The Pacific

Culture Warrior

There are those on the right who have said that Game Change is a partisan smear. At the same time, some on the left may have gone into the program expecting a SNL-style “look-how-dumb-Palin-is” work of predictable affirmation. But while hit jobs and hagiographies might make for effective 30-second political ads, they can’t sustain a two-hour block of television. Game Change, by contrast, is a gripping (though by no means perfect) two-hour block of television. But the term “block of television” does not necessarily carry the same connotations as “TV movie.” The distinction here is important. Game Change’s central thesis is not a political point about either John McCain or Sarah Palin as candidates (what could a TV movie possibly say that’s new or urgent in this respect?), but is instead a lamentation about how our political landscape is determined (on all sides of the ideological spectrum) by the media cycles of Celebrity 2.0. HBO has been preoccupied for quite some time by the major chapters in American history, rolling out expensive and impressive miniseries detailing the canonical moments that Americans learned about during their primary education: whether it be The Revolutionary War and the stories of the Founding Fathers (John Adams (2008)), WWII (Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010)), or man’s journey to the moon (From the Earth to the Moon). However, HBO’s original programming has also taken microscopic examinations of recent, not-so-canonized history with smaller-scale projects like Recount (2008), Too Big to Fail (2011), and, of […]

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In a story that contains several layers of film geek cool, Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan have teamed their production company Team Downey up with Warner Brothers to tell a story that’s inspired by an 11-year-old boy, who was inspired by a speech that Quint gave in Jaws, which was inspired by the sinking of a World War II warship named the USS Indianapolis. The boy’s name is Hunter Scott, and Warners recently picked up the rights to his life story which saw him going from a 1996 viewing of Jaws at 11 years old to testifying in front of congress in 2000 and getting some legislation passed. The sinking of The Indianapolis is a horrific story, and it needs somebody proven at writing about World War II era naval awesomeness to do it justice. To that end, the Downeys and company have tapped Robert Schenkkan for the adaptation. He got nominated for a writing Emmy for HBO’s The Pacific. So, yeah, guy knows his stuff. After being torpedoed, The Indianapolis sank over the course of five days as its crew was slaughtered and eaten by a group of bloodcrazy sharks. It’s a real life event that inspired this scene in Steven Spielberg’s shark horror Jaws:

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Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees five Buy recommendations! And all but one of them are decades old! Insane I tell you, insane! Anyway. Titles out this week include Centurion, the HBO miniseries The Pacific, the uncut version of the absurdly entertaining The Visitor, The Hungry Ghosts, reissues of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Goonies, and more.

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This weekend marked the ceremony for the 2010 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Awards. This ceremony handles all the minor and technical awards for the The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, with the Major Awards being announced next week at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The two big network winners of the night were HBO and ABC, both walking away with 17 and 15 awards respectively.

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If you haven’t seen HBOs incredible, Tom Hanks and Steve Spielberg-produced miniseries, Band of Brothers, then I want you to stop reading this right now and go out and buy it. It will prepare you for The Pacific…

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