Now Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is a movie critic? Mr. Shotgun is a multi-talented wonder, an expert on women's health and now a Hollywood insider. After signing legislation that criiminalizes abortion, Kemp blasted Hollywood threats to boycott Georgia as ...

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp does his A-B-C's and fights Hollywood boycott and more...

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp does his A-B-C's and fights Hollywood boycott

Now Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is a movie critic?

Mr. Shotgun is a multi-talented wonder, an expert on women's health and now a Hollywood insider.

After signing legislation that criiminalizes abortion, Kemp blasted Hollywood threats to boycott Georgia as coming from "C-list" celebrities.

While it's encouraging that Kemp's knowledge of the alphabet extends to the letter C, he probably knows as little about who's big in Hollywood as he does about medicine. Who would he put on the A-list, Mel Gibson?

Since Georgia gives unlimited tax breaks to film-makers, Kemp's probably right that a boycott won't gain much traction. The studios make too much profit from Georgia productions to stop shooting films in the state.

A Democratic woman legislator who opposed the harsh abortion bill also opposes the boycott, pointing out that those working in Georgia's burgeoning film industry could lose their jobs, the AJC reported.

Georgia has begun an academy to train workers in different film industry specialties, such as lighting and makeup. Many film workers have moved from California to Georgia, attracted by the Peach State's lower cost of living.

Other Southern states with flourishing film industries have also passed harsh anti-abortion laws. Alabama's law is even more draconian than Georgia's, and Louisiana will probably pass a law similar to Georgia's. Louisiana's Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, opposes abortion and will likely sign the bill.

A Hollywood boycott against all of these states looks implausible. Restricting film-making to California and New York would burden the industry with unsustainable costs.

Instead of a boycott, some big filmmakers want to use profits from Georgia films to support the ACLU's legal challenge of the Georgia law.

Whatever happens, Kemp might have come up with a good marketing appeal for film stars. Imagine the Hollywood buzz if an actor or actress could brag "I was on Brian Kemp's c-list."

 

 

 

 

As Montgomery booms from its legacy of black violence, Alabama Legislature upholds repression

Montgomery's history of racial violence is bringing a building boom to the Confederacy's first capital.

Hotels are rising and historic buildings undergoing revitalization because of Bryan Stevenson's two memorials to black victims of slavery and lynching, as reported in a New York Times article Wednesday.

Visitors are streaming to Montgomery to view Stevenson's Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The Legacy Museum in downtown Montgomery documents the old cotton port's past as one of the South's top slavery markets. The National Memorial remembers those lynched in the United States, primarily in Southern states, from Reconstruction until after World War II.

As Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charleston and other cities express sorrow for their slavery legacies, Southern legislatures pass repressive anti-abortion laws.

The horror of lynching was intertwined with white men's desire to control women's sexuality. Many of the lynchings resulted from perceptions of black men's insults to white women. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and other states' harsh laws to criminalize abortion echo Jim Crow laws from the Reconstruction era.

As downtown Montgomery atones for its racially violent past, the state has entered a new era of repression with its anti-abortion law.

 

 

 

From "Game of Thrones" to "Game of Barstools": David Lynch revisits "Deadwood" in HBO film

After the fraught finale of "Game of Thrones," some of us are looking forward to the next HBO event, the "Deadwood" movie.

The May 31 film won't set off a cultural earthquake like "GOT," but it likely will generate debate among its small but passionate fan base.

David Milch's Western about the late 19th century gold mining town was abruptly ended in 2006 after three seasons. HBO promised a concluding two-part movie, but it never materialized. Then HBO announced a couple of years ago that it would produce a film showing "Deadwood's" characters 10 years after the show's last episode.

Milch finished the script while suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's disease, as detailed in an article by New Yorker writer Mark Singer in the magazine's current issue. While his mental and physical faculties decline, Milch continues to write each day with the help of various assistants. Singer also profiled Milch when "Deadwood" was first shown on HBO.

Singer doesn't give an assessment of the movie itself. The original show was known for the characters' profane but eloquent dialogue.

That touched off a debate whether people in the old West really cursed as they did on the show. Milch claimed that he did research that showed that words like "cocksucker" and "fuck" were commonly used in 19th century South Dakota. It'll be interesting to see whether Milch's film dialogue matches the show's brilliance.

As Singer notes, Milch studied with Robert Penn Warren at Yale, and compiled an American literature anthology with Warren and Cleanth Brooks. Milch also received an MFA at the famed Iowa Writing Workshop, then brought his literary training to TV writing, first on Steve Bochco's "Hill Street Blues." Then he and Bochco created the innovative "NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law."

Many of "Deadwood's" original sets were found for the making of the movie, and others had to be rebuilt. Previews show familiar characters looking much older, although Ian McShane's Al Swearengen appears about the same. A couple of actors have died since the original series ended, most prominently Powers Boothe as Swearengen's saloon-owner rival. Boothe was last seen in the ABC show "Nashville."

Since the show's demise, cast members have enjoyed busy careers. McShane is the lead in Starz's "American Gods," appears in the "John Wick" films and had a brief role in "Game of Thrones."

Tim Olyphant, who'll return as Sheriff Seth Bullock, starred in FX's "Justified" and has appeared in several movies.

After playing the kindly dcctor who delivered two of the children on NBC's hit weeper "This Is Us," Gerald McRaney returns to "Deadwood" as mining magnate and Senatorial candidate George Hearst.

Also back in "Deadwood" are Molly Parker, Kim Dickens ("Treme" and "Friday Night Lights"), Robin Weigert and Paula Malcomson as the good-hearted prostitute Trixie.

The wonderful John Hawkes, memorable in several independent films, also returns, as does Anna Gunn, who after playing Bullock's estranged wife in "Deadwood" stirred fan hostility as Walter White's estranged wife, Skylar, in "Breaking Bad."

And then there are "Deadwood's"  great character actors like Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown and Willliam Sanderson.

"Deadwood" fans hope the movie delivers a more satisfying conclusion than the final episodes of "Game of Thrones," which spurred a million angry fans to petition for a rewrite. Perhaps Al's fate will be happier than the Dragon Queen's.

 

 

 

Australian "coal hugger" takes unexpected victory

The global battle against climate change suffered another blow with the unexpected re-election of Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, a conservative notorious for his anti-environmental policies.

Goodbye, Great Barrier Reef. Like the Amazon rain forest, threatened by Brazil's hard-right president, you're going down.

Morrison's election had the Wall Street Journal's editorial page chortling Monday. Australian native Rupert Murdoch's newspaper seemed giddy over Morrison's unexpected win over the Labor Party. Polls had consistently predicted a victory for Labor and its anti-climate change policies. A WSJ news story called Morrison a "coal-hugger."

Like Brazil, Australia is a sensitive flashpoint for the world's environment. Its Great Barrier Reef shelters a multitude of oceanic species. The reef's slow death is a barometer of the rapidly intensifying effects of global warming.

Media reports claimed that Australian voters were worried that Labor's green intitiatives would hurt the economy. Voters don't appear to understand the economic devastation of extreme weather, drought, loss of wildlife habitat and other climate change disasters.

The Australian election is another sign that the world is refusing to heed a rising chorus of climate change alarms.

 

Random Thoughts: "Game of Thrones," "MASH," John Daly, Zion and "Catch 22"

Old Baton Rouge sports editor Bud Montet used to run a column called "Random Shots," which I grew up reading. Old Bud was a funny man. In Bud's memory, here are a few of my Random Shots for a warming Friday.

*What was the ugliest ride of the week, Danenarys Targaryen on her dragon or John Daly on his golf cart?

*Zion Williamson is warming up to the idea of playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. A bowl of gumbo and a beignet and he'll be fine. And if the NBA doesn't work out, there's always a home for him as a tight end at LSU. Or with the Saints.

*Tough to bet against the Warriors winning another NBA title. Golden State can lose Kevin Durant, and still win with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. If the Bucks lose Giannis, they're dead. Same with the Blazers and Damian Lillard and the Raptors and Kawhi Leonard.

*Though I'm not a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I always get a tug of nostalgia when the Red Birds come to town. The Cards were my father's favorite team. As a boy in North Louisiana, he heard broadcasts of Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin and the Gashouse Gang. My first major league game was watching the Cards of Ken Boyer, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and the aging Stan Musial play the Houston Colt .45s. The Cardinals' logo is the best in all of sports, along with the Tigers' Gothic D and the Yankees' N.Y.

*I discovered another Texas writer, Grover Lewis. An early new journalism practitioner for Rolling Stone, Lewis apparently wasn't too particular about facts. In a piece about the making of Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" in Archer City, Texas, Lewis claims that he and "Last Picture Show" author Larry McMurtry witnessed a redneck beat up Elvis Presley at a Wichita Falls honky tonk. McMurtry in his "Literary Life" memoir convincingly denies the claim. Elvis did give a concert at Wichita Falls in the 1950s.

*With all of the "Game of Thrones" hoopla, the show comes nowhere near to matching the ratings of old network shows like "MASH" or "Dallas." Episodes of "MASH" still appear in Cable TV Land, and I'm surprised at how well they hold up. Again, the notion that HBO invented television with "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" is overblown.

*An eight-part Hulu miniseries of "Catch 22" involving George Clooney? Sounds intriguing, but Mike Nichols' film version dissipated a lot of the book's energy, casting doubt on a TV series doing better. The book's sprawling plot and cast of characters seem beyond the scope of a Hulu production. Perhaps the show will catch the book's essence.

There's a Catch 22 - I'd like to try the show, but I don't subscribe to Hulu. I'm more tempted to return to Joseph Heller's novel to see how it holds up after all of these years. Heller's anti-war spirit was groundbreaking when the book was published in 1961, setting the stage for the later Vietnam War movement. In those Cold War days, Heller's book caught a building wave. The book's anti-establishment spirit might spark again as Trump and the GOP carry out their subversion of democracy and the Constitution.