[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

One of Mrs. Salad's picks. She loooves Brad Pitt. Spoiler: she did not care for the ending. I had high hopes, slightly disappointed, due to Robert Zemeckis being in the director's chair. This is no Back to the Future. The following description is about what you would get from watching the trailer, but (beware) it's about the whole first half of the movie.

It's another WW2 movie for Brad. He plays two-fisted assassin Canadian Max Vatan, going undercover in Casablanca around 1942. ("I wonder if he'll go to Rick's? Everybody goes to Rick's." But I think this set is after Rick left town.) Max's assignment: kill the German ambassador to Morocco, because he's an asshole Nazi. To accomplish that, Max must hook up with the local pièce de résistance, specifically including the lovely Marianne Beauséjour, played by the equally lovely Marion Cotillard. They must pose convincingly as man and wife to get invited to a party….

Real love develops between Max and Marianne, because they are Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, duh. Post-Casablanca, they settle down to domestic bliss in London, having acquired a lovely infant daughter along the way. But (oh oh) Max is called in by his superiors, who have bad news: Marianne is suspected of being an asshole Nazi spy! Friends, you might think you have domestic troubles now and then.

It's a decent movie, although I wish it had moved along a little faster. It made the Hollywood Reporter list of 2016's biggest box office flops.

Last Modified 2024-01-26 6:18 AM EDT

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Proverbs 21:30 is a head-scratcher:

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
    that can succeed against the Lord.

First thought: well, of course. He's omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, y'know. (Thanks, Lutheran upbringing!) That makes wisdom, insight, and planning very ineffective tools in comparison.

But on second thought, you might as well try. The Lord might not care enough about your plans to squash them like a bug. He may even think they're cute.

■ The Washington Free Beacon brings the latest news from the University Near Here: UNH Seeks to ‘Ensure Civility’ to Develop Campus Diversity.

University of New Hampshire students who do not behave with "civility" could face disciplinary action, according to the co-chair of the UNH presidential task force on campus climate.

Fearless predictions: (1) the vague "civility" test will not be deployed with an even content-neutral hand, but only in alignment with the Progressive oppressor/oppressed narrative; (2) Anyone who might even question that narrative in a public setting will be accused of "uncivil" behavior, investigated, and pilloried; (3) Should such disputes ever make it to the court system, UNH will be slapped down, hard, and deservedly so.

@kevinNR says what needs to be said about so-called "price gouging": Price-Gouging Is a Public Service. It's about more than that, and well worth your time to read. But:

Prices are how we ration scarce goods, and the pain associated with paying unusually high prices is how we learn not to put off laying in supplies until after the disaster has already happened. The guy with supplies to sell has, either through luck or foresight, managed to put himself in possession of what you need — and you did not. You don’t have to thank him, but you do have to pay his price. The profit he makes encourages him to keep planning for the future. If that hurts — it should. Maybe you’ll learn to do better next time. But the alternative to paying the higher prices isn’t paying a lower price — it is having no gasoline or water or toilet paper at all, at any price. You can try to regulate away that reality; ask the Venezuelans how that’s going for them.

I've had little to laugh at over the past few weeks of news, but one report tried to generate outrage over a gas station allegedly charging a woman "nearly $70" for … wait for it … "two cases of beer".

Lady, I suggest a simple remedy. Should you be asked to pay $70 for two cases of beer, just walk away. Unless it's really good beer.

■ Our Google LFOD alert rang for an article plugging the new movie American Assassin: Producer Reveals How Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp Reached the Big Screen.

The producer [Lorenzo di Bonaventura] won the author over when he said, "I'm from New Hampshire. I'm from the Live Free or Die State. You don't have to worry about me and violence."

… and, free plug here, that movie opens today.

■ John Tierney writes at City Journal: The Corruption of Public Health.

The tobacco industry faces an unprecedented threat. Since a new rival, the electronic cigarette, emerged in 2010, the smoking rate in America has plummeted, especially among young people. The e-cigarette delivers nicotine in vapor without the hundreds of toxins and dozens of carcinogens in cigarette smoke, eliminating at least 95 percent of the harm of smoking, according to England’s national health agency, which endorsed its use after extensive studies. The Royal College of Physicians, Britain’s most eminent medical authority, reached a similar conclusion and warned that it would be “unjust, irrational and immoral” for public officials to discourage smokers from switching to a safer form of nicotine.

… and, Tierney writes, that “unjust, irrational and immoral” activity is exactly what's happening here in the good old USA, with "public health" officials in the forefront.

■ If you don't trundle down to the multiplex for American Assassin this weekend, Robert Tracinski has an alternate suggestion: Watch This Movie To Debunk The ‘Tech Monopoly’ Hysteria. What's the movie? Well, first, let's hear the setup:

The frenzy to regulate big technology firms as “monopolies” is starting to spread like influenza across the political spectrum. Turning Web search and social media into government-regulated utilities is an idea now endorsed by Josh Marshall on the Left and Steve Bannon on the Right. It also got the surprising support of neoconservative intellectual Bill Kristol as part of a “No Labels” agenda. So now this idea is coming at us from the left, right, and center.

This is the surest sign that it’s probably a bad idea.

OK, here's the spoiler: the movie Tracinski suggests is 1998's You've Got Mail. The main plot thread was that Tom Hanks' discount mega-bookstore was imminently going to drive Meg Ryan's cute cozy corner (full retail price) bookstore out of business, through the forces of brute capitalism.

The film was released in 1998. Amazon was founded in 1994 and had its IPO in 1997. It was about to crush big discount bookstores—does anyone still remember the other big chain, Borders?—and nobody had a clue. There isn’t a single mention in the film of Amazon or online sales.

And of course, our older readers will recognize the movie title as a reference to America Online. And then realize that they haven't thought about America Online for about a decade.

Tracinski: "The overall lesson is the folly of judging “monopoly” power from a static snapshot at one moment in time."

■ Another day, another "heckler's veto" successfully used to shut down a controversial speaker: Charles Murray disinvited from New England Catholic college.

A small private university in New England recently cancelled a speaking event by speaker Charles Murray due to the fear that his appearance there would generate violent protests.

That's Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts; although Murray recently spoke at Harvard without violence, the Catholic college's officials were unwilling to make the Assumption they'd be as lucky/competent.

■ I might get back into football-watching after the World Series. (Specifically: after the Red Sox either win the World Series, or don't.) But for even mild football fans like me, Gregg Easterbrook's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" is a lot of fun to read. It's moved to the Weekly Standard site this year, and if you can evade their obnoxious subscription pleas, it's recommended. Here is: is a lot of Tuesday Morning Quarterback: There's Plenty of Time to Panic Later. And it's not just football. Easterbrook notes the imminent fiery (intentional) demise of the Cassini spaceprobe, and reflects on the space program, and…

Three years ago, Congress told the Air Force to stop using the Russian-built RD180 engine that for more than a decade has powered most rockets that place spy satellites in orbit. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported the replacement-engine project is so fouled up, U.S.-built engines equivalent to the RD180 won’t fly till at least 2022, and maybe not till 2025. Eleven years is the span between the Vanguard rocket blowing up on the pad in 1957, and the crew of Apollo 8 reading the Genesis story from lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. Yet that’s how long the ultra-subsidized U.S. aerospace establishment says it now takes to produce a rocket engine similar to long-existing engines. Please join me in rooting for Elon Musk to disrupt this business.

I'm rooting for both the Pats (Easterbrook: "Flying Elvii") and Musk.