Morning Links

Friday, April 15th, 2011
Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

86 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Kristen | 

    I daresay libertarians like their rumpy-pumpy more than the average joe. Or, at least we’re just more open about it.

    Props to Ebert for not capitalizing the “l” in “libertarian”.

  2. #2 |  phlinn | 

    I really hope they meant to say no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody driving on public roads.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “…this reader will actually capture license plates and it can go across a couple of lanes of traffic and it can do a thousand [images] within one hour,” explains Seattle police officer Renae Witt.

    There’s the Constitutional issue, but also the “practical” consideration:
    Any technology that lets cops sits on their asses
    while the cameras and computers do the work is going to be
    installed pronto.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    For the never-nude in your life

    Haven’t they ever heard of ‘cut-offs’?

  5. #5 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “The dialogue seems to have been ripped throbbing with passion from the pages of Investors’ Business Daily.”

    That was also a great line!

  6. #6 |  Aresen | 

    Re: Crying in Kindergarten

    If a pre-school teacher is incapable of dealing with a crying kid, she is incompetent to teach.

  7. #7 |  No, Radley, you’re not the only one | Magic Blue Smoke | 

    [...] Via Radley Balko [...]

  8. #8 |  PeeDub | 

    I really don’t think Roger Ebert could ever have objectively (get it?) reviewed Atlas Shrugged. It might actually suck – I don’t know – but there’s no way to trust his review in the slightest.

  9. #9 |  Jeff in CA | 

    There is no expectation of privacy when on the public road or visible from the public road in plain sight. Photos and filming seems perfectly fine here. Now if only police would get the message that it’s okay to film them as well.

  10. #10 |  Aresen | 

    Now if only police would get the message that it’s okay to film them as well.

    But, but terrerists! And drug dealers! We must protect our boys and girls in blue!

    / snark

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    PeeDub,

    There was a time when I would have trusted Ebert to, at a minimum, tell me if the film was competently made and decently acted. Ten years ago I knew I could count on him to tell me if a film was good at what it appeared to be trying to do, or to honestly state that he disliked what it was trying to do so much that his review was irrelevant.

    Sadly, he seems to have been infected with some late-blooming strain of political correctness. He’s better than the usual run of Liberal Left film critics, but he’s not the pillar of honesty and admiration of film-craft that he once was.

  12. #12 |  PeeDub | 

    I used to be able to trust Ebert to review a movie honestly, and I could tell, regardless of whether he liked or disliked it, whether I’d be likely to like it.

    That all ended around the time he suggested Babe: Pig in the City was his film of the year. Not saying it was because of that, but it did seem like a symptom.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    # #9 | Jeff in CA

    ‘There is no expectation of privacy when on the public road or visible from the public road in plain sight. Photos and filming seems perfectly fine here. Now if only police would get the message that it’s okay to film them as well.’

    I think my main issue is the database and tracking… I can see TONS of opportunities of abuse here. Pretty chilling thought that we’re moving toward a place where your every move is charted by the government. As they start requiring gps units on cars (to figure taxation on mileage, not to monitor!), this will really blanket us with surveillance. I can see all of this being coordinated by homeland security.

    This is really ugly stuff…

  14. #14 |  SJE | 

    Seattle Attny “There should be no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody with a driver’s license.”

    Is it any surprise that the Feds are investigating Seattle law enforcement?

  15. #15 |  SJE | 

    “Rumpy Pumpy” is from the second series of Blackadder. It is one of the favorite phrases of Queen Elizabeth I.

  16. #16 |  CJD | 

    Whether you trust Ebert’s reviews or not, he is in the vast majority on this one: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/atlas_shrugged_part_i/

  17. #17 |  Max | 

    The ‘no expectation of privacy with a license’ thing reminds me of a strange experience I had in Virginia. I got a speeding ticket and had to take a driver training course to get the fee/points waived.

    I easily cheated the exam by saving all of the info to a flash drive and then loading it on the computer at the testing center. But I did learn one thing: as far as I can tell, possessing a VA driver’s license automatically waives your right to refuse a search when driving through VA.

    That seemed impossible and unconstitutional to me, but as written in VA state law, it seemed pretty incontrovertible. I always meant to ask you (Radley) about it since I know you lived in VA for a while, but kept forgetting. Is this true, or am I misreading the statute? I’m not a lawyer or expert of any kind.

  18. #18 |  Woog | 

    Keep pushing, you criminal clowns. I’m already at the point of swearing off drivers’ licenses, and I’ll be damned if I’ll stand for warrantless tracking via plate readers. This crap has been on its way for years, but there’s fewer and fewer places now where these can be avoided peaceably.

    Liberty requires freedom to travel – without papers – whether they be the plastic papers in your wallet, or the metal papers affixed to your car.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    The worst heroin of all is freedom. With that, people can literally do whatever they want and suffer the consequences. If only we could get rid of that, this would be a perfect and orderly world.

  20. #20 |  MPH | 

    That should read, “There should be no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody in government service.”

  21. #21 |  Mattocracy | 

    It should also be said that power and the love of being a busy body can be as addictive as heroine. It also fucks up a lot more lives that heroine.

  22. #22 |  Marty | 

    ‘Liberty requires freedom to travel – without papers – whether they be the plastic papers in your wallet, or the metal papers affixed to your car.’

    good point- I think we get duped a lot by terminology. ‘fees’, ‘fines’, ‘tickets’, ‘assessments’, etc are all taxes, regardless of what else they’re called. ‘Papers’ are any documentation you’re required to provide at their request…

    at least we’re not in East Germany, right?

  23. #23 |  Anthony | 

    Marty, I see the fees and fines less as taxes and more as tribute for the privilege to our lords to drive on their roads that we already paid for.

  24. #24 |  FridayNext | 

    For those who think Ebert cannot be trusted to give an objective review of Atlas Shrugged due to his leftists politics, and therefore is predetermined to dislike the movie regardless of its quality. Do you also think that those who ascribe to Objectivist philosophy and are fans of Ayn Rand cannot be trusted to give an objective review of Atlas Shrugged therefore is predetermined to like the film regardless of his/her politics?

    I have no problem factoring in a critic’s politics or predispositions when assessing their review of a work of art. In fact that is exactly what you SHOULD do in all critical reading. It’s just that people always seemed to get more exorcised when a reviewer has negative predispositions than positive and I am not sure what the difference truly is.

    And I think that if we were to discount all reviews of all art from all critics who had ANY predispositions on the arts content, there would never be any interesting reviews ever.

  25. #25 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    @MAX

    What is *strange* about getting a speeding ticket? Or having to take a class as a consequence thereof?

    “But I did learn one thing: as far as I can tell, possessing a VA driver’s license automatically waives your right to refuse a search when driving through VA.”

    Please elaborate. Does the DMV actually *feed* people this crap
    nowadays? I guess it was just a matter of time before they became enablers.

  26. #26 |  TomG | 

    I’m wondering whether a film of Alongside Night (by J Neil Schulman) would seem as badly dated as Atlas Shrugged apparently does. Or one of L. Neil Smith’s novels (like The Probability Broach)…

  27. #27 |  notsure | 

    “There should be no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody with a driver’s license.”

    Does that include Seattle PD? I’m assuming they will stop bothering people with cameras now.

  28. #28 |  PeeDub | 

    FridayNext, I think you’re carrying it all too far. It’s not about anything more than this: Ebert has become more a political curmudgeon than critic at this point in his career. If an actual critic I any longer appreciated produced the same review, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  29. #29 |  DarkEFang | 

    Atlas Shrugged is a pretty boring book. If the movie is boring, it sounds like the film may be a pretty faithful production.

  30. #30 |  Kristen | 

    @FridayNext…in fact, Atlas Shrugged: Part I has been pretty widely panned by Objectivists, albeit for different reasons than Ebert.

  31. #31 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m seeing AS on Saturday and will not read any reviews until after that. And I have no idea what rumpy-pumpy means, but it sounds kinda sexual…

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The Internet: It’s the new heroin!

    Where I live, they were saying that same thing about indoor plumbing only last year.

  33. #33 |  Dave Krueger | 

    How the dinosaurs made rumpy-pumpy.

    Stop it.

    Must I abstain from reading theagitator until after I’ve seen the movie?

  34. #34 |  Pablo | 

    #17 Max–re: possessing a VA license means you can’t refuse a search–is that just something you were told at the class, or do you have a code section you could cite for that? I mean the 4th amendment is indeed in tatters but I still have difficulty believing that.

  35. #35 |  maybelogics | 

    Maybe PeeDub’s right. I read some of Ebert’s other 1-star reviews, and check out this liberal fluff:

    “Although it follows the rough storyline of previous versions of the title, it neglects the construction of a plot engine to pull us through.” -The Green Hornet

    “There is no strategic or spatial way in which the battle in ‘I Am Number Four’ makes any sense. It is movement and conflict edited together in incomprehensible chaos.” -I Am Number Four

    “I mentioned boobs. Yes, there are a lot of boobs in this movie.”- Your Highness

    What blatant political curmudgeonry. I’ll never trust Ebert again.

  36. #36 |  Eric_in_AK | 

    “Mea culpa. It turns out that porn really is dangerous.”

    As has been said: If you smoke after sex, you are doing it too quickly.

  37. #37 |  PeeDub | 

    I think somewhere along the line someone thought I said that Ebert sucks because he’s political and interjects too much of that into his reviews.

    I don’t think that.

    I think he now sucks as a critic. I also think he spends a lot of time cane-shaking. I think he possibly cares more about the latter these days.

  38. #38 |  omar | 

    Grumpy political amateur critics pan professional critic for being political and grumpy. Black kettles calling pots black, at 11.

  39. #39 |  Steve Verdon | 

    “There should be no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody with a driver’s license.”

    While this is errant nonsense the idea of a LPR doesn’t strike me as that bad.

    It reads license plates that are visible from a public place. I don’t see how it is any different than people taking pictures of buildings, people or…license plates that are visible from a public place. If I park my car in public I have no real expectation of privacy…at least regarding where I parked my car.

    I think my main issue is the database and tracking… I can see TONS of opportunities of abuse here. Pretty chilling thought that we’re moving toward a place where your every move is charted by the government. As they start requiring gps units on cars (to figure taxation on mileage, not to monitor!), this will really blanket us with surveillance. I can see all of this being coordinated by homeland security.

    This cuts both ways. Citizens can do the same thing. There is nothing to stop you from building a similar database and then selling it (for example) or building a database of cops and their license plates.

    Now a GPS issue disquieting and totally unnecessary since a tax on gasoline would do that quite nicely. Any given car will burn X gallons of gasoline while it is in motion. Taxing gasoline will, in effect, be a tax on mileage with the added bonus of making fuel efficient cars more attractive. If there is a negative externality associated with burning gasoline this could be welfare enhancing…well in theory. Or the “Too Long; Didn’t Read” version–a GPS device for taxing mileage is bullshit it is to monitor.

  40. #40 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    There are however people who take Ayn Rand even more seriously than comic-book fans take “Watchmen.”

    I give up. I’ve never experienced a brush that paints as many things, people, and ideas as the inane sophmoric criticisms of Ayn Rand as being sophmoric. I guess we’re all hipsters now and the world would be so much better off if all economists were Keynes and all glasses were thick black plastic.

    Et tu, Roger? I can only keep my chin up for so long before admitting defeat. What?

    Maybe it’s just because I’m sitting here typing while nude and covered in blue body paint…like every Friday night before our Watchmen party.

  41. #41 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Citizens can do the same thing. There is nothing to stop you from building a similar database and then selling it (for example) or building a database of cops and their license plates.

    Are you joking or have you just not been paying attention? Or by “nothing” do you really mean “thousands of laws that carve out special rights and exceptions for state agents/agencies and thousands of courts that side with the state.”

  42. #42 |  kant | 

    RE Seattle police

    I know it’s illegal to cover your licenses plate while driving but is it illegal to cover it if your car is parked?

  43. #43 |  perlhaqr | 

    Marty @13: This is pretty much where I was going to go. I agree that when I’m out in public, people taking my picture are within their rights.

    What I object to is a government operation, funded by tax dollars, with many linked data nodes, feeding into a central system. It’s not the picture taking I’m objecting to, it’s the tracking.

    And I think it’s perfectly reasonable to restrict the government or government agents from doing things it would be legitimate for individuals to do. They have more power. More restrictions is not out of line.

  44. #44 |  EH | 

    There is nothing to stop you from building a similar database and then selling it (for example) or building a database of cops and their license plates.

    I can’t seem to Google it right now, but a few years ago there was a woman doing exactly this, putting the information on a website, and who had no end of trouble with her local law enforcement. So yes, there is something more than “nothing” operating within your analogy.

  45. #45 |  Mohammar | 

    Burger anyone?

    http://instaputz.blogspot.com/2011/04/just-fewmoredays.html

  46. #46 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    I heart jade.
    Seems to be defunct, or at least dormant, though she has interesting archives. VA sure has some spooky-ass LE.
    Ratemycop.com was targeted for demolition; I think they found a new server. Unfortuantely it has little to offer other than “That jerk wrote me a ticket!”

  47. #47 |  jppatter | 

    Make rumpy-pumpy, not kinetic military action.

  48. #48 |  Elliot | 

    “Rumpy-pumpy” is a stupid name. I can think of plenty of other euphemisms which better convey the joy of coitus.

  49. #49 |  Aresen | 

    “Rumpy-pumpy” is a stupid name. I can think of plenty of other euphemisms which better convey the joy of coitus.

    “Coitus” is definitely not one of them.

  50. #50 |  Mannie | 

    #42 | perlhaqr | April 15th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    What I object to is a government operation, funded by tax dollars, with many linked data nodes, feeding into a central system. It’s not the picture taking I’m objecting to, it’s the tracking.

    One of the big pushes has to be to de-fund the departments, and control their access to outside monies. If they can’t afford them, it doesn’t matter what technologies they are theoretically capable of.

  51. #51 |  primus | 

    Hot? Not.

  52. #52 |  Black Market | 

    Disappointed in the porn story. Was hoping it was the porn that caused the fire.

  53. #53 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #47 Aresen

    “Rumpy-pumpy” is a stupid name. I can think of plenty of other euphemisms which better convey the joy of coitus.

    “Coitus” is definitely not one of them.

    haha! Made me laugh. No small accomplishment considering how angry and cynical I always am.

  54. #54 |  Dante | 

    The Internet is the new heroin?

    Not until SWAT crashes into Al Gore’s house in the middle of the night and shoots his dogs.

  55. #55 |  croaker | 

    Ebert is senile and should be forcibly retired.

    Or we could all just ignore the dogwhistle.

  56. #56 |  celticdragon | 

    The Mel’s Hidden Talent thing was funny as hell. :)

  57. #57 |  the innominate one | 

    The animal imitations are impressive, but not hot. She’s very attractive, to be certain. However, I wonder what owl she’s supposedly imitating. Barred, great horn and screech sound nothing like the noise she’s making. There are a lot of other owls, of course, so some specificity would help.

    Someone beat me to the Blackadder reference, so I’ll just point out that at one of his Q&A sessions, a questioner asked Kevin Smith his fave sex euphemism, and illustrated her point by stating that she liked the term “pole in the hole”, whereas her male friend sitting with her liked to ask “would you like a portion?”

    Smith just calls it fucking, apparently.

  58. #58 |  Jeff | 

    After reading some of the comments above, it occurred to me that my review of “Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” written on February 25, might provide some fuel to the debate regarding the possibility of an admirer (or even a critic) of the novel (or any novel) reviewing a film adaptation objectively. (I believe both are possible.) I had not yet read any other reviews when I wrote it and have not edited it since very shortly after I published it.

    http://menckens-ghost.blogspot.com/2011/02/atlas-shrugged-part-i-good-bad-and-ugly.html

  59. #59 |  Juice | 

    Let’s see, Ebert is stupid. Ok, but he’s seen the movie and none of you have.

    I haven’t seen it either and just judging from the trailers it looks like shit. Sorry.

  60. #60 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Animal sound woman is way hot!

  61. #61 |  BSK | 

    “It’s also possible that dinosaurs had no penises, and, like some birds, reproduced by squirting semen from one cloaca at another. Modern ornithologists and herpetologists call this a “cloacal kiss.””

    Way to ruin dinosaurs, science!

  62. #62 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    There are only 2 groups to listen to about the movie: people who loved the book, but hate the movie, and people who hate the book, but love the movie. Everyone else will just be confirming their bias.

  63. #63 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Boyd,

    I have been paying attention and the basics are as follows regarding photography:

    If you are taking a picture of someone or something visible from a public place, then the expectation of privacy does not exist. This applies to most federal buildings, police cars, fire department vehicles, and even private individuals and cars.

    If you want to stop this kind of thing…fine, but you will be curtailing your own rights.

    I can’t seem to Google it right now, but a few years ago there was a woman doing exactly this, putting the information on a website, and who had no end of trouble with her local law enforcement. So yes, there is something more than “nothing” operating within your analogy.

    The cops can of course hassle her, but if the car is parked on public property and you are on public property (or even your own) you can take pictures of people’s license plates and yes, put them on the internet. People may not like it, just as people don’t like it when a stranger takes their picture in public. But guess what, its (generally) legal.

    The cops are basically making use of the same freedoms we have with the addition of compiling a database. Do I like it? No. Do I want to stop it? I’m reluctant because I can see such attempts easily turning into preventing photography in public places.

  64. #64 |  Brock | 

    Just got back from the early matinee. I’ve always found Ebert reviews to be faithful inverses of movies I’ve liked, and, I’ve got to say, this is no different. Ebert actually made me hopeful. I am dissapoint.

    Oh, and the whole rumpy-pumpy thing ruined one of the better scenes. Thanks, Roger!

  65. #65 |  shecky | 

    Atlas Shrugged: Part I has been pretty widely panned by Objectivists, albeit for different reasons than Ebert.

    Objectivists suck as critics. Oh, wait, objectivists are all senile and should be forcibly retired.

  66. #66 |  croaker | 

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/04/15…ners.complain/

    Don’t like the way airport screeners are doing their job? You might not want to complain too much while standing in line. Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists, CNN has learned exclusively. And, when combined with other behavioral indicators, it could result in a traveler facing additional scrutiny….

  67. #67 |  Dan Z | 

    That Mels hidden talent thing was strangely attractive…Im not sure how I should feel now.

  68. #68 |  Standard Mischief | 

    First off, holey shit we got to #67 comments and no one noticed that the photo to accompany the auto-scan-license-plate-thingy-network-track-etc story, deliberately obscures the cop’s face!

    And then we get this brainless quote from Steve Verdon:

    The cops can of course hassle her, but if the car is parked on public property and you are on public property (or even your own) you can take pictures of people’s license plates and yes, put them on the internet. People may not like it, just as people don’t like it when a stranger takes their picture in public. But guess what, its (generally) legal.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/19/motorcyclist-arrested-for-recording-cop-brandishing-gun-with-hel/

    yea, it’s generally legal, but that doesn’t mean the pigs can’t arrest you, get a fucking search warrant for your home and raid it, charge you with a felony, ring up thousands of dollars of legal bills, and then let you watch the pigs themselves get off with zero legal liability or injury to their career.

    The only thing missing here is some puppycide.

  69. #69 |  Not Sure | 

    “It’s a few years in the future. America has become a state in which mediocrity is the goal, and high-achieving individuals the enemy. Laws have been passed prohibiting companies from owning other companies.”

    A few years in the future? Really?

  70. #70 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    Mel is hot. Anyone with that kind of smile is hot, male or female (though I personally react more to the female sorts).

    Also, it’s nice to see that my current hometown of Seattle is once again the focus of police state activities. /snark

    (Could someone please help me move to New Zealand? Not only do they seem to be freer in the police state department, but also Mel lives there.)

  71. #71 |  Marc | 

    Rosey Grier needs to sack the shit out of some school administrators.

  72. #72 |  Windy | 

    #26 | TomG
    “I’m wondering whether a film of Alongside Night (by J Neil Schulman) would seem as badly dated as Atlas Shrugged apparently does. Or one of L. Neil Smith’s novels (like The Probability Broach)…”

    I am facebook friends with J. Neil Schulman, Alongside Night is currently in the process of being made into a movie, so I guess we’ll see soon enough if it appears dated (I suspect not, especially with the author’s input). I liked Alongside Night, good book, but my favorite book by him is the The Rainbow Cadenza.

    As for The Probability Broach, I’ve had the book in my library for years but have not yet read it.

  73. #73 |  Elliot | 

    Aresen (#49):‘Coitus’ is definitely not one of them.

    No kidding.

    Unless you’re going for something else, I’d pick something without the word “rump” in it.

    Of course, it brings to mind Australian slang, like Russel Crowe in “Romper Stomper” talking about what they plan to do at a brothel.

  74. #74 |  Arthur | 

    @ 9 | Jeff in CA

    ‘There is no expectation of privacy when on the public road or visible from the public road in plain sight. Photos and filming seems perfectly fine here.

    I think you are missing something here Jeff. Like Marty (#13) said, “I think [the] main issue is the database and tracking… I can see TONS of opportunities of abuse here.”

    This–and other–technology allows governments to gather information about my private activities via my public activities. Before super cameras, GPS, cell tower triangulation, etc. it would have required at least one full-time person watching and following me everywhere to infer the same private information from my public activities. There needed to be a VERY compelling reason for any agency to collect that type of info as it was prohibitively expensive to gather. The fact that this can now be done to all citizens at practically zero cost is an absolute game-changer.

    We need to deal with this legislatively ASAP because I fear greatly what will happen if these new ‘techno gadget’ privacy issues make it to SCOTUS first…our right to privacy has been carved to the bone already. Americans better start fearing unchecked data collection and compilation or this will end up being all bad.

    I guess my main point here is that it is not enough to simply distinguish public activity from private. A collection of my entire life’s public activities is itself private because that data significantly reduces the areas of my life that I am able to keep private. I should not expect that any person or entity would ever be able to (or allowed to) collect and store so much of my public activities as to infer so much about my private activities. Are there any lawyers out there who would care to open a discussion with me about some possible legislative solutions to this problem before it becomes standard operating procedure? I would like to have a better formed legal argument and idea for legislative fix before I start contacting legislators in my state.

  75. #75 |  Elroy | 

    I like Ayn Rand as much as anyone but to make a movie out of “Atlas Shrugged” is a monumental challenge. I loved the book but in my opinion it is not a great novel due to its style or Ayn Rands skill as a writer so much as for the ideas in it. Frankly, Ayn Rand has Geoge Lucas’s flair for writing dialogue. I saw “The Fountainhead” once and liked it but some of the speeches just would not work in a movie today. “Atlas Shrugged” is an order of magnitude more difficult to adapt. It was not written to be a great story as much as to start a political movement. I can’t imagine how it could be adapted in a way that would draw a mainstream following or appeal to a larger audience than the book itself.

  76. #76 |  Xenocles | 

    One good thing about the Atlas Shrugged movie is that it might make leftists abandon their idea of high-speed rail in an effort to heap as much ridicule on the story as possible.

  77. #77 |  David McElroy | 

    I think Ebert is a terrible reviewer, but every now and then he’s right. But in the case of this turkey of a movie, it’s hard for any objective (no pun intended here) reviewer to miss how bad it is. I love the book and wanted the movie to be good. I’ve thought for years that it would be a tough book to make into a movie, and I think these particular filmmakers were completely out of their league with the material. It’s just a bad movie. The people I’ve seen praising it are libertarians who a) desperately want it to be good, and b) don’t go to movies very often. For those of us who care about film as a serious art form, it’s just not a good movie.

  78. #78 |  supercat | 

    One issue not yet mentioned is that automobiles are required to have conspicuously-displayed license plates. There might be no problem with the government setting up cameras everywhere if people were allowed to do whatever they saw fit to conceal their identities from such cameras (go around in burquas or whatever), but drivers are forbidden from concealing the identities of their cars. Indeed, even people on foot are subjected to regulations in many places which would require them to show themselves in such a fashion as to permit automated tracking.

  79. #79 |  Windy | 

    http://jneilschulman.rationalreview.com/2011/04/first-impresssions-of-atlas-shrugged-part-1/

    Quoting JNS:
    “With a star director like Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, a star writer like William Goldman, and star actors like Aaron Eckhart and Scarlett Johansson, Atlas Shrugged could have been a perfectly executed movie. That’s what’s made possible when any production roadblock can be solved by throwing gobs of money at it. You get cinematic perfection, even if it has to be re-shot or fixed in post.

    “That movie could never be made. The people who okay writing checks that enormous share the values of the people Ayn Rand was attacking in Atlas Shrugged. They’re the big businessmen Atlas Shrugged skewers and damns to atheist hell.

    “So what was possible in the real world was an indie production made without stars, without iconic talent, and which — I can tell you this from my own experience as an indie producer/director — you do the best you can on the day, then the 1st AD says to the director, ‘It is what it is.’ The director says, ‘We’re done here. Call lunch.’ The 1st AD shouts, ‘Lunch! We’re on the wrong set!’

    “Given these standards, Atlas Shrugged; Part 1 is as good as it gets for an indie film production from a novel that demands ten times the money it was made for. Blaming it for not being as polished as a studio film shows either ignorance of the movie business or is just a cheap way of cursing at it by people who hate its authorial viewpoint and look for new and better ways to attack it. When you hear a critic lambasting the production values of Atlas Shrugged, they’re lying. They’re attacking the production values of an ambitious indie film because they can’t attack the movie’s content without admitting their bias.

    “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is as faithful an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s half-century old novel as could survive the transition of an epic — and sometimes dated — novel to independent film. It has none of the bombast of Ayn Rand’s literary style; if anything the production look and directing style is nuanced and understated. The storytelling is necessarily economical.”

  80. #80 |  winston smith | 

    the girl is hot! i would have worried about you if you hadn’t been turned on :O)

  81. #81 |  the innominate one | 

    I bet Winston wouldn’t think she was hot if she had imitated a rat.

  82. #82 |  Rune | 

    @Windy

    That’s a croc of bull right there. “Blaming it for not being as polished as a studio film shows either ignorance of the movie business or is just a cheap way of cursing at it by people who hate its authorial viewpoint and look for new and better ways to attack it.” NO, it’s completely OK to go after the production value. Especially with a project like this where major league film stars have actually shown interest in participating. Why this then? Because you shouldn’t laud someone for overreaching their abilities. They knew they did not have the funding to give the book justice but went ahead anyway. If you want to make bone china but only have clay, you should scrap that plan and make earthenware instead. Likewise, you want to make an epic three part movie that requires grand sets and character actors with a certain gravitas to make the script work, but you have the budget and time constraints of an indie movie. Well, then maybe you should scrap your plans for the epic and make a movie about two people in a car instead. Some of the beat movies I have seen have been about two people in a car and were shot on a shoestring budget. But if you go ahead and try to do something epic as an indie movie, then critiquing the production value is not just right, but proper. You know, if someone tried to make a shoestring budget version of a Tom Clancy novel, it would also be lambasted for the cheap production value. You wouldn’t complain that the critique was based in a disagreement in the message of the movie in that case, now would you? No, you wouldn’t, so don’t do it with Atlas Shrugged, just because it’s Rand and not Clancy.

  83. #83 |  Windy | 

    @ Rune

    K, ;^D

    However, since it was J. Neil Schulman who wrote that (not I), perhaps you should address your critique at him?

    Good critique, btw. I’d have given you a +1 if that were still possible.

  84. #84 |  Rune | 

    Thanks Windy and I did at his site. Just wanted to let you know as well. I maybe should have stated that here ^_^

  85. #85 |  Rune | 

    I can see that my comment there is still awaiting moderation, even though mr. Schulman have answered the commenter posting after me. I wonder why?

  86. #86 |  David McElroy | 

    If Schulman doesn’t think it’s possible to do low-budget films with good production values, he’s not being as rational as his URL suggests. He’s setting up a false dichotomy — all big-budget movies on the one hand and all low-budget indie movies on the other. Is it better to have more money? Of course. But you can make a lousy movie on a big budget AND you can make a good money on a tiny budget. Off the top of my head, here are a few movies with tiny budgets that found ways to overcome their lack of money:

    – Rocky, 1976 — $1,000,000, adjusted to 2010 numbers is $3,786,651.
    – American Graffiti, 1973 — $777,000, adjusted to 2010 numbers is $3,769,725.
    – My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002 — $5,000,000, adjusted to 2010 numbers is $6,023,271.
    – Napoleon Dynamite, 2004 — $400,000, adjusted to 2010 numbers is $457,771.
    – Once, 2007 — $150,000, adjusted to 2010 numbers is $157,558.

    The point isn’t whether you liked these movies or not. The point is that they were done by talented people who knew how to get past the limitations of a low budget. Yes, “Atlas Shrugged” was hurt by having a low budget, but there’s no reason to give it a pass on this, because countless low-budget indie movies has proven that you CAN do a good job of it if you have the right people. The people who made this movie was not competent enough to do professional jobs with the material. The low budget is a limiting factor, but lack of adequate talent and professionalism was a much bigger factor.

Leave a Reply