Category Archives: Myrna Loy

Thoughts about the two Democrat debates

The Democrat Debates were indeed boring, but they were also a wonderful insight into Democrat policies and candidate strengths and weaknesses.

I watched both of the Democrat debates. I’ve now had 43 hours to ruminate about Wednesday’s debate and 19 hours to ruminate about Thursday’s debate. That’s given me a little perspective. For what it’s worth, here’s what I think:

I. The debates as a whole.

When Obama ran in 2008 and again in 2012, he tried to underplay his radicalism. Both times, he played lip service to the center and then governed to the Left. A perfect example concerns how he handled LGBT issues, whether for open military service or getting married. He assured voters that neither would happen and then went and supported the more Leftward policies anyway. I’m not opining about the policies. I’m just pointing out that Obama lied.

What’s refreshing about the current crop of candidates is that they are not disguising their political beliefs and practical goals. Given that Trump is completely open about his traditional American political values and that the Democrats have stopped hiding their Leftism, this may be the most honest political campaign since the one in 1860.

Indeed, if the ultimate Democrat primary victory retains that honesty into the election campaign, rather than trying to rewrite the history of whatever he or she said during the primaries, we will not see the usual presidential campaign in which candidates circle the middle (a middle that moved increasingly Left beginning in the 1990s). Instead, there are some very stark differences here. Talk about American having a true “time for choosing.”

One of the major differences between every single Dem candidate on the one hand and Trump on the other hand, is the way in which they view America. Obama occasionally leaked out comments showing his dislike and disdain for both America and Americans, but he tried to dress his politics in the upbeat, and entirely meaningless, mantra of hope. Yeah, sure America was great he said, but he would make it so great it would be “fundamentally transformed,” apparently into a different kind of greatness entirely. But it was all great.

Trump, of course, is Mr. Optimistic. He has wonderful visions about a great America that will still be a recognizable America, although better than ever before. Most importantly, it won’t be socialist country. It will continue to be a free market, sovereign nation in which people benefit from small government, individual liberty, and true equality before the law. Our foreign friends will respect us and our foreign enemies will fear us (as they should). Indeed, some of our foreign enemies may well have abandoned their wicked ways to join the community of nations. Trump is optimistic and endlessly upbeat.

The twenty Democrat candidates paraded before the American people on Wednesday and Thursday are pessimistic, angry people who live in a dystopian reality that they hope to make worse for everyone. Theirs is a world in which people are starving and dying in the streets, filth is piled everywhere, there are no jobs, an apocalyptic climate “emergency” is waiting around the corner, the races despise each other, and gay people are marginalized and dying.

Thinking about it, there is some truth to their reality: They’re pretty much describing Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, inner city Washington D.C., de Blasio’s New York, the whole states of California and Illinois, and any other communities in which Leftists have been free to have their wicked ways.

Listening to Democrat candidates’ dystopian visions, it was as if the Trump economy never happened. There is no record low unemployment amongst blacks and Hispanics; there is no 3%  or more quarterly economic growth; and there is no vibrant stock market, one based on real economic gains rather than the Obama market, when fearful investors parked their money in the market because they were afraid to put it into an unstable real economy.

No one should be too surprised, I guess, about the fantasy world the Leftists have built. After all, these are the same people who believe that a person’s biological sex is a social construct, that the sun has nothing to do with the earth’s climate, and that pot is harmless. Facts tend not to interfere with their belief systems.

Significantly, none of the 20 candidates is a happy warrior. All of them, instead, seem to be auditioning for a leadership role in a Mad Max movie — they will be the only stable dictator in a world of horrific violence, despair, and decay.

In addition, none of the 20 candidates has charm or charisma. I’ll talk about their individual traits below, but my overall takeaway was that these are very weak people. If you look at Trump, whether when he was campaigning in 2015 and 2016 or during his years as president, what you see is an effortless alpha male. He commands any space he’s in. He is optimistic and powerful. Whether or not you like where he plans to lead America, he is a relaxed, happy, effective leader. He’s also very, very funny and can show tremendous warmth and charm.

In contrast, the 20 Democrats are frenetic, shrill people who hoped to disguise their fundamental personal weaknesses by outshouting each other. Funnily enough, when I think of them, I think of a movie review I read at National Review. Yeah, I know that sounds like a non sequitur but it’s not.

The review was about Murder Mystery, a made-for-Netflix movie staring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, both of whom are capable of being appealing. What piqued my interest about the review was the fact that Kyle Smith likened their teaming to Nick and Nora Charles, the dynamic married duo who starred in a series of Thin Man movies in the 1930s. Nick was played by the debonair William Powell and Nora by Myrna Loy, one of the most beautiful, charming, funny, appealing actresses ever to grace the silver screen. Here’s what Smith had to say:

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished UpAdam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston make a fine Nick and Nora Charles.

[snip]

In Murder Mystery, Sandler does the unexpected and plays a character who’s neither Kurt Cobain nor Jerry Lewis but just an ordinary working stiff with a slightly disappointed but basically loving wife. Thanks to a deft, funny script by James Vanderbilt and brisk direction by Kyle Newacheck, this throwback comedy turns out to be an easygoing charmer.

[snip]

Murder Mystery takes us back to the days when Nick and Nora Charles were martini-sipping crime-solvers in the six-film Thin Man series, updating the formula with a superb twist: This time the couple are working-class types who get pulled into a world of international playboys and billionaires’ yachts. Sandler’s Nick is a frustrated NYPD cop (he tells everyone he’s a detective, but he keeps flunking the exam) and Aniston is Audrey, his hairdresser wife of 15 years. He promised her a trip to Europe one day, but the money to pay for it has never come. He’s the kind of guy who buys her the wrong allergy medicine at the drugstore to save 50 cents. When he finally does decide to max out the credit card to get her that transatlantic vacation, Audrey sneaks into first class, where she meets a charming bon vivant (Luke Evans) who likes her enough to invite the pair of them to hang out on his yacht. She’s Jennifer Aniston, so this is plausible enough.

I have to part ways with Smith. Aside from the upper class setting, Aniston and Sandler are nothing like Nick and Nora. They’re neither witty nor charming. They are, instead, shrill, angry, and irritating, three traits that no sane Thin Man writer would ever have thrust upon those characters. I slogged through the end of Murder Mystery to see whodunnit (not worth the slog), and came away desperately disliking the lead characters.

That’s exactly how I felt watching the debate. I’d been promised that at least some of the candidates would offer charisma, if not wit and charm, but none offered anything. They were alternately shrill, angry, paranoid, irritating, greedy, totalitarian, and completely loopy (an adjective that’s not reserved solely for Sanders and Williamson). The thought that these types of human beings might lead our great nation was quite disturbing.

The candidates’ policy prescriptions matched their personalities. Across the board, they want to increase government power, raise taxes, impose socialized medicine, upend the Second Amendment, abort babies up to the minute of birth, and open our borders while promising free medical care, education, and welfare to all comers. In other words, they imagine a dictatorship of the elite — an angry, paranoid, elite that hates so much the people over which it governs that it wants to import an entirely new, more amenable group of people over which it can govern.

Regarding importing a whole new demographic, as several people commented it was often unclear whether the candidates in these Democrat debates wanted to be president of existing, legal American citizens, or were seeking the votes of Latin Americans who have yet to arrive here illegally. I listened to Derek Hunter’s podcast today, and he said it was as if the candidates vying for Angela Merkel’s position in Germany tout to the voters all the good things they promise to do for France.

It’s the rare, peculiar, and frightening candidate who doesn’t pander to his own voters, but panders instead to citizens of another nation entirely. It’s hints that these candidates believe that, between now and November 2020, they can get enough illegal aliens into America to vote a Democrat into office.

II. The individual candidates

And now a few thoughts about the individual candidates at the Democrat debates. It’s a given that all of them said things intended to appeal to their mad base (open borders, socialized medicine for all comers, unlimited abortion, high taxes, gun seizures, abasement before Iran, the destruction of the American economy through a Green New Deal, etc.). My comments are just about their personalities. Ladies first.

Kamala Harris presents with a flat, Fran Drescher voice and a naggy personality. She can definitely go on the attack, as she did with her probable lies to Biden about busing. My question, though, is whether American voters really want to elect as president their hated ex-wife or the mother with whom they had issues, especially when she’s made it plain that she wants to empty their bank accounts and control every aspect of their lives? Heck, if they wanted that, they could have stayed married to that shrew or accepted living in mad Mom’s basement….

Also, contrary to Harris’s “I’m the only black person here” statement, she has something significant in common with Obama: She’s a fake American black, for her black-skinned father is very elite Jamaican man and she was raised for a significant part of her life outside of America. In other words, Harris has no connection to the American black experience.

Kirsten Gillibrand presents with a shrill, childish voice and an angry, bossy personality. She demands attention, rather than earns it, and when she gets it, she hectors people sharply. For all her anger, her history of flip-flopping frantically to whatever the political winds demand tells me that, if you put her in a room with a mullah or a member of North Korea’s Kim clan, she’ll collapse like an old tissue.

Amy Klobuchar has a no-nonsense affect that reminds me strongly of my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Fukuda. Or maybe she’s like some Mary Poppins-esque nanny who firmly puts you in your place. Indeed, her presentation is so firm and normal that it’s easy to forget that, when it comes to policies, she’s as Leftist as the rest of them. In other words, she’s the school teacher from Hell.

Tulsi Gabbard was in the military. Did you know that? She definitely was in the military. She’s happy to tell you over and over again that she was in the military. When she talks about the military, her voice takes on the harsh tones of a drill sergeant. The rest of the time, she sounds, not sedate, but sedated. And by the way, she was in the military. I’ve also heard she looks nice in a bikini. Trump, I’m certain, does not.

Elizabeth Warren is someone about whom I cannot be objective because I’ve disliked her for thirty years, going back to her banking law class. Learning that Warren leveraged family lore into a well-paying Harvard gig based upon imaginary diversity did not make me like her more. Learning that she lied her way into fame by gaming statistics about medical care and family bankruptcy did not make me like her more. Hearing her denigrate individual achievement in America (“you didn’t build that”) did not make me like her more. Her current assurances that for everything she dislikes about America she has a plan, when it’s clear that the plan is always about more taxes and more power for the government, do not make me like her more. And finally, her spinsterish, scolding presence on the debate stage does not make me like her more. I really dislike her.

Marianne Williamson is the hippie whom time forgot. Most of the time she spoke with the earnestness of a stoned preacher on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in 1967. “Love, man . . . yeah, that will heal the world. Just more love and maybe some health-giving flowers for America’s inner being. I’ll drop love bombs on Kim Jong-un and the Mullahs. Even our archest of arch enemies, Donald Trump, will feel the healing power of my love deep in his evil soul. Nameste, America. Peace.”

And now the men, in alphabetical order:

Michael Bennet had a hysterical quality I found very disturbing. There’s something emotionally off about the man.

Joe Biden really did try to be Mr. Normal in a field of radicals but he lost it there when he said that his first act as president, should he win, would be to defeat Donald Trump. Otherwise, he was pathetic as he tried desperately to find his footing while crossing the ice floes made up of his decades in Democrat politics all the while fending off the snapping young Democrat dogs surrounding him.

Cory Booker will be defined forever by the horror that showed on his face when he realized that Beta has stolen his “I speak Spanish” shtick. Otherwise, he was his usual glib, insincere self. His insistence that the rights of black transgenders is a matter of paramount concern was peculiar. He also sounded ineffective when he complained about crime in the city in which he once sat as mayor. All I could think of was “you had once job….”

Pete Buttigieg is another ineffectual mayor. He presides over the 300th largest city in America, a position he won by 8,000 plus votes. That’s not 8,000+ votes more than his competitors. That’s total votes. The blacks in his city despise him because it’s obvious that he always viewed them, not as his job, but as stepping stones to something bigger. His constant attacks on Christians are a glaringly obvious psychological insight into his anguish about living a life inconsistent with Biblical precepts (for the Bible is not fond of gay sex), but are decidedly unappealing in an American presidential candidate. Also, he looks like Beaver Cleaver’s radical Leftist brother — immature and politically dangerous.

Julian Castro is short and wants abortions for transgender women (i.e., men). He cannot win and should leave the national stage before he embarrasses himself further. By the way, I too am short and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that in a telegenic age, a pipsqueak who is confused about basic human biology squaring off against the alpha male Trump is not a good look. Buttigieg, by the way, also suffers from the short man problem.

Bill de Blasio has only one advantage in the race, which is that he’s tall enough to square off physically against Trump. Otherwise, I wouldn’t buy a used car from that corrupt, hypocritic, and I certainly wouldn’t trust him to take possession of American’s money and redistribute it. Also, considering that monied New Yorkers are leaving in droves, taking away the funds supporting his crazed, corrupt socialism, is not a selling point for the rest of America.

John Delaney was slightly more sane than the rest of the people on the stage. He’s also bland and is a little too obsessed with his own father. He has no chance.

John Hickenlooper is a nattering old maid. Old maid men do not win in American politics. The only thing that puts the lie to his old maid status — and most decidedly not in a good way — is that he sat through a porn flick with his mother.

Jay Inslee is a scary dude. He’s an apocalyptic street corner preacher, but with a better haircut. His end-of-days climate obsession is not a winner.

Beto O’Rourke is Beta O’Rourke. Take away the skateboard and the flapping arms (and did you notice how careful the MSNBC/NBC camera men were to hide his hands?) and you’ve got the kid in the dorm who thought he was deep and cool while everyone else knew full well that he was a not-very-bright dork. Dork’s don’t win presidential campaigns.

Tim Ryan is visually identical to Inslee. Other than that, I can’t remember a darn thing about him.

Bernie Sanders — I’ve covered Bernie in a separate blog. He’s a mean-spirited, evil, foaming-at-the-mouth, yellow-toothed socialist tyrant wannabe.

Eric Swalwell is running a campaign that can be summed up thusly: The Second Amendment is toilet paper. All the other candidates also want to take your guns, but Swalwell is the most fanatic on the subject. Let me remind you of other politicians who seized guns: Hugo Chavez, Hitler, Stalin, the Kims, etc. I’m sure Swalwell doesn’t believe he ever could be a tyrant, but the temptation is always there for a political leader once the people he’s disarmed stand helpless before him.

Andrew Yang opposes circumcision. Aside from being fundamentally anti-Semitic, because circumcision is Judaism’s core covenant with God, it’s also an unhealthy position, for there’s indisputable evidence that circumcision slows the spread of certain sexually transmitted diseases, most notably AIDS. I cannot support him under any circumstances. I also think the whole “give every $1,000” is stupid. Why not just lower tax rates? That way, taxpayers will keep their own money in proportion to the money they’re forced to pay, while those who don’t pay taxes don’t just get more free cash.

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The Ten Greatest War Movies

Confession: Not a single Myrna Loy film shows up in this list. But we just can’t resist posting this photo of Loy serving coffee to American sailors during World War II. Lucky guys.

by Robert J. Avrech

Movies about war are ideally suited to the kinetic energy of motion pictures. The eternal themes of love, courage and loyalty are given full range in the theater of war. Readers will immediately notice the absence of silent films and movies from Hollywood’s golden age. Yes, in spite of our love of classic cinema we are the first to admit that sound and modern special effects have rendered most older war movies tame and stylized.

We have also excluded war movies that treat war as “senseless killing” or set forth a pacifist narrative. As far as Seraphic Secret is concerned, a just war is the only method by which moral states can triumph over evil nations. War is too serious a business to be intellectually castrated by fuzzy minds who traffic in moral equivalence.

We concentrate on movies that feature intense warfare, yet whose narrative line does not neglect the more intimate, personal stories. We have eliminated home-front movies, fantasies of good Nazi soldiers ( Auf Wiedersehen, Das Boot), movies about Holocaust victims, tales of spies, and POW movies, sub-genres that—except for good-Nazi movies, historically suspect and morally loathsome—deserve and will receive ten best lists all their own.

I invite WoW readers to list their own ten best war movies.

10. The Lighthorsemen, 1985

Beautiful Australian movie shot entirely in South Australia, that takes place during World War I, telling the story of a light horse unit fighting in Ottoman Palestine. The final assault on Beersheva is a masterpiece of filmmaking. The director, Simon Wincer, told me that he was working with very few horses and just used lots of “simple camera tricks” to make the final charge such a tour de force.

 

9. Gettysburg, 1993

This is a long movie, but it’s riveting. The battle of Little Round Top, the furthermost left flank of the entire Federal line, is exquisitely choreographed. When Jeff Daniels, as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, orders his men to fix bayonets a chill runs up your spine. In spite of the bad wigs and even worse beards, a very effective film.

 

8. Duck You Sucker, 1971

Oh gosh, where to begin? This Sergio Leone epic is saddled with the worst title in movie history. Rod Steiger, a lice-ridden Mexican bandit, and James Coburn, a mysterious Irish Republican explosives expert on the run from the British, reluctantly team up and join the Mexican revolution. Enio Morricone’s score will haunt you for days afterwards. A neglected masterpiece.

 

7. Patton, 1970

The opening shot and monologue are, perhaps, the greatest introduction to character and personal narrative ever to be seen in motion picture history. Patton was a bully, an anti-Semite and a braggart, but he was a great field commander. The script and score wisely play up Patton’s mystical side which adds a whole new dimension to this memorable film.  George C. Scott’s performance deservedly won him the Academy Award for Best Actor. He refused to accept it, saying he rejected the idea of such competition among actors.

 

6. Lawrence of Arabia, 1962

One of the first lessons a screenwriter learns is to define heroes by their faults. The script for David Lean’s masterpiece elegantly portrays Lawrence’s emotional struggles with the violence he claims to abhor but in which, ultimately, he delights. His confused sexual identity is on display in several subtle scenes, and his divided allegiances between the British empire and the romanticized desert Arabs is fully rendered. This movie strikes the perfect balance between sweeping epic and intimate portraiture.

 

5. Zulu, 1964

The true—well, sorta—story of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, 1879, South Africa, where ninety British soldiers fought against several thousand Zulu warriors. At one point a young bugler, lips trembling, asks the tough Sergeant: “Why? Why?” And the Sergeant, stiff-upper lip, as the British used to be, replies, “Because we’re here, lad.” A young and incredibly gifted actor named Michael Caine makes his very first major film appearance as a foppish young officer who becomes a man in the crucible of battle. Zulu’s score by the great John Barry, is one of the most memorable I have ever heard. During the Yom Kippur War I used to hum it to myself to keep up my spirits and remind myself that numbers don’t matter, that in the end discipline, courage and fortitude triumph.

 

4. The Winter War, 1989

A spectacular Finnish movie that tells the story of the hundred day Winter War fought by Finland against the Soviet Union from November 30, 1939 to March 13, 1940. It was the Winter War that convinced Hitler that invading Russia would be a cake walk.This epic details how ill-equipped, inept, and poorly led Soviet troops repeatedly flung themselves against brave and determined Finnish soldiers posted in thin lines across a massive front. Fighting in bitter, subzero weather, the story is told through the multiple story lines of a single squad composed of farmers, school teachers and village merchants, intensely patriotic men whose lives in a harsh, isolated land breeds first-rate soldiers. The overwhelming strength of the Soviet Union in men and armaments seemed to doom the Finns to a fast and bloody defeat. But the Finns are a stubborn people whose resistance should rank with greatest last stands in military history.

Based on a classic, Hemingwayesque novel of the same name by Antti Tuuri, the central character, Martti Hakala, is a member of the 23rd Infantry regiment, an easy-going farmer who likes nothing better than plowing the fertile earth. The battle scenes are huge and impressively choreographed with waves of screaming Soviet soldiers charging frontally—flank attacks are way too subtle for the Soviet bear—into pitifully narrow Finnish lines. It takes a while for non-Finnish viewers to identify all the supporting characters, but soon enough the individual soldiers become distinct. Family life is lovingly rendered. The sturdy women who wait anxiously for their men to return are blessedly unglamorous. The film has a nicely understated heroic yet gritty quality that correctly views war as abrupt bursts of blood drenched chaos and soul-shattering fear. This is a classic war film that deserves a wide international audience.

 

3. Come and See, 1985

The Nazi occupation of  Byeloruss was particularly savage. In this Soviet film, Florian, a naive teenager anxious to join the partisans, and Glasha, a village beauty, end up together, wandering a landscape that resembles hell on earth. Every frame of this film thunders with powerful, unforgettable images. The almost medieval world of the peasants is in stark contrast to the mechanized death brought by the Nazis. There are moments of lyricism that are just overwhelming. In a rain drenched forest, Glasha stands on a log and dances the Charleston. The title comes from  The Apocalypse of John:

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

 

2. Ride With the Devil, 1999

A brilliant Civil War movie about the merciless bushwacker warfare on the Kansas-Missouri border. A near perfect screen adaptation by James Shamus based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell. Vivid and touching performances by Tobey Maguire, Jeffrey Wright, Skeet Ulrich, Simon Baker, Jonathan Brandis and Jewel. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, as a psychotic bushwhacker, nearly steals the show with an over-the-top performance—is he playing the character sorta gay?—that shouldn’t work but does. The massacre of Lawrence, Kansas is a harrowing, extended sequence you will not soon forget. A major box office flop, Ride With the Devil will eventually be recognized as a timeless masterpiece.

 

1. Seven Samurai, 1954

Director Akira Kurosawa’s epic, the greatest movie ever made, speaks directly about the moral imperative of a just war.

The Seven Samurai takes place in medieval Japan, a time when bandits—the terrorists of their time—roamed the land looting, raping and killing defenseless farmers.

Seven down-at-the-heels Samurai warriors are hired to defend one poor village. The Samurai do not negotiate with the bandits. They do not try and appease them. Nor do they ponder the root causes of banditry. The Samurai set strategy and kill the bandits. One by one.

Every true warrior understands there is no deterrence and no freedom without the disproportionate use of force.

The climactic battle in the rain, where mud, blood and tears mix, is perhaps, the finest choreographed battle scene ever staged.

Every skilled director in Hollywood studies this masterpiece and tries—without success—to emulate Kurosawa’s cinematic style. We all stand in Akira Kurosawa’s shadow. This is the film that compelled me to become a screenwriter.

If you love movies but have not seen The Seven Samurai, you are without oxygen.