The American Right Is About To Fracture

Holy pignuts, Batman! I wrote this in July of 2015, and gawldarned if it doesn’t look like prophecy, now in February of 2016. No really, holy crap, this looks like it’s all coming true as we watch. I re-read this over again twice, and it’s just freaky, how right i was 8 months ago…

“Christie’s in, and Rick Snyder’s just about to put his right leg in and do the 2016 Republican party nomination hokey pokey. With Trump running interference, the last possible candidates took their chance to jump in. There really are no others left. There’s Palin, but it’s a zero percent chance she’ll get in. She knows that she’s not smart enough. Give her credit for that.

It’s finally gut-check time for moderate Republicans. They only have one chance left to win the White House before the political right fractures. If they push Jeb to the top of the heap but lose again, they lose control of the GOP. Even though it’s got nothing to do with conservatism, but only that the country can accept a second Clinton before a third Bush. It might only be that simple if Jeb loses. But the farther-right wing gains control of the party and the moderates will never get it back. Cue the exodus, with the right splitting into a nationalist GOP and the other half being a social-middle/fiscal-right, bloc, now homeless.

It’s a gut-check for the moderates, the “establishment Republicans,” because this country is going to elect its first female president. We’ve never had a female politician with a list of qualifications like this one has. No Republican can win. Seems like a paradox, but the only way for the moderate wing of the GOP, the business wing, to hang onto the party is to step aside this cycle. Act happy with whoever wins the nomination, as long as it’s a far-right guy with plenty of inflammatory stump-speech baggage.

If the Republican nominee for 2016 is a moderate who Clinton edges out, then the political right fractures. If the nominee is a social conservative who goes down in spectacular defeat, then the right survives as an entity. Weak and confused, but a single entity. The central idea here is that, no matter what happens, there will be a major putsch in the GOP in December of 2016. If Hillary does not become incapacitated between now and the election, she wins. The only question now, is whether the GOP putsch in December 2016 will oust the moderates or the christian right.

We know what the mantra will be if Jeb loses: “He wasn’t conservative enough.” We’ve heard that for 8 years, and it doubled Fox News’s viewership. Thus, putsch. And we know what the “conventional wisdom” will be if Santorum loses: “He was too far right of the country.” Also thus, a putsch, but it will look less like a putsch from the outside. The view will spread, that arguing social issues will lead to national irrelevancy for the entire political right. They’d be left with only that big “L” across the USA: the middle stripe from North Dakota to Texas then eastwards across the Old South.

What happens when one faction is ousted? That depends on the faction. A newly-defeated moderate wing would almost certainly form its own party after expulsion, socially-centrist and fiscally-sensible, and would quickly become the second party in a 3-party system. But it would be a long struggle in certain states, ensuring a generation of Democrat dominance in national politics. The new GOP would be very difficult to dislodge in places where Republican Statehouses enacted redistricting following the 2010 census, but the surviving opposition congresspeople would be split in half.

If the social-right wing is ousted, it looks very different. The surviving GOP structure would keep trying to placate the evangy wing in words, while acting to remove social policy from the platform altogether. In this case, the only pressing question is how long the social conservatives will tolerate being pushed aside before the program becomes evident. There would be a schism in this situation too, but if managed slowly and deftly by the moderate Republicans, the defection might only be a trickle.

Difficult choice, become the party of far-wing nuts or shake off the wingnuts and lose half of the base. A real gut check.”

That’s what i said in July of 2015, and, like, wow.

Wow, it’s all coming true. The major donors in the Republican base are sitting out the primaries. Jeb’s donors are not flocking to Rubio. Rather, they’re taking a pause, detesting Trump but not risking the ire of an ascendant Trump. There is only one way to stop Trump, and that is to convince both Kasich and Cruz to take a powder by Friday, February 26th. Kasich is reasonable, but good luck with Trusty Ted, hahaha.

In other words, Rubio and Cruz will eviscerate each other even though they’ve declared an unspoken truce as of February 23rd. Even if they’re both attacking Trump, they’ll split the non-Trump vote on March 1st, and hand him 1/4 of the nomination in one day. Mark these words: if Cruz doesn’t quit by Friday February 26th 2016, then Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President.

We don’t even have to consult the crystals to see what happens next. That future is very, very clear. Hillary Clinton wins big on March 1st, carrying a consensus from South Carolina. In debates with Trump for the general election, Hillary gorges on Donald’s vagueness, ripping spare chunks of flesh off his already-skeletal policy proposals. Between the two, it becomes painfully obvious by September which one is prepared to be President, and which one is just jacking around.

By October, the presumptive President-elect will have enough poll-driven political capital to force the Senate to finally approve Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and on the day she takes office in January of 2017, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire. Goodbye to the center-right Court which the Reagan Legacy built.

The interesting part is what happens to the Republicans throughout November and December of 2016. Obviously, the “business wing” and the Tea Party wing can no longer live together. That leaves the Christian wing, created by Reagan, to decide which cousin they’re more kin to. Odds layed now, by me, say that the evangelicals will invest in the Tea Party wing, united by mutual aversion to compromise.

Now the odd man out, the business wing of the Republican Party has two choices. It can strike out alone as a third party, or it can become the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. Hilarious as it is, the Dems keep moving farther left, so the orphaned moderate Republicans are steadily pushed into being more likely, to form a third party, fiscally conservative and socially pragmatic.

Reagan’s bargain to align government with evangelical protestantism in return for voter loyalty was a masterpiece of political architecture, but as the current Republican Party is discovering, it was a deal with a devil, one that they just can’t shake. To the 33% Left and the 33% Middle, the things Republicans have to say in order to compete in primaries are absurd and often disturbing.

15 years ago, that kind of rhetoric was the proud tradition of protestant pilgrims carrying our national resilience into terrortimes. Now, it sounds like those Christians who are the deepest into the mystical symbolism of prophecy have the loudest political voice in the GOP’s evangelical wing. Need proof? Accusing a Republican Senate candidate of being a witch ruined her campaign. More proof? The 2010 midterms featured a very fired-up GOP base (the Tea Party), and was again proved a potent voting bloc in the 2014 midterms. So what happened in between? What happened in 2012? Romney happened, who happens to be a Mormon. As far as a swath of social-right Christians are concerned, he might as well have been Muslim.

Romney would have lost narrowly, had he been a Christian. But being a Mormon kept a couple million Republicans from voting for him. This week, i read something on Politico which almost made me snort beer out my nose from sudden and unexpected laughter. Politico has been becoming more a voice for Rubio slowly over months (reaching a fevered pitch just after the February 25th GOP debate in Texas), and they gave voice to some Republican operative who postulated that Marco Rubio, as a former Mormon, might do well in Utah-proximate Nevada. That’s making me laugh out loud all over again right now. What this political professional quoted on Politico is ignorant of, is that (to Mormons) an ex-Mormon is the functional equivalent of a demon in human guise. Mormons are so resentful towards their apostates, that some people call Mormonism “Hillbilly Scientology”.

That’s just another example of myopia by the GOP establishment, thinking that an ex-Mormon might be acceptable to practicing Mormons. Hilarious ignorance. Unexplained so far, is how the Republican establishment could have hooked their wagon to devout Christians for so long, and yet be so shockingly unaware of how to manage a religious community. You’d think that by now, they’d have someone in charge of steering the social-conservative movement into softer positions and rhetoric, dangling the carrot of patient incrementalism before the preachers.

This is why the “business wing” of moderate Republicans will be ousted in December of 2016, leaving the GOP as an alliance of Tea Party activists and evangelicals. The GOP establishment just never saw it coming. The old guard is just humming along in lala mode, confident that they could moderate and digest any new clusters of constituency which crop up on the right. They never foresaw the Christian fundamentalists outvoicing the majority of Christian moderates after 9-11. They never thought the Tea Party would elbow their way up to 50 in the House and 5 in the Senate. And they sure as shit didn’t think Trump would take half their deck and start dealing.

So moderate Republicans are out in December of 2016, and the split should become formal in early 2017. The new party will have a whole lot of support among the wealthy and the GOP’s skilled political pros would defect en masse. It would quickly become America’s second party, after a brief 12-year struggle with a socially-conservative residual Republican Party in an electoral death-spiral, remember that big Red L across America. And hopefully everyone in American politics for the next 50 years will think twice about hooking their wagon to this or that brand of religion. Has Queen Cersei taught us nothing?

That will be fun to watch for 15 years, including watching Fox News dither for several years on which faction of the right to favor. Once the political right re-coalesces in 2030, we can see what it looks like. Middle class blacks, self-made hispanics, upper class whites, leaders in the financial and manufacturing fields, and two of the three remaining media congloms in the world. Fun times, i tell ya.

Tomorrowland (2015)

Pretty scifi for kids, starring some kids, mostly human kids. Britt Robertson is Casey, 18 years old and a freedom fighter for science, though NASA would probably call her a terrorist, it’s always in the point of view concerning that duality. George Clooney was a kid, and he got his chain yanked by a darling robot played by freckly newcomer Raffey Cassidy. So Clooney is bitter and gloomy, and Britt is bubbly and optimistic, and that’s really our plot.

The plot is a bit thin and the devices are a bit preachy, and when this came out there was some grumbling that there are very few black people in the cast, but this week we see that the NAACP Image Award for Best Motion Picture of 2015 was “Straight Outta Compton” and it’s funny, isn’t it, that movies with white leads never win that award, right? So who’s being race-exclusive here? Disney made this movie as a positive voice for humanity’s future, and it didn’t seem like they were excluding black people on purpose, so all that griping falls on deaf ears until the day when the Image Awards are based on something other than just race.

This one is a more adultish Disney movie, like they tried with The Black Hole 35 years ago, thus people get killed and maimed, and a bunch of killer robots get offed. Mostly, instead of being a white-people movie, this is a girl-power movie. Britt Robertson has to save the world, and it’s Disney so we know she does, no spoiler there, but the best girlpower is from Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a ten-year-old dynamo of chopsocky asskicking, exterminating bad robots and, since this future has never heard of Asimov’s Laws, Robot Raffey also takes out some humans.

The scenes of the title place are stunning CGI, fully populated with realism and coherent artistic vision. Very pretty movie to watch, though there are some unexplained loose ends as though the script went through some changes after shooting began, or the editing process cut out some bits of continuity.

Since this is the 2010’s, there is no clear-cut bad guy, other than robots who can be blown up without offending anyone, but one of those missing bits in the plot is that a human controls all those killer robots. It’s namby-pamby stuff like that which is making Hollywood movies steadily lose cultural relevance, then they complain about falling box office without looking in the mirror. In this case, the bad guy turns out to be almost reasonable near the end of the movie, so maybe the real bad guy is humanity itself?

Blah, and that’s what i meant about the preachy stuff, though Disney does not mention oil companies specifically, because Disney is a global corporation too, and the upper floors know which side of the real world is buttered and which is plain. You simply can’t be preachy if you’ve got a tarry gnarled member lodged in your own throat.

So the message is a washed-out fail, but the movie is fun to watch and the characters are plucky and easy to root for. The scifi is good, effects are great, but a few things guarantee that there will be no sequel here.

Rating and more info…

Fury (2014)

Gritty war drama, with all the foul language and gunfights and spitting that a gritty war drama should have. Written by the director and that’s always a good sign, and produced by the star, which always shows confidence in the script. Well made with smoky and misty evocative shots, an ethereal score and good attention to costuming hundreds of extras.

Story is basically about greenhorn Norman and his introduction to World War II, by way of being pressed into a tank crew who have all been together for a few years of heavy combat. Norman is idealistic and wobbly, but with the stern hand of Brad Pitt, he becomes a man.

A wild ride across Western Germany in WW2’s last month, which is supposed to add tragedy to the story since we know the war ends in a few weeks, so all lives lost at this point are lives wasted. Whatevy, it’s still wartime and that means plenty of, well, war. Centering on a tank crew is always a good subject, second only to a story about a submarine crew, for cementing the bonds between the characters.

Some tank-to-tank tactics, some infantry maneuvers, a little taste of town fighting, and deus ex machina by way of random hits by invisible artillery. Hey, it’s a war movie. What sets this one apart in the action sphere is the great final battle. Among the genre, what sets this one apart is great acting from all the main cast. Doesn’t make you think deep thoughts, just keeps you rooting for our good guys, keeping the tension on a tight line and competently pacing the action to keep us engaged.

A war movie is not for everyone, but this one’s pretty good. Since it’s 2014 and not 1954, the gore is real and visceral, with plenty of guys losing their heads on both sides. Important characters, of course, look great when dead. Even when a couple grenades go off inches away. Hollywood magic, that.

Rating and more info…

The Family (2013)

Fun movie with plenty of violence perpetrated by both adults and children, making this a black comedy. Deniro is a mobster turned state’s evidence and now in the witness protection program. Tommy Lee Jones is his FBI handler, a thankless and difficult job because Deniro keeps committing crimes while hiding in France. Just a murder here and there, a savage beating or three, and a reasonable bombing at the local factory.

On the other hand, it’s not all Deniro’s fault. His wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) blows up the local supermarket on their first day in town, and both son and daughter unleash separate reigns of terror in high school, with more beatings, bribery, extortion, drug dealing and general racketeering. All in all great fun, and if the French townsfolk had a nebulous uncertain unease about Americans before the Blake family moved in, well now they have a much more clear idea about why they fear Americans.

A little unrealistic, because not even in small-town France can someone get away with a crime wave like this. And the way that the mob in New York gets wind of where The Family is laying low (!) is very unbelievable. But that’s OK, a couple suspensions of belief are not too much, since this is not a gritty gangster movie, it is a comedy. A gritty black comedy, but still.

Since it’s a witness protection program comedy, we know what’s going to happen, in broad outline at least, so no reason to give any details or spoilers. Suffice it to say that there’s good performances from Bobby and Tommy and Michelle, the kids are a riot, and the mobsters all wear black.

Rating and more info…

Red Dawn (2012)

Didn’t suck as bad as the critics said. The premise was a lot more plausible in 1985 when we could use the Russians as the bad buys, them being a superpower and all. When this remake came out 28 years later, they had to use North Korea. Really, there’s no two ways about it: this decision cripples the effectiveness of the movie.

The original was a good movie, and deserved to be remade. This one has all the elements which made the original good. But swapping out Russia for North Korea, because the movie studio didn’t want to offend Putin, makes this movie fall flat on its face. The rest of the movie is decent, the script and plot, the actors and acting. Directing and editing were competent. Just the setting is too ridiculous to overcome.

With that fatal flaw, this movie is forgettable. The only reason the remake happened was that the original is still loved by all males (and many females) who were between 7 and 27 in 1985. Still a great movie, one of the 1980s best action flicks. It worked because the premise could work. Russians in 1985. North Korea does not work, in any year. This remake dropped the ball so badly, that it will not be remembered by anyone.

The original worked because it was set in Michigan, thus the plausible emotional use of the term “wolverines”. This one is set in Spokane, Washington, even though it was filmed in Michigan. Ridiculous. It’s a mess of ham-handed decisions by upper executives.

It seems like the first idea was to make a good remake of a good movie. But someone overruled using Russia as the invaders of the USA, because they didn’t want to hurt Putin’s dainty emotions. Another executive, the kind of producer who has a lot of money but not much sense, probably then suggested that the project go forward using China as the invader of the USA. Keeps the plausibility, but obviously that can’t happen. China’s government would never allow the film to screen there, and would use economic and diplomatic muscles to “convince” a bunch of other countries to ban the movie too. There goes 1/4 of overseas ticket sales.

So the next bright idea (this is sarcasm) was to swap in a politically acceptable bad guy, North Korea. At this point, somebody realized that setting the flick in Michigan was idiotic, because North Korea doesn’t have the manpower to invade as far as the Great Lakes. So that was swapped for Washington State. Now we see the snowballing of absurd rationalizations that the production staff had to contort around.

Wolverines in Spokane. Vague allusions to Russians on “the Eastern Seaboard”. A cludgy mention that North Korea has “the world’s fourth-largest army”. Hmmm, where have we heard that before? I know, weren’t we once told that Iraq had “the world’s fourth-largest army”? There was a way out. They could have just set the movie in 1985 and used the Russians as the bogeymen. Either that idea was also shot down by the Kremlin, or nobody among the producers was bright enough to think of it.

Again, we see it’s true: lose your roots and lose your way. A shame, because if it was redone properly, it could have matched the original’s cultural staying power. But as it ended up, mangled by political correctness, nobody remembers this movie, only 3 years later.

Rating and info here…

Broken City (2013)

The City is New York, though this was shot in New Orleans, and the Broken thing is Billy Taggart, a NYPD detective who shot a kid in the projects under murky circumstances. Was it self defense, or vigilante cop murder? That gets cleared up later but it really doesn’t matter. The real story is that it’s 7 years later and Billy is a private eye, catching infidelities through the window and having trouble paying his bills.

Enter Russell Crowe as the charmingly filthy Mayor, and a small role for Griffin Dunne as Hizzonner’s real estate mogul crony. There’s a deal going down for billions, pushing pesky poor people out of the projects to make room for spacious condos. And where there’s billions sloshing around in New York, there will be politicians. Naturally, this all happens during the end stretch of the mayoral election.

So it’s part detective story and part political thriller. In this kind of thing there’s hired muscle, there’s double-dealing aides, and as always, there is a patsy. Billy’s girl has a slight part to play in explaining why he’s about to go off the leash, but there isn’t really much else to give depth to the character. One car chase, one short fight scene, a couple dead guys in the street. The action here is not the action, but the plot. Of that, it’s fairly standard gumshoe pulp but some good performances peppering the film. Not remarkable, but not a bad movie.

Rating and info here…

Broncos-Panthers Supper Bowl Chow [sic]

The skeleton of this recipe is from another blog, with [my tweaks and advice in brackets like this]. It turns out in the colors for this year’s Bowl teams if you use blue corn chips, and it’s one of those rare snacks which is really yummy but also, through no fault of its own, very healthy snackfood. Don’t tell anyone this! From

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Yield: Serves 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes [this is a lie]
Cook Time: 35 minutes [this is also a lie]
Total Time: 50 minutes [duh, you know what this is]

[My advice: should take under an hour to get this into the oven, then 30 minutes baking, so figger 50 minutes of activity and 30 minutes of relative leisure, and 20 minutes of futzing around, so 100 minutes total]


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed,diced [*]
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels [sic]
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin [*]
1 tablespoon chili powder [*]
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce [*, and does it even come in other colors?]
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

[My advice: skip the spray and just use a glass baking dish, then when it’s done just run a spoon around the edge]

2. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

[My advice: rinse quinoa in a wire mesh strainer under cold water for a minute or two before cooking]

3. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

[My advice: green peppers work just fine, but i do like the color of the final dish with the red/orange peppers and the black beans. Use blue tortilla chips to scoop this snack, and it turns out very appropriate for a Broncos-Panthers SB]

[My advice: skip the salt and pepper, just use 15-20 pickled jalapeno rings and chop them into bits… those will contain salt already. Black pepper + jalaps just clash in my mouth, yours might be different, though]

[My advice: enchilada sauce already has cumin and chili powder, so this recipe is easier if you skip them here and just make your own sauce (way cheaper). My recipe for enchilada sauce follows…]

4. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sauteed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. [Stir more]

[My advice: use mild cheddar instead of “Mexican cheese” (queso), for more flavor and better gooiness for chip dipping]

[My advice: put 1 cup of the cheese into the mixture and 1 cup on top, not 1/2 cup inside and 1+1/2 on top. Holds together better for chip scooping, specially with cheddar]

5. Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

[My advice: if you did like i said and adjusted the cheese amounts inside versus on top, then adjust these baking times too. 23 minutes under foil, then 7 minutes uncovered, instead of 20/10]

Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream, optional

Note-this recipe freezes well! If you need the recipe to be gluten-free make sure you use a gluten-free enchilada sauce.

[My advice: don’t garnish with anything, screw gluten-free enchilada sauce unless you have Celiac Disease, serving at room temp is just as good as warm (just not cold), and scoop it with unsalted tortilla chips, because you’ll never know the difference here.]

[My advice: If you have any left over, then tomorrow, nuke it a little to soften it up, get some round soft flour tortilla discs, spread this stuff in a stripe across the middle of the tortilla, lay some chicken down on top, fold ’em up and nuke them (seam-side down) to warm them up. Sour cream as a dipping sauce works great here.]

[And final advice: yes it’s really tasty, but it is also really good for you, so eat as much as you want. Only the cheese is even halfway a health concern, but the beans and quinoa will strip the cheese’s cholesterol out of you automatically. Pig the hell out on this, no guilt.]

As promised, my stupidly easy enchilada sauce:

If you make this, skip the cumin and chili powder in the recipe above. This makes a little more than you need for the Enchilada Bake, but this stuff is good on anything, scrambled eggs even. Try it, it’s good on anything. Except pancakes.

* 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet. Heat it up on high.
* Add 2 tblsp flour (all-purpose flour) + 1/3 cup chili powder. Heat this on medium for a few minutes until the flour turns brown, stir it a lot so it doesn’t burn.
* Add one 8-oz can of tomato sauce, 1+1/2 cups water, 2 tsp cumin, a big pinch of garlic powder and a big pinch of onion salt. Two pinches each, if you have small fingers.
* Stir it all, heat on medium until it thickens a little. You want it thick like tomato soup, not tomato juice.

Emeril says to use tomato paste and 2 cups of chicken stock instead of the tomato sauce and water. Rachael Ray says to add slivered almonds and a cinnamon stick… but then it’s not a stupidly easy enchilada sauce anymore, now is it? Skip the fancy stuff, simpler is gooder.

Gangster Squad (2013)

Los Angeles, barely post-war, it’s 1949 and Mickey Cohen is a gangster on his way up, a rise fueled by particular violence which we get an inkling of in the opening minutes, where Mickey (Sean Penn) has an emissary from the Chicago mob torn in half, fully on camera. Ewww. But it’s a gangland drama, and it’s made in 2013, so let’s not skimp on the gruesome violence.

Of course this serves as our motivation to see Mickey get what he’s got coming, and it comes in the form of a deeply undercover team of LAPD white-hats who report to nobody and answer to nothing but a smoking gun. Based on the true story of how the mafia was turned back from inroads into LA, this flick is half detective thriller and half vigilante rampage. In the historical sense, this is the story of how the mob only made it as far West as Las Vegas, and this nipping of the buds of organized crime saved, in the end, the whole West Coast from turning into Chicago or New York.

Since it’s 1949, the film is full of glorious old cars, Packards and Hudsons and De Sotos, all curvy bodies with flat windows and no radios. Speaking of curvy bodies, Emma Stone turns in a great performance as expected, as the moll with the gams and a sweet streak, and she’s lovingly introduced as a “tomato”. Ahh, the 1940s.

Since it’s the 40s, the soundtrack has lots of nice jumps from Hoagy Carmichael, Pee Wee King and Stan Kenton, and we even get an actress portraying Carmen Miranda. One gripe is that not much thought was applied to marrying the music to the video, and few of the vintage songs go on past a few bars. There is a ton of music which would have been current on the radio in 1949 and applicable to our story, but this score seems to have been assembled in isolation of the film production, and by someone bereft of a broad knowledge of 1940s pop. The one bright spot in the score is using Peggy Lee’s “Bless You” in its entirety as the credits roll.

The ending of the movie is too quick and pat, with little feeling of real denouement, but otherwise the story is good and the acting more good than poor. A great span of supporting cast: Michael Pena, Giovanni Ribisi, Nick Nolte, and Anthony Mackie all turn in good roles, and the leads (Penn, Brolin, Gosling and Emma) all do a fine job. Josh Brolin is wooden, but that’s on purpose, that’s why he was cast as the main good guy, he’s what we expect from him, the grizzled toughie with a gold heart.

A pretty good movie overall. Period piece but not drenched in itself, great pacing of the action, and a range of heroes easy to root for and baddies we’re glad to see get shot. It’s The Untouchables redone, 30 years later and set 15 years later, and it was about time someone flattered that great movie. I recommend watching this.

Rating and info here…