Pop Culture Roundup: This Week

Roundup
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Tom Hanks Signs On To Save The Day In Exclusive Clip From Steven Spielberg's “Bridge Of Spies”

Source:  Huff Post

In Steven Spielberg's new movie, Tom Hanks is asked to defend a United States pilot who is imprisoned in the Soviet Union after his spy plane is shot down amid the Cold War. "Bridge of Spies" is the duo's fourth film together, and its forthcoming premiere at the New York Film Festival will determine how much of a player it becomes in the 2016 Oscar race. 

History channel orders Craig Ferguson series "Join or Die” where people debate history

Source:  Variety 

History has heard the cry and has signed on for 16 episodes of the new series “Join or Die With Craig Ferguson.”
The half-hour program follows the “Late Late Show” alum as he debates provocative and timely topics — in his unorthodox and iconoclastic manner, of course — with a panel of guests that will include celebrities and historians. Viewers will also be allowed to join the conversation through social media. Topics will range from the biggest presidential campaign flop and who was the greatest founding father to which invention was history’s greatest game changer.
“I’m a huge fan of History and what they do,” said Ferguson. “I’m delighted to be on their schedule and promise that we will have a lot of fun but we will also stick to the truth.”

Most re-tweeted moment of the GOP debate 

Source:  Newsweek 

One of the funniest moments of Wednesday night’s Republican debate came during a discussion about marijuana legalization. Rand Paul mentioned that oneof his fellow presidential hopefuls was a hypocrite in his opposition of legalization because he used to smoke weed himself. (Never mind that Paul has been accused of getting high, tying a woman up and forcing her to hit a bong in college.)
From across the stage, Jeb Bush practically interrupted Paul to claim responsibility. “So 40 years ago I smoked marijuana, and I admit it,” he said. “I’m sure other people might have done it and might not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.”
It was the most re-tweeted 140-character message of the debate.

Bill O'Reilly has a new book:  Killing Reagan

Source:  Media Matters 

Fact-checkers get ready, there's a new Bill O'Reilly book arriving in stores this week. If Killing Reagan is anything like his previous forays into the historical genre, and if it's anything like the dubious memoirs the Fox News anchor has penned that helped improve his life story, the new tome will likely be rife with dubious assertions that will have scholars scratching their heads.
Killing Reagan follows the chart-topping success of O'Reilly's Killing LincolnKilling KennedyKilling Jesus, and Killing Patton, all co-written with Martin Dugard. Several of the books have been charred by historians for being off-base and weakly researched.

New movie using archival footage exposes what led up to the death of Yitzhak Rabin

Source:  Variety

Timed to the 20-year anniversary of Israeli prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, Amos Gitai’s “Rabin, the Last Day” de-emphasizes the murder itself in favor of the institutional autopsy that followed, blending archival footage with solemn re-enactments of the Shamgar Commission’s official inquiry into the incident. Whereas this tribunal was legally restricted to examining only the “operative acts of negligence” that might have prevented the tragedy, however, Gitai’s rigorously fact-backed film attempts to understand the greater question of “how” — namely, the cultural conditions that made such a violent tragedy possible — and what the incident says about Israel today. It’s a subject perhaps better suited for an essay, done no favors in such flat cinematic form, and the film will ultimately be seen more widely at festivals than by paying auds in any country other the two that co-produced it: Israel and France.

Related Link Thomas Friedman discusses the movie

The Blinding Cinematic Whiteness of “Black Mass”

Source: New Yorker

Scott Cooper’s film “Black Mass” is told in flashback, framed by recent confessions by James (Whitey) Bulger’s partners in crime, and the first of these flashbacks is dated, in an on-screen title, to 1975. That’s the time when South Boston, the largely Irish neighborhood where Bulger grew up, lived, and operated, was national news, mostly in conjunction with one word, “busing.” In 1974, a federal judge ordered that Boston’s public schools be desegregated by sending white students from schools in South Boston to schools in the predominantly black neighborhood of Roxbury, and vice versa. Many residents of South Boston responded with fury, threatening violence against the black students who arrived by bus. Most white children being bused refused to go.

From watching “Black Mass,” you’d never know that these events coincided in any way with those seen in the movie or that any of the movie’s characters had anything to do with them. But one of them—William Bulger, the gangster’s brother (portrayed in the film by Benedict Cumberbatch)—was a state senator at the time, representing South Boston, and he himself made national news, as in this report from the Times, from 1975, forecasting the following year’s Democratic Presidential primary in Massachusetts:

 “State Senator William Bulger, a hero in South Boston, . . . said Mr. [George] Wallace ‘may well be the one we end up with’ because he was willing to ‘speak up loud and clear and offend those who have made themselves our enemies.’ ‘Anybody who isn’t called a racist in this campaign,’ said the quiet, diminutive Mr. Bulger, ‘isn’t doing his job.’ ”

The virulence of that shocking remark suggests the tone and the import of the conflict in South Boston at the time. 




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