BREAKING: Christopher Orr has a change of heart!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 29 [sic], 2016

Straight Outta Mandated Judgment:
Yesterday morning, we endured our last day of pre-Oscar journalism.

At the Atlantic, Christopher Orr was making his yearly predictions. Here's the way he limned the Best Picture award:
ORR (2/28/16): What will win: The Revenant

What ought to win: Spotlight or The Martian

What was nominated but shouldn’t have been: Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn

What wasn’t nominated but should have been: Carol, Straight Outta Compton
Carol should have been nominated, Orr said. So too for Straight Outta Compton.

Should those films have received Best Picture nods? We have no idea. We haven’t seen Carol or Straight Outta Compton.

Beyond that, we’ve seen only Brooklyn among the eight films which did get Best Picture nominations. (We’re inclined to agree with Orr’s judgment there.)

We don’t have any way to assess Orr’s statement concerning Straight Outta Compton, which became a sudden pseudo-liberal favorite in the post-nominations pseudo-discussion.

That said, we do have Google! Incomparably, we decided to see what Orr had said in real time.

Sure enough! On December 18, he presented his choices for “The Best Movies of 2015.” Do you notice a certain omission?
ORR (12/18/15): 1. Spotlight
Many films are made about journalism, but few show any meaningful comprehension of their subject matter.Spotlight isn’t merely a great film about journalism (joining such classics as All the President’s Men and The Insider), it’s a great film, period.

2. The Martian
There aren’t many virtues more underrated than managing simply not to screw up. Ridley Scott’s latest is both about a tremendous team effort and the result of one: great lead, great supporting cast, great direction, great script, great everything.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Probably the most pleasant surprise of the year, and a much-needed corrective to cinema’s long over-reliance on CGI.

4. The Big Short...

5. Sicario...

6. Inside Out...

7. The Revenant...

8. Magic Mike XXL...

9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens...

10. Steve Jobs...

11. Carol...

12. Room...
Back in December, Straight Outta Compton wasn't included in Orr's list of the twelve best films of 2015.

He also listed ten “Honorable Mentions;” Compton wasn’t there either. Back in December, it wasn't included in Orr's Top Twenty-Two!

(When Oscar nominations were announced, Orr wrote this about the Best Picture selections: “The omission of Carol is disappointing, and those of Inside Out, Straight Outta Compton, Beasts of No Nation, and Sicario might arguably be considered mild surprises, though none are shocking.")

Was Orr right in December, or did he get it right yesterday? We have no idea.

What do you think of his unexplained change of heart? To us, it seemed extremely familiar. It almost seemed that the change in heart might have come Straight Outta Script.

Recommended pre-Oscar reading: Yesterday, in the New York Times' Sunday Review, writer/actor Colton Dunn wrote an intelligent, first-person account of the way Hollywood often works in the realm of "diversity."

Hooray for simple-minded stereotyping! In our view, this was Dunn's nugget:
DUNN (2/28/16): Hollywood has no time for your feelings. It’s not P.C. and it’s not racially sensitive. It’s got a short attention span. Even in diversity showcases, attempts are made to make the presentations more uniform, to not stray too far from what Hollywood usually does. And that showcase was about preparing us performers for what we’d have to do to get our foot in the door. Once inside, we can make some changes—if we haven’t changed too much ourselves while trying to get in.
"Attempts are made to make the presentations more uniform?" That the rule in mainstream "journalism" too. For our current Exhibit A, we'd audition Orr's change of heart.

That piece by Dunn was fair-minded, decent and smart. The analysts looked at us in utter confusion:

Why the heck was a piece like that in the Sunday Review?


  1. During our service as a blogger, we took the initiative in creating comments others made which may cost black actors/Democrats votes.

  2. Somerby clearly has no change of heart about Rachel.

    Or maybe he thinks demeaning op-ed pieces on dual standards for women and spotting possible hypocrisy in movie critics is more important.

    From Saturday's New York Times....

    "Emails Show Michigan Aides Worried About Flint’s Water a Year Before Acting"

  3. We conservatives have become immunized against the charge of "racist". It's been made so often that it now rolls off our backs. Liberals are still suseptible. They'd better follow the correct narrative if they don't want to be called a bad name.

    BTW I saw Spotlight, The Big Short, and Brooklyn. For my money, Spotlight was terrific. They other two were just OK.

    1. Mad Max was also terrific and deserved every Oscar it won.

      I thought Chris Rock did a nice job of handling the diversity issue throughout the show. He got the point across but was also humorous and unlikely to make anyone feel defensive.

      Lady Gaga was wonderful!

      Overall, it was one of the more entertaining Oscar shows I've seen. I totally agree with his comment about why there need to be separate acting awards for men and women. It might make more sense to divide films by type of material (comedy vs drama) as the Golden Globes do.

      David, I don't think you should be bragging that conservatives don't care whether they are perceived as racist or not. Someone in business better care about that, because they will lose customers otherwise. Socially, it matters a lot too. This isn't about name-calling, it is about getting along with people, and that is necessary in commerce as well as in our personal lives. There are few places in the USA you can live any more where you won't encounter people of other races and if you don't treat your neighbors and casual acquaintances respectfully you are in for a lot of problems.

    2. Anon 3:06 -- your comment makes sense in theory. However, conservatives are called "racists", regardless of how they relate to other people.

      I have a close extended family that includes blacks, gays, Asians, various religions and ethnicities. I hired a gay man and an Asian woman, because they were extremely competent. None of these people think I don't respect them. I treat them just like other people.

      However, none of this counts in political debate. Commenters on this blog often call me a racist, because they don't like my political views. People making valid criticisms of President Obama's performance are often called racists.

    3. Sounds like they are calling your political views racist, not you.

      People telling Obama to go back to Kenya are racists, in my opinion. That doesn't count as a valid criticism.

      Trump is trying to provoke people into calling him a racist by pretending he doesn't know who David Duke is or what the KKK is. It is racially insensitive to do that and he is cynically exploiting racial animosities to attract more attention to himself. You cannot associate yourself with this kind of guy and expect people to think you're OK. It is disrespectful to flirt with the KKK, as if you didn't know they hung bodies from tries not so long ago. None of that has anything to do with valid criticisms of anything.

    4. "I have a close extended family . . ."

      Oh brother! Here we go again.

      Yes, David. We already know about your extended family that keeps growing and growing and growing to fit whatever topic is under discussion.

      Along with your nose.

      But borrowing just a wee bit from you, readers of this blog have long been "immunized" against your increasingly detatched from reality claims about your "extended family."

      In other words, bullshit.

  4. I don't like Trump as a Presidential nominee, and I hate what David Duke stands for. However, people are talking as if Duke is a member of the KKK. He is not a member of that organization.

    He was once a member. In, fact he was a Grand Wizard of that organization. Should he be tarred with his past membership? Democratic Senator Robert Bird had been a long-time KKK member and Exalted Cyclops of his local chapter. Bird also used the N-word on TV.
    None of this was held against Bird, because he's a Democrat.

    1. Oh, please, David. This time you've carried false equivalency too far.

      Robert Byrd (not Bird) was a member of the Klan, and even an enthusiastic member, way back in the 40s when he was quite young. He has since repudiated everything the Klan stands for.

      David Duke left the Klan because there WAS no Klan, but still clings to everything the Klan has ever stood for.

      And contrary to "none of this was held against" Byrd (not Bird), he called his Klan membership "an albatross around my neck for the rest of my life."

      Can I make another suggestion, David? Please stop copying and pasting and regurgitating the right-wing talking points. And if you can't think for yourself, at least pick right-wing sites that know how to spell Byrd's name.

    2. Robert Byrd: "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened."

      Got a similar quote from Duke?

    3. David met a friend of a cousin at a faculty cocktail reception who spelled Bird's name
      that way.

    4. Hey, see above. Some of David's best relatives are now Asians, blacks and gays.

    5. Byrd redeemed himself with his fiery yet statesman-like opposition to the Iraq invasion. God bless him for that.

    6. He redeemed himself long before that to become one of the most respected -- by colleagues from both parties -- members the Senate has ever had.

      Good Gawd, the man has been dead for five years. But hey, we also learned a long time ago there are no depths to which the right-wing noise machine won't sink, and there is no way to measure the utter stupidity of David in Cal for repeating it.

  5. My understanding is everybody is racist. Democrats fight to nullify the impact racism has on it's victims. Republicans want everyone to fight it out and to the victor belong the spoils. To me this makes Democrats seem noble and Republicans seem repugnant.

    I did see Carol which I would grade a low B, pleasant-looking period piece but no depth. I saw Mad Max: Fury Road, very silly movie, like cotton candy, exaggerated artificial taste that disappears almost the instant you sense it.

    I have some familiarity with Colton Dunn. Nice guy in person, but his work is weak at best. His feelings about Hollywood that he wrote in his opinion piece were so vague, they could really apply to just about every industry. Hollywood being a particularly empty and meaningless industry encouraged an obnoxious reaction from me: (stealing from Miles Davis) So what. Everyone knows corporations (which is what Hollywood is comprised of) only care about the bottom line. Republicans see this as a virtue, Democrats want it moderated.

  6. Dear Mr. Somerby:
    I am renewing my request that you stop allowing anonymous commenting.

    1. We have your rabbits.

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  11. We conservatives have become immunized against the charge of "racist". It's been made so often that it now rolls off our backs. Liberals are still suseptible. They'd better follow the correct narrative if they don't want to be called a bad name.

    BTW I saw Spotlight, The Big Short, and Brooklyn. For my money, Spotlight was terrific. They other two were just OK.

  12. I am renewing my request that you stop allowing anonymous commenting.