Unforgettable Vikings

DATELINE: Frolic in the Fjord

Viking Liking Sons of a Black Ram!

What a cast! Liking a Viking!

Forget the new-fangled cable TV series. Go back to the 1958 movie with Kirk Douglas as the Viking raider. If you have never heard the Mario Nascimbene theme, you are in for a treat—as it will stay in your head forever as the theme of Viking warriors.

If you have never seen The Vikings, prepare yourself.

This movie featured an all-star cast in bravura, over-the-top performances. Kirk Douglas and his costar Tony Curtis would return in Spartacus two years later and essentially play the same roles: Brothers under the tunic.

Here, Ernest Borgnine is the rapacious and fierce Viking king and father to Kirk (and to Tony, though no one in the movie ever learns this bit of dizzying plot complication). We are even more amused to learn that Borgnine was actually younger than the man who played his son!

Fresh off his Oscar for Marty, Ernie Borgnine is preparing to play McHale for his TV series by jumping off longboats. He calls Tony Curtis the son of a black ram, without realizing he was self-incriminating.

Throw in juicy actors like Frank Thring as an evil English king usurper (one in a line of magnificent villains—from Pontius Pilate in Ben Hur and King Herod in King of Kings). There is stalwart James Donald as the traitor to England and friend to the Vikings, and Alexander Knox as the suffering priest, with Edric Connor as Tony Curtis’s best friend.

Everyone shines. Director Richard Fleisher manages Viking chaos deftly.

Kirk Douglas plays nearly the entire film with one eye yanked out by a falcon (he wears a white contact lens).  It makes him even more frightful and plays the contrast to good Tony Curtis (whose wife Janet Leigh is the young woman every Viking wants.

This is one of those delicious fun movies you cannot believe they cannot make anymore. When the principals tried to do Spartacus, it became more message and less fun.

Every scene is exquisite in its outrageous melodrama, including amputations, eye-gouges, and a jump into a wolf pack to be chewed up. You can’t beat this stuff with special effects or computer-generated fakery.

With pure Hollywood magic, you have a truly atmospheric tale of 1000 years ago—filmed in magnificent fjords and drafty castles. The dangerous sword-fight atop the castle ramparts at the end will give you vertigo.

We lost track of how many times we heard that Nascimbene tune in various motifs. You will never forget it.

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Hollywood Takes on the Bible

DATELINE: Testament of the Trailers

hollywood bible

From 1994, in time for the Passover/Easter season, comes a two-part documentary that relies heavily on newsreel footage and trailers of Bible movies from silent days to the heydays of the 1960s epics.

You can find rare clips from all your favorite epics like King of Kings and The Greatest Story.  It’s all subverted by dry humor.

Of course, the fly in the ointment is that the streaming part two comes before part one. No way to stop that cart before the horse. The Bible According to Hollywood is a fast-paced sermon on the mount.

The narrator sounds like Robert Osborne, late of TMC fame, but it is a wit named Henry Stephens. And, the Old Testament starts off with a hoot and a half as it lambastes all those tacky Adam and Eve movies.

The light-tone and word play certainly makes this an enjoyable documentary. Since Cecil B. DeMille is the name on the marquee most of the time, you have mostly clips from his movies and his interviews.

Now and then, you hear from one of the stars of yore, like Virginia Mayo or Charlton Heston, They offer a few amusing morsels too. Heston contends he made only two Bible movies: the others were costume dramas. We’ll let you guess which ones he believes a truly Biblical.

Most of these sword and sandal films use a copyright free source to save money—and the early silent movies set the tone, and likely made the most money. Profits over prophets seemed to be the Hollywood motto.

Alas, most of the movies flopped:  the Old Testament stuff is far livelier than the New Testament, which is hamstrung by political forces: evangelicals want referential, and Jews don’t want to be scapegoats. The New Testament movies walk a tightrope.

All in all, the two parts could be interchangeable, and they will make you laugh and roll your eyes. What else can you expect from parables adapted for the screen?

Dead Again, Guilty Again!

DATELINE: Jussie on Steroids.

HERNANDEZ

If you want to know what makes a ghost return to his haunts, you only have to see another case of Massachusetts justice. It will give you the heebie-jeebies.

The Commonwealth Supreme Court has re-instated a guilty of murder verdict on Aaron Hernandez, the serial killer for the New England Patriots. His first trial had been overturned unceremoniously, and he was “not guilty” in his double murder second trial.

You are never declared innocent, no matter what.

The Hernandez conviction was overturned upon his suicide because in Massachusetts, if your appeal is unfinished upon death, you are declared free at last. It need not matter how heinous you were, or how and who you killed, you are no longer a convicted killer. Your jury has wasted its time. Your victim’s family is thrown into turmoil. You are released from prison for cremation or burial.

The evil you did lives on. The good was interred in the state Supreme Court.

So, the Supreme Court feels it has restored justice by playing ping-pong and pin-ball with the guilt of Aaron Hernandez. The law was called archaic and insensitive to modern victims. Hence, Hernandez is back in the eternal prison cell of ghosts like Jacob Marley.

We presume such a finding is enough to send the dead scrambling back to their previous haunts: like the mansion in Attleboro where Hernandez lived his rococo lifestyle. It remained empty for years. No one would dare stay there overnight.

If you want to guarantee that the spirit of Hernandez remains housebound to the place where his victim often visited, you have restored the dead zone. It is likely that Odin Lloyd, the victim, may also be there.

What a cozy arrangement: killer and victim stuck together for eternity. When you play ping-pong with fatality, your fate may be hell on earth and re-living what is never dead.

William Russo is author of the notorious book, The Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez. You can buy it in the old-fashioned print style, or a version designed for you if you are a smartreader.

Moby Dick: What Really Happened?

 DATELINE: Whale of a Story

Essex hit by whale   Moby Rams Essex!

You may have blanched at reading the mammoth novel by Herman Melville—few professors require its reading nowadays: too long, big means Moby Dick.

The true story of what intrigued Melville may be better fodder for the short attention span of a one-hour documentary.  And so, we have come down to Moby Dick: the True Story, made in 2001.

Out of Nantucket, the whaler called Essex sailed in 1819, not long after Frankenstein appeared, and it was its own horror story, all true. Though Melville made the First Mate named Starbuck, that was actually the name of one ship’s owner. The captain was Pollard, and his bossy First Mate was Owen Chase (who wrote the memoir on which Melville based his whaling epic). He is played by Shawn Reynolds in the film.

Yes, the Essex encountered the largest whale ever seen at the time, and he was old and cranky. Though one expert on the documentary insists that whales are basically docile, some old males can be aggressive. To say the least in this case.

Perhaps he knew what the ship’s purpose was: and it infuriated the whale.  According to the reports, he rammed the ship once until he was nearly unconscious and then came at it again to sink it.

Therein lies a novel by Melville. The whale did his worst, and as a force of the universe, sailed off, leaving his Ishmael on Queequeg’s coffin.

In real life, three small lifeboats fled the scene for a horrific sail for months. They resorted to cannibalism, and ultimately drew lots to murder one of their mates for dinner.

Three men chose to get off at something akin to Gilligan’s Island in mid-Pacific, which would have been our choice too. They survived and were rescued months later.

The cabin boy Thom Nickerson (played by Trevor Ralph in re-enacting scenes) was 14, and he survived to write his memoirs too, but they were not discovered until 1980, hidden in an attic.

Other survivors did not fare well: Owen Chase went mad, and the captain became a night watchman on Nantucket. Melville’s book flopped, and he watched a mountain in the distance from his home in the Berkshires that when white-capped with snow reminded him of Moby Dick.

Trump’s Handiwork in Palm Beach

DATELINE: Massage is the Medium

Yang & Trump Party Another Happy Ending!

A funny thing happened on the way to the Trump Super Bowl party. Another funny thing happened at the Palm Beach massage parlor. We don’t mean funny in a humorous sense. It is distinctly odd.

Now it seems that Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, could not attend the Trump Super Bowl party because he actually was at the game, as part of putting the sixth championship below his belt.

Cindy Yang attended Trump’s shindig where she showed him a good time. Yank, oops, Yang founded the massage parlor game in Palm Beach, a kidney stone’s throw from Mar-a-Lago.

Joining Mr. Trump at his party was the one-time creator of the self-same parlor where Mr. Kraft was handed his arrested development warrant. You guessed it! Cindy Yank has the pull for an invitation.

You have got to hand it to Trump and Kraft. They know how to grab headlines. When you have billions, you can do fairly much whatever you want. The problem is that these handsome seniors have enemies. Yes, there are patrons of the law who blanch at women doing sex work for money.

We eagerly await the visit of Kraft to the White House where he will hand-off a MAGA jersey to President like it’s a Handi-wipe who will hand-out fast-food with and without pickles.

Trump likely feels this massage perk is owed to the super-rich who are now political kingpins, making immigration policy that allows Chinese women to be held prisoner, not in a fortune cookie factory where they might send out a message, but in a massage parlor where the medium is the massage.

The party-goer who owned the massage parlor is a big donor to Trump. She gives freely and often. The little lady deserves a big hand, but we aren’t sure if Trump or Kraft can afford to pick up the tab.

Septuagenarians are worse off than sexagenarians.

If you think there is something funny going on here in Palm Beach, we think the police agree and have a hands-on policy when it comes to a handshake and a smile.

If you think Congressional committees will put their paws on this one, you will have another Jussie Smollett moment on your hands.

Sex and politics are never strange bedfellows. Just let the Stormy days pass—you will have a big hand for the little lady.

Funny like a toothache.

 

 

Mary Shelley Channels Aspern Papers!

 DATELINE: Another Dark & Stormy Movie

Stormy night Gang sits around on a dark & stormy night!

Someone read the Henry James novella Aspern Papers and found inspiration to make a movie about the real people (Mary, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley) that were fictionalized for literary movies, but made flesh for a biopic.

Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth make for a beautiful couple of poet Shelley and his young companion Mary Godwin. They are a couple of free-love, free spirits. Throw in the stepsister of Mary (Claire Claremont) who is moved to seduce Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) who greets Shelley with a kiss on the lips. Here we have the roots of The Aspern Papers.

It’s all the more intriguing because about ten years ago a lost manuscript of Claire was discovered in which she unloaded on the Romantic poets for their cruel attitudes.

This movie features Mary Shelley keeping her husband’s love letters and poems, savoring them. Of course, it was Claire who lived until 1879 and might have inspired Henry James to write his nasty novella about the mystery behind the free-love advocates.

The Shelleys meet Byron around the same time that Mary becomes fascinated with galvanism or electrifying dead bodies to bring them back to life.

The biopic is flavorful and masterly filmed, even giving us the dark and stormy night that Byron challenged them to write a ghost story. Dr. Polidori writes the first true vampire novel, and Mary writes Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus.

No one believes either was capable of such a feat—and their works were at first attributed to Shelley and Byron, respectively.

Byron comes across as a sniveling snake in this film, and Shelley is the whoremaster Mary’s father accuses him of being.

If you want to see the real Aspern Papers that Henry James alluded to in his covert way, this may be it.

 

 

 

Really Antony & Cleo

DATELINE: Streaming & Steamy History

Octavian Richard Dempsey

Richard Dempsey as Octavian!

A real surprise is a British documentary a few years ago, now on Amazon Prime for free, called The Real Antony and Cleopatra.

Imagine a British doc that never mentions the Shakespearean plays, nor quotes from them. Instead, we have a series of experts and scholars sitting on a stuffed Roman chaise lounge, somewhat uncomfortably. No, they do not recline as they drop morsels and bombs about the famous duo.

Did we say duo? It’s almost like the casting crisis of the 1963 Joe Mankiewicz movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  Rex Harrison felt slighted and left out, and he sued the studio to add his image to the suitors around the bed of Cleopatra.

The Egyptian queen was fond of murdering her younger brothers, and she was really Greek, descendant of Ptolemy. As an attractive 20-year old, she seduced the 50-year old Julius Caesar and later Marc Antony.

Cleopatra was all you might expect. She was a showgirl who knew how to stage publicity stunts better than Jussie Smollett. And, she was “attractive,” meaning she made the most of her plain looks. She was fluent with tongues (speaking six) and apparently used the tongue talent too in the boudoir.

Romans were aghast at Cleopatra’s morals, which may tell you something, considering the loose attitudes of the Romans.

As if to prove her sexuality, she had one child by Caesar and two more by Antony. He had a mixed manhood, being thought of as nearly exclusively homosexual, unless political marriage was involved. This film also lets you know he was well-endowed both on and off the battlements.

The real surprise here is the delightful re-enactors. Marina Morgan flashes eyeshadow as well as Miss Taylor, but the real delight here is young Octavian. He reportedly slept with Julius too in order to be adopted as a nephew.  As a 19-year old rival to Antony, Richard Dempsey is the golden-haired boy.

Octavian outmaneuvers Cleopatra militarily, but her symbolic death by snake bite left Augustus Octavian the one with the punctured ego.

This is an off-beat historical documentary that will tantalize all the fake news you learned from Hollywood Cleopatras.

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Neverland & Leaving Innocence Behind

DATELINE: To Bury Jackson

monster

Blog readers, media sycophants, gossip-mongers, and fake news purveyors, listen up:  we buried Michael Jackson years ago with ignominy and pathos. He was a bizarre freak that entertained us for a generation.

Now we learn that the evil of his ways still lives in a documentary produced by HBO called Leaving Neverland. Two young men now claim they were raped daily by Mr. Jackson as pre-adolescent boys.

The good music and fun videos of Michael Jackson are now a quaint recollection in the archives of music history. Perhaps it is time to bury Michael Jackson in a mausoleum of mudslinging.

A steady stream of accusers continues to tell us Michael Jackson was a perverted soul who preyed on children. If true, this was a hideous crime, and Michael Jackson died prematurely and under shameful and ugly circumstances. If you believe that punishment befits a crime, you may want more.

Today we have profiteers of media making money off another cash cow, and we have victims of crimes trying to rest their souls through revenge. And we think that is honorable and necessary for our culture and our souls.

All victims deserve honor and peace to live free of the horrible past. If shouting from Internet and cable rooftops about the dishonorable acts of music man helps, then we surely will hear more allegations and dark secrets.

The good of Michael Jackson has been buried with his Elephant Man bones.

And documentarians insist that we must pay attention and hear their cries because they are honorable defenders of victims. And, the family of the accused can go to court and sue them for $100million for slander.

 

We were fans who paid Michael Jackson a grand amount of money that he used to construct a Neverland, secure and secretive, a façade to hide whatever he wanted.

He deserved privacy for all he gave, said many.

Yet, victims continue to come forward now, using a platform by documentary filmmakers, the new yellow journalists. And, they tell us Michael Jackson was a monster.

When we watched him cavort and moonwalk, did we think he was evil? Were we all so naïve and must we still ignore the truth?

Do we still cry “fake news” every day at what the media and documentarians give us?

According to Leaving Neverland, Jackson seduced young boys with money and attention, using his child-like personality as camouflage for something unspeakable.

The accusations cannot be proved or disproved, but we all once loved his music and entertainment, not without cause.

History may yet rob Michael Jackson of whatever vestige of good his music gave us.

It appears now that he was a brutish beast, not Peter Pan. We have lost any reason to defend him.

Now we should pause because our memories are back in 1980s music videos with Jackson dancing Thriller. It now appears that playing a zombie of horror was only half the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Blue Book Plays Games

 DATELINE:  Bye-bye Birdie

Dead Birds  It’s raining dead birds!

Episode called “War Games” reportedly occurred during the Korean War when United States soldiers in a training mission claimed to be attacked by UFO lights. They suffered trauma, both physical and mental.

This is the premise of episode eight of the miniseries Project Blue Book. Where this is headed remains as mysterious as the weekly lights in the sky.

Of course, our intrepid and at-odds duo of oddball detective investigators are called in by their general bosses to solve the mystery. Captain Quinn and Professor Hynek continue to bicker over everything.

Neal McDonough as the house villain is given a bit more to do this time around, demanding that his investigators come up with answers and how to kill these threats to America. The men behind Project Blue Book cover ups even discuss the nuclear option.

One deranged soldier eschews protocol with the general officers, but he is cracking up and heating up. He seems to blow out the light bulbs above and heat the cup of coffee he holds. Yup, those aliens seem to be here.

Mike Malarkey has taken to barking orders at his professorial nemesis Aiden Gillen, who continues to ignore him. Their routine seems to have a begrudging respect, but who can really say?

The Hitchcock Birds seem to dominate this episode when the two men encounter flocks of starlings that do somersaults in midair where the platoon was attacked. Then, abruptly, in a “rain” of terror, dead birds pelt the two researchers.

We immediately thought of the CIA experiments with LSD on unsuspecting soldiers during the 1950s. Though this is never mentioned, it fits the final conclusion of our intrepid heroes.

Listening to Marlon Brando

DATELINE:  Method Man

Marlon Brando Fires Point Blank.

With its odd title, you may have trouble discerning what exactly is being told to whom.  Yet, Listen to Me Marlon is an affecting and striking documentary Showtime documentary about the legendary star of The Godfather, Streetcar Named Desire, and Reflections in a Golden Eye.

We wrote extensively about Brandon in Troubles in a Golden Eye, our movie biography, done with Hollywood master, Jan Merlin.

Intensely private and hostile to the press in the second half of his life, Brando made dozens and dozens of audio tapes of his philosophy, problems, and feelings. He clearly wanted to be remembered.

At the last he even had a digital map of his talking head so that it could be used sometime in futuristic movies.

In the meantime, we find many unusual photos and recreations of his unpleasant childhood in Omaha that he idealized. Though you see photos of associates and workmates, there is no gossip talk of colleagues. He speaks most admirably of Stella Adler, his acting teacher.

He does discuss his tortured children:  one committed suicide after her half-brother murdered her boyfriend. Christian died of pneumonia a few years after his father died.

He is thoughtful and sensitive, clearly appalled more and more by the money, profits, and legalities of movie-making. He worked three months a year for enormous salaries—and grew increasingly difficult to work with (ask Francis Ford Coppola).

A mutual friend of ours once told that Marlon was not like his public image: he was much, much softer. And that clearly comes across in his tapes.

Brando even rehearses how to die, which is chilling. He calls life the real improvisation and acting merely a deception of truth.

If you are a fan of Brando, or ever wondered about him, there may never be a more accurate depiction of his life—if only through his own distorted vision of self.

Jan Merlin & William Russo wrote Troubles in a Golden Eye, nonfiction about making the John Huston movie version of Carson McCullers’ novella Reflections in a Golden Eye. Brando and Elizabeth Taylor starred.

 

Aspern Papers: Relief for Headache

 DATELINE: Henry James Tale of Scandal

Untitled 3 Not his Doppleganger!

French director Julien Landais brings his rococo style to the proceedings of the Henry James tale with his usual interest in Dopplegangers (Jonathan Rhys Meyers has the same blue eyes as Alain-Fabien Delon and the director himself). He seems obsessed with his own stunning looks.

The sly novella by the master of manners and psychology, Henry James, is well-played out in The Aspern Papers. As Morton Vint, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is suitably shady as a snooping researcher. He is anachronistic in posture and demeanor (going hatless and with bohemian friends of the 1880s in Venice). He seems to hang around with a bunch of lesbians (shades of the Bostonians).

He wants the love letters of an aging woman and will stop at nothing to put his hands on them. There is no kill-fee here, and he is the progenitor of National Enquirer dirty deeds even back in the 19th century.

Yes, this is a literary film in the Ivory-Merchant mode. Indeed, James Ivory is executive producer—and all the old style is brought back with a cutting edge of nastiness for the 21st century with a young French director in charge.

When the poseur learns that all the papers are hidden by Juliana, one-time lover of Jeffrey Aspern (likely Percy Shelley based on details), he is moved to become ruthless in putting his grubby hands on them.

There is a dark secret here, often hinted broadly in flashbacks that Aspern was bisexual—with a Byronic friend—and Juliana.

All this adds to the charades played by each of the characters.

Joely Richardson (Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter) plays her dull, spinster niece here with no pretense of acting out the role of her aunt every night—as the earlier version with Susan Hayward showed. The old lady was likely Mary Shelley’s sister, Claire Claremont, who had “everything” when it comes to memorabilia of dead poets.

You may recognize strands of Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde before it blows into a full-force cliché to end the movie. It is effective, nevertheless. Here too the ring of Jeffrey Aspern, as in the earlier version, plays an intriguing role as the spinster niece puts a deal to the devil publisher if he wants the literary treasure.

Landais gives us a stunner for his full-length first effort, providing us with a controlled tour-de-force that makes us anticipate his next film. Brilliant, complex work.

Not So Happy Prince

DATELINE: Last Days of Oscar Wilde

Bosie & Oscar Morgan & Everett as Bosie & Oscar.

A movie about the last years of Oscar Wilde will hardly be a witty or charming piece of fluff. It is the stuff of tragedy, and director and star Rupert Everett does a masterful job presenting the sad, horrific last days of the most glorious wit of the 19th century.

The Happy Prince, of the film’s title, is a children’s tale that Wilde recounts several times for his own boys and for waifs he encounters in Paris.

Wilde is brutalized by publicity and a public that turns on him, bashing him as he descends into poverty and pathos.

Wilde’s sudden decline after two years at hard labor for his crime of love without a name is appalling to behold. At first, he is a beaten man of 45, but events turn him into a bloated, aging, suffering man with some kind of encephalitis. Loyal friends try to collect donations to keep him going, and he seems to promise to write again: but has lost his muse and impetus.

If there is a monster here, it is always Bosie, Alfred Lord Douglas, so cruel and so beautiful who abandons Oscar to squalor after a last fling in Capri. In a most unsympathetic role, Colin Morgan seems apt as the capricious flirt. Emily Watson is the beleaguered Constance, Wilde’s wife, who shuts him off ultimately and unwillingly without a farthing.

Edwin Thomas, as Robbie Ross, and Colin Firth, as Reggie Turner, are loyal to the end, as Wilde goes out on his terms of throwing caution and talent to the wind.

Tragic and unhappy though this biopic is, Everett is deft in his portrayal and his direction, making this a tour-de-force of conviction as well as acting. As a cautionary tale, the lessons are hard to face, but brilliantly conceived and played out.

 

 

Solicitations from Robert Kraft

 DATELINE:  Time to Call a Solicitor General

Mr. Kraft to you Known for Kissing His Players.

No, it’s not quite like receiving an invitation to a Super Bowl party, or even having a greeting from Santa Claus. You are accused of soliciting prostitutes, Mr. Kraft.

Owner and billionaire Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots has been charged by Florida police for entering a massage parlor and wanting more than a happy ending to the Patriots season.

At an age when most of his contemporaries are dead, 77-year old Mr. Kraft has shown a spark of life. We are not sure if we should wink and nod or congratulate him on enjoying whatever days are left to him. Another arrested user of masseuses is pushing 90, according to the published hit list.

Kraft apparently is using a service supplied by Chinese women who are essentially prisoners of the sex trade, kept under lock and key in a massage parlor to do the bidding of a stream of men.

Alas, the entire concept of sex workers is dubious. Unless there is criminal exploitation, we might well wonder why police haven’t found more important work than setting up candid cameras to catch your grandfather in flagrante delicto.

Are there no school shooters? Are there no gun nuts in the Coast Guard? Why are we focused on massage parlors?

Kraft was caught with his pants down on video apparently, according to some. In the tradition of Jussie Smollett, he is denying any transgression.

The massage parlor is only a few miles from the winter White House, and Kraft’s old pal to sex charges, the President of the United States, is even weighing in on the incident. We know Trump prefers to grab women’s crotches without paying by his own admission.

We may well scratch our head at why a billionaire septuagenarian would pay $75 for an hour’s dangerous liaison when he could have someone come to any private place of his bidding for a few more bucks.

We are of two minds: should we praise him and offer a medal for doing what most men his age can only wish?

Or should we prepare for the inevitable tombstone chiseling that will make this his last notorious act in a life of philanthropy and goodwill?

The ultimate profit goes to the media: this is not a game for gentlemen. Call your solicitor if you plan a trip to the massage parlor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jussie Smollett: Oscar Bait or Jail Bait?

DATELINE: Jussie Couldn’t Say NO!

Untitled Juicy Jussie Thugs to Order!

Jussie Smollett has produced, directed, and starred in his own adaptation of racial profiling. It was his profile on the Cinéma vérité camera, hanging by a newly purchased piece of rope, long enough to hang himself.

Costarring his body-builder trainers as the set-up men and kiss-and-tell boyfriends, this dramatic comedy went viral almost instantly. Not since the Blair Witch Project has there been something as unbelievable as Trump night riders reaching the limits of credulity within a week.

Two dumb-bunny brothers go to stores to buy bleach, rope for a necktie, and red hats (being unwilling to donate to the Trump campaign for official MAGA caps). They later cooperate with the police and admit they love President Trump like all good people from Nigeria (on Trump’s s**t-hole list). As Don Lemon said:  no self-respecting Trump supporter would be caught dead watching Empire.

Then, the celebrity star will go out at 2am on one of the coldest nights in Chicago history, not to find love, nor to create another Valentine’s Day Massacre, but to pick up a Subway sandwich with all the trimmings. A funny thing happened on the way to the sub shop.

Rave reviews for realism, including one from Trump who called it ‘terrible,’ gave way to a series of doubtful critiques that called Jussie the new Shoeless Joe Jackson. Cory Booker now plans to throw the book at Jussie.

Fans started to cry, “Jussie, say no. Say it ain’t so.”

Instead, the Chicago Police called it “911 without a license.”

Though he thought this might win him an Oscar, Smollett soon discovered that he was more likely to win an indictment by the grand jury for impersonating a national emergency.

Whether Jussie deserves a mini-Oscar, or something resembling an Emmy for his TV work, only a jury will tell. The Empire job may be about to fall.

In the meantime, the greatest performance of his life may end up as Jussie’s last hurrah.

Smollett: Jussie Say No!

 DATELINE: Hate Crime & Gay Bashing?

jussie  Studying Script?

The original horror and appalling crime against a self-identified gay actor from TV’s Empire brought gasps of shock. Now it seems to be on the verge of becoming an object lesson for people who denigrate gay life, hate crimes, and gay bashing.

If Jussie Smollett staged his attack like a bad movie script, he would be guilty of what used to be called a “publicity stunt,” in the old days of the 1950s when tabloid stars like Jayne Mansfield were always in the forefront of fake news.

If Smollett arranged for Empire extras to do this deed, you will have a diminished impact for all hate crimes by crypto-Nazi types. Already the vultures of hate are singling out the charges as spurious and laughable. It makes hate and gay bashing seem a joke. Those who are quick to pounce on gay people now feel justified in their disrespect.

Already the white rednecks originally described as wearing Trump MAGA caps have been dropped as the culprits. Latest revelation seems the not-charged suspects know Smollett and are Nigerian extras who work in Hollywood on the self-same show as Jussie. Yet, the crime happened in Chicago where crime is more credible.

Then, we hear Smollett was being written out of the script of the TV series—and moments of shock became moments of sickening revulsion that sympathy has been misplaced and kind hearts have been manipulated. Police want to re-interview the publicity-seeking actor. He makes appearances in full sympathy mode. Of course, he is an actor.

Police treat such matters with deference. If it looks like a crime, it may be a crime. The motive and culprits may require a Sherlock Holmes to resolve the logic and put to rest the likelihood of a publicity stunt.

In the meantime, the entire incident leaves a distaste far beyond the original shocking action. No one will emerge from this unscathed. The outrageous charge of a noose put around an actor’s neck and bleach thrown upon him suddenly looks like hyperbole gone to koo-koo-bird levels. It’s a bad script that demands a rewrite.

Turning a blind eye to this stuff may be the legacy of Jussie Smollett, not to mention the end of his career, or the making of his infamy…We may add to the next hate tale like this, “Jussie say no.”