This series uses movies as a gateway to understanding the world

The Outsiders, and the other S.E. Hinton book that was made into a film, Rumble Fish, were early YA literature which showed lower class young men in a sympathetic light.

Risky Business was an early Tom Cruise film, but after so many years of movies, Tom Cruise characters are a useful barometer of American cultural change.

Billy Jack is a film from 1971 provided an early look at the counter-culture ethos that has since driven right into the mainstream.

The Joker is in interesting case study in how American views on criminality have changed. They show the same scene, the murder of Thomas Wayne, in two versions; one in 1989 and one in 2019. The could not be more different.

Hostiles shows how PTSD was present even in the wars with the Native Americans.

Once Were Warriors showcased the New Zealand film industry and told the story of the declining social cohesion of the indigenous people of the islands. It was a tour de force for the cast as well.

Fight Club was hated by several critics, but Tyler Durden has found resonance with millions of alienated and rootless men.

A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian film about the future as seen from 1971. The future looks a lot like the seventies but also right now. Stanley Kubrick made one for the ages some 50 years ago.

Reds and the Art Beyond Propaganda – ‘Reds’ and ‘Dead Man Walking’ are so good that they undermine the message of the directors who made them.

The Last Emperor – The world the Chinese will never forget.

Black movies, Black music, Black culture, Blackness – ‘Soul Food’ or ‘Three Strikes;’ what defines black culture?

Coming of Age with Magic Mike – Steven Soderbergh is the other towering Steven of American film making, and ‘Magic Mike’ is one of his best films.

Woody Allen v. The Banality of Evil – Woody Allen is gone but his many films, including Crimes and Misdemeanors, films live on as masterpieces that dig deep into the human heart.

Red Dawn Gets Its Foreign Policy Back – A glib joke by President Obama in 2012 becomes a prophecy.

The Crying Game and the Big Lie – Trans seen from three decades back.

Other Essays

A Crisis Of Legitimacy – On nearly every social metric, the United States in particular and the Western World in general is becoming more of a hollow shell

Lincoln v Douglas – Lincoln’s 212 birthday recently passed, and I thought of his ideas about how my English and German ancestors were both free even though they were considered separate races at one time. Under the American system, we have embraced that ‘all men are created equal’ and we are pushing the boundaries of those ideas further than any nation or people on earth.