Tag Archives: movies

First Man: Trivializing the lunar landing

First Man movie flightsuits, without American flag

This past weekend movie-goers finally got to see the world premiere of First Man, a movie based on the biography with the same title telling the life story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the surface of another world.

Prior to the movie’s release there was some controversy when Ryan Gosling, the actor playing Armstrong, said that they had left out the scene on the Moon when the astronauts planted the American Flag because their goal was to highlight Armstrong’s personal story as well as the global nature of the achievement.

Star Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, defended director Damien Chazelle’s decision to omit the star-spangled moment when asked about it in Venice. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it, ” Gosling said per the Telegraph. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

The Canadian actor added that based on his own interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends, he doesn’t believe the pioneering astronaut considered himself an American hero. “I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero,” Gosling said. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.” [emphasis mine]

Many on the right including myself, strongly criticized this statement. The movies director, Damien Chazelle, immediately responded, saying he was not trying to devalue the importance of the American achievement but to focus instead on telling Neil Armstrong’s personal story. “My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”

I decided I had been unfair to criticize the film without seeing it, and decided I would make a rare trip to a movie theater as soon as it was released to see it and then review it.
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Director of Neil Armstrong movie responds to flag critics

The director of the movie about Neil Armstrong, First Man, has issued a statement about criticism the movie is getting for not showing a scene of Armstrong and Aldrin planting the American flag on the Moon.

Below is Damien Chazelle’s statement in its entirety:

In “First Man” I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon. To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.

I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon — his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA. This was a feat beyond imagination; it was truly a giant leap for mankind. This film is about one of the most extraordinary accomplishments not only in American history, but in human history. My hope is that by digging under the surface and humanizing the icon, we can better understand just how difficult, audacious and heroic this moment really was. [emphasis mine]

That he did show the American flag on the Moon is encouraging to me, and makes me think that the criticisms about this issue being leveled at the film, including mine, are possibly unfair.

At the same time, I have witnessed too often the desire of Hollywood to denigrate the United States, so I remain suspicious. Getting eyes on the film to get another perspective would I think be very helpful. I might myself have to view it to give my own perspective.

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Hollywood once again reveals its distaste for America

The just released new Hollywood movie detailing the life of Neil Armstrong, First Man, has so far gotten rave reviews.

Sadly, however, there is one detail about the Apollo 11 mission that the filmmakers decided they couldn’t include, even though it was in many ways the entire point of the mission. They made a conscious decision to exclude any mention of the planting of the American flag on the surface of the Moon.

Star Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, defended director Damien Chazelle’s decision to omit the star-spangled moment when asked about it in Venice. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it, ” Gosling said per the Telegraph. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

The Canadian actor added that based on his own interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends, he doesn’t believe the pioneering astronaut considered himself an American hero. “I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero,” Gosling said. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.” [emphasis mine]

This is bunk. All the astronauts who flew to the Moon were very aware that they were warriors in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and communism, and did it very consciously so that the U.S. could win that space race, for the U.S. Planting the flag was thus for them a very important aspect of the mission, maybe in many ways the most important.

That these Hollywood filmmakers purposely excluded that moment only illustrates to me once again the hostility, even hate, that the modern elitist culture has for the United States and everything it has stood for since 1776: freedom, blind justice before the law, and individual responsibility. Here it appears they are making an effort to separate that very decidedly American culture, which made the lunar landing possible, from that achievement. They want to honor Armstrong as an individual, but do not want to give any credit to the country and culture that sent him to the Moon. Instead, they want to claim that the Apollo landings were merely “a human achievement.”

For shame.

This makes me very unwilling to spend any money to see this movie. Why should I support the work of such intellectually dishonest people?

I must add that I have already been emailed by several readers who are similarly outraged. I wonder therefore if this will turn into something that will actually hurt ticket sales. I suspect not, as too many Americans today do not care very much about these issues. They will go to be entertained, and many will buy into the lie that the Apollo missions was an achievement not of America but of the entire global world, working together in love and peace.

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The Amazing Paul Frees

An evening pause: You have heard his voice, many times. This highlight reel, suggested by Jim Mallamace, includes just a few, all amazingly different:

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion
Boris Badenov
Pillsbury Doughboy
Lion and Mouse
Voyages Through Inner Space
Burgermeister Meisterburger
The Beatles Cartoon
Morocco Mole
Ludwig von Drake

He was a contemporary of Mel Blanc (most famous for providing the voices for Warner Brothers’ cartoons), was as good, but is far less well known.

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Two for a Penny – The Grapes of Wrath

An evening pause: To help start out a new year, a scene from the 1940 John Ford classic, The Grapes of Wrath, based on John Steinbeck’s novel. While the movie tended to make government a saintly hero, which bothered me from the first time I saw it, it also captured the heart and generosity of the American spirit, as certainly existed in the previous century. Even if you are poor and desperate, if you insist on paying your fair share and don’t ask for a hand out, Americans immediately rally around you, in a quiet unassuming way, without wishing credit or accolades.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.

Note that I am in need of suggestions for evening pauses. If you have made suggestions before, you know where to send them. If you haven’t and want to, leave a comment here and I will email you. Don’t include the link to the pause, however, as I want to schedule it, and that will blow the punchline.

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A Christmas Carol

An daytime pause: For me, this version, starring Alastair Sim, remains the best of all the many adaptions of Charles Dickens classic short novel. Always worth seeing during the holiday season. As I wrote last year when I posted it, “I watched this again and felt like weeping, not because of the sentimentality of the story itself but because it is so seeped in a civilized world that increasingly no longer exists. There was a time when this was our culture. I fear it is no longer so. As noted by the Spirit of Christmas Present, ‘This boy is ignorance, this girl is want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy.’”

May all my readers have a wonderful Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

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Benjamin Shapiro – Theme from Schindler’s List

An evening pause: Performed live in 1996, when Shapiro was twelve years old. Note that this is that Ben Shapiro, the orthodox Jew and well-known conservative columnist whom leftists ignorantly love to call a Jew-hater and white supremacist. How they come to that conclusion can only be because they are willfully ignorant or so filled with hate and their ideology that they can’t look at reality with any honesty.

I think, during this holiday season, it is wise to also reflect on humanity’s tragic failures, one of the worst of which was the Holocaust during World War II.

Hat tip Jim Mallamace.

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Robbie the Robot sells for $5.3 million in auction

The science fiction movie prop Robbie the Robot has sold at auction for $5.3 million, making it the second most expensive movie prop in history.

The complete Robby suit, control panel, his jeep, numerous spares, alternate original “claw” hands, and the original wooden stage shipping crates, were sold yesterday (November 21, 2017 ) by Bonhams in New York for US$5,375,000 including buyers premium.

The only purpose-built movie prop to have ever sold for more is Marilyn Monroe’s “subway dress” from The Seven Year Itch (1955) which was sold by Profiles in History for $5,520,000 (inc. buyers premium) in 2011.

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Want to own Robby the Robot? You can!

The robot prop from the classic 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot, is going up for auction on November 21.

The robot was purchased by its present owner in 1979, and has been sitting in his home since then.

In related auction news, one of eighty medals carried on the Apollo 17 mission is also going up for auction.

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John Williams – Raider’s March

An evening pause: From one of the best films ever made, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). As I wrote about it at the time for a comic book fan group, it recognizes that there is good and evil, and that there is something in the universe that casts judgement on each. Such concepts had and continue to be largely rejected by modern intellectualism, at our peril.

Hat tip Edward Thelen.

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A Christmas Carol

A daytime pause: For Christmas Day, what better than to watch Alastair Sim’s incredible performance in the 1951 adaption of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

I watched this again and felt like weeping, not because of the sentimentality of the story itself but because it is so seeped in a civilized world that increasingly no longer exists. There was a time when this was our culture. I fear it is no longer so. As noted by the Spirit of Christmas Present, “This boy is ignorance, this girl is want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy.”

Enjoy, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas Day.

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