February 7, 2014, - 2:11 pm

Weekend Box Office: The Monuments Men,Vampire Academy, Gloria

By Debbie Schlussel

I really liked one of the new movies in theaters today, but hated the other two. I did not see “The Lego Movie,” as the screening was held on the Jewish Sabbath. (Too bad b/c it looks like fun.) But I posted my favorite Lego/movie combination video, below.



* “The Monuments Men“: Of all the films I’ve ever reviewed, I cannot remember getting as many inquiries from friends and readers as I’ve gotten asking me if I saw this movie and what I thought. My answer: yes, and it’s a great movie.

A lot of the mainstream liberal movie critics are bashing this film. Ignore them. It’s fantastic. I really liked and enjoyed this, even if I sharply disagree with its stated premise–that saving art is worth losing American (and American allies’) soldiers’ lives. It is not (at least in my opinion; you might disagree). (I also don’t subscribe to George Clooney’s character’s statement that art isn’t owned by anyone in particular–that it is all of ours. If I owned a Cezanne, I’m not required to open my house to the world to visit, am I?) Still, as modern World War II movies go, this was touching at times, funny at others, and showed Nazi evil (though not that much). For those who won’t see this because of stars George Clooney’s and Matt Damon’s arrogant lefty politics, I hear ya, and I don’t blame you for not wanting to help their movies make money. But it’s still a great movie.

During the Iraq War, Rush Limbaugh inaccurately declared on his nationally syndicated radio show that, during World War II, we never spared buildings and redirected bombing to protect art. When I heard that, I shouted at the radio, “um, wrong.” I’d seen the long, boring documentary, “The Rape of Europa,” in which soldiers who worked for the unit that did exactly that, explained that they shielded some strategic Nazi installations to save art. As you probably know, the movie is about the “Monuments Men,” the real-life unit of American (and some Allied) soldiers, who were actually older men of various art backgrounds. They were inducted into the Army to protect museums and churches housing great artworks and sculptures from Allied bombings and to return art stolen by the Nazis from Jews to their rightful owners. I have not read the book of the same name, but I understand that this fictional movie “based on a true story” is loosely based on the book.

One scene brought a tear to my eyes: it is Christmas Eve, and one of the Monuments Men, Bill Murray, is taking a shower in a tent. Meanwhile, in another tent, another Monuments Man (Bob Balaban) plays a record album (remember those?) with a recorded message from his family. He plays it on the camp’s loudspeaker, and it features his wife wishing him and everyone well and a “Merry Christmas.” Then, she sings, “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas.” Bill Murray stops his shower to listen and has a tear in his eye. It’s a very touching moment. (Not mentioned in the movies is that the Jewish Welfare Board–a Jewish organization founded to help Jewish-American and Gentile-American soldiers during the various American wars–provided the recording booth and equipment and the records. I have a few of them in my collection of US-Jewish military memorabilia.) Another great scene features a German Jewish immigrant to the U.S. who has enlisted in the Army (Dimitri Leonidas as “Sam Epstein”) and his interaction with captured German soldiers.

The acting in this movie is terrific. Everyone from Cate Blanchett (as a French woman who is connected to the underground/partisans) to John Goodman to, yes, Clooney and Damon, displays excellent acting chops. While the movie is a little bit slow and confusing at first, it quickly heats up to suspense and drama. And when it’s not occupied by those, it’s funny and poignant. It’s also a bit of mystery/adventure and caper film. And, overall, it’s an enjoyable World War II movie.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Vampire Academy“: I’m sick and tired of the teen vampire love story stuff. It’s been done to death. Um, “Twilight” movies, anyone? And, this time around, it’s as stupid and boring as ever (and confusing). This junk makes the “Twilight” movies look downright Shakespearean. And the movie posters bear the “charming” tagline, “They Suck At School.”

The movie takes place at a teen vampire academy, populated by the good vampires (called, the “Moroi”) and their half-vampire, half-human protectors (called “Dhampirs”). The good vampires and their protectors must fight off the evil vampires (called, the “Strigoi”). Almost everyone at the vampire academy looks like a young supermodel (there is only one ugly vampire–I guess she’s what they call “diversity”). The movie focuses on a vampire princess orphan and her protector (Zoe Deutch, who looks like a cross between Rose Byrne and Jordana Brewster). Someone is killing the princess’ cat and playing other tricks against her and the protector. They must find out who it is and why.

Not that I cared. This very uninteresting, unexciting movie is dull and a waste of time. And it has a weird lesbian vampire-drinking-dhampir-blood vibe with constant scenes of the princess vampire drinking blood out of the dhampir protector’s neck and the dhampir making orgasmic noises. Um, no thank you. This movie is aimed at teen girls, but if I had a teen daughter, I wouldn’t want her to see it. It’s gross–a lot of blood. And just plain dumb.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Gloria“: Just awful. A Chilean movie (with English subtitles) about a post-middle-age, divorced cat lady, Gloria, who is seeking a date and sex. She meets a formerly fat guy who had stomach-stapling surgery and begins a sexual relationship with him. But he is constantly leaving her for his daughters and ex-wife who rely on him for money and help. Then, she dances at a disco to the Spanish version of the ’80s hit song, “Gloria” (originally sung by the late Laura Branigan). The end.

Yes, this is actually a “movie.” I know–incredible. I could not have been more bored and disgusted. Slow, boring, pointless and chock full of more frontal nudity and crotch shots of this post-middle-age chubby zaftig chick than I shall ever need to see. Ever.

Ick. BARFitudinous

A time bandit that stole two hours of my life I’ll never get back. Dreksville.


Watch the trailer . . .


Since I didn’t see “The Lego Movie,” I post this–my favorite use of Lego with movies–instead:

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35 Responses

Regarding “Monuments Men”, when I saw the cast, my knee-jerk opinion was that this was going to be another leftest, anti-American, anti-war, piece for garbage from Hollyweird. In this case, I like being wrong. -Rick

Rick on February 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I was pleasantly surprised – the message of the movie is civilization is worth saving – from those who would loot and destroy it! I think its nearly as important as saving human lives. We are not savages like the Nazis were and a good deal of effort was made to return stolen art and cultural treasures to their rightful owners.

Some people may think that’s not worth risking lives for. But we must never lose sight of who we are. To put it another way, “Monuments Men” is all about the values, stupid.

NormanF on February 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Excellent point Norman.

    Concerned Citizen on February 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Well,at least Tom Hanks isn’t in Monuments men.

ebayer on February 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    …or worse yet, Tom Cruise. Though him and Clooney in the same room just might cause some Ego-Cosmic meltdown…LOL.

    Actually Clooney ain’t such a badass. When you type his name Google still does a spell check 🙂

    theShadow on February 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Thanks Debbie! I can understand those who don’t want to reward lefty actors, HOWEVER if we reward them when they make great films instead of making me pay $10 to see a 90-minute DNC commercial, maybe they’ll get the hint and make good movies instead of feeding their political echo chamber.

Sean M on February 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Last year we saw the release of mainstream American films such as “Rush,” “Gravity,” “Emperor,” “Olympus Has Fallen,” “Nebraska,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Captain Phillips” and “Prisoners.” Exactly how do any of these terrific movies (just scratching the surface) qualify as DNC/liberal “propaganda?”

    Seek on February 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hi Debbie!
I get sooo frustrated at radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh (But not him alone by any means) These radio commentators and ‘DJs’ whose sole function in life is to comment on things are so ignorant of so many basic things. I bite my tongue many times listening to Rush and other radio personalities. I live in the Dallas-Ft.Worth MetroPlex. Most radio personalities are very ingnorant of basic History, Basic Math, Basic Science and Basic Theology. Most Radio Personalities, like Rush, are on the radio because they can not do anything else. Like the old saying goes those who can’t, teach. Rush says many times on his show that he hated school. And Rushs’ ignorance shows.
Later! Kare

Karen on February 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Have any examples of Rush not knowing what he’s talking about? Please enlighten us.

    JeffT on February 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I can’t stomach Clooney at all, politics aside. I saw the first 15 minutes of “Gravity” and was physically repulsed by his smarmy, weak acting and personality. What do you women possibly see in him?

mobileDSR on February 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Clooney may be a moonbat, but he is a great script picker and does really good characters.
Isn’t that Lois Lerner is that Gloria film?

pat on February 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    He’s Bonafide!

    John on February 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

To see a Clooney movie or not? “Damn! We’re in a tight spot!”

John on February 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm

ever heard of Burt Lancaster “The Train” art is not worth lives.

maman on February 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I was almost positive Debbie would hate “the Monuments Men.” It was generally panned, as Debbie wrote, with one critic describing it as a mix between Schindler’s List and Ocean’s 11, and in “extremely bad taste.” Now, though, with Debbie liking it so much, I’ll definitely take a second look.

Instead I saw “The Lego Movie.” That has a 97% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes and critics are gushing over it. It’s being described fawningly as a “subversive film,” and one critic described it as even in the same league as Team America. Oh, please. Far from. It’s comfort food for liberals. The villain is “President Business” (played to type by Will Ferrell), a fascist dictator who threatens to destroy everyone’s lego lives with a superglue that will prevent them from being creative and spontaneous. This is the liberal’s worst nightmare, and of course it’s all the fault of “business.” As Nancy Pelosi has told us, Obamacare is wonderful because it means creative people won’t have to work anymore; they can stay home and expand on their art all day instead.

I have a lot of criticisms of the movie, but at least it didn’t bludgeon the viewer with feminist messages as do the cartoons which pander to mothers and their “brave” daughters.

Burke on February 7, 2014 at 9:46 pm

From ‘The Monuments Men’: “If you destroy an entire generation of people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants.”
Hitler and every stinkin’ despot that’s come along before and after.
“Some people may think that’s not worth risking lives for. But we must never lose sight of who we are”…NormanF
…and millions upon millions would agree.

BTW, I’m pleasantly surprised at Bill Murray and John Goodman. I never expected their acting careers to go much past their comedic endeavors. Much more talented than one trick pony’s Chevy or Rosanne fer sure.

theShadow on February 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm


Tommy Thomas on February 8, 2014 at 4:04 am

I was going to say, before my computer decided that I had written enough already, about VAMPIRE ACADEMY, I liked BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER tv show, but am sick of all these other vampire shows and movies. I don’t look at them, but the comment about Zoe Deutch, “who looks like a cross between Rose Byrne and Jordana Brewster”, she actually looks like Leah Thompson, her mother. I must watch too much tv!?

Tommy Thomas on February 8, 2014 at 4:12 am

Karen, “Most Radio Personalities, like Rush, are on the radio because they can not do anything else. Like the old saying goes those who can’t, teach. Rush says many times on his show that he hated school. And Rushs’ ignorance shows.”

Like him or not, that’s just really dumb to say. I don’t care much for Rush at this point, either, as he is just a mouthpiece for the RINOs, but if you think Limbaugh is a dummy you are nuts. He has one of the most successful radio shows in history.

If Rush is ignorant, I pray I can be that ignorant and more.

Jeff W. on February 8, 2014 at 7:55 am

BTW, sorry, I can’t see Monument Men, and yes, it’s my Clooney/Matt Demon can’t watch list thing.

Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon, Clooney, Damon, Sean Penn….

Oh, and for the guy who said Clooney picks great movie scripts. Are you kidding? He’s been in far more bombs than winners.

Jeff W. on February 8, 2014 at 7:58 am

I know considerable history, and I have never heard Rush make an egregious error. When he does he apoligises and corrects himself when it’s brought to his attention by his staff or others emailing or calling in.
Rush has not been defending RINOs at all, lately. He sees them for what they are — cowards.

gizz on February 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

Oh c’mon now…Vampire Academy is not even a love story!! Did you even watched the movie or are you being an asshole just because it’s a YOUNG ADULT book adaption??

Mia on February 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

I think you should put some movies in more nicer words for your opinion about it. Correction: someone isn’t killing the princess’s cat the cast doesn’t even matter, someone is trying Lissa Dragomir) to use her power to heal themselves but since her best friend, Rose Hathaway will protect her no matter what. Just stop comparing it to Twilight, I beg of you.

Habeebah on February 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I never post on these things because everyone is ontitled to their own opinions, but in this case I do have to ask did you actually WATCH Vampire Academy? To compair it to Twilight shows such ignorance on the actual film itself. Vampire Academy is NOT a love story, its more of a mystery if you need to categorize it. It is about friendship,

Weird lesbian blood drinking vampire vibe to it? This lesbian blood drinking vibe happened twice maybe three times? Each time to move on the story, first to allow viewers to see Lissa does in fact eat, but Moroi don’t kill, second to give Lissa strenght after using her powers, no where in the film was there this “lesbian vibe” perhaps you reffer to the playful comments between Lissa and Rose about it, if so go sit at your local mall and listen to teenagers for a bit, clue in on their language. A lot of orgasmic noises? What movie where you watching? I actually in comparison to most other teen movies out kn the market found this one to be very low key on the sexual vibes.

Its onvious you went in to this movie with your mond made up to not like it if you think someone killing the princess’ cat was a main plot line but missed all the other cues and what was actually going on with the characters.

Perhaps next time you should actually watch films you intend on reviewing, instead of waisting your time and your readers.

DulceNimue on February 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I would never want to see any movie with George Clooney or Matt Damon no matter how good Debbie says it is. I don’t want to support Hollywood leftists.

Cassandra on February 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I will forever associate Clooney with the South Park episode “Smug Alert”, and Matt Damon with “Team America: World Police”.

I wouldn’t walk out onto my back porch to see either of them. In fact, I’d pull the curtains.


PitandPen on February 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Gloria looks like an atrocity passing for cinematic art. Vampire Academy is, as noted, a ripoff of Twilight and those awful Kate Beckinsale movies.

Worry on February 9, 2014 at 4:15 am

Quite a statement for Clooney to make in the context of art stolen by the Nazis from German owners. I guess it is a twofer for him — combining antisemitism with dislike for the evil 1%.

And the critics? Seems like a combination of antisemitism and lack of impulse control. Everything that isn’t a 15 or 30 second soundbite-like scene is too slow-moving.

Little Al on February 9, 2014 at 8:17 am

will wait until it is downloadable,maybe! Actors should be paid less and taken off “godlike” status,unfortunately to be paid less means less public attendance. Read a book !!

JohnyAngel Advocacy Group on February 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

We’re doing gangbusters on both Monuments and Lego Movie, enough so that our A/C was overwhelmed by the considerable body heat of a full house. Vampire Academy- they just suck at school, they suck at the box office. I don’t think we’ve had a single showing with more than 30 people, and that’s sad for an opening weekend. And we do really well with big teen movies like Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games- Vamp Academy isn’t remotely in the same league.

Robert on February 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm


the usual suspects, on campus?:


Nick Fury on February 10, 2014 at 2:39 am

Hi Debbie,

I enjoy your website and post a lot of your articles to Facebook. While you did indeed point out moments in the movie that I didn’t focus on or deemed relevant – I as a conservative independent Jew have a very negative viewpoint of this movie.

After seeing this movie and having time to think and reflect on it – I was really upset.

I was gullied into seeing this movie based on the trailers that are very well done and appeals to the the Jewish conscious (of some of us) within to spend money hoping to get a satisfied return in cinema that will articulate the Jewish cause well on film.

I believe it appeals to liberal progressive Jews and their cohorts that appreciate Art more than life. They appreciate being honored for saving culture through the means of Art. Art in this case was given a Jewish identity to pass undercover to receive sentiments as if they were saving Jewish lives. The question was even asked several times during the course of the movie – was it worth it (the cost of losing life to save Art) to come across as something poignant and meaningful – as Art encapsulates a soul, and by saving Art (a soul) – they’re saving lives.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. If we could somehow ask the 6 million Jews that perished during the Holocaust if they had to choose between living or to die sacrificing their life for their Art (as it is a soul and more important to liberal progressives) – what do you think the answer would be? Jews will choose LIFE! This movie tried to convincingly persuade us to believe that the culture and soul (Art) of the world was at risk because Hitler wanted all the art to himself. Not once did they mention saving Jewish lives. Not once they they say how can we prevent Hitler from killing more Jews – or even slow down the process. The movie portrayed the urgency of saving Jewish Art and Christian idols as more important than saving a human being! I’m truly disgusted.

Knowing the history around this and how the US had opportunities presented to them to bomb the railroad tracks to stop the trains transporting Jews to Death camps, etc…, and the US did nothing to stop or slow the process of killing Jews – our precious Jewish bretheren! Not one damn thing was done and the movie didn’t even touch on this subject. It’s absolutely delusional for them to make a movie and slant things in this way – all in an effort to get recognition as Art and an Academy Award.

Shlomo Wolfe on February 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Ok I’m sorry but you must be out of your mind if you think Vampire academy is just about some lame vampires falling inlove like in Twilight you my friend have another thing coming! Vampire Academy is much cooler than Twilight and has great characters and plot lines maybe you should pick up and read this book and get a different view!

Zoe on February 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

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