URLs du Jour

2009-09-21

  • Big Hollywood has everything you need to know about efforts to turn the National Endowment for the Arts into a propaganda arm of the Obama Administration.

  • Like just about every American, Pun Salad is amused at President Obama's insistence that a mandate to purchase health insurance or face a fine is "absolutely not a tax increase." This was exacerbated by a further assertion: "Nobody considers that a tax increase."

    In response, the interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, quoted the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of "tax" to President Obama. Obama shot back that <sarcasm>Merriam and Webster were total racists</sarcasm>.

    Philip Klein makes the non-dictionary argument that the bill under discussion actually refers to the amount nicked from people who fail to buy health insurace as an "excise tax."


Last Modified 2012-10-05 2:21 PM EST

Happy-Go-Lucky

[2.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Note the score disparities: Rotten Tomatoes says Happy-Go-Lucky is a critical favorite, with the ordinary schmoes at IMDB going basically, "So what?" Being an ordinary schmoe myself…

The movie follows the character of Poppy, a relentlessly outgoing and cheerful young English primary school teacher. She does not have an unvoiced thought, always chattering up a storm, and she doesn't take initial unresponsiveness from a new acquaintance (or, for that matter, a total stranger) as a signal to back off. Instead, she dials up her mania a couple more notches.

The movie has a number of side episodes involving flamenco lessons, a homeless guy, back woes, a troubled schoolkid, her family, etc. But things center around her relationship with Scott, her driving instructor. Scott's her polar opposite: a perpetually grumpy misanthrope who's all business, and views Poppy's frivolous attitudes and attire with a mixture of puzzlement, disgust, rage, and attraction. Not to mention the really bad teeth. It's England.

The acting and directing are great, but the movie as a whole suffers from the "why should I care?" problem.

That would be good enough for three stars, but I knocked another half-star off for Scott's character. He's a caricature of a right-winger as seen from a typical "progressive's" viewpoint: a bigoted loner, religiously wacky, filled with resentment and misery. (Poppy tries to get him to talk about his family and childhood—from whence she knows all misery springs—but Scott refuses that particular bait.) It much reminded me of President Obama's famous pigeonholing of bitter small-towners clinging to guns, religion, bigotry, etc.; Scott's the film version of that attitude. A better film would have made him a real character rather than a cheap stereotype.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 2:21 PM EST