The Republican Party has a problem. They have mastered the art of gerrymandering to the point that they can win the House every two years while receiving less total votes, by millions, than Democratic candidates. They have also been able to leverage the conservatism of less populous states to win control of the Senate, even though the Republican members of that body, over the course of the three election cycles that turn over the Senate, received less votes than their Democratic counterparts across the aisle, again by millions. But the story is different when it comes to presidential politics.
I've written a lengthy column about what I thought was the best in film that I saw from this past year. Now it's time for the worst--for the dark side of my cinematic experience to come forward. There won't be as much structure here as in the Empty Balcony Awards. It doesn't matter what year a film was released, or if I've even seen it within the last year. These are awards for film garbage.
I like a sense of inflated self-importance. It's one of the reasons I maintain a website that has never managed to garner more than a few thousand hits in a month. (Except for that one time the site was hacked by someone in Russia and the increase in traffic crashed the servers. Sorry about that, Dreamhost.) Does anyone out there really care what I have to say, on any topic whatsoever? I'm sure there are a few people who do, here and there. But I'm only pretending that anything that appears in this space is more than just tiny words muttered into the vast information ether. I read somewhere, once, that we, here in the Information Age, are generating data at a per day rate that eclipses the accumulated data of the entirety of human history from before the internet. That's a lot of noise, and no matter how relevant one's contribution, that contribution still consists mostly of noise.
Every serious actor has to do a film where they play a deranged freak--someone sociopathic or supremely bent who decides to interact with the people around them, much to those people's distress. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, and many others, all played men who were malignancies to every person they met. Jake Gyllenhaal has come close before, but with Nightcrawler, last year's film from writer/director Dan Gilroy, he has gone full creepy.
Former baseball great Chipper Jones has slipped into the outrage/persecution complex. His crime? He wrote something stupid on Twitter. This past Friday, Chipper wrote, referring to the Sandy Hook massacre, "So the FBI comes out and confirms that Sandy Hook was a hoax! Where is the outrage? What else are we being lied to about? Waco? JFK? Pfff..." The internet was quick to respond, and Chipper had to return to Twitter to type up an apology. A supplicant come on bended knee, Chipper had roused the fury of the internet irate, and offered his due penance. He shouldn't worry. The attention span for matters like this, especially involving retired athletes who are normally far away from the public eye, is short. He could have gotten away with doing nothing, but that would have meant staying offline for a week or so. Who wants to do that?