mining multinational to discredit conservationists. The corporation, in addition to staging a series of eco-terror false flags around the world and lobbying the Australian government for special privileges, is also skirting government regulations by initiating the exploitation of a new region before securing public permission.

1.Populist. Rough Stuff gives audiences a masculine, self-reliant, working-class hero in Buzz, and the movie evinces a healthy distrust of both left-utopian activism and nihilistic, big-business concerns. Traditional sex roles are reinforced, as is the dignity of the rustic Australian as opposed to globalizing and cosmopolitan forces.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig, an actress for many years, reveals herself to be a talented writer and director with Lady Bird, a standout coming-of-age story starring the excellent Saoirse Ronan as a mischievous, unappreciative Catholic schoolgirl with a “performative streak”. Lady Bird is the rare teen film that will be just as enjoyable, if not more so, to parents as to younger viewers, and the film’s development of its protagonist’s relationship and interactions with her parents, her sweet and vulnerable father (playwright Tracy Letts) and especially her stern but big-hearted mother (Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf), is finely textured and affecting. Occasional grossness fails to ruin an overwhelmingly touching and funny film experience.

Five stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Lady Bird is:

6. Pro-gay. Lady Bird, at first disgusted to discover that her boyfriend (Lucas Hedges) is gay, ultimately feels sympathy for his situation.

5. Populist. Lady Bird, at first ashamed of living in Sacramento, comes to accept her attachment to “the Midwest of California”. Gerwig set the film in 2002 and 2003, she says during her commentary, to mark the period she identifies as a key moment in “the erosion of the middle class”, with 9/11 and the Iraq War referenced as contributors to middle America’s decline. “Is this a joke?” the protagonist asks on seeing a picture of Ronald Reagan hanging in the home of a more well-to-do family. In a refreshing break from typical suburbs-bashing fare like Todd Solondz’s Happiness, Gerwig concedes that American suburbia is “in my bones”, and this affection communicates itself through the tempered and never obnoxious sentimentalism on display in Lady Bird.

4. Drug-ambivalent. Students share a rumor that their teacher Father Leviatch (Stephen Henderson) had a son who died of a drug overdose, but the overall tone of Lady Bird toward recreational substances is more permissive. “Her mom clearly knows that they’re high,” Gerwig observes of one scene in which Lady Bird’s mother encounters her daughter with a group of her friends. “She’s not gonna do it [i.e., reprimand them]. She’s gonna just leave,” Gerwig approves. Lady Bird’s grandmother, on the other hand, is said to have been an “abusive alcoholic”.

3. Race-ambivalent. Catholicism appears in Lady Bird as a successful model for peaceful coexistence of races, but the existence of sub-rosa racial tensions is also acknowledged, as when Lady Bird suggests that her adopted mestizo brother Miguel (Jordan Rodrigues) got accepted by a competitive university primarily because of his ethnicity and he in turn accuses her of racism. It is interesting to note that Miguel and fellow non-white adoptee Shelly (Marielle Scott) are usually framed separately, so that they never seem to be fully integrated members of the McPherson family. Mild moments of anti-white bias occur in Lady Bird when the protagonist is shown copying answers from an Asian girl during a test and when comparatively well-behaved Miguel and Shelly have to scold unruly white girls for wrinkling the magazines in a grocery store, where Lady Bird is also shown shoplifting. Her Asian boss at the coffee shop where she later gets a job also has to reprimand her for flirting on the clock – a second juxtaposition of oriental seriousness and work ethic as opposed to white American frivolousness.

2. Anti-Semitic! Lady Bird vomits after drunkenly kissing an atheistic New York Jew named David at a party. “We don’t have to constantly be entertaining ourselves, do we?” Lady Bird’s mother objects at her daughter’s fiddling with the car radio. Who but a hate-filled anti-Semite would object to a non-stop saturation diet of popular culture?

1.Christianish. Writer-director Gerwig had a Catholic upbringing and brings both an affectionate familiarity and an irreverence to her depiction of a Catholic high school, acknowledging Catholicism’s “theatricality” and making light of the superstitions associated with transubstantiated wafers and such. At the end of the film, however, the protagonist abandons her concocted identity as “Lady Bird” and embraces her given name of Christine, a marker of her identity as a Christian. In addition, after moving from Sacramento to New York, she feels herself drawn to the comforting beauty of a cathedral service with its choir. She returns, says Gerwig, to “the place that is home to her”.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Regular readers may have noticed that output here at Ideological Content Analysis has slowed to a pitiful trickle over the past several months. Believe me, there is a perfectly wonderful reason for this, as I concentrate on bringing my long-in-the-works book, Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies, to completion, with publication tentatively projected for the early months of 2018. In the meantime, just to tide readers over, here are a couple of little politico-speculative fiction reviews I penned a few years ago but never bothered to post online. Enjoy!

[UPDATE: Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck is available to order now!]

My First Days 1

Long, Huey Pierce. My First Days in the White House. Harrisburg, PA: The Telegraph Press, 1935.

A book as silly and ambitious as the American political titan who wrote it, this novel constitutes Long’s “prophecy” detailing his plans for grandiose public works projects and massive redistribution of wealth. Long’s appointment of FDR as Secretary of the Navy is disconcerting, to say the least, but mitigated in its enormity by the selection of Smedley Butler as Secretary of War. Another of the book’s suggestions is the democratization of the mega-corporations by mandating shares for the proletariat – a proposal of potential interest to those who favor a national-socialistic solution to the conundrum posed by the Zionist media. My First Days in the White House inspired Michael Collins Piper’s work of the same title.

My First Days 2

Piper, Michael Collins. My First Days in the White House. Washington, DC: American Free Press, 2008.

In this, his only ostensible novel, Michael Collins Piper imagines a Second American Revolution, in this case directed against Zionist power, which occurs in the wake of a cataclysmic neocon blunder against Iran. Piper, relating the story in the form of a memoir, tells of how he is swept up by the tide of revolution and unexpectedly placed in the presidency, in which position he oversees a program of nationalist reforms. Following not a few fairly dull pages of exposition, My First Days in the White House picks up steam as Piper assumes the reins, selects his cabinet, brings Zionist power “to heel”, and holds informal tete-a-tetes with such figures as Bill and Hillary Clinton and, in the novel’s best and most intimate scene, deposed president George W. Bush. Aspects of the book – such as the author’s selection of Barack Obama as a “valued advisor” – are frustrating, but this is in keeping with Piper’s dogged individuality; and, to be fair, the world had yet to witness the naked wreck of the Obama presidency when My First Days in the White House was written. While Piper’s suggestions that the money supply be nationalized and that the federal income tax be abolished are perfectly practical, his treatment of America’s problems with race, drugs, and crime is rather too sunny and optimistic, with others of his implementations sounding naively socialistic. The principal weakness, however, is that the revolutionary regime is simply too kindly, polite, and inclusive; “The Day of the Rope” this is certainly not. Piper is by no means a great novelist, but the premise of his book is irresistible, and the evocations of mob violence, however brief, against the likes of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Richard Perle furnish pleasant escapism, if nothing else. Also reassuring is that neoconservative war cheerleaders like Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham, and O’Reilly have their assets seized and are barred from working in the media. My First Days in the White House also contains a number of interesting anecdotes and digressions on little-known historical episodes.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

 

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY-TWO

Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi was one of the most remarkable leaders of the twentieth century. Taking charge of a country of impoverished illiterates at the time of his 1969 coup, he transformed Libya through his Green Revolution into a modern, secular state with extensive public works and services funded by oil revenues. Put together by Critical Productions, this YouTube documentary stands a testament to Gaddafi and to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by NATO in plunging his country into anarchy.

A creation in the style of Evidence of Revision, the program consists of arrangements of clips from television and online reportage and commentary, the end result comprising a mosaic that forms a picture of one of the greatest travesties and human catastrophes this century will hopefully ever witness. As the title indicates, such horrors frequently hinge on wordplay and who or what is or is not deemed “terrorist” in the western government-media matrix. The film instructs viewers to come to their own conclusions, but only one verdict is possible or sensible after watching Semantics: The Rise and Fall of Muammar “Mad Dog” al Gathafi.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Semantics is:

5. PC, never once mentioning Jews or the Zionist order. There is, furthermore, a suggestion that the United States is particularly opposed to African self-determination, as if any other nationalisms are somehow acceptable. Libyan blacks are shown to have suffered after Gaddafi’s downfall. The Colonel’s friendly relations with Nelson Mandela are offered as evidence of his moral superiority.

4. Media-critical, pointing to misrepresentations of the Libyan situation in “news” reports.

3. Populist, celebrating Gaddafi’s Libyan iteration of national socialism. Electricity was free for Libyans, and farming and other endeavors and services were heavily subsidized by the state. In accordance with traditional morality, zero interest was paid on loans. The Green Revolution represented a nationalist third position ideology – that is, neither communist nor capitalist – always a threatening prospect to globalist interests.

2. Anti-bankster and anti-establishment, whether that establishment takes the form of Republican or Democrat, NATO or the United Nations. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton come across as particularly reprehensible. Anybody even considering voting for Hillary Clinton should be compelled to watch Semantics: The Rise and Fall of Muammar “Mad Dog” al Gathafi. Gaddafi’s intention to demand that Libyan oil be paid in African dinars rather than U.S. dollars is suggested as one plausible motive for the toppling of his government.

1. Anti-war. War is a racket.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Have shopping to do and want to support icareviews? The author receives a modest commission on Amazon purchases made through this link: http://amzn.to/1I47tqO

 

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Adam Sandler turns in a pleasantly understated performance as Max Simkin, a Lower East Side shoe repairman who discovers that an heirloom stitching machine has magical properties in Tom McCarthy’s film The Cobbler. Put on any customer’s two shoes and Max takes on that person’s appearance, allowing him to indulge such entertaining caprices as sneaking into a black thug’s gun-and-bling-filled apartment or walking into a beautiful stranger’s bathroom. Max eventually takes his place as a “guardian of souls” in addition to his work as a mender of soles.

While funny, The Cobbler is a film which, like Punch Drunk Love (2002), allows Sandler to show off his non-idiot side and is welcome as a change of pace. Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman appear in supporting roles as, respectively, Max’s barber neighbor and mysteriously absent father. Viewers may see the surprise ending coming, but so much of The Cobbler is entertainingly unexpected that any conformity to audience expectations is handily offset.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Cobbler is:

6. Obesity-tolerant. “I’m not fat. I’m big-boned.”

5. Pro-gay and pro-miscegenation. Simkin’s eventual love interest is peppery Carmen (Melonie Diaz). An Asian woman (Greta Lee) flirts with Simkin in a bar after he has unwittingly taken on the form of a bisexual man (Dan Stevens). “I think it’s hot,” she reassures him. Sandler also dons high heels to occasionally assume the appearance of a gauche Latin transvestite (Yul Vazquez).

4. Family-ambivalent. Simkin is deeply devoted to his mother (Lynn Cohen), who was abandoned by his father (Dustin Hoffman). The latter turns out to have responded to a higher calling. Asked if she ever wanted to be somebody else, Mrs. Simkin replies, “I’m your mother. That’s all I ever wanted to be.” Carmen seemingly discounts the necessity of fathers, however, when she says, “My dad split when I was 12. Life goes on.”

3. Localist and populist. Carmen works for the Lower East Side Action Committee, committed to halting the area’s gentrification, and attempts to get Simkin to support the cause. “I’m glad that you’re supporting a local business,” she tells him when she sees him with a box of pickles.

2. Racist! The Cobbler’s only important black character is a career criminal, a murderer and abuser of women, played by rapper Cliff “Method Man” Smith. “You Jewish?” this black bigot interrogates Simkin. “Lucky you.” He then insensitively asks if his recently deceased mother left him any money. In another scene, the fiend creates a Michael Brown-style ruckus in a convenience store.

1. Borderline anti-Semitic. Surprisingly, The Cobbler offers an unsavory portrait of a Hebraic slumlord and gangster in tough-as-nails “Jew from Queens” Elaine Greenawalt (Ellen Barkin). The film compensates for this cinematic blood libel by providing typical wailing violin movie portrayals of weak, long-suffering Jews like Simkin, who gives submissive shoeshines to arrogant blacks. Ratcheting up The Cobbler’s Jewish victimhood factor is Fritz Weaver from the 1978 Holocaust miniseries, who appears as Mr. Solomon, the helpless old man Greenawalt hopes to evict by any dastardly means necessary.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Those following Ideological Content Analysis from its inception in 2012 may have noticed a quickening harshness and radicalization of the perspective of the author of these reviews, and a more aggressive willingness to confront the ugly. Looking back at some of those posts of two years ago in the light of subsequent revelations, he realizes with some embarrassment the inadequacy of several of his earlier analyses.

One case that particularly grieves him is his comparatively safe approach to discussing The Dark Knight Rises (2012), a film which – he is now convinced – is of the utmost significance to those sensitive to the Jewish Question. The revaluation came as the result of watching – yes, he is not afraid to confess – a YouTube video by conspiracy hound MrGeorgeJettison (also known as Jim How and Pmtmr). Jettison’s asides and embellishments are admittedly somewhat silly, but his central insight – that billionaire Batman (Christian Bale) stands for Jewish power, and that Bane (Tom Hardy), rather than merely being a socialist demagogue, represents the resistance to this power – is entirely convincing.

Bane is a paranoid Jewish money master’s idea of a populist, a man of the people bent on breaking the internationalist financial power that has its capital in New York (depicted as Gotham in the film). He represents a conflation of leftist class warfare politics and the threat of a National Socialist awakening, falling somewhere between Zuccotti Park and Nuremberg. His cult of fanatical followers, furthermore, looks forward to a spiritual experience they significantly call “the fire”, no doubt with reference to the “Holocaust“.

Bane’s revolution is the Gentile Spring, an impertinence prompting the bat-like avenger, a vampiric profiteer of the military-industrial complex, to swoop to the rescue of his fellow financial predators on Wall Street when Bane essays a program that can be interpreted as a monetary reform. Batman, who suffers the loss of his fortune as a result of Bane’s activities, is a formidable creature of the night who relies on secrecy for his effectiveness, so that Bane’s discovery of his identity and nocturnal nature poses a very real threat to Batman’s existence and that of his parasitic kind.

Also significant is Miranda (Marion Cotillard), a character later revealed to be one of Bane’s collaborators. She is Middle Eastern in origin, grew up in appallingly harrowing prison conditions – much like Palestinians since the Nakba – and can be seen to personify the righteous vengeance of militant Islam. Actress Marion Cotillard was almost certainly cast in this role because of the mole she sports in the center of her forehead, a feature bearing some resemblance to the zabiba, or “prayer bump” on the foreheads of pious Muslims resulting from repeated bowing to the ground.

Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises

Marion Cotillard, terrorist temptress

What becomes apparent from The Dark Knight Rises is that the Jews fear a united front against Talmudic supremacy – a coalition of western man and Arab against the vampire power that dictates policies from Gotham. This being the case, one question remains.

Bane, where art thou?

Street Music

Street Music (1981) ****1/2

A bittersweet variation on a staple 80s genre – the underdog story in which a motley assortment of misfits band together to save the [insert cause of choice: summer camp, dance club, etc.] – Street Music serves as the perfect vehicle for sprightly, diminutive cutie Elizabeth Guttman (alias Elizabeth Daily), whose exotic looks viewers may recognize from such classics of the decade as Valley Girl (1983) and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985).

Guttman plays Sadie Delaware, a busker who makes her living giving spirited renditions of old-timey jazz songs. Yet to get her big break in show business, Sadie lives with her boyfriend Eddie (Larry Breeding) in the ramshackle Victory Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a colorful slum full of alcoholics, eccentric old codgers, and prostitutes. Unfortunately for the hotel’s residents, it is scheduled to be demolished, and all of its occupants are expected to vacate within a matter of days. Monroe (D’Alan Moss), a black Marxist who works at the Victory, hopes to mobilize the elderly tenants to picket and fight the eviction, but Sadie just wants to get out of the ghetto and make a better life for herself.

Street Music taps into common liberal fears of the 1980s: loss of individuality, ideals, and character; the sacrifice of the little guy on the altar of rising consolidation, commercialism, corporate power, and conformity. The tenants of the Victory – old Jews, blacks, Hispanics, crazies, food stamp recipients, and bohemian artists – represent the liberal dream of harmonious racial diversity in a setting of noble squalor and hearty communitarian grime. A modest movie about little heroisms, full of graffiti, garbage, and heart, Street Music will appeal to admirers of truly independent cinema. Sticklers for craft, however, are warned that, true to its subject matter, Street Music‘s boom operator seems to have been a drunkard, with the microphone dipping into view in more than one of the scenes.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Recommended.

Rooftops

Rooftops (1989) ***1/2

West Side Story director Robert Wise returns to the dance-oriented inner-city fantasy in Rooftops, the story of homeless heartthrob T (Jason Gedrick), who lives in a Lower East Side water tower “like a bat or a rat or something”. T falls for nappy-headed Puerto Rican treat Elana (Troy Beyer), unaware that she works for her cousin Lobo (Eddie Velez), the neighborhood crack cocaine kingpin. Lobo is making life difficult for everyone; and when one of his henchmen burns T out of his tower, Lobo’s days as the local thug-in-chief are numbered.

A prime document of the War on Drugs and its naive “Just Say No” ethos, Rooftops packs a vibrant blast of nostalgia for 80s freaks. Set in a fairy tale barrio where bright, resilient youths settle their differences with beat-driven martial dance showdowns, the movie is splashed with graffiti and peppered with quaint slum dialogue like “You dissin’ me, homeboy” and “don’t bust on my crib”.

Other sights and sounds of sentimental interest include the expected 80s fashions (Batman tank top, anyone?); funky music by the Eurythmics, Etta James, and others; and several shots of the World Trade Center looming large and doomed in the distance. Rooftops is elegantly photographed and entertainingly choreographed, but will be most likely to please admirers of period kitsch along the colorful lines of Body Rock (1984), Delivery Boys (1985), Band of the Hand (1986), and Lambada (1990). One only wishes Rooftops had more dancing and less sanctimonious anti-drug messaging.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rooftops preview

Redlands Poster

Vienna (Nicole Fox) is a Midwestern transplant to Southern California who dreams of immortalizing herself through art as a model. Allan (Clifford Morts) is the “fat pervert” and amateur Irving Klaw who entertains her vanity. The pair’s initial collaboration sets Redlands into deliberate motion.

An uneasy study of the creative process and of the artist-model relationship as an “energy transfer”, or a form of vampirism, John Brian King’s debut directorial effort is shot almost entirely in static master shots, a choice that screams “art house” (and low budget) and will automatically alienate the easily distracted. Potential viewers are warned that this is not a film for the faint of heart and that it contains one appalling scene of physical violence in addition to multiple instances of emotional cruelty.

Redlands, owing to a shared subject matter and sensibility, would make for a complementary double feature with Gut (2012) or 24 Exposures (2013) – not that most people would want to sit through two such films in a single sitting. Those sufficiently bold to be interested, however, can screen this gross and engrossing movie via Vimeo.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Redlands is:

9. Anti-miscegenation. A freakish, infatuated Asian sidler (Connie Shin) haunts a camera shop to be near its clerk (Leland Montgomery), but he wants nothing to do with her.

8. Anti-Christian. Vienna sports a kitschy “Have Faith” t-shirt as she rambles inanely about Falco.

7. Anti-vegan. Vegans are depicted as somewhat shallow. Hitler is more than once referenced as having been a vegetarian, presumably so as to discredit the lifestyle.

6. Populist, Luddite, anti-corporate, and protectionist. Allan becomes frustrated with a credit card company’s user-unfriendly robot phone system and finally snaps when he gets through to a human customer service representative, who turns out to be an African named Chiwamba. He calls her a “black bitch” after she informs him that her predatory bankster organization has lowered his credit limit without informing him and is charging him penalty fees for exceeding his newly decapitated limit. Allan’s anger is that of the disenfranchised white male and the American who has seen his countrymen’s jobs either shipped overseas or given to cheap wetbacks and other undesirables. In a fit of impotence, he smashes his phone.

5. Un-p.c. Characters use words like “bitch” and “retard”.

4. Anti-drug. Vienna’s father was an addict.

3. Anti-Semitic! Zack (Sam Brittan) is a parasitic Jew and quasi-pimp, an abusive easy rider who leeches off of his gentile girlfriend’s earnings. “Somebody’s gotta mind the store,” he says. “Might as well be me.”

2. Anti-porn. Parallel scenes of photography sessions evoke a powerful metaphor: pornography as a body of autopsy photos of western woman.

1. Anti-feminist/anti-slut. The misogynistic behavior of the men in Redlands is unpleasant to witness and not at all condoned in the tone of the film. What is impossible to deny, however, is that the unenviable treatment of the women in Redlands results from feminism and its destabilizing effect on the family and the moral fabric of society. The importance of the father as the central figure in a woman’s life comes across very clearly.

The Christmas Gift (1986) ****  John Denver, who in 1972 extolled his “Rocky Mountain High”, heads back to his beloved Rockies for this decent television production. Denver plays George Billings, a New York architect and recent widower who travels to Colorado for Christmas along with his little daughter Alex (Gennie James, who appeared in another TV movie, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, that same December). Ostensibly, Billings is on vacation and only seeking a change of scenery in the rustic hamlet of Georgetown; but Billings’s callous and greedy employer, Mr. Renfield (Edward Winter), has actually sent him to scout and survey the location of a future commercial development.

Billings begins to have second thoughts about the plan, however, when he meets local beauty Susan (Jane Kaczmarek) and comes to an appreciation of Georgetown’s unspoiled small-town charm and innocence. Exactly how innocent becomes clear to Billings when he realizes that even the adults in this backwater still believe in Santa Claus. Some in the town have fallen on hard times – chief among these being rancher Jake (Kurtwood Smith, whom viewers may remember as one of the villains in the original RoboCop), who has been unable to pay his debts and faces impending foreclosure – so that the lucrative proposition of Mr. Renfield, who has the connivance of Georgetown’s well-meaning Mayor Truesdale (James T. Callahan), presents a genuine temptation to a community faced with the difficult choice of modernizing and so losing its identity or struggling on and facing a possible future as a ghost town.

John Denver is effortlessly likable in the lead, and gets to sing one of his own songs, “Love Again” (from his 1986 One World album), in addition to joining with townsfolk for a couple of Christmas carols. Gennie James is cute, Jane Kaczmarek is wholesomely sexy, and Pat Corley (Murphy Brown), who comes across as a poor man’s Jonathan Winters, is amusing in his role of daffy old taxi driver Bud, with clown-faced veteran character actress Mary Wickes adding some extra color as Bud’s hotel proprietress sister. The Christmas Gift is harmless fun and worth an unwrapping if shoppers are snowbound, particularly since (as of writing) it has been uploaded in its entirety to YouTube. The Christmas Gift gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Christmas Gift

From Rocky Mountain High to Mount Zion rock bottom . . .

Israel O Blessed Israel!Israel, O Blessed Israel! (1992) **  Subtitled A Gospel Music Journey in the Holy Land, this dogforsaken howler from the VHS ejection heap is part sermon, part cheapjack music video, part travelogue, and part symbolic act of fellatio performed for the gratification of organized Jewry. Pat Boone, who shamelessly threw in with the Zionist lot back in 1960 when he warbled the overwrought anthem to Otto Preminger’s six-million-hour Israeli epic Exodus, returns to glowingly tread the paths that Jesus Christ Himself walked, sing some hymns, and drum up tourism dollars for America’s favorite Middle Eastern welfare case.

The show opens with “Israel, O Blessed Israel”, probably the worst piece of junk Boone ever recorded, stinking up the place over images of innocent children, flowers, mountains, and the majestically fluttering Israeli flag. Has-been Boone almost seems to fancy himself a kind of peripatetic holy man as he wanders about in his clean white shirt, beige slacks, and all-American tennis shoes – with a picture of Jesus disconcertingly fading into Boone’s faintly evil features at one point. In addition to singing tepid arrangements of “How Great Thou Art” and other standards, Boone recites uplifting passages from the scriptures – promising, for instance, that Israel’s enemies “will forever be destroyed” – and, so as to drive home the all-important point of the Savior’s Jewishness, more than once makes a point of referring to Jesus as “a rabbi”.

Unintentional humor occurs as a slack-jawed camel comes lumbering into view in slow motion to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and when a fly whizzes by Boone’s head as he renders “In the Garden”. For some reason, viewers are treated to the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii also makes an unexpected appearance. The tape even takes a brief turn for the scary, slipping into gray, vague, and indiscernible visuals, when Boone recounts a hoary anecdote about reanimated skeletons. To its credit, Israel, O Blessed Israel! does provide a showcase for the country’s bountiful natural beauties and impressive air of antiquity, but let these commendations not lead prospective viewers into any undue temptation, for this VHS relic, verily, brethren, is for hardcore schlock aficionados and Zio-masochists only. 2 out of 5 blue Stars of David.

Viking Saga

Roving bands of foreigners ravage a seemingly helpless Britain, pillaging, raping its women, and humiliating or liquidating its men. No, this is not Woolwich in May of 2013, but the eighth century, when Norsemen subjected the island to terror even more frightening, at least in its immediate consequences, than that presented by the swarms of uncivilized welfare rats presently infesting jolly old England. Today the invaders are Third World rubbish of the British government’s own invitation, but during the Middle Ages an enemy threatened civilizational cataclysm by military means. Fortunately, back in those distant days, there were Englishmen sufficiently concerned with national survival to resist and struggle for the preservation of their culture.

The awkwardly titled A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day follows monk Hereward (Marc Pickering) as he makes his perilous way, attempting to elude the Vikings and get the Holy Book of Lindisfarne, a relic of great national and spiritual significance, to safekeeping at a northern monastery. During his journey Hereward is joined by the warrior Aethelwulf (Mark Lewis Jones) and Pictish woman Eara (Elen Rhys), who both have things to teach him about his responsibilities to his faith and his people.

The lead performances in this historical allegory, particularly Pickering’s, are passionate; and the mist-shrouded Welsh landscape, in combination with a constant sense of urgency and doom, contribute to A Viking Saga‘s air of earnestness of purpose. The artificial dialogue, always a challenge in bringing to life such a distant period, may strike some viewers as unnatural, and the film does show its budgetary limitations in the paltry smattering of actors purporting to represent a devastating Norse invasion force; but A Viking Saga is, on the whole, a better and more engrossing film than might be expected from its unfortunate title.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day is:

10. Mildly feminist. Eara gets revenge for a rape and helps win the day.

9. Traditionalist/pro-family. “My people have used the land’s gifts for a thousand years,” Eara says. “My mother taught me as her mother taught her.”

8. Drug-ambivalent. A psychoactive plant causes Hereward to have frightening hallucinations, but this also results in his having a spiritually instructive vision.

7. Anti-capitalistic/anti-NWO. The invasion started with coastal trading, an allusion to capitalism and possibly also to the EU as sources of Britain’s degradation and loss of sovereignty.

6. Populist. “The church has seen to grow rich and fat while the country starves. Monks hold little respect in the wilds.”

5. Antiwar. The Vikings’ invasion, like so many wars, is motivated by gold and dreams of empire.

4. Conservative. Pathetic, pale-faced, defeatist victims of plunder, plague, and famine actually suffer from a mental disorder: self-loathing liberalism. “We must embrace the death He brings so we may sit at His side in paradise,” one of these medieval progressives explains.

3. Xenophobic and anti-immigration. A quotation from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles at the film’s outset reads, “The heathens trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.”  Black clouds are said to have brought this human pestilence. Alcuin of York “was victorious over the darkness of his time. We shall be victorious over the darkness that threatens to engulf our time.” (Italics added)  Unfortunately, trends today in the UK and Europe, with Islam the continent’s fastest-growing religion and soon to be the dominant faith in Britain, indicate that these storm clouds of the present will not be so handily dissipated.

2. Militantly Christian. A Viking Saga opens with naked monks, beaten and humiliated by Vikings, cringing, crying, and imploring God on a beach after being kicked out of their monastery. These are flabby, undignified men, unsuited to the task of protecting the faith. (“We have seen the bravery of the Saxons here. Men who would stain their church with the stench of their own piss rather than fight.”) “There are many ways to serve Christ, boy,” Aethelwulf tells Hereward. Lifting his sword, he asks, “Does it not resemble the cross?” “Become my wrath,” Christ (Gerald Tyler) says in a vision.

1. Nationalistic. “The book isn’t everything.” The violent defense of the island and nation comes even before Christ’s teachings. “Without their book, this nation would fall,” a Viking leader observes. The perpetuation of Christianity, then, is but a means to the survival of a tribal and racial identity. “The people of England are as precious as the Word.” Jesus is more than once called the “white Christ”.

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