Christian Toto is a film critic and podcaster and runs the website HollywoodInToto.com.
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Children are now firmly in play for Hollywood’s “resistance.” Seth Rogen, the pot-friendly star of hits like Sausage Party and the Neighbors franchise, faced a conundrum recently after posing for pictures with a pair of teen fans. The actor happily took those snaps, but he recoiled when the children’s father joined the fray.
Hollywood loves to mock the Commander in Chief, some leaders more than others. The industry takes a different approach to the First Lady. It’s either hands off completely, an occasional joke lobbed in her direction or a more collaborative connection. Remember when Michelle Obama dropped by Sesame Street to talk nutrition?What about when First Lady Barbara Bush chatted up Big Bird to spread the joy of reading?
When it comes to partisan politics, Hollywood can’t help but lie through its teeth. Need proof? Here’s some examples. Jimmy Kimmel recently teased his ABC “upfront” roast, aimed at announcing new broadcast content, in an unexpected fashion. He promised he wouldn’t roast President Donald Trump like he does on a nightly basis via Jimmy Kimmel Live.
What comes to mind when you recall classic comedies like Animal House, Caddyshack and Vacation? Bawdy? Outrageous? Subversive? Certainly hilarious. Those films, either created by or delivered with the National Lampoon imprimatur, changed the face of comedy. And they did so without bowing to any special interest demands.
Samantha Bee called First Daughter Ivanka Trump a word that can’t be spelled out here. What’s easier to say? The refrain conservatives have been uttering since Nov. 9, 2016. “That’s how you get Trump.”
The boycott brigade is back and ready for action. Numerous Twitter users vowed to cancel their Neflix subscriptions this week. Why? The streaming giant cinched a deal with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
Celebrities have spent the past 16 months tarring President Donald Trump with every imaginable crime. Two female comics took their Trump hate to a new level this week. The historic opening of the first U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, fulfilling a promise made by President Trump, caused celebrities to reflexively smite Trump’s foreign policy.
Alyssa Milano keeps forgetting her own script. The actress turned NRA opponent is one of the highest profile celebrities taking on the civil rights group. Milano, 45, isn’t in the public eye nearly as much as she was during her days co-starring with Tony Danza on Who’s the Boss? or the long-running Charmed.
The reviews are in, and they’re ugly. Comedienne Michelle Wolf’s performance at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner drew scorn from both sides of the aisle. Conservatives were understandably aghast at Wolf’s vicious brand of humor.
Look out, Comedy Central has another progressive message embedded in some wacky high jinks. The comedy outpost offers a reliably left-of-center bent to much of its original content. Think Broad City, which spent an entire episode fawning over twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Or programs like The Daily Show and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. The space between their content and your average DNC email blast is microscopically small.
Sometimes a simple news item captures a problem so completely it makes your mouth go dry. Consider the following headline from Deadline.com: "As Molly Ringwald Turns On The Breakfast Club, Dare We Laugh At Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty? The op-ed is from the site’s executive editor, mind you, not a casual contributor. The column wonders if we’re allowed to laugh at the comedienne’s new film.
Will & Grace broke up with me after a long and fulfilling courtship. I confess to never having watched the popular NBC sitcom during its first few seasons. Then, after I met the plucky non-profit worker who would become my wife, that changed. The only show she watched religiously was the travails of best chums Grace Adler and Will Truman.
Jason Clarke got quite the education after accepting the lead role in Chappaquiddick. The movie, out April 6, follows the events surrounding the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Sen. Ted Kennedy (Clarke) was driving Kopechne.
The Death of Stalin showcases a Soviet Union where killing is the norm and citizens cower before the State, The New York Times’ Moscow correspondent, who famously downplayed Stalin’s atrocities, might think the film was Hollywood chicanery at its worst. It’s merely dialing up the truth to farcical extremes.
A new documentary wants us to revisit the scandal that brought ACORN to its knees. ACORN and the Firestorm revisits how James O’Keefe rocked the community organizing group by dressing up as a pimp straight out of Central Casting
And then there’s A Wrinkle in Time.The long-awaited adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved book got all the bells and whistles Disney could muster. But A Wrinkle in Time’s use of religious themes made it both controversial and one of the most thought-provoking children’s stories in modern fiction. It appears that change wasn’t an accident.
The “dog bites man” part of the annual Oscars telecast has arrived. The Oscar ratings for Sunday’s show, in which The Shape of Water won Best Picture, sunk yet again. How bad did they drop? Early estimates show 20 percent collapse, making it the least seen Oscars telecast ever.
Ratings for politically-charged awards shows are tanking. The Oscars telecast suffers serious ratings slippage each winter. The New York Times recently reported that analyzing ratings during awards shows finds audiences fleeing when the stars summon their soapboxes. Naturally, the minds behind the gala want to reverse that trend. Thus the synchronized sentiments for a less partisan night dedicated to film. It’s likely Grade-A spin.
The Hollywood dream factory is the stuff of nightmares these days. That’s no reflection on the horror genre, on the rebound thanks to slick indies like It Follows, It Comes at Night and the highly anticipated Hereditary. Nor does it connect to the dwindling number of souls who line up to buy movie tickets these days. That’s a different kind of scary for industry bean counters.
Clint Eastwood did it again with his newest film, The 15:17 to Paris. The 87-year-old icon drove liberal critics batty with his 2014 smash American Sniper. Heroism? Sacrifice? All-American values? It’s like garlic to some film critics. They’d rather swoon at films depicting the U.S. Military in an unsavory fashion.