King Kong

[Amazon Link] [5.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

Day off today, so I hied it on over to the Barrington Cinema to see King Kong before it vanishes. It was just me and one other guy in the theatre.

I was not prepared for how much I would like this movie. I'd listened too much to quibblers. Actors are great, the script is great. You may have heard it's long; plan your bladder capacity appropriately. You won't want to miss anything.

And I don't want to be too clichéd here, but the special effects are awwwwwwesome. You will believe you're watching a big darn monkey frolic in the jungles of Skull Island and the streets of New York City. The special effects are (however) always subservient to the story and the chracters; no obvious "video game moments," which is a welcome change from the usual in the blockbuster genre.

I'll go see anything Peter Jackson does from here on out.


Last Modified 2012-10-25 2:56 PM EDT

URLs du Jour

2006-01-30

  • Debra Burlingame weighs in on the wiretapping controversy at Opinion Journal. Powerful argument. Concluding paragraph:

    The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase "connect the dots" will resonate again--but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.

    Ms. Burlingame is the widow sister of the pilot whose plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Somehow I don't think her views will get equivalent media play to those of, say, Cindy Sheehan.

    (Yes, I still think the Patriot Act could use a little trimming, and I still like Senator Sununu's efforts to do that.)

  • How pro-choice are you? A WaPo article describes how quickly those in the "pro-choice" camp can jettison their slogan when some of the people involved don't make the right choice.

  • The Google has removed the "Does Google censor search results?" section from its FAQ page, apparently due to the inconvenient fact, well, that it does now censor search results. But here's the cool part: the old inoperative page is still retrievable from the Google cache. Say Anything has the Google goods. (Via the Corner.)

    Is this irony? Sometimes I get this wrong, but it seems like it should be irony.

  • OK, maybe David Duchovny is on a short ride to undeserved obscurity, but (a) he is married to Téa Leoni; (b) in this article, it's revealed:

    He's got two more screenplays he would like to see made. One called Yoga Man and another Bucky (expletive) Dent. He is quick to admit he will have to change the latter's title.

    To any Hollywood movers and shakers who might be reading this: I'd stand in line to see a movie called Bucky [Expletive] Dent. (Via Surviving Grady.)


Last Modified 2012-10-25 2:56 PM EDT

Unintended Consequences

A nice illustration of Unintended Consequences provided by the Wall Street Journal, Kevin Drum, and Professor Bainbridge. The WSJ printed an article describing a massive shift in the past decade to dual pension systems, one for ordinary employees, another for higher-ups.

For decades, executives relied on the same pension plan as other company employees, so they had an incentive to make it generous. The shift toward a dual system started in 1994, when Congress passed a law intended to limit the cost to taxpayers of runaway executive pay. The law barred companies from taking a tax deduction on compensation in excess of $1 million a year for any current employee. The result: Companies began setting up supplemental pension plans that encouraged senior managers to defer compensation.

Kevin points out the story contains "a hearty dose of cognitive dissonance for well-meaning liberals." Populist legislation intended to "do something" about "runaway" executive pay largely brought about today's dual-track system.

Prof Bainbridge notes Kevin's cognitive dissonance and brings on a couple of additional observations:

First, the 1994 tax change was effected not by some generic "Congress" but by Bill Clinton and the Congressional Democrats over GOP objections. Second, the Democrat tax change also was a major factor in the Enron, WorldCom, and other scandals of the tech bubble period.

Good points all.

Unfortunately, the original WSJ article only mentions the 1994 legislation in passing; the main thrust is summed up in the lead paragraph:

Rankled by the rich retirement payouts many troubled companies make to executives, Congress is moving to block such companies from funding the lavish packages.

I. e., unintended consequences of past populist tax legislation cause problems, bringing demands for more populist tax legislation today; which will no doubt have its own set of unintended consequences; which will bring more demands for populist tax legislation in the future.

It's the circle of legislative life. If they didn't do this, they'd have to go home, and that's no fun.


Last Modified 2012-10-25 3:07 PM EDT