The Intern

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

In this movie, Robert de Niro plays his most daunting role ever: a decent human being. I was somewhat amazed that he brought that off so convincingly.

But seriously folks: he plays Brooklynite Ben Whittaker, a widower, a retiree, bored out of his skull. One day a flyer catches his eye: a startup Internet company, a clothing retailer, is looking for "senior interns".

Does he land the gig? Of course. Does he wind up working for the pretty boss lady, Jules (Ann Hathaway)? You betcha. She is initially reluctant about all this, but (this should be no surprise) Ben's basic skills, his savvy, and powers of observation make him incredibly useful around the company. He's a straightener of things crooked, an organizer of things messy, a listener to things that need to be heard, an observer of things that nobody else notices. He is a total mensch, at least to the extent I understand that term. Ben quickly becomes Jules's invaluable assistant, and that works fine until his powers of observation lead him to notice things he definitely doesn't want to know about.

Rene Russo plays a masseuse who—yes, this is a thing—contracts out to companies to wander around the workspace relieving employee stress. How come we never had that at the University Near Here?

The movie is clever and fun. Especially notable, there is not an anti-capitalistic bone in its body. Jules and her company are trying to make a buck, sure; but it's clear that there is nothing wrong with that. They're honest, diligent, and hard-working. Nobody's trying to sabotage the competition, they want to get ahead by being the best they can be.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, who's kind of an old pro.

Wind River

[4.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Didn't expect to like this as much as I did, but (once again) Netflix's prediction algorithm wins here.

Corey Lambert (played by Jeremy Renner) works for Wyoming Game and Fish (not called that in the movie), just like C. J. Box's hero, Joe Pickett. He's not a game warden, though; he's a hunter, devoted to tracking down wolves and mountain lions that prey on local livestock. But while tracking down a mama lion and her cubs (awwww…) he comes across a grisly discovery: a young Indian woman frozen to death in the snow, who had been desperately fleeing from something unknown. Worse, Corey knows her, and corpse dredges up memories of his own personal tragedy.

Signs point to a likelihood of foul play, so in comes FBI agent Jane Banner (Played by Elizabeth Olsen; yes, it's Avengers, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, together again.) Jane is—literally—out of her element, on scene because she was the nearest agent available—in Las Vegas.

You might expect the usual Hollywood script clichés: initial hostility grows into mutual respect, etc. Not quite what happens; instead, Corey and Jane respect and help each other from the get-go. And their relationship develops in ways one might not expect. And you do not want to be a bad guy with them on your trail.

Mr. Renner and Ms. Olsen deliver impressive nuanced performances. The supporting cast is great too. The scenery is spectacular, the story is gripping. Trivia: Written and directed by a guy named Taylor Sheridan. Very impressive.

URLs du Jour



Proverbs 16:9 establishes a divison of labor:

9 In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

You're in charge of strategy, but Someone Else is doing tactics.

■ You might have heard about NJ Senator Cory Booker's rant at DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. But do you know what it exposed? According to David French at National Review Cory Booker’s Rant Exposed the Left’s Gender Hypocrisy.

It’s incidents like this that convince so many Americans that identity politics are disingenuous and that lamentations about “norms,” “values,” and “civility” are grotesquely insincere. Talk to any conservative woman and she’ll tell you that all too often the Left’s “respect for women” stops the instant a female pundit, politician, or activist slides just to the right of moderate.


■ And @kevinNR is (at least in spirit) Marching for Life.

Anyone who describes himself as a libertarian has been subjected to at least one game of “Would You Legalize . . . ?”

For me, the answer is mostly “Yes.”

Weed? Yes. Cocaine? Yes. Heroin? Yes. I’d legalize all the drugs. Not because I am indifferent to drug use — I have seen addiction up close and personal, closer and more personally than I ever wanted to, and I know what it does to people. I’m in favor of drug legalization for reasons deontological (I believe that people have the right to do what they will with their own bodies) and consequentialist (I believe heroin users would be better off if heroin were still made by Bayer, with modern pharmaceutical quality controls).

You mustn’t kill your children.

Mr. Williamson is a cogent and serious thinker, and his argument deserves your attention.

■ OK, I don't link to Ann Coulter much, she's kind of a bomb-thrower, but she throws one at a richly deserving target here: The Left’s Dirty Little Secret – Cleaned By Rosa!

The Democrats treat black people like the wife who will iron your shirt for a date with your mistress. They know they don’t have to do anything to keep winning 90 percent of the black vote, so they’ve dedicated themselves to bringing in millions of Latin Americans who will vote for them — and also do their gardening.

Ouch. Hurtful. But true.

■ Sometimes, I swear, the Babylon Bee seems like a straight news site: Sense Of Relief Washes Over Nation As Government Shutdown Grows Increasingly Likely/

As the federal government faces a shutdown at the end of the week with the president and Congress failing to pass a new spending bill and a Friday-night deadline looming, millions of Americans reported Wednesday a sense of relief washing over them like a wave of peace and serenity at the possibility of a powering-down of our volatile governing bodies.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the federal government would just close up shop and go away for a little while,” one smiling man told reporters. “They’re such a source of strife and frustration in our daily lives—we need a little peace of mind. I really hope they’ll go ahead and take a little break.”

“Don’t worry about us, politicians—we’ll be fine. Just go ahead, shut her down and take as much time as you need,” he added.

Hey, or even longer.

■ And finally, Mr. Ramirez riffs on Presidential doctors' appointments and loose-cannon talk.

Last Modified 2018-12-28 4:45 AM EDT