Nocturnal Animals

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Even though Netflix told me I would find this movie mediocre at best, it came into "either move it to the top of the rental queue or delete it" territory.

And I chose… poorly. Maybe because I like Amy Adams.

Anyway: Amy plays Susan, who, as the movie opens, is running a very trendy art gallery. So trendy that it features morbidly obese, impossibly ugly naked women dancing and grimacing at the viewers. Susan is also coming to realize that her second marriage, like her artistic tastes, is falling apart.

Out of the blue a manuscript arrives from her first husband, Jake Gyllenhaal. It's a novel entitled Nocturnal Animals! The movie breaks into three tracks: present-day Susan, reading the novel, getting freaked out; the rise and fall of past-Susan's relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal; and the movie that's playing in Susan's head as she reads the manuscript, in which the main character is played by … Jake Gyllenhaal!

This sounds more clever than it actually is.

The movie-within-the-movie is more interesting than the other two threads, but not that much: fictional Jake, his wife, and young daughter are driving on a semi-deserted highway, when they manage to irk a car full of degenerates. Who proceed to force them off the road and … well, it's pretty unpleasant. Jake seeks revenge, in which he's aided by a near-vigilante lawman, played by Michael Shannon.

Everything's disturbing, nihilistic, degenerate. Not my cup of tea at all, sorry.

URLs du Jour

2020-02-11

Well, it's primary day today. As a RINO, disgusted by Trump, I'm going with Weld. I know he's a lying weasel, but…

I hope that (a) there will be better choices in 2024; (b) that I'll be around to make them.

  • The Babylon Bee had an LFOD invocation that (for some strange reason) failed to show up in my Google LFOD News Alert: Bernie Sanders Confused By New Hampshire State Motto 'Live Free Or Die' — 'Both Of Those Options Sound Horrible'.

    MANCHESTER, NH—While campaigning in New Hampshire, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was very confused when he saw the phrase “Live Free or Die” on a license plate. “What is that?” he demanded. When someone explained it was the state motto, he was even more confounded. “Both those options sound horrible!” he exclaimed.

    “Living free is exactly what billionaires want,” Sanders told a crowd at a campaign stop. “That way they can accumulate as much money as they want. Think of living free -- everyone involved in peaceful voluntary exchange without government getting in the way -- it would be chaos! That’s exactly what my socialism is here to fix.”

    Supposedly satire, but… is it, really?


  • John Podhoretz has advice for the other side, that they almost certainly will not heed: Trashing America as racist won't help Democrats beat Trump. Referring to the recent debate in Manchester:

    About an hour into the debate, they found their message: America, Bernie Sanders said, is “a racist society from top to bottom.”

    One by one, the candidates echoed the message that “systemic racism” characterizes America.

    “We can’t legislate away racism,” said Andrew Yang, because racism runs so deep in the American soul.

    Joe Biden, verbatim (poor Joe): “The fact is that we in fact there is systemic racism.”

    Elizabeth Warren even declared that “we need race-conscious laws in education, in employment, in entrepreneurship to make this country a country for everyone.”

    I found that last bit from Liz especially contemptible. Forget about all that MLK "content of our character" nonsense. Let's go with mandatory DNA testing to find out exactly to what extent our "race-concious laws" will benefit or harm you.


  • Pierre Lemieux, writing at the Library of Economics and Liberty sounds what might be a dire warning: Conservatives Make SJWs Happy. Can't have that is my initial reaction! It's about federally-funded "research" into "gun violence". And how it's presented in…

    Founded in England 197 years ago, The Lancet is a venerable medical, public-health, and social-justice-warrior journal. It just expressed its contentment in the fact that “after a hiatus of more than two decades, Congress and President Donald Trump agreed to add funding for gun violence research to the federal budget in December” (“Decisions To Be Made on US Gun Violence Research Funds,” February 8, 2020). It apparently foresees that the new research, to be commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will justify increased gun controls and challenge the right of ordinary people to own and carry guns.

    A good argument can be made that gun violence—as well as many other problems or phenomena—should be the subject of scientific studies, although the argument that they should be paid for by the taxpayer is more questionable. When commissioned by government bureaus and realized by public-health experts with no knowledge of economics (which knowledge suggests to take all individuals’ preferences into consideration), no knowledge of the economics of politics (which would incorporate the danger of Leviathan), and, philosophically, no knowledge of the classical-liberal tradition, such studies nearly always reach the conclusion they are designed to reach: selfless politicians and good government bureaucrats should limit the individual liberties of non-favored groups in society—”deplorable” gun owners in this case. This approach is consistent with what, in a previous Econlog post, I called the “simplistic model of public policy.”

    Bottom line, the gun "researchers" will get $25 million in taxpayer to pursue their prohibitionist dreams.


  • In an "NRPLUS" article, Kevin D. Williamson has some fun with the term Democratic Socialism: The Problem Is That It’s Both.

    Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and other contemporary American advocates of democratic socialism lean heavily on the democratic part, which is at least in part a matter of marketing. To take their talk of democratic principle seriously requires forgetfulness and credulousness: During the last great uprising of democratic socialism in the English-speaking world — in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, where young Iain Murray, now a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, was doing his homework by the light of coals and candles — the so-called democratic socialists embraced democracy when it suited them and anti-democratic, illiberal, and at times murderous modes of government when those suited their political agenda better, with left-wing activists such as young Jeremy Corbyn acting as tireless apologists for the Soviet Union, its purges and its gulags. In the United States, Noam Chomsky dismissed reports of Pol Pot’s genocide as right-wing propaganda; later, young Bernie Sanders and his new bride would honeymoon in the Soviet Union even as the Communist Party bosses were creating a new and more modern gestapo to put down democrats and dissidents. History counsels us to consider the first adjective in “democratic socialist” with some skepticism.

    Bernie et. al. are attempting the greatest feat of political turd-polishing in history. Hope it fails.


  • And what's more dishonest that Trump's recently-unveiled budget? According to Daniel J. Mitchell, it's The Media’s Pervasively Dishonest Coverage of Trump’s New Budget.

    Even before he was elected, I pointed out that Trump was a big-government Republican who had no intention of dealing with serious fiscal issues such as the rising burden of entitlement spending.

    So I wasn’t surprised that he capitulated to swamp-friendly budget deals in 2017, 2018, and 2019. And I’m depressingly confident that the same thing will happen this year.

    That being said, I want to comment on how the media is covering his latest budget.

    There follows a gaggle of headlines that trumpet "slashes", "massive cuts", "sweeping cuts", etc. And, ohmigod, the "safety net" is shredded!

    Even my beloved Wall Street Journal got in on the disinformational hysteria. Mitchell is disgusted, so am I.