December 19, 2014, - 2:10 pm

Wknd Box Office: Foxcatcher (Anti-American), Annie (Anniecide via Jay-Z), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

By Debbie Schlussel

Two okay new movies in theaters, this weekend, but nothin’ to write home about.



* “Foxcatcher“: I’m not surprised that mainstream (liberal) movie critics are in love with this anti-gun, anti-American movie and Steve Carell’s one-dimensional portrayal of the late billionaire John du Pont. The movie mocks American patriots, American patriotism, conservatism, support for America’s military and police, and gun ownership and superimposes all of those concepts onto craziness, nuttery, and murder. On top of that, the movie is weird, creepy, pointless, and very slow.

“Based on true events,” the film is supposed to portray the relationships and events that led up to du Pont’s real-life murder of Olympic wrestling coach David Schultz. But it’s hard to tell what is accurate and what isn’t, regardless of the participation of brother Mark Schultz in the making of the movie. There is a clear agenda to attack conservatives, patriots, and gun owners, so blatant that it’s over the top. There is also more than a sub rosa indication that du Pont was gay, with several very homoerotic scenes. You know the typical narrative: “patriotic, rich conservatives are really closet flaming gays.” And the filmmakers also want you to know that patriots are hypocrites in other ways, too, as du Pont is shown as a regular coke snorter, including on his private plane on the way to a conservative banquet event.

The story: du Pont is a nutty, patriotic, conservative, pro-police, pro-military, pro-gun billionaire, who longs to be famous and feel like he’s doing something to help America. He’s also a wannabe athlete and Olympic coach, whose mother focused him on piano and horses instead of sports (she saw wrestling as a “low sport”). So, du Pont recruits weirdo Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler Mark Schultz to come to his “Foxcatcher” estate to live and train. He also recruits Mark Schultz’s older brother Dave, a former Olympian and now a coach, to come to Foxcatcher to coach the wrestlers who live and train there.

But du Pont is obsessive and creepy. He wants credit for coaching Mark Schultz to the Olympics. And he wants to be seen as the father figure in Schultz’s life. That happens for a while, but soon Mark Schultz and du Pont have a falling out. Mark Schultz leaves, leaving his brother Dave and Dave’s family to stay and coach at Foxcatcher. Eventually, du Pont gets upset with Dave Schultz for no legitimate reason and shoots and kills him in front of Dave’s wife. The end. Wonderful movie, right?

You should also note that Friend of Al-Qaeda/Arafat, a barely recognizable Vanessa Redgrave, is a co-star in this movie, playing du Pont’s mother.

Carell and Tatum are covered in bad cosmetics and obvious prosthetics that are simply laughable. Their “acting” consists of monotone, stilted talking (which–newflash!–ain’t acting), as well as Tatum’s weird way of walking and constantly sticking out his jaw.

Bottom line–one not indicated by this movie: John du Pont’s behavior and nuttiness had nothing to do with patriotism. It had nothing to do with conservatism. It had nothing to do with gun ownership and support for America’s military and police.

But that’s not what this movie wants you to think.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Annie“: More like Annie-cide via Jay-Z. The hip-hop-izing of Annie stinks like fresh dunk. Will Smith and Jay-Z murdered Annie. They bought the rights to make the second movie version of the Broadway musical as a star vehicle for Smith’s daughter, Willow. But Willow decided against it, so they recruited QuvenzhanĂ© Wallis to play “the first Black Annie.” They also hired Jamie Foxx to play the Daddy Warbucks character, called “Will Stacks,” in this version. But don’t worry, all of the villains in the movie are still White. That’s the only thing they didn’t change. Though, they did create an additional, new White villain, in case kids in the audience don’t already get the message that “White people are bad!”

When I was a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I was an Annie-phile. My parents took me to see the music multiple times. I collected Annie memorabilia. I played the soundtrack record over and over again and sang along, probably to the rest of my family’s chagrin. I even auditioned for the traveling company of the Broadway musical (read about that here). I loved the catchy songs and the story of an orphan girl with red curly hair who charms a billionaire (maybe in those days it was just millionaire?) capitalist during the Depression (though I later realized the musical is actually about capitalists like Warbucks being cold and gruff and how the orphan charms FDR into signing the disastrous New Deal). And, so, I was doubly and triply sickened by how much they ruined this once-charming story, all in the name of “updating” and “urbanizing” it.

Every single song from the musical is changed and ruined (and several, such as “NYC” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” have been omitted completely). They keep a few of the key lyrics and then change the rest. They keep a few of the original musical notes and change the rest into some treacly, blah-sounding muzak (which annoyingly plays throughout the movie).

Instead of the movie taking place during the Depression, this version takes place today. And to make that clear, we are hit over the head repeatedly with social media two-by-fours. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, viral videos, etc. are a big part of this movie, clearly to make up for its weak script. And instead of innocent, hopeful “Little Orphan Annie,” the current Annie is a cynical foster kid with more jade and shade than spunk. Wallis is synthetically, saccharin “sweet” and cloying. Miss Hannigan is a foster care provider (lackluster and horribly-acted by Cameron Diaz). Jamie Foxx’s tech billionaire Stacks is very flashy yet dull and way too ghetto. There are repeated, stupid scenes of him and Annie spewing out their bad food. The only good White person in the movie is Stacks’ assistant, Grace (Rose Byrne), but she actually lacks grace and tells Annie about all of her (Grace’s) career and family neuroses. Huh? But she’s a “good” White person because, at the end, she enters into an interracial relationship with Stacks. So she’s “down wit da struggle.”

The story: foster girl Annie looks for her parents who left her at a police station with a note from an Italian restaurant. In the meantime, she lives with other foster kids in the foster home of a former member of the C&C Music Factory pop group (Diaz), who treats the girls horribly. One day, Annie is trying to help a dog when she is nearly hit by a car. Billionaire Stacks saves her live and the video goes viral online. Stacks is running for New York Mayor, and goes to meet Annie and include her in his life, when he sees that this will help him in the polls. Involved in all kinds of evil machinations against Annie are foster mother Miss Hannigan (Diaz) and Stacks’ right-hand man (Bobby Cannavale).

Like I said, this movie stinks, and it’s a mess. If you want to do your kids a favor, take them to see the musical, which was recently made its Broadway revival and is performed on stages all over the country.

This isn’t just “Not Annie.” It’s crap.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb a/k/a Night at the Museum 3“: While there is nothing objectionable about this third installment of the “Night at the Museum” movies, it’s far inferior to the vastly more charming first and second installments. In fact, while it’s fine for families and kids, I found this movie kind of silly, convoluted, and a mess.

The story: an Egyptian gold tablet on display in the museum is turning green and disappearing. Along with it, so are the powers of the exhibits to come alive at night. Museum official Ben Stiller travels to London with the Egyptian prince and some other exhibits in order to consult with the Egyptian prince’s parents, who are exhibits at the London museum, and find out how to restore the gold tablet and the museum exhibits powers’ to come alive at night. At the London museum, they engage in new action and adventures with exhibits that come to life at night there, including Sir Lancelot (the talented Dan Stevens), and a new museum security guard (Rebel Wilson).

The movie is okay, but kind of dull, and I could have done without the many scenes of historical museum exhibits engaging in social media on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., and dancing to hip-hop music. Um, no thanks. Takes a lot away from the “historical” magic of this movie series.

This was, by the way, the late Robin Williams’ last movie. Once again, he portrays Teddy Roosevelt.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies“: This latest–and supposedly last–installment of the Hobbit movies is like all Hobbit movies in that it is long and slow. I took a bathroom break and didn’t miss much. Like many of the Hobbit movies I’ve seen and reviewed, the plot is messy, confusing, and somewhat convoluted. That said, I liked this better than the Hobbit movies I’ve seen (I’ve only seen the two installments that came before this). It has a nice finishing touch to all the movies I saw, and I liked the warm, touching conclusion. I did think, though, as I have with other Hobbit movies, that the movie was a bit violent for kids–lots of killing and death. The story: in this one, Bilbo Baggins, the dwarves, the elves, and the others fight off more than one army of evil enemies.


Watch the trailer . . .

22 Responses

I hope Annie flops magnificently here and internationally just so I can look forward to the ensuing “audiences are racist” backlash by the black stars and producers.

DS_ROCKS! on December 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Another anti-white racist movie for Jaime Foxx. What a surprise.

Joe Cox on December 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

i suppose eventually ALL movies will be remade with black actors. Casablanca with a hip hop score. I can hardly wait.

Larry on December 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

On the other hand, “Penguins of Madagascar” was an all-American hoot!

Minor Spoiler Alert!

You knew you were going to be in a different movie when, near the opening, the Penguins open the doors to Fort Knox with “Flatt and Scruggs”–“Kentuckians love their ‘Flatt and Scruggs”‘ the leader says.

To steal Gold? No! To get to the last vending machine of Cheezy poofs in the eastern US, to poke an eye in “the Nanny State.”

There are also great bits about not living in France due to the tax code—said by the Penguin LEADER!

Not to mention the pompous British commando leader gets rescued by the American Penguins he dislikes…

And the villian is an ultimate Liberal…

In short, great American Woo! Woo! stuff!


With those spoilers out of the way—note how few related to the plot, since this is a hero COMEDY, so you should know that the ending is not sad…I loved it, my kids loved it, my wife loved it.

3 Reagans.

Occam's Tool on December 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

The days when Little Orphan Annie was right of center, anti-New Deal and anti-Big Government have long been forgotten.

Little Al on December 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Not to mention anti-Communist.

Little Al on December 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    We should also take note that The Foxcatcher also cast Mark Ruffalo in a lead role. Ruffalo, like Israel-hater Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Dupont’s mother, is a pro-Palestinian, far leftist in the Roger Waters mold. This means, of course, that they condemn Israel is evil for defending itself against Islamic terrorists, but they NEVER condemn Islamic terrorism (or they use the Obamaian convoluted argument that the terrorists may be Muslim but their acts aren’t related to their Islamic beliefs). In short, based on Debbie’s review and Ruffalo’s prominent role in the movie, we have to reasonably conclude that this flick is simply a Leftist Love-in.

    Ralph Adamo on February 22, 2015 at 3:19 am

Actually, the villains in Annie are both Cuban. 🙂

D: Um, actually, they aren’t. The character played by Diaz, Miss Hannigan, is NOT Cuban. Here’s a tip: Hannigan is an Irish surname. And the character played by Cannavale, Guy, is not Cuban, either. You clearly didn’t see the movie. Just b/c the two actors who played the villains are HALF Cuban doesn’t mean the characters they play are. In fact, they are not. Cuba and Cubans are not mentioned in the movie. It’s clear the villains were meant to be seen as White. DS

Dee on December 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I was joking about them being Cuban, because of their real-life backgrounds.

    However, Bobby Cannavale, who plays the only unredeemed villain in the film, really doesn’t look “White” to me. I think his skin is too dark to even be a “White Hispanic” like Andy Garcia (there are also Annie’s fake parents, who are both black, and Annie’s real parents, who are presumably black and abandoned her as a child; Jamie Foxx’s character isn’t all that positive until the end).

    Dee on December 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Sorry, but I do believe DuPont was gay and the reason he started this whole wrestling school was to ogle men fighting. He was also in love with Schultz and obsessed with him. DuPont didn’t kill him for “no legitimate reason.” The reason was an age old one, spurned love. Schultz was not gay but that didn’t matter to DuPont. When this happened the news ran a clip of DuPont actually wrestling with one of the guys and he (DuPont) was giggling like a little school girl. He looked orgasmic to me. After I saw that, I knew what this was all about. Patriotic, conservative gun lover etc or not, he killed man and is where he belongs. I appreciate this review and am NOT going to this movie.

TOMMY THOMAS on December 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Quite true. The movie, which I did see, if anything, tastefully downplayed the homoerotic aspects. Yet that subtext was very real. John DuPont, in real life a very weird dude, in fact had been married briefly to a woman who properly sensed he was not all “there.” One was not surprised he turned out to be a murderer. Whether or not he was patriotic is irrelevant.

    “Foxcatcher” effectively conveys the emotional complexity of the downside of surrogate fatherhood relationships (just as “Gran Torino” and “About a Boy” explored the upside). And the wrestling scenes were phenomenal. I highly recommend this movie.

    The widow of Dave Schultz, by the way, helped with the script. She was very pleased with the result. I would think her opinion carries some weight.

    R: Well, I don’t know the widow’s politics, but while she is rightfully angry with her husband’s murderer, that’s no excuse to defame conservatives, patriots, and gun owners. This movie does all of that. So, it makes not a whit of difference whether or not she’s on board with that crappy, false message. DS

    Rocker on December 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I think those who produced this movie were trying to tie DuPont’s mental illness and murderous impulse to being conservative, etc., and not being gay. I was in a barbershop a few weeks ago and a man in his late 60’s was there with an older couple and they began speaking about this movie. The man said he knew one of the men in charge at the DuPont property who told him a few stories about DuPont. He said that DuPont had workers dig trenches in the ground and in the plaster walls within the house and he would empty a pistol into them. He also was afraif of the flame in the home’s boiler so he had it relocated over 100 feet away in a storage building. The man was a nut and gay.

I was looking forward to Carrell in a serious role. Too bad.

Conerned Citizen on December 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm

It’s never Rachel who’s the coal burner. It’s always the blond hair blue eyed. I’m probably just being paragoyed.

Malibu on December 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm

I’m waiting for a movie where the evil white rich people are Hollywood studio owners.

Little Al on December 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Hopefully the North Koreans will hack and get a early copy of “Annie” and threaten violence if it isn’t pulled from the theaters.

smg45acp on December 20, 2014 at 7:55 pm

The original Broadway show ‘Annie’ was Marxist propaganda where FDR literally ”saves the day’. The 1982 John Huston film made it slightly more palatable by removing sickening songs like ‘New Deal for Christmas’ that resemble nothing so much as Soviet ‘Prokukult’ intended to indoctrinate children. Composer Charles Strouse also composed the theme to the vile ‘All in the Family’ so he had a record of aiding anti-Western propaganda.

Janice on December 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    You are a complete moron and I feel sorry for your parents… You are a mistake… Everytime you look at your fat reflection you realize what I am saying is true.

    locke on December 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Hey Little Al, Hollywood studios do not have ‘owners’. They are corporations usually owned by a bigger corporation.

Vivian on December 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

It is no wonder that Daddy Warbucks is nowhere to be found.

Making Annie black reminds me of the failed program of Mighty Wings at McDonalds, trying to attract blacks to the fast food, pushed by the new black CEO.

Why try to make a type of food or a movie attractive to 12% of the population.

The whole black is beautiful theme is losing not winning.

Now with police being killed by blacks/muslims things will surely get more divisive.

Panhandle on December 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Yep. Another Netflix / YouTube affair on the go.

“Foxcatcher”: Carrell may be a true funnyman. But he needs a better dramatic film than this. By the looks of the trailer (truly the only way to judge a movie’s potential), this may pretty well be the gay “Fatal Attraction” or “Liaisons Dangereuses”. So, I’ll pass. (Now if Carrell were to do a live-action version of “Despicable Me”, I would definitely go see that, stat.)

“Annie” (2014): Never gotten into the comic, and I have had bad experiences with female gingers. You already know that Jay-Z sampled “It’s a Hard Knock Life” for his breakout hit. But Debbie and others in the traditionalist-exceptionalist-conservative blogosphere may not be the only ones crying foul on the reboot since I read a negative review on a liberal blog. Either way, the “Annie” reboot is a guaranteed fail, regardless who portrays whom. (And is QuvenzhanĂ© Wallis really a ginger in blackface? We may never know.)

“Night at the Museum 3”: You have Ben Stiller, who can be funny. You have Robin Williams, who was funny, but since he is no-more, at least there’s “Mork & Mindy”. I’ll wait for Netflix to pick it up and then I’ll simply power-watch the trilogy.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”: I swear to Xenu, if Peter Jackson does a film adaptation of “The Simarillion”, I would have to opt for a bigger bladder on my next trip to the doctors. The verse in the book is so thick that not even a JDAM could penetrate the plot. The story about the beginnings of Middle Earth and the races that inhabit it requires more than the standard 100% of the reader’s concentration to digest it. I’ll wait until my nearest library can get a hold of it so I could power watch “The Hobbit” trilogy, with the benefit of a “pause” button.

Anyways… Happy Festivus.

The Reverend Jacques on December 23, 2014 at 8:16 am

Appreciate your reviews Debbie…and your never end flirtation with near PTSD after being exposed to so much dreck. It’s always enjoyable reading.

Perhaps, a movie about a movie reviewer-critic who fights big entertainment and changes it into a more American-Constitutionally friendly industry?

P. Aaron on December 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Right back @ P. Aaron…

Actually, there was a country that did something like that making entertainment a more “Constitutionally-friendly” industry.

The Soviet Union.

It’s better to have people vote with their wallets and let the hipster idealists who make movies (and other platforms of entertainment) as vehicles of their slacker propaganda collapse under their own collective weight of their inflated, delusional egoes.

Phew, I’m done. Time to ride that tryptophan high. Woo.

The Reverend Jacques on December 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

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