Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

According to the girlfriend, Mineo requested her to shoot him in the forehead at point-blank range. Police say Mineo and his girlfriend, both conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers, were ostracized by an alien conspiracy cult that embraced apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation. Fearing the coming end of the world, Mineo was overcome with despondency leading up to his death wish.

Last summer, fearing the end times, another prepper killed three men near his fortified compound in Great Cacapon, West Virginia. Erick Shute, who was also a sovereign citizen, says he shot the men with a .223-caliber rifle because they were cutting wood and trespassing on his land. Doomsday preppers often emphasize living off the land or off the grid and in isolation. Investigators found the tell-tale signs of a doomsday prepper when they searched Shutes property stockpiles of food, a cache of guns, and ammunition hoarding. There was also concern that Shute had placed land-mines on the property to protect its perimeter.

The murders in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just the latest in a long string of brutal murders and suicides among those prepping for the end times. A year earlier, Michael Augustine Bournes murdered his wife and three children at their cabin in a remote Montana forest. Bournes, then set his house on fire and committed suicide. Neighbors describe him as a survivalist who lived off the grid.

On January 17, 2015, David Crowley, an aspiring conspiracy filmmaker and screenwriter, shot and killed his wife and daughter in their home in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He then committed suicide. Crowley had been working on a feature film project called Gray State, with a storyline that revolved around a coming police state after societal breakdown.

In September 2014, Benjamin and Kristi Strack of Springville, Utah, murdered three of their four children, with a poisonous cocktail of cold medicines laced with dextrorphan and doxylamine. They then killed themselves. Authorities later learned that the parents were worried about the evil in the world and wanted to escape a pending apocalypse. Family and friends reported the Stracks wanted to move somewhere far off the grid.

A few months later, Veronica Dunnachie was charged with the shooting deaths of her estranged husband and stepdaughter during a domestic dispute in Arlington, Texas. Both Veronica and her husband were members of the 3%ers Texas, a militia group, and had an affinity for prepping and learning survival skills. There are other murder/suicide cases (ie, Shane Franklin Miller, Jimmy Lee Dykes, and Peter Keller) that demonstrate the dark side of doomsday prepping.

Doomsday prepping has been an American subculture since the 1950s. During the 20th century, preppers fed on American fears in the aftermath of World War II, the nuclear arms race, civil unrest, and economic volatility. Similarly, the 21st century has brought new uncertainties, including Y2K, weather disasters, the Mayan end calendar, global terrorism, and more civil unrest. In light of these disastrous events and predictions, doomsday preppers emphasis on preparedness appears to make sense. Family preparedness may even be advisable. Nevertheless, beyond a few legitimate reasons, doomsday prepping, for the most part, represents a dark worldview that combines, to varying degrees, end-times apocalyptic views, an obsession with firearms (and other weaponry), conspiracy theories and too often an anti-government sentiment. When combined, these radical views become toxic and lead unsuspecting followers down a funnel of despair, which perpetuates fear, paranoia and extremism.

Preppers are best known for stockpiling supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.) and building bunkers in anticipation of an impending catastrophic event, such as a war, terrorist attack or disastrous natural occurrence. Prepping can be embraced both by individuals, who emphasize surviving alone, and groups which emphasize communal living. Examples of prepper communities include the Citadel project in Benewah County, Idaho; the Trident Lakes subdivision in Ector, Texas; and Ft. Igloo in Falls River, South Dakota.

Since the 1950s, Preppers, also known as survivalists, have spread their ideology and tradecraft through preparedness expositions, gun shows, literature, and religious institutions such as Mormons, Baptists, and cults. These trends continue today. Since 2008, the Prepper Movement has steadily increased membership and grown in both sophistication and creativity. Companies specializing in making bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purification systems, have attested to this steady rise in popularity due to sales increases. Much like the 1990s, preparedness conventions continue to attract thousands of people at each event throughout the country.

The 2008 Presidential Election, coupled with the 2008 stock market crash, marked the beginning of the prepper renaissance. However, new factors have emerged that have influenced the recent popularity growth of doomsday prepping. In 2016, Donald Trumps election further stoked the fires of fear and paranoia within the Prepper community and far right extremists with his rhetoric concerning Muslim terrorist threats in the Homeland, nuclear threats from North Korea, criminal threats from immigrants and other security issues. As a result, the Prepper Movement remains popular and supply companies within the U.S. continue to report growing sales. For example, an Idaho-based emergency supplies company, called My Patriot Supply, doubled its online sales during the week of Inauguration Day compared to the same week in 2016. Georgia-based Doomsday Prep also noticed sales spikes on both Election Day and Inauguration Day. Since the 2016 election, it has seen more than a 15% growth.

Cable television shows, such as National Geographics Doomsday Preppers, Discoverys The Colony and Survivorman, have mainstreamed, and even glorified, survivalism and end times prepping. The advent of the Internet has also given preppers a new tool to recruit members and supporters, teach tradecraft using YouTube videos, as well as create entire online marketplaces for purchasing and selling prepper-related gear and other supplies. While there are various theories about what causes the world to end, Preppers are unified on the core beliefs that society is on the verge of collapse and the last days are near.

Besides spreading fear and paranoia and preparing for the end times, the Prepper Movement provides a gateway to more radical ideologies and extremist movements, such as militia groups, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens. Of particular concern, the Prepper Movement has experienced a disturbing trend of murders and suicide over the past four years.

As prepper deaths continue to mount, rumors have circulated on survivalist forums and other far right extremist websites about secret government hit lists or death lists targeting them. They claim that this trend of murder/suicides within the Prepper Movement is the work of a sinister government plot to get rid of them. They falsely believe these deaths are evidence of the Illuminatis existence and its activation of the New World Order plan to take over the world. In reality, these violent incidents are manifestations of how mounting anxiety, fear, and paranoia can lead to deepening depression and acts of desperation that, too often, leads to violence and lawlessness. Sadly, there are even more criminal incidents and arrests related to doomsday preppers.

Rex Features via AP Images

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Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Tom Cruise trashes his flashing-teeth hero image to play, if not a bad guy, then certainly a naughty one in the jaunty drug-running caper American Made.

Re-teaming with his Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life character who ran drugs, guns and money between Central America and Arkansas in the late 1970s and early 80s, while also working for the CIA.

Seal, a family man who started out as a pilot for TWA, eventually became embroiled in what blew up into the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as being a trusted delivery boy for the Medellin cocaine cartel lead by Pablo Escobar. He also earned himself millions of dollars in cash for his troubles.

Watch Video: Tom Cruise Is Back to Flying Planes in ‘American Made’ Trailer

Cruise slips into the role with a mischievous grin, although hes not exactly playing totally against type the way he did in, say, Magnolia. The idea is that his Barry is a slippery customer and a great pilot, more son-of-a-gun than Top Gun. With the first of several nods to Goodfellas, Cruise narrates the movie himself, although his to-camera testimonies are designed, we learn later, to incriminate his various employers.

Barry initially stumbles into the part but like a good American opportunist, he learns to game the system, using his CIA-sanctioned cover to become the gringo who delivers for Escobar and his henchmen. He comes home with suitcases stuffed so full of cash the green stuff practically falls out of the bedroom closets.

See Tom Cruise’s latest POWER MOVE.

As director, Liman (whose father investigated the Iran-Contra affair) has covered the shaky moral ground of Langley in his Bourne franchise, and hes at it again here, while also trying to cram in and explain away some real political history. The film features three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, as Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as well as figures such as Oliver North and General Noriega. Even Nancy Reagan pops up to tell us again: Just Say No.

Liman is to be commended on not stooping to a mere 80s nostalgia fest, at least not too ironically (he offers a Rubiks Cube and couple of power ballads but, hey, everyone needs context), using the Cold War politics of the time rather than any awkward fashions or pop. I wonder, though, if he was tempted to show someone watching an early Brat Pack movie on VHS?

The problem is that Cruise, even when trying to cut loose, is always so tightly controlled that we never truly feel the reptilian survivalism of Barry Seal, nor does it feel like anyone on screen is actually enjoying themselves despite the repeated tequila parties and mountains of cash.

Also Read: Don’t Tell Dwayne Johnson He Runs Like Tom Cruise

Earlyish in the picture, when Barry finds himself in a Colombian jail following a police raid, theres a bit of business around him having a tooth knocked out, a clear indication that Cruise knows hes denting his trademark choppers here. Interestingly, the movie never suggests Seal (or any of his pilot cohorts) got high on their own supply; he may want to play with his image, but dont think for a minute youll catch Tom Cruise snorting coke.

Limans tone, channelled through Cruise gently straining to deconstruct his own iconography, achieves neither real comedy nor actual tension. The movie feels lightweight, even while pointing fingers at the American governments meddling foreign policy and lies. The sense of the eras political absurdity goes missing. Maybe politics, no matter how ridiculous or how distant, just isnt a laughing matter any more.

Strangely, for a Cruise vehicle, American Made takes a while to get going, and, having never quite started, it doesnt really know when to finish. Theres a terrific climax involving the CIA, DEA, FBI and a bunch of other acronymical forces except it isnt the climax, and the movie drags on for quite a while after, forgetting that we really dont care much for the underwritten storyline of Barrys family and his wife Lucy, gamely played by Sarah Wright (Marry Me) in that increasingly thankless position of girl in Tom Cruise movie.

American Made isnt exactly an American Dud, but it is too self-conscious to be as fun as it wants to be. Its professional, slick and not terrible, as youd expect from, well, slick professionals such as Liman and Cruise. It looks vibrant and verdant (shot by Uruguayan DP Cesar Chalone, who did City of God), but for the gringo movie star who always delivers, it comes up a little short.

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

41. “Cocktail”

Cruise’s Type-A, adrenaline-fueled drive serves him very well in movies where the stakes are high. But Cocktail is just “Top Gun” behind a bar. The work-hard play-hard clichs at work here threatened to make Cruise the role model for handsome, affable, lame guys you swipe past on dating apps. Cruise smartly swiped away from roles like this.

40. “Endless Love”

Tom Cruise has a tiny partin this Brooke Shields melodrama, his first ever on-screen role. He stumbles off a soccer field, goes shirtlessand shares a story with the protagonist about how he almost burned his house down. You were probably sold at “goes shirtless.”

39. “Legend”

Whats sillier: Tom Cruises unicorn or his hair? Legend was a lavish, fantastical adventure that turned out to be a massive box-office misfire from director Ridley Scott and Cruise.

38. “Austin Powers in Goldmember”

Cruise makes an amusing cameo as Austin Powers in a fake trailer for a movie-within-the-movie called Austinpussy. But this opening to the third Austin Powers is its only highlight.

37. “Far and Away”

Ron Howard directs Cruise and his then-partner Nicole Kidman in this romance between a wealthy landlords daughter and a poor Irish street fighter.Cruise’s accent isn’t great.

36. “Knight and Day”

Wacky, screwball action-comedies almost never work, and in James Mangolds Knight and Day, Cruise and Cameron Diaz werent exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.” But the movie has its passionate fans.

35. “Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

This is probably the movie where you’re most aware Cruise is acting. After all, hes playing a vampire. This showy, flashy role wouldve been better suited for someone like Johnny Depp. Cruises Lestat doesn’t feel as hungry as most Tom Cruise characters, just thirsty. For blood.

34. “Losin’ It”

Thankfully Cruise graduated from 80s teen sex-romps like this, but Curtis Hansons Losin It has some charm with Cruise running through Tijuana with a young Jackie Earle Haley, John Stockwell and a housewife played by Shelley Long.

33. “Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back”

The sequel to Jack Reacher was a rare, mediocre step back for Cruise.

32. “Rock of Ages”

Cruise doing his best Axl Rose impression as the rock-god Stacee Jaxx is the best part of this cute, harmless stage adaptation. He commits.

31. “The Outsiders”

Francis Ford Coppolas The Outsiders wasnt well reviewed at its time, but its a great time capsule of Cruise in a small part of a gang of other teen heartthrobs of the day, including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. Many who grew u with it consider it a classic.

30. “All the Right Moves”

In one of theearly teen roles that would define his hard-driving persona, Cruise contends with a football coach played by Craig T. Nelson in a classicandwell-meaning but clichd sports movie.

29. “Days of Thunder”

Its Top Gun on wheels, with Tony Scott reuniting with Cruise as an up-and-coming racecar driver and pairing him for the first time with Nicole Kidman, as well as Robert Duvall. But by this point Cruise had already played the young hot shot too many times.

28. “Lions for Lambs”

Robert Redford aimed for intellectual pedigree with his political drama starring Cruise and Meryl Streep, but it mostly high-minded, overly-polished lecturing.

27. “Valkyrie”

Cruise plays a German officer who conspired to assassinate Hitler and assume power. We all know how that went. Thankfully, Cruise doesnt belabor a phony German accent, but Bryan Singers drama is mostly historical set dressing.

26. “Taps”

In just his second on-screen role, Cruise plays an unhinged military cadet who goes to extreme lengths to protect the academy when its threatened by encroaching condo developers. He almost steals the show from George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and a young Sean Penn.

25. “Vanilla Sky”

Vanilla Sky contains a risky, very underrated Cruise role. Cruise goes from playing the cocky, unstoppable Cruise archetype to a deformed, defeated man trying to figure out what matters. Cameron Crowes remake of a Spanish-language film shifts genres stunningly, and its proved a polarizing movie in both Cruise and Crowes catalog.

24. “The Mummy”

From TheWrap’s review: “Its the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster thats cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle.”

23. “The Last Samurai”

John Oliver has made The Last Samurai infamous as a prime example of Hollywoods Asian whitewashing. But Cruise is good enough to make it almost work. Its a solid samurai epic with Cruise fighting out of his element, playing an American Civil War official overseas as a dynasty comes to an end.

22. “Mission: Impossible II”

John Woos hyper-stylized sequel has Cruise free-hand scaling a massive, remote cliff, only to put on a pair of sunglasses and watch them explode. It all feels very ’90s.

21. “Mission: Impossible III”

J.J. Abrams was brought in to reboot the franchise, so to speak, and he brought his signature lens flares, humor and gritty realism to the property. The films high point isnt Cruise, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain.

20. “The Firm”

Tom Cruise + John Grisham + Gene Hackman + Sydney Pollack? The Firm shouldve been a slam dunk, but its not even Cruises best courtroom drama.

19. “Oblivion”

Joseph Kosinskis Oblivion is visually stunning and finds Cruise tidying up Earth after the battle for humanity has ended and the planet has been evacuated. The sci-fi premise has promise but loses steam as some of the Morgan Freeman-delivered twists and parables start to come out.

18. “Jack Reacher”

Lee Child described Jack Reacher in his book as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, up to 250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. That aint Tom Cruise. But Christopher McQuarrie extracts from Cruise a grizzled, angry action hero. Plus having Werner Herzog as your movies villain doesnt hurt.

17. “The Color of Money”

This was the movie that won Paul Newman his Oscar, a swan-song sequel to The Hustler by Martin Scorsese in which Cruise may as well be type-cast as the new arrogant upstart. But Cruise captivates with that infectious, cocky glint in his eye as he whips his cue around, knocking em dead to the tune of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

16. “Tropic Thunder”

Cruise is hilariously unrecognizable beneath a balding wig, caked on makeup and some added pounds as Les Grossman, a raging, foul-mouthed studio exec. His fuming anger and profanity in this cameo makes him a pimple ready to burst, and his best dialogue isnt even fit to print.

15. “Rain Man”

Rain Man may actually be one of the more overrated Best Picture winners. Barry Levinsons film is just a road trip movie with a showy Dustin Hoffman performance at its center. And yet Cruise revealed an untapped tender side.

14. “War of the Worlds”

Critics were torn as to whether Cruise made a convincing father figure in Steven Spielbergs adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story, but thehuman element elevated this already tense sci-fi thriller.

13. “Mission: Impossible”

The original Mission: Impossible benefits from Brian De Palmas homages to Hitchcock and other spy genre films, includingloopy twists and laughably great gadgets that explode fish tanks or transform peoples faces. But its rightfully famous for Cruises balletic, expertly executed heist as he dangles from the ceiling and tries not to break a sweat.

12. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

Five movies into the franchise, and Christopher McQuarries film was the first that suggested a future for this franchise beyond Cruise, taking the best elements of each subsequent M:I film and making them gel. It culminates in a slick assassination inside an opera and a standout new foil for Cruise in Rebecca Ferguson. And Cruise is just awesome in it.

11. “Collateral”

Cruise never gets to play the bad guy, but hes excellent at it. Michael Mann transformed Cruise into a mysterious silver fox and silent killer, toying with his hostage Jamie Foxxs mind and morality until the two form an unexpected bond.

10. “Top Gun”

Thirtyyears later and we still feel the need for speed. Theres still no better popcorn movie that flaunts 80s nostalgia, jingoistic Americana and hyper-masculinity than Top Gun. Plus that gloriously homoerotic volleyball scene.

9. “Risky Business”

When Tom Cruise slid across that wood floor in his underwear and a white dress shirt to the opening riff of Old Time Rock and Roll, that was it; a star was born. The movie as a whole channels everything that made Cruise a star, includinghis hot-shot attitude and smirking charm. But he alsosubverts and challenges other teen films.

8. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Brad Bird brought some of the cartoonish charm from Pixar over to the fourth M:I film, but he also staged one of the best action set pieces of this century. Yes, that really was Cruise dangling off the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and it paid off.

7. “Edge of Tomorrow”

Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of action movie that reminds you why Cruise is so reliable in his heroic roles. Cruise plays a captain in this sci-fi who sells a war to the public, but is privately a coward. When hes killed in battle and brought back to life in an endless vicious cycle played for pathos and some laughs, he regains composure. Emily Blunt gives a fantastic, hard-edged performance as well.

6. “A Few Good Men”

Cruise displays youthful goodness, decency and spirit in the face of juggernaut Jack Nicholson. “A Few Good Men” hasexactly the sort of rousing emotion Hollywood needs to tap into again to find morehit dramas for adults.

5. “Eyes Wide Shut”

All anyone wanted to talk about with Stanley Kubricks final film was the chemistry between Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, or the lack thereof. But that icy demeanor in what presents itself as an erotic romance amplified the surreal mystery of the film and made Cruise vulnerable and human.

4. “Jerry Maguire”

The quintessential rom-com, Jerry Maguire is timeless yet also perfectly ’90s. Cameron Crowes endlessly quotable screenplay wouldnt be quite the same without Cruises comic timing as he bellows Show Me the Money and lampoons his own hot-shot persona.

3. “Born on the Fourth of July”

As a crippled war vet in Oliver Stones Vietnam drama, Cruise turns from a starry-eyed, clean-cut soldier to a vocal, harried Vietnam protestor. Its a rebuke to the blind patriotism flaunted in Cruises own Top Gun and is one of Stones best films.

2. “Minority Report”

Steven Spielbergs sci-fi has aged beautifully, in part because Silicon Valley has borrowed so muchfrom it. Cruise looks so cool manipulating video in the Pre-Cog crime lab, he practically invented touch screens. Spielberg bakes endlessfun and invigorating, futuristic chase sequences into a screenplay that contemplates big questions of fate and free will.

1. “Magnolia”

Not only is this Paul Thomas Andersons magnum-opus, an epic, surreal character drama of love, family and the meaning of life, its Cruise at his most unhinged and commanding. He plays a vile, lascivious mens right advocate named Frank T.J. Mackey, whose mantra isrespect the cock. Cruise made it possible to dislike, even loathe one of his characters, and yet hes chillinglycharismatic.

Happy 55th birthday, Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

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‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

SASI – Survivalism, Prepping And Homesteading

Survival Garden Staples: Production of Tomatoes March 4, 2015 46 Comments 54 Views

Tomatoes are growing with wheat and corn in typical diet of America. Ketchup, the big piece of tomato on salsa, burger and other dishes makes use of tomato for nutrition and flavoring. As it is, tomatoes contribute greatly to survival garden as it produces necessary nutrients, prolifically, and

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SASI – Survivalism, Prepping And Homesteading

Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

According to the girlfriend, Mineo requested her to shoot him in the forehead at point-blank range. Police say Mineo and his girlfriend, both conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers, were ostracized by an alien conspiracy cult that embraced apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation. Fearing the coming end of the world, Mineo was overcome with despondency leading up to his death wish.

Last summer, fearing the end times, another prepper killed three men near his fortified compound in Great Cacapon, West Virginia. Erick Shute, who was also a sovereign citizen, says he shot the men with a .223-caliber rifle because they were cutting wood and trespassing on his land. Doomsday preppers often emphasize living off the land or off the grid and in isolation. Investigators found the tell-tale signs of a doomsday prepper when they searched Shutes property stockpiles of food, a cache of guns, and ammunition hoarding. There was also concern that Shute had placed land-mines on the property to protect its perimeter.

The murders in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just the latest in a long string of brutal murders and suicides among those prepping for the end times. A year earlier, Michael Augustine Bournes murdered his wife and three children at their cabin in a remote Montana forest. Bournes, then set his house on fire and committed suicide. Neighbors describe him as a survivalist who lived off the grid.

On January 17, 2015, David Crowley, an aspiring conspiracy filmmaker and screenwriter, shot and killed his wife and daughter in their home in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He then committed suicide. Crowley had been working on a feature film project called Gray State, with a storyline that revolved around a coming police state after societal breakdown.

In September 2014, Benjamin and Kristi Strack of Springville, Utah, murdered three of their four children, with a poisonous cocktail of cold medicines laced with dextrorphan and doxylamine. They then killed themselves. Authorities later learned that the parents were worried about the evil in the world and wanted to escape a pending apocalypse. Family and friends reported the Stracks wanted to move somewhere far off the grid.

A few months later, Veronica Dunnachie was charged with the shooting deaths of her estranged husband and stepdaughter during a domestic dispute in Arlington, Texas. Both Veronica and her husband were members of the 3%ers Texas, a militia group, and had an affinity for prepping and learning survival skills. There are other murder/suicide cases (ie, Shane Franklin Miller, Jimmy Lee Dykes, and Peter Keller) that demonstrate the dark side of doomsday prepping.

Doomsday prepping has been an American subculture since the 1950s. During the 20th century, preppers fed on American fears in the aftermath of World War II, the nuclear arms race, civil unrest, and economic volatility. Similarly, the 21st century has brought new uncertainties, including Y2K, weather disasters, the Mayan end calendar, global terrorism, and more civil unrest. In light of these disastrous events and predictions, doomsday preppers emphasis on preparedness appears to make sense. Family preparedness may even be advisable. Nevertheless, beyond a few legitimate reasons, doomsday prepping, for the most part, represents a dark worldview that combines, to varying degrees, end-times apocalyptic views, an obsession with firearms (and other weaponry), conspiracy theories and too often an anti-government sentiment. When combined, these radical views become toxic and lead unsuspecting followers down a funnel of despair, which perpetuates fear, paranoia and extremism.

Preppers are best known for stockpiling supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.) and building bunkers in anticipation of an impending catastrophic event, such as a war, terrorist attack or disastrous natural occurrence. Prepping can be embraced both by individuals, who emphasize surviving alone, and groups which emphasize communal living. Examples of prepper communities include the Citadel project in Benewah County, Idaho; the Trident Lakes subdivision in Ector, Texas; and Ft. Igloo in Falls River, South Dakota.

Since the 1950s, Preppers, also known as survivalists, have spread their ideology and tradecraft through preparedness expositions, gun shows, literature, and religious institutions such as Mormons, Baptists, and cults. These trends continue today. Since 2008, the Prepper Movement has steadily increased membership and grown in both sophistication and creativity. Companies specializing in making bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purification systems, have attested to this steady rise in popularity due to sales increases. Much like the 1990s, preparedness conventions continue to attract thousands of people at each event throughout the country.

The 2008 Presidential Election, coupled with the 2008 stock market crash, marked the beginning of the prepper renaissance. However, new factors have emerged that have influenced the recent popularity growth of doomsday prepping. In 2016, Donald Trumps election further stoked the fires of fear and paranoia within the Prepper community and far right extremists with his rhetoric concerning Muslim terrorist threats in the Homeland, nuclear threats from North Korea, criminal threats from immigrants and other security issues. As a result, the Prepper Movement remains popular and supply companies within the U.S. continue to report growing sales. For example, an Idaho-based emergency supplies company, called My Patriot Supply, doubled its online sales during the week of Inauguration Day compared to the same week in 2016. Georgia-based Doomsday Prep also noticed sales spikes on both Election Day and Inauguration Day. Since the 2016 election, it has seen more than a 15% growth.

Cable television shows, such as National Geographics Doomsday Preppers, Discoverys The Colony and Survivorman, have mainstreamed, and even glorified, survivalism and end times prepping. The advent of the Internet has also given preppers a new tool to recruit members and supporters, teach tradecraft using YouTube videos, as well as create entire online marketplaces for purchasing and selling prepper-related gear and other supplies. While there are various theories about what causes the world to end, Preppers are unified on the core beliefs that society is on the verge of collapse and the last days are near.

Besides spreading fear and paranoia and preparing for the end times, the Prepper Movement provides a gateway to more radical ideologies and extremist movements, such as militia groups, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens. Of particular concern, the Prepper Movement has experienced a disturbing trend of murders and suicide over the past four years.

As prepper deaths continue to mount, rumors have circulated on survivalist forums and other far right extremist websites about secret government hit lists or death lists targeting them. They claim that this trend of murder/suicides within the Prepper Movement is the work of a sinister government plot to get rid of them. They falsely believe these deaths are evidence of the Illuminatis existence and its activation of the New World Order plan to take over the world. In reality, these violent incidents are manifestations of how mounting anxiety, fear, and paranoia can lead to deepening depression and acts of desperation that, too often, leads to violence and lawlessness. Sadly, there are even more criminal incidents and arrests related to doomsday preppers.

Rex Features via AP Images

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Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Tom Cruise trashes his flashing-teeth hero image to play, if not a bad guy, then certainly a naughty one in the jaunty drug-running caper American Made.

Re-teaming with his Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life character who ran drugs, guns and money between Central America and Arkansas in the late 1970s and early 80s, while also working for the CIA.

Seal, a family man who started out as a pilot for TWA, eventually became embroiled in what blew up into the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as being a trusted delivery boy for the Medellin cocaine cartel lead by Pablo Escobar. He also earned himself millions of dollars in cash for his troubles.

Watch Video: Tom Cruise Is Back to Flying Planes in ‘American Made’ Trailer

Cruise slips into the role with a mischievous grin, although hes not exactly playing totally against type the way he did in, say, Magnolia. The idea is that his Barry is a slippery customer and a great pilot, more son-of-a-gun than Top Gun. With the first of several nods to Goodfellas, Cruise narrates the movie himself, although his to-camera testimonies are designed, we learn later, to incriminate his various employers.

Barry initially stumbles into the part but like a good American opportunist, he learns to game the system, using his CIA-sanctioned cover to become the gringo who delivers for Escobar and his henchmen. He comes home with suitcases stuffed so full of cash the green stuff practically falls out of the bedroom closets.

See Tom Cruise’s latest POWER MOVE.

As director, Liman (whose father investigated the Iran-Contra affair) has covered the shaky moral ground of Langley in his Bourne franchise, and hes at it again here, while also trying to cram in and explain away some real political history. The film features three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, as Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as well as figures such as Oliver North and General Noriega. Even Nancy Reagan pops up to tell us again: Just Say No.

Liman is to be commended on not stooping to a mere 80s nostalgia fest, at least not too ironically (he offers a Rubiks Cube and couple of power ballads but, hey, everyone needs context), using the Cold War politics of the time rather than any awkward fashions or pop. I wonder, though, if he was tempted to show someone watching an early Brat Pack movie on VHS?

The problem is that Cruise, even when trying to cut loose, is always so tightly controlled that we never truly feel the reptilian survivalism of Barry Seal, nor does it feel like anyone on screen is actually enjoying themselves despite the repeated tequila parties and mountains of cash.

Also Read: Don’t Tell Dwayne Johnson He Runs Like Tom Cruise

Earlyish in the picture, when Barry finds himself in a Colombian jail following a police raid, theres a bit of business around him having a tooth knocked out, a clear indication that Cruise knows hes denting his trademark choppers here. Interestingly, the movie never suggests Seal (or any of his pilot cohorts) got high on their own supply; he may want to play with his image, but dont think for a minute youll catch Tom Cruise snorting coke.

Limans tone, channelled through Cruise gently straining to deconstruct his own iconography, achieves neither real comedy nor actual tension. The movie feels lightweight, even while pointing fingers at the American governments meddling foreign policy and lies. The sense of the eras political absurdity goes missing. Maybe politics, no matter how ridiculous or how distant, just isnt a laughing matter any more.

Strangely, for a Cruise vehicle, American Made takes a while to get going, and, having never quite started, it doesnt really know when to finish. Theres a terrific climax involving the CIA, DEA, FBI and a bunch of other acronymical forces except it isnt the climax, and the movie drags on for quite a while after, forgetting that we really dont care much for the underwritten storyline of Barrys family and his wife Lucy, gamely played by Sarah Wright (Marry Me) in that increasingly thankless position of girl in Tom Cruise movie.

American Made isnt exactly an American Dud, but it is too self-conscious to be as fun as it wants to be. Its professional, slick and not terrible, as youd expect from, well, slick professionals such as Liman and Cruise. It looks vibrant and verdant (shot by Uruguayan DP Cesar Chalone, who did City of God), but for the gringo movie star who always delivers, it comes up a little short.

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

41. “Cocktail”

Cruise’s Type-A, adrenaline-fueled drive serves him very well in movies where the stakes are high. But Cocktail is just “Top Gun” behind a bar. The work-hard play-hard clichs at work here threatened to make Cruise the role model for handsome, affable, lame guys you swipe past on dating apps. Cruise smartly swiped away from roles like this.

40. “Endless Love”

Tom Cruise has a tiny partin this Brooke Shields melodrama, his first ever on-screen role. He stumbles off a soccer field, goes shirtlessand shares a story with the protagonist about how he almost burned his house down. You were probably sold at “goes shirtless.”

39. “Legend”

Whats sillier: Tom Cruises unicorn or his hair? Legend was a lavish, fantastical adventure that turned out to be a massive box-office misfire from director Ridley Scott and Cruise.

38. “Austin Powers in Goldmember”

Cruise makes an amusing cameo as Austin Powers in a fake trailer for a movie-within-the-movie called Austinpussy. But this opening to the third Austin Powers is its only highlight.

37. “Far and Away”

Ron Howard directs Cruise and his then-partner Nicole Kidman in this romance between a wealthy landlords daughter and a poor Irish street fighter.Cruise’s accent isn’t great.

36. “Knight and Day”

Wacky, screwball action-comedies almost never work, and in James Mangolds Knight and Day, Cruise and Cameron Diaz werent exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.” But the movie has its passionate fans.

35. “Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

This is probably the movie where you’re most aware Cruise is acting. After all, hes playing a vampire. This showy, flashy role wouldve been better suited for someone like Johnny Depp. Cruises Lestat doesn’t feel as hungry as most Tom Cruise characters, just thirsty. For blood.

34. “Losin’ It”

Thankfully Cruise graduated from 80s teen sex-romps like this, but Curtis Hansons Losin It has some charm with Cruise running through Tijuana with a young Jackie Earle Haley, John Stockwell and a housewife played by Shelley Long.

33. “Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back”

The sequel to Jack Reacher was a rare, mediocre step back for Cruise.

32. “Rock of Ages”

Cruise doing his best Axl Rose impression as the rock-god Stacee Jaxx is the best part of this cute, harmless stage adaptation. He commits.

31. “The Outsiders”

Francis Ford Coppolas The Outsiders wasnt well reviewed at its time, but its a great time capsule of Cruise in a small part of a gang of other teen heartthrobs of the day, including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. Many who grew u with it consider it a classic.

30. “All the Right Moves”

In one of theearly teen roles that would define his hard-driving persona, Cruise contends with a football coach played by Craig T. Nelson in a classicandwell-meaning but clichd sports movie.

29. “Days of Thunder”

Its Top Gun on wheels, with Tony Scott reuniting with Cruise as an up-and-coming racecar driver and pairing him for the first time with Nicole Kidman, as well as Robert Duvall. But by this point Cruise had already played the young hot shot too many times.

28. “Lions for Lambs”

Robert Redford aimed for intellectual pedigree with his political drama starring Cruise and Meryl Streep, but it mostly high-minded, overly-polished lecturing.

27. “Valkyrie”

Cruise plays a German officer who conspired to assassinate Hitler and assume power. We all know how that went. Thankfully, Cruise doesnt belabor a phony German accent, but Bryan Singers drama is mostly historical set dressing.

26. “Taps”

In just his second on-screen role, Cruise plays an unhinged military cadet who goes to extreme lengths to protect the academy when its threatened by encroaching condo developers. He almost steals the show from George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and a young Sean Penn.

25. “Vanilla Sky”

Vanilla Sky contains a risky, very underrated Cruise role. Cruise goes from playing the cocky, unstoppable Cruise archetype to a deformed, defeated man trying to figure out what matters. Cameron Crowes remake of a Spanish-language film shifts genres stunningly, and its proved a polarizing movie in both Cruise and Crowes catalog.

24. “The Mummy”

From TheWrap’s review: “Its the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster thats cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle.”

23. “The Last Samurai”

John Oliver has made The Last Samurai infamous as a prime example of Hollywoods Asian whitewashing. But Cruise is good enough to make it almost work. Its a solid samurai epic with Cruise fighting out of his element, playing an American Civil War official overseas as a dynasty comes to an end.

22. “Mission: Impossible II”

John Woos hyper-stylized sequel has Cruise free-hand scaling a massive, remote cliff, only to put on a pair of sunglasses and watch them explode. It all feels very ’90s.

21. “Mission: Impossible III”

J.J. Abrams was brought in to reboot the franchise, so to speak, and he brought his signature lens flares, humor and gritty realism to the property. The films high point isnt Cruise, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain.

20. “The Firm”

Tom Cruise + John Grisham + Gene Hackman + Sydney Pollack? The Firm shouldve been a slam dunk, but its not even Cruises best courtroom drama.

19. “Oblivion”

Joseph Kosinskis Oblivion is visually stunning and finds Cruise tidying up Earth after the battle for humanity has ended and the planet has been evacuated. The sci-fi premise has promise but loses steam as some of the Morgan Freeman-delivered twists and parables start to come out.

18. “Jack Reacher”

Lee Child described Jack Reacher in his book as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, up to 250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. That aint Tom Cruise. But Christopher McQuarrie extracts from Cruise a grizzled, angry action hero. Plus having Werner Herzog as your movies villain doesnt hurt.

17. “The Color of Money”

This was the movie that won Paul Newman his Oscar, a swan-song sequel to The Hustler by Martin Scorsese in which Cruise may as well be type-cast as the new arrogant upstart. But Cruise captivates with that infectious, cocky glint in his eye as he whips his cue around, knocking em dead to the tune of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

16. “Tropic Thunder”

Cruise is hilariously unrecognizable beneath a balding wig, caked on makeup and some added pounds as Les Grossman, a raging, foul-mouthed studio exec. His fuming anger and profanity in this cameo makes him a pimple ready to burst, and his best dialogue isnt even fit to print.

15. “Rain Man”

Rain Man may actually be one of the more overrated Best Picture winners. Barry Levinsons film is just a road trip movie with a showy Dustin Hoffman performance at its center. And yet Cruise revealed an untapped tender side.

14. “War of the Worlds”

Critics were torn as to whether Cruise made a convincing father figure in Steven Spielbergs adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story, but thehuman element elevated this already tense sci-fi thriller.

13. “Mission: Impossible”

The original Mission: Impossible benefits from Brian De Palmas homages to Hitchcock and other spy genre films, includingloopy twists and laughably great gadgets that explode fish tanks or transform peoples faces. But its rightfully famous for Cruises balletic, expertly executed heist as he dangles from the ceiling and tries not to break a sweat.

12. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

Five movies into the franchise, and Christopher McQuarries film was the first that suggested a future for this franchise beyond Cruise, taking the best elements of each subsequent M:I film and making them gel. It culminates in a slick assassination inside an opera and a standout new foil for Cruise in Rebecca Ferguson. And Cruise is just awesome in it.

11. “Collateral”

Cruise never gets to play the bad guy, but hes excellent at it. Michael Mann transformed Cruise into a mysterious silver fox and silent killer, toying with his hostage Jamie Foxxs mind and morality until the two form an unexpected bond.

10. “Top Gun”

Thirtyyears later and we still feel the need for speed. Theres still no better popcorn movie that flaunts 80s nostalgia, jingoistic Americana and hyper-masculinity than Top Gun. Plus that gloriously homoerotic volleyball scene.

9. “Risky Business”

When Tom Cruise slid across that wood floor in his underwear and a white dress shirt to the opening riff of Old Time Rock and Roll, that was it; a star was born. The movie as a whole channels everything that made Cruise a star, includinghis hot-shot attitude and smirking charm. But he alsosubverts and challenges other teen films.

8. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Brad Bird brought some of the cartoonish charm from Pixar over to the fourth M:I film, but he also staged one of the best action set pieces of this century. Yes, that really was Cruise dangling off the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and it paid off.

7. “Edge of Tomorrow”

Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of action movie that reminds you why Cruise is so reliable in his heroic roles. Cruise plays a captain in this sci-fi who sells a war to the public, but is privately a coward. When hes killed in battle and brought back to life in an endless vicious cycle played for pathos and some laughs, he regains composure. Emily Blunt gives a fantastic, hard-edged performance as well.

6. “A Few Good Men”

Cruise displays youthful goodness, decency and spirit in the face of juggernaut Jack Nicholson. “A Few Good Men” hasexactly the sort of rousing emotion Hollywood needs to tap into again to find morehit dramas for adults.

5. “Eyes Wide Shut”

All anyone wanted to talk about with Stanley Kubricks final film was the chemistry between Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, or the lack thereof. But that icy demeanor in what presents itself as an erotic romance amplified the surreal mystery of the film and made Cruise vulnerable and human.

4. “Jerry Maguire”

The quintessential rom-com, Jerry Maguire is timeless yet also perfectly ’90s. Cameron Crowes endlessly quotable screenplay wouldnt be quite the same without Cruises comic timing as he bellows Show Me the Money and lampoons his own hot-shot persona.

3. “Born on the Fourth of July”

As a crippled war vet in Oliver Stones Vietnam drama, Cruise turns from a starry-eyed, clean-cut soldier to a vocal, harried Vietnam protestor. Its a rebuke to the blind patriotism flaunted in Cruises own Top Gun and is one of Stones best films.

2. “Minority Report”

Steven Spielbergs sci-fi has aged beautifully, in part because Silicon Valley has borrowed so muchfrom it. Cruise looks so cool manipulating video in the Pre-Cog crime lab, he practically invented touch screens. Spielberg bakes endlessfun and invigorating, futuristic chase sequences into a screenplay that contemplates big questions of fate and free will.

1. “Magnolia”

Not only is this Paul Thomas Andersons magnum-opus, an epic, surreal character drama of love, family and the meaning of life, its Cruise at his most unhinged and commanding. He plays a vile, lascivious mens right advocate named Frank T.J. Mackey, whose mantra isrespect the cock. Cruise made it possible to dislike, even loathe one of his characters, and yet hes chillinglycharismatic.

Happy 55th birthday, Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

Link:

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com


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Oregon 'Hate Map' Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State
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Based on the blog Donovan writes, the Wolves of Vinland Cascadia espouse masculinity, tribalism, and survivalism. Northwest Hammerskins The Hammerskins are an unapologetic racist skinhead group with chapters established across the continental …
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Top three states with the most hate groups: Guess where Florida ranks?Miami Herald

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Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Tom Cruise trashes his flashing-teeth hero image to play, if not a bad guy, then certainly a naughty one in the jaunty drug-running caper American Made.

Re-teaming with his Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life character who ran drugs, guns and money between Central America and Arkansas in the late 1970s and early 80s, while also working for the CIA.

Seal, a family man who started out as a pilot for TWA, eventually became embroiled in what blew up into the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as being a trusted delivery boy for the Medellin cocaine cartel lead by Pablo Escobar. He also earned himself millions of dollars in cash for his troubles.

Watch Video: Tom Cruise Is Back to Flying Planes in ‘American Made’ Trailer

Cruise slips into the role with a mischievous grin, although hes not exactly playing totally against type the way he did in, say, Magnolia. The idea is that his Barry is a slippery customer and a great pilot, more son-of-a-gun than Top Gun. With the first of several nods to Goodfellas, Cruise narrates the movie himself, although his to-camera testimonies are designed, we learn later, to incriminate his various employers.

Barry initially stumbles into the part but like a good American opportunist, he learns to game the system, using his CIA-sanctioned cover to become the gringo who delivers for Escobar and his henchmen. He comes home with suitcases stuffed so full of cash the green stuff practically falls out of the bedroom closets.

See Tom Cruise’s latest POWER MOVE.

As director, Liman (whose father investigated the Iran-Contra affair) has covered the shaky moral ground of Langley in his Bourne franchise, and hes at it again here, while also trying to cram in and explain away some real political history. The film features three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, as Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as well as figures such as Oliver North and General Noriega. Even Nancy Reagan pops up to tell us again: Just Say No.

Liman is to be commended on not stooping to a mere 80s nostalgia fest, at least not too ironically (he offers a Rubiks Cube and couple of power ballads but, hey, everyone needs context), using the Cold War politics of the time rather than any awkward fashions or pop. I wonder, though, if he was tempted to show someone watching an early Brat Pack movie on VHS?

The problem is that Cruise, even when trying to cut loose, is always so tightly controlled that we never truly feel the reptilian survivalism of Barry Seal, nor does it feel like anyone on screen is actually enjoying themselves despite the repeated tequila parties and mountains of cash.

Also Read: Don’t Tell Dwayne Johnson He Runs Like Tom Cruise

Earlyish in the picture, when Barry finds himself in a Colombian jail following a police raid, theres a bit of business around him having a tooth knocked out, a clear indication that Cruise knows hes denting his trademark choppers here. Interestingly, the movie never suggests Seal (or any of his pilot cohorts) got high on their own supply; he may want to play with his image, but dont think for a minute youll catch Tom Cruise snorting coke.

Limans tone, channelled through Cruise gently straining to deconstruct his own iconography, achieves neither real comedy nor actual tension. The movie feels lightweight, even while pointing fingers at the American governments meddling foreign policy and lies. The sense of the eras political absurdity goes missing. Maybe politics, no matter how ridiculous or how distant, just isnt a laughing matter any more.

Strangely, for a Cruise vehicle, American Made takes a while to get going, and, having never quite started, it doesnt really know when to finish. Theres a terrific climax involving the CIA, DEA, FBI and a bunch of other acronymical forces except it isnt the climax, and the movie drags on for quite a while after, forgetting that we really dont care much for the underwritten storyline of Barrys family and his wife Lucy, gamely played by Sarah Wright (Marry Me) in that increasingly thankless position of girl in Tom Cruise movie.

American Made isnt exactly an American Dud, but it is too self-conscious to be as fun as it wants to be. Its professional, slick and not terrible, as youd expect from, well, slick professionals such as Liman and Cruise. It looks vibrant and verdant (shot by Uruguayan DP Cesar Chalone, who did City of God), but for the gringo movie star who always delivers, it comes up a little short.

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

41. “Cocktail”

Cruise’s Type-A, adrenaline-fueled drive serves him very well in movies where the stakes are high. But Cocktail is just “Top Gun” behind a bar. The work-hard play-hard clichs at work here threatened to make Cruise the role model for handsome, affable, lame guys you swipe past on dating apps. Cruise smartly swiped away from roles like this.

40. “Endless Love”

Tom Cruise has a tiny partin this Brooke Shields melodrama, his first ever on-screen role. He stumbles off a soccer field, goes shirtlessand shares a story with the protagonist about how he almost burned his house down. You were probably sold at “goes shirtless.”

39. “Legend”

Whats sillier: Tom Cruises unicorn or his hair? Legend was a lavish, fantastical adventure that turned out to be a massive box-office misfire from director Ridley Scott and Cruise.

38. “Austin Powers in Goldmember”

Cruise makes an amusing cameo as Austin Powers in a fake trailer for a movie-within-the-movie called Austinpussy. But this opening to the third Austin Powers is its only highlight.

37. “Far and Away”

Ron Howard directs Cruise and his then-partner Nicole Kidman in this romance between a wealthy landlords daughter and a poor Irish street fighter.Cruise’s accent isn’t great.

36. “Knight and Day”

Wacky, screwball action-comedies almost never work, and in James Mangolds Knight and Day, Cruise and Cameron Diaz werent exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.” But the movie has its passionate fans.

35. “Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

This is probably the movie where you’re most aware Cruise is acting. After all, hes playing a vampire. This showy, flashy role wouldve been better suited for someone like Johnny Depp. Cruises Lestat doesn’t feel as hungry as most Tom Cruise characters, just thirsty. For blood.

34. “Losin’ It”

Thankfully Cruise graduated from 80s teen sex-romps like this, but Curtis Hansons Losin It has some charm with Cruise running through Tijuana with a young Jackie Earle Haley, John Stockwell and a housewife played by Shelley Long.

33. “Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back”

The sequel to Jack Reacher was a rare, mediocre step back for Cruise.

32. “Rock of Ages”

Cruise doing his best Axl Rose impression as the rock-god Stacee Jaxx is the best part of this cute, harmless stage adaptation. He commits.

31. “The Outsiders”

Francis Ford Coppolas The Outsiders wasnt well reviewed at its time, but its a great time capsule of Cruise in a small part of a gang of other teen heartthrobs of the day, including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. Many who grew u with it consider it a classic.

30. “All the Right Moves”

In one of theearly teen roles that would define his hard-driving persona, Cruise contends with a football coach played by Craig T. Nelson in a classicandwell-meaning but clichd sports movie.

29. “Days of Thunder”

Its Top Gun on wheels, with Tony Scott reuniting with Cruise as an up-and-coming racecar driver and pairing him for the first time with Nicole Kidman, as well as Robert Duvall. But by this point Cruise had already played the young hot shot too many times.

28. “Lions for Lambs”

Robert Redford aimed for intellectual pedigree with his political drama starring Cruise and Meryl Streep, but it mostly high-minded, overly-polished lecturing.

27. “Valkyrie”

Cruise plays a German officer who conspired to assassinate Hitler and assume power. We all know how that went. Thankfully, Cruise doesnt belabor a phony German accent, but Bryan Singers drama is mostly historical set dressing.

26. “Taps”

In just his second on-screen role, Cruise plays an unhinged military cadet who goes to extreme lengths to protect the academy when its threatened by encroaching condo developers. He almost steals the show from George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and a young Sean Penn.

25. “Vanilla Sky”

Vanilla Sky contains a risky, very underrated Cruise role. Cruise goes from playing the cocky, unstoppable Cruise archetype to a deformed, defeated man trying to figure out what matters. Cameron Crowes remake of a Spanish-language film shifts genres stunningly, and its proved a polarizing movie in both Cruise and Crowes catalog.

24. “The Mummy”

From TheWrap’s review: “Its the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster thats cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle.”

23. “The Last Samurai”

John Oliver has made The Last Samurai infamous as a prime example of Hollywoods Asian whitewashing. But Cruise is good enough to make it almost work. Its a solid samurai epic with Cruise fighting out of his element, playing an American Civil War official overseas as a dynasty comes to an end.

22. “Mission: Impossible II”

John Woos hyper-stylized sequel has Cruise free-hand scaling a massive, remote cliff, only to put on a pair of sunglasses and watch them explode. It all feels very ’90s.

21. “Mission: Impossible III”

J.J. Abrams was brought in to reboot the franchise, so to speak, and he brought his signature lens flares, humor and gritty realism to the property. The films high point isnt Cruise, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain.

20. “The Firm”

Tom Cruise + John Grisham + Gene Hackman + Sydney Pollack? The Firm shouldve been a slam dunk, but its not even Cruises best courtroom drama.

19. “Oblivion”

Joseph Kosinskis Oblivion is visually stunning and finds Cruise tidying up Earth after the battle for humanity has ended and the planet has been evacuated. The sci-fi premise has promise but loses steam as some of the Morgan Freeman-delivered twists and parables start to come out.

18. “Jack Reacher”

Lee Child described Jack Reacher in his book as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, up to 250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. That aint Tom Cruise. But Christopher McQuarrie extracts from Cruise a grizzled, angry action hero. Plus having Werner Herzog as your movies villain doesnt hurt.

17. “The Color of Money”

This was the movie that won Paul Newman his Oscar, a swan-song sequel to The Hustler by Martin Scorsese in which Cruise may as well be type-cast as the new arrogant upstart. But Cruise captivates with that infectious, cocky glint in his eye as he whips his cue around, knocking em dead to the tune of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

16. “Tropic Thunder”

Cruise is hilariously unrecognizable beneath a balding wig, caked on makeup and some added pounds as Les Grossman, a raging, foul-mouthed studio exec. His fuming anger and profanity in this cameo makes him a pimple ready to burst, and his best dialogue isnt even fit to print.

15. “Rain Man”

Rain Man may actually be one of the more overrated Best Picture winners. Barry Levinsons film is just a road trip movie with a showy Dustin Hoffman performance at its center. And yet Cruise revealed an untapped tender side.

14. “War of the Worlds”

Critics were torn as to whether Cruise made a convincing father figure in Steven Spielbergs adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story, but thehuman element elevated this already tense sci-fi thriller.

13. “Mission: Impossible”

The original Mission: Impossible benefits from Brian De Palmas homages to Hitchcock and other spy genre films, includingloopy twists and laughably great gadgets that explode fish tanks or transform peoples faces. But its rightfully famous for Cruises balletic, expertly executed heist as he dangles from the ceiling and tries not to break a sweat.

12. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

Five movies into the franchise, and Christopher McQuarries film was the first that suggested a future for this franchise beyond Cruise, taking the best elements of each subsequent M:I film and making them gel. It culminates in a slick assassination inside an opera and a standout new foil for Cruise in Rebecca Ferguson. And Cruise is just awesome in it.

11. “Collateral”

Cruise never gets to play the bad guy, but hes excellent at it. Michael Mann transformed Cruise into a mysterious silver fox and silent killer, toying with his hostage Jamie Foxxs mind and morality until the two form an unexpected bond.

10. “Top Gun”

Thirtyyears later and we still feel the need for speed. Theres still no better popcorn movie that flaunts 80s nostalgia, jingoistic Americana and hyper-masculinity than Top Gun. Plus that gloriously homoerotic volleyball scene.

9. “Risky Business”

When Tom Cruise slid across that wood floor in his underwear and a white dress shirt to the opening riff of Old Time Rock and Roll, that was it; a star was born. The movie as a whole channels everything that made Cruise a star, includinghis hot-shot attitude and smirking charm. But he alsosubverts and challenges other teen films.

8. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Brad Bird brought some of the cartoonish charm from Pixar over to the fourth M:I film, but he also staged one of the best action set pieces of this century. Yes, that really was Cruise dangling off the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and it paid off.

7. “Edge of Tomorrow”

Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of action movie that reminds you why Cruise is so reliable in his heroic roles. Cruise plays a captain in this sci-fi who sells a war to the public, but is privately a coward. When hes killed in battle and brought back to life in an endless vicious cycle played for pathos and some laughs, he regains composure. Emily Blunt gives a fantastic, hard-edged performance as well.

6. “A Few Good Men”

Cruise displays youthful goodness, decency and spirit in the face of juggernaut Jack Nicholson. “A Few Good Men” hasexactly the sort of rousing emotion Hollywood needs to tap into again to find morehit dramas for adults.

5. “Eyes Wide Shut”

All anyone wanted to talk about with Stanley Kubricks final film was the chemistry between Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, or the lack thereof. But that icy demeanor in what presents itself as an erotic romance amplified the surreal mystery of the film and made Cruise vulnerable and human.

4. “Jerry Maguire”

The quintessential rom-com, Jerry Maguire is timeless yet also perfectly ’90s. Cameron Crowes endlessly quotable screenplay wouldnt be quite the same without Cruises comic timing as he bellows Show Me the Money and lampoons his own hot-shot persona.

3. “Born on the Fourth of July”

As a crippled war vet in Oliver Stones Vietnam drama, Cruise turns from a starry-eyed, clean-cut soldier to a vocal, harried Vietnam protestor. Its a rebuke to the blind patriotism flaunted in Cruises own Top Gun and is one of Stones best films.

2. “Minority Report”

Steven Spielbergs sci-fi has aged beautifully, in part because Silicon Valley has borrowed so muchfrom it. Cruise looks so cool manipulating video in the Pre-Cog crime lab, he practically invented touch screens. Spielberg bakes endlessfun and invigorating, futuristic chase sequences into a screenplay that contemplates big questions of fate and free will.

1. “Magnolia”

Not only is this Paul Thomas Andersons magnum-opus, an epic, surreal character drama of love, family and the meaning of life, its Cruise at his most unhinged and commanding. He plays a vile, lascivious mens right advocate named Frank T.J. Mackey, whose mantra isrespect the cock. Cruise made it possible to dislike, even loathe one of his characters, and yet hes chillinglycharismatic.

Happy 55th birthday, Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

More here:

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

According to the girlfriend, Mineo requested her to shoot him in the forehead at point-blank range. Police say Mineo and his girlfriend, both conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers, were ostracized by an alien conspiracy cult that embraced apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation. Fearing the coming end of the world, Mineo was overcome with despondency leading up to his death wish.

Last summer, fearing the end times, another prepper killed three men near his fortified compound in Great Cacapon, West Virginia. Erick Shute, who was also a sovereign citizen, says he shot the men with a .223-caliber rifle because they were cutting wood and trespassing on his land. Doomsday preppers often emphasize living off the land or off the grid and in isolation. Investigators found the tell-tale signs of a doomsday prepper when they searched Shutes property stockpiles of food, a cache of guns, and ammunition hoarding. There was also concern that Shute had placed land-mines on the property to protect its perimeter.

The murders in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just the latest in a long string of brutal murders and suicides among those prepping for the end times. A year earlier, Michael Augustine Bournes murdered his wife and three children at their cabin in a remote Montana forest. Bournes, then set his house on fire and committed suicide. Neighbors describe him as a survivalist who lived off the grid.

On January 17, 2015, David Crowley, an aspiring conspiracy filmmaker and screenwriter, shot and killed his wife and daughter in their home in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He then committed suicide. Crowley had been working on a feature film project called Gray State, with a storyline that revolved around a coming police state after societal breakdown.

In September 2014, Benjamin and Kristi Strack of Springville, Utah, murdered three of their four children, with a poisonous cocktail of cold medicines laced with dextrorphan and doxylamine. They then killed themselves. Authorities later learned that the parents were worried about the evil in the world and wanted to escape a pending apocalypse. Family and friends reported the Stracks wanted to move somewhere far off the grid.

A few months later, Veronica Dunnachie was charged with the shooting deaths of her estranged husband and stepdaughter during a domestic dispute in Arlington, Texas. Both Veronica and her husband were members of the 3%ers Texas, a militia group, and had an affinity for prepping and learning survival skills. There are other murder/suicide cases (ie, Shane Franklin Miller, Jimmy Lee Dykes, and Peter Keller) that demonstrate the dark side of doomsday prepping.

Doomsday prepping has been an American subculture since the 1950s. During the 20th century, preppers fed on American fears in the aftermath of World War II, the nuclear arms race, civil unrest, and economic volatility. Similarly, the 21st century has brought new uncertainties, including Y2K, weather disasters, the Mayan end calendar, global terrorism, and more civil unrest. In light of these disastrous events and predictions, doomsday preppers emphasis on preparedness appears to make sense. Family preparedness may even be advisable. Nevertheless, beyond a few legitimate reasons, doomsday prepping, for the most part, represents a dark worldview that combines, to varying degrees, end-times apocalyptic views, an obsession with firearms (and other weaponry), conspiracy theories and too often an anti-government sentiment. When combined, these radical views become toxic and lead unsuspecting followers down a funnel of despair, which perpetuates fear, paranoia and extremism.

Preppers are best known for stockpiling supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.) and building bunkers in anticipation of an impending catastrophic event, such as a war, terrorist attack or disastrous natural occurrence. Prepping can be embraced both by individuals, who emphasize surviving alone, and groups which emphasize communal living. Examples of prepper communities include the Citadel project in Benewah County, Idaho; the Trident Lakes subdivision in Ector, Texas; and Ft. Igloo in Falls River, South Dakota.

Since the 1950s, Preppers, also known as survivalists, have spread their ideology and tradecraft through preparedness expositions, gun shows, literature, and religious institutions such as Mormons, Baptists, and cults. These trends continue today. Since 2008, the Prepper Movement has steadily increased membership and grown in both sophistication and creativity. Companies specializing in making bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purification systems, have attested to this steady rise in popularity due to sales increases. Much like the 1990s, preparedness conventions continue to attract thousands of people at each event throughout the country.

The 2008 Presidential Election, coupled with the 2008 stock market crash, marked the beginning of the prepper renaissance. However, new factors have emerged that have influenced the recent popularity growth of doomsday prepping. In 2016, Donald Trumps election further stoked the fires of fear and paranoia within the Prepper community and far right extremists with his rhetoric concerning Muslim terrorist threats in the Homeland, nuclear threats from North Korea, criminal threats from immigrants and other security issues. As a result, the Prepper Movement remains popular and supply companies within the U.S. continue to report growing sales. For example, an Idaho-based emergency supplies company, called My Patriot Supply, doubled its online sales during the week of Inauguration Day compared to the same week in 2016. Georgia-based Doomsday Prep also noticed sales spikes on both Election Day and Inauguration Day. Since the 2016 election, it has seen more than a 15% growth.

Cable television shows, such as National Geographics Doomsday Preppers, Discoverys The Colony and Survivorman, have mainstreamed, and even glorified, survivalism and end times prepping. The advent of the Internet has also given preppers a new tool to recruit members and supporters, teach tradecraft using YouTube videos, as well as create entire online marketplaces for purchasing and selling prepper-related gear and other supplies. While there are various theories about what causes the world to end, Preppers are unified on the core beliefs that society is on the verge of collapse and the last days are near.

Besides spreading fear and paranoia and preparing for the end times, the Prepper Movement provides a gateway to more radical ideologies and extremist movements, such as militia groups, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens. Of particular concern, the Prepper Movement has experienced a disturbing trend of murders and suicide over the past four years.

As prepper deaths continue to mount, rumors have circulated on survivalist forums and other far right extremist websites about secret government hit lists or death lists targeting them. They claim that this trend of murder/suicides within the Prepper Movement is the work of a sinister government plot to get rid of them. They falsely believe these deaths are evidence of the Illuminatis existence and its activation of the New World Order plan to take over the world. In reality, these violent incidents are manifestations of how mounting anxiety, fear, and paranoia can lead to deepening depression and acts of desperation that, too often, leads to violence and lawlessness. Sadly, there are even more criminal incidents and arrests related to doomsday preppers.

Rex Features via AP Images

More here:

Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com


Patch.com
Oregon 'Hate Map' Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State
Patch.com
Based on the blog Donovan writes, the Wolves of Vinland Cascadia espouse masculinity, tribalism, and survivalism. Northwest Hammerskins The Hammerskins are an unapologetic racist skinhead group with chapters established across the continental …
Hate MapIntelligence Report
Top three states with the most hate groups: Guess where Florida ranks?Miami Herald

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Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com

Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

According to the girlfriend, Mineo requested her to shoot him in the forehead at point-blank range. Police say Mineo and his girlfriend, both conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers, were ostracized by an alien conspiracy cult that embraced apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation. Fearing the coming end of the world, Mineo was overcome with despondency leading up to his death wish.

Last summer, fearing the end times, another prepper killed three men near his fortified compound in Great Cacapon, West Virginia. Erick Shute, who was also a sovereign citizen, says he shot the men with a .223-caliber rifle because they were cutting wood and trespassing on his land. Doomsday preppers often emphasize living off the land or off the grid and in isolation. Investigators found the tell-tale signs of a doomsday prepper when they searched Shutes property stockpiles of food, a cache of guns, and ammunition hoarding. There was also concern that Shute had placed land-mines on the property to protect its perimeter.

The murders in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just the latest in a long string of brutal murders and suicides among those prepping for the end times. A year earlier, Michael Augustine Bournes murdered his wife and three children at their cabin in a remote Montana forest. Bournes, then set his house on fire and committed suicide. Neighbors describe him as a survivalist who lived off the grid.

On January 17, 2015, David Crowley, an aspiring conspiracy filmmaker and screenwriter, shot and killed his wife and daughter in their home in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He then committed suicide. Crowley had been working on a feature film project called Gray State, with a storyline that revolved around a coming police state after societal breakdown.

In September 2014, Benjamin and Kristi Strack of Springville, Utah, murdered three of their four children, with a poisonous cocktail of cold medicines laced with dextrorphan and doxylamine. They then killed themselves. Authorities later learned that the parents were worried about the evil in the world and wanted to escape a pending apocalypse. Family and friends reported the Stracks wanted to move somewhere far off the grid.

A few months later, Veronica Dunnachie was charged with the shooting deaths of her estranged husband and stepdaughter during a domestic dispute in Arlington, Texas. Both Veronica and her husband were members of the 3%ers Texas, a militia group, and had an affinity for prepping and learning survival skills. There are other murder/suicide cases (ie, Shane Franklin Miller, Jimmy Lee Dykes, and Peter Keller) that demonstrate the dark side of doomsday prepping.

Doomsday prepping has been an American subculture since the 1950s. During the 20th century, preppers fed on American fears in the aftermath of World War II, the nuclear arms race, civil unrest, and economic volatility. Similarly, the 21st century has brought new uncertainties, including Y2K, weather disasters, the Mayan end calendar, global terrorism, and more civil unrest. In light of these disastrous events and predictions, doomsday preppers emphasis on preparedness appears to make sense. Family preparedness may even be advisable. Nevertheless, beyond a few legitimate reasons, doomsday prepping, for the most part, represents a dark worldview that combines, to varying degrees, end-times apocalyptic views, an obsession with firearms (and other weaponry), conspiracy theories and too often an anti-government sentiment. When combined, these radical views become toxic and lead unsuspecting followers down a funnel of despair, which perpetuates fear, paranoia and extremism.

Preppers are best known for stockpiling supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.) and building bunkers in anticipation of an impending catastrophic event, such as a war, terrorist attack or disastrous natural occurrence. Prepping can be embraced both by individuals, who emphasize surviving alone, and groups which emphasize communal living. Examples of prepper communities include the Citadel project in Benewah County, Idaho; the Trident Lakes subdivision in Ector, Texas; and Ft. Igloo in Falls River, South Dakota.

Since the 1950s, Preppers, also known as survivalists, have spread their ideology and tradecraft through preparedness expositions, gun shows, literature, and religious institutions such as Mormons, Baptists, and cults. These trends continue today. Since 2008, the Prepper Movement has steadily increased membership and grown in both sophistication and creativity. Companies specializing in making bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purification systems, have attested to this steady rise in popularity due to sales increases. Much like the 1990s, preparedness conventions continue to attract thousands of people at each event throughout the country.

The 2008 Presidential Election, coupled with the 2008 stock market crash, marked the beginning of the prepper renaissance. However, new factors have emerged that have influenced the recent popularity growth of doomsday prepping. In 2016, Donald Trumps election further stoked the fires of fear and paranoia within the Prepper community and far right extremists with his rhetoric concerning Muslim terrorist threats in the Homeland, nuclear threats from North Korea, criminal threats from immigrants and other security issues. As a result, the Prepper Movement remains popular and supply companies within the U.S. continue to report growing sales. For example, an Idaho-based emergency supplies company, called My Patriot Supply, doubled its online sales during the week of Inauguration Day compared to the same week in 2016. Georgia-based Doomsday Prep also noticed sales spikes on both Election Day and Inauguration Day. Since the 2016 election, it has seen more than a 15% growth.

Cable television shows, such as National Geographics Doomsday Preppers, Discoverys The Colony and Survivorman, have mainstreamed, and even glorified, survivalism and end times prepping. The advent of the Internet has also given preppers a new tool to recruit members and supporters, teach tradecraft using YouTube videos, as well as create entire online marketplaces for purchasing and selling prepper-related gear and other supplies. While there are various theories about what causes the world to end, Preppers are unified on the core beliefs that society is on the verge of collapse and the last days are near.

Besides spreading fear and paranoia and preparing for the end times, the Prepper Movement provides a gateway to more radical ideologies and extremist movements, such as militia groups, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens. Of particular concern, the Prepper Movement has experienced a disturbing trend of murders and suicide over the past four years.

As prepper deaths continue to mount, rumors have circulated on survivalist forums and other far right extremist websites about secret government hit lists or death lists targeting them. They claim that this trend of murder/suicides within the Prepper Movement is the work of a sinister government plot to get rid of them. They falsely believe these deaths are evidence of the Illuminatis existence and its activation of the New World Order plan to take over the world. In reality, these violent incidents are manifestations of how mounting anxiety, fear, and paranoia can lead to deepening depression and acts of desperation that, too often, leads to violence and lawlessness. Sadly, there are even more criminal incidents and arrests related to doomsday preppers.

Rex Features via AP Images

Read the rest here:

Doomsday Desperation – Southern Poverty Law Center

Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com


Patch.com
Oregon 'Hate Map' Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State
Patch.com
Based on the blog Donovan writes, the Wolves of Vinland Cascadia espouse masculinity, tribalism, and survivalism. Northwest Hammerskins The Hammerskins are an unapologetic racist skinhead group with chapters established across the continental …

and more »

Read the original post:

Oregon ‘Hate Map’ Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State – Patch.com

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

Tom Cruise trashes his flashing-teeth hero image to play, if not a bad guy, then certainly a naughty one in the jaunty drug-running caper American Made.

Re-teaming with his Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life character who ran drugs, guns and money between Central America and Arkansas in the late 1970s and early 80s, while also working for the CIA.

Seal, a family man who started out as a pilot for TWA, eventually became embroiled in what blew up into the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as being a trusted delivery boy for the Medellin cocaine cartel lead by Pablo Escobar. He also earned himself millions of dollars in cash for his troubles.

Watch Video: Tom Cruise Is Back to Flying Planes in ‘American Made’ Trailer

Cruise slips into the role with a mischievous grin, although hes not exactly playing totally against type the way he did in, say, Magnolia. The idea is that his Barry is a slippery customer and a great pilot, more son-of-a-gun than Top Gun. With the first of several nods to Goodfellas, Cruise narrates the movie himself, although his to-camera testimonies are designed, we learn later, to incriminate his various employers.

Barry initially stumbles into the part but like a good American opportunist, he learns to game the system, using his CIA-sanctioned cover to become the gringo who delivers for Escobar and his henchmen. He comes home with suitcases stuffed so full of cash the green stuff practically falls out of the bedroom closets.

See Tom Cruise’s latest POWER MOVE.

As director, Liman (whose father investigated the Iran-Contra affair) has covered the shaky moral ground of Langley in his Bourne franchise, and hes at it again here, while also trying to cram in and explain away some real political history. The film features three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, as Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as well as figures such as Oliver North and General Noriega. Even Nancy Reagan pops up to tell us again: Just Say No.

Liman is to be commended on not stooping to a mere 80s nostalgia fest, at least not too ironically (he offers a Rubiks Cube and couple of power ballads but, hey, everyone needs context), using the Cold War politics of the time rather than any awkward fashions or pop. I wonder, though, if he was tempted to show someone watching an early Brat Pack movie on VHS?

The problem is that Cruise, even when trying to cut loose, is always so tightly controlled that we never truly feel the reptilian survivalism of Barry Seal, nor does it feel like anyone on screen is actually enjoying themselves despite the repeated tequila parties and mountains of cash.

Also Read: Don’t Tell Dwayne Johnson He Runs Like Tom Cruise

Earlyish in the picture, when Barry finds himself in a Colombian jail following a police raid, theres a bit of business around him having a tooth knocked out, a clear indication that Cruise knows hes denting his trademark choppers here. Interestingly, the movie never suggests Seal (or any of his pilot cohorts) got high on their own supply; he may want to play with his image, but dont think for a minute youll catch Tom Cruise snorting coke.

Limans tone, channelled through Cruise gently straining to deconstruct his own iconography, achieves neither real comedy nor actual tension. The movie feels lightweight, even while pointing fingers at the American governments meddling foreign policy and lies. The sense of the eras political absurdity goes missing. Maybe politics, no matter how ridiculous or how distant, just isnt a laughing matter any more.

Strangely, for a Cruise vehicle, American Made takes a while to get going, and, having never quite started, it doesnt really know when to finish. Theres a terrific climax involving the CIA, DEA, FBI and a bunch of other acronymical forces except it isnt the climax, and the movie drags on for quite a while after, forgetting that we really dont care much for the underwritten storyline of Barrys family and his wife Lucy, gamely played by Sarah Wright (Marry Me) in that increasingly thankless position of girl in Tom Cruise movie.

American Made isnt exactly an American Dud, but it is too self-conscious to be as fun as it wants to be. Its professional, slick and not terrible, as youd expect from, well, slick professionals such as Liman and Cruise. It looks vibrant and verdant (shot by Uruguayan DP Cesar Chalone, who did City of God), but for the gringo movie star who always delivers, it comes up a little short.

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

41. “Cocktail”

Cruise’s Type-A, adrenaline-fueled drive serves him very well in movies where the stakes are high. But Cocktail is just “Top Gun” behind a bar. The work-hard play-hard clichs at work here threatened to make Cruise the role model for handsome, affable, lame guys you swipe past on dating apps. Cruise smartly swiped away from roles like this.

40. “Endless Love”

Tom Cruise has a tiny partin this Brooke Shields melodrama, his first ever on-screen role. He stumbles off a soccer field, goes shirtlessand shares a story with the protagonist about how he almost burned his house down. You were probably sold at “goes shirtless.”

39. “Legend”

Whats sillier: Tom Cruises unicorn or his hair? Legend was a lavish, fantastical adventure that turned out to be a massive box-office misfire from director Ridley Scott and Cruise.

38. “Austin Powers in Goldmember”

Cruise makes an amusing cameo as Austin Powers in a fake trailer for a movie-within-the-movie called Austinpussy. But this opening to the third Austin Powers is its only highlight.

37. “Far and Away”

Ron Howard directs Cruise and his then-partner Nicole Kidman in this romance between a wealthy landlords daughter and a poor Irish street fighter.Cruise’s accent isn’t great.

36. “Knight and Day”

Wacky, screwball action-comedies almost never work, and in James Mangolds Knight and Day, Cruise and Cameron Diaz werent exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.” But the movie has its passionate fans.

35. “Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

This is probably the movie where you’re most aware Cruise is acting. After all, hes playing a vampire. This showy, flashy role wouldve been better suited for someone like Johnny Depp. Cruises Lestat doesn’t feel as hungry as most Tom Cruise characters, just thirsty. For blood.

34. “Losin’ It”

Thankfully Cruise graduated from 80s teen sex-romps like this, but Curtis Hansons Losin It has some charm with Cruise running through Tijuana with a young Jackie Earle Haley, John Stockwell and a housewife played by Shelley Long.

33. “Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back”

The sequel to Jack Reacher was a rare, mediocre step back for Cruise.

32. “Rock of Ages”

Cruise doing his best Axl Rose impression as the rock-god Stacee Jaxx is the best part of this cute, harmless stage adaptation. He commits.

31. “The Outsiders”

Francis Ford Coppolas The Outsiders wasnt well reviewed at its time, but its a great time capsule of Cruise in a small part of a gang of other teen heartthrobs of the day, including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. Many who grew u with it consider it a classic.

30. “All the Right Moves”

In one of theearly teen roles that would define his hard-driving persona, Cruise contends with a football coach played by Craig T. Nelson in a classicandwell-meaning but clichd sports movie.

29. “Days of Thunder”

Its Top Gun on wheels, with Tony Scott reuniting with Cruise as an up-and-coming racecar driver and pairing him for the first time with Nicole Kidman, as well as Robert Duvall. But by this point Cruise had already played the young hot shot too many times.

28. “Lions for Lambs”

Robert Redford aimed for intellectual pedigree with his political drama starring Cruise and Meryl Streep, but it mostly high-minded, overly-polished lecturing.

27. “Valkyrie”

Cruise plays a German officer who conspired to assassinate Hitler and assume power. We all know how that went. Thankfully, Cruise doesnt belabor a phony German accent, but Bryan Singers drama is mostly historical set dressing.

26. “Taps”

In just his second on-screen role, Cruise plays an unhinged military cadet who goes to extreme lengths to protect the academy when its threatened by encroaching condo developers. He almost steals the show from George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and a young Sean Penn.

25. “Vanilla Sky”

Vanilla Sky contains a risky, very underrated Cruise role. Cruise goes from playing the cocky, unstoppable Cruise archetype to a deformed, defeated man trying to figure out what matters. Cameron Crowes remake of a Spanish-language film shifts genres stunningly, and its proved a polarizing movie in both Cruise and Crowes catalog.

24. “The Mummy”

From TheWrap’s review: “Its the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster thats cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle.”

23. “The Last Samurai”

John Oliver has made The Last Samurai infamous as a prime example of Hollywoods Asian whitewashing. But Cruise is good enough to make it almost work. Its a solid samurai epic with Cruise fighting out of his element, playing an American Civil War official overseas as a dynasty comes to an end.

22. “Mission: Impossible II”

John Woos hyper-stylized sequel has Cruise free-hand scaling a massive, remote cliff, only to put on a pair of sunglasses and watch them explode. It all feels very ’90s.

21. “Mission: Impossible III”

J.J. Abrams was brought in to reboot the franchise, so to speak, and he brought his signature lens flares, humor and gritty realism to the property. The films high point isnt Cruise, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain.

20. “The Firm”

Tom Cruise + John Grisham + Gene Hackman + Sydney Pollack? The Firm shouldve been a slam dunk, but its not even Cruises best courtroom drama.

19. “Oblivion”

Joseph Kosinskis Oblivion is visually stunning and finds Cruise tidying up Earth after the battle for humanity has ended and the planet has been evacuated. The sci-fi premise has promise but loses steam as some of the Morgan Freeman-delivered twists and parables start to come out.

18. “Jack Reacher”

Lee Child described Jack Reacher in his book as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, up to 250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. That aint Tom Cruise. But Christopher McQuarrie extracts from Cruise a grizzled, angry action hero. Plus having Werner Herzog as your movies villain doesnt hurt.

17. “The Color of Money”

This was the movie that won Paul Newman his Oscar, a swan-song sequel to The Hustler by Martin Scorsese in which Cruise may as well be type-cast as the new arrogant upstart. But Cruise captivates with that infectious, cocky glint in his eye as he whips his cue around, knocking em dead to the tune of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

16. “Tropic Thunder”

Cruise is hilariously unrecognizable beneath a balding wig, caked on makeup and some added pounds as Les Grossman, a raging, foul-mouthed studio exec. His fuming anger and profanity in this cameo makes him a pimple ready to burst, and his best dialogue isnt even fit to print.

15. “Rain Man”

Rain Man may actually be one of the more overrated Best Picture winners. Barry Levinsons film is just a road trip movie with a showy Dustin Hoffman performance at its center. And yet Cruise revealed an untapped tender side.

14. “War of the Worlds”

Critics were torn as to whether Cruise made a convincing father figure in Steven Spielbergs adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story, but thehuman element elevated this already tense sci-fi thriller.

13. “Mission: Impossible”

The original Mission: Impossible benefits from Brian De Palmas homages to Hitchcock and other spy genre films, includingloopy twists and laughably great gadgets that explode fish tanks or transform peoples faces. But its rightfully famous for Cruises balletic, expertly executed heist as he dangles from the ceiling and tries not to break a sweat.

12. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

Five movies into the franchise, and Christopher McQuarries film was the first that suggested a future for this franchise beyond Cruise, taking the best elements of each subsequent M:I film and making them gel. It culminates in a slick assassination inside an opera and a standout new foil for Cruise in Rebecca Ferguson. And Cruise is just awesome in it.

11. “Collateral”

Cruise never gets to play the bad guy, but hes excellent at it. Michael Mann transformed Cruise into a mysterious silver fox and silent killer, toying with his hostage Jamie Foxxs mind and morality until the two form an unexpected bond.

10. “Top Gun”

Thirtyyears later and we still feel the need for speed. Theres still no better popcorn movie that flaunts 80s nostalgia, jingoistic Americana and hyper-masculinity than Top Gun. Plus that gloriously homoerotic volleyball scene.

9. “Risky Business”

When Tom Cruise slid across that wood floor in his underwear and a white dress shirt to the opening riff of Old Time Rock and Roll, that was it; a star was born. The movie as a whole channels everything that made Cruise a star, includinghis hot-shot attitude and smirking charm. But he alsosubverts and challenges other teen films.

8. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Brad Bird brought some of the cartoonish charm from Pixar over to the fourth M:I film, but he also staged one of the best action set pieces of this century. Yes, that really was Cruise dangling off the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and it paid off.

7. “Edge of Tomorrow”

Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of action movie that reminds you why Cruise is so reliable in his heroic roles. Cruise plays a captain in this sci-fi who sells a war to the public, but is privately a coward. When hes killed in battle and brought back to life in an endless vicious cycle played for pathos and some laughs, he regains composure. Emily Blunt gives a fantastic, hard-edged performance as well.

6. “A Few Good Men”

Cruise displays youthful goodness, decency and spirit in the face of juggernaut Jack Nicholson. “A Few Good Men” hasexactly the sort of rousing emotion Hollywood needs to tap into again to find morehit dramas for adults.

5. “Eyes Wide Shut”

All anyone wanted to talk about with Stanley Kubricks final film was the chemistry between Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, or the lack thereof. But that icy demeanor in what presents itself as an erotic romance amplified the surreal mystery of the film and made Cruise vulnerable and human.

4. “Jerry Maguire”

The quintessential rom-com, Jerry Maguire is timeless yet also perfectly ’90s. Cameron Crowes endlessly quotable screenplay wouldnt be quite the same without Cruises comic timing as he bellows Show Me the Money and lampoons his own hot-shot persona.

3. “Born on the Fourth of July”

As a crippled war vet in Oliver Stones Vietnam drama, Cruise turns from a starry-eyed, clean-cut soldier to a vocal, harried Vietnam protestor. Its a rebuke to the blind patriotism flaunted in Cruises own Top Gun and is one of Stones best films.

2. “Minority Report”

Steven Spielbergs sci-fi has aged beautifully, in part because Silicon Valley has borrowed so muchfrom it. Cruise looks so cool manipulating video in the Pre-Cog crime lab, he practically invented touch screens. Spielberg bakes endlessfun and invigorating, futuristic chase sequences into a screenplay that contemplates big questions of fate and free will.

1. “Magnolia”

Not only is this Paul Thomas Andersons magnum-opus, an epic, surreal character drama of love, family and the meaning of life, its Cruise at his most unhinged and commanding. He plays a vile, lascivious mens right advocate named Frank T.J. Mackey, whose mantra isrespect the cock. Cruise made it possible to dislike, even loathe one of his characters, and yet hes chillinglycharismatic.

Happy 55th birthday, Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise wasn’t “Born on the 4th of July,” but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.

Read the original post:

‘American Made’ Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both – TheWrap

North Korean Tensions Are Spurring Doomsday Survival-Goods Sales – Fortune

Emergency preparedness and survival products are seeing a rise in sales and interest as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea mount. Though information is still anecdotal, several retailers speaking to the New York Times say theyve seen customers stocking up on emergency food supplies and other survival gear. Sales at the Emergency Essentials retail chain in Utah, for instance, were more than double their usual amount in the days after President Trumps fire and fury comments last Tuesday.

Google searches for terms including prepper and survivalism have also risen significantly over the last week. But theyre still well below all-time highs that came after the 2012 Presidential election win by Barack Obama, and not all preparedness retailers speaking to the Times have seen sales rise.

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Obamas election and re-election also triggered a sharp rise in gun sales. Thats partly because of fears that Obama would push through tougher gun control laws. But the rise in survivalism was also fueled by right-wing conspiracy theories , which sellers said had receded somewhat by 2013.

But the usual buyers of dehydrated food and camp stoves have much more faith in the Commander in Chief than they did his predecessora recent poll puts the Presidents approval rating among Republicans as high as 82%. With conservative politics such a major driver of the preparedness market, and despite fears over North Korea, the Trump presidency could wind up offering modest growth for the industry.

Responses to both North Koreas tests and Trumps bellicose language have been tepid more broadly. U.S. stock markets, usually hypersensitive to rumors of global war, dropped only 0.2% on the day of Trumps statements.

See the original post here:

North Korean Tensions Are Spurring Doomsday Survival-Goods Sales – Fortune

Film Review: Good Time – Consequence of Sound (blog)

Director

Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie

Cast

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Pattinson, Barkhad Abdi

Like some of the best films about New York City, Good Time ably captures the constancy of movement at all hours of the night. Much of the films action takes place in half-empty hospitals and apartments and an amusement park after closing hours. Yet, in every case, somebody is still pulling a graveyard shift, getting high, looking out for their own, or just trying to get paid. That last bit is integral to Joshua and Ben Safdies harrowing single-night odyssey: were all hustling, in one way or another, all the time. Some are just a lot better at it than others.

Early on, it seems like Constantine Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) could be among the best. A straw-haired degenerate in an oversized hoodie, with wild eyes that exude canny survivalism and junkie panic in equal measures, Connie has bigger plans for himself and his brother, Nick (co-director Ben). An unnerving early sequence watches Nick, captured in the Safdies already-signature nauseating close-ups, as he attempts to work through a behavioral therapy session. Nick deals with some sort of neurological disability, but Connie refuses to allow his brother to be put through sessions that he finds both demeaning and upsetting to his brother. (For his part, Nicks difficulty with regard to even basic questions suggests that he absolutely should be getting more help than hes evidently had.) As Connie tells him, Its just you and me. Im your friend. Alright?

And then Connie and Nick don facial prosthetics and stage one of the more exhilarating bank robberies in recent cinematic history, made all the more so by the matter-of-fact staging with which its delivered. Good Time is a wandering film, and not all of its many digressions land. But the best ones, starting with the robbery and its screw-tightening aftermath, offer the kind of pure cinema capable of sending even the most jaded critics and audiences into fits of white-knuckle panic. Connie is simultaneously more shrewd than his wiry appearance would suggest and tragically over-convinced of his own genius. Soon an unexpected paint bag is triggered, Nick ends up in police custody and sent off to await trial on Rikers Island, and Connie is left to somehow obtain $10,000 for Nicks bail before things can get any worse.

Over the course of a night bathed in neon, pitch-darkness, and depravity, Connie encounters a number of fellow strays on his way to save Nick from the kind of hell that Connie himself has created for his brother. Good Time recalls the wearily hallucinatory qualities of other one-shot stories like Night on Earth and After Hours, but what the Safdies and co-screenwriter Ronald Bronstein accomplish here is a film of a distinctly filthy ilk. The Safdies exceptional 2015 feature Heaven Knows What displayed a similarly keen eye for the rituals of the day-at-a-time criminal, but where that film took a borderline anti-narrative approach to its travels alongside an unrepentant heroin addict, Good Time functions on more of a rail, albeit a ferocious one.

Good Time takes an episodic approach to Connies journey, and those episodes are consistently engaging, even as some of them occasionally threaten to leech away at the films breakneck momentum. One vignette involving a siege on a hospital leads to a remarkable gallows punchline. Connie finds a moment of respite with Crystal (Taliah Webster), an underage girl who recognizes Connies need for shelter as both suspicious and not worth causing too much trouble over. A security guard at that aforementioned theme park (Barkhad Abdi) finds himself with the severe misfortune of happening onto Connies barreling path. Some leave more of an impression than others; an encounter with a beaten parolee (Buddy Duress) leads to an onscreen digression so lengthy that it at once fits well within the films anything-goes rhythm and brings it to a near-complete halt. (Its nevertheless a damned funny few minutes of filmmaking, in a vacuum.) Connies frantic appeals to Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a well-off but unreliable lover, feel equally at odds with the films central story, even if Leighs nervous performance serves as one of the films many deft methods of creating absolute unease.

The Safdies build a world of constant paranoia in every way, from the shaky handheld photography to the endless parade of strangers existing as possible would-be hazards. But the most exceptional method is the rattling, sumptuous score by Oneohtrix Point Never. That its easily the best compositional work to grace any 2017 film to date is secondary; this is one of those rare film scores that emerges as its own character, as integral to the success of Good Time as any of the films impressive performances. As the Safdies race from one stunning image to the next (a zoomed-out crane motif framing Connie as a constant rat in an overwhelming maze, a dark room lit solely by a grainy television), OPNs endless cycles of oppressive synths and dissonant electronic sounds conjure unease even in the most straightforward moments of respite. The score is a faithful mirror of Connies psyche, all panic and terror and fleeting instances of stoned, euphoric grandeur.

Good Time is a film of trembling anxiety, and while the score and the Safdies terrific direction both aid this, its Pattinsons outstanding performance that pins even the most outlandish occurrences to a deep sense of emotion. The actor, having long abandoned the days of stiff paycheck roles for increasingly ambitious fare, delivers a feral star turn that should more than silence any remaining skeptics. Like an animal, Connie simply reacts with an alarming lack of forethought, and Pattinson almost appears to be piecing each scene together as he goes along. But this is a meticulous performance; his slow crescendo of harrowing desperation builds to one lingering shot that builds a wealth of meaning out of the actors tightly framed visage, defining the entire film before it in a single image of Pattinsons face. In a world of near-anarchy, its Connie who holds it all together.

At one point in his journey, Connie asserts that something is happening to me tonight, and I feel like its deeply connected to my purpose. Its a purpose rife with drugs and exploitation and an inexplicable allusion to Pepe the Frog that will undoubtedly spur on many an addled debate in the coming weeks, but its a purpose that Connie pursues with alarming velocity. In its immersion in a world full of scrambling and sweat and constant alarm, Good Time observes something primal about the worlds that exist beneath the worlds in which so many other movies are made and viewed. Theres no time for thinking and even less for processing. You simply react until you cant any longer.

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Film Review: Good Time – Consequence of Sound (blog)

For Doomsday Preppers, the End of the World Is Good for Business – New York Times

Clearly, when something happens in the world like North Korea right now, it is on peoples minds, Mr. Sullivan said. It just causes them to rethink where they stand in the event of war, in the event of job loss, in the event of a natural disaster.

Not every company in the prepper industry has seen an uptick. Joe Marshall, managing editor of Survival Life, a website that supports an online retail operation and the Banana Bay Tactical shop in Austin, Tex., said it was too soon to see an impact on sales.

The truth is, theres been some chatter, he said, but for most of our people, theyre already preparing.

Google searches for prepper hit their highest level in a month on Tuesday, while searches for survivalism neared a high last reached in July, according to Google Trends, a site from the technology giant that shows what users have been researching.

Keith Bansemer, vice president of marketing at My Patriot Supply, which sells bulk food, water devices and seeds, said customers have started snapping up the companys six-month food supplies. They wanted to do something to feel more secure, he explained.

By prepping, youre actually alleviating fear, Mr. Bansemer said.

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For Doomsday Preppers, the End of the World Is Good for Business – New York Times

Film Review: The Glass Castle Fails on Almost Every Level – Splice Today

In The Glass Castle, the charismatic, larger-than-life father of a huge family drags his brood across the country, defending his unconventional worldview and nontraditional parenting methods against a skeptical world. This was also the premise of another movie, Captain Fantastic, which came out a year ago, featuring Viggo Mortensen as a very similar father, raging all film long about the failures and corruption of the square world. The Glass Castle, despite some good performances, mostly fails for the same reason Captain Fantastic did: It gives its father character a redemption, and a canonization, that he doesnt deserve.

The Glass Castle is based on the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, who was a magazine gossip columnist in 1980s-90s New York City, and a sometime MSNBC fixture. Brie Larson plays Walls, and the book tells the story of her very nontraditional upbringing, in which Walls and her three siblings were herded around the rural West and South by their parents (Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts), as their neer-do-well dad fled creditors, pursued one failed scheme after another, and drank a hell of a lot.

Walls fathers worldview isnt that far off from Mortensens in Captain Fantastic: a combination of vague political leftism, paranoia, and off-the-grid survivalism, although The Glass Castle version combines this with crippling alcoholism and a failure to ever follow through on any of his big plans. His oft-mentioned, never-realized plot to build a glass-enclosed dream home gives the memoir, and film, its title.

The Glass Castle toggles back and forth between Walls childhood and her adulthood, as a rising gossip columnist wearing Working Girl-style fashions and preparing to marry a finance guy (New Girls Max Greenfield, playing the part not nearly as Scaramucci-like as he probably should have).The flashbacks, over and over, show Harrelson as a caring but largely out-of-control dad, seemingly not allowing his children to go to school or see doctors, and exposing his family to all sorts of horrors, up to and including leaving them in the care of a relative who, its implied, is a known sexual abuser. Watts plays the mom as more of a space cadet, a much more natural use of the actress talents than the Twin Peaks revival has shown us so far.

But then the film, in its third act, pivots and makes a hero out of this drunken man, through a couple of strategically inserted flashbacks. It also concludes with a rather ridiculous either/or: Be a soulless 1980s Manhattan yuppie, or buy in to the Rex Walls Way. There are no other options for how to live ones life. This pivot all but ruins the film because its so unearned.

The Glass Castle was directed by Daniel Desson Cretton, whose previous film, Short Term 12, was one of the best films of 2013 and among the best indie movies this decade. It also starred Larson, as a counselor at a group home, and cemented her as an actress of the top tier; that performance was much more deserving of awards attention than her part in Room, which won Larson a Best Actress Oscar two years ago.

Crettons new film, unfortunately, is a big step down, and the filmmaking isnt all that impressive either. One scene, in which Harrelson repeatedly throws a young Jeannette into a pool, is painfully on the nose even before Harrelson explains afterward that its a metaphor for life itself. Another big weakness? The film barely touches on Walls work as a gossip columnist, or how her unconventional upbringing led her to such work.

Harrelson has been on something of a roll lately. His Kilgore/Kurtz routine in this summers War For the Planet of the Apes was the best thing about that film, and he gave a stirring, quietly against-type performance in last years outstanding The Edge of Seventeen. Here, though? His performance as Rex is a lot of scenery-chewing and overacting. Larson is better, but shes starting to get typecast as a young woman coming to turns with victimizationwhich was a revelation in Short Term 12, but at this point shes repeating herself. Fans of the book, and Walls other writing, may appreciate the film version of The Glass Castle. But otherwise, theres not much reason to see it.

Whose Streets? Is an Illuminating Look at Ferguson Protests. B

Whose Streets? is part of a burgeoning genre of on-the-ground documentaries about the Ferguson protests and other recent major demonstrations against police brutality. Craig Atkinsons Do Not Resist, last fall, got there first, with a more overarching look at how law enforcement culture led to those events.

Directed by Sabaah Folayan, Whose Streets?, a Sundance selection from January, focuses more specifically on a handful of protestors who were on the ground in Ferguson. It follows a few protesters over the course of about a two-year period, through some raw and often uncomfortable stuff. Its infuriating, but very well done. The challenge with any film like this is that a lot of similar footage was shown on the news, for hours, every night for weeks and even months, back in 2014. Folayans film meets this challenge by going in-depth with several people, the most compelling of which is Britanny Farrell, a nursing student who at one point faced jail over her role in the protests. We also see one of those block-the-highway protests, from the standpoint, for a change, of the ones doing the blocking.

There are some egregious sins of omissionthe film mentions the Department of Justice report about systematic bias in the Ferguson Police Department, but leaves out the other DOJ report, from the same day, that sided with Darren Wilsons version of events. But overall, Whose Streets? is a compelling, nerve-wracking, and illuminating look at a fraught subject.

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Film Review: The Glass Castle Fails on Almost Every Level – Splice Today

What I Learned From the Neo-Nazi in My Prison Book Club | The … – The Marshall Project

By Karen Lausa

Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system.

This article was published in collaboration with Vice.

My heart was beating fast. I threw off my sweater suddenly I was feeling very warm. And then I read this line in my students essay: Mein Kampf was my go-to book.

I facilitate the Words Beyond Bars book discussion group, which meets in a cinderblock classroom in Colorados largest prison facility. Its a bi-monthly education class, and the final book we read last semester was In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson. A psychological history of U.S. Ambassador William Dodds tenure in the early, developing years of Nazi Germany, it ignited a discussion that ranged from world politics to the end of German cultural enlightenment to Hitlers early bedazzlement of his nation.

But even volunteering in prison, I didnt expect to read an essay like this one.

I hate government and nothing good comes of it and most people in it are vile, wrote my student, who is serving a 60-plus-year sentence for an assault conviction. There was a time when Hitler was a glorified word, and he was considered Uncle Adolf by me and those I lived around.

His words forced me to check my own mantra, one Id had to hone in order to work in a prison: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own story. The question I now had to ask was whether knowing this mans views was a game-changer for me more so than knowing what his crime had been. Did I suddenly dislike him now?

The 25 participants of my class a racially diverse group of black, white, Latino and Native American inmates are required to submit reflection papers after completing each book. As their facilitator, I critique their writing after I return home, frequently impressed by the deep thinkers and their attention to plot, character and setting.

In this case, the plot included the nonfiction extermination of the Jews.

Was this book a poorly considered selection? A lifer in the last group had written me a kite in prison lingo, a written request touting it as a favorite, and it had five stars on Amazon. So why not?

In our discussion about Larsons book, the questions ranged from, Why did everyone hate the Jews so much? to, Does anyone notice how Hitlers timing was as perfect as Donald Trumps? At one point in the conversation, I shared that my own parents had fled Germany early on, reviled for their religion as early as 1933.

But this essay was the first time a student of mine had exposed me to his race-related beliefs and the mantra of white survivalism. Almost worse, he was sharing his views quite respectfully, almost eloquently hes not a bad writer. Hed been a book group participant three sessions in a row and had devoured everything we read with perceptive and illuminating observations. He was an asset to the program and generous with praise to othersId really liked him.

I just didnt know all that was inside him. I didnt realize that the man clad in prison green sitting across from me had been raised in a family for which National Socialist ideology was the gospel.

I read on through his confessional paper, sipping my coffee in silence. As I absorbed his remarks about the demise of white culture in our country today, I felt hoodwinked, foolish for ever believing that our book discussion group could be as transformative as I passionately insist it is. Interacting as a small community of readers is the model for this program, never mind that each person who enters the room committed a felony and is guilty of a serious, often violent, crime. We sit in a circle to symbolize equality. I absolutely believe these men are more than the thing they did, often decades earlier.

Why, then, was I questioning this man, whom I know and respect? Who was the hypocrite here? I was not being duped by this mans story he was stating his truth. I felt misled, but by myself: accepting these men as long as they didnt cross my boundaries with their beliefs. Or maybe Id been romanticizing my ability to heal them with the right book.

Could what a warden once suggested to me be true that the guys show up in my class just as a diversion, to get out of their cells and hang around a woman?

My student admitted, toward the end of his paper, that he was apprehensive to share his background. After explaining that it was how he was raised, he confided, I have not totally given up on it, but I have backed way away from much of the extreme hatred that is carried with the Nazi party followers.

Returning to the subject of the book discussion group, he began a final paragraph with, I found a way to break free from those suffocating bonds. I joined Words Beyond Bars, a book club. It helps people open up and look at things in a different light. Expanding your mind and being around people you normally wouldnt talk to.

I came to this work as a way to thread together my love for literature and my desire to nudge the culture of mass incarceration toward a less punitive, more humanizing system. The men are, in general, polite, grateful, engaged, and desperate for more education. They long for validation and a way to retain their individuality in a grey landscape of sameness, day after day.

The closing of the paper was both moving and disturbing. The writer concludes, Id do anything to be a productive member of this society. In doing so I have begun to change. The confines of prison have led me to a certain degree of personal freedom. Freedom in prison what a concept.

By the time I get to the end, gone is my sense of being misled. I no longer question my book choice for the discussion group. And I have reached an understanding about this man, one of many.

Karen Lausa is the developer and facilitator of Words Beyond Bars, a book discussion group held in Colorado correctional facilities.

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What I Learned From the Neo-Nazi in My Prison Book Club | The … – The Marshall Project