Ukraine: A War Like Many Others

The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 is now nearly 200 days old.  Happy anniversary. Well into the fighting, this war is now almost twice the length of the next closest war that mirrors it – the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland, where the newly-purged Red Army invaded Finland with over twice the strength, […]

What “Top Gun: Maverick” Gave Back to “Star Wars”

Top Gun‘s legacy sequel of 36 years owes its story and existence to a great many things; not just the original.  It’s “Mission: Impossible” and Heartbreak Ridge (1986) with fighter jets and erotica – your easy tagline for Maverick.  See it in IMAX, then see it again.  It deserves it, and so do your local […]

The Wound at the Heart of the Supreme Court Confirmation Process

It hasn’t always been this way.  There is only one way to fix it.  And it ain’t pretty. The newest Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson – a former clerk of the Justice she has been chosen to replace, a federal practitioner of criminal defense, former member of the United States Sentencing Commission, and near-decade […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #10 – “Escape from Alcatraz” (1979)

“We don’t make good citizens, but we make good prisoners.” – The Warden Welcome to the end of the Ten for Ten.  The end of the experimental decade in cinema, the end of Clint Eastwood’s serial acting collaboration with any director (from this moment onwards, he has acted in fewer than ten films that were […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #9 – “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1935)

“But perhaps, as your father used to say: ‘A taut hand at sea is better than a slack one.’“ What does it mean to create a civilization?  Is it possible that something as lawless as a mutiny can bring about one of the greatest advances in law, order, and institutional structure in history? Mutiny on […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #8 – “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011)

“If the Secretary wanted me out of there, it must be pretty bad out here.” – Ethan Hunt As a rule, the longer a franchise runs, the more stale it gets, and the easier it is to spot the moment where it peaked. Even with exceptions, the rule remains.  Harry Potter peaked with the third […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #7 – “Broken Blossoms” (1919)

Let’s talk about racism. I’ve held for years that the most racist regular moviegoing audience isn’t actually anyone in the good ol’ You-Ess of A. It’s China.  The joke of it is that just about everyone knows that as well as I do, but that Americans, and elites in particular, don’t know what to do […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #6 – “6 Underground” (2019)

“I don’t think we should be governing ourselves. What we need is a king, and every now and then if the king’s not doing a good job, we kill him.” – George Carlin Here comes an unsurprising statement that my future obituarist will put as the subheading right after “widely beloved murderer of pineapple pizza […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #5 – “Malcolm X” (1992)

I’m probably supposed to hate this film. Readers familiar with me know that while I understand the genuine fears individuals have when they encounter the police uniform, I despise and would celebrate the demise of that certain organization whose trite three-word slogan is also its proper noun title.  And the very first thing Malcolm X […]