Posts Tagged ‘woke’

By John Ruberry

After a long day at work earlier this month I clicked on the “Surprise Me” feature on Netflix. What popped up was Mike Myers’ new vehicle, The Pentaverate.

“Well,” I said to myself, “this might be pretty good.” 

In fact, The Pentaverate doesn’t even measure up to “pretty bad.” The six episode limited series is one of the worst shows I’ve suffered through. Oh, somehow I managed to view a couple episodes of The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. I know about awful.

Warning: There are numerous spoilers and some rather disgusting things that I will mention in my review of this Netflix series.

The origin of The Pentaverate dates back to a throwaway line from Myers’ second film, So I Married an Axe Murderer, where the father of Myers’ lead character, also played by Myers, claims that a secret society, the Pentaverate, a five-man cabal, which at one time included Colonel Sanders as a member, rules the world. In this series narrator Jeremy Irons tells us, the original members of the Pentaverate discovered in 1347, contrary to the belief of the Catholic Church, it was fleas that spread the bubonic plague. 

As the first episode begins, the newest member of the group of five, Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key), a scientist, is accepted into the Pentaverate after he is kidnapped. Apparently, he is the first non-white fellow of the all-male group, replacing a member who mysteriously died. The other members are played by Myers. Lord Lordington, an elderly Englishman, Bruce Baldwin, an Australian media mogul, who of course is based on Rupert Murdoch, Shep Gordon, a manager of various rock acts, a real person who is the subject of a documentary directed by Myers, and Mishu Ivanov, a Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin crony.

Warning! Not-safe-for-work language in the trailer.

But Myers isn’t done with his roles. The lead character of The Pentaverate is Ken Scarborough, a television reporter who wears plaid sportscoats; he is a quirky throwback from the 1970s who does man-on-the-street interviews of other oddballs, while overshadowing them. Scarborough works for, wait for it, Toronto-based CACA news. Yep, caca. 

The other four Pentaverate members manufacture a story that Dr. Clark, who was invited into the secret society because they believe he can reverse climate change, is dead. Clark’s phony passing occurs while attempting to mimic an internet video fad–kissing your own anus. Clark’s room at Pentaverate headquarters is guarded by a sasquatch, who immediately defecates outside the scientist’s door. 

In addition to a Shrek cameo, Myers plays two other characters, internet personality Rex Smith, a stand-in for Alex Jones, and Anthony Lansdowne, a conspiracy theorist from New Hampshire. 

Besides being an assault on good taste, The Pentaverate is an attack on right-wingers, with the implied message that all conservatives are conspiracy whackos like Lansdowne. He is a believer, or has been a believer, in QAnon, Pizzagate, and the Illuminati. His last words as he falls to his death is, “But what about her emails?” 

Lansdowne, in his bumper-sticker laden van, which not surprisingly has a malfunctioning portable toilet, drives Scarborough and his pre-woke Doctor Who-like young female companion, Reilly Clayton (Lydia West) to New York City, which looks nothing like today’s NYC, but more like your standard Doctor Who “future metropolis.” Scarborough, recently fired by CACA, is convinced by Clayton and Lansdowne to infiltrate Pentaverate headquarters, and he does so after a painful penis tug initiation. 

Clark, following an intimate evening with the Pentaverate’s executive assistant Patty Davis (Debi Mazar) in the Moon Room studio–did the Pentaverate fake the moon landings?–suddenly dies, this time for real. He is promptly replaced by casino billionaire Skip Cho (Ken Jeong). Oh, I have never thought Jeong was funny. Jeong recently showed his true political colors after childishly storming off the set of The Masked Singer after Rudy Giuliani was revealed as a contestant.

Myers seemingly hasn’t emotionally moved on from being an 11-year-old. Flatulence jokes are among the things that ruined his cinema take on Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, a children’s film, by the way. Scatological so-called humor also undermined another Myers movie bomb, The Love Guru

Outside of Myers’ fading fame, why did Netflix greenlight this debacle? Could it be that woke Netflix executives fell in love with The Pentaverate’s snide attacks on conservatives, who they probably believe are personified by Smith and Lansdowne? I have liberal friends. Really, I do. And many of them insist that I take marching orders from Alex Jones.

Here’s a tip for Netflix and Myers: the first rule of comedy is that comedies need to be funny.

Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. Its stock value plummeted 35-percent last month. Yes, when you go woke you go broke. And I can’t think of a single Netflix dramatic series that is aimed at conservatives. Longmire was the closest show I can think of, but production of it ended in 2017, and Longmire was originally an A&E offering. And as I wrote in last week’s review of Ozark, that otherwise quite enjoyable show contorted itself to find ways to attack Republicans.

Over 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2020. That’s a lot of viewers, Netflix. We don’t live in vans with clogged toilets. We own televisions. 

Cloying use of easter eggs, that is, references to other works that do nothing to advance the story or add laughs–assuming of course there is even one laugh in The Pentaverate–is also another problem here. Winks to other Myers’ works, along with yet another tired replay of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Game of Thrones, are simply annoying. Rob Lowe, a veteran of several Myers movies, makes an unnecessary appearance.

Myers’ acting, outside of his sympathetic portrayal of Scarborough, is subpar. In his review of The Cat in the Hat, Roger Ebert noticed that at times Myers sounded a bit like his Linda Richman “Coffee Talk” character from SNL. The use of convincing accents is supposed to be one of Myers’ strengths, but his Lansdowne character’s accent, rather than sounding like what you’ll hear from a rustic New Englander, varies from a Canadian to a New Yorker style of speech–that is, when Lansdowne isn’t coming across like Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World.

Oh, when there is a crack within the five members of the Pentaverate, who do you think is behind it? Why of course! It’s the casino billionaire and the Murdoch stand-in. 

I hated The Pentaverate. Hated, hated, hated. If you have any sense of taste or decency, you will hate it too. 

You have been warned. 

Oh, if you think I am just a grumpy old man with a minority opinion on this actual sh*t show, as of May 15, the average critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is just 20 percent. Only once in the last week have I noticed The Pentaverate ranking as a top-ten most viewed program on Netflix. And based on the CGI and the A-List (to some people) cast, I imagine Netflix wasted a lot of money on this fiasco.

The Pentaverate is rated TV-MA for full frontal (possibly with use of prosthetics) nudity, animals engaged in sex, violence, suicide, adult situations, foul language, and scatological references. Well, at least no one smokes in it. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

With Christmas past us it’s time to look back at the current year, 2021. And with a less than a week left we can say that 2021 was America’s worst year since 1864.

Why was 1864 so bad? While there were significant military successes for the Northern armies fighting to keep the United States together–Atlanta and Savannah were captured and General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was locked into siege warfare in Virginia–and a potential political victory of the Confederacy was averted by Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, Americans were still killing each other by the thousands. The following year was an improvement, despite Lincoln’s assassination. The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 and the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified. 

As for 2021, it got off to a wretched start when hostiles, American ones, stormed the US Capitol in a riot. We have to go back to another horrible year for America, 1814, when the British Army seized the Capitol, for the only other time that happened. The hooligans who entered the Senate and House chambers on January 6 were not participating in an insurrection, despite claims made to this day by CNN and MSNBC. Sure, the rioters wanted to keep Donald J. Trump in power, but they had no plans for a coup, such as imprisoning Joe Biden, taking control of the military, and dissolving Congress.

Bad people? Yes. Nutty? That too. And sorry leftists, President Trump did not call for an insurrection.

And what about the people who were supposed to protect the Capitol, such as the Capitol Hill Police and the who they report to? You know, Congress, which is run by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They failed America.

In the fraught election of 2020, a feeble old man, Joe Biden, was elected president. “Lunch Bucket Joe from Scranton” was chosen as the Democratic nominee because he was viewed by many as the “safe” alternative to Trump, and not a radical like Bernie Sanders. Biden’s “good years,” assuming he ever had them, are well in the past. Biden, and the people who control him, such as Ron Klain or Susan Rice, went full-blown leftist on Inauguration Day. Economically, the result is the highest level of inflation in decades. These price increases, once dismissed by the Biden White House as “transitory,” will likely continue indefinitely, serving as a hidden tax for all Americans.

While not quite energy independent as Trump claimed, our nation was headed into that direction under his leadership. Shortly after his inauguration Biden suspended new drilling and fracking on federal lands. It has since been reversed in court, but the White House maintains a malevolent attitude towards the world’s most reliable form of energy, fossil fuels. Gasoline costs over $1 more per gallon since Biden became president. Biden also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, essentially firing thousands of union workers.

An effective commander-in-chief, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, does his job so well it appears that he is doing nothing at all. While Trump certainly doesn’t have Ike’s soft touch, I’m of the belief that Trump would have seen the possibility of a supply chain crisis coming and would have taken steps to ensure we would not have seen the bottleneck of cargo ships outside America’s largest harbors. 

Meanwhile in the Biden administration the cabinet officer in charge of our supply chain, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, went on an unannounced two-month paternity leave just as the shipping crisis began. Rather than resigning for failure or dereliction of duty, Buttigieg’s is being hawked by some Democrats as a possible 2024 Democratic presidential candidate should Biden choose not to run for reelection. While family is of course important, liberals often claim that public service is the highest calling. Buttigieg could have simply quit as Transporation secretary. Or not taken the job at all.

While not something that the federal government is directly in charge of, violent crime plagued America’s largest cities this year–and all of those cities are run by Democrats. A dozen cities endured record murder totals. Some jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles County, Milwaukee County, and Cook County (Chicago), are burdened with woke prosecutors engaging in catch-and-release policies regarding criminals.

Biden was elected last November because more voters saw him as more capable to fight the COVID-19 epidemic than Trump. But wait, what’s this? There were more COVID deaths in the United States in 2021 than in 2020, despite the availability of vaccines. And lockdown and mask mandates are ramping up again with the new omicron variant, which so far has killed one American. That number will surely climb but I have a strong suspicion that omicron will not be killing 15,000 Americans a week as soon as next month, which is what the politicized CDC is predicting. 

In order to prove Trump wrong, Biden has proved him right in regard to enforcing the law at our southern border. In late October the Washington Post reported that a record 1.7 million people arrested while trying to cross that border. In addition to illegal aliens, it’s believed that large amounts of fentanyl have been smuggled across the border in 2021.

As Biden as Biden is, his vice president is even worse, the inept cackler, Kamala Harris.

I’ve saved the worst for last. America suffered a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan. Biden vowed that our departure from Afghanistan would look nothing like our bugging-out from South Vietnam in 1975. He was right, it was worse. As with the border crisis, the Biden White House blamed Trump for the debacle. While Trump did enter an agreement to pull our troops out of Afghanistan this year, it was not a treaty. We could have back out. Trump says, and I believe him, that he never would have made our country look so feeble, yes, feeble like Biden physically and mentally is, if we had departed Afghanistan under his watch.

When the next international crisis comes, our allies will have understandable doubts about American resolve. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Every once in a while I come across an article on the internet that makes me want to scream in disbelief. Such as is the case with a piece on Salon by Carolyn Hinds with the headline, “Hollywood, please stop adapting K-dramas. It’s not just unnecessary, it’s racist.”

Wow, look who is woke.

While acknowledging adaptation of motion pictures from one culture to another is commonplace, Hinds, who begins one sentence with, “As a Black woman, cultural appropriation is behavior I’m all too familiar with,” unloads on the wave of Hollywood remaking South Korean movies. And she spews this awful offal, “Instead, I’m referring specifically to how Hollywood seems to be making a concerted effort to focus on South Korean – as well Japanese – content, for the sole purpose of remaking the stories to appeal to American audiences, i.e. white audience.”

But as Mark Levin so often responds on his radio show to a recording of some liberal, “Oh, shut up you idiot!”

Hinds calls the Asia-to-Hollywood artistic transfer “whitewashing.”

There are plans in Hollywood to remake the Korean thriller Parasite, a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed and one that I felt was deserving of its Best Picture Oscar. In her Salon piece Hinds brings up other movies from South Korea that were remade by Hollywood, including Oldboy, another fabulous film. The flat American version (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t seen it) was directed by Spike Lee. Il Mare was redone as The Lake House, which starred Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Moving beyond South Korea, Hinds notes that Martin Scorsese’s The Departed was inspired by a Hong Kong flick, Internal Affairs.

No society exists in a vacuum, not even North Korea, which is it should be. Culture crosses borders, as does science as well as political notions. The modern version of democracy comes from the European Enlightenment. The greatest form of government is utilized not just in the United States, but also in South Korea and Japan.

Another South Korean film I enjoyed is The Good, the Bad, the Weird, which as you probably guessed is a remake of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. And weird it is–instead of an American Civil War setting, this Western takes place in Japanese-occupied Manchuria in 1939. Hinds ignores this specific cultural transfer in her Salon piece. The soundtrack of The Good, The Bad, The Weird includes an instrumental rendition of the Animals’ 1965 hit “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” The original was recorded by Nina Simone, an African-American woman.

Moving on to television, do you know that there is a Korean version of the American television series, Designated Survivor?

What about Japan, which Hinds mentioned earlier. The stellar collective of writers here at Da Tech Guy is known as Da Magnificent Seven, a tip of the hat to the 1960 Western that starred Yul Brynner and many others. That film is an acknowledged remake of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai. The first movie of Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy,” A Fistful of Dollars, is an unacknowledged remake of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo.

Kurosawa, who named John Ford as one of his major influences, filmed a Japanese warlord version of Shakespeare’s King Lear, a brilliant epic, Ran.

So now you know why I called Hinds an idiot.

Dan Bongino on his radio show often notes that the unhinged left run will run out of enemies, so it is doomed to devour itself.

Hey Hollywood: Remake more South Korean and Japanese movies.

Hey South Korea and Japan: Remake more Hollywood movies.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

If you give a press conference and the result looks like a Saturday Night Live sketch, a pre-woke version of the show that is, then you have a big problem.

So it was last week with Chicago’s inept leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, when she blamed retail crime victims for the rise of flash mob thieves plaguing Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping area.

“We still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night, chaining high-end bags,” the first-term Democrat said. “These purses can be something that is attracting a lot of organized retail theft units.”

So it’s the victims’ fault.

Just like it was in this SNL skit from 1991, featuring Chicago native Joe Mantegna, where he blames New York City crime victims for their problems.

“Yeah, I was flying to Florida, and we had a stopover in New York,” a caller to a talk radio show told Mantegna. “Well, while we were sitting on the ground a group of ‘wilding’ teenagers boarded the plane and beat with me on the head with a pipe.”

“And which airport was this,” Mantegna asked,

“LaGuardia,” was the reply.

“Well, there you go,” Mantegna scolded the caller.

Chicago Police brass were said to have a plan in place to combat smash-and-grab thieves and avoid scenes such as what happened when a Burberry’s on North Michigan Avenue was emptied of purses–each handbag was worth more than a thousand dollars. 

If there was a plan by the CPD, then it clearly didn’t work. Since Lightfoot’s delusional presser a North Face store on the Mag Mile was struck twice. But proving that the Burberry’s looting was just a tame opening act, yesterday a luxury car dealer just off of the Magnificent Mile was robbed of an estimated $2 million worth of high-end watches–which, are you paying attention Mayor Lightfoot?– were locked up inside a locked glass display case. Yep, $2 million.

The dealership is now seeing customers on an appointment basis only–its doors are locked during store hours. Welcome to the new Chicago.

On Friday night’s Flannery Fired Up show on Fox 32 Chicago, host Mike Flannery estimated that 20 percent of the storefronts on North Michigan Avenue are empty. Regular readers of my posts know that the Mag Mile was devastated by two rounds of looting–oops, I mean “mostly peaceful protests”–in 2020. 

The luxury dealership, which sells Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis, is owned by Joe Perillo, who is rethinking operating in Chicago.

“It is wrong for someone to break into a place – if they get caught, they get let out!” Perillo explained to ABC 7. “If they get arrested, they get let go. So, how do you intend to ever solve that problem?” He added, “If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store.”

While Neiman Marcus still has a store on the North Michigan Avenue, the Gap and Disney have also left in the last year. And remember what Flannery said about Mag Mile vacancies. 

It’s not just Lightfoot’s fault.

Kim Foxx is one of those woke so-called prosecutors whose campaign was funded by radical leftist George Soros. She’s received plenty of well-deserved scorn for her mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case. But the greater sin of the Cook County state’s attorney is her catch-and-release policy involving criminals accused of serious offenses. Even some alleged murderers are out of jail on electronic surveillance.

How ’bout if a non-woke SNL updated that skit with a Chicago twist?

“Hello, my store was emptied of merchandise by flash mob looters,” a caller to that SNL-radio show might say.

“What do you sell,” Lori Lightfoot would reply.

“Purses worth more than $1,000.”

Lightfoot’s retort would be, “Well, there you go.”

Retail groups have been complaining that shoppers are now afraid to visit North Michigan Avenue. Who can blame them?

Chicago is dying. The cause of death? Woke politicians.

Well, there you go.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.