In H.G. Wells' prescient The Time Machine (1895), the seminal British science-fiction author foretold of a dystopian future in which the indolent, lotus-eating Eloi live off the toils of a race of devolved humans—the Morlocks—who barbarically survive running incessant machines in underground caves.
If there was gold in them thar hills, there must be black gold in them thar oceans.
In 2009, when Army PFC Andrew Holmes saw his first combat action in Afghanistan, his immediate thought was of the over-the-top, gung-ho heroics of Top Gun, capped with the strains of “Danger Zone” ricocheting in his head.
What do you call a drama about three misfit environmentalists who float a plot to blow up an Oregon dam? According to director Kelly Reichardt, her nocturnally somber Night Moves is not a movie about “eco-terrorism.” Rather, she innocuously—and unsustainably—labels it a “character film.”
When the curtain came down on Clifford Odets’ legendary 1935 New York opening of his agit-prop broadside Waiting for Lefty, audience members rose from their seats and stormed out of the theater, shouting “Strike!” in solidarity with the taxi-cab drivers and the Depression-era working class portrayed in the play.
There once was a sign that hung on the wall at the legendary Chicago City News Bureau, training ground for such famed scribes as Ben Hecht, Mike Royko and Seymour Hersh: “If your mother says she love you, check it out.” Those were the bygone, dog-eared days when even lesser U.S. cities were awash with thriving dailies, and most delivered “extra” editions noon and night so we could read all about the latest news.
So what do we know now that we didn’t after documentarian Errol Morris’s 100-minute Q&A with Donald “I Don’t Do Quagmires” Rumsfeld in “The Unknown Known”? Only that the former U.S. secretary of defense is still a master strategist of evasion, contradiction, misdirection and malapropism.
There she was, polite and poised in her smart, turquoise dress suit, facing off against a murderers' row of aging, not entirely august, white men, an ebony Joan of Arc versus a court of incredulous grand inquisitors. To a bitterly divided 1991 America, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill was either witch, scorned woman, martyr or feminist heroine. In any case, when the smoke cleared it was Hill who was burned at the Senate stake.