Paul Miller writes: Mayor Clint Eastwood became famous playing fictional tough guys like Rowdy Yates and Dirty Harry. Lately, he’s achieved even greater fame as the director of films about real-life heroes — including Iraq vet Chris Kyle and pilot Sully Sullenberger.
Now, Eastwood is working on his next project, about three friends who stopped a terrorist attack two years ago on a train in France. One of them, a U.S. Air Force enlisted man named Spencer Stone, did something very few people have done and lived to tell about: Without a weapon or anything to defend himself, he charged a fanatical and heavily armed enemy, knocking him to the ground. And then he and his friends, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, disarmed the man and rendered him unconscious, saving dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent lives in the process.
“It was a very important event, because there were so many people on the train, and the guy had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and he could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” Eastwood said. “And there’s no reason to think he wasn’t going to.”
At his office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Eastwood is busy these days refining the shooting schedule, while his casting directors are choosing the actors, costumers are picking the outfits, and set designers are planning the shots — all routine tasks for a major Hollywood picture. But the film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” which Eastwood says will probably be released later this year, has a story that promises to be unprecedented in its heart-stopping impact, yet which carries a timeless message of people putting their lives on the line to protect others.
“My buddies and I were on a trip around Europe,” Stone told The Pine Cone this week from a family cabin at Lake Tahoe. He’d known the men — Sadler, a student at Sacramento State, and Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard — since their childhood in a Sacramento suburb. “Anthony and I started the trip in Rome, and then we went to Venice, Munich and Berlin. And then Alek, who was coming off a tour of duty in Afghanistan, joined us in Amsterdam.”
Their next destination was to be Paris, and on August 21, 2015, they boarded a high-speed train set to leave Amsterdam at 3:17 p.m. (15:17 on the 24-hour clock used in Europe) for the French capital. “As we boarded,” Stone said, “we noticed there didn’t seem to be any security — no metal detectors, no bag check. Nothing.”
But they didn’t think much about it, and the men — off duty and in civilian clothes — soon settled into their first class seats, had a meal and a little wine, checked the internet, and promptly went to sleep.
“We were always on the go, and for us, trains rides were a chance to take a nap,” Stone said.
A brief stop at the Gare Midi in Brussels woke them up — but for only a moment, Stone said. They had no idea a 25-year-old Moroccan man, Ayub El Ghazzani, had boarded in Brussels carrying a deadly backpack.
A man running and glass shattering
As the train hurtled through the European countryside, the three friends dozed, and the next thing Stone remembers was being awakened when a train crew member sprinted past him toward the front of the train. Taking off his noise-reducing headphones, Stone says he heard glass shatter behind him, and people gasping and screaming. Turning around to look in the direction of the noise, he saw El Ghazzani, shirtless and with a backpack attached to his chest, bend down at the end of the car and pick up an assault rifle.
“It was an AK-47, and he was trying to load a round, and I immediately knew he was a terrorist,” Stone said.
And this was no movie. Suddenly confronted with what was sure to be a life-or-death situation, the Air Force man hesitated for just a moment. Read the rest of this entry »
ESQ: Your characters have become touchstones in the culture, whether it’s Reagan invoking “Make my day” or now Trump … I swear he’s even practiced your scowl.
“…when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, ‘This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.’ And I said, ‘Good. Let me read it tonight.’ The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, ‘We’re starting this immediately.'”
CE: Maybe. But he’s onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist. And then when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, “This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.” And I said, “Good. Let me read it tonight.” The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, “We’re starting this immediately.”
“I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody….He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody—the press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist,’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.”
ESQ: What is the “pussy generation”?
CE: All these people that say, “Oh, you can’t do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t say that.” I guess it’s just the times.
ESQ: What do you think Trump is onto?
CE: What Trump is onto is he’s just saying what’s on his mind. And sometimes it’s not so good. And sometimes it’s … I mean, I can understand where he’s coming from, but I don’t always agree with it.
ESQ: So you’re not endorsing him? Read the rest of this entry »
The Friends of Abe has acted as a clandestine club for Hollywood conservatives for more than a decade, hosting secret events where they could vent rightwing views and hear speeches from visiting Tea Party luminaries.
“Effective immediately, we are going to begin to wind down the 501 c3 organization, bring the Sustaining Membership dues to an end, and do away with the costly infrastructure and the abespal.com website,” the executive director, Jeremy Boreing, told members in an email, a copy of which the Guardian has seen.
“Today, because we have been successful in creating a community that extends far beyond our events, people just don’t feel as much of a need to show up for every speaker or bar night, and fewer people pay the dues that help us maintain that large infrastructure.”
The announcement caught members by surprise and fueled speculation that infighting over Donald Trump’s candidacy, among other factors, had drained commitment. Others said the group had been losing steam for years.
Lionel Chetwynd, a producer and screenwriter and co-founder of the FOA, recently spoke of the primary campaign causing a “civil war in slow motion”, which fractured friendships and shredded solidarity.
Boreing, a director and producer, put a positive gloss on the announcement, saying the initial hunger for fellowship had prompted the group to build an expensive website, rent offices and hire staff, including lawyers and accountants.
“It’s time to change how we do it. As our group has grown in size and success, many of the structures that helped us grow have become less useful … It means an end to the standing organization, but not an end to the mission or the fellowship.”
Boreing vowed to maintain the mailing list and stage events, but without the infrastructure, staff or budget requirements.
“We will still get together for drinks and speakers, but we may reassess how we approach those events logistically. In short, FOA will return to its roots. It will be a passion project, like it was in the beginning … We’ll still be a private organization that protects the names of our members at all costs.”
Boreing did not immediately respond to interview requests.
Members expressed surprise and dismay at the weakening, and perhaps loss, of a refuge from what they see as Hollywood’s bullying liberal ethos.
It was the one place where many of its members – actors, producers, writers and technicians – felt safe from liberal sneers and potential retribution. Read the rest of this entry »
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) February 16, 2015
Little is known about Routh, except that attorney J. Warren St. John will attempt to make the case that his client is not guilty by reason of insanity
Since being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in July 2011, her son had been in and out of Veterans Affairs clinics, she said. He showed no progress in two years, and his erratic behavior continued to spiral out of control.
Jodi Routh worked as an aide at the same Midlothian, Texas, elementary school that Chris Kyle’s children attended. Kyle, of course, wrote “American Sniper,” the basis for the blockbuster Clint Eastwood film, and she had heard that The New York Times bestselling author worked with fellow veterans who were having a hard time adjusting to life back home.
“Shortly after his apprehension, Routh confessed to authorities and family members that he killed both men. After becoming aggressive with guards and refusing to give up a spork and dinner tray, he was placed on suicide watch under 24-hour surveillance in the Erath County Jail.”
“She approached Chris Kyle as he was dropping off his children and asked him if he would help her son. At that point, she had been trying to get (her son) care at the VA, and he was only getting worse,” according to Laura Beil, author of the ebook, “The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of Eddie Routh, the Man Accused of Killing Legendary ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle.”
After the deaths of Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, Beil, who also is a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine, spent almost four months with Eddie Routh’s family detailing the Marine’s struggles after serving in Iraq and Haiti.
[Laura Beil’s book “The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of Eddie Routh, the Man Accused of Killing Legendary ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle” is available at Amazon]
“At the end of the conversation, (Kyle) said, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help your son.’ She actually cried at that point because it was the first time in over a year that anyone had said that,” Beil told CNN.
Eddie Ray Routh, 27, grew up in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, about 20 miles east of Midlothian, Kyle’s hometown. He faces murder charges in the 2013 deaths of Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35.
‘After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?’Posted: February 4, 2015
Vindicating Chris Kyle
Islamic State proves Kyle was right about the ‘savage’ enemy
“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq.” Those were among the words the late Chris Kyle, of “American Sniper” fame, used to describe the enemy he and fellow veterans of the Iraq war faced. After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?
“The kidnappers then tied the Egyptian’s hands behind his back and asked him to state his name. . . . After complying, he was about to apologize for his acts, but a man gave a sign to the ‘executioner’ standing behind the hostage, who grabbed the man’s tongue and cut it off, stating that the time for excuses was past.”
We say this as a corner of liberal America has fallen over itself denouncing Clint Eastwood ’s blockbuster biopic of Kyle, who was killed in 2013 by a deranged Marine veteran. HBO’s Bill Maher called him a “psychopath patriot,” and other Hollywood action heroes like Michael Moore have weighed in similarly. Their view is that Kyle must have been inhumane since he killed scores of enemy fighters without being burdened by a guilty conscience.
“After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?”
Yet the kind of butchery that Islamic State likes to advertise via YouTube was the reality Iraqis routinely faced when the Islamic State’s forbear, al Qaeda in Iraq, terrorized entire cities and towns during the height of the Iraq war. Read the rest of this entry »
Byron York writes: Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with Jordan’s King Abdullah Tuesday not long after news broke that ISIS had burned to death a Jordanian pilot captured in the fight against the terrorist group.
“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen. He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
— Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., who was in the meeting with the king.
In a private session with lawmakers, the king showed an extraordinary measure of anger — anger which he expressed by citing American movie icon Clint Eastwood.
“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen,” said Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who was in the meeting with the king. “He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
“He’s angry. They’re starting more sorties tomorrow than they’ve ever had. They’re starting tomorrow. And he said, ‘The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.”
Hunter would not say which part of “Unforgiven” the king quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood’s character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood’s character, William Munny, says…(read more)
‘I lost track of how many soldiers and Marines told me of their frustration with an American media that so often describes them as either nuts or victims’
Michael J. Totten writes: Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, is a blisteringly accurate portrayal of the American war in Iraq. Unlike most films in the genre, it sidesteps the politics and focuses on an individual: the late, small-town Texan, Chris Kyle, who joined the Navy SEALs after 9/11 and did four tours of duty in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. He is formally recognized as the deadliest sniper in American history, and the film, based on his bestselling memoir, dramatizes the war he felt duty-bound to fight and his emotionally wrenching return home, with post-traumatic stress.
“All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.”
The movie has become a flashpoint for liberal critics. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore dismissed the film out-of-hand because snipers, he says, are “cowards.” “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds,” comic actor Seth Rogen tweeted, referring to a fake Hitler propaganda film about a Nazi sniper, though he backtracked and said he actually liked the film, that it only reminded him of Nazi propaganda. Writing for the Guardian, Lindy West is fair to Eastwood and the film but cruel to its subject. Kyle, she says, was “a hate-filled killer” and “a racist who took pleasure in dehumanizing and killing brown people.”
The Navy confirms that Kyle shot and killed 160 combatants, most of whom indeed had brown skin. While he was alive, he said that he enjoyed his job. In one scene in the movie, Kyle, played by a bulked-up Bradley Cooper, refers to “savages,” and it’s not clear if he means Iraqis in general or just the enemies he’s fighting.
“What would you think of a man who kills a kid with a power drill right in front of you? Would you moderate your language so that no one at a Manhattan dinner party would gasp? Maybe you would, but Kyle wasn’t at a Manhattan dinner party.”
But let’s take a step back and leave the politics aside. All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. This is true whether they’re on the “right” side or the “wrong” side. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.
“Here’s a medical fact: psychopaths don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress or any other kind of anxiety disorder. And cowards don’t volunteer for four tours of duty in war-torn Iraq.”
Does anyone seriously believe Kyle would have felt differently if white Russians or Serbs, rather than “brown” Arabs, were shooting at him? How many residents of New York’s Upper West Side had a sympathetic or nuanced view of al-Qaida on September 11, 2001? Some did—inappropriately, in my view—but how many would have been able to keep it up if bombs exploded in New York City every day, year after year?
Kyle had other reasons to hate his enemies, aside from their desire to kill him. In American Sniper, we see him in Fallujah and Ramadi fighting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, the bloody precursor to ISIS. Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew Braun: ‘Unlike the War Films of Generations Past, ‘American Sniper’ Actually Has to Explain Onscreen That al Qaeda Insurgents Were (and Still Are) Bad’Posted: January 29, 2015
What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics
A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper’
Matthew Braun writes: I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.
American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 18, 2015
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015
“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”
He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”
“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”
Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.
Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad
War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.
“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”
Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.
“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”
Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.
The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.
The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 26, 2015
Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’Posted: January 26, 2015
The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.
My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.
“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.
“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “
I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »
Like many movie goers I prefer to avoiding reading detailed reviews of movies before I see them, then enjoy reading a series of them right after. With the controversy surrounding American Sniper, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to what’s being said and written (and we’ve covered plenty of that controversy in the last few weeks) so it made even more of a challenge to stay away from reviews until I had an opportunity to see it myself.
A few hours ago, I finally saw American Sniper. I’ve only read a few reviews so far–and I plan add some of our own commentary soon–but this New Yorker review immediately struck me, because I prejudged the source. Admittedly unfair, but I don’t see the island of Manhattan as a place to expect anything but veiled score for Clint Eastwood, dislike of war films in general, and snarling distaste for this movie in particular. I’m happy to be completely wrong. Though it’s a short capsule double-movie review, given second-billing to Selma, all due credit to New Yorker film critic David Denby, for a positive, respectful, and insightful review of American Sniper.
Denby‘s first sentence nails it:
“Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper‘ is both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior’s skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”
The following comment is one of the most admiring things a critic can say about a filmmaker:
“Eastwood’s command of this material makes most directors look like beginners. As Kyle and his men ride through rubble-strewn Iraqi cities, smash down doors, and race up and down stairways, the camera records what it needs to fully dramatize a given event, and nothing more.”
And this characterization of Eastwood’s skill and talent as a director is perfectly summarized:
“There’s no waste, never a moment’s loss of concentration, definition, or speed. The general atmosphere of the cities, and the scattered life of the streets, gets packed into the action…” Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Tuttle: American Sniper Backlash Exposes ‘Bush Derangement’ Syndrome Hasn’t Gone into Remission, Still MalignantPosted: January 22, 2015
Chris Kyle Complicates the Narrative
National Review Buckley fellow Ian Tuttle addressed the seething discontent on the American left over the popular success of American Sniper, saying the backlash against the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle represents continuing “derangement” over the Bush years and the Iraq War.
“One of the reasons that Chris Kyle has garnered so much animus is because there remains a derangement when it comes to Iraq and the Bush years, against which Chris Kyle stood…”
Tuttle spoke with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday about the vitriolic outpouring against Kyle by left-wing bloggers and pundits like Michael Moore and Max Blumenthal, who accused the sniper of being a coward and a mass murderer. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s American Sniper
Dan Henninger writes: Barack Obama was 15 minutes into his State of the Union speech when I arrived home to watch it, having just walked back from seeing “American Sniper.”
“Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable.”
Because Clint Eastwood directed “American Sniper” the movie is about more than the story of Chris Kyle, the highly skilled rifle marksman from Texas. In 2006, Mr. Eastwood presented two movies about the famous World War II battle of Iwo Jima. “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the story from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, and “Flags of Our Fathers” from the Americans’ side.
“Watching “American Sniper,” it is impossible to separate these catastrophes from seeing what the Marines did and endured to secure northern Iraq. Again, anyone is entitled to hate the Iraq war…”
So “American Sniper” is not a crude paean to “our boys” in the Iraq war. What it does is convey the extraordinary personal, psychological and physical sacrifice of the U.S. Marines who fought al Qaeda i”n Fallujah, Ramadi and the other towns of Iraq’s Anbar province beginning in 2003 and through the period of the Anbar Awakening, which ended with the Marines pacifying the province.
“…But no serious person would want a president to make a decision that would allow so much personal sacrifice to simply evaporate…”
It’s just a movie, so even “American Sniper’s” small slice only hints at the price America paid—some 3,500 combat deaths and another 32,000 wounded—to bring Iraq to a point of relative, if fragile, stability in 2011.
“…Which, in his serene self-confidence, is what Barack Obama did. That absolute drawdown was a decision of fantastic foolishness.”
Opinions will differ, often bitterly, on the war in Iraq and the reasons for it. In the movie, a painful funeral scene captures that ambivalence. But what is just not possible to choke down is President Obama’s decision in 2011 to reduce the U.S.’s residual military presence to virtually zero. It was a decision to waste what the Marines and Army had done. Read the rest of this entry »
Resonating With People in Smaller Cities, Military Film Has Huge $105.3 Million Debut Weekend
“’American Sniper’ garnered better reviews than ‘Lone Survivor’ or ‘Unbroken’ and, unlike the latter two, received multiple Academy Award nominations, including for best picture—helping to ensure it performed well across the country and wasn’t exclusively a ‘red state’ phenomenon.”
Based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, reputed to be the deadliest sniper in the American military during the Iraq war, “American Sniper” opened to a phenomenal $105.3 million in the U.S. and Canada over the four-day holiday weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros., owned by Time Warner Inc.
“What these movies share is they’re utterly unironic. They treat American values honorably.”
— Michael Moses, Universal’s co-president of marketing
Its success was driven in large part by moviegoers like Mr. Smith who live in smaller cities and don’t regularly go to the multiplex.
“Chris Kyle was a fellow veteran, a fellow Texan. He’s very much a true legend,” Mr. Smith said while holding hands with his wife, Crystal. “So it was basically a foregone conclusion I’d be here as soon as it opened.”
“When the phone calls started coming in from exhibitors, I realized we had something special happening in the South and in small towns where our movies sometimes find it difficult to resonate.”
— Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.
Such a massive opening for a mid-budget drama was perhaps Hollywood’s biggest surprise since “Avengers” blew away box-office records by opening to $207 million in 2012. “Sniper,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, enjoyed the largest opening ever for a drama or R-rated film and more than doubled the prior record for Martin Luther King Day weekend.
“Its success is the strongest evidence yet that audiences including veterans and cultural conservatives who are more concentrated in the South and Midwest feel underserved by Hollywood and will turn out in droves for movies that are inspiring, patriotic and sincere.”
Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures also had surprising success last month with the historical military drama “Unbroken” and last year with the Afghan war movie “Lone Survivor.”
“Opening-night audiences gave “Sniper” an average grade of A+, according to market-research firm CinemaScore.”
Eight of the top 10 markets for “American Sniper” were in the South or Midwest, including San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, Nashville and Albuquerque. Typically, major cities like New York and Los Angeles dominate the top theater rankings for a successful film because they have larger concentrations of frequent moviegoers and higher ticket prices.
All five of the top theaters for “Lone Survivor” were in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, while “Unbroken” performed extremely well in small cities such as Mesa, Ariz., and Lehi, Utah. Meanwhile, all three movies underperformed in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, compared with the norm. Read the rest of this entry »
“The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that.”
Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.
Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Moore caused a stir on Sunday when he Tweeted his negative opinion of snipers, seemingly in response to the release of American Sniper.
In a Facebook post later that day, the director, 60, defended his statements about snipers – but also attempted to distance the Tweets from the the Oscar-nominated film about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle….(blah blah blah) (read more)
Box office opening weekends: Valley of Elah $133k Rendition $4mm The Green Zone $14mm Lions for Lambs $6.7mm American Sniper $94mm
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) January 18, 2015
Kipp Jones reports: Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War biopic shattered box office records over the extended holiday weekend, after only debuting in four theaters nationwide.American Sniper, which was directed by Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as famed navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, became the top specialty debut of the year and the best ever for a limited Christmas release.The film reportedlå
Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War biopic shattered box office records over the extended holiday weekend, after only debuting in four theaters nationwide.
“This was the perfect film for Clint, and Bradley Cooper is one of the great American actors of today.”
— Dan Fellman, the head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.
American Sniper, which was directed by Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as famed navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, became the top specialty debut of the year and the best ever for a limited Christmas release.
The film reportedly brought in $850,000 from four theaters over a period of four days, an average of $212,000 per location for Warner Bros.
Eastwood’s adaptation has also been awarded a rare “A+” CinemaScore from audiences, which could provide momentum when Warner Bros. opens the drama from Village Roadshow nationwide on Jan. 16, only a week after nominations for the Academy Awards are announced, reports TheWrap. Read the rest of this entry »
Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL drama, which stars Bradley Cooper, is set to get an Oscar-qualifying run on Dec. 25
Clint Eastwood’s latest film, American Sniper, will get a sneak peek screening at AFI Fest. The drama will be shown at a screening on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 9 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre.
“Clint Eastwood is an American icon. His are stories that stand the test of time, and we are proud and honored to unveil his latest masterpiece.”
— A statement from AFI president Bob Gazzale
The Navy SEAL drama, which stars Bradley Cooper, is set to get an Oscar-qualifying run on Dec. 25 in select theaters before expanding Jan. 16. The film, a Warners/Village Roadshow co-production, is based on a 2012 autobiographical book written by Chris Kyle.
Read more 44 Movies Vying for Best Picture Oscar
“I’m not the sort of fellow you’d want to go camping with.”
“Conversation is the enemy of good food and wine.”
I’ve always been fond of quotes, and epigrams, and have an odd habit of memorizing them. (though my memory is not always accurate, quotes are often misremembered, I hope I have these two preserved correctly) The first one I probably read in Reader’s Digest when I was a kid. The second one is a personal favorite.
The quote is revealing, too, because Hitchcock—not a small man—obviously loved good food. But also, hated unnecessary dialogue. The director viewed actors as chess pieces. Or spoiled children. Dialogue was almost a necessary evil, secondary to the visual story. As a director, Hitchcock was more of a technician than a dramatist.
Apologies for another Syria post after this morning’s essay, but sometimes the news gives you no choice. From the Times this morning, we see that the President is still floundering, unwilling or unable to level with himself or the public about just how ugly his self-created Syria predicament has become:
“I didn’t set a red line; the world set a red line,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Stockholm on the first day of a three-day visit to Sweden and Russia, where he will take part in a summit meeting that is likely to be dominated by the war in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »
Eastwood is in early talks to direct the movie, based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Steven Spielberg was previously on board to direct the project but left earlier this month after he and the studio couldn’t come to agreement on a budget. (The parting of ways was quite amicable, according to several sources.) Bradley Cooper is attached to star and has been developing the project as a producer.
If a deal is made, that puts Eastwood in a tight schedule squeeze. The veteran filmmaker is about to begin directing Jersey Boys, the adaptation of the Broadway musical about the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Sniper must shoot early next year because of Cooper’s many commitments. But Eastwood is famously known for his short and efficient shoots, so the studio has no fear that he won’t be able to pull it off.
Sniper is an adaptation of Kyle’s book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. It reveals how Kyle came to record the highest number of sniper kills for an American. The book has been praised for its frankness in telling a first-person account of a warrior who shoots from far and close distances.
Kyle was killed at a shooting range by a fellow veteran in February.
Twitch first reported the news.
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday said California would start a tax-increase wave across the nation, but recent history suggests California’s tax increases will only accelerate the number of people who will leave California to other states with better tax climates.
When asked whether California was going to start a “tax-increase sweep” across the nation on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Brown agreed.
He said more people nationally will have to “share” more of the wealth they “extracted” to fund “collective” government.
But a Manhattan Institute study released in September found excessive regulations and high taxes forced business and California residents to flee the state en masse since 1990 to more economically friendly states like Texas.
The study found that 225,000 California residents are leaving the state per year, and most of the “destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes.”
Last Tuesday, Californians approved Proposition 30, which was Brown’s plan to raise rates on incomes above $250,000, with those making over $1 million having to pay a top marginal state income tax rate of 13.3%, which is the highest such rate of any state. Voters also approved of a statewide sales-tax increase.
Democrats also now have a supermajority in the state legislature, which means they can pass more tax increases. Proposition 13 amended the state Constitution to require a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature for any increase in taxes.
There was more.
Many of California’s municipalities voted for additional tax increases, on top of the statewide tax increases.
Voters in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Clint Eastwood served as mayor, voted to increase the sales tax by one- cent for 10 years, which will be used to fund pensions and capital projects like maintaining streets. Voters in Healdsburg and Santa Clara County approved of half-cent sales-tax increases.
Other municipalities whose residents voted for sales-tax increases include: Fresno, Marin, Napa, and Santa Clara counties and the cities of Albany, Capitola, Culver City, Moraga, Orinda, Salinas, Vacaville and Williams.
When more people who actually pay taxes in California begin leaving the state at a faster rate, California and its municipalities will have trouble finding enough people to tax and attracting business and entrepreneurs to the state.
Secret Service attention fails to dampen violent Twitter comments
Paul Joseph Watson
October 23, 2012
Despite the issue garnering a significant amount of media interest as well as the attention of the Secret Service, Obama supporters continued their threats to riot and assassinate Mitt Romney if Obama loses in the aftermath of last night’s presidential debate.
As we reported last week, Twitter has been flooded recently with violent comments from Obama supporters. The increase in volume of the comments seemed to coincide with Romney’s poll numbers edging higher against Obama.
Not only have Obama voters been making open threats that they will riot and cause mayhem, they have also been caught making direct threats to assassinate Mitt Romney, prompting the Secret Service to announce that it was “aware” of the threats and would “conduct appropriate follow up if necessary.”
Despite the fact that the media reported extensively on threats made against Obama prior to the 2008 election, their silence on the threats made against Romney has been deafening. Indeed, the act of a few old guys hanging up empty chairs in reference to Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech garnered substantially more coverage and concern from the press compared to hundreds if not thousands of tweets threatening violence against Mitt Romney.
Americans who simply display political signs expressing opposition to Obama’s policies have been treated as potential violent threats by authorities in the past, and yet not a single Twitter user has faced retribution for making direct and sometimes graphic death threats against Romney.
Leftists routinely cry foul and attempt to demonize conservatives as violent extremists whenever online rhetoric gets heated, and yet when their own engage in even worse conduct, their behavior is absolved and the media is disinterested.
Before the Secret Service announced they were investigating the threats, Obama front group Think Progress attempted to imply that the whole story was somehow a racist contrivance dreamed up by the Drudge Report and Infowars.
Here are just a selection of tweets from Obama supporters threatening riots and violence during and after last night’s foreign policy debate. There are too many to reprint in full.
If the Secret Service does plan on following this up, they are going to be very busy indeed.
- Threats to Assassinate Romney Explode After Debate (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The Left threaten to riot and assassinate Romney (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Obamatons Wage Campaign of Threats to Riot and Assassinate Romney (americanclarion.com)
- New Threats to Riot if Obama Loses Election (givemeliberty01.com)
Despite numerous media outlets attempting to downplay the issue, Twitter exploded last night following the debate with new threats from Obama supporters to assassinate Mitt Romney if he defeats Obama in the presidential race.
As we reported yesterday, in addition to threats by Obama supporters to riot if Romney wins, innumerable Twitter users are also making direct death threats against Romney.
If the tables were turned and conservatives were making death threats against Obama in these numbers, it would be a national news story. Indeed, the mere act of hanging empty chairs from trees as a reference to Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech was hyped by the media as a deadly sign that conservatives were out to lynch black people if Obama won.
However, the major networks have remained completely silent on the disturbing trend of Obama supporters threatening to resort to violence if their candidate fails to secure a second term.
Twitchy has compiled a laundry list of assassination threats by Obama supporters made during and after the debate, and more continued to flood in this morning…
via » Infowars
- Threats to Assassinate Romney Explode After Debate (mountainrepublic.net)
- Threats to Assassinate Romney Explode After Debate (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Post-presidential debate, Obama supporters renew vows to murder Mitt Romney (twitchy.com)
- Obama Supporters Threaten To Kill Romney If He Wins Election (dprogram.net)
- Death threats against Mitt Romney proliferate (twitchy.com)
- Obama Supporters Threaten To Kill Romney If He Wins Election (bobusnr.wordpress.com)