December 18, 2009, - 2:33 pm

Weekend Box Office: You Don’t Want to Hear About “The Morgans” or “Avatar” (& Probably Not “Invictus,” Either)

By Debbie Schlussel

This weekend at the box office sounds like a bad sequel to a movie, Lame & Lamer.



“Avatar”:  Read my complete review from yesterday.  This movie is yet another lame remake of the same storyline:  evil White American males destroy the planet, the environment, and indigenous peoples who are way superior to us all.  Again, read my complete review.


*  “Did You Hear About the Morgans?“:  Yuck.  Another lame romantic comedy starring Sarah Jess-Equine Parker, er . . . Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant, who have as much chemistry as Tiger Woods and fidelity.

Like “Avatar,” you’ve seen this movie a million times before, too.  Big city people who are oh so sophisticated and “classy” get stuck in “miserable,” “boring,” “backward” small town (Red State) America.  And it’s a culture clash, of the elitist Hollywood variety.  Shocker of shockers . . . except that many sophisticated wealthy types actually spend time in Wyoming, these days.  I guess the makers of this on-screen exercise in annoying never heard of Jackson Hole.  But, like I said, you’ve seen it before, including in “New in Town” (read my review), an equally awful  rom-com from earlier this year, starring Renee Zellweger.

Parker and Grant play prominent, wealthy New York married socialites who are separated because he cheated on her.  After an attempted reconciliation dinner, they see a man being murdered and thrown from a balcony.  And the killer, discovering who they are, tries to kill them, to eliminate all witnesses.  So, the couple of fighting ex-lovebirds are shuffled off to the Witness Protection program and Ray, Wyoming, where they are kept at a safehouse operated by Federal Marshal Sam Elliott and his wife, Deputy Marshal Mary Steenburgen.  Parker and Grant hate being out in the country with such “backward” regular folk.  But, soon, it causes them to–predictably–fall back in love and to come to appreciate small town wisdom.

But, believe me, I’m making this silly movie, filled with annoying cliches and stock characters, sound way better than it is.  It’s dumb.  The jokes are stupid.  And it isn’t funny.  Wow, a blonde chick playing an airhead receptionist at a country doctor’s office–that’s original.  As in, not.

Oh, and by the way, if the characters in the inane movie were real-life characters they’d all have serious trouble.  The New York lawyer Grant practices law without a license in Wyoming, just as New York real estate agent Parker sells a home in Wyoming, where she isn’t license.  And Federal Marshals Elliott and Steenburgen need to be fired–not just for bad Southern accents in . . . Wyoming? and stereotypically sacharin country talk and Western clothing–but because they abandon their protectees in the Witness Protection program, in order to go to a rodeo.  Hellooo . . .?

Skipworthy to the max.  You don’t want to hear about the Morgans, nor spend ten bucks to see ’em.


*  “Invictus“:  Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team, and Morgan Freeman plays then-South African President Nelson Mandela in this sappy, heavy-handed, cloying Clint Eastwood film about racism-cum-racial harmony in South Africa.

Damon does a fairly good job at a South African accent, while Freeman is less convincing but does resemble the far-left Mandela.  But in this movie, you’d hardly know the real, radical Mandela, who today, marches in support of HAMASniks in Gaza and, yesterday, allied with Arafat and P.L.O. terrorists.

Nope, this movie presents Mandela as some sort of saint and peacemaker who brought South African Whites and Blacks together in support of a mostly-White rugby team, rallying it to win the Rugby World Cup.  Sadly, the racial unity and respect for inclusion of Whites shown in this movie is hardly an accurate portrait of the country, today, where racism against Whites is rampant and anti-Semitic thuggery on the part of Black South Africans continues to be the impetus for more South African Jewish emigration from the country to Israel.

The movie is set at the beginning of Mandela’s presidency.  He lectures his fellow ANC Black activists, who’ve just taken over the government, that they must be inclusive of Whites.  The Blacks hate the White rugby team, the Sprinkboks, which are a symbol of apartheid and racism to them.  But he convinces them to cheer them on, through tactics like painting the face of the only Black member of the team, Chester, on South African Airlines planes, holding rugby clinics for Blacks in poor neighborhoods, etc.  You know–the usual affirmative action stuff they do here.

Suddenly, White and Black Presidential bodyguards are smiling at each other, privileged Whites and their Black servants are going together to rugby matches in stadiums, and the world is a sea of lollipops and rainbows . . . all because of the goodwill and generosity of South Africa’s Blacks toward their fellow Whites, under Saint Mandela Messiah.  The end.

Yes, it’s a true story that Mandela and the captain of the team, Pienaar, were allies and that Mandela cheered on the rugby team, which–against all odds–won the world cup. But it’s long, boring, and predictable, not to mention, revisionist history.

South Africa isn’t as rosy, race relations-wise, as the movie pretends.  And that’s in no small part to the disharmony and Communist-backed racial tensions and thuggery led by Mandela and his proteges to date.  That they don’t mention the necklacing murders (gasoline filled tires lit afire while around the necks of “the enemy”) his gang committed and the rightfully long memories of those and other ANC violence is just one of the stark lies by omission throughout this rose-colored flick.


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26 Responses

sigh, another bunch of movies I won’t be seeing. BTW did you ever review Clive Cussler’s Sahara?

Ed on December 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Debbie Schlussel is so right. What we really need is more movies glorifying the brutal South African apartheid regime. Better than that, we need movies glorifying how great America would be if apartheid were practiced over here!

And Schlussel also fails to point out that the primary reason why South African blacks oppose Israel is because Israel backed apartheid South Africa. Even after the boycott of South Africa, Israel continued to provide South Africa with vital economic and political support. Apartheid would have fallen years earlier had it not been for Israel’s support of the Botha and De Klerk regimes during the sanctions. So, OF COURSE black South Africans are going to have “long memories” just as Schlussel is free to have hers about every country, company, political leader and minor celebrity who isn’t a 100% committed Zionist. This same Schlussel trashes the Williams sisters and Tiger Woods for playing in Arab countries (but strangely enough not white golfers and tennis players, just black ones) but wants black South Africans to forgive and forget Israel?

Such hypocrisy. How typical of neoconservatives. At least paleoconservatives are ideologically honest and consistent, even if a lot of them are also raving anti-Semites. But hey, who’s perfect?

Gerald on December 18, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    As long as Nelson Mandela is sitting in prison for 30 years for next to nothing except disagreeing how his people are treated he’s OK, when he finally gets out and take over the country he’s communist and bad. However the whites who been in charge for years brutalizing blacks through murder intimidation inslavement beatings similar to and maybe worst than the whites of this country 400 years ago till fairly recently (notice a theme of wherever whites land indiginous people become enslved and brutalized throughout history) whites are still good and blacks are bad OK I got it. Gerald I caught your reply to me about how JEWS controlled the black movement throughout the early ninteen hundreds before DEBS took it down.

    seahawker on December 19, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Guys with real taste in women gag when they see Sarah Jessica Parker. If I ever see her taking her clothes off in a scene, I wanna throw up.

Squirrel3D on December 18, 2009 at 9:38 pm

So, commenting on a movie simply to attack Debbie? I’ve seen that movie plenty of times before. Boring.
Back to real fun-Debbie, I like SJ Parker; she was a good sport when Tim Burton had her ask in “Ed Wood”:”Do I really have a face like a horse?”
She’s done some good work over the years; part of her problem
seems to be that she doesn’t pick very good movies to act in-“Dudley Doo Right” example #1. But she has been in good movies-“Mar’s Attacks”, “Striking Distance”, “Honeymoon In Vegas”.
As for Clint-he has been embarassing himself for the last decade since just after “Unforgiven”-but the Hollywood elite refuse to believe that their emperor has no clothes. So they ohh and ahh, gushing over every Eastwood film. I lasted ten minutes into Grand Torino before moving on to better stuff.

Douglas Q on December 18, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Hey Douglas Q, maybe you ought to give Gran Torino a second chance. Debbie gave it four stars…er…Four Reagans PLUS, and as she said, he plays more of a Dirty Harry type character that he’s famous for. I really enjoyed this movie as did everyone else I know. It kinda seems to start out slow, mainly to help develop the main theme and characters, but worth the time I think.
And I totally agree with Squirrel3D about Sarah Jessica Parker.
Something very un-feminine about that face…Wooof!

theShadow on December 19, 2009 at 12:33 am

I like the new low mark of a plus Obama. Too good. I’ve never understood the attraction of sjp. She can play a witch very well with that shnoz of hers.

Joe on December 19, 2009 at 1:52 am

Hey Gerald,

Take your “They out to get da bruthas” attitude and pound it. I’m sick and tired of you whiners…grow a set and get with the program!

icenomore on December 19, 2009 at 2:20 am

I’m originally from South Africa and Jewish, yeah this film is PC and revisionist and lame. Racial tensions and violent crime and ever increasing poverty mar South African society. Things have gotten worse for everybody in SA – poor blacks have gotten poorer and all communities suffer from the fear of violence, rape figures in SA are among the highest in the world. Unemployment in some communities is at 50% etc. I do have several bones to pick though with Debbie’s review (on Gerald’s Jew-baiting – Israel did have close diplomatic ties to apartheid SA, but did not support apartheid. Europeans and British and North America did big business with apartheid SA, Israel was negligible on this front. Who do you think bought SA’s gold and diamonds and steel? Before the arms boycott it was the British and French who sold arms to Israel, the SA air-force was almost entirely French equipped. No problem to Gerald though. Gerald wants to blame the Jew nation for something white South Africans and the British and Dutch Empires were responsible for – typical Jew-hating liberal).

Back to where I disagree with Debbie, yes Mandela is a clueless idiot for the Jihadists, however he is not far left on all fronts. His economic policies (like those of his successor Mbeki) were generally conservative and pro-corporate (hardly a communist!). His foreign policy and that of the ANC was indeed far left, pro-Iran and anti-Israel. Same as Chavez.

As far as the anti-Semitism of black South Africans is concerned (predominantly urban blacks), they learned it from white South Africans, that’s where it comes from. Debbie ignores this fact and the fact that white South Africans are every bit as anti-Semitic as black South Africans. The Hamas and Hezbollah supporting SA media is predominantly white owned (still) and most of their readership is still white. And yes there is a lot of anti-white sentiment from blacks in SA, there is also lots of anti-black racism from whites in SA, not only in the past but today. Debbie ignores this.

The reason for the Jew-hatred among urban blacks in SA is complex, the usual Leftwing reasons, the belief that the Jew is the evil greedy exploiter (something they learned from white South Africans), the Jew as the scapegoat for society’s ills and SA has plenty ills (ditto), the anti-Semitism from the old Soviet Union and its influence on the ANC in exile etc. It’s because of this anti-Semitism that they hate Israel, not the other way around as Jew-hater Gerald would have it. Hey Gerald why do the Left hate Israel/Jews in America and Canada and Brazil and Venezuala and Mexico and the rest of Latin America and the UK and Europe and Australia etc? Also the fault of Israel’s ties with apartheid SA? The ANC mantain close ties with fascist states like Iran and support Hezbollah and other jihadist groups (including Sudan), so the ANC is as fascist as any political party out there. Talk about hypocrisy.

Larry on December 19, 2009 at 3:12 am

I agree with everything you said about The Morgans, Debbie. We’ve seen this unfortunate-blues-caught-in-a-red-state situation already just recently as in New in Town and don’t forget The Proposal. Of these three, The Morgans as a film was the flattest and dullest and Jess-Equine the most unappealing lead. The trailer for this film was definitely better and funnier than the movie itself. The small bit marginalizing Sarah Palin as a gun-toting Annie Oakley wasn’t nearly as funny as if they’d ridiculed Plugs, Frau Pantsuit or Acorn, for example–maybe those other targets will be in an upcoming Hollywood film, you think?

Avatar was an awful mess unless you just feel free to laugh at all the over-the-top anti-Americanisms–and there were many!!! My personal favorite in the film was when the evil military uses a stated “shock and awe” campaign to brutalize the innocent natives. And what about the reference of the US military’s supposed attack on Venezuela (a Chavez-fan’s worst nightmare)? Or how about the comment in the film that the military are the real “terrorists,” not the harmless native? Note that Cameron uses the communist strategy of spreading out lots of candy the first 40 minutes (all the cool creatures) and then spending the remaining two hours shoving propaganda down the viewer’s throats. This is a very unsubtle, amateurish attack of conservative positions making Dances with Wolves looking like a masterpiece of balance in comparison (at least in DWW, there were bad Indians along with good). It’s shameful that critics are generally defending it by pretending to like its supposed quality of immersion. I’d like to see how they’d respond to an “immersive” anti-liberal film.

Thanks for your comments about Invictus which were excellent in providing perspective. The film worked for me as a sentimental piece of Americana, but that assumes complete ignorance of Mandela’s real influence in real South Africa.

Burke on December 19, 2009 at 8:06 am

Debbie, you are not alone in blasting these films…BELIEVE ME!

“Millions of Americans go to the box office during the Christmas holiday season. This year, it is expected herds will go see James Cameron’s Avatar and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus. Not me. I haven’t been the movie theater since I saw Pirates of the Carribean (3) back in 2007. Very disappointing as was installment number two. You see, as I wrote many years ago in a column: I don’t like what Hollywood sells and so I don’t put money in their pocket because I don’t ‘need’ what they call entertainment.

Also, as a personal preference, I don’t like all these electronic movies where the art of acting has been lost. Yes, I loved the first three Star Wars. Yes, the first few Star Treks were pretty good, but in the past 20 years, it seems like everything is all special effects. I suppose it’s my age. I consider fine films to be “old” ones with talented stars like Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Charleton Heston, John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Maureen O’Hara, Angela Lansbury, Ingrid Bergman and so many others. They had to act. Today it’s strip off your clothes, jump in bed or state of the art gagetry. But, I stray from my point about Avatar and Invictus.

I have not seen Avatar nor will I, but I have read quite a bit about it. Ted Baeher is an excellent movie critic and has written a powerful statement as to the dangerous message contained in that film: ‘Avatar’: Pagan, communist, anti-American, insane

“If you think this sounds as if Al Gore wrote the script for “Avatar,” not James Cameron, you may be right. This theme of kill all the humans, especially the pro-American, capitalist humans, has long been an underlying message of the left-wing, environmentalist movement, beginning with Rachel Carson’s hysterical plea to ban DDT, even though, to this day, there is no evidence that DDT is harmful to humans or the environment, and even though the use of DDT can save millions of human lives from the deadly disease of malaria
“For hundreds of years, the pagan, communist ideas expressed in this movie circulated among a threadbare group of outcasts with dirty fingernails and greasy hair, who shared their obtuse, occult ideas amongst themselves with manic, alienated glee. Now, James Cameron has made these insane views the major bulwark of a very spectacular movie, but the spectacle does not make these Neo-Marxist views any more coherent, rational or uplifting.”

As for Invictus, this isn’t a film about great leadership. It is a movie glorifying a hard core communist, Nelson Mandella. It’s most unfortunte that one of the real great actors of today, Morgan Freeman, chose this script.

Nelson Mandella is an evil man who hates America and capitalism. His life has been dedicated to supporting a form of government that is responsible for the deaths of more than 110 MILLION human beings. Empty heads like super model Namoi Campbell have been photographed drapped all over Mandella like a cheap coat. She should be ashamed, but she’s not. Perhaps out of ignorance, but inexcusable nonetheless. Mandella no more stands for freedom than did Stalin or Lenin.

Mandella’s pals are brutual communist dictators like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Those who think Mandella is now a ‘centrist’ are either fools or ignorant of the facts:

Speech of the Deputy President of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandella, at the Rally to Relaunch the South African Communist Party, Johannesburg, 29 July 1990. The source of reference is the South African Communist Party. It is a well crafted piece of communist propaganda to suck the gullible into supporting (mob rule) “democracy” by supporting the right of the communist party to operate inside their country.

This is a well written piece on Mandella and communist propaganda. It is educational and factual: Mandela – The “Great Statesman”

Invictus is a movie about rugby and rah-rah-rah. The only problem is the real message – that a communist like Nelson Mandella was a ‘great leader’ who did so much for his country. That it’s good to respect and admire a communist because of a sporting event.

I believe most of us want other nations on this earth to enjoy the same freedoms we do and live their lives without all the violence. Free of racial hatred and equal rights for all. But, it has never come from evil people like Nelson Mandella. This short video should open your eyes about Nelson Mandella.”

Bob Porrazzo on December 19, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I have to disagree with you, Bob Porrazzo. Morgan Freeman is a mediocre actor, at best. He plays the same saintly wise black man over and over and over, ad nauseum. He’s no actor–he’s a handy stock black man character. A one dimensional bore.

    lexi on December 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm

      Dear lexi: I saw Morgan Freeman play Coriolanus at the Delacorte Theatre (Shakespeare in the Park.) He’s a great actor, even if he does often get type-cast.

      Miranda Rose Smith on December 20, 2009 at 4:55 am

I doubt if the movie mentions the fact that New Zealand lost because they were POISONED that morning?
…despite this, they took hosts South Africa to extra time, before losing to Joel Stransky’s drop goal.[48][49] The claim of food poisoning was never used as an excuse by the team after the game, some media members came across the story and it has been considered ‘sour grapes’ by South Africans. The allegation was later publicly backed by Rory Steyn, a former head of security for South African president Nelson Mandela. He was the security liaison for the All-Blacks and reported in a book that a gambling syndicate was responsible for the outbreak by bribing a waitress. When this version came out the well respected (and impartial) Sunday Times of London did an story on the incident and was able to confirm the facts of the story by Steyn as well as find some of the hotel staff who admitted to the act.

poetcomic1 on December 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

Compromise to the shadow-I’ll stand by my opinion of Grand Torino-Debbie and I don’t always agree on movies-but in Clint’s honor I’ll dust off “Eiger Sanction” today. Except for the Albino stuck with TOO much exposition from the novels, it’s a great show.

Douglas Q on December 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

Mandella was a communist terrorist thug who took the country right down the toilet.

Renee on December 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    You’re absolutely right.
    Mandela is the most overrated individual–all he did was not die in prison. He was good cop to Winnie’s bad cop.

    South Africa’s history is complex. The real villian was the ANC. Ask the Zulus what they think of Mandela.

    How many more movies are going to be made about this fraud?

    lexi on December 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm

It’s been sad to see Clint Eastwood’s metamorphosis into a “with it” Hollywood movie producer. I did like Gran Torino,
but with that exception his movies have gone downhill for quite a few years.

I’ve never understood the attraction for Sarah Jessica Parker,
was never a fan of “Sex in the City” and have gone to fewer movies every year as Hollywood sinks deeper into their left wing propaganda. My hat’s off to you Debbie, I don’t know how you can stand watching this stuff even for movie reviews. They
can’t be paying you enough.

It’s amusing how quickly some folks like to blame Israel for the troubles of the middle east, for the woes of blacks under Apartheid, for the decline of the dollar, whatever comes up. For a tiny little country they sure have a lot of clout. I guess next to the USA, Israel has to be the worst nation on earth to a lot of people.

Daniel on December 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Debbie: a college friend from South Africa tells me she sees LOTS of parallels of America now and South Africa when Nelson Mandela was making his rise to their presidency. Ingrid tells me that the Afrikaaners who opposed Mandela did not because he was black but because he was a far-left communist. And for that they were branded as racists.

Kinda like today with how we oppose NObama.

Richard on December 19, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Isn`t Morgan the one messing around with one of his own relatives?

hermster on December 20, 2009 at 9:14 am

Nelson Mandela – author of How To Be A Good Communist. Then there’s the problem of Winnie Mandela, the murdering witch cuckolding her husband and her penchant for necklacing young boys. And her thievery.

Just an all around great bunch of ‘leaders’ eh?

Nice crew you got there Daman, Clint et al inter-alia.

Jack Mackenzie on December 20, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Hooray for Debbie! Thank god I’ve found you and your movie reviews. I used to wonder if people would ever wake up and see that most Hollywood movies are DRECK!!! churned out by the Hollywood propaganda machine that keeps turning out the same old Liberal fables with the same Liberal approved stars who have no box office appeal, but Hollywood doesn’t care as long as those stars are good little Liberals. A new Hollywood box office bomb on its way is “It’s Complicated”. Who in their right mind would want to see the sweat hog Alec Baldwin try to get lucky with the Liberal Ice Princess Meryl? Two of the most inelegant, uninteresting, and sexless ‘actors’ every foisted on the oh so forgiving American public. Sharpen your knives, Debbie. I can’t wait for that review.

Marcy O on December 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I do not see why you’re so upset about the movie industry reflecting a more multicultural stance. Ever seen Stand And Deliver? That one had an almost exclusive Latino cast and was about overcoming adversity to succeed. Newsflash: white people aren’t the only group that exists, and your defense of something like this is so Jim Crow-era that it’s making my eyes bleed. Why don’t you just embrace the idea that people are different from you, and that *gasp* people have different opinions? Do you know what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence? I’m not saying that you should get behind Affirmative Action or anything, but to realize that what you’re saying is alienating many people who would otherwise want to befriend you. Up the Irons with the Aryan race, Schlussel. You seem all for Eugenics and the creation of the perfect human being for this perfect world- but NEWSFLASH: we all have to get along in this world, none of us are perfect. You certainly aren’t. You won’t know neutrality if it bit you in your Aryan ass. You are disgustingly racist. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and he was all for freeing slaves. You are going against your party, hon.

Nihilist on December 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Newsflash: Nihilist is an incoherent moron! Make some sense, you idiot. Newsflash, indeed.

lexi on December 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm

NEWSFLASH!!!! Debbie, an Aryan racist?!…LOL! Obviously Nihilist is a newbie here.
Neutrallity is for losers who can’t see right from wrong buddy. No one needs to “befriend” anyone so bad as to give up their values, especially Deb. She has enough friends, I’m sure. And yes, people are different but it don’t mean they’re right just because they see things from a different point of view.
As far as…The Morgans and Avatar, like most movies these days, are just a rehash of the same old story. It’s all getting to be like the same ole’ “too much laundry detergent in the washer gag”… we’ve seen it enough already, thank you.

theShadow on December 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm


Sorry, I really have nothing to say except saying “NEWSFLASH!!!!” over and over is now one of my favorite things to say and type…..NEWSFLASH!!!!

Jeff_W on December 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

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