Oliver Stone's Hugo Chavez Film Flops in Venezuela

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 03:21 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chavez Film Flops in Venezuela
2. Yankees Ban Lady Gaga From Clubhouse
3. Amanda Bynes Announces Early Retirement
4. Angelina Jolie Embroiled in Race-Based Controversy
5. ‘Toy Story 3’ Has Strong Conservative Message

 

1. Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chavez Film Flops in Venezuela

While Venezuelan media outlets that criticize Hugo Chavez’s regime get the duct tape treatment, Oliver Stone is out seeking to promote a movie that lionizes the autocrat.

The increasingly mindless filmmaker just can’t seem to shake his thug love, having already wasted money on the productions of Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat flicks. Now he’s got a lefty documentary called “South of the Border” that heralds Hugo.

Stone has been on a tour of Latin America, where he’s been accompanied by a marketing campaign. Surprise, surprise — the beleaguered citizens of Venezuela decided not show up to watch the whitewash of their so-called president.

Many of the theaters were reportedly empty. During the first 12 days of the movie’s release, it brought in only $18,601 on 20 screens, according to Global Rentrak. That’s what Venezuelans refer to as La Bomba.

Some free rural screenings have generated some crowds, probably out of fear.

Venezuelans have been force-fed a steady diet of Chavez’s mug on TV, which makes Hugo more overexposed than Pamela Anderson doing the rumba on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Stone shouldn’t worry too much, though. “South of the Border” is sure to be a big hit with Marxist professors, socialist union bosses, and the 13 people who still tune in to MSNBC.


2. Yankees Ban Lady Gaga From Clubhouse

Lady Gaga has been banned from the clubhouse of Hillary Clinton’s other favorite baseball team.

Gaga is no longer welcome in the clubhouse of the New York Yankees because the singer slurred her words and groped herself while coming on to the players, according to the New York Post.

Making a second baseball game appearance in a short span, Gaga visited Yankee Stadium for a New York Yankees-Mets game.

She sported sunglasses and wore a form-fitting team uniform that exposed her undergarments.

“I just kicked my a** in the gym, time to wash it down with an ice cold N.Y. beer,” she tweeted before going to the game.

Gaga didn’t give the finger to photographers as she had done in another visit to a baseball team, namely the Mets at Citi Field, which incidentally gestured her right into a breach of the Mets’ code of conduct.

This time she used her hands to repeatedly fondle her upper torso as she schmoozed with Alex Rodriguez and  Robinson Cano.

Yankee management is reportedly no longer a big Gaga fan thanks to her undignified behavior. “Permanently banned” from the clubhouse is her current status, according to the New York Post.

However, the Post story is being disputed by Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, who denied the report to ESPN, explaining that “celebrities aren’t banned.”


3. Amanda Bynes Announces Early Retirement

With talk of Social Security going broke and with Congress spending money at the same rate as the gushing oil, there’s been a lot of speculation about the need to adjust the retirement age.

The Dems’ drunken spending may mean that we won’t be able to retire until we’re five years short of Methuselah.

Interestingly, though, one young, gifted former child star has announced her retirement at the age of 24.

Amanda Bynes, who gained fame on Nickelodeon, has telegraphed her intention to retire from acting on her Twitter page. “Being an actress isn't as fun as it may seem. I don't love acting anymore so I've stopped doing it,” Bynes tweeted. “If I don't love something anymore I stop doing it.”

She acknowledged publicly that she’s letting her acting career go prematurely. “I know 24 is a young age to retire, but you heard it here first,” she wrote. “I've #retired.”

Bynes became a teen superstar on Nickelodeon's comedy show “All That,” and gained additional fame with her own vehicle, “The Amanda Show.”

She also later co-starred with Jennie Garth on the WB sitcom, “What I like About You.” The films “She's the Man” and “Hairspray” also had her playing key roles.

Bynes’ next flick, and presumably her last, is a comedy called “Easy A,” which is scheduled to open in September 2010.


4. Angelina Jolie Embroiled in Race-Based Controversy

A potential film role in a remake of a classic is placing Angelina Jolie in the middle of a controversy.

It’s the second time the actress has been caught up in a debate about race. This time it started with an announcement by producer Scott Rudin that he planned a new version of the Cleopatra story based on Stacy Schiff's book, “Cleopatra: A Life.”

Rudin indicated that the script would be developed for Angelina Jolie. Schiff was ecstatic over the choice of Jolie. The author told USA Today, “Physically, she's the perfect look.”

Not so, according to a prominent African-American publication.

“I don't care how full Angelina Jolie's lips are, how many African children she adopts, or how bronzed her skin will become for the film,” Shirea Carroll wrote in an Essence editorial. “I firmly believe this role should have gone to a Black woman . . . What's next? A biopic on ‘Sojourner Truth’ played by Betty White?”

In 2007 the choice of Jolie was criticized when the actress played the part of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's wife, Mariane. To make herself resemble Mariane, who is partly of African descent, Jolie wore tinted makeup.

If historians had their way, they’d no doubt come up with a different choice to play the famed seductress of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. According to ABC News, Egyptologists say that the ancient queen was actually “short, fat and plain.”


5. ‘Toy Story 3’ Has Strong Conservative Message

Hold on tight to your flag pins, folks.

“Toy Story 3,” the No. 1 film of the weekend, the most successful flick from one the most consistently successful outfits, Pixar, has a surprisingly strong conservative message.

The familiar cast of characters from the “Toy Story” franchise is back, including Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Slinky (Blake Clark) and Jessie (Joan Cusack).

The toys’ owner, Andy (John Morris), is now 18 years old. He has a whole new slate of fun stuff to play with including video games and an electric guitar. Andy stores the toys he used to play with in a chest full of discards in his room. Because he’s about to go off to college, the toys inadvertently end up being donated to a daycare center.

Woody decides not to stay with the other toys at the center, and he heads off to find Andy.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the Sunnyside Daycare Center has a very misleading name. It’s here where the plot pulls some themes from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

The center is actually an animated dictatorship with an elite ruling class that is led by a despot teddy bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty). The power-crazed Lotso has his own toy thugs that dole out punishments and “torture” to any toy that fails to submit to the regime.

Woody finds out that his friends are suffering under the furry fist of the totalitarian teddy.

The big tension arrives when, with Woody’s assistance, the toys attempt to escape from the toon banana republic.

Woody even has to deal with Buzz Lightyear, who has now been reprogrammed, i.e., brainwashed, into supporting the dictatorship.

Not only is “Toy Story 3” the most watchable movie of the summer, it is, in fact, one of the most watchable movies of the year, and an extra special treat for conservatives.

The film is a welcome excursion for the whole family, with kernels of courage, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness to blend with your popcorn. Although there are a couple of innuendos that older kids may catch, profanity is happily absent.

Freedom, and what it means when it is lost, is set forth in a seamless, heartfelt, elegant manner.

Ironically, the movie’s main theme flows from the mouth of Barbie (Jodi Benson) in a paraphrased line from the Declaration of Independence. “Authority is derived from the governed, not through control,” the famed doll proclaims.

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