January 7, 2011, - 4:32 pm

Wknd Box Office: Country Strong, Season of the Witch, Casino Jack

By Debbie Schlussel

As I always note on this site, January and August are typically Hollywood’s movie cemeteries, where they send bad flicks (meaning, even THEY realize the movies are crap) to die a quick, painless death.  And, in general, this weekend is Exhibit A of Movie “Pet Sematary.” Three pointless movies.

*  “Country Strong“:  More like, “Country Predictable Melodrama.”  Nothing “strong” at all about this flick, except the singing.

I’m not sure what the point of this movie is, other than to show us that Gwyneth “I Raise Money for Palestinian Terrorists” Paltrow has a terrif singing voice.  And some people already knew that from the popular gay choir TV show, “Glee,” on which she appeared and sang.  All of the actors in this movie who sing, from Paltrow to Leighton Meester, to Garrett Hedlund, have phenomenal singing voices.  Yes, they all did their own singing of the bubble gum pop version that today’s successful country music has become.  Of them all, Hedlund, who recently starred in the “Tron” reboot (read my review), has the best singing chops.  And was the most interesting (and hot) character.

But, other than the great singing voices and the smokin’ hot view of Hedlund without a shirt on, this movie was a nothing.  A total zero.  Paltrow plays a drugged out alcoholic country music star, who leaves rehab early at the behest of her manager hubby, Tim McGraw.  McGraw is more interested in his wife playing dates than rehabbing their tired relationship or her getting healthy.  And the wife (Paltrow) is more interested in feeling sorry for herself, popping pills, self-destructing, and sleeping with the young, ambitious country singer, Beau (Hedlund), whom she meets in rehab.  Plus, she’s jealous of Chiles Stanton (Meester), the up-and-coming young singer her husband has hired to open for her.  Beau and Meester also have a love-hate relationship that very predictably turns into love, as they are on the road with Paltrow and opening for her at the concerts she screws up.

Like I said, not sure what the point of this was, other than to show us that Paltrow can sing, but can’t carry a Southern accent, which she quickly loses and from which she goes in and out.  It’s basically a sad, pointless, chick-flick/melodrama that I recommend guys avoid like the plague.  For women like me, well, even Hedlund’s hotness and everyone’s strong singing voices aren’t enough to earn your two hours and ten bucks.  But because of the singing, particularly Hedlund’s, I’m giving it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Season of the Witch“:  This movie was a mess.  And it wasn’t scary.  Not even close.  Plus it was overtly anti-Christian.  It shows crusaders murdering, torturing, and doing everything Muslims do today, except in the name of Christ.  The thing is, Christianity has evolved since then.  Islam has devolved.

Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play two renegade crusader knights, who grow disillusioned with killing in the name of Christ.  Gotta love Jewish crusader Perlman.  And I thought the dialogue, in which Cage and Perlman talk about “who’s buying” that night’s beer (“I’m drinking for free, tonight”) seems more suited to a 2011 frat boy movie than knights during the crusades, many centuries ago.

When caught in a town stricken by pestilence, they are jailed.  But they buy their freedom if they agree to accompany and deliver an accused witch on the treacherous journey to her trial in another hamlet.  Throughout the journey, they are attacked and haunted.

Parts of the movie meant to be scary are just laughable, especially a scene with a demon.  The last scenes of the movie were just ridiculous.  The story is uninspired and too obsessed with telling  us how allegedly corrupt and immoral the Christian priests are.  And that’s not to mention that the movie was long, slow, and boooooooring.  C’mon Hollywood, move it along.

I love Nicolas Cage, but this just wasn’t a good movie.  And he didn’t make it any more bearable.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Casino Jack“:  I found this movie boring, unfunny, and not at all accurate.  Frankly, I thought it was kind of soft on lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the king of Washington sleaze.

To paraphrase the late Senator Lloyd Bentsen, I knew Jack Abramoff.  And, Kevin Spacey, you’re no Jack Abramoff.  And I don’t mean that in any generous way toward Abramoff, a lout and a scumbag, about whom I repeatedly warned people and no one listened.  I just thought Spacey was all wrong for the role.  He had no resemblance to Jack Abramoff in the movie and just didn’t get his personality down.

I also thought the movie skimped in telling the story of how Jack Abramoff, his partner-in-crime Michael Scanlon, and his friends, Jihad Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, ripped off Indian tribes and the American taxpayers, and deceived and lied to conservatives.  Plus, the movie didn’t mention the lobbying they did on behalf of extremist Muslims and terrorist-financing Saudi and other Muslim banks.  The movie got a lot of things wrong, and it just didn’t tell the story of the Abramoff scandal well.

It’s unfortunate that the movie placed so much importance on the fact that Jack Abramoff held himself out as an Orthodox Jew (though the evidence of his lack of piety is clear in the way he behaved himself and wantonly embarrassed the Jewish community).  But that’s the fault of Jack Abramoff, a complete phony who lived a pious life outwardly, but in no real way.  And if the movie was going to get into religion, why does it ignore, entirely, Abramoff’s sleazy friends, the Rabbis Lapin, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Rabbi David Lapin, who received multi-million dollar pay-offs from Abramoff’s ill-gotten gains and have gotten away with it.  The Islamo-pandering Rabbi Daniel Lapin, incredibly, touts a book on how the Bible helps you get wealthy.  But, in fact, he got wealthy through his friend Abramoff’s rip-offs (and his previous experiences allegedly swindling congregations in Venice Beach and South Africa).

And as I wrote in a previous comment on this site to reader/commenter “Burke,” regarding this movie:

As I watched it, I certainly didn’t believe they’d make a movie like this about a Muslim, and if they did, his devout Islamic beliefs would be whitewashed out of the script. However, if anything, the movie soft-pedaled his crimes and lies.

But the movie skipped Abramoff’s and Norquist’s Islamic activities and the Lapins’ part in the Abramoff schemes and barely went into Jack Abramoff’s personal knowledge of a mob hit on a Casino owner, who owned a Casino boat Abramoff owned on paper.  And the movie managed to make all the interesting parts of the story, including the mob hit, boring.

Yes, it was a boring, disjointed movie, and it wasn’t funny.  In fact, it was kind of dopey.  So, I can’t understand why Spacey has been nominated for so many awards for this.  It’s just not good.  And neither is Spacey’s acting in this.  He plays Kevin Spacey, not Jack Abramoff.

A waste of time you’ll never get back.  Jack Abramoff got off easy here.  No pun or double entendre intended.  Though with the real Jack Abramoff, maybe it applies.


Watch the trailer . . .

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17 Responses

Yes, Abramoff brought it on himself and is clearly at fault. Yet, I’m still waiting to see a movie about Muslim sleazebags like Talal Chahine, the terrorist-supporting crook who owned the La Shish restaurants in the Detroit area. There is still anti-Jewish prejudice in he selection of Abramoff as a subject, even if he was at fault. They wouldn’t make a movie about people with comparable lack of morals from politically correct groupings.

Little Al on January 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Gwyneth Paltrow should deliver the $$ she raises for
terrorists in person without a rag on her empty head.
I’ll give her a one way ticket – she won’t need a return ticket.

Tony on January 8, 2011 at 1:18 am

How are you debbie?

I hope God will give you hints to the right way…

I believe you are democratic person, and can apreciate other person opinion and believes. Coz you are intelectuals.

So, I know you will stop cairmichigan.com. It is really distrubed.

Muslim is someone who never wants to disturb other people, but never disturb them. Coz you will regret…

Thank you… Debbie

debbie schlussel on January 8, 2011 at 1:40 am

Nice Post Debbie, Good Job!

Gywneth Paltrow is liberal, she and her husband Chris Martin is Anti-Christ, so tha’s why they supporting terorrism.

I’m so sad to know that you will stop the Cairmichigan.com. yet another attack on freedom of speech by muslims. I don’t know to describe myself How much I hate them now, but in the end again this our enemy supported by the leftist/liberal/anti-Christ. I’m so sicked of them, they don’t love their country. I hope this is over and I want our country safe from this anti-peace peoples.

the muslims always try to take over our country but the sad thing was only a few of us who can recognized it.they said they love peace and don’t want to disturb anyone but in reality, they the one who always disturbed other peoples. and always blamed media for the rising of Islamophobia, but they never self mirroring why the Islamophobia could rises.the answer is because of why they did!

Just never give up debbie! we must protect our Country, Our Religion, Our Peoples, Our Values and Our Future. I belive if we stick together we can beat the muslism in just short time.

we already beat Nazi in 1945, we beat Communism in 1992 and now time we must beat the muslims, this is our last enemy and tough one. I belive God will give strong powers for Us to crash this anti-peace peoples.

God bless you debbie….


Betomi Barbera on January 8, 2011 at 3:49 am

More movies to avoid. Thanks Debbie, you deserve combat pay for these reviews.

P. Aaron on January 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I wonder how long Paltrow will last in country music. I notice that she immediately chooses to pal up with Tim McGraw, one of the industry’s liberals. I guess the Dixie Chicks weren’t available…

Brian R. on January 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Leave it to Liberals to ALWAYS leave the REAL story out (like in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson stupid movie). Even after all these years it’s like (say like Cave Man) “Liberals good! Republicans Bad! Very Bad!”. How boring and misinformed.

I always knew that Ralph Reed was a scumma. I remember not liking him when I was a Liberal and like Newt Gingrich, Barbara Bush and Cardinal Law, I was correct with my first impression no matter my political afilliation.

Paltrow is a bore, no matter what her talent may be. She is the one untenable spot in “Hard Eight”…one of my favourite films.

It’s so soon a decade after 9/11. If you haven’t figured out the truth by now, then there is really no hope for those no-hopers!

Skunky on January 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Abramoff looks much more handsome than the actor portraying him! I thought it was always the reverse…

Solomon2 on January 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I know why they went so easy on Abramoff. Kevin Spacey was on the O’reilly Factor and I believe he said he wanted to “humanize” Abramoff and he also said he believes that the Republicans used Abramoff as a “scapegoat”. So, it’s pretty obvious where this guy is coming from.

Daniel Middleman on January 10, 2011 at 5:19 am

Man, those threatening terrorist scumbags even bother you on the movie reviews. Thanks for all the work you do, Debbie.

Occam's Tool on January 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

Debbie, I suggest that you watch “K-Pax” a 2001 film starring Spacey and the always excellent actor, Jeff Bridges. It’s worth watching and is an excellent example of how Science-Fiction does not necessarily need special effects.

Tanstaafl on January 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

The planet celebrated the birthday of the King of Rock n Roll
— Elvis Presley! It is a fact that Elvis was Jewish –
a Star of David is on his gravestone, he had a Rabbi,
and his mother Gladys Love Presley told Elvis to keep his
Judaism secret – because people didn’t like Jews. The joke
is on the antiSemetic world – they bought his records and
hated Jews at the same time! Long live The King! MAZEL TOV,

Tony on January 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Catholicism was responsible for the Crusades, not Biblical Christianity. There is a significant difference between the two.

Sola Fide on January 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Excellent reviews, Debbie. Country Song really can be summarized simply as unexceptional melodrama. However, in its favor, I was relieved there wasn’t in the script any obvious liberal subtext (except for the implicit one which excuses celebrity singers for substance abuse because they are supposedly our idols and therefore worth watching). Your comments about Jack Abramoff and his sleazy friends were very interesting. I do think the script intended to slam conservative Jews, but, as you point out, it failed in that.

I liked Season of the Witch more than you, even though you are right to describe the film as “not scary” and even as “a mess.” It was intentionally hokey in the style of Roger Corman or a Hammer studio film (which is why the inclusion of Christopher Lee was so appropriate). I’d personally be happy if there were more films like this one. It was delicious irony to see the cold-hearted, priggish, authoritarian clergyman turn out to be right about the witch all along. I think that’s why many of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes really loathed this film (6% approval); it flies in the face of politically correct feminism which has decided that the invention of witches in earlier times centrally defines men as evil and women as eternal victims. Pretty funny, given that, to see the witch turn out to be truly evil after all.

Burke on January 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm


Kindly provide your sources for your false and libelous allegation that I received “multi-million dollar pay-offs from Abramoff’s ill-gotten gains”. As the FBI and the New York Times well know, neither I nor my company have ever received a single dollar from Mr. Abramoff, and copies of all the work we completed in the CNMI were made available to the authorities concerned.

Our contract in the Northern Marianna Islands was negotiated directly between the CNMI Government and ourselves and was monitored by the US Federal Government to whom we reported our findings and our deliverables. These deliverables were agreed up front and signed off upon completion. After each phase of our project, our client the CNMI, reviewed the value we had added and made its own decision about whether to proceed with the next phase.

An apology would be in order.

David Lapin
CEO – Lapin International, Inc.

DL: HA! What the heck are you smoking, you fraud? As you well know, the NYTimes reported on your ridiculous contract with the N. Mariana Islands, for which Jack Abramoff was the lobbyist. He obviously procured this total BS rip-off scheme for you. You had no connection to the islands, otherwise, and you still can’t even spell the name of the islands right.


And, as the paper noted, the government could find no identifiable work you performed for the money you took from them. That you’d have a contract to promote ethics of any sort is like having John Dillinger teach ethics. You and your equally sleazy brother, Daniel, are an embarrassment to the Jewish people and the kind of people who create cause for anti-Semitism. That you’d shamelessly write this comment demanding an apology is just hilarious and beyond sickening. You’d never have gotten that phony contract, but for Jack’s doing. You had no experience in anything the country needed, and in fact, again, there is no identifiable work you performed. You are a rabbi (like your brother) and not a very successful one. The apology due is from you to the Jewish communities around the world, whom you sullied with your schemes. DS

David Lapin on January 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

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