Patterico's Pontifications

9/6/2018

Burt Reynolds, 1936-2018

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:21 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Burt Reynolds, who practically invented the good ‘ol boy movie in the 1970s, died from a heart attack at age 82, as confirmed earlier today by his publicist. No other details are available at this time.

I won’t make a point of recapping his career here, as the obituary in Variety does a far more thorough job than I possibly could. Along with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Clint Eastwood, Reynolds was probably the biggest box-office star of the 1970s, with one of those four being the highest-drawing male star for eight of the decade’s years (John Wayne and Sylvester Stallone account for the other two years). Apart from Eastwood, who was a top ten box office draw every single year of the decade, no other actor appeared in the top ten as often as Reynolds who made the list every year from 1973 through the end of the decade.

Though Reynolds was certainly excellent in his “Acting!” roles, he seemed to really enjoy portraying roughneck characters devoted to good times, even if that meant running somewhat afoul of the law. He didn’t play the grizzly sergeant exhorting his men to take the strategic hill from the enemy, nor did he play crusading lawyers out to challenge a rigged system, nor did he play the rich debonair businessman romancing the beautiful but troubled young woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Instead, he specialized in playing rascals, scalawags, libertines, and reprobates, but always with a dollop of good humor and bonhomie. A former college football star who famously posed nude for Cosmopolitan at the beginning of his career, Reynolds enjoyed physical roles that showcased his athleticism through intricate stuntwork.

By far, my favorite two Burt Reynolds roles are Bo “Bandit” Darville from Smokey and the Bandit and J.J. McClure from The Cannonball Run. Both movies were directed by Reynolds’ longtime buddy Hal Needham, a Korean War paratrooper and one-time stunt coordinator who made sure that all four Smokey and Cannonball movies were virtually reel-to-reel car-chases with as little plot as possible getting in the way of the story. These movies were part of my boyhood, and I especially loved the Cannonball Run movies because Reynolds & Needham assembled a fun cast (Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Roger Moore, Mel Tillis, and on and on), rolled cameras, and just let everybody yuk it up. Imagine being 12 years old and dreaming about racing from Connecticut to California in a purloined ambulance with Dom DeLuise, Jack Elam, Burt, and Farrah; I hoped perhaps someday that would be me.

Burt Reynolds, as much as this is a pretty trite cliché, lived life on his own terms. He went through a string of high-profile paramours, including a marriage to and ugly divorce from the beautiful Loni Anderson. He allegedly turned down the role of Han Solo, and in his most critically-acclaimed role he lost the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award to Robin Williams’ annoying scene-chewing in Good Will Hunting. He feuded with the media and, depending upon his mood, he could apparently be pretty surly towards his fans, especially in the final three decades of his life. But he damn near wrote the book on roguish charm (pipe down there Errol Flynn fans) and it’s impossible not to think of him every time I see a black TransAm or a truckload of Coors Beer.

Ave atque vale, Bandit.

ADDENDUM — I should have mentioned one other thing I love about Burt Reynolds: to the best of my knowledge, he never told anyone how they ought to vote.

– JVW

Playing Politics At Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings: Kamala Harris And Brett Kavanagh

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:16 am

[guest post by Dana]

Much is being made of an exchange that took place yesterday between presidential-hopeful and “one of the Democratic Party’s newest leading lights,” Sen. Kamala Harris and Judge Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing. An exchange that illustrates why elected officials on both sides of the aisle are regarded with suspicion and an unrelenting cynicism, as well as confirming that none are above manipulative grandstanding to score cheap political points whenever possible. Even Especially during the cross-examination of a nominee for the Supreme Court. All of it making the case that these hearings should not be held in front of cameras because politicians just can’t resist promoting themselves.

In the exchange, Harris asked Kavanaugh about whether he had ever had a conversation about Robert Mueller and his investigation with anyone at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres (founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney). She warned Kavanaugh to be sure about his answer. And Kavanaugh was very sure about his answer: he did not not answer the question directly but instead asked Harris if she had a specific individual in mind, or if she could provide him with a roster of names of those employed at the firm. A reasonable request given that the law firm employs more than 250 attorneys at any given time.

Here is the exchange:

In part:

During one tense exchange, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed the special counsel Robert Mueller or the Russia probe with anyone at the Kasowitz, Benson and Torres law firm. Marc Kasowitz, a partner at the firm, is one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers.

Mueller is leading the inquiry into Russia’s influence in the 2016 US presidential election and the investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice in the matter.

Harris asked Kavanaugh: “Have you had any conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that firm? Yes or no?”

“Is there a person you’re talking about?” Kavanaugh asked.

“I’m asking you a very direct question — yes or no?” Harris said.

“I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,” Kavanaugh replied.

Harris’ question appeared to puzzle the Supreme Court nominee, who paused for long periods before asking the California senator if she wanted to know whether he spoke with a specific person at the firm about Mueller.

“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris said, before rephrasing her question: “Did you speak with anyone at that law firm about Bob Mueller’s investigation?”

“I’m not remembering anything like that, but I want to know a roster of people, and I want to know more,” Kavanaugh said.

Harris ended up dropping the line of inquiry without providing any documents supporting the insinuation that Kavanaugh had indeed had said conversations.

Politico notes:

The only explanation for the back-and-forth came from a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity, who said Wednesday night that some in the party “have reason to believe that a conversation happened and are continuing to pursue it.”

If tangible evidence of that conversation doesn’t emerge, Harris and fellow Democrats are likely to face serious questions of their own from the GOP about whether their attempt to pin down Kavanaugh was little more than a game of gotcha.

Then again:

Untitled

And this just now:

Kavanaugh said Thursday that he has not discussed or given any hints about his views of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I haven’t had any inappropriate conversations about that investigation with anyone. I’ve never given anyone any hints, forecasts, previews, winks, nothing about my view as a judge or how I would rule as a judge or anything related to that,” he said.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Geniuses Destroy Their Own Property to Own Nike and the Libs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:21 am

A typical reaction to Nike featuring Colin Kaepernick in an ad:

The guy is setting the grass on fire in addition to his own property. Other tweets have shown people cutting up their own socks, or cutting up their own shorts while wearing them, to remove the swooshes. But still use those articles of clothing that, um, they already paid for.

I saw this image on JD’s Facebook page:

Nike Doesn't Care

This all prompted what may be my most viral tweet to date:

I composed this post while sipping a delicious cup of coffee made by my Keurig coffeemaker.


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