‘Baby Driver’ isn’t just about Fast Cars: A great film about touching the magnificence of life

It won’t save Hollywood from itself, but I was quite surprised by how good the movie Baby Driver was. The Edger Wright directed film was a remarkably good film for a heist movie with great car stunts. Personally, I’m a sucker for car stunts in movies and I had said that I could tell that I’d most relate to the main character of Baby—because when I was younger, I lived a very similar life. I made those comments from just the previews, but after finally seeing the movie over this past weekend on my home theater system, I am astonished by the work. I didn’t just like the movie because it reminded me of my teenage years, it was just a fabulous—well thought out movie that had some very bad characters in it, but was essentially about loving life and being a good person. I give Baby Driver two big thumbs up. For a business enterprise, it had a good budget and it made more domestically than it cost—which is always a good thing. The numbers shown below are the breakdown of the profitability of the movie which is important because it should be a lesson to Hollywood about what works and what doesn’t, What set this movie apart from everything else out there was the unabashed sense of hope that it displayed throughout the film. The main character, Baby was a good kid and the viewer found themselves rooting for some way that he could find a happy life with his incredible talent. If I didn’t know better I’d almost say that Edger Wright took sections of my book Tail of the Dragon and changed the scenes a little bit, but that’s OK. I would have never ended the movie the way he did, but it was satisfying all the same.

Baby Driver
Domestic Total as of Oct. 12, 2017: $107,796,728
Distributor: TriStar
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Genre: Action / Crime Runtime: 1 hrs. 52 min.
MPAA Rating: R Production Budget: $34 million

Total Lifetime Grosses
Domestic: $107,796,728 47.6%
+ Foreign:
$118,526,768 52.4%
________________________________________
= Worldwide: $226,323,496
Domestic Summary
Opening Weekend:
$20,553,320
(#2 rank, 3,226 theaters, $6,371 average)
% of Total Gross: 19.1%
> View All 15 Weekends
Widest Release: 3,226 theaters
In Release: 107 days / 15.3 weeks

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=babydriver.htm

Even the villain played by Kevin Spacey had redeeming qualities. This was a story oozing with hope and the kind of valor only professional thieves understand who are driven by their enormous genius to live unconventional lives just because the world is otherwise too boring for them. Most of the bad guys in Baby Driver are overachievers who have fallen in the cracks of an overly institutionalized human existence. Maybe it’s just me and the kind of life I’ve had, I could relate to every character, even the deaf guy who was the godfather of Baby. But even so, the movie is great even if nobody has had those types of experiences.

At this point a lot of people have written reviews about this movie so one more by me won’t do much to help it. But I can say that it is movies like this that will help Hollywood in the future—movies without huge budgets that touch people’s lives in an honest way. Nobody with a beating heart could help but not cheer for Baby toward the end of the film and people rewarded the movie with a decent box office reception. Baby was a kid pulled into crime by losing his parents early in life. He didn’t know fear in the traditional respect until he met a girl that he loved and had the same kind of innocent passion toward life that he did. At the start of the movie I recognized in Baby a young man who had not had his childish imagination turned off and it was that which made him so extraordinarily good, and creative in driving cars for professional bank robbers.
My life was a bit different, I didn’t lose my parents so there was no reason for me to find myself in similar situations with similar people but for the fact that I loved to drive fast. I still do in fact. Baby in the movie was a natural driver where his car and his vast imagination made him into a superman behind the wheel—he was virtually unstoppable so long as he had a car. For me it was always that I resented that by the nature of driving I was constrained behind normal people—and was forced to live by their restrictions in life. Driving fast for me was an open declaration that I was not like those other people—that I was living an exceptional life. And if anybody had a problem with it, they could take a hike.

I was in constant trouble, I went to court a lot and was threatened with jail almost every three months. And with such attitudes of course a criminal element would be attracted to such a rebellious character. So that made for some interesting experiences. However when the rubber hit the road, literally, I was always a good person. I had a good family and good grandparents and my foundations were always solid, so no matter how murky things became, my moral compass was always able to show me the right way. So I really felt for the kid in Baby Driver, his mom was obviously a good one and he lost her too early in life, but she had made an impact on him that lasted a lifetime.

Baby’s love of life at the very beginning of the movie was a fascinating examination into human behavior. Baby was boyishly optimistic about everything so that made him an intriguing character—something you really don’t see much these days in movies. Some critics might think that his depiction of life was unrealistic, but I can say that it was pretty spot on in relation to my own experience. Ultimately it was that goodness which kept Baby from rotting in jail at the end. He was just too good of a person to be thrown to the wolves of society and people know and respect that when they see it. I had a very similar experience at many court appearances and more than a few judges told me that they didn’t have room in their jails for kids who were just too good. Jails are meant for menaces of society, not people who are genuinely good in every aspect. Being fearless is not a reason to put people in jail, or being overly imaginative. It can be unfortunate if the criminal element gets a hold of such people, but goodness tends to rise to the top in spite of the efforts of evil.

If you haven’t seen the movie do yourself a favor and do so. It’s a real treasure. It was unusual and optimistic in the ways we want our movies to be—and Hollywood would do a lot better to make a lot more of these kinds of films. Critics might say that Baby came from a broken home and had suffered terrible tragedies that would have prevented him from becoming such a person—but I know better. What the critics don’t know is that a good parent can produce similar young geniuses—just through the love that they give them. That is after all what makes people what they are in life—institutions certainly don’t. People who love to drive fast do so for usually some psychological reason that has great merit. I always knew why I did it in real life. Baby in the fictional sense was discovering it. And we who watch movies understand how those relationships work, because we understand people like Baby—even if we can’t relate so strongly to the character as I might. That’s because what’s in us as human beings desires so much to be loved and to flee from institutional mechanisms designed to artificially manipulate our lives toward service to a system. We don’t all have to be geniuses to feel that yearning for individual freedom—and that’s all Baby wanted in this movie. And that’s what we all can relate to.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

The Four Stages of Change: How ‘Saturday Night Live’ is showing where Democrats are on that path

Clearly as we track this culture war that the United States is involved with currently, one year after the great election of 2016, where the political left learned harshly that a majority of the people were not behind their movement, we have entered the third phase of the four stages of change.  At first of course there was denial which we have witnessed, followed closely by resistance.  With the ANTIFA movement and various leftists groups like Black Lives Matters threatening to overthrow the new establishment that resistance has now migrated into exploration.  That much was clear on the October 14th airing of Saturday Night Live where they did two skits attempting to rectify this exploration idea.  It was a fascinating exchange to conceive of the writers and the producers at Saturday Night Live in the wake of the NFL and Harvey Weinstein controversies to look at the Trump presidency and explore the ways they can live within these new value assessments.

The first one shown here about Kellyanne Conway acting as the clown in the recent retread movie IT was very revealing in how the political left sees the world.   Their hero, Anderson Cooper is terrorized by Kellyanne Conway trying to get on television to represent the White House point of view as she has successfully done over the last year.   The political left, represented by the SNL writing team metaphorically views Kellyanne as the scary IT clown.  They are terrorized by her ability to always come out on top on her conversations with Anderson Cooper to the point where he doesn’t want to put her on television anymore.   While their depiction of Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT is an insult to Kellyanne Conway who is hardly a terrible person—her effect on the media has been truly scary because they are overwhelmingly liberal—and are losing.  The change they had been resisting they are now exploring ways to rectify, so from a psychological point of view, it was a fascinating skit.

The second skit that was very revealing was the assumption that Melania Trump—whom the writers obviously aren’t sure how to deal with the feelings of respect they have for her, would call a Pakistani call center for spiritual advice.  Beneath the writers assumptions are the beliefs that capitalism is a hollow endeavor and that in her quest as a gold digger with a heart, Melania finds life in the White House so lacking fulfillment that she would confide herself into the ears of a perfect stranger on the other side of the world.   Of course the premise is blown out of proportion based on a faulty idea of capitalism.  But the revelation of how they think of Melania is quite intriguing.  I’m certain that Melania is a huge part of the strength behind Donald Trump from day-to-day, and that she doesn’t need the spiritual advice from some Pakistani call center worker, but the ponderings of the political left into what makes the Trump White House tick in an interesting observation.

The political left is obviously watching the efforts of their candidate Barack Obama come undone under Trump even though they have created a monstrosity of bureaucratic intention in our federal government to prevent reform once they start the wheels in motion.     Yes our federal government is designed to move slowly, and the insurgents counted on a congress to protect their extreme implements such as Obamacare to take effect before action could be taken to reverse the trends.  Trump with his recent executive orders undid that effort essentially by reversing the nature of the game the Democrats and Republicans had been playing with Obamacare.  While the Republicans pretended to work against the Democrats and all of them took money from the insurance lobby socialist insurgents like Obama could steer our society toward a single payer option and everyone could get what they wanted—except the American people.  The Saturday Night Live writers assumed that America was lock step with them, but since they lived in New York they were isolated from the sentiments of the rest of the country.   Now all of them involved in these little tyrannies are learning how out-of-step they really were all along.  So they are “exploring” their role in this new world of thinking.

The next phase of course is commitment and from here the political left will find themselves divided.  Some will merge with the president and his thinking because they’ll realize that behind Trump is a vast American population that he represents in this great republic.  Democracy is not what they thought it was, and the nature of Republicanism is showing them how a representative republic truly functions.  After all, before now there weren’t many examples to follow.  There was a lot of theory that looked good on paper and in philosophical testimonials from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, but not much history to build with.  Those who can’t commit to this course change will be destroyed by their own inflexibility.  This is what Trump knows is coming and why he is so confident that unlike Obama who abused his executive orders, Trump will get his signed into law because the political landscape will change over the coming months enormously.

As we’ve watched these four stages of change occur along very predictable lines of ascension, it is easy to plot out where we’ll be in the early stages of 2018, and beyond.  Obviously the SNL writers are beginning to see that ascension for the true value that has been obvious all along for those who view the world without political lenses.  The hate and vitriol are still there but people are survivors and they will adapt to the changing world due to their own self-interest.  That is why business people are good for politics—instead of contributing to the funds of lesser people known as politicians, the wise minds of business should just do it themselves.  They do after all understand these cycles of change because they go through the four steps every time they need to implement some strategic change in their places of business.  The difference is that in corporate America, culture building is the responsibility of the CEO or president.  In politics it comes from the know nothing losers who usually go to public office because the private sector has scared them and that has left us all vulnerable to these socialist insurgents, like the writers at SNL.  So the better experience at changing a culture come from those who have been successful in corporate America, like Trump.  And the results are predictably on schedule—and everyone knows it.

A good leader understands these four stages of change and they know how to weather the complaints and bitching that often come each time a new idea is put forth.  A good leader also understands that most of those people will come around to the right way to think out of their own needs to survive—and that is where the real reform from Trump comes from.  I’m sure it’s been hard for him, since day one, the political left has made his life a living hell in the White House.  But Trump is a good leader and he knows how to use the four stages of change to his advantage and the first sign of his success is what we saw this week on SNL.  They may not want to admit it, and they’ll deny it if asked directly.  But SNL is now in stage three—and that means that the storm is breaking and they have no choice but to figure out their place in a changing world—for which we are the ones deciding how that world looks.  That is something everyone reading here should consider as a good thing.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

The Tragedy of Kobe Steel: How the smoke is fading and mirrors are breaking on lean manufacturing–revealing a diabolical academic scheme that was always there

The truth is there isn’t any magic wand that takes manufacturing techniques and turns companies into winners at the bottom line. Just like going to college couldn’t turn a kid into a success story without extremely hard work to go with it.  The harsh reality that many people have come to face is that you can’t buy quality, and you can’t wish yourself into profitability.  If you want to be successful in life you have to be willing to work harder than a competitor and you’ll have to figure out the latest trends before everyone else does in an ever-changing world.  It’s not enough to memorize the work of Eliyahu M. Goldratt or to study really hard the techniques of James Womach so that you can call yourself a “black belt” of lean manufacturing.  It’s still the case and it always will be that innovation and creativity are ever-changing opportunities for market dominance.  And let’s face it, that’s the name of the game.  That’s also why this global tragedy involving Kobe Steel is such a case study into the temperature of the world regarding manufacturing that it merits our tenacious considerations.

Kobe Steel is a large producer of various industry metals, particularly aluminum and due to the nature of the world marketplace distributes their product all over the world to the largest companies currently in existence.   The assumption is that since the company is Japanese that they make high quality products at Kobe Steel—just because they are made in Japan.  That country has done a great job building up their brand with an eye toward quality—which is precisely why Womack, Roos and Daniel T. Jones featured them so prominently in the 1990s book The Machine that Changed the World.  In that classic book Womack had pretty much closed the case on western mass production techniques and very subtly implied the takeover of manufacturing practices being instituted right in front of our faces.  College academics were essentially attempting to use lean manufacturing practices revolutionized by Japan—specifically Toyota into a global revolution that would help pave the way to a one world global government by unifying all various markets under the flag of lean manufacturing.  And this failure at Kobe Steel, which is quite serious presently, has the fingerprints of failure rooted in this rapid expansion of manufacturing approach that has been taking over the world since the 1960s.

The attempted academic takeover of all industries has been going on for a long time and their goal is almost always the same.  Generally the academic believes in global collectivism and that the power of the individual is subservient to the needs of group think—and the view of American mass production was that a single foreman, and a single process engineer were things of the past and that hive behavior in the form of lean manufacturing developed from Japan would become the dominate way of doing business.  But the real villain was not American manufacturing; it was the kind of rugged individualism that often emerged in American car companies and steel manufacturers.  If you peel back the onion even more behind these academic reformers they were ahead of themselves on global wealth redistribution and they purposely worked their way into the various industries with mountains of paperwork for employers to fill out so that the tasks would become so cumbersome that companies would just flee overseas to run away from bureaucracy.  The subtext to all this academic insurrection for the last 50 years has always been lean manufacturing and that American companies better get with the pace of the rest of the world or they’d be out of a job.

I’m never one to throw out the baby with the bath water; there are some really good things that Womach and his buddies came up with in that aforementioned book.  And I’m a fan of the work by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.  I like those guys, but in relation to the problems of today, I have my own thoughts—and I dare say I often go much deeper than anything that came previously.  I’d say that you have to if you want to invent something new, otherwise how would you ever stand out in a world that is so competitive?   I can also say that I’ve been through many lean manufacturing seminars over the years and all those companies that sponsored those activities are now out of business, because what they did was attempt to copy what worked in Japan to an American market, and it clearly didn’t work.  I watched with disapproval as many companies tried to take the concepts in Womack’s book and applied them directly to manufacturing facilities where American workers resisted, and resented the efforts to the point where the company just folded—because nobody seemed to understand what was really going on.

The Japanese had a unique problem after World War II.  They had lost a war and needed to rebuild their economy from the ground up.  They also had an occupying force that changed all the rules of manufacture on them, and imposed on Japanese companies union friendly policies that made innovation so much more complicated.  Just like American manufacturing at the time was peaking because the mass production techniques had created in American workers this new idea of lifelong employment instead of just doing a job in the city then returning to their fields in the country to resume their independent life—socialist oriented labor unions took root and started managing things at manufacturing facilities across America.  At that time it was a trend so America forced Japan into the same box of thought for which they needed a way to get out.  So Japan offered a policy of lifelong employment to their employee but in going a step further than unions did in America, they adopted a decentralization of authority policy where wages and promotions were attached to tenure, not performance and that essentially stabilized their work culture into a nice predictable pattern that they were able to inject into a market share that essentially ruled for the next fifty years.  This was fine with the academics because it sapped the wealth from American manufacturing and relocated it to the orient and even into Europe.  As time passed and American companies still struggled with the concepts of lean manufacturing because at the core of it is a group think that purposely diffuses the merits of individualized behavior then more American companies became Chinese and Korean companies because people in those regions already were somewhat predisposed toward lean manufacturing thought—it’s an Asian thing.  For people who will eat the eyeball of a chicken as a snack it’s no big deal to stand at an assembly line and decentralize authority to the masses of group think.  But to the six-foot six ,300 pound redneck from Appalachia that has a Confederate Flag on the front of their pick-up truck, it’s quite difficult.

However, life was never all that great in Japan.  They were willing to work hard and long, but they were still an occupied country infused with western ideas on the collapse of their great empire which was destroyed at the end of World War II.  Before that they had the samurai culture which had been destroyed by the emerging new emperor—so the people were always ready and willing to fight for something but they had been shell-shocked over the centuries with a lot of disappointment.  If they could get back at the West by imposing lean manufacturing techniques on those “cowboys” then they’d be very happy, and thus they have been riding on that reputation now for many decades even though it took a lot of smoke and mirrors to maintain the illusion.  But those mirrors essentially broke with the release of this news from Kobe Steel.  To keep up their shipments and deal with the focus of the world on their products Kobe Steel had to fudge the paperwork they helped to create and due to the constant pressure from other Asian markets which have emerged over the last twenty years, Kobe Steel had to take short cuts on quality to stay relevant.  In essence, they became dominated by new, leaner and more ambitious manufacturing techniques just as mass production had been destroyed by lean manufacturing in the 80s and 90s.

I had a front row seat to all this activity, I worked at Cincinnati Milacron in the mid 1990s and it was going out of business by the day at that point in time.  They had us studying lean manufacturing techniques just to stay alive.  I could say the same about the Fisher Body planet in Fairfield, Ohio where my grandfather worked.  I could also say the same about the Camero plant in Norwood where I knew several people who worked there.  Now there is nothing left of those places, Milacron and the Camero plant were completely bulldozed away erasing their memory.  People visiting those locations today would never know that they ever existed.  In the final days of their manufacturing lives they had the same desperate anxiety about them that we can now see out of Kobe Steel—and it saddens me to see it, but it doesn’t surprise me.  These trajectories of failure are predictable and can be traced largely back to our academic institutions that impose themselves on the creativity of any industry that must move with much more nibble feet to compete in an ever-changing world.  By the time the academics get their published opinions out about global trends, they are too late and those who listen to them find themselves on the hot seat toward losing immediately.

I may tell my secrets later, but certainly not now.  Innovation didn’t stop with Womach.  Lean manufacturing has some good things to offer, but it certainly won’t deliver anybody to the Promised Land without a lot of hard work and a new take.  Just because you study the words of something it doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed, and so many people even today think that success can be bought.  For those who think such things just look at the Kobe Steel case—a Japanese company that is still struggling to find their place in a competitive world as their niche concept of lean manufacturing is proving to be more of a gimmick now than a justifiable strategy sold by academics for the purpose of destroying manufacturing in the West so that the East could spread communism to every corner of the planet.  That was always on the mind of the academic after all—that much should be clear to everyone now.  But lucky for us all, the wheels fell off at Kobe Steel before we went too far down that road—and the good news is that innovation and the next great things are still out there waiting for the world to copy them.  Until then, I’ll keep the smile on my face watching others try to figure out the latest riddle in the world of competitive manufacturing.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

The Proper Use of Executive Orders: Why Trump is a hero and Obama was a loser

First of all, a note to the Democrats, the way Obamacare was created was as illegal as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.  The vote during Christmas of 2010 when everyone was looking the other way, the coercion—we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it, the weak Supreme Court ruling by identifying it as a tax when the Obama administration lied about the nature of it from the beginning—were all devious acts.  The notion that you can keep your doctor if you like your doctor when all along the Obamanites on Capitol Hill intended to destroy health care all together and give rise to a single payer system in the United States bringing one more socialist program to the freest nation on earth.   There were plenty of lies and manipulations congress did to bring Obamacare to life, then to have losers like John McCain force us like scandalous children to stay at the table of Obamacare just because of his silly vote was preposterous.  Given all that massive government dysfunction and intent to destroy free markets, Trump’s executive order to destroy subsidies into Obamacare was a much different thing than the typical executive orders of Obama regarding the impatient use of White House power to go around congress to get something done.   These powers were given to the president for just this kind of purpose.

Executive orders are not law.  What Trump did will need to still be made law at some point in the future.  But he can at least give the world a demonstration of what free market options look like while he works to get enough senate support to get real reform passed.  For that to happen John McCain likely will have to die in office and be replaced with a real conservative.  Other senators who were never Trumpers during the campaign, like Ben Sasse and several others will need to be removed from office and be replaced with more Trump oriented Republicans—and that appears to be exactly what the President is going to do.  Just because those never Trumpers put an “R” next to their names doesn’t mean they are the right kind of Republicans.  I know a lot of people who call themselves “Republicans” when in fact they are just Democrats in hiding—because they live in conservative areas of the country and couldn’t get elected any other way.

I watched the righteous indignation toward President Trump over his health care executive orders with great satisfaction.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot all the talk is about Constitutional respect and the value of checks and balances.  Yet when Chuck Schumer watched Barack Obama abuse his power to go around congress it was “heroic” and necessary.  Give me a break.  Trump’s executive orders are to fulfill a campaign promise in regards to Obamacare.  He can’t let congress stand in the way of a promise he was elected on—just so they can appease the lobbyists who have made them rich as public servants.   The original sin was created by Obama and his Republican friends in the Swamp who have secretly all joined together to carry America toward a single payer healthcare system which of course is a pay to play scheme for those remaining insurers who can use the lack of competition to solidify their costs with guaranteed subsidies.  It’s good for them and the politicians but terrible for the people it is supposed to serve.  So Donald Trump did the right thing and undid the whole mess so that everything can collapse and force everyone to the negotiating table which is a very different thing from what Obama had done.

Trump’s executive orders are not to subvert congress, they are to force everyone to the negotiating table to take positive action, and that is a proper use of executive privilege.  It’s why we should be electing more people in the future with real world business experience rather than community activists who have radical ideas constructed for them in academia.  Our current intellectual class of people around the world have subscribed to poor Marxist oriented philosophies and have been caught in advising the world toward disaster and that needs to change fast.  Trump is part of that answer.  Putting people into politics that are proven success stories is the trend of the future, not losers who are filled only with theories concocted in the dank old rooms of Oxford, then passed off to a bunch of oily skinned pubescents at Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge—who then carry those stupid ideas out into the world with disguised merit because they were spoken about from respected houses of academia.  Power and respect do not come from brick rooms and institutional hallways—they come from success and a reputation based on history.  Academia has ruined their reputations by teaching the wrong kind of things to their students.  Barry Obama learned the wrong things at the University of Chicago where progressivism was being launched from that particular institution to change the world from one thing to another.  Obamacare is every bit about that desire to change and academia has been proven wrong in their assumptions—yet they have insisted to carry all of us forward regardless of the facts—which is why they are being knocked out of power now.

It’s not that Trump happened to them.  It’s not that Trump had Russian help to win an election or used his celebrity to beat a loser of a Democratic candidate.  It’s that Trump has a track record of success in getting things done that spans four decades, and voters wanted to see something get done for a change—and they are tired of corrupt politicians ramming things down their throats like this single payer health care initiative that even Republicans are trying to steer us all to.  Trump promised free market solutions so we voted for him and expected him to deliver.  When congress didn’t play ball and sought to run out the clock on Trump by slowing everything down on Capitol Hill people recognized what was happening, so they support the actions of the president.  Of course liberals are mad, but who cares.  Their plots are coming undone under Trump and that is specifically why people voted for him.  That’s not Trump’s fault.  He’s just the messenger.  The reason he was elected in the first place is the fault of Democrats and the RINO Republicans who have not put American interests at the front of their considerations.   Instead they put forth plans created by a Marxist inspired academia around the world, and they expected that failure to solidify due to the lack of options they deliberately were providing to us.  With Trump now, free market solutions will at least see the light of day.  It will still be up to us, the voters, to advance that competitive formula into law over the years to come.  And that is the biggest difference between Obama’s executive orders and Trump’s.  Obama’s were radical ideas designed to change the nature of American life.  Trump’s are to force negotiations by creating options to consider.  And that’s why Trump is a great president while Obama was and will always be considered an insurgent who intended to destroy American sovereignty with one more crippling socialist program intent to put restrictive chains on our economy.   For academia health care was a Trojan Horse designed to destroy the American economy so it was a dream for them.  But it was a nightmare for the people of the United States—happily now because of Trump—we are waking up from the nightmare, and the new day is looking pretty good.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

The HBO ‘Spielberg’ Documentary: What used to be good about Hollywood

I eagerly awaiting the time when HBO released its newest documentary titled simply as Spielberg. It was a Saturday night on October 7th when I was finally able to see it after waiting months for it to air, and I enjoyed it immensely. With all the recent discussion about Harvey Weinstein and the current decline of Hollywood, this Spielberg documentary was an interesting looking into everything that has been good about the movie industry. Clearly, and I’ve always felt this way, without Steven Spielberg as a great producer and writer, all of our lives would be much less optimistic. What the HBO documentary did that most DVD interviews have failed to do is pin point what drove Steven Spielberg and how that raw ambition touched the lives of so many people. It’s hard to watch anything on television or at the movies that Steven Spielberg has not touched in a good way. I always loved that filmmaker’s natural optimism and enjoyed how he could take incredibly dark topics like Schindler’s List and find the good in such a terrible story. Personally, 1993 was a year of really intense emotions. I was being sued many times over for a business deal that went south. Bill Clinton had just become president when I campaigned hard for Ross Perot and I literally felt like the world was coming to an end in everything that was going on around me. Then I saw Jurassic Park where several brilliant shots in that movie by Spielberg blew the doors off the future of visual effects—namely the attack at the T-Rex paddock in a downpour of rain in a lush tropical jungle to a booming symphonic musical score that I have never forgotten. Then just a few months later Schindler’s List was released and it became one of my favorite movies. As a very young person I was ready to be a filmmaker myself because Spielberg inspired me to do so. But what I learned harshly over the next 15 years was that I was more intended to the subject of movies rather than the maker of them. Some people are meant to be behind the camera, others are meant to be in front of them. Steven Spielberg was uniquely gifted in life to be behind the camera where everything made much more sense to him, and we are all better for it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/10-things-we-learned-from-hbos-spielberg-documentary-w506623

What made Spielberg tick was his overly optimistic approach to life mixed with his natural fears that were more defined than most people were aware of. Spielberg used movies as his natural therapy to work out things in life that were beating him down. The only time Steven Spielberg was a fearless human being was when he was behind the camera where he was able to work things out in a way that allowed them to be captured on film. I learned about myself much later that I didn’t like the collaborative process of making movies the way Spielberg did and that I didn’t live my life like he did his. I wasn’t insecure about anything and that doesn’t make for very compelling stories—only the characters within stories as they interact with the outside world. Understanding that made me appreciate what Steven Spielberg did that much more over his lifetime.

I have enjoyed Spielberg’s movies since that magical year of 1993, but never to the same extent as before that date and I think he’s happy with things that way. Hollywood beat up on him for being such a Peter Pan type of personality and they wouldn’t give him credit for being the best director in film history until he made more “adult” dramas which he has. With a new wife to support him, Steven Spielberg went on to make a number of very serious and ambitious movies that many respect, but never tickled the box office quite the same. The Hollywood communists were happy, but the movie industry as a whole wasn’t but who could be mad at Spielberg. He certainly did his part to invent the industry from virtually nothing in the 1970s with a handful of other filmmakers including George Lucas. I’ve always known it but the HBO documentary really captured how unique the movie brats for which Spielberg was a member truly was. I’m glad to have grown up in a time when those types of filmmakers were making movies in Hollywood. I thought it might go on for a long time, but it really only lasted about 20 years. As I was working to get into that business it was obvious the door had closed and people like Harvey Weinstein were in charge of Hollywood and the doors to the next generation of movie brats were not open to conservatives.

Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are not what we’d consider today to be conservative, but they came from a time when father was supposed to know best and rectifying that disappointment took their characters in film to great places. But the foundation of conservativism was there because they grew up in small towns and had fathers who worked hard and were successful in their own ways. They came from intact families and those foundations are present in their movies, from Star Wars to E.T. The magic of those types of movies from those types of filmmakers are so rare now. I thought it was amazing the way the world stopped for a moment just to watch the preview to the new Star Wars movie The Last Jedi during Monday Night Football on October 9th just a few days after the Spielberg documentary was released on HBO. Star Wars is all about family or the lack of it and people are so desperate for a sense of family these days, because liberalism has essentially crushed the notion. That is what separates Spielberg’s movie brats from the lost kids of today. There are no filmmakers like Spielberg out there or coming up, because the American family has essentially been destroyed. If you really want to breakdown what’s sick in Hollywood it is that they don’t tell stories about families anymore. They tell stories about why families are so messed up which robs the viewers of their products of the sanctification they are seeking with the price of a movie ticket.

Even Brian DePalma’s film Scarface which I was surprised to learn Spielberg actually worked on, was about family. Without the family element Tony Montana was just a thug. But in the context of his actions, we could sympathize and like the cocaine mogul because he was in essence a guy who wanted to take care of his family and start one of his own crawling out from under the communist regime in Cuba. Becoming a cocaine dealer was his only real path—a premise that was elaborated on later with the Breaking Bad series. But to come up with these stories from scratch the original movie brats for which Spielberg was the undisputed leader is something we may never see again. I’m glad to have seen it once, but it really is sad that we likely will never get it again for a long time. The conditions that make someone like Steven Spielberg just aren’t there for a new generation of movie makers. The material that young people have to work with now are the products of people like Weinstein where with Spielberg and Lucas it was John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock. The idea of a young Spielberg camping out illegally on the Universal lot just to learn how to make movies is something that the institution of filmmaking today just wouldn’t allow with their obsession with rules and regulations—and that is truly sad.

But the documentary was a marvelous look into one of the most fascinating people in human history, Steve Spielberg who was able to take his natural optimism, massive creative intellect and disappointments toward the nature of family life and put them into a series of marvelous movies that have lasted for decades and will stand the tests of time. I will always have a soft spot for Steven Spielberg even though later in life he has become more of a Democrat and supported politicians like Barack Obama. I’m sure if I sat down at lunch with him I’d have far more in common than not. What has always made Spielberg great is that he understood the American family and refused to be tainted by the disappointments of our times. And instead he put up on the big silver screen all the optimism his vast imagination could conceive and it made our world far better off.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

‘Battlefront II’ Impressions after the Beta Test: I can’t wait for November 14th

I always feel that I must apologize for covering a light topic especially when there is so much going on in the world around us, but we do have to live. We do have to manage our stresses. And we must find the things in life that make us happy, and for me Star Wars is something that works—especially when we are talking about a new video game. Then regarding that topic, I think much of the world that’s coming, the politics, the structure, the science can be seen with each new video game update from the industry because most of the engineers and designers of the future out there are playing these massive online games. While it’s true that ratings are down in the NFL and some of that is certainly due to the politics surrounding the flag, most of the change in attitude toward football in general is because of this new age of entertainment where people can live entire secondary lives online in their video game avatars. I find it all extremely fascinating, and optimistic and it helps me fight through some of the most complex problems that any one human being could be expected to fight through. With all that said, I have been very excited for the next generation Star Wars: Battlefront II which comes out in November. For a long time there was talk of a beta run in early October so I did my pre-order and signed up for the top version of the game and had marked on my calendar October 4th because that’s when the beta opened for the new game by Electronic Arts/Dice.

My first impression of the beta compared to the full game of the original Battlefront with its bright white backgrounds was that it was missing an optimism that made the original very THX-1138 fun and futuristic. The menu boards on Battlefront II were mostly all in blacks and that made it seem like a lesser quality experience to me. Because of this I was disappointed, but once I started playing the various modes I quickly forgave the game because it was a lot of fun. From October 4th to October 9th I played as much as I could and leveled up to somewhere around 10 or 11. I didn’t pay much attention as I was mostly trying to get a feel for everything. A large part of the weekend my grandson was over and we played the new arcade mode a lot. It was clearly his favorite mode and I thought was a big addition to the overall game, a way to learn the maps and get a feel for the various builds in the game. I also thought the Star Card system was much improved, it reminded me a lot of the Fantasy Flight Games board games in this way, which makes those games infinitely interesting. Bringing that Star Card aspect to a video game made for a very compelling experience and I could see quickly that I would soon spend many hours playing with different cards to figure out the best combination, and then trying them out in the Arcade Mode to learn to use them. From just what the game developers showed on their beta test, there are endless opportunities for variety in Battlefront II once the game is released in November.

Before I get too far into this you do know dear reader about the cultural significance of all this, don’t you? After all, the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer was released during halftime on Monday Night Football. And the moment that the beta ended for Battlefront II Forbes had a nice little article seen below about their criticism of the loot box system. The whole play to win debate in the video game community is a big deal because it brings many people into the realities of capitalism in ways their public educations never did. To be good at these games you must put in the hours, and the money. You can get by only doing one of those things, but to be great, you have to spend time, money and diligence to get the most out of the game. People who are from the ANTIFA crowd of course are out there playing these games and their basic philosophy is confronted with the realities of such a big business as Battlefront II is tapping into. Star Wars is just the entry point to these kinds of experiences. They become a lifestyle for many people in a similar way that adults have traditionally been in bowling leagues or played golf. It is not uncommon in the spirit of competition to get a new bowling ball or a set of titanium clubs for golf to get an edge over your rivals and that is what the loot box system does in Battlefront II. The writer for the Forbes article obviously didn’t like it. I did, my grandson and I had a lot of fun with the loot boxes. It was like gambling in Vegas, you never really knew what you were going to get and it was fun working toward an opportunity to have a chance at something cool. Games like this are all about the proper risk rewards system.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2017/10/08/star-wars-battlefront-2s-loot-boxes-seem-like-theyre-going-to-be-a-serious-problem/#1707a80a6323

For me the best part of the new Battlefront II game was the Starfighter Assault modes. It took me a minute to get used to things because they changed the mechanics quite a lot. On the previous edition of Battlefront I was one of those 50 kills per game people. I was very good at it and it was a dream come true for me to fly those ships around in space in combat situations. I can tell that I will be spending many hours playing just that mode. I would say that the new game is worth it just for the Starfighter Assault modes. As readers here know I love the Fantasy Flight Games offerings of X-Wing and Armada so putting a pilot into a scenario that is objective based around giant capital ships and individualized dog fighting is an incredible experience. Even for a beta test the frame rates were high and the details were amazing. Some of the cut-scenes were sloppy on my giant 4K television but I’m sure the final release of the game will be a major improvement on that. As I seem to say with each of these big video game releases, whether it is Uncharted 4 for the Playstation, or Zelda for the Nintendo Switch, this Battlefront II game is the next technical evolution that turns living rooms into combat zones and works our minds in ways we couldn’t duplicate under any other situation.

Probably the best improvement however on Battlefront II is the class system where there are four different categories of player. I found due to my aggressive style the Heavy Class to be most to my liking. But what’s better is that you aren’t stuck to that class for the whole round of play. If you need to lighten things up for more stealth or sniper ability you can during a round, and those strategic options are like gold raining from heaven to a guy like me who literally spends all my down time thinking of strategic options. I think of strategic options even when it comes to what grocery store to go to, so a game like this with all these random elements playing against each other is just food for my brain. So I’m really looking forward to November 14th when the whole game is released to the public. Like I said, I held nothing back on this version. I did preorder the game so I could play it with the early access. And I did by the deluxe version of it so I could get every little benefit. On the first one I came late to the game because I was made at The Force Awakens for killing Han Solo and not respecting the continuity of the previous novels. It took me a year to finally give it a shot after radio host Matt Clark bugged me about it every week for that entire year. Once I did start playing however I exploded and quickly maxed out my level at 100. There were a few weekends around last Christmas where I was off work and I played the starfighter modes for 48 straight hours—because it was that fun. With Battlefront II being noticeably an improvement on the game play mechanics, I will likely go even deeper into the game, so I am starting with the deluxe package and from there I will support the game in whatever fashion they come up with. It’s not only a work of art and technical marvel, but it’s just some of the best fun you can have from a top end entertainment system. I can’t think of a better way to live life than to blow stuff up and hear all the wonderful sounds from a Bose sound system that puts you in the middle of the most intense battles a mind could think of. I am really, really, really looking forward to November 14th. Battlefront II will be a winner and the beta was just a taste of the great things to come.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

 

The Democrat John Kasich: How ‘The Big Lie’ and State Central Committee have changed the political landscape

 

I don’t think John Kasich knows where he is or what’s going on.  I think he’s become a complete idiot.  Over this past week he threatened to leave the Republican Party if they didn’t get their act together…………………………..he left the Republican Party on his own when he signed the Medicaid expansion for Obamacare exchanges going against the Tea Party sponsored Health Care Freedom Amendment.  He also left the Party once he came under fire for the way he dealt with a tornado that tore through Eastern Ohio.  How is he the go-to guy in the Republican Party for how Puerto Rico should be dealt with?  And as far as getting things done, Kasich never regained his footing after he lost the SB5 fight.  Looking back on it now, even though I met the guy during all that and he looked me in the eye promising he was doing everything he could to support the Tea Party movement, I think he never was a reform minded person. He and his friend on 700 WLW Bill Cunningham was never Tea Party supporters—they were just actors playing the part to get elected.  The guy we see today still crying over how he lost the nomination of the Republican Party to Donald Trump is not the same guy I heard at VOA Park back in 2010 speaking to Tea Party groups.  Nor was he  the same guy who spoke in my back yard at the Carriage Hill Barn the night before the election of 2012 where so many critical issues were decided the next day.  He was likely always a loser saying whatever to get elected, but what he is today is clearly a Democrat.  He’s no Republican.  That is clear.

Because of people like John Kasich, once the warning signs were obvious, the Tea Party that everyone has always been so unhappy about in the establishment made a very key, strategic decision.  Yes they attacked candidates like John Boehner openly and it had an effect.  Eric Canter lost his seat to a more reform minded candidate and John Boehner left his speaker job to become a lobbyists and make some money while he still could.  Many other candidates of traditional establishment have found themselves now looking in from the outside.  But that’s not the only success the Tea Party had—the real success was much more permanent.  Tea Party leaders ran for State Central Committee seats and started challenging the establishment from the inside out, and after a few years of that they are now running the Party in a way that the newspapers still don’t udnerstand.   John Kasich for a lot of us was the last straw.  When he went bad people pulled together and made some decisions.  That is why Kasich was unable to keep Donald Trump from winning Ohio, because the Party kicked Kasich to the side, even though he was the sitting governor.   Kasich lost his power because he turned away from the people who put him in office.  He’s not going to leave the Republican Party.  He was already removed during the election period of 2016 based on his horrendous performance as a Republican governor.  Progressives like him, conservatives do not.  The Party moved on without John Kasich.

Now Kasich is the go-to guy on all the liberal network stations.  Progressives are hoping with all their chips on the table that John can make a comeback, but there is no chance of that happening.  Once Kasich lost people like me, he lost the only people who could give him a platform into politics in the future.  He’s done and he won’t be coming back in 2020 as an independent.  The world was poised to change, and he pretended he wanted to be a part of that change.  When he showed that he wasn’t, we found people who would and that’s the end of the story on Kasich.

When those same Tea Party supporters told me their plan I wasn’t sure it could be done at the time, but the people doing it were ambitious and smart.  It took real discipline and tenacity to win all those Central Committee seats.   I was asked to be one of them, but I just couldn’t put the time in, but I have been really impressed by how well their plan worked.  And it has made a difference in the nature of politics within the Republican Party.  This is just the start.  Now that it has been successful more people who are of the Tea Party mind are putting themselves in these Central Committee seats and voting with the reformers.  Kasich will have even a less chance in two years of doing anything in the Republican Party than he does now, because he is a liar, a cheat, and a wimp.  The Party was taken away from Kasich.  He didn’t leave it willingly.  They aren’t telling people that on CNN.

This is also why Democrats are all flipped out with these radicalized groups they have, like ANTIFA.  The old games aren’t working.  I’m just going to spell it out for those who don’t keep track of the inner workings of politics, Dinesh  D’Souza’s recent book, The Big Lie has obliterated the political left’s foundational tactics.  Currently only smart people have read the book and are acting on what has been presented, but over the next eight years the contents will spread into the Democratic playbook and literally destroy all the avenues they’ve used to recruit interest to the Party over the last 100 years.  Of course this isn’t D’Souza’s first entry into this kind of thing, but I think The Big Lie is the most damaging to the Democrats.  Coming out when it did while Trump is in the White House is a game changer in politics.  The book is that good, and that influential.  Just like with the Central Committee efforts I spoke about in Ohio, once the smart people get their teeth into something, the change that follows is inevitable.  Democrats don’t have similar smart people on their side; all they have ever had is fear to invoke political passions.  In this ever-increasing information based society, fear is beaten by knowledge.  And people without knowledge cannot beat people with it—even though they may currently outnumber them—stupid people know how to march in the street, but they don’t know how to get themselves organized into something like a State Central Committee takeover.  That’s where real party decisions are made and Democrats have stacks of very emotional people who are willing to join together for a fight, but to fight what?  They need someone to tell them that and nobody can articulate the issue.  Emotional efforts aren’t aren’t working anymore, so they have no more plan B.

That’s why Kasich is now on the outside.  It is embarrassing to watch him attempt to position himself for a 2020 run as an independent, or perhaps even as a Democrat.  Looking at the Democrats there really isn’t anybody who can challenge Trump in 2020, so Kasich being the kind of guy he is—certainly not a Republican—just a hired gun that turned out to not have any bullets metaphorically speaking, might try to run as a Democrat and he’s setting the stage on CNN.  He wants to be president so badly, he is likely considering it.  But he doesn’t have the heart to win that fight.  He’s a weak person who has made so many people angry that he can’t run from it forever.  It’s already caught up to him which is why he looks so oblivious to the reality around him.  He’s already a man without a Party.  He didn’t make that decision.  It was made for him by those who previously supported him.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.