On March of 2013 I returned to America after living for over 5+ years in New Zealand. One of the things that I had not experienced upon returning to the mainland was Netflix.
When Netflix was started it was not a streaming service, it provided movies by mail. Where could you find Netflix at? Answer:Blockbuster video stores.
Now for the review…
There was something that was very different about House of Cards and the drivers of the show were Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood and Doug Stamper.
Each season was better than the previous one. Each episode felt like the finale. Each character reminded you of someone you met in politics. Kevin Spacey played an “Alpha Male” just like President Trump.
Claire Underwood on House of Cards is a brilliant character. It is simply that Claire Understood is way too much like Hillary Clinton for my taste.
Reflections Of My Life In Film Development by Mitch Santell
There are people in this world who are passionate about getting a true story made. I was one of those people. While the majority of my creative life has been spent in producing music and syndicated talk radio, I did dabble in the 1990’s with launching a film development company.
Throughout my own life, I noticed that God has blessed me with this ability to get to anyone that I want too. As I have stated before in previous blog postings, I am absolutely not a famous person, I have just had the opportunity to work with several dozen big names over the past 40 years. In the grand scheme of things, I thank God every day that I did not have more success in this way because the majority of my contemporaries are either ill, dead or had to take a day job.
Film development in my observations leaves behind many shredded lives because you have people who are competing for their vision of a finished film.
In the mid-1990’s I went after 2 film ideas, this blog posting is about the first one, “Billionaire Boys Club.” The second one, “The Magic Years,” (The True Story of Steve Martin at Disneyland is another story), I’ll save for another entry.
Santell Entertainment Group started out as an idea on a napkin in the mid-1990’s. Joe Hunt first came to my attention during my days in the seminar business at IBI (Income Builders International) through one of the students I was able to get to Joe Hunt’s wife. Oh, Joe was already in jail when this came to my attention.
Joe’s wife was charming and did an excellent job of convincing me that Mr. Hunt would go along with my proposal and we could make something beautiful happen. You also have to remember that The Billionaire Boys Club had already been broadcast as a TV movie with Judd Nelson and it was seeing the TV version that inspired me to go after a big screen version of the story.
Truth is stranger than fiction, and I have learned during my 60+ years on this earth that life imitates art, not the other way around.
For almost six months, I had the opportunity to speak to Joe Hunt at least six times and each conversation was recorded as he was in prison.
This is a message from Joe Hunt who is still attempting to be released from prison.
A Los Angeles County jury convicted Hunt in 1987 of killing Ron Levin, who disappeared in 1984. Prosecutors have said Hunt killed Levin over a false promise to rescue the financially struggling “club,” which purported to invest members’ money in commodities but was mostly a Ponzi scheme that relied on new cash infusions to keep it afloat.
Hunt argues Levin faked his own death to escape a pending fraud case.
Hunt, 59, is hoping to capitalize on Brown’s desire to burnish his gubernatorial legacy during his last two months in office. The termed-out Democrat took office eight years ago vowing to reduce the prison population and reform harsh criminal justice laws, which includes reconsidering some life without parole sentences.
Brown’s office said the governor has given 42 inmates with those sentences a chance at parole during his two terms in office, including 18 this year.
With time running out on Brown’s final term, Hunt and his family have launched a publicity blitz to sway the governor to commute his sentence before he leaves office in early January.
For most of an hour-long telephone interview with The Associated Press, Hunt displayed the same confident, enthusiastic and articulate hustle that he used to convince his wealthy high school buddies to join his “investment club” with their families’ money. Hunt originally named the group after a favourite restaurant — Bombay Bicycle Club — but it became known as the Billionaire Boys Club because of the hedonistic gang’s larger-than-life presence in Los Angeles.
“I see other men similarly situated getting commutations and figured ‘Why not me, too?'” he said.
Brown’s spokesman Evan Westrup declined comment on Hunt’s appeal, saying the governor does not comment on commutation applications.
The deal memo I wrote with my attorney was re-written numerous time. Each time Joe Hunt would cross out specific items and re-write the agreement in his own writing.
The bottom line was that I was not able to keep the rights to make The Billionaire’s Boy Club because while Joe Hunt was very charming, the guy absolutely would not give up any kind of creative control of the picture.
It was like I was being punished for living on the outside of prison.
(Trailer from the 1987 TV Movie with Judd Nelson).
In October of 2018, the Los Angeles Times ran an article written by Richard Winton about Joe Hunt’s passion for wanting to get out of prison.
Once a criminal always a criminal. Why? The prison that Joe Hunt sits in has institutionalized him. This is not my best guess, this is the truth.
Here is what Joe had to say recently about what he is doing in prison:
I wish I had more sympathy for Joe Hunt. He cost me time, money and a missed opportunity. All I did was weave and bob as I attempted to put a deal together with a man who is not to be believed. Shame on you Joe.
There is one bizarre postscript to this entire story, and that is Kevin Spacey starred in The Billionaire’s Boys Club released in 2018. Why do I know? I am sitting here in Palm Desert watching the film on the Showcase channel.
Want to hear the ultimate irony? The new version of the film made a total of 126.00 Dollars on opening day.
Streaming Content Comments on FilmStruck by Mitch Santell
FilmStruck has been a fantastic service. As a hardcore film buff, it has always been FilmStruck that I go to first for classic films.
Sorry folks, FilmStruck is going away. Over the past 60 days, I have noticed that Netflix and HBO are not my first choice for movies.
There will be nothing like FilmStruck ever again, thanks for letting me vent.
Major filmmakers such as Guillermo del Toro, Barry Jenkins, and Edgar Wright have already lamented the upcoming loss of FilmStruck, the streaming service for foreign cinema and classic film, and now cinephiles are rallying to save the platform. An online petition entitled “Keep FilmStruck Alive” launched in the wake of the announcement of FilmStruck’s closing and has earned over 5,300 signatures and counting. The petition is seeking 7,500 total signatures.
“FilmStruck has given cinephiles an indispensable resource for appreciating cinema, and provided so much joy to all those who thought that many of these movies would never see the light of a streaming platform,” petition leader Kevin Bahr wrote in a statement. “FilmStruck is not just a niche market, it is a massive archive dedicated to keeping art of the past alive. … It deserves to live, not only to provide an outlet for film lovers of the past but also to create new fans through the next several generations, and perhaps open some more eyes along the way.”
The Philadelphia Story, a Hollywood Classic is typical of what is shown at FilmStruck. Not only does FilmStruck stream world class movies, but they also provide a lot of trailers, documentaries, and commentaries on most of these films.
Reminiscing About How Hollywood Used to be by Mitch Santell
Over the years, Kevin Spacey has been one of my favorite actors. There is an authentic intensity to how he takes on a character in a scene that I have seen in few other actors.
Here are three brief scenes with Mr. Spacey that still get me every time.
Swimming With Sharks • 1994
The Usual Suspects • 1992
House of Cards * 2017
Now that Kevin Spacey is gone, here is what the Hollywood Reporter had to say:
The character, formerly played by Kevin Spacey, was written out of the show after the actor and executive producer was fired following sexual assault allegations. Production on the forthcoming sixth and final season of the Netflix drama was shut down so the story could be reworked to send Frank six feet under. Ahead of its Nov. 2 return, Netflix has already confirmed that Frank is indeed dead (following the events of the book on which the series is based). The political drama will not waste any time in revealing Frank’s fate.
“We didn’t want to be coy about it and we didn’t want to run away from it,” co-showrunner Melissa James Gibson explained Wednesday during The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV Talks series at New York’s 92nd Street Y, where she was joined by executive producer Frank Pugliese and stars Robin Wright and Michael Kelly for a discussion after a screening of the season six premiere.
“It would have been a big mistake to in any way pretend that the character didn’t exist or to erase the character somehow,” she added of confronting Spacey’s departure. “Our way forward — the way we figured out the way forward — was basically to dig into the DNA of the show and honor the seeds of it and figure out what made sense as the next step.”
The next step is the legacy of President Claire Underwood, a storyline that had been set up in the season five finale that aired nearly six months before Spacey’s ultimate dismissal from the series. Last season, Claire moved into the White House after exiling her husband, Frank, and ended the finale with two, series-defining words spoken directly to the camera.
“Claire this season, there’s a lot of reckoning. She’s reckoning with her past with Francis and setting her own course and her own terms — which was happening anyway,” Gibson said of Claire’s rise and Frank’s fall. “This has been an organic progression. Season five ended with her looking into the camera and saying, ‘My turn.’”
This video may contain copyrighted material; the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available for the purposes of criticism, comment, review and news reporting which constitute the ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Not withstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, review and news reporting is not an infringement of copyright.
Parting shot: (No worries to you gentlemen who are worried about Mr. Spacey harassing you. Kevin has had his career at the studios shredded like dozens and dozens of other actors. Why? Although I am not saying that Mr. Spacey’s conduct may not have been appropriate, Kevin is now out for good). I won’t be writing about Mr. Spacey again!
The most common remark that I heard from my son when I returned to America from New Zealand was “Dad; I thought when I grew up that the Adults would be running things. It seems that there is a lot of arrested development going on.” My response? “Wasn’t Arrested Development a TV show that successfully aired on Fox TV for many years?”
It would appear that adults in 2018 have lost their sense of humor and the idea of discussing any meaningful culture difference will only lead to apologies. Are we so concerned about being “Politically Correct” that we can’t have an authentic dialogue?
When Warner Brothers released “The Jazz Singer” which debuted on October 6, 1927; it was the first feature film to include both singing and dialogue directly in the movie. A big day for Hollywood back in the day and all because Warner Brothers, unlike their competitors was willing to take a risk.
The black community had a lot of respect for Al Jolson, and the movie was both a “technological” and “musical success.”
At the premiere of The Jazz Singer, attendee Doris Warner recalled that when Jolson and co-star Eugenie Besserer began their dialogue scene, “the audience became hysterical.” Jolson’s performance, which also included renditions of “Toot, Toot, Tootsie” and five other tunes, marked the first feature-length “talkie,” sounding the death knell for silent movies.
To effect the breakthrough, the 89-minute Warner Bros. feature presentation relied on the Vitaphone sound-on-discsystem. The projectionist manually synced each of the 15 film reels to its own phonograph record containing dialogue and music.
Budgeted at the then-gargantuan sum of $422,000 (about $5.3 million in today’s cash), The Jazz Singer represented a major gamble for studio boss Harry Warner, who pawned his wife’s jewelry and moved the family into a small apartment to finance the film. A popular and critical sensation, The Jazz Singer rang down the curtain for silent film stars cursed with squeaky voices.
1: CARRY A STRUCTURED HANDBAG Nothing says success like a good handbag. It doesn’t matter how corporate or casual you are, an expensive-looking bag will always pull your look together. And nothing looks more expensive than a classic structured handbag. For many women, a handbag is more accessory than necessity. But if there is one investment every woman should make, it should be a good handbag. It doesn’t have to be a big-name brand or luxury label, it just has to be structured, made of leather and be plain … very, very plain. Simple but elegant.
2: WEAR HEELS (when necessary) My grandmother always used to say that “we spend a third of our lives in bed and two-thirds on our feet, so it is essential to wear good shoes”. Shoes can make or break an outfit. Stilettos or high heels are a necessary evil, but they elongate the leg and will make any outfit look rich and expensive, even jeans. High heels also force you to throw your shoulders back and walk tall and more elegantly. But heel and toe shapes date more quickly than anything else, so if you must buy one item every season, make it a pair of on-trend shoes. And where possible wear all-leather shoes. Tip: Make sure your shoes are also unscuffed, reheeled and polished.
3: WEAR A NAVY JACKET WITH GOLD — OR SILVER — BUTTONS Navy is the colour of old money, private schools and the upper classes. It spells sophistication and elegance, particularly when worn with jeans or neutrals such as nude or white. But don’t just stop at the jacket. Navy is the epitome of European chic.
4: DRAPE A JACKET, CARDIGAN OR COAT OVER YOUR SHOULDERS OK, so this is not about what to wear but how to wear it. It’s an old trend that is back in vogue and won’t cost a thing! In warmer weather or if indoors, drape a cardigan instead. It looks sophisticated and oh-so grown up. Tip: Up the style factor and carry a clutch bag.
5: BELT AN OVERSIZED TRENCH OR COAT An oversized trench, cashmere coat or even a fur coat, especially when belted with no other clothing visible, gives the illusion that you are wearing nothing but designer underwear, expensive jewellery and an exotic perfume. Confident and sexy!
You have to admit that the current political show regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford in Washington D.C. is an absolute nightmare.
Want to know how bad it is? Voice over actress Rachel Butera provided a perfect impression of Dr. Ford and deleted her Twitter account over it.
To me, America has become a bunch of grown up’s who act like 13-year-olds and can’t even make fun of themselves.
Here is what Variety’s Todd Spangler had to say about Rachael Butera.
Butera, before her Twitter account disappeared altogether, tried to backtrack and apologize for posting the Ford video.
“I was by no means mocking a rape victim I am 100% on Christine Blasy [sic] Ford’s side!” the 45-year-old voice actor wrote in a tweet Thursday. “I am just a vocal impressionist and decided to imitate her voice but it was a mistake. I apologize a and I believe ALl women.”
“Star Wars Resistance” is set to debut on Disney Channel with a one-hour premiere on Sunday, Oct. 7. The series, set prior to the events of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” follows a young Resistance pilot (voiced by Christopher Sean) who’s enlisted to spy on the growing threat of the First Order.
Butera also voices White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in CBS’s “Murphy Brown” reboot. Her other credits include “Tammy’s Tiny Tea Time,” Amazon’s “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” and a guest appearance on “Family Guy.” She’s also a past winner of “The Howard Stern Show” impressions contest and appeared as a contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” according to the bio on her website. Butera is repped by Abrams Artists Agency and CESD Talent.
She is not a sympathetic figure. She is not a confused, traumatized victim attempting to grapple with the fragmented memories of a past incident. The record clearly reveals that this to be nonsense. She is a malicious liar who has put herself at the service of malignant political clique for the purpose of undercutting the stated will and intentions of the people of this country.
It is a simple fact that Kavanaugh’s accusers on the committee are proven liars – Feinstein in withholding the letter in the first place (not to mention denying how it became public), Booker concerning his good friend T-Bone, along with his “Spartacus moment”, Blumenthal concerning his heroism in Vietnam. The stunning irony here is that Judge Kavanaugh is demonstrably more honest than any of his accusers.
This is the central truth of the Kavanaugh case. It must be hammered relentlessly, to the point where it can no longer be evaded. It must be repeated every time we’re told that “women don’t lie”. Every time someone flaunts a t-shirt reading “I Believe Her”. Every time we hear another obtuse blurt from Pelosi or Hirono. I must be repeated until it becomes the default, the meme that crowds everything else out: that the truth is not in Christine Blasey Ford, and that she is condemned by her own words.
There are still millions of people in America and around the world that believe that 9/11 happened precisely as the government and the mainstream media said that it happened.
The best way to wake up is to give a story time and distance. To show you how embedded a lie can be promoted over many years and perceived as truth, I guess we need to go back to the Apollo 11 landing. So you know it was faked, right? Now you will think I am crazy or maybe you won’t follow my blog anymore but here is something that will make this 9/11 like no other you have ever remembered!
Fifteen years after Stanley Kubrick’s death, a video surfaced with Stanley Kubrick’s admitting that he was hired by the U.S. Government to create the moon landing.
The 20 minutes that you will invest to watch and listen to what Mr. Kubrick has to say will hopefully wake you up to the moon landing hoax. To pour salt on the wound, I have seen many videos on YouTube where an expert from NASA states that they lost all of the original video footage and even all the notes and paperwork related to Apollo 11.
Just as important is that maybe you’ll now question the official story of not only the Apollo Space Program but the biggest deception of all, 9/11.
I’ll have some more to say about 9/11 in the next couple of posts as it relates to my own story, but this is an excellent place to start.
Reflections of an 11-year-old boy rediscovered at 61 by Mitch Santell.
It is when you realize that the land of your birth may be a national cult that you start to question your dreams and visions.
In 1968 as an 11-year-old boy, I had a neighbor in the same building as my Aunt and Grandmother in Los Angeles who’s granddaughter was rescued from a cult in New York City. As a kid, I kept scratching my head thinking “Julie is in a cult? How can that be, she is about the same age as me?”
Now as I fast forward to August of 2018, I see cults all around me and observe the sincere cloning off of humanity placed merely into a maze of thought that may not even be their own.
Cults know that if they can control your relationships then they can control you. Whether we like it or not we are all profoundly affected by those around us. When you first go to a cult they will practice “love bombing”, where they arrange instant friends for you. It will seem wonderful, how could such a loving group be wrong! But you soon learn that if you ever disagree with them, or ever leave the cult then you will lose all your new “friends”. This unspoken threat influences your actions in the cult. Things that normally would have made you complain will pass by silently because you don’t want to be ostracized. Like in an unhealthy relationship love is turned on and off to control.
Cults also try to cut you off from your friends and family because they hate others being able to influence you. A mind control cult will seek to manoeuvre your life so as to maximize your contact with cult members and minimize your contact with people outside the group, especially those who oppose your involvement.
Commentary on How Life Imitates Art by Mitch Santell
Hollywood has a deep dark secret. This secret is so deep and embedded within Hollywood’s DNA that the studios, producers, and executives never discuss it. What is it? The creation of films that provide you with a storyline that you know you have seen before. Yes, you have seen it before! It is called predictive programming.
Ever see the movie Geostorm? (Trailer is: 2 Minutes 29 Seconds).
Now let’s fast forward to what is happening in Redding over the past week. This clip from the Associated Press is for educational purposes only. (Time: 1 Minute 7 Seconds).
What Is ‘Predictive Programming’?
Predictive programming, a theorized method of mass mind control, proposes that people are conditioned, through works of fiction, to accept planned future scenarios.
How Would It Work?
Details of pre-planned societal changes are intentionally revealed to the masses through various forms of media. Propagandists use this type of foreshadowing as a means of pre-emptively minimizing resistance. Repeatedly exposing the public to the same specific themes should wear them down into a state of passive acceptance. By the time said changes start to manifest in reality, few will even think to question the developments, let alone rebel against them.
Fiction is the vehicle used to deliver these “predictions” for an important reason. When most people watch a film for example, they see it as a benign form of entertainment and nothing more. Therefore, as the viewer’s guard is lowered, messages can bypass the normal critical thinking process and download directly into the subconscious like a virus.
For predictive programming to work as a valid form of psychological conditioning, the following set of general rules and assumptions have to be made:
1). A group of powerful people (with a common agenda) might be able to exert a special influence over the entertainment industry.
2). People are less likely to resist societal developments that they’ve already been familiarised with.
3). The messages planted within fiction can vary in terms of their subtlety, ranging from subliminal clues to important plot points.
4). Although predictive programming prepares people for large social change, specific events can also be foreshadowed.
5). The exact contexts of the “predictions” (and the subsequent reactions of the characters within the story) aren’t strictly important.