URLs du Jour

2009-09-29

  • There's P. J. O'Rourke content at the Weekly Standard. P. J. meekly says mea culpa to various allegations of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, etc. But he's having a tough time finding outlets for his hatred:
    I live in rural New Hampshire and we are, frankly, short on people who are black, gay, Jewish, and Hispanic. In fact, we're short on people. My town has a population of 301. When it comes to bias we're pretty much reduced to an occasional slur against French-Canadians. But my grandfather was French-Canadian, so I feel that it is somewhat inappropriate for me to express scorn for Frenchies. That is, liberals have a monopoly on self-loathing as a result of neurosis entitlements and affirmative anxiety programs for which I, as a Republican, do not qualify. Thus it is that I have to drive all the way to Dorchester and then out to Provincetown and down to New York City and back to be narrow minded enough to satisfy Jimmy Carter, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, and their friend Hugo Chávez.

  • How many hits do you think the Google would cough up for Fairpoint bit off more than they could chew?

  • A neat visualization of the distribution of my favorite Scottish restaurant, McDonald's, across the US. As a bonus, the visualizer also determined the spot in the 48 contiguous states furthest away from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, or, as we call it, "civilization."

  • Debunking Michael Moore is like shooting a very large fish in a very small barrel. But Billy Hallowell's article at Big Hollywood is pretty good, and, even better, it's illustrated with something large, rusty, dangerous, and obsolete—much like Moore himself. And anyone who's driven between Portsmouth and Dover, New Hampshire in the past seventy-four years will recognize it right away.

State of Play

[3.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Another movie the critics seem to love more than the ordinary joes. Again, my inclination is to side with the ordinary joes.

Things kick off with a shadowy assassin murdering a terrified black guy; he also shoots an unexpected witness in the back. And the next morning, a lovely young girl, Sonia, falls onto the tracks in a DC Metro station. Is her death a suicide, an accident, or murder? Is it connected to the others? (Come on: how many of these movies have you seen?)

On the case is Cal (Russell Crowe), a scruffy old-time reporter for the "Washington Globe". He's forced into an uncomfortable partnership with Della (Rachel McAdams); she's a symbol of the new journalistic reality, a "blogger" for the paper's online presence. (At one point, the phrase "bloodsuckers and bloggers" is used, and it's clear there's not a lot of difference between them.)

It develops that Sonia was a researcher for Congressman Collins (Ben Affleck). He's investigating "PointCorp" a Haliburton-like defense contractor, whose operations are a little too mercenary for his taste. To complicate things, Collins was having an affair with Sonia. To further complicate things, Collins and reporter Cal were old college buddies. To even further complicate things, Cal had a long-ago fling with Mrs. Collins, played by Buttercup herself, Robin Wright Penn. It all adds up to a complex and twisty plot.

The movie does an OK job of showing Cal and Della tracing down leads, under pressure from both the cops and their boss (the Queen herself, Helen Mirren). Nobody has much of an interest in telling them the truth. The cinematography adds to the general atmosphere of corruption, conspiracy, and danger.

It's not too bad, but Ben Affleck's character is an irritating demagogue, kind of a Kos Kid in Kongress. (Although <spoiler>things are improved somewhat by the twist ending, where he turns out to be the bad guy</spoiler>.) An awful lot of acting talent, though, spent on a movie that's not really that compelling.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 2:24 PM EST