August 24, 2012, - 7:05 pm

Wknd Box Office: Premium Rush, Hit and Run, Queen of Versailles

By Debbie Schlussel

I enjoyed one of the three new movie releases in theaters, this weekend. The other two, not so much. I did not review “The Apparition” or “2016: Obama’s America,” neither of which was screened for critics. And, then, there is the added fact that “2016” maker Dinesh D’Souza is a proud apologist for Islam and its extremist spokespeople, something I’ll tell you more about, later today.

* “Premium Rush“: I enjoyed this thriller. Full of heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense. And just an all-around enjoyable movie filled with mindless escapism. Some of the stunts are not believable–or that the people survived them–but this is the movies. You have to suspend disbelief for a movie like this, just as you would for a James Bond or Bourne movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike messenger in Manhattan, who is given an envelope to deliver by 7:00 p.m. in New York’s Chinatown. Soon, he is being chased by a man (with an obnoxiously thick New York accent), who he discovers is an unlikely assailant (Michael Shannon). While he races to deliver the envelope and also evade a cop on a bike, he also interacts with fellow bike messengers, including one he is dating, and tries to beat, evade, and get around traffic. The Chinese mob, lots of bike messengers and well-meaning cops are also involved.

There were a few things I did not like: the villain, the main man chasing him, is also a guy who decries the degradation and coarsening of language in American civil discourse. For saying he opposes the use of words and phrases, like “suck it” and “douchebag,” that makes him “square” and an even worse person, in the movie’s point of view. It’s not enough that he’s a corrupt authority figure chasing a bike messenger down. Weak Hollywood scripts make such obvious attacks on those of us who would still like America to have some moral high ground. Also, the main character’s girlfriend has a very, very thick Puerto Rican accent that is an annoying reminder of the equally undecipherable Rosie Perez. Remember her? I’d rather not. I also note that the plot of this movie is not entirely different from another movie, “Uncertainty,” in which the same star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is being chased all over Manhattan by an Asian mob seeking a cellphone he has.

Other than that, the movie was light and entertaining (though it might be a little too violent for young kids). This is a “better than August” movie.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Hit and Run“: Ugggh. I absolutely hated this movie. It features not just one, but two, scenes of full-frontal, sagging, naked senior citizens in swinging swaps in a motel room. And it just goes downhill from there. Raunchy, gratuitously violent, and absolutely stupid and pointless. I wanted like hell to walk out of this movie. And I would have, but then I’d be prohibited from reviewing it. If you waste ten dollars and almost two hours of your time on this crap, you need your head examined. Kristen Bell and her fiance Dax Shepard (who won’t get married until all gays have the legal right to be married in the U.S. . . . awwww) made and financed this utter dung heap. And it shows in spades. They invited a few of their friends, Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth, etc., to hang out and have fun for an obvious tax write-off they made in a few days. This is how the hypocritical portion of the one percent lives.

Bell plays a college professor who lives with her ex-criminal boyfriend, “Charlie Bronson,” who is in a witness protection program and is supervised by Federal Marshal Tom Arnold. But Bell gets a terrific job opportunity in Los Angeles, and Charlie decides to risk his witness protection status by going with her. A jilted cop who once dated Bell researches “Charlie,” discovers he’s a criminal and alerts the fellow drug-dealing criminal against whom he testified. And a chase by cops and the drug dealer ensues. Trust me–I’m making this sound far, far better than it is. It’s an insult to humanity.

Skip at all cost. Plenty of American dummies and lowlifes will love it, I’m sure. After all, there’s no accounting for good taste in America.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Queen of Versailles“: Although this documentary is clearly made by an uber-liberal, anti-capitalist filmmaker, it’s extremely interesting in its bird’s eye view on vulgar excess. As a free market conservative, this is an obvious Occupy kind of film with the worst possible portrayal of the vilest and most unrepresentative of the one percenters. And yet, like a gawker, I just couldn’t stop watching. Sad to say, it’s that good, so long as you remember what this is all about. While I don’t hate or envy the rich, as this movie wanted me to, I definitely hated the people in this movie, David Siegel and his uber-bimbo third wife, former pageant queen, Jackie.

First, I must get the unspoken elephant in the movie theater out of the way. Yes, I know Siegel is a Jewish surname, but I wish to point out that Siegel is not a practicing or identifying Jew, and the Siegels celebrate Christmas. Jackie is a gentile former model/actress from upstate New York with obtrusive basketball-sized fake breasts, a two-story closet full of exorbitantly expensive but sleazy, low-class outfits that show too much of them off, and a penchant for marrying wealthy JISNOs (Jews In Surname Only) (her previous hubby was a wealthy investment banker with the last name of Solomon). That said, it’s hard not to believe that filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is a far-left, self-hating Jew. After all, she chose a Jewish bete noire extraordinaire in David Siegel, and he fits the false narrative of American Jews that anti-Semites love to parade. It reminds me of some of the anti-Semitic literature Nazis used to drop near American soldiers in Europe during World War II (stuff like, “While you are here fighting, a flashy, rich Jewish banker is back home ravishing your girl”).

She and billionaire David, CEO of Westgate Resorts–America’s largest timeshare company–met when she was crowned Mrs. Florida and still married to her previous husband. At 43 (at the time of the movie–she is now 46), Jackie is 31 years younger than her grumpy, braggart husband. They live in a 26,000 square foot Florida mansion with a menagerie of multiple servants, eight children (seven are theirs and one is Jackie’s niece), pets, stuffed dead pets, and other chintzy, gaudy accoutrements. And yet that is not enough. They built “Versailles”–a 90,000 square foot edifice said to be the largest residential home in America and modeled on the French Palace of the same name. When the movie begins in 2007, they are on top of the world. But that soon begins to crumble as the economy melts down in 2008. At first, we see the hard sell tactics used by Siegel’s employees to get America’s working class to invest in a lifetime time share at his new Vegas hotel. But as the economy crashes, these people–who never really had the means–default on their payments, and Siegel’s empire crashes with it.

Regardless of that and the fact that Siegel tells apparent gold digger Jackie to cut her spending, she still goes to her expensive spa to get botox injections and face peels. And then she goes to the toy store, buying several shopping carts full of toys, which fill her entire van. After that, it’s an expensive Christmas party at their mansion.

To say the Siegels are tacky would be the understatement of year. The word “garish” is embarrassed to be used in connection with them. While they’ve gone from private planes, hosting Miss America contestants at their home, and helping David’s friend, George W. Bush win the election (he says he helped him win but won’t say how, “because it might not be legal”), they are now sending their kids to public school, and David tells the spoiled kids they might not go to college and might have to get jobs and work instead. Since they are down to only a few overworked servants and nannies, the house goes unkempt. One of the Siegel boys steps on dog fecal material in his room. David’s son from his first marriage was running sales at his father’s company. He discusses his youth in poverty with his divorced mother, all while his father was already a multi-millionaire. His and his father’s relationship is business only. And there is almost no business left, as he’s had to lay off the sales force.

This is the stuff liberals love to see–the rich being taken down a notch and destroyed. But I don’t, and neither should you. I didn’t revel in it because, even though I quickly grew to despise the Siegels, I don’t hold their wealth against them. That is what most Americans aspire to, and those aspirations are what drive Americans to do great things, start businesses, employ people, and create new inventions and services to make our lives better. If the Siegels were still going strong financially (and some reports say things are better for them since taping wrapped on the movie), they would continue to employ thousands of Americans they were forced to lay off, both in their company and in the construction of their showy palace. Their employees (as depicted in the movie) all seem to enjoy working for them. If things were good for them, it would also mean things were going well for the rest of America. But, at the end of the movie, the Siegels are in a similar bind as many other Americans. Their palatial Versailles was in foreclosure.

But they aren’t exactly in the same boat. They still have plenty of wealth and aren’t–like plenty of other Americans in the Obama economy–worrying about how to feed their kids and themselves and put a roof over their shoulders.

That’s why it’s especially disgusting to hear Jackie Siegel whine that she is upset that the bank bailouts didn’t cause the banks to send the money to “the common people: us.” Um, Jackie, common people don’t build 90,000 square foot homes. And they don’t live in 26,000 square foot ones.

Like I said, this movie has an easy target in its “hate the rich” goal. Sadly, for any of the many mindless who will see it, it succeeds in spades. The movie is very entertaining and engrossing in a reality show sort of way.

But, remember, most of America’s top one percent don’t live like this–not even close. That’s how they keep their wealth while the Siegels are losing theirs.

After seeing this movie, I don’t hate America’s rich. I just despise David and Jackie Siegel, who unfairly make them look bad. Predictably, most people seeing this movie don’t have the intellectual capacity to make the distinction.

One other note: the movie is distributed and shown by companies owned by billionaire Mark Cuban. Although you don’t see his wife behaving the way Jackie Siegel does, I’ll bet he lives in a giant mansion, and I know he has a private plane, as well as many of the other trappings of the billionaire lifestyle. But you rarely see his wife in public interviews, and when you do, she’s tastefully dressed and comports herself well. You don’t see Mark Cuban mocking his lifestyle or agreeing to expose his private life in a documentary showing his appointments of wealth. Smart man (which I already knew he was). But maybe also a little bit of a hypocrite in distributing this movie which is an attempted statement on his lifestyle and that of all rich people, using the Siegels as an easy-to-hate proxy.

The Siegels, so obsessed with bragging and showing off, just didn’t have the guts to say no to Director Lauren Greenfield. They are their own worst enemies. Yes, a documentarian can slant anything they way he or she wants and put the truth on the cutting room floor (or these days, in the digital circular file). But the Siegels provided Ms. Greenfield with miles and miles of rope.


Watch the trailer . . .

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13 Responses

Judging by your reviews, I`m going for both TORRENT and NETFLIX.

And why not just call Dinesh D`Souza a bootlicking Dhimmi? It’s more apt.

The Reverend Jacques on August 25, 2012 at 1:40 am

I was looking forward to the reviews this week because I thought “Lawless” was opening but that is next week. I am so excited for that because even thou’ they are spot-lighting that douchey piece of cat-sick, Shia LaBeowolf (does anybody like that uncharismatic blob of profound blandness??) as the “lead” in the film, the film stars gems like Guy Pearce (he is sooooo good and versatile!), Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy.

It’s like serving prime rib but trying to spotlight a ca-ca sandwich is the real gourmet meal. Whatever Hollywood. We know who the real bright lights are!

It even stars another Aussie actor named Jason Clarke. He doesn’t set the world on fire but he is a good actor and is great with accents. But let’s shill Shia LeBeouf because there ain’t anything more exciting than a bread sandwich!

That Joseph Gordon-Levitt film DOES look exciting. Hope Michael Shannon isn’t too hammy in it…he is very good and very capable in the right measure.

I wanna see the “Queen of Versailles” too.

I saw “Killer Joe” this week before it left the theatres and I was so sorry I did. What an utter piece of filth it was. No redeeming value in it and Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon really prostituted themselves out for it. Guess chucking one’s dignity is the new “edgy” if you’re retarded. I hated it and hated all the characters and felt cheap after viewing it. I should have walked out. Complete rubbish and absolute filth.

Skunky on August 25, 2012 at 1:49 am

“Siegel is a Jewish surname”

Siegel can be a non-Jewish, German, surname. But sure, David Siegel is probably Jewish / of Jewish background.

dee on August 25, 2012 at 2:19 am

Debbie I think maybe you could have been Mrs. Mark Cuban if you weren’t so busy here kvetching about people who hate Jews, eg. non-Jews. Then you would be living in his 24,000 square foot house and
it would have 452 mezuzahs and a Kosher kitchen, instead of the current 452 miniature Christmas trees and a set of prosthetics.

A1 on August 25, 2012 at 3:42 am

    A1 will be starring in the remake of Fatal Attraction, playing the Glenn Close role.

    skzion on August 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Ha-ha-ha….Skzion, your post made LOLOL!!!

      I hope he gets a great wig! Haw-haw!!!!

      Skunky on August 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I initially thought that ‘Queen of Versailles’ was yet another pseudo-historical hit job on Marie Antoinette, rather than everything that you described. Maybe the movie could have been better named, if not better.

But I agree w/ you. Seeing these sort of hit pieces on the lifes of the rich & famous is nauseating, since as you pointed out, people do aspire to get as high as they can in life. Most people who are wealthy are really wealthy on paper, since most of their assets are in stocks, mutual funds and so on, and very little in actual fluid cash.

But I do think one thing – that stockholders having too aggressive expectations from companies they invest in force these companies to downsize after, say a bad quarter, and take short term measures that they wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have taken. To that extent, I do blame greed for the economy going south.

Infidel on August 25, 2012 at 4:17 am

You didn’t watch Hit and Run. There was no jilted policeman ex-boyfriend. Yes there was police and there was a jilted ex-boyfriend, but not as one charector. I am not saying it is an Oscar whispered effort, but I have actually watched it and thought it was very enjoyable. There is violence, there are off colored push the envelope of decent humor including, but not limited to naked December x 6 swinger parties as a sight gag, but then Hang Over also had all that too, which was far more entertaining than your review.

I have seen this movie, and I did enjoy it, because I like movies that make me laugh.

As far as 1%er slam, that was just unprofessional.

D: Huh? I did see “Hit and Run” from beginning to end. And her jilted ex-boyfriend is a former cop. But thanks for the incorrect correction. DS

David on August 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

I don’t get it. Schlussel starts off by saying that “Queen” isn’t directed against Jews, but then suggests that maybe it is. What gives?

It’s so ridiculous. It’s a sample group with TWO people in it. I seriously doubt that the filmmakers ever claimed that two people are a representative sample of the rich.

I’m about as far from the Occupy morons as you can get. But I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a guy (Jew or no) who builds a fortune selling timeshares. As a capitalist, I don’t feel obligated to stick up for someone who makes a fortune by scamming people at 3-card monte, either.

Statusmonkey on August 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Debbie, thanks for giving “Premium Ruhs” a good-great review, I’d knew in the back of my mind that you would give this film a good review and like. When I saw commercial ads on television for the last number of weeks, the previews of that film looked real exciting and cool, this is something I wouldn’t mind wasting my money on, because I wanted to see this film. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt seemed to be very excellent in Premium Rush, that type of job his character did is pretty similar to my old job before I left the company, by being a delievery-guy (I wasn’t a bike-rider, but a walker). So I only wanted your take on Premium Rush, and thank goodness you gave it a terrific review!

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on August 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I saw “Premium Rush” and liked it also. I agree with Debbie that it’s full of “heart-pounding” thrills. The first 30 minutes of the film in particular were a complete adrenalin rush. Maybe the word “rush” in the title partly refers to this non-stop excitement. In addition, I liked the support of what I would consider old-fashioned American values. As I see it, in America we believe that if you can do a job faster and more reliably than the competition, that’s something to encourage. I liked the underlying assumptions of this film which supported these values.

I’m sorry to admit that I liked “Hit and Run” a lot more than Debbie. It reminded me with its low-life character types, deadpan humor, and frantic emergencies of the somewhat eccentric “30 Minutes or Less” (from last year) which I also liked.

Burke on August 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm

You are a xenophobic cunt.

Appalled American on August 27, 2012 at 12:59 am

There is rarely smoke without fire.

The reason why there is such a negative view of the “1%” isn´t all because of simple prejudice, leftard teachers or envy.
No, it is because there actually is a number of them that might not be just like that but certainly reflects the behaviour and mentality of this couple to a certain degree. Others who are indeed doing their best to undermine their own country, like Michael Moore, Bush, the Clintons and the Obamas for example.
If you work for your wealth, you might want to enjoy a lot of extra things but you aren´t just going to throw it away like they do.

Of course, it isn´t just the “1%” that has its black sheeple, that would make things far too simple.

“That said, it’s hard not to believe that filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is a far-left, self-hating Jew. After all, she chose a Jewish bete noire extraordinaire in David Siegel,”

Aaron McGruder doesn´t like 50 cents, BET and the “black” mainstream culture in general but that doesn´t make him a self-hating black, on the contrary.
That you criticize Ann Romney, Helene Gurley Browm doesn´t make you into a far-leftard blindly hating women and the United States, now does it?
Is it impossible he want to encourage some of his fellow jews to stop giving their religion a bad name and try to be better persons?
Beside, there is not that many that knows Siegel is a jewish name and among those that do, a large percentage would not have the attention span to notice it, unless someone (in this case, you 🙂 ) point it out to them.

“That is what most Americans aspire to, and those aspirations are what drive Americans to do great things, start businesses, employ people, and create new inventions and services to make our lives better.”

What is important is what people are ready to do and not do for their aspirations.

“You don’t see Mark Cuban mocking his lifestyle or agreeing to expose his private life in a documentary showing his appointments of wealth.”

If he did, it might make a profit (thought not as much) but above all, would it be belivable?
No, unless he makes his life a years-long reality tv show, there would be the accusation that he is just making stuff up to make himself look better than he actually is and it would be a valid one.
At the very least, he is classy enough to avoid spewing a stream of self-justifications.
He might have a mansion and a private jet but he´ll make sure it won´t destroy his fortune.

Jaws on August 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm

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