My Review of ‘2000 Mules’: The proof of election fraud is abundant, nobody wants to be near Joe Biden

You might have noticed that Fox News is not allowing coverage of Dinesh D’Souza’s 2000 Mules on their network, even though compelling evidence was presented in the film that proves beyond reasonable doubt that the 2020 election was stolen. Everything Joe Biden has done and continues to do is illegal. All those who hoped that somehow Trump could be “processed out” of existence with a political stiff arm are learning the hard way. The Trump endorsements are reshaping the Republican Party, and all the insiders know it. They know Joe Biden and the Democrats cheated to gain their current power. After learning what we did in 2000 Mules, it’s evident that many close elections over the last decade or so were probably won in precisely the same way, by paying “mules” $10 per vote to stuff ballots created by nonprofits fed by Facebook money. By the time 2020 came around, the Democrats had their “steal the vote” campaign a well-oiled machine. The RINO Republican types played along because they kept the balance of power of politics within a realm they were comfortable with. If Democrats gained power, they were okay with that because it kept the swamp filled, so it was a concession they were willing to make. And in that last election, they wanted Trump gone as bad as the Democrats did, so they joined forces to hold their nose and allow for massive election fraud. Then in the aftermath, they took the position of denying it for all the legal reasons you’d expect and hope that the story would just disappear into history. But after watching the evidence of massive election fraud, with very conservative estimates taking the overvotes to well over 800,000, their hopes are vanishing. They are not going to get away with what happened in 2020. Many people in the media and in the political circles know that they have been caught in treasonous activity, and now that there is proof, concerns are brewing.

Where I filmed my video review shown above, it was less than a mile from where Joe Biden had just visited a metal plant specializing in 3D printing. I was right in the middle of that presidential visit that day, and it was the most boring that I have ever seen. And I don’t say that because I hate President Biden. I say it from experience setting up other presidential visits, such as Trump many times to Butler and Warren County. I know what they look like, I have seen the way politicians show up at the airport to greet the President, and this Biden visit had no gas in the tank. Nobody cared; drivers on the highways were barely an inconvenience. The motorcade brought Biden in, and they took him out, and hardly anybody knew he had ever been there. Really, we didn’t need the evidence of election fraud that was shown in 2000 Mules because the lack of excitement for Joe Biden says everything that anybody needs to know. Not even the liberal Andy Breshear came to see Biden in Northern Kentucky, where the President landed. They all know that Biden was manufactured; he was not picked by a Democratic means of actual vote counts. The only reason Joe Biden was President was that Facebook bought him along with other billionaires. And they also knew that the rule changes presented by Covid allowed for the theft to happen, and they really hoped that this story would die. But instead, it’s picking up steam as we learn more about what really happened. But regarding Joe Biden, there is no logical proof that he gained more votes in the history of any president because everywhere he goes, even in Philadelphia, nobody is excited to see him. 

The New York Times produced a documentary last year called A Day of Rage, which featured the same cell phone pings that Dinesh D’Souza used to show where people were and what they were doing, which was already accepted by the political left as viable evidence. In that documentary, the evidence was enough to apply guilt to the protestors indicating that they had planned what the establishment called an “insurrection.” Suddenly they don’t want to accept that kind of cell phone tracking evidence when it comes to the election fraud of 2020 because it is so apparent. My opinion on what happened on January 6th, 2021, was that I wanted more evidence and was willing to study it as it came in. Smart people knew something wasn’t right about the election, but at the time, we didn’t yet have the facts. Well, now, in 2022, we know the facts, and a group called True the Vote was featured in 2000 Mules to reveal just how the election fraud occurred, using the same methods The New York Times used in their Day of Rage. Rather than storm the capital like many did, I instead took my RV and my wife out into the desert of New Mexico and Utah and wrote a book.

I certainly understood why the people who stormed the capital were upset; we all were. They were angry that their vote had been stolen, and they didn’t want to wait for the proof. They had a gut instinct that the government was lying to them, and they wanted someone’s head on a plate. What happened on January 6th of that year is what happens when a government steals elections, and it is mild compared to what will happen in the future if it continues to occur.   The controls that the swamp thought they had over people were shattered that day, and it scared them, which it should. But back then, there was still a lot we didn’t know. But now we do. The election was stolen. The people who stormed the capitol on January 6th did so under constitutional parameters. Their prosecution has been against the law because the government breached the law with election fraud. It’s quite a mess, and now there is proof of it all which in many ways nobody wants to talk about, is earth-shattering.  

But the ultimate proof is in the lack of support for Joe Biden. When my wife and I went out west that year to get perspective out in the vast open spaces and away from politics for a few months, I was the first to see it. The election had just happened, and you could see that Trump had significant support. But there was nothing to suggest that Biden had any support, even while traveling through the blue state of Illinois. It was an odd thing to witness, supposedly the most popular President in history, yet nobody liked him and showed support for him publicly. Then there was that recent trip to Butler County, Ohio, to visit the 3D printing factory. Nobody, no politicians, and certainly no enthusiasm, not even from law enforcement who were responsible for safe passage along the route.   That is evidence that can’t be hidden or denied. People just don’t like Joe Biden, and they have an instinct that the government caused all this mess by taking away their actual vote. So even without the Dinesh D’Souza movie, people already get it. They just don’t know what to do about it. But now, there is more than an assumption. With the evidence presented by True the Vote and the great work done by Catherine Engelbrecht in putting it together, we have everything we need to begin congressional hearings on the matter, at the very least. We have whistleblowers, video, and cell phone data which are just as good as DNA evidence.   We have plenty to untangle the mess of election fraud in the 2020 election. But the most apparent evidence is how the political left has reacted to the presentation of that evidence, especially on Fox News. They don’t want to see it, they just want the story to die, and as a major news organization, that tells you all you need to know about their role in that election fraud, as most of the corporate media were from the beginning. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

The Milgram Experiment: Covid was worse, but this time, on a global scale–what did we learn?

We know one thing for sure about the massive government takeover experiment of Covid-19, they attempted to throw the entire world under a rule by authority, and it failed along the same lines as the Milgram Obedience Experiment indicated in the 1960s. The reports have been out there for a long time; the governments of the world and all the power players who want to use governments for their own aims of global domination know what Stanley Milgram, the psychologist, intended to demonstrate, that a dangerous percentage of any society is willing to obey orders even if those orders go against their own self-interest. That was what the dumb lockdowns were all about and the social distancing; it was the Milgram Experiment on a massive global scale. When Stanley Milgram wanted to know to what degree and percentage a sampling of men he had brought in to conduct his experiment would perform under pressure, he was unveiling a riddle that authority types would salivate to and abuse for their own evil intentions in the years to come. Corporations and governments would often use the Stanley Milgram Experiment in the future but never had anybody witnessed the entire world attempting to perform the experiment on such a mass scale. The guilty parties would be the usual suspects, the Desecrators of Davos, so to unleash Klaus Schwab’s The Great Reset. But why they thought it would work was based on those initial test results that nobody in academia would ever get away with today. Although, as I say it, the entire world, based on the activism of Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci almost exclusively, performed the same test hoping for a different result. So for those who say that the Milgram Experiment could never be done in modern times, we just lived through it with Covid. 

Milgram hired an actor to pretend to receive an electric shock from several participants who would respond to instructions from an authority figure, the person giving the test. If the actor got a question wrong, the test administrator would instruct the participant to administer various degrees of electric shock to the actor. Of course, the participants had no idea that the shocked recipient was an actor. They believed that they were genuinely administering electric shock and that the screams they heard from the actor were real. So when told to administer a shock, the participant would turn a dial-up to conduct the pain. The shocks would start at 15 volts, then increase to 150, 330, then ultimately go all the way up to 450. The astonishing aspect of the experiment was that out of all the participants, 65% of them administered the lethal amount of 450-volts even as they could hear the pain of the actor screaming from concealment. In some of the cases, the actor went so far as to pretend to have died, but the participants did as they were told by the administrator anyway. The experiment proved something terrible about people. Even though they knew better, if told to do something, most people would do it because their need to comply with orders was more substantial than their free will to think for themselves. 

Well, those in the world who love to have power over other people salivated over this news. And since the experiment, they have been taking advantage of that 65% of the population ever since. Now there has been some debate about the validity of the study. For instance, all the original participants were men because it was the 60s, and that’s how it was then. So it could be argued that women would have had more empathy toward their screaming victim and perhaps would have been less inclined than 65% to administer the shock. Or perhaps women were more willing to follow orders, and the percentage might have been higher. Many say we will never know, but as the results of Covid show, we do have a better understanding. Out of all the earth’s population, the final numbers look to be in the 40% range of all people who will follow orders in society even to their own detriment. We can base that on the reaction of people who adopted masks when the CDC told them to wear them. We can see who took the vaccine shot in the opening days of administering them. We can see who complied with the stay-at-home orders, chose to work from home during the pandemic, and toughed it out, and ignored social distancing and other mandates. The gamble that Gates and Fauci and their many conspirators within the world’s governments made was that the percentage would be higher for the compliant, more like the Milgram Experiment from the 1960s rather than what they ended up in reality. Many people complied to the government’s face but did what they wanted when they thought nobody was looking. This is important because of what China just did to Shanghai. China had, over the years, killed off many of their non-compliant types, so the experiment there was to see how many people they could lock in their homes to the point of starving to death, only patrolled by a little dog-sized robot in the streets telling them to stay put. In America and places in Europe, the population proved to be way too independent for that kind of control. 

So, what did we learn? Well, I think the news is good. America was founded on far less a percentage of people, somewhere between 15% and 30% of the population. We know that if a movement can gain that much of a following, there will always be between 40% to 60% of any given population that will follow the orders of the minority, even if they disagree. That is how corporations have been ruling over their workforces for years, but they haven’t been able to change the nature of the people themselves. Only their social behavior. That same problem arose during the Covid mass experiment and international execution by denying hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to Covid patients even though it would have saved lives. By allowing people to take medicine, it would have been the same as letting the participants of the Milgram Experiment know that the person receiving the shock was only an actor. And the scam wouldn’t have worked, which was, in this case, a massive power grab by the Desecrators of Davos for a global Great Reset of all economies into communist-controlled centralized planning, that, of course, they would oversee through the United Nations. Yet not the correct percentage of the global population fell for it, and two years into the scam, there were way too many non-compliant and even angry people. They always knew that a certain percentage of the population would do whatever an authority figure told them to do. After all, we start as babies being told what to do by a parent. Then we are told what to do by our teachers in public schools. By our church. All kinds of authority figures. Most people never grow out of that mode and learn to think for themselves. But what is that percentage? Well, the experiment of Covid, which was a massive Milgram Experiment on a global scale, showed that not enough people would fall for it, and for those who want to rule the world through fear and anxiety, that was terrible news. Which, for the rest of us, is very good. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

The Iniquitous Intent at Disney: When it comes to ‘The Book of Boba Fett,’ it’s all about a “Return to the Primitive”

It may seem iniquitous, but when you know a subject very well, it’s easy to see the changes over time and trace those changes to particular injunctions that contributed to a demise. And that is precisely what I saw as I looked at an earnings report for Disney stock and noticed how many shares BlackRock owned recently, then saw episode 7 of the new Book of Boba Fett on the Disney+ streaming service. The imprint of Larry Fink and his fellow board members of the World Economic Forum was unmistakable. Additionally, I used to write screenplays, and I have a good understanding of the politics of movie-making. When I was a young guy, I had several projects that won screenwriting awards at film festivals and made the circulation around Wilshire Blvd selling them, so I’ve been told more than once by the people of finance, “he who owns the gold rules.” So, I sympathize with what Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, and even the original creator, George Lucas, went through to make this new show. They tried to do with The Book of Boba Fett, an original character from the old movies, bold and ambitious things. But at the end of the series, Star Wars fans were left feeling shortchanged. That’s the standard review of the show now that it’s completed, and a year of waiting left fans flat and looking for much more. It had some good stuff in it, but the overall message was filled with wokeness, and to my eyes, it points back to the owner of BlackRock owning too much stock in Disney and dictating creatively what ends up on the screen. I’ve seen it before in much smaller ways, and that is certainly the case with what is going on at Disney these days.

My review of The Book of Boba Fett is that its space meets Dances with Wolves. Clearly, the current makers of Star Wars projects, specifically Filoni and Favreau, used to enjoy playing with Star Wars figures, as I did. We are all kind of the same age, and when it comes to Star Wars, we just want to put what we wanted to see as kids on screen. Most people who watch these Disney+ shows and go to the modern movies feel that way; it’s more about childhood nostalgia than what is actually good about it. So it was strange to see the gunslinging bounty hunter from the classic film The Empire Strikes Back, running around in half the show dancing with Tusken Raiders around a campfire, acting like some hunter and gatherer. The purpose of the entire show became quite clear by episode 7, where Boba Fett and another bounty hunter called Cad Bane had a gunfight duel to the death, which was the ultimate climax and apparent purpose for putting the whole thing together. But this is where things get iniquitous, and the influence of BlackRock and other forces come into play. The show’s creators wanted to put on film what they thought about as kids, a gunfight with Boba Fett and some ultimate gunslinger. Woke Disney, essentially not run by Bob Chapek but by the owners of the most stock options, such as Vanguard and BlackRock, changed the story’s nature to reflect real-world tactical goals for global domination. That is clear by what Larry Fink puts in his ultra-liberal letters to CEOs showing the woke parameters for which the show must be done. 

When people ask, “what’s wrong with Star Wars,” well, I would point to the loss of ownership of George Lucas, who over time have listened to people like Larry Fink more in his old age than he would have like a 20 to 30-year-old. Star Wars was about standing up to people like Larry Fink, not being told what to do by them. So now that extreme characters of progressive causes are calling the shots on the finance end and sticking their nose into the creative process of the much more woke Disney than it ever has been before, Star Wars comes out as if Darth Vader made the movies instead of Luke Skywalker. I could recite the production meetings as if I had been there when the pitch for The Book of Boba Fett was made to Disney executives who had an eye toward stock prices and the massive control BlackRock has on it. “You want to make a Disney+ show about a villain from the original movies to win over the fans from all the mistakes that Kathy Kennedy has so far made? Well, you’ll have to make the bad guy into a good guy and to do that, we must make him identifiable with indigenous people, which parallels the gunfighter against the Indian in American history.” So from there, the show’s writers had to figure out a way to get their big gunfight with Boba Fett and Cad Bane done in a way that made the show sympathetic to Disney’s woke needs to stabilize their stock price. Ultimately, they had to make Larry Fink happy, and to do that; Boba Fett had to Return to the Primitive.

Fans feel shortchanged because the whole thing was out of character for Boba Fett. When he finally had his gunfight with Cad Bane, the bad guy beat Boba Fett to the draw not just once but twice. That meant that Boba Fett had to rely on the new skills he learned from the Tusken Raiders to defeat Bane with a Gaffi Stick in the end. It was like a gun duel with an Indian (native American), and the Indian winning with a bow and arrow. Undoubtedly, a hidden message implied that primitive traditions are superior to technology and that, ultimately, the West will fall to tribal unity. Again, I know this subject very well; I just wrote a book called The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business because I run into people like Larry Fink all over the world. They have been trying to promote China, indigenous people of all kinds constantly over the technology of the West for years. Such an assumption is at the center of Lean Manufacturing. And of course, Disney couldn’t have given me a better example of why I felt the differences between the West and the East needed to be pointed out in business transactions. The message behind The Book of Boba Fett was that in the end, to be the good guy and to beat the bad guy, the classic Star Wars villain had to learn to embrace the primitive tribes of Tatooine, the scary Tuskin Raiders. But in the original movies from 1977, the Tuskin Raiders were thought of as villains. That basic flip of the script is why people are so upset with the Disney-owned Star Wars productions instead of what George Lucas produced on his own originally. Once you start worrying about stock prices, woke politics, and the letters to the CEOs from Larry Fink, what you end up with is a bunch of garbage nobody wants. But suppose Disney wants to keep their stock price up. In that case, they have to do what The World Economic Forum tells them to do, and that is to bring down the West and to sell those asset bubbles to China, where their new world order will emerge under a communist flag and a foot on western civilization that is meant to choke it off, forever. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

Martin Luther King Jr., was a Communist: Getting on the same page by reading the same book, ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Atlas Shrugged is a Good Place to Start to Understand Today

I never needed to honor Martin Luther King, nor Nelson Mandela for that matter. Not because they were black leaders. I have never been a racist, nor will I ever be. I would have always treated Martin Luther King as a human being because I don’t see color in people. But I do see communists and other Marxists quite clearly, and King was two things that I can’t stand, he was an adulterer, and he was a communist. That makes him a piece of crap in my book, so there is a bit of slight at hand in honoring the Civil Rights leader with a day of his own, where it’s just one more excuse for people to take a day off work and not to be productive. It was Democrats who mistreated people of color. It was Republicans who freed the enslaved people and tried to empower blacks after the Civil War. It was Democrats who stood in the way of treating Blacks as equal people. So, Democrats don’t get to lecture all of us about how not to be “racist.” And they certainly don’t get to put a communist like Martin Luther King on a pedestal and lecture the rest of us about voter rights using Marxist ideas hidden behind a mask of equality to sell a federal takeover of our elections. To grapple with so many evil characters in our government and their nature, I would point to a portion of history where people were starting to get it, before Trump even entered the presidential race the first time, where thoughtful people were re-discovering Atlas Shrugged, the famous Ayn Rand novel, and seeing play out in reality what she proposed in 1957 about the descent of America into a collectivist nightmare. After all, she had seen it before, in her home country of Russia. And during the late Tea Party period that I’m referring to, around 2010 to 2013, I saw the same kind of resurgence of Atlas Shrugged that jumped on people’s minds as I am starting to see everywhere I go today, after just one year of Joe Biden. People see through the haze and are looking for answers, which Ayn Rand has provided in what I consider the great American novel. 

During that period I spoke about, 2010 through 2013, I did quite a lot of work to help sell the movie version of that book produced by Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro. It has been on my mind because it’s really been since then that I have seen the kind of interest in Atlas Shrugged that I am seeing today. Last week I had no less than 20 different people whisper to me as if they were going to be arrested for saying it, “this all reminds me of Atlas Shrugged.” Meaning, what has been going on with the Biden administration and the state of the world in general, especially with Covid, the Great Reset from the United Nations and World Economic Forum, and other elements of the daily news. As long-time readers here remember, I did quite a lot of work for those movies, to promote them, to talk them up on the radio, and to help sell Parts 1 through III door to door in a hostile media climate that wanted nothing more than to destroy the movies and everyone who made them, just for making them. Many people were shocked by how the media world treated Trump. Well, I wasn’t because I saw how the media and general establishment in unionized Hollywood treated the filmmakers of Atlas Shrugged for daring even to try to make those films. 

My History with Atlas Shrugged

The three movies were hard to make and cost John Aglialoro a lot of money. But he loved Ayn Rand’s book, and he was determined. Even though the three movies had the same general characters from the book, which I would say is about 10% of what’s actually in the book, there were different actors for all three. Hollywood was canceling culture the actors who worked on Atlas Shrugged, which was the first time I had seen this new corporate wokeness. Well, actually, I saw it for the first time when I was in Hollywood myself working on a project, and between takes, my politics naturally came out. I was the only hard-core Republican on set. Everyone got along fine, but I never got an invite to come back. I had a feeling at the time that would be the case, but that’s how it works in Hollywood these days. And by the time Atlas Shrugged the movies came out, it was even worse. From that perspective, the cancel culture of wokeness was written on the wall for a long time, many decades. We just saw more of it the more the villains of our day realized that they didn’t have control. 

There is a scene at the end of the book, and the movie, where they are torturing John Galt for not giving himself over to their looting nature, the villains of the story. Even though the characters are fictional, the situation is not. I have never read a book out of the many thousands I have that best articulated the problems of our current time more than Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. She lived it in Russia and came to America and put it in perspective for all history to identify. When Trump was in the White House, it was essentially an Ayn Rand character that we had there. People who understand Atlas Shrugged were happy about it. People who hate Atlas Shrugged hated it for the same reasons they despised Ayn Rand. There is a science to it which I’ll explain in further work. But for now, people are back to where they were during the Obama administration. They are looking for answers, and they know that Atlas Shrugged is a key to that understanding.

My thoughts on Ayn Rand have evolved over the years. I still like her a lot. I have been invited many times to be in the Objectivist movement, which is her philosophy essentially. The Ayn Rand Institute carries a lot of weight politically. But I’m not an Objectivist. I’m not much of a group player at all. I enjoy my freedom to think independently. Ayn Rand was too sexual for me. She also was much more libertarian than I am. For me, no drugs, no drinking, and no bad behavior. She was an atheist, and she loved to be naked. I’m neither of those things, so I have adopted my own kind of philosophy, which I see as a continuation of the debate she started with her books. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged nine times that I can remember. There may actually be a few more times included. There are a lot of really good ideas in the novel, and for readers today trying to understand what they see in the news, I would highly recommend it. And that is why people are starting to bring it up again, because it’s so relevant to what we are seeing today, especially coming from the Biden administration and the Biden crowd. They could easily be villains from Atlas Shrugged without any exaggeration. In that great novel, Ayn Rand put her finger on the problem and literally predicted the future, including our pains with Dr. Fauci. And with that realization, people are looking to reread the book so they can see how it ends, which to my mind, is a great idea. Because how it ends is literally how it ends in real life.

Reading Atlas Shrugged will help identify the new age villains that have leeched themselves onto new global commerce, the pacifying moocher who means to kill intellect rather than people. Destroy their minds, not their bodies, because the bodies are needed for labor upon the state and its controls. And this is most reflective in the grand scam that is Martin Luther King Jr, a cheater, a communist, and ultimately a mask to sell Marxist ideology behind the accusation of racism. And by accepting King as a great leader of the Black movement, it did two things, it sought to erase the Democrat Party’s complicity in racism that caused all the trouble, and it lowered our guard to the menace of communism that was seeking to destroy our country starting with our Constitution. Most everyone can agree that racism is terrible. But like the villains of Atlas Shrugged, we didn’t see the worst part of it, the looter nature of the movement itself and its design to make good people into villains while the villains ran the world one name-calling utterance at a time. When I was a kid, everyone worked on Martin Luther King Day. But these days, many people were home sitting around doing nothing productive, just as the villains of Atlas Shrugged would have planned all along. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

Richard Jewell, the Movie Review: To understand what’s happening now everyone should watch this great film by Clint Eastwood

The movie, Richard Jewell is certainly one of those that every Trump supporter should see, and those considering becoming one. No wonder it has not done well at the box office, the last time I saw such an antagonistic hatred of a movie was the Atlas Shrugged films for many of the same reasons. Critics hated the movie, it essentially comes down to institutionalism against individual rights when movies take the side of individuals, the college trained movie critics become synonymous with anger at those who challenge their understanding of the world, which was forged in such places as Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Princeton, or some of their copy cats teaching those who didn’t do so well on their ACT tests. When people want to know why the media and our government rally to each other’s needs so often, and so quickly, well, they were all taught in the same places to march to whims of the institutions while those who didn’t enjoy the experience become everybody else. But the best products of our modern education systems, our unionized government schools or our best colleges essentially become guys like the featured FBI agent played by Jon Hamm’s Tom Shaw or the newspaper reporter hot to get any story and generally bored with life, Olivia Wilde’s Kathy Scruggs. And it was those two who were playing around with each other sexually who came up with the whole story against Richard Jewell, because they needed somebody to be the face of terrorism, even if the guy was completely innocent.

There is a Kathy Scruggs in every newsroom from all sides of the sexes. There are guy versions, but this one played by Olivia Wilde was fantastic, and very close to many of the people I have known in the media. 89-year-old Clint Eastwood, who directed this picture with the experience of a man who has been around and seen everything is likely the only person who could have directed Olivia Wilde with such realism. She reminded me of a not so disgusting scum bag as Eastwood showed in his Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact, the bar whore who was the central figure behind the rapes of the two leading girls. For these characters wreaking other people’s lives is a kind of game that they love playing. It fills a void in their lives that they work very hard to hide from other people and they are dangerous. But make no mistake about it, there is a Kathy Scruggs in every newsroom to some extent or another. She is not an exceptionally evil person, she is as common as a raindrop in the world of the media, and it takes a director like Clint Eastwood to pull that kind of performance out of an actress who might otherwise not feel comfortable going to such a dark place.

We all know the story, but as I was watching this movie, I was thinking that this is exactly what has been happening to the Trump administration. Kathy Scruggs might as well have been Lisa Page in the middle of the FBI investigation against President Trump. Sexual manipulation is not a new thing for women to play against horny, stupid men, and Peter Strzok was no exception. Not all people are as flamboyant about their behavior as Scruggs was, they hide their actions better. But these kinds of things are happening all the time at every level of our society, and if you get in the way of their actions, another Richard Jewell is born. We only know of Richard Jewell because the profile of the case was a big one. There are Richard Jewell types losing their jobs every day, or being denied promotions for all the same reasons. What Trump captured of the FBI and the media in Richard Jewell was an examination into the kinds of people who are really part of these classes of people, and it wasn’t pretty.

What happened to Richard Jewell, with the attempted entrapments by the FBI was exactly what happened to Roger Stone in the early morning raid of his home at 5 AM with the CNN reporter tipped off and waiting to capture the images of an arrested Trump confidant to splash on the television at the earliest moment. Or what about pinning down Michael Flynn without a lawyer while attempting to get him to give false testimony by pretending to be his friend in the early days of the White House transition? You can’t lie to an FBI agent, it’s against the law—but they sure can lie to you, or control the evidence in such a way to make you look bad if it makes them look good in the process. This movie Richard Jewell showed how those things happen in a very legally valid way. We should all question ourselves in why we have given the government so much power over us. Well, I’d say it’s because there’s a bit of Richard Jewell in all of us, a do gooder who just wants to live a good life and we don’t want to think that people are so dishonest as Tom Shaw or Kathy Scruggs.

The problem with institutionalists like the villains in the movie Richard Jewell is that the villains see value for themselves in supporting the institutions at all cost, even at the price of humanity. And to the rest of us, we can’t even comprehend such evil, yet we face it every day. Occasionally we get fighters who know the system better than the bad guys like the attorney in the film played by Sam Rockwell, Watson Bryant. President Trump comes to mind as a person who has made so much money in life and seen every trick in the book that he can sidestep the institutionalists easily. But those not so experienced around Trump were not so difficult to pluck into the trash bins of trouble. One little misstatement at that level and you are going to jail, while gang members, thugs, and illegal aliens roam our streets unimpeded. If you lie to an FBI agent when they set up the deceit themselves to trap you in it, and you are going to jail to show their power. It’s a bad, nasty game that many fear almost more than death, and it’s sad that we have allowed it to take such a hold of all our lives.

The problem though isn’t that we are stupid, its that we have been short to admit to ourselves that people are as bad as Kathy Scruggs and Tom Shaw. We find it astonishing that they would take it for granted that we’d just naturally believe them and that we’d put up with their evil ways because we all want to believe in the good in people. But some people just don’t have it in them. They adhere so well to the institutions because as people they are broken likely from birth, and there is nothing to hold them together but the rigid rules for which they control. Whether it’s the FBI or the media, the rules are built to serve the institutions and when they need some diversion, they can always pick on the latest Richard Jewell—the good guy who is so well intentioned that he can’t see the evil that is at work right in front of his face. Yet we all see it, and its not just in the Jewell case, but it’s happening right now to our president by that same FBI. Only that story is a much bigger one that many just aren’t ready to admit has been happening. But to see it for all its possibilities, everyone should see Richard Jewell. Its one of those types of movies for our times.

Rich Hoffman

Solo: A Star Wars Story Box office discussion–what it means to everyone–and nobody cares about China

Box office numbers are often a good thermometer into what the world is thinking, and I pay attention to them closely, and sadly the new Star Wars movie Solo: A Star Wars Story is falling well short of the kind of numbers its going to need to make. I found it interesting to see how many news outlets were already writing stories on Friday about how dismal the box office numbers were for the new Star Wars movie, like The Hollywood Reporter for instance. Their story was that Solo was bombing big time in China. Well, since when was China the market decider for films, they are communists, more aligned with the villains in these stories? Solo: A Star Wars Story is all about freedom and I’m sure the “state” wasn’t all that happy with the film, and that whether or not people saw the film or even advertised it so that their billion people had access to it is probably a big factor. Asians especially in China are not big on the Star Wars films, but that’s OK, they haven’t been a big part of the box office numbers all this time—who really needs them now? Solo isn’t any different, yet The Hollywood Reporter was almost as happy as a kid on Christmas Day to learn that China was not supporting the new Star Wars picture. There’s a lot going on with this one which justifies a good long discussion.  (CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW OF THE FILM)

First of all, I don’t think the poor box office numbers so far reflect that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a bad movie. If you took the box office numbers of Infinity War and Deadpool 2 and released Solo: A Star Wars Story on a light release month, such as April I think this Star Wars movie would be on track easily to achieve a billion dollars at the box office, but with some competition out there, it would appear there is only so much money on the table to divide up between all the movies, and that’s not a bad thing for theater owners. I often say that Hollywood has let down all the personal investments that theater owners have to shoulder with less than stout productions that drive their concessions. That certainly isn’t the problem currently, there are a lot of movies released right now, and coming up as the summer unfolds which should help theater owners sell lots of popcorn. Hollywood owes them for always being available to display the Hollywood product to the public. That same public has a lot to do on Memorial Day weekend, that’s when the pools open in the states and people typically have things to do outside. In America Memorial Day weekend was pretty nice except for some flash flooding in the eastern part of the country. Everywhere else it was sunny and hot—and people spent time outside. May 25th may have been a traditional release date for Star Wars, but it’s no longer a great weekend for opening a movie because it’s the gateway to summer and people are often doing a lot of things that involve going outside.

Additionally, there are problems for Star Wars to overcome, the entertainment media is trying to do with Lucasfilm and Disney what the general media is trying to do with President Trump, and that is torpedo anything that they do that’s good, because everyone else is struggling to compete. Disney is going to make a lot of money this summer between the Marvel films and Pixar’s Incredibles 2—many in the entertainment business are very happy to see a Star Wars movie get bad press, because it’s a shot at Disney as a media company they are competing with. It’s like how the rest of the NFL teams around the country enjoy it when the New England Patriots lose a game, or Tom Brady throws an occasional interception. The trade media rushes out to talk about how Tom Brady is too old and is losing it. But the very next week Brady will throw for 400 yards and have a quarterback rating over 100 and the Patriots will win by 24 points over whoever they are playing. Disney and its tent pole of Star Wars is a big presence in the marketplace and the second handers love to see trouble happening in the Star Wars universe.

But then there is the very legitimate problem that I have talked about before and that is the mistake that Kathleen Kennedy and her story group at Lucasfilm has made in throwing out the extended universe of Star Wars and pushing very progressive themes in these new Star Wars movies cramming PC culture down the throats of the fans who clearly don’t want those elements in these movies. To me the Lucasfilm efforts with Solo: A Star Wars Story went a long way to fixing those problems with the fan base where some still want to enjoy new instalments, while others want to boycott the films in hopes that Disney will fire Kathleen Kennedy for messing with the elements that made Star Wars great to begin with. Nobody cared that Princess Leia was a bit of a feminist in the original A New Hope. George Lucas tried to make people happy by putting a black guy in the stories with the character of Lando. But in general, the heroes were white people, especially men and Kennedy has been very active to change that. But while doing so she literally destroyed two of the most popular female characters that fans loved, Jaina Solo, Han’s very strong daughter, and the wife of Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade. Fans who read the books went on a lot of journeys with those characters over two decades and suddenly fans were told that those people didn’t exist in Star Wars anymore, and that has caused a lot of consternation. When The Last Jedi failed to reveal who the parents of Rey were—many people were hoping that she was actually Jaina which would at least explain why she is flying around in Han Solo’s precious Millennium Falcon—a lot of fans stepped away from Star Wars at that point and now this second film in only a year has hit theaters and people are ambivalent about it. The Last Jedi was a very progressive movie that really split the fanbase, from not revealing the parentage of Rey, to the killing of Luke and the obvious progressive messages of feminism and sacrifice where everyone was blowing themselves up instead of taking the fight to the enemy, it’s that which made it so the fans stepped away from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I have been enjoying the new Star Wars stuff the best I could. I have not been a fan of what Lucasfilm has done. I was a big fan of the Star Wars EU and I think Lucasfilm could have easily have just picked up these stories where the books left off and would have done something really special. However, I think the value of the movies and all the merchandise that is coming from the franchise does far more good than bad. I think Lucasfilm and Disney made a major mistake with Star Wars and that they are trying to remedy that now. For me Solo: A Star Wars Story was a huge step in that direction—of making things right with the fans. But its obvious that the fans are going to make Disney and ultimately Lucasfilm earn back that respect which is where things are today. There was a boycott of this latest Han Solo movie and it had an impact on the final ticket sales. As the word is getting out, because Solo: A Star Wars Story is pretty good—I think its one of the best and is certainly on par with the original films somewhere in quality of story telling between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. But the film is more fun like A New Hope was. I like the prequel films but can admit that Solo: A Star Wars Story is better than those films and it is certainly better than The Force Awakens. But these new young actors are making a name for themselves, the young Alden Ehrenreich is earning his respect from the fans little by little. Many fans have been sitting on the fence with Solo: A Star Wars Story because they weren’t sure how to feel about a new actor taking over for the legendary Harrison Ford. If this latest Star Wars film does anything it shows fans that its possible to have a younger actor playing an old favorite, and because of that I think Solo: A Star Wars Story will have good legs into the future of the franchise, and people will come back to the films and forgive Lucasfilm and Disney for their mistakes with the first three films made since the acquisition in 2012.

Alden Ehrenreich is a smart young actor with a good head on his shoulders, and he likes playing Han Solo in Star Wars. He’s good for the franchise and understands that taking less money for the opportunity to do more films like this makes good business sense because it could place him in Hollywood as the next big demand actor—like Harrison Ford was. With all that under consideration I think Disney certainly put the cards down on the table with this one holding nothing back promotionally. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they spent $500 million on the movie and are worried at this point of making that money back, which I think they will. But they spent the money expecting a billion in return and that could cool them on launching the other projects that are in the pipeline. Hopefully they let Lucasfilm go forward with the budgets on those new films, the Kenobi film, the Boba Fett film, the Rian series, and of course at least two more movies about the young Han Solo—as well as a whole bunch of other films not yet released. It’s not too late to make these films into the kind of successes that were experienced with Marvel—but getting the fan base back on board is the key.

To win back the audience, and this is just my advice, do with it whatever you want Lucasfilm, you have to get Mara Jade and Jaina Solo into Episode Nine as its being directed now with J.J. Abrams. Everyone gets what they want if that happens, Kennedy gets her strong female leads, Luke has a reason for being so distressed in The Last Jedi, and Rey gets a name and a reason for having the Falcon with Chewie as her co-pilot. A new trilogy featuring Jaina could even take things further 30 years after Episode Nine—the possibilities are endless. It took Marvel ten films to build up the kind of anticipation that was seen in Infinity War, Star Wars could do something very similar, but they’ll have to earn back the fans, and Solo: A Star Wars Story was a big first step. Hopefully Disney doesn’t get cold feet after they study these box office results and consider whether fans will support two Star Wars movies in the same year. They will, and they will support three or four a year if Disney will make them and be very profitable with $200 million budgets. But it will take more movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story to earn back that fan trust, not more movies like The Last Jedi or even The Force Awakens. The nostalgia wore off and now reality is there for Star Wars films, going forward, people want to see new ground that pays respect to what they know from the original EU—and fans don’t want to be preached to with gay characters, or black characters, or women. They just want to see a story set in a galaxy far, far away that will endure for centuries—and not fall out of favor with whatever new political movements come in the next few decades. Star Wars fans want their traditions, and they want the long view—and its their money that Disney wants, so it’s up to the giant entertainment company to give it to them.

I think I’ve listened to the new Han Solo theme from the John Powell soundtrack back to back for a solid four days now and I love it, it’s so full of optimism. It reminds me of how it was when Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night series started back in 2008, with a movie that many people didn’t think was needed because at that point Batman had been done so many times. The Nolan trilogy built up a nice audience and earned a reputation by the fans that they trusted and supported. Those films each went on to make over a billion dollars each. Iron Man the first Avenger film also came out that year with a fantastic performance by Robert Downey Jr. The film only grossed around $500 million globally much like I think this new Han Solo movie will make, but it became the glue that built up those next nine Marvel films. Disney purchased Marvel shortly after that film’s release and the rest is now history, and has been very successful. It has allowed Disney to make obscure films like The Black Panther, which I thought was pretty good—which would have never been made unless there was a need for the ever-expanding universe. Star Wars could do better, but the fan base will have to be built and listening to that soundtrack of Solo: A Star Wars Story that new Han Solo theme could serve as a nice light in the darkness for all the Disney executives timid about the next stage of the adventure. The best thing to do would be to support the effort and not panic, there is a lot of good that came out of Solo, and it hints at how things truly could be now that it looks like Lucasfilm is starting to figure out how to make these Star Wars movies without the guidance of George Lucas. The John Williams contribution is absolutely brilliant and I hope that everyone involved can use it to launch something really special, because the opportunity is certainly there.

Rich Hoffman
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Hollywood Down 8% in 2017: Trading politics for profit to destroy an industry

This is far more important than most people think—the movie box office for July of 2017 was down 8% from the same period a year ago.  Additionally Disney has lost around 4 million subscribers to its Disney Channels over the past three years as kids turn to other forms of entertainment.  More and more homes are cutting their cable service as it’s just too expensive for what people get,  and theater owners are struggling to survive with Hollywood giving them very little to work with to justify the big investment that a movie ticket costs these days.  That same home theater market is keeping people home more rather than go to the theater to see movies that could otherwise just be seen on Netflix.  If you couple all that with the Donald Trump versus the media battle—which will hurt traditional media extensively, the entertainment industry is in big trouble—which I have been saying for a long time.  All the stocks are down for the theater owners—which I feel sorry for.  The distributors have let them down by pushing a product that was just too liberal for mainstream American audiences and now they’ve all been hung out to dry.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-hollywoods-franchise-crisis-worsens-july-fourth-1018493

http://www.tubefilter.com/2017/07/05/disney-channel-freeform-ratings-falling/

For about 20 years I bounced around with tentative meetings within Hollywood.  For me it was more than a treasure hunt, I really wanted to make movies and to contribute to the library of wonderful movies that I had grown up with.  The business end was something I didn’t have much patience for since most of the people running the industry were radically more liberal than I was.  So I’d get a project floating around out there but it would go cold.  The money guys were also liberal so the project proposals I suggested were either heavily scrutinized with extensive re-writes to soften them up, or they just weren’t getting off the ground.  In a few cases I was offered positions in the industry, but my wife didn’t want to move to California—and without living in such a way that you could network in that town, it was pretty much impossible to get any project off the ground.  I went to several film festivals, won a few screenwriting awards and ended up doing a few bull whip stunts for legitimate studios but the last time I flew back from Hollywood in 2008 I knew that the industry was in trouble from a business perspective.   They weren’t going to make it which made me sad, because I liked traditional Hollywood—I always liked Howard Hughes, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Albert Hitchcock, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  These new filmmakers in Hollywood were too political and I was from a flyover state so things just weren’t going to work out.  After that last trip I put my focus into other business opportunities and waited for the inevitable which is now upon us.

Movies cost too much to make, the labor unions which represent all the industry people has forced them all to think too collectively to stay in touch with the American people.  Reading with great interest how the Han Solo movie fell apart at Lucasfilm it’s obvious that the new generation is just too soft and manipulated by their director’s guilds—into liberal politics which the movie going audiences can’t stand.   Even though I warned of all this years ago, and have written extensively about it since, it still hurts to see an entire industry collapsing on itself.  The Hollywood product is now on life support with only a few big Disney releases carrying most of the industry.  Warner Bros. has done well with Wonder Woman, and Marvel had their usual hits with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.   Small films like Baby Driver did respectable business, but big films like Pirates of the Caribbean 5 were down a quarter from the previous installment worldwide and that isn’t good news.   Critics have been hard on these new movies as they have an extreme political slant to most reviews and once the Rotten Tomatoes scores hit online people are so turned off they just don’t go see these films and that cycle is worsening.

Hollywood is about more than just the movies themselves—it’s about an entire industry from print media like Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, to the television shows Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight.   Critics for the big newspapers have national audiences in some cases and they have abused their relationships and let that stardom go to their heads giving themselves the power to sink or swim a picture—so essentially they have cut off their own noses to spite their faces.  I remember a very specific day in Glendale, California where several day time television programs were set up on the same street to shoot exteriors and I was having lunch with some people who worked the trade publications who were full of themselves way too dangerously.  I tried to make them aware of the fragile eco system that was on full display and they had the kind of attitude that the gravy train was going to go on forever.  Well, within two years every one of those people was out of a job and their publications had folded.   They should have listened, but of course they didn’t.  Most of those big name trade publications won’t be around much longer because nobody really cares what they have to say. The media stars they talk about are today far more political than they used to be and they have aligned themselves against Trump who is set to be a very popular and successful president, and now there just aren’t enough fans of their material to carry them into the next decade.

There are going to be a lot of bankruptcies—and even the Disney Company will feel the squeeze.  While I continue to be very impressed with what Disney is doing at their parks and with the Star Wars movies as one giant mythology spanning many platforms—computer games, etc—they still rely too much on theater owners to distribute their core products and those theater owners need more than just Disney to stay afloat.   They need every weekend to have people wanting to go to the theaters to buy over-priced popcorn and soda to watch a movie they don’t want to wait for release on the home market where likely the televisions they have at home is far better than what is offered at the theater.  I will have to add that when my wife and I went to see The Book of Henry that the Regal Cinemas we went to had adjusted their prices down for popcorn and pop to a very reasonable level.  The theater owners out there are doing their jobs and adjusting to the marketplace, but Hollywood hasn’t.  They keep making the same crap and trying to repackage it instead of turning loose people with great ideas to constantly keep material fresh.  I know I wasn’t the only one trying to get new ideas to production companies—it was mainly a cultural problem.   Studio execs were too interested in getting laid at the multiple parties around town by telling chicks that they were for this liberal cause or that—so they were making decisions at the executive level in producing products that American audiences did not want to see.   Once they got their blow job they had already committed their studio to ten films for production the next year which nobody would want to see because of their overly liberalized political overtones.   Sure the chick who was giving blow jobs at the party liked the Matt Damon movie about fracking—but nobody in America wanted to see it and the budget was blown.

So the industry is toast—it won’t recover in its present form.  Of course there will be investment opportunities in new styles of media, but the Hollywood game is over.  The industry just hasn’t come to terms with it yet.  There are a few $1 billion dollar earners yet to be released in 2017 but it won’t be enough.  By the end of the year the gains will be so far down that they won’t even be worth discussing.   And life outside of Hollywood will go on.   All I can say to those people who were so haughty 10 years ago is that I sincerely tried to tell you this would happen, but you didn’t listen.  I wish you had.  So now it’s time to pay—and it will be painful.  But you people did it to yourselves.   America will be great again and Hollywood has removed itself from being a part of it—and that’s a damn shame.

Rich Hoffman

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‘Baby Driver’: Reflections where facts are more dramatic than fiction

Even through the new film Baby Driver isn’t quite out yet I think it’s safe to say that my own car chase story Tail of the Dragon is still the most intense action packed of its kind ever put to paper by a human mind to date.  But I’ll have to say, when I wrote that story, I was thinking about movies done in the style of this soon to be Edger Wright classic.  There is room in our culture for a lot more of these types of stories and this one has hit me hard with anticipation for many personal reasons. First of all, since I first heard the song “Radar Love” by the Dutch Band Golden Earring in 1973 I have wanted to see it used as a backdrop for a car chase of some kind and it looks like Edger Wright has done it.  Second of all, by the previews shown so far, the main character of Baby played by Ansel Elgort looks remarkably biographical to my real life between my 17th and 19th years of life.  After all it was those experiences which provoked me to write Tail of the Dragon to begin with—to get all that out on paper.  So it makes me very happy to see movies like Baby Driver getting made and that several of the Fast and Furious movies have continued to push great box office numbers in theaters.  I hope the same for this one—I am very excited for it.

I’ve alluded to it before but after watching these trailers it may be time to get a little more specific because the Baby character just in these previews speaks to me with quite a bit of reflection.  I understand his dilemma.  It was only a month or so ago where a political enemy of mine had looked me up on one of those online searches trying to get dirt on me, and they were stunned at what came back to them.  It showed over 17 hostile interactions with law enforcement and this person sent me that information hoping to get some leverage on me because I’m now living the life of a respectable citizen and they thought I wanted to hide that past.  What they didn’t know is that I consider my actions back then—at that critical juncture between youth and adulthood–to be very respectable—even though it might have been on the wrong side of the law. All I ever wanted was freedom—real freedom—and I wanted to be a millionaire quickly and just step over the nonsense of fighting it out the way I saw was making other people miserable.  I did live heavily in the fast lane and I was willing to use those skills to acquire all the money I could to launch a family and when I found the right girl for me—those people didn’t want to let me out of that lifestyle—and many conflicts ensued.

If I were ever have been said to have an addiction it was probably speed, the kind you get from driving a car extremely fast.  Like I said, as a youth when I first heard the song “Radar Love,” I was thinking of it playing to excessive speed in very fast cars.  The very first person I remember admiring as a young man was Evel Knievel so even at ages 5, 6, and 7 moving fast and recklessly was pretty much all I thought about—so when I was finally able to turn 16 and buy my own car I was ready and I quickly made a reputation for myself. My very first traffic ticket for excessive speed was on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving in 1984 where I was in a race with a Trans Am that clearly out powered my car at the time.  So the only way to win was to have more nerve than he did—so I flew through a swarm of cops parked at the Tri-County Mall in Cincinnati on the wrong side of the road at well over a 100 MPH—against the traffic.  When the police got the radar gun on me they caught my speed at 85 MPH in a 35 zone.  They would have taken me to jail for reckless operation but one call to the Sharonville police station told them to just issue me the ticket.  I was under the protection of the senior judge in that district and literally had a get out of jail free pass given to me by him—because I did work on the side for him which was related to a mob outfit in Chicago—and they wanted me free to do it.

The way that Kevin Spacey’s character is portrayed in Baby Driver reminds me precisely of one of my first “bosses.”  This guy ran a car dealership that I worked for and from that I had to do more than just sell new and used cars.  I did repo work and they liked me because I had no reservations about danger—as people obviously didn’t like having their cars taken back when they failed to make payments. I was always very eager to sneak up to someone’s house and take their car without being shot, and people did shoot at me while doing this kind of thing.  It was very exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  These days repo guys aren’t allowed to do some of the things we did to get our cars back so for me it was a unique opportunity to live very dangerously and get away with it legally—and make great money doing it.  But then again, the car dealership was a front at the time for cocaine dealing—as a way to launder the money and all these repo jobs were ways that this Kevin Spacey style “boss” could check to make sure I wouldn’t be a rat—because they needed a driver to help deliver regionally.

I had my limits of course.  I didn’t mind the danger or the drama of court appearances and the continuous threat of jail—but I did not like drugs.  So when the dealership sent me with another senior car salesman down to Over-the-Rhine to deliver cocaine to a distributer operating across from Union Terminal it was in my precious car which had survived many high-speed encounters and for which I was particularly attached to.  Of course they didn’t tell me what we were doing—they let me believe that the whole operation was going to be a unique repo job, so I didn’t ask what was in the suitcase in my back seat. But I did think it was strange that we didn’t take a company car on this effort—as we typically did.  This was my car and the salesman smoked—and because we were not in a company car I had a little sign on my dashboard telling passengers that there was no smoking allowed. In fact, people who knew me also knew my very strict policy against drug use. So this forty something drug dealer who was very rich I might add, was very upset with  my rules and promised that I’d have a hard time when we got back to the office.  So things weren’t getting off to a good start. When we arrived to the destination he left the suitcase in my back seat and told me he’d be right back as he went to the door of the townhouse where the target lived. While he was in there I took a peek at what was in the suitcase and I saw that it was cocaine.

Over the years up to that point I had a reputation of not flinching at anything.  I knew some of these people I was working with were serious criminals and some were very powerful politicians and sports stars.  I was with them as a body-guard at times even though I was very young, and as an assurance that no matter what happened I was their ticket out of it.  They had never asked me to directly commit a crime—but rather used me as a lifeline back to freedom—and I was very dependable.  But, I had just met my future wife and I was thinking of living a normal life that we could build a family with—and once you’ve been invited to those types of circles—they don’t want you out flapping your mouth about every little thing you’ve seen.  They’d prefer you to be dead or with them—there really isn’t any middle ground.  So with drugs in my backseat I left that guy down there and headed back to the sales office where the mission started and reported back to my Kevin Spacey looking boss that his partner at the dealership was selling drugs.  He looked at me exasperated.  “You left him there?”  Of course I had to tell him yes and there was about a half hour of excessive panic because this Over-the-Rhine distributer had a ruthless reputation and now he had to call in for help while he was in hostile territory.  I was commanded to go back and get him for which I refused.  They had to send someone else.

Maybe I’ll write about the details sometime about what happened next but needless to say the Baby Driver plot reminds me of the two weeks that followed. I can really sympathize with the Baby character especially at that time in my life.  I wanted to be married to this wonderful new girl and I wanted away from those types of people—and it wasn’t easy.  A lot of people got into a lot of trouble and I had to drive very fast a lot to stay out of both jail and this side of the dirt—because these people did play for keeps. It seemed like a long time then, because at only 19 years of age, time moves more slowly, but in reality it was all over in just a few months.  Things worked out for me the way I needed them to.  It was a tough adjustment to live without the level of money I was used to.  Just out of high school I made twice as much money as my dad did at the prime of his career, but my country club wife assured me that she wanted to do everything clean and that holds true to this very day.  It took a while, but eventually I was able to climb out of that hole in my lifestyle—and it was all worth it—especially being able to live and tell about it.

It doesn’t happen often but just watching the previews for this new Baby Driver movie set to “Radar Love” took my mind instantly to this very turbulent time and I won’t even pretend that it was all bad. I loved living like that. It was fun to live beyond the rules and to be so good at things that people would literally do anything to make it so you could keep doing it.  For the first seven years of my marriage I didn’t have a driver’s license because once I stepped away from that life the courts crashed down on me and it wasn’t easy—the penalties were severe.  That past kept clawing away at me trying to either pull me back in, or destroy me in the process—it took about an entire decade to finally outpace that lifestyle I had before my marriage.  People had to die off and the fast life caught up to many of them who did manage to live for the next decade.  They either destroyed themselves or they ended up in jail.  There wasn’t really any middle ground.

Needless to say, I feel a connection to Baby Driver and I really hope it does good business during its run.  Speaking from experience I think what’s worse than a life of crime is a life not lived.  The spontaneity of life is a magical thing and you often don’t really see it until you are pushed well beyond your comfort levels.  And even though he is villainous in this movie Kevy Spacey’s character is right—people do love a good heist—they do need something to talk about over their “lattés” Thinking of “Radar Love” and the way the scenes played out for the preview of Baby Driver, I feel quite a lot of satisfaction knowing that I gave plenty of stories that have been talked about over a great many lattés.  And in the great theater of living, that’s not a bad thing.  I can’t wait to see Baby Driver.

Rich Hoffman

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“Interstellar” Epiphany and Soundtrack Review: A 50th Anniversary at Virgin Galactic’s first space resort

I had an epiphany that my wife and I were stepping off a Virgin Galactic vessel into the first hotel of their design floating above the earth with the horizon spinning outside of a massive lobby window. It is Virgin’s first hotel in space established as a resort location rivaling the Atlantis vacation destination in the Bahamas complete with an indoor water park covered with large glass windows looking out into the vastness of space. The lobby was lush and expensive with exotic restaurants all offering outrageously epic views out every window. The moon is always full and casts a constant—haunting shadow through every object and mixed with the brilliant light shining off the earth is a bluish hue that has never been replicated by any light on the home planet. It’s our 50th wedding anniversary and we have a $5000 bottle of wine to mark the year of this writing to celebrate our first week-long vacation in space. We have worked hard and deserve to pamper ourselves with a very expensive outing that will mark many years of persistence. In the lobby is playing the old soundtrack to the classic 2014 movie Interstellar, which has by then become the standard of music referencing space. It was that award-winning Christopher Nolan movie that changed it all and set the tone for the second world-wide space race causing Hilton, Marriott and Virgin Galactic to build the first space stations catering to tourism. Virgin was the first to achieve it.

The majestic views out of the multiple windows demand the music of Interstellar because nothing else would be sufficient. The hotel operators just play constantly the old Hans Zimmer soundtrack to help alleviate the shock of being grounded so firmly to the floor as the view outside swirls around like a marry-go-round. It takes some getting used to for some people; some actually throw up with the disorienting effect of the earth’s horizon spinning around so rhythmically. There are trash cans stationed along the pathway toward the check-in counter large enough for visitors to dump their stomachs in the most graceful way possible. A cleaning crew quickly removes the contents so not to alter the smell of space—that rusty metal odor mixed with the fragrance of lobby vegetation that is intended carefully to greet guests as they step off the shuttle from their journey below.

We walk to the counter as track 7 on that enchanting soundtrack plays with organs chiming to the tempo of a clock’s second hand—the earth still swirling, the light from the moon and sun moving around the room casting shadows in all directions hauntingly. Bright overhead lights on the ceiling between more large windows cast stabilizing light so that the lobby looks to be the only stable element of a universe in chaos outside—which adds to the otherworldly sensation of a species raised on a planet where the sun rises and falls every 12 hours and the horizon is always fixed. Here, the sun is always out, the moon is always full, and the horizon never stills—it spins perpetually so to provide an earth like gravity for the visitors—some who are already in their swimming suits and heading for the massive domed Water Park behind the check-in counter.

My wife and I aren’t sick; the music brings our minds to ease with a familiarity that we know well. We have listened to that soundtrack every week for the last 25 years and know its notes by heart. Before checking in we just listen to it while we sit in one of the lobby seats and watch the Virgin Galactic shuttle pull away from the docking station and head back to earth with its navigational thrusters silently pushing it back into a declination orbit to Spaceport America—our home launch point. In another three hours that same ship will be back with more visitors and within 30 minutes another ship will arrive from Spaceport America and fifteen minutes after that, one from Space Port Japan, then one from Spaceport Europe. Because Virgin Galactic has brought the Internet to Africa—they now have one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Soon they will have their own spaceport in right in the middle of the Congo.

My wife and I head to our rooms and prepare for dinner. We spend five solid hours drinking our expensive bottle of wine sitting on our hotel bed watching the world turn—literally. And we cherish that this event has finally been made possible after many years of dreaming. The whole time we listen to our well-played soundtrack for the several hundred thousandth time—Interstellar, as we have always loved it and likely always will.

That soundtrack actually only came out a few days ago, on November 17, 2014, so my son-in-law rushed to Barnes and Nobel to get it for he and my daughter the moment it was unloaded from the delivery truck. They spent their evening listening to it while eating Chinese food from their favorite restaurant—and they gave me a copy. They have already seen the movie twice and are looking for ways to see it many more times. In what’s being touted as a first-of-its-kind promotion, Paramount and AMC Theatres are offering movie patrons in North America the chance to see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar as many times as they want, for one price.

As with any deal, there are rules. Those who want to participate must be members of the AMC Stubs program, which has an annual fee of $12.

The unlimited tickets will be available for sale to AMC Stubs members at 330 AMC theater across the country, including AMC Imax locations. The price will range from $19.99 to $34.99, depending upon the location (currently, the average cost of a movie ticket price in the U.S. is $8.08.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/paramount-amc-theatres-partner-unlimited-749512

Interstellar requires for most people many viewings just to understand everything that is happening. Many critics of the film on their first viewings were used to a more conventional film experience and didn’t know what to make of some of the sound issues. As I said in my review—I think I was the first and only one to date to point it out—the sound in Interstellar was entirely on purpose. Christopher Nolan wanted there to be times where the events overwhelmed the sound made by the actors—because in real life—that happens often.

“I’ve always loved films that approach sound in an impressionistic way and that is an unusual approach for a mainstream blockbuster, but I feel it’s the right approach for this experiential film,” Christopher Nolan said, speaking for the first time in detail about the use of sound in his new film.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/christopher-nolan-breaks-silence-interstellar-749465

It is because of this approach to sound that the Interstellar soundtrack was so exceptionally good—and is why it will become the inspiration for all that I described above. When my kids gave me the first copy of the soundtrack and I played it for much of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday listening to it many, many times—it was easy to conclude that it was a masterpiece. I remember the music being great during the movie, but listening to it by itself, it was simply phenomenal as it steps up and well beyond anything that’s ever been attempted. The closest that I can think of is Philip Glass—but the Hans Zimmer approach comes with a much bolder, and narrative link to the future by drawing so historically on the past.

Blasting through the track on the soundtrack titled “S.T.A.Y” all that I began this writing above occurred with the epiphany. Many of the world’s problems seemed so miniscule and the minds that made them that way even less relevant. I could literally reach out and touch that future space station/hotel as if I were there, as if I could smell it, taste it and walk across its vast floors with Richard Branson still alive and standing in the corner welcoming his guests with long flowing locks still beyond his shoulders with a smile from ear to ear.

At dinner in my epiphany there was a guest who played in the center of a vast dinning hall with a clear picture of the moon out the distant window—again spinning around with rhythmic precision upon a large glass piano lit from beneath with blue lights that made it look like it was made out of ice. That guest was an elderly Hans Zimmer playing the Interstellar soundtrack live with a deeply personal concert, graced too with a smile from ear to ear knowing that it was his soundtrack that helped build this palace of achievement in defiance of the earthly stupidity which attempted to shackle man’s ankles to earth forever. His music helped free those shackles to usher in this entirely new age of dreamers, fortune hunters and lovers of science and possibility. It was and would be the best dinner of our lives. Happy 50th Anniversary to us—and it was.

Rich Hoffman

www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

Godzilla For President: A review of the new Gareth Edwards masterpiece

What would you get if Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and Akira Kurosawa all made a movie—it would be Gareth Edwards new Godzilla film.  That is not to say for a second that Edwards is a copy-cat filmmaker paying homage to his boyhood heroes.  The 2014 Godzilla film released by Legendary Pictures is simply that good, and is sincere in its tip of the hat to those great filmmakers.  While watching I kept thinking of films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Birds, Ran, Dreams without attempting for a second to show its superiority to the classic Godzilla movies—but rather being very respectful of them.  If there is a tight rope of movie marketing, authenticity to a beloved character, and the necessity to navigate the needs of the movie industry, Gareth Edwards just propelled himself into one of the top filmmakers in the world forever by walking it cleanly.  The new Godzilla film is simply astonishing.  I have read the reviews and spoken to several people who had seen the movie and I have come to realize that the movie is so vast in its scale that most viewers can only grip one of the many plot lines of the film.  Being spoiled spoon fed movie goers for so many years; they have forgotten the old Hitchcock films and likely didn’t bother with Kurosawa due to the subtitles.  Well, Edwards didn’t have that problem and has simply made a masterpiece that will have a major impact on film history.   I know good when I see it and this Godzilla film is great, incredible, astonishingly beautiful, captivating in virtually every way, and is simply a benchmark film redefining the genre of monster movies.  This Godzilla movie is what Cloverfield wanted to be.  It is simply jaw-dropping grand.  It will take several viewings for everything to settle in and history will study this movie as a masterpiece of modern film.

While waiting in line to see the movie I wrote yesterday’s article about Godzilla.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.  So I am already a fan of the 60-year-old monster.  I had to take a few hours after watching the movie to calm down and check my emotions to ensure that I wasn’t just being inflammatory with my enthusiasm.  After rolling around in bed for about 10 hours unable to sleep still excited about this Godzilla film I have concluded that perhaps I haven’t been excited enough.  Four key scenes will explain why without giving away the movie.  The first is the birthday metaphor so carefully weaved into the Bryan Cranston portion of the story.  It was remarkably powerful, and so subtle that most viewers appear to have missed it upon their first viewing.  It was a touch of Steven Spielberg that I haven’t seen from a filmmaker since the film Always.  Then there was the flaming train engine coming out of an intense fog at night across a railroad bridge.  The film quality looked as though it belonged on the pages of National Geographic.  The cinematic effort of that shot was simply mind-blowing.  Then there was the airport scene where the power had gone out across an Hawaiian city then came back on to reveal a giant monster destroying everything—with the main characters rushing toward the devastation.  There has been nothing like that done in movie since Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  It was over-the-top exciting, but never so much that it came out campy.  Godzilla pays tribute to these beloved old films without insulting them with direct mimicry.   Then there is the airdrop into the city of San Francisco during the monster fight.  The only filmmaker who ever attempted portions of these kinds of visuals is Akira Kurosawa.  The colors, the atmospheric conditions, the ceremonial aspect of the scene, the immensity of the whole enterprise culminated in that portion of the movie and was simply magnificent.  Edwards was well aware of his geography during the entire film.  The film went from extreme long shots of a storm over the city with the tiny troops falling toward their apparent doom with swirling cumulus nimbus clouds reaching into the upper atmosphere.  Then there are the hand-held shots as they fall through the cloud layer and into the destruction of the city while Godzilla is fighting with the monsters.  All these were cut together with the same level of continuity and it was seamless.  The long view of existence right along with the human perspective was astonishing.  I can’t say it has ever been done more effectively than what Edwards did in this movie.  There was a scene from Close Encounters years ago where the shadow of the mother ship was cast against the ground at night over the unaware human drivers of a truck.  That shot was incredibly difficult to pull off and came from the mind of a very young Steven Spielberg before he got old and stuffy.  I can’t recall another filmmaker trying such a thing since then—until this Godzilla movie.  It is hard to do such atmospheric scenes and Spielberg has given up on trying now that he is in his “mature” years.  But the ambition of Edwards deserves recognition as film schools will study this scene for years attempting to break down its effectiveness.

Speaking of geography it was impressive to tie in events happening halfway around the globe in simultaneous bits of story.  For instance, Las Vegas gets attacked by a monster as Godzilla is hunting the beast from the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Hawaii.  The extra attention to little details like proximity of terrain to each other in a world shrunk by Google Earth was so refreshing that even smart people seeing the movie will be impressed that Edwards thought of them while staging scenes.  The characters in this Godzilla film were intelligent, and cared about the circumstances around them.  That was refreshing.

Then there was the soundtrack which was equally remarkable.  I had never knowingly heard any of Alexandre Desplat’s work until this film, but it was quite powerful.  Desplat certainly tapped into great film scores by John Williams, particularly Jaws because it was evident in the film score.  The resemblance to that classic piece was unmistakable.  I have listened to the soundtracks of Jurassic Park and The Lost World countless times, and the notes and cues from Godzilla are right in line with those pieces.  It was yet another circumstance of welcomed surprise in a film full of them.  There was a raw majestic energy included with the music that was as big as Godzilla and the story line itself.

The character of Godzilla unlike the past had a deep intelligence to him, a knowing alertness to the circumstances of civilization and his desire to advance it.  That is a new element to these kinds of monster films, Godzilla was quite well aware of his ancient role as a kind of protector of man’s achievements.  He wasn’t interested in the mindless toppling of buildings and power lines, but of hunting down and destroying the monsters which were destroying the cities of earth.  There has been a lot of talk about Godzilla being a boon to nature—reminding mankind that it is not in charge.  Yet if Godzilla were so interested in nature, he would have allowed the giant creatures—MUTOs (Massive Unidentified terrestrial Organisms) to breed and hatch their babies which are all they really wanted to do.  From the vantage point of Godzilla mankind’s creations are pretty insignificant, yet he consciously made a decision to pick mankind over the MUTO creatures.  Several times in Godzilla’s efforts were close-ups on his weary face as if he had been fighting this battle for several millennia.  Edwards smartly captured this intelligence and made this Godzilla much less primal, and much more sophisticated.  As strange as it sounds the creature seemed so smart that I wouldn’t have been shocked if he didn’t sit down with some tea and discuss James Joyce as a literary endeavor.  He was what I described in my referred article written prior to seeing the film as a kind of overman.

Godzilla is movie making at its absolute best.  There isn’t anything better out now and hasn’t been in many years.  Even the epic nature of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films can’t hold a candle to Godzilla.  This monster film is a benchmark for these types of things that will set the bar very high.  Many reviewers continue to compare Godzilla 2014 to Pacific Rim, but the two aren’t even close.   The only thing they have in common is that both films deal with large creatures.  Godzilla is about so much more.  It’s a movie that needs to be seen many times to understand, and even more times for just the sheer entertainment value of it.  The cost of seeing the movie is worth the climax of the film itself.  They simply don’t get better than that and will still be fun after the 100th viewing.  Godzilla 2014 will become the next favorite film of many little boys desperately seeking something meaningful in their young lives.  But for the adults who grew up with the old versions, this Edwards film is a sheer work of art that will be difficult for any filmmaker to surpass for many, many years.  It is a treasure onto itself and a gift to every creature with eyes, ears and an imagination.  I give Godzilla an enthusiastic thumb up with both hands and both big toes and a smile from ear to ear.  It is movie making at its absolute best and then some and will never be forgotten in my household likely being played continuously forever once it hits Blue Ray.  In the meantime, I will go see it again.

Rich Hoffman

  www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com