September 15, 2017, - 7:07 pm

Weekend Box Office: American Assassin, mother!, Rebel in the Rye

By Debbie Schlussel

Sorry that I don’t love the movie over which everyone’s expecting me to gush, but I really didn’t like anything new at the movies, this weekend.

* American Assassin – Rated R: This is the movie about Mitch Rapp, the CIA assassin protagonist of the series of novels by the late Vince Flynn. I was really looking forward to this and expecting something great. But that’s not what I got. Despite the undue gushing over this by predictable groupies and jock-sniffers like Rush Limbaugh, this movie is absolutely no different than the typical drivel you get from everyone else in politically correct Hollywood. (Limbaugh had multiple orgasms on the air telling listeners about how he met Flynn, about his personal special screening of this movie, and how “great” it is–it isn’t.)

Yes, there are a few Muslim terrorists at the beginning–and even the government of Iran is made to seem like the bad guy, AT FIRST–but in the end, Iran isn’t so bad, and the only real bad guy here is the typical bete noir terrorist in Hollywood movies: a former CIA agent who is crazy and has gone rogue (for reasons that really aren’t explained). Yaaaaawn. How many times have we seen that before? Um, Jason Bourne, anyone?

Also, I was absolutely underwhelmed by actor Dylan O’Brien, the lightweight who plays the title hero. It’s no surprise that “Mitch” rhymes with bitch. The guy looks and sounds like a wuss, even despite the macho fighting scenes (undoubtedly performed by a stunt double). He has a baby face and the feminine voice of a wimpy kid from suburban New York. He should be in a boy band, not in this movie. There’s no macho here. The guy isn’t very manly, even when he sports a beard. His acting is abysmal–not that you’d expect more from a guy who is best known for starring on MTV, which nobody watches anymore. The acting in this is mostly schlocky and amateurish and performed rotely by unknowns. The real star–the only person worth paying attention to here–is Michael Keaton. But I didn’t really enjoy watching him being tortured by having his fingernails pulled out and being electrocuted. Yes, this movie is extremely violent, bloody, and graphic, which would have been fine, if the terrorists doing the torturing were Muslim (as they almost always are in real life). But the “manicurist” here is the aforementioned renegade CIA agent, known as “The Ghost.”

Sure, I loved the fight and action scenes in this movie. Other than Keaton, they are the best thing to watch in this. But please show me one instance in the real world in which “the real terrorist” trying to get a nuclear bomb and attacking American agents is a rogue American agent who isn’t Muslim. If they did a movie about Bradley a/k/a Chelsea Manning betraying America, working with Muslims, and then frolicking in makeup and a red bathing suit with Vogue’s Anna Wintour, fine. But this movie is nothing like that.

The story: Mitch Rapp is some guy (they never tell you anything about him) who makes a cheesy, hokey proposal to his sexy girlfriend on the beach. We see this on shaky footage of his cellphone. But, then, Islamic terrorists attack the beach, and the girlfriend is killed. Note that the terrorists never make an “allahu [FUBAR]” declaration before the attack and the words “Islam” and “jihad” are never mentioned, not even once. This movie is as sanitized as possible. Mitch decides to get revenge on the terrorists, tracks them online, and the CIA is watching as he goes to them somewhere in the Middle East. The CIA is impressed, so it recruits him as the “next big thing” assassin, and he is sent to Michael Keaton’s farm to train. Someone is obtaining parts to put together a nuclear bomb and start the next world war. Ostensibly, it’s supposed to be Iran, but it’s really the rogue CIA guy, “The Ghost.” The rest of the movie is spent trying to track down The Ghost and stop him.

And those Iranians–well, they aren’t so bad. In fact, their intelligence minister and his niece don’t want to attack Israel. Awwww . . . how charitable of them.

Unlike Limbaugh and the rest of the groupies, I judge all Hollywood movies by the same standards. And by my standards, this is yet another exercise in PC hackery, no matter who wrote it or whether or not they gave Limbaugh a private screening to make him feel important, so he’d predictably pay them back by praising their crap.


Watch the trailer . . .
mother! – Rated R: More like “Mother—-er! You Wasted Two Hours & One Minute of My Life I’ll Never Get Back!” I hated this pretentious, long, boring exercise in far-left New Age psychobabble gobbledygook. The studio required us to read their many-pages-long BS pimping this movie before we saw it. I read it, and tried miserably to stay awake while doing so. The pages quoted the movie’s insane writer and director, Darren Aronofsky (who is also sleeping with the movie’s star, Jennifer Lawrence), as saying the movie is some sort of allegory about climate change and deniers and people in the Western world fighting over the world’s resources when the world’s population is so large and there isn’t enough. He also seemed to indict voters for Trump and the current political climate. PUH-LEEZE, will you just Shut the F— Up?! By the way, I suppose this accounts for the dumb affectation of the lower-cased movie title–I guess Aronofsky, a typical limousine liberal, didn’t want to waste a capital “M.”

Then, I screened the movie, and the first half of it is actually entertaining and mysterious . . . until the movie devolves into a senseless, crazy mess and become the “Feel Good Baby Cannibalism Movie of the Year!” Comedic actress Kristen Wiig makes an appearance and summarily executes a bunch of human beings, after which a baby is murdered and a bunch of people rip it apart and eat it. If that’s what you want to spend ten-bucks-plus on, for entertainment, you’re deranged. The movie is just nuts and a complete waste of two hours (and one minute) of your life you’ll never get back.

This piece of garbage “film” tells the story of a young woman (Lawrence) married to an older man (Jew-hater Javier Bardem) who is some sort of relatively famous poet/novelist. He has writer’s block, and they are holed up in an old mansion in the middle of the country, where he is trying to write his next best-seller. She is restoring the house, though she is haunted by it and feels the “life” living within its walls. She also wants to have a baby.

One night, an older man (Ed Harris)–a stranger–shows up at their home, claiming he thought it was a bed-and-breakfast. He inveigles his way into their home and their life, against Lawrence’s wishes. He ends up staying the night, then his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up, then his family, and soon they are taking over the house as if it’s their own. Suddenly, the house is overwhelmed by people, and Lawrence is shocked and angry that no one will listen to her. They are taking apart her house. I laughed at the chutzpah of all of these people, but the movie soon becomes stupid and unbelievable with no discernible plot or point. It just gets completely ridiculous and makes the whole first half–no, the whole movie!–pointless.

Mother——!, indeed.


Watch the trailer . . .

Rebel in the Rye – Rated PG-13: As I’ve noted on this site before, I think that J.D. Salinger is the most overrated writer in American history. And his novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” is the most overrated novel in America. It’s crap, picked by liberal “educators” and forced on high school students across America every year, so it continues to make the Salinger family and estate zillions of dollars. It seems the whole idea of the book–the reason the uber-liberal Salinger wrote it–was to start this trend (which is now status quo) in which there is no respect for authority and parents and adults are idiots. If the novel came out today, it would sound like every other pointless, angsty, overwrought Young Adult novel. And it should have been dismissed as such back in 1951. Instead, the book was the literary emperor-with-no-clothing of the century. I was one of those high school students forced to read it, and what a waste of time. I thought then as I think now: what’s the big deal? Is that all there is? There’s no “there” there.

So, on top of all that hype, we’re supposed to care as much about this movie as we’re supposed to care about the author and his pointless drivel of a novel. And since I didn’t care about either of the latter two, I was as enthusiastic about the former. I didn’t expect much, and this movie lived down to my expectations. It was boring and slow and served no purpose. Nicholas Hoult, who plays Salinger, is not a bad actor. He’s just way better looking than the actual guy here, and doesn’t really seem to have the angst that supposedly plagued Salinger.

I’m thankful for the half-Jewish Jerome David Salinger’s service and bravery while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He participated in the storming of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge (among other battles) and helped liberate and feed concentration camp victims and survivors. The movie shows that. But it does not show what is probably the most interesting part of his World War II experience: he served in counter-intelligence and used his fluency in German and French to interrogate prisoners. That would have been interesting, a word which does not describe this movie. The movie also doesn’t delve into Salinger’s friendship with Ernest Hemingway.

The movie begins with Salinger’s affection for Oona O’Neill, daughter of Eugene O’Neill who cruelly dumps Salinger for the much older Charlie Chaplin, when Salinger is away serving in the war. Salinger fails at everything he does and fails at school, but he longs to be a writer. Despite his father’s insistence that he go into the family food business, Salinger insists on becoming a writer and enrolls at Columbia. There he meets a writing professor (Kevin Spacey) who nurtures and shepherds his writing career. Eventually, after World War II and a stint in a military hospital, Salinger has what we would now call PTSD and can’t get anything done, due to his flashbacks. He meets an Indian guru who teaches him to meditate to avoid reliving the death and violence of the war. And Salinger begins to write again. His semi-autobiographical short stories about Holden Caulfield are repeatedly published in the New Yorker Magazine, and he ultimately publishes his famous novel about the character.

But after selling 65 million copies and becoming a huge success, he decides that he must only write for himself, so he never against publishes anything and spends his days writing only for himself and meditating. Huh?

Other than Salinger’s military service and initial hard work to follow and achieve his dream, I can only thank G-d this guy a isn’t the model for America’s kids.


Watch the trailer . . .

23 Responses

On the Mother!, Jennifer Lawrence did most Trump voters a favor when she asked us not to see her movies. That certainly would have helped us in not wasting those dollars & hours that we won’t get back!

Infidel on September 16, 2017 at 7:02 pm

mother! is actually a biblical allegory. Javier Bardem is God, Jennifer Lawrence is mother nature/mother Mary, the couple who visit them are Adam and Eve and their sons are Cain and Abel. The baby is Jesus. There are also scenes that represent the ten plagues of Egypt and the flood and other things. Whether this makes the film more enjoyable, I don’t know.

J: That is strictly your own interpretation. Darren Aronofsky, who wrote and directed the thing, never said it was a “Biblical allegory” or anything of the sort. Instead, as noted in my review, he said it was about the current political climate, climate change, and people fighting over resources, etc. I know because as also noted in my review, I was sent and asked to read the pages and pages of baloney from the studio, quoting him, and pimping this crappy movie. DS

John on September 17, 2017 at 3:57 am

How was Salinger ‘uber-liberal’? His writing is fairly apolitical (as opposed to say Dos Passos or Steinbeck). Catcher does not depict adults and authority figures as idiots. Holden is an unreliable adolescent narrator who is undergoing a nervous breakdown. It’s adults who end up helping him (his parents, his doctors). Read ‘Franny and Zooey’, Salinger was advocating a quiet, contemplative, solitary life with Christian ideals as opposed to the ‘Instant Gratification – Impose my Social Engineering on everyone else’ mindset that typifies liberalism.

Vic on September 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

    A quiet solitary life — in other words, alienation, something almost unheard of in the early 50s, and even later in the 50s, although it did obtain some currency by the late 50s with the Beats.

    It’s worth remembering that leftwingers in the 50s thought that the Beats were an especially positive manifestation for the times, and they expected and hoped that the relatively formless protest of the Beats would lead to clearer political differentiation from the dominant society of the 50s. Left wing publications were full of articles charting hopeful courses for the Beats to escalate and politically clarify their protests.

    Alienation of young people from society was seen by the Left as a first step towards a political questioning of capitalism and political authority, and Catcher was tailor-made for a glorification of alienation. Rejection of established social norms, even with a mask of Christianity or whatever other ideas the alienated young picked up was inherently challenging to the social norms of community prevalent in the early 50s.

    I have always believed there is also an element of narcissism in coming-of-age novels. It would have been better if schools had promoted novels and other works showing how people became part of cooperative society.

    Little Al on September 17, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Jennifer Lawrence herself claimed the people of Texas deserved to be hit by Hurricane Harvey because they voted for Trump, so the director’s not the only climate-change cultist who, in their overall mentality, are spiritual and ideological descendants of the Catholic Church hierarchy of the Middle Ages who perpetrated the Inquisition that led to hundreds of thousands being tortured and killed for being “non-believers,” “heretics,” “blasphemers” and “apostates.” The “climate change” True Believers, in their contempt and utter hatred of skeptics, and what they advocate being done to them, have far more in common with those who persecuted Galileo for his declaration that the earth revolved around the sun (in a sense, he was that era’s equivalent of a “climate denier”) than with Galileo, himself.

Concerned Patriot on September 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm

“glorification of alienation. Rejection of established social norms”

These ideas go back centuries. Ever heard of ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’? Blake? Anyway Salinger never advocates any sort of political action and depicts Holden Caulfield as highly unstable. He ends up in the mental ward after all. Salinger wanted nothing to do with any of those movements you mentioned (the Beats, the Hippies). The Christianity wasn’t just a mask. Franny and Zooey is all about it. What WAS new about CITR was that the alienation was coming from an affluent urban adolescent. As opposed to a bearded wise man living in a cave (which is what Salinger eventually became pretty much).

Vic on September 17, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Those ideas might go back centuries, but 1951 was the height of the McCarthy era, and such ideas just were not expressed at that time by anyone, especially affluent urban adolescents. And the spiritual was an escape from ‘inauthenticity’, or, in actuality, narcissism. Any break from the ‘conventional’ was potentially subversive of the 1950s organizational culture

    I didn’t really mention the Hippies, and Salinger’s personal attitudes towards the Beats and the influence of the book are two different things.

    Instant gratification is certainly a theme of today, but was not so prevalent in the early 50s, when there was a strong work ethic in this country, and people believed in making sacrifices for the future. Liberals at that time supported the work ethic — it is a serious methodological error to conflate historical periods.

    Little Al on September 18, 2017 at 12:34 am

As usual your reviews are the best thing about the movies. Thanks Debbie.

Mochizuki Koga on September 17, 2017 at 10:21 pm

I’m thankful for the half-Jewish Jerome David Salinger’s service and bravery while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He participated in the storming of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge (among other battles) and helped liberate and feed concentration camp victims and survivors. The movie shows that.

How coud a man who had been through such experiences then turn around and write novels and short stories that expect the reader to sympathize with the GLASS family, a bunch of “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep” elitists who make H.L. Menken look like George Orwell?

Miranda Rose Smith on September 18, 2017 at 4:26 am


He also wrote ‘For Esme, With Love and Squalor’ which is one of the most empathetic portraits of a psychically damaged but ultimately triumphant WW2 Vet.


Wouldn’t the focus on the individual be quite anti-communist? In any case CITR was written throughout the ’40s even going back to WW2 (there is a famous photo of Salinger writing it while in service) so names like McCarthy or Kerouac probably meant nothing to Salinger at the time. Also there is the ever-present danger of conflating Salinger with his character. Why not conflate him with Seymour Glass or the vet in Esme etc.

Vic on September 18, 2017 at 9:32 am


He also wrote ‘For Esme, With Love and Squalor’ which is one of the most empathetic portraits of a psychically damaged but ultimately triumphant WW2 Vet.


Wouldn’t the focus on the individual be quite anti-communist? In any case CITR was written throughout the ’40s even going back to WW2 (there is a famous photo of Salinger writing it while in service) so names like McCarthy or Kerouac probably meant nothing to Salinger at the time. Also there is the ever-present danger of conflating Salinger with his character. Why not conflate him with Seymour Glass or the vet in Esme etc.

Vic on September 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Proving there is some justice in this world, “mother!” was a big el floppo at the box office. Though biblical allegories were used, the basic theme is said to be anti-Christian, and that’s not counting Ms. Lawrence’s uber-leftist politics (besides her bashing the people of Texas, there’s also the matter of her support – financially and otherwise – of the Queen of Baby-Killers*, Planned Parenthood).
* a sop to the old “King of Beers” slogan for Budweiser

Oh, and given her Texas-bashing, what if someone had said that Cuba deserved the damage from Hurricane Irma because it has been ruled by a Communist dictatorship for the last 58 years? How would that have gone down, given the Hollywood Left’s, and the media’s, slobbering over the Castro brothers (never mind Fidel now being worm food six feet under)?

Concerned Patriot on September 19, 2017 at 5:25 am

Why not conflate him with Seymour Glass or the vet in Esme etc.

Seymour Glass was a disgusting human being. He wanted his wife to sit, adoing, at his feet, while he shoveled out a lot of intellectual horse manure. She wanted him to make love to her, like a man. So he subjected her to the hideous, total, likely to drive her out of her mind trauma of being wakened by a revolver shot to see her husband’s brains all over the wall.

Mary McCarthy tears Salinger totally apart in her essay “J.D. Salinger’s Closed Circuit.”

Miranda Rose Smith on September 19, 2017 at 6:40 am

I wish all the religious Jews on this website a happy, healthy kosher New Year.

Miranda Rose Smith on September 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

Once again Debbie thank you for the great reviews. Poor deluded Jennifer Lawrence. This idiotette said that she didn’t want us deplorable Trump supporters to watch her movies. I do love it when this dunderhead and her ilk basically spit on us then expect us to pay our hard earned money to go see their pap. Too bad that her crap fest only made 7.5 million over the weekend. I’m not even going to attempt to see this train wreck. I read the book American Assassin by Flynn. I liked it as Mitch Rapp is one cool mother. His books are up there on my list along with Tom Clancy( even the ones written by others), Brad Thor, Brad Taylor and Lee Child. I might go see the movie because it has Michael Keaton as crusty Stan Hurley. As for Rebel in the Rye I can’t stand Kevin Space Cadet so this one won’t get a look even when it winds up in the Wal-Mart five dollar bin in a year.

Ken B on September 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

“A Perfect Day For Banana Fish” anyone?

TWP on September 19, 2017 at 11:32 am


    Miranda Rose Smith on September 24, 2017 at 4:23 am


My point was there is no reason to tie him to one character and assume that’s him. He was a damaged WW2 vet all of his life. And was not ‘uber liberal’ by any definition. He sympathized neither with the Beats nor the Hippies.

Vic on September 21, 2017 at 10:25 am

And it’s funny how we’ve been discussing Salinger when his long time friend Lillian Ross just died the other day. Here they are at Central Park with Salinger’s kids.

Vic on September 21, 2017 at 10:28 am

Maybe we could use junk like this to torture captured terrorists, it’s way worse than using caterpillars. Bardem’s only good role was 10 years ago in “No Country For Old Men”. Lawrence is a harlot who broke Hoult,humiliating him twice. Now this guy seems like her sugar daddy until the next one. Everybody forgets Salinger’s book is what Chapman used to justify his killing of the atheistic,airheaded Beetle Lennon. Pfeiffer, well she’s not done anything worth watching since “Batman Returns” so she’s a desparate 50 plus matress.”Mother”? more like “crudely done piece of junk by one good movie director,” he did “The Wrestler”.

Robert Swords on September 21, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Awesome movie to watch. All the live TV channels and movies for free on your Android devices using Terrarium TV.

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