OSCAR WATCH • Brooklyn: This is What American Exceptionalism Used to Be

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Circa 1950s, a young Irish girl makes her way to America to find work in New York, and finds herself falling in love with the Land of Dreams.

Saoirse Ronan gives an Oscar winning performance in this simple tale of Irish immigrants in the Big Apple. It follows her course as a young single girl named Eilis in Ireland from a struggling fatherless family of her mother and sister. She receives a sponsorship from a Catholic priest in New York to help her find work in America.

She arrives in the Land of Dreams and suffers homesickness and loneliness, until she meets a young Italian boy at a local dance who fancies Irish girls. They strike up a relationship that carries through to the end of the film with true American simplicity and honesty. He’s a plumber in a family with dreams to marry and to buy land and a home on an empty Long Island along with his family members.

It is truly the American Dream in its least corrupted form: hard working self-reliance coupled with family devotion and ethnic community that offers the hope of making one’s way in the world. The essence of the goodness of the middle-class. It is what made America great. Where normal people could come for a chance to work hard without the oppression of race, class or gender that plagued all of history’s cultures before.

It is tempting to find in Brooklyn an analogy with modern day immigration issues. But if anything, it is a rebuke to the tribalist rhetoric that dominates current minority and immigrant exploitation, creates a lawless defiance of legal boundaries, and promotes social violence.

Read on to see why…

Continue reading

The Dragon King: Novel of First Emperor of China Finally Available

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The wait is over! The Dragon King is officially available at Amazon!

On Kindle here.

In Paperback here.

Cool website here with artwork by Charlie Wen, cast of characters, and first chapters for free.

It’s 220 B.C. The ancient Western Empire is crumbling. In a desperate bid to save his throne, the Greek king over Babylon sends his son, a dishonored warrior, into the mysterious land of the Far East to capture a mythical creature that will give him absolute power: a dragon.

By bestselling author, Brian Godawa, and Charlie Wen, past visual director of Marvel Studios.

OSCAR WATCH • Room: The Most Powerful Pro-Life Movie Since the Planned Parenthood Exposé

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The story of a young girl imprisoned in a small room by her abductor, who escapes with the help of her five year old son, born in that captivity, and what happens after.

This is an emotionally brutal story to watch. It’s not that it’s a horror film, it’s not a thriller or even explicit. It’s because it is so revelatory of human nature in both its evil and its grandeur. It’s more about the power of imagination to overcome the psychological effects of such abuse. And as recent current news events have shown, this kind of thing is quite real.

Whereas most thrillers would end with the girl escaping, this movie’s second half is about the difficulty of both mother and son to overcome the trauma that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It deals with the aftermath and damage that man’s inhumanity to man wreaks upon victim’s lives as well as their families.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is quite understated in its realism. We see the strength of this young woman in dealing with her and her son’s issues in the best way she knows how, with her limited yet loving resources. It wrestles with the existential questions: How would a young child born in captivity cope with the smallness of their existence? And how would they see the huge vast world, once released? How frightening would it be to try to enter? And yet, how it is loved ones and friends who help us to fit into that very world. We need each other.

A Case Study in Pro-Life Narrative

There is a big picture going on here. I don’t believe it is without reason that young woman is never named in the film beyond her son’s “Ma.” So in a way she is an archetype for something bigger.  (Brie Larson’s acting in the role is transcendental)

Let me explain… Continue reading

The Finest Hours: A Movie of Hope, Courage and Self-Sacrifice That Carries You Away

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OPENS THIS FRIDAY, JAN. 29

The 1952 true story of the most amazing small boat rescue in history. Two separate oil tankers break in half in the midst of a raging winter storm off the coast of Massachusetts. This is the story of the amazing captain and his crew who brave the crushing elements and impossible odds to save 32 crew members of one of those tankers. And on a boat that could only carry 20.

When I saw The Perfect Storm, I thought I had seen the true power of the sea and man against the elements.

Uh uh.

The Finest Hours blows that out of the water. It was a riveting adrenaline fest of the limits of courage and self-sacrifice that humanity can attain.

It’s a simple search and rescue story of impossible odds, but it is that simplicity that makes it so profoundly riveting. I won’t tell you what the obstacles were. That would spoil it. Suffice it to say that every obstacle that they encountered just made me open my mouth in wonder and say, “No way. There’s no way they’ll get through it.” Which is pretty dang good, considering you know the basic outcome going into the movie. That’s good storytelling.

And most of it really happened. Which makes it all the more amazing. But listen to this about the faith of the lead character… Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Mad Max: Fury Road – Feminist Heroine and Her Dog Max Fight the Evil Patriarchy

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Post-apocalyptic action. Mad Max, a loner in a desert world of male gangs, cars, and water shortage is held captive by an evil dictator. When one of the dictator’s chief drivers, Imperator Furiosa, turns against him and escapes with female sex slaves, Max is pulled into the ride of his life – or death.

Mad Max Reboot with a Gender Transformation

Actually, the logline isn’t really accurate, cause it makes it seem like it’s Max’s story. But it isn’t. It’s Furiosa’s story. She is the real hero of the piece. Which is interesting, since Max, made famous by Mel Gibson (and made famous Mel Gibson), has been the star of the series of post-apocalyptic macho mayhem from the beginning. It looks like this testosterone franchise just got itself castrated with a feminist subversion, a sign of the real war — on boys.

It should have been called: Imperator Furiosa and Her Dog Max.

I gotta hand it to Miller, the filmmaker, it is a brilliant tactic of social commentary to make an action movie that subverts the genre by giving the viewer what they want, but twisting it into an indictment against them. A kinder gentler misandry.

I wrote about the feminist action silliness of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Well, that was NOTHING, compared to this. Read on… Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Bridge of Spies: A Conspiracy of Boredom

Bridge of Lies

Espionage legal yawner, I mean thriller. A common lawyer practicing insurance law is chosen by the U.S. government to defend a Communist spy during the Cold War. Then he is becomes the negotiator to trade that spy for the American pilot shot down in the U2 plane, Gary Powers.

I tried to watch this film. I really tried. I got half way through and just stopped out of sheer boredom. I think Spielberg must have been trying to make an old 1950s spy movie, complete with long boring shots of people walking to meetings and away from meetings, long drawn out scenes of talkie talking, and negotiations that are supposed to be interesting but aren’t. How they used to edit back in the 50s. It was 30 minutes too loooooong.

An Oscar nomination for best picture? What were they thinking?

And then I realized why it was. Modern Hollywood has a love affair with depicting Communist artists as victims, so they LOVE to award that sycophancy.

You can see Spielberg building a case for “due process” by trying to show that even Communist spies deserve a defense. Fair enough. But it’s always Communists. Let’s protect Communists, they’re really just a Boogeyman of the Right, anyway, right? I can’t wait to see a movie where they defend the right of Christian bakers and wedding photographers to due process. Oh, wait, that’s the real danger in America, Christian do gooders, not murderous Communists and Islamists. THEY don’t deserve due process.

I won’t be holding my breath for THAT movie.

And then he depicts all the Americans as wanting to skirt law because of their hard heartedness toward that poor little old Communist man who likes to paint pictures. He’s so sweet and gentle. Oh, he’s an artist too! The persecuted artists in the dark underbelly of 1950s America! While the heroic Everyman, named Donovan, played by heroic Everyman actor Tom Hanks (Although I can’t say I see him that way anymore) blunders his way through a world of “American Red Scare paranoia.” His neighbors become paranoid of him for defending a Commie. His son comes home paranoid, preparing for an atomic blast at home. All the terrible Paranoia! This is supposed to appear to be absurd to our modern eyes since we know it never happened. But the real truth is that it WAS a possibility and within their context, it was not outrageous or paranoid. The fact that it didn’t happen does NOT mean it could never have happened. It was a real possibility.

Communist denial in Hollywood is pandemic. I don’t think I have the stomach to watch Trumbo and the hero they will no doubt make out of that Communist traitor to America. Because after all, he was a poor little old Communist Artist.

This is just more of the moral equivalency of Spielberg that we got with Munich, where the Israelis were portrayed as morally equivalent terrorists for exacting justice on Palestinian terrorists.

But I sat back down and suffered through the rest of Bridge of Spies, because of my patriotic duty.

And though it was still boring, there were a few qualifying elements that countered the moral equivalency of the story. I must be fair, since I’m not a Hollywood Communist artist. First, there is an eerie moment near the end where Hanks is riding a train in East Berlin (The Communist side). He sees a group of people running to the Berlin Wall and trying to climb over to the West Side to freedom. He sees them all get shot by East Berlin guards. Then at the very end, when Donovan is home in America, he’s riding a train again. This time he sees a bunch of kids running to a fence and climbing it in their backyard. A brilliant counter image of freedom versus the captivity of Communism. So there IS a difference between the two worlds. They are not ultimately equivalent. I wonder if that was the Coen Brothers’ writing leaking through.

On the other hand, the U.S. government is portrayed as not caring about its own citizens. Donovan uncovers the opportunity to add another hostage to the negotiations, a stupid American student studying Marxist economics in Berlin. The US government guy handling the deal tells Donovan about 20 times that they don’t care about the student, just the pilot, forget the student, we don’t want him, leave him there, it’s his problem, we don’t care about American citizens, only our pilot, forget about him (we get the point, Steven). The irony is that the government guy was right. An American soldier POW is NOT the equivalent representative of the United States as a stupid American who deliberately hides out in enemy territory during war. Sorry, they ain’t the same.

On the other hand, the treatment of the American prisoner Gary Powers in Cuba was not portrayed as equivalent to the treatment of the Russian spy in America. Spielberg did show Powers being manhandled for information (child’s play compared to today), while the Russian was questioned humanely in America.

Okay, so I’ll grant it’s a somewhat nuanced moral equivalency.

And there is the fact that Donovan went on to negotiate the release of 9000 captives from Castro’s Cuba. So it was amazing that this average American guy got caught up in changing the world for the better.

Spielberg has made a legacy of brilliant storytelling by focusing on the ordinary common man who becomes a hero, and this is no exception. I can’t fault him for that.

But I can fault him for boredom.

If you want to see the reality of Communist spies in America during the Cold War, I highly recommend watching the Series, The Americans. It’s fantastic. it’s truthful.

And it’s not boring, I promise.

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The Dragon King Pre-order: New Godawa Novel about First Emperor of China

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Available Pre-order on Kindle NOW!

Just go here to pre-order it.

Paperback will be available on February 1 (No pre-orders for paperback).

Cool artwork and free stuff on the website www.ChroniclesoftheWatchers.com Coming NEXT WEEK.

East Eats West

It’s 220 B.C. The ancient Western Empire is crumbling. In a desperate bid to save his throne, the Greek king over Babylon sends his son, a dishonored warrior, into the mysterious land of the Far East to capture a mythical creature that will give him absolute power: a dragon.

By bestselling author, Brian Godawa, and Charlie Wen, past visual director of Marvel Studios.

OSCAR WATCH • The Big Short: A Big Racist Lie

Big Short

The “true” story of the housing bubble financial crisis of 2008, and how some financial investors saw it coming and sought to make money on it by doing something unheard of at the time: betting on the complete failure of mortgages instead of their success. This is called short selling.

The Big Short is a star studded cast of stellar performances, led by Christian Bale as the autistic type nerd investment broker who computed the numbers and was apparently the first to figure out that the housing mortgage market was going to crash. So he did his job, he figured out a way to make money if you knew something was going to crash, is to sell short, or bet against its success. Everyone thought he was crazy and thus a fascinating dramatic story with Oscar performances.

Look, the whole shebang is one big confusing mess for us normal people to follow and understand. There are a multitude of technical details of investing and finance that make the average person’s eyes glaze over trying to understand. One would think that such a movie about the petty details of finance would make for a boring movie.

And one would be wrong.

In the hands of the storytellers, The Big Short is a fascinating multidimensional tale that does a great job of simplifying the issues and even explaining them to the audience in creative ways to follow the emotional trail of what was going on. It’s kind of like Shakespeare. You watch it and you can barely understand what is going on as they explain it, but you’re mostly picking up the emotional storyline, without knowing fully what is being said. But that’s okay, cause you follow the drama with what little you can hold onto.

The writer director, Adam McKay, paints a masterful big picture that incarnates the notion of selling short even within the editing itself, where many scenes are cut away in the middle of sentences, giving the viewer the uncomfortable feeling of being cut short from what you were watching (loved that). He breaks the fourth wall every once in a while to explain the complex financial issues, with celebrities talking to the camera using metaphors. Like Anthony Bourdain in a kitchen describing the financial mess like hiding bad fish in a stew. It’s all quite brilliant and entertaining. Sometimes, we see what is happening on the screen and a character breaks aside to explain to us what is really happening that we don’t see, or how the real events were somewhat different from what we are seeing because they had to make it more entertaining for the movie. The conceit is brilliant and it works.

McKay made an otherwise complex tedious boring financial situation a fascinating clever simplified explanation for just long enough to follow the money.

The heart of the story is to show how banks and Wall Street are greedy and corrupt and how they exploited the regulatory system and the disadvantages of others in such a way that it crashed the system and brought on the massive financial crisis of 2008, ruining many Americans’ lives.

And it’s a big fat lie.

Oh, I don’t mean a factual Clinton type lie, as in “I did not violate the Espionage Act by sending classified emails through my private server.” But a contextual lie, a tricky half-truth lie. You know, the kind where everything you say is technically true, but ultimately a lie, because by leaving out the most important other half of the truth, you end up creating a false impression of what really happened. It’s manipulating true facts to create a falsehood.

Yes, Big Banks, and Big Business, and Wall Street were greedy and exploited the system, but the fact that was left out that changes everything was where it all originated. And that was in the Big Government regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led by Democrat Barney Frank, that forced those banks to give mortgage loans to poor minorities they knew could not pay them back. That’s where it all started, and that was completely left out of the movie. The banks were forced by the government to create the bubble that would ultimately burst. And all of it was done in the name of left wing so-called racial equality. It was supported by Clinton, Bush and Barak Obama.  (UPDATED. It was not Dodd-Frank, but Barney Frank led legislation before 2007.)

Here is the part they left out: Government hacks look at the fact that some minorities are not able to pay for homes with the same representation as others. Rather than looking at the moral value system that created and reinforces that poverty within those communities, they immediately blame the poverty on racism. They then marshal laws to force those banks to give more loans to unqualified poor and minorities in the name of “social justice” (a code word for fascism). But since they don’t address the moral values, the unqualified, mostly minority, debtors fail in their responsibility and are hurt or ruined by the policy. It’s racism, plain and simple. Racism is favorable or unfavorable prejudice based on race. It is perpetuating the problem instead of fixing it.

Ironically, one of the characters says in the film, “They will blame the crisis on immigrants and poor people, like they always do.” WTF?

Yet in the film, when it is describing the discovery of the problems, there is no reference to the fact that it was government enforcing racist policy that created the bubble to begin with. The Barney Frank led regulations are never mentioned in this film. They may have been alluded to, but I didn’t catch it, and I didn’t hear any explicit mention. It’s like the government only appeared at the end of the movie instead of the beginning.

One character speaks of the irresponsible tell tale signs of the crash, as if they are arbitrary occurrences without reference to why: Rock bottom FICO scores, no income verification, adjustable rates and collateralized debt obligation. But those were all allowed because the government forced the banks to ignore those very qualifiers in order to get more unqualified poor minorities to get loans they knew they could not pay back.

That wasn’t private greed that started that, it was big government left wing racist policy. The government sold poor minorities short and sent them to their financial doom in the name of helping them.

In the beginning of the film, there is a scene that paints the picture as if this whole bundling of bad mortgages with good mortgages was created out of thin air as a scheme to make money by banks or lenders. Yet, it completely ignores the fact that the banks and lenders were all forced by government regulation to take on those bad mortgages. I am certainly not excusing the greed of those who did so, but the other side of the coin is that unjust government regulation forced them to come up with ways to make money within the parameters of unjust law that created the bubble.

Here is a short article by smart financial dude, Michael Barone, that explains some of this left out truth, and the tragic reality that they are doing it all over again: Government Created the Housing Bubble Financial Crisis and Could Be Doing So Again.

Here is another great short article close to the actual crisis by Walter Williams reviewing Thomas Sowell’s book on the Housing Boom and Bust. If you don’t like reading and want to see a video watch Sowell explain it here. Now, I want you to be aware that both Williams and Sowell are black economists. And since public debate is now dominated by the Obama rules of political discourse, if you disagree with Williams and Sowell, you are a racist. :-)

Just kidding. But the point is made that the real origin of the financial crisis was the racists who used the race card to short truth and justice, then shifted the blame to the greedy Big Business monsters who exploited that original crime. Affirmative action is racist and hurts minorities and the poor.

And that’s the Big Truth about Big Government left out of The Big Short.

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13 Hours: THIS is What Difference it Makes.

13-hours-movie-posterCombat Action. The true story from the perspective of the military contractors who rescued Americans in the terrorist attacks on the American embassy and CIA facility in Benghazi on 9/11 2012.

Woah. Michael Bay, you are forgiven of Transformers. In fact, all Michael Bay haters will have to stand down and admit that this phenomenal action movie is a well-told and entertaining story of American valor. No vain empty action, this is rich and full heroism. I think Bay is probably the only one who could get this movie made because no one can accuse him of political agenda in his filmmaking. He makes big action, and this is big action with a deep and human twist.

I guess other Hollywood directors couldn’t find a way to spin the story to make it George Bush’s fault.

13 Hours captures not only the fighting spirit of the warriors who stand for American values in a world of external totalitarianism and internal political corruption, but the human heart of those men, not perfect, but human, whose families and children also sacrifice for our safety. The moments we see of these hardened soldiers talking to their families over Skype are both enlightening and heartwarming. We see the goodness behind these bad asses. The entire story, they seek to do what is right even though they had an impossible task of discerning friend from foe, because of the chaos around them (a metaphor for the politics of the region). They are not heartless inhuman fighting machines, they are men with families who try their best to do what is right and suffer for their sacrifice. Yeah, sure they chose to do it. But they chose to do it, as one of the characters says, “To give myself something bigger to believe in.” Then he sadly admits the revelation of this decade, “That something bigger is gone now.” That is understated poetic indictment. Great writing.

The filmmakers, along with the original authors of the book, have said that they wanted to make an apolitical movie about what happened on the ground. A story of the heroism and courage of those 5 men and assorted others who helped them. It is true. This is as apolitical as you can get. And considering that most of Hollywood is rooting for Hillary Clinton, I can’t imagine a major studio willing to make a movie that revealed her political crimes that would deep six her. We’ll have to wait for a Republican administration for them to do that.

I admit, sometimes the truth gets through, and I want to be the first to trumpet that when it happens. Thank you, Paramount. You told some truth with 13 Hours. (for all those cynics who didn’t like me pointing out that they F’ed up with Noah, see? I don’t hold grudges. I’ll support you if you tell the truth.)

So the storytellers kept out any references to what was going on in the Obama administration and State Department in order to be apolitical. Ah, but herein lies the most subtle and brilliant subversion of all. By not showing what was going on in the administration, it reinforced the image of complete and utter silence and lack of response. They were nowhere to be found. They left these people to die. The fact that the movie shows complete silence on the part of Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, and any of their inferiors when it came to the cries for help is of course the most morally damning of all. That ain’t political, folks, that’s moral.

We see that Chris Stevens and the CIA chief kept calling for help, any kind of help. F-16s 45 minutes away, rescue 20 minutes away, A Blackhawk helicopter, even a lousy flyover, dammit. But all we see in response from Obama and Clinton is silence. We don’t even hear their names. Apolitical in a way because no one is referenced. But in a way, a moral indictment of the worst kind. Even to the very end of the story, where those remaining three heroes were the last to be flown out of the country, even THEN, it was a Libyan transport plane. “Still no Americans” to help them. And which Secretary of State is responsible for that heartless cruelty?

One brief statement in the film tells us that POTUS was briefed, and then we hear that State thinks it was Al-Sharia. We see that it is an orchestrated terrorist strike on the ground, yet we see the soldiers hear that the State Department told the public it was “protests about an anti-Islamic film.” Now, with Clinton’s criminal felonious emails uncovered, we know that she knew it was terror, and she deliberately denied it as terror in order to secure the second election of Obama.

Madamn Secretary, THAT is what the hell difference it makes.

There was one small element that I thought had big implications and worked against the theme of transcendence in the film, that belief in something bigger than ourselves. One of the soldiers reads a book by mythologist Joseph Campbell and quotes the phrase which becomes a tagline repeated in the story with thematic intent. “All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you.” Though this may seem to the storytellers to be profound wisdom that illustrates the grandeur of the human spirit, it actually undercuts any transcendence that this great story could have had. That statement illustrated Campbell’s relativistic worldview of immanence that actually denies transcendent purpose, destroys the human spirit while promising greatness within. Because you see, it rejects all transcendence of deity, all “higher purpose” or “something bigger than ourselves,” and replaces it with ourselves as our own gods, our own source of good and evil (“heaven and hell”). Hey, kinda sounds like the Serpent in the Garden, don’t ya think? (“You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”). This is the problem with Hollywood storytellers who seek transcendence for their stories, because they know in their souls there must be, but because they don’t believe in God, they create a substitute in humanity itself. Famous mythologists like Campbell aid the deception with their influence on the storytelling community, and you get that hunger for transcendence with an unsatisfactory tripe to fill that hunger.

But don’t let that ruin the movie for you. If you want to see the truth that the news media is hiding in order to help elect Hillary Clinton, then you must go see this movie. And even if you don’t like the truth, then see it cause it’s a kick ass action flick with real heart and soul. The best of all worlds.