Herald Gets Top Billing in Globe Re: ‘Patriots Day’

December 22, 2016

Patriots Day, the latest production from the Wahlberg-industrial complex, is turning into the ultimate Boston Rorschach test.

Exhibit Umpteen: This tweet from the estimable David Bernstein.

 

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The Sean Burns review in NorthShoreMovies David cited includes this:

Before the closing credits roll, “Patriots Day” tacks on almost ten minutes of interview footage from some of the story’s real-life subjects, all of them offering canned aphorisms that sound over-rehearsed. It feels like a pre-emptive bid for exoneration by the filmmakers, proof they got permission to cash in on a city’s still-tender memories in order to massage the ego of their superstar producer. Without this documentary material, the movie would have ended on a shot of David Ortiz shaking Mark Wahlberg’s hand, the real slugger thanking the fake cop for his heroic service.

 

Ouch.

Here’s another pinprick: On G5 of Wednesday’s Boston Globe Food section, there’s this ad for “Patriots Day.”

 

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And check out who gets top billing.

 

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That’s right – the Herald’s Jim Verniere, who wrote in his review that “’Patriots Day’ is a film every American and anyone planning to do us harm should see.”

Crosstown, Globe movie critic Ty Burr – in that same Food section – said something quite different.

Peter Berg’s movie, starring Mark Wahlberg in an invented role, is neither great nor gawdawful. It’s professionally made, slickly heartfelt, and is offered up as an act of civic healing. At best, it’s unnecessary. At worst, it’s vaguely insulting.

 

Roll your own, splendid readers.

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Boston Dailies (wait for it) Diverge on Gates-gate

April 24, 2015

From our Late to the Ancestral Party desk

The current Henry Louis Gates Jr./Ben Affleck/PBS/Sony Entertainment/WikiLeaks rumpus over the excising of Affleck’s slave-owning ancestry from Gates’s documentary series Finding Your Roots got very different play in Thursday’s local dailies.

Let’s let the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr set the scene.

Lessons in inconvenient truths

Affleck revelation shows that nothing stay hidden nowadays

This week’s celebrity tempest in a teapot is brought to you by Ben Affleck, Henry Louis Gates Jr., PBS, and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Oh, and WikiLeaks, which, if it had hands, would be rubbing them together 8917b9a34d2c47788d1664887d6c02e1-8917b9a34d2c47788d1664887d6c02e1-0in adolescent glee.

The website, whose editor in chief, Julian Assange, is still living in political asylum at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, recently released tens of thousands of documents left over from the Sony hack late last year — the ones that the original hackers (North Koreans or whoever; the jury’s still out) hadn’t bothered to make public. Among those memos is a back-and-forth between Harvard professor Gates and Lynton about whether to expose the fact that Affleck had ancestors who owned slaves on Gates’s PBS documentary series, “Finding Your Roots.”

 

Affleck asked Gates to omit that part of his ancestry. Gates turned for guidance to Lynton, who said “all things being equal, I would take it out.” But Gates clearly knew it would be wrong to do so, telling Lynton that if the issue ever became public, “It would embarrass [the star] and compromise our integrity. . . . Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”

Well, consider it lost, Henry, since you did omit the Affleck family’s slave-owning past and, according to the lamest press statement since Mark Sanford hiked the Appalachian Trail, “focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry.”

Uh-huh.

Burr’s conclusion: “The stain isn’t that Affleck had ancestors who owned slaves. It’s that he thought we’d think less of him — or his celebrity brand — if we knew. And now, poor schmo, we do.”

A Globe editorial also spanked Affleck: “This Cambridge homeboy needs a reality check. You can edit truth out of movies, but not out of family history.”

Actually, it’s the Boston Globe that needs a reality check.

The issue here isn’t Ben Affleck, who did what most people might instinctively do. The issue is Skip (Journalism 101) Gates.

And the Boston Herald’s Mark Perigard nailed him on it in Thursday’s edition.

‘Roots’ censorship shows host Gates has got to go

Faces of America

Stop stalling, PBS.

You know what needs to be done.

Either cancel “Finding Your Roots” or fire host, executive producer and Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr.

 

As Perigard notes, Gates could have used this whole kerfuffle as a “teachable moment.”

He could have reminded [Affleck] he is not responsible for the sins of his ancestors.

He could have appealed to his ego and told him his reputation would only be enhanced by 
acknowledging this shameful bit of family history.

He could have informed him that previous guests — including Anderson Cooper, Derek Jeter and Ken Burns — have discovered slave owners lurking in their family trees.

Most critically, Gates should have recognized his own obligation to the truth.

 

But he didn’t.

The great Henry Louis Gates Jr. tried to cover his ass.

And, as Mark Perigard says, his ass should now be fired.

(More, no doubt, to come as we head downstairs for today’s papers.0


Correction o’ the Day (Graham Moore Is Not Gay)

February 26, 2015

During last Sunday’s Academy Awards broadcast, screenwriter Graham Moore delivered this moving acceptance speech upon winning the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Imitation Game.

 

 

Monday’s Boston Globe featured workmanlike Oscar wrap-ups by Matthew Gilbert and Ty Burr, who noted, “Graham Moore’s emotional acceptance speech recalling his suicidal adolescence was a highlight of the evening.”

Then, inexplicably, Wednesday’s Globe featured this:

 

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For the life of us, we can’t find the offending passage. (It doesn’t help that the Globe fails to provide an online Correction with a link to the specific piece. At least not that we could find.)

Regardless, here’s what the Googletron yields:

 

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So, to recap: The Boston Globe never meant to imply that Graham Moore is gay. Even if it didn’t.

Sorted.


On the Cover of the Roiling Stone

July 18, 2013

First off, it should be noted that the Boston Herald broke this Rolling Stone story on page 3 of yesterday’s edition (don’t ask about the little green numbers – no idea why they keep popping up):

 

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Today, the feisty local tabloid went for broke:

 

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The one dissenting voice was columnist Margery Eagan, but she was drowned out by the other coverage, which included a couple of news reports and the always-enlightening comments of Herald readers.

 

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Our personal favorite among the reader responses:

 

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But wait – the paper’s not done yet. There’s also a smashmouth editorial, along with a venomous column from Michael Graham:

BomberRollingstoneMagazine’s the picture of desperation

‘McDreamy’ photo won’t get oldies loser Rolling

Hey, Rolling Stone magazine! Next time you want to prove how provocative and edgy you are, put a flattering photo of George Zimmerman on your cover.

Right. Like that’s ever going to happen.

And that’s part of the reason for Boston’s completely righteous anger over the magazine’s “Terrorist Teen Beat” cover featuring Dzhokhar McDreamy. It’s insulting and stupid, and they know it.

But if it sells magazines (or even better — drives up Web traffic), they don’t care.

 

Sounds a bit like the Herald itself.

Crosstown rival Boston Globe has a more evenhanded debate on its front page:

 

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There’s also a news report and this comme ci comme ça editorial:

[T]he magazine’s advance hype for the story — “a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster” — hinted at a somewhat more sympathetic portrayal of Tsarnaev than many readers might expect.

Then again, the cover also identifies him as a bomber — going farther in asserting Tsarnaev’s guilt than the criminal justice system has at this point. All of which suggests that Rolling Stone is better at trying to create buzz than at recognizing the sensitivity of a recent incident that led to four Boston-area residents’ deaths and inflicted horrifying injuries on many more. Still, readers shouldn’t assume that a cover story about a suspected evildoer represents an attempt to glamorize him. This issue of Rolling Stone should be judged not by its cover, but on the information that it brings to the public record.

 

Well . . . judge for yourself.


Did They See the Same Movie? (‘Spring Breakers’ Edition)

March 22, 2013

The only thing the local dailies’ reviews of Spring Breakers have in common is the publicity photo they feature:

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Beyond that, they’re talking about two completely different movies.

Ty Burr, Boston Globe:

SB_MM_00541_rgb-1‘Spring Breakers’ is mesmerizing

I derive no small pleasure from the thought of America’s youth flocking to see “Spring Breakers” expecting — well, what you’d expect a film called “Spring Breakers” to be — and finding instead a savage assault on every empty thought they hold dear.

At first glimpse, the movie is frat-comedy business as usual: images of half-clad college kids reveling in slow motion on the beaches of St. Petersburg, Fla. But the shots are held too long and the faces are dull-eyed and grotesque; the beer tubes and bong hits and naked breasts shade from bacchanalian to robotic. We seem to have left MTV’s spring break and entered David Lynch’s.

Actually, this universe belongs to Harmony Korine, the brat provocateur whose previous movies — including 1995’s “Kids” (which he only wrote but everyone gives him credit for anyway), 1997’s “Gummo,” and 2009’s “Trash Humpers” — have enraged proper-thinking audiences and critics while building a small, devoted base of cult followers. With the nominally mainstream “Spring Breakers,” count me in. Korine wants to give us a portrait of our nation’s children — the girls, especially — as beautifully depraved sharks, pleasure-seeking killers oblivious to the comedy and horror of their existence. And damned if he doesn’t pull it off, or come close enough.

 

James Verniere, Boston Herald.

Spring Breakers, James Franco‘Spring Breakers’ doesn’t fulfill hip entertainment promise

If you can imagine a raunchy, MTV beer commercial, featuring music by Skrillex, bikini-clad, coke-addled Girls Gone Wild and art-movie lighting and editing effects, you have some idea of what to expect from Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers.” Is it trash? Or is it hip and entertaining trash?
It’s mostly the former. Because I was bored much of the time by repetitious dialogue, repeated scenes stretching already cellophane-thin material and flagrantly shallow characters, I can hardly claim to have been entertained. Hip? Well, I guess if watching pretty young veterans of the Disney Channel parade around in neon-colored bikinis and misbehave is your idea of hip, go for it, dude.

 

Burr gave the flick 3 1/2 stars. Verniere gave it a C-.

Go figure.

If you want a tiebreaker, you could check out this, but forewarned is forearmed – the headline/subhead is:

Startling ‘Spring Breakers’ Film Explores Sexual Coercion Turned On Its Head

Harmony Korine’s new film captures the complexities of gender, violence, and the sex-drenched scene known as spring break

 

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.