Christian Toto is a film critic and podcaster and runs the website HollywoodInToto.com.
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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.
Remember Jimmy Kimmel? Most of us don’t. Not anymore. He’s unrecognizable in his current form, a hard-left comic with little empathy for those who lean to the right. That’s roughly half the country.
Nikki Haley didn’t complain about the liberal lectures during the recent Golden Globe Awards. Nor did the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. whine about the SAG Awards or last year’s Academy Awards gala. Each event dripped with progressive politics. Haley remained silent. She doesn’t engage with liberal stars like her boss, President Donald Trump, frequently does.
The biggest snub from this year’s Academy Award nominations? A story in The Hollywood Reporter offers a stinging critique of Academy Award voters. The biggest snub from this year’s Academy Award nominations?
Conservatives constantly complain about Hollywood … often for very good reasons. The industry’s voice is almost uniformly liberal. Major stars (like Amy Schumer and Michael Shannon) talk down to Red State denizens in the ugliest ways possible. Films often mock or denigrate the U.S. Military (think Redacted for a glaring Exhibit A).
Would Hollywood dial back on its raging Trump hate? Could honorees avoid sanctimonious speeches for once? Would the industry’s bubble mentality finally break? Nope, nope and nope.
The last 12 months haven’t been kind to movies with a left-of-center agenda. Hollywood had a lousy 2017 in toto, of course. Summer box office receipts hit their lowest mark in more than a decade. Credit The Last Jedi and It for making up some of the lost coin in the year’s waning months.
Meet Husam Sam Asi, a BBC TV host and founder of ukscreen.com. Asi recently interviewed The Post stars and wasn’t satisfied with throwing the screen legends softballs. He hunkered down and challenged them with more substantial queries. For example, he reminded Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg that President Barack Obama flexed his might against journalists via the Espionage Act.
Matt Damon is having a lousy year, and that has nothing to do with his awkward comments regarding the “MeToo” movement. Damon’s performance in Suburbicon appeared to be a career low, bringing nothing to the role of a Father Knows Best type gone south. That was a revelation compared to his work in Downsizing.
The timing for Comedy Central’s newest faux news special couldn’t be better. The past few days saw ABC News serve up a megaton retraction, followed closely by Reuters and CNN. It’s almost like they knew the channel had a special dubbed Fake News in the offing and wanted to lend a hand.
Oscar winner Tom Hanks tried to heal the nation in wake of Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory. Most celebrities predicted the end of the world, or similar calamities, after Nov. 8, 2016. Not Hanks. The Forrest Gump star struck a more reassuring tone during a public appearance days after the election. Here’s what he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time.