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FLICKS: Ghostbusters, The Secret Life of Pets, Hillary’s America

Posted on 28 July 2016 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


It has been a 27 year wait, but Ghostbusters finally appeared on the big screen full of big screen special effects. Despite the endorsement of the original cast-mates (Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson) and mass marketing, the rebooted film failed to secure first place in its opening weekend, losing out to The Secret Life of Pets.

The reviews have been split evenly and decisively, with 50 percent (mostly female) feeling inspired by the film, while the other 50 percent (mostly male) feeling their childhood has been betrayed. It is true that the Ghostbusters reboot lacks the freshness of Aykroyd’s, and the late Harold Ramis’ vision; however, director and co-writer Paul Feig has created new characters that are both quirky and charming.

Professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is about to achieve tenure at Columbia University when an academic skeleton comes out of her past. Erin wrote a book about the paranormal with her old friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), who now works at a low budget institute with techno-nerd Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). After a series of mishaps involving vomiting ghosts, the three ladies form a unique business partnership.

As the paranormal activities increase, this new enterprise hires a beefcake secretary who can’t type (Chris Hemsworth) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a streetwise cabbie whose uncle (Ernie Hudson) owns a Hearst business. Together, these five individuals confront the cause of all evil in New York City.

The five main characters are the heart and the humor of the film. Kate McKinnon is the most committed to her role and often steals scenes by doing absolutely nothing. Chris Hemsworth is the most broad character. His dancing during the closing credits will keep Chippendale fans in the theater for the final frames.

Like Ghostbusters, The Secret Life of Pets is set in Manhattan. Told from the perspective of domesticated dogs and cats, the audience learns the untold adventures these animated creatures face during the daytime. This film has been the box office champion two weeks in a row. Combined with the much superior Finding Dory, animated talking animals have been the box office monarch for the Summer of 2016.

Twelve years ago, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 was released with much hype and remains the biggest grossing documentary ever made. Four years ago, Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016 Obama’s America was released with far less hype and became the fifth highest grossing documentary of all time.

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party is D’Souzas’s look at the next chapter of American presidential history. After four years of increasing terrorist violence in America and abroad, we learn that D’Souza served jail time for making an illegal campaign contribution. While serving his sentence with murderers and thieves, D’Souza becomes more street smart and learns the rules of the con. D’Souza compares and contrasts the “street con” with the Democratic political machine and presents many similarities.

Like a good history teacher, D’Souza raises many questions. He asks why the Republican Party that was founded on an antislavery platform became perceived as the party of racist, rich, white men?

The first President of the Democratic Party was Andrew Jackson, slave owner. Abe Lincoln’s Republican Party opposed slavery. For almost a century, the Democratic Party opposed the civil rights of African American Individuals through the Jim Crow laws.

When the Civil Rights Act was created 52 years ago, it did so with a majority of Republican congressmen, though it was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat. This historical fact is downplayed in the recent HBO drama – All the Way starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ. From this point of American History, we learn that young Hillary Rodham was a “Goldwater Girl,” the presidential alternative to President Johnson’s reelection efforts in 1964.

Writing graduate papers about abortion-advocate Margaret Sanger and becoming streetwise thanks to the writings of Saul Alinsky, the story of Hillary Rodham-Clinton is simply told. Unfortunately, the simplicity of Hillary’s America mars the journalistic impact of the thesis. Though valid, the historical recreations featuring Ida B. Wells, President Woodrow Wilson, and Bill Clinton feel as broad as a Saturday Night Live skit.

Tonight Hillary Clinton accepts her nomination to be the first female President of the United States. Take the time to see Hillary’s America for an alternative point of view. Pay attention to the upcoming Presidential debates and then vote your conscience.

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