And though it isn't perfect, it's far from an "instant camp classic" as described in another thread.
And though it isn't perfect, it's far from an "instant camp classic" as described in another thread.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 115||01/20/2014|
I trust Dick Morris more than this bitch.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 1||05/14/2013|
How many Oscars will it win?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 2||05/14/2013|
Oprah crap fest. Would rather hear about Jake Gylenhaal and Chris Pine joining Depp and Streep in Into the Woods.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 3||05/14/2013|
The Weinsteins must have other Oscar bait on their shelves because I read that they are dumping this in August.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 5||05/14/2013|
Rumor has it that Oprah will win Best Actress. Heard that from Harvey Weinstein.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 7||05/14/2013|
Oh bless the lovely Lynn Stairmaster. I knew it would be her.
I want to know what those new Marion films are like so fill us in when you can!
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 8||05/14/2013|
Yuck. Oprah improvising with Terrence Howard? You had me at goodbye. Pass. Nothing about Jane Fonda?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 9||05/14/2013|
[quote]This will be THE film to beat for the SAG Awards for Best Cast of a Motion Picture. It will be remembered at Oscar time.
Could we expect anything less from Lynn Stairmaster?
Remember: she told us not only that "les Miserables" would win at least fifteen Oscars, but that [bold]the child who played Gavroche[/bold]--!!!!!--would be nominated for an Oscar.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 10||05/14/2013|
Oh Lynn, you suck up harder than Nicole Kidman at Cannes. Did they give you the 75 dollars in a bag to post this?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 11||05/14/2013|
You see why movie publicists keep inviting Lynn Stairmaster to these advance screenings: she immediately gets on the Internet afterwards and predicst that everyone in the film is going to be nominated for an Oscar.
Lynn, you are truly the movie publicist's #1 friend.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 12||05/14/2013|
If Oprah is the main selling point, this could bomb.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 13||05/14/2013|
LS, who plays Jackie HO? How was Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 14||05/14/2013|
What is Marion Cotillard going to win an Oscar for this year, Lynn?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 15||05/14/2013|
Oh, how predictable some of you turned out to be right out of the starting gate. I actually think your boiling rage pointed at my direction might have something to do with the fact that I've happened to have had the opportunity to see the likes of W.E., Les Miserables and now this one months before the rest of you.
Oprah does a good job in the role, not a great job. She's effective. She doesn't tear your heart out the way that Viola Davis would have. But Daniels directs her extremely well. He's an amazing actor's director. I doubt Mo'Nique would have been as brilliant as she was in Precious without someone like Daniels guiding her. Winfrey is a non-actor but her lack of natural ability doesn't stick out as awkwardly as it could and I'd give most of the credit to Daniels. She doesn't even deserve an Oscar nomination for her work in this but she might if there isn't a heavy competitive field. If she gets a slot over Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant or Blood Ties I will not be happy.. Hee hee, hah hah.
Someone I forgot to mention is the young man who plays the couple's younger son Charlie. We didn't get a cast crawl so I don't know what his name was but he was sensational. He brings humor (along with Cuba Gooding Jr) to the film which is desperately needed. He's only in two scenes but both of them are showstoppers.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 16||05/14/2013|
Does Jane Fonda open the goddamn door?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 17||05/14/2013|
Jane Fonda is in only one small scene as Nancy Reagan, she asks Cecil to attend a state dinner with Gloria. We're meant to see it as a kind gesture at first yet we soon find out the Reagans only did it for show.
Melissa Leo (Mamie Eisenhower) has been cut from the film altogether.
Minka Kelly as Jacqueline Kenned has a few words to say but that's it. Jackie's quiet refusal to take off her blood-ostained clothing following her husband's assassination is a very good moment, though. I don't think a scene with Cecil reading a story to little Caroline was terribly necessary.
Robin Williams is just OK as Eisenhower, he has maybe two small scenes. Same with Alan Rickman as Reagan. The only ones who have relatively strong moments are Marsters as JFK, Cusack as Nixon and Liev Schreiber as LBJ. They skip Jimmy Carter although his portrait can be prominently seen at one point.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 18||05/14/2013|
Thanks Lynn - I'll look for this at WalMart.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 19||05/14/2013|
Lynne, I love your advance screening reports...even if you're more generous than Jeffrey Lyons in your critiques.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 20||05/15/2013|
Heh heh, thanks, R20.
I apologize for the typos above.
If I was a PR shill which some of you accuse me of being why would I criticize Winfrey's performance? I wouldn't. Harvey might get her a nomination (and it should be for Best Supporting Actress) but she won't win. No way.
Mariah Carey plays Cecil's mother who is raped by Thomas, the plantation owner at the beginning of the film. He is played by the impossibly gorgeous Alex Pettyfer. Carey never says a word, her character is catatonic following the rape. Vanessa Redgrave has a few good moments as Thomas' mother who teaches little Cecil to read but is not exactly a warm and fuzzy grandmotherly type.
It must be stressed that the scenes of young Lewis participating in the civil rights movement are harrowing. There's a particularly difficult to watch sequence in which a group of black students sit at the counter of a diner and are attacked for not sitting in the Negro section. But these sequences are expertly directed and not excessive.. I shudder to think what Spike Lee would have done with this material.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 21||05/15/2013|
[quote]I actually think your boiling rage pointed at my direction
More like mild and bemused disdain.
[quote]might have something to do with the fact that I've happened to have had the opportunity to see the likes of W.E., Les Miserables and now this one months before the rest of you
BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA!
*wipes tears of joy away from eye*
Oh yeah, we all wanted to see "W.E." so desperately!!!
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 22||05/15/2013|
Uhhh, yeah, you did, R22, because it was directed by Madonna.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 23||05/15/2013|
There is a very famous casting director called Lynn Stalmaster (a man, not a woman) -- maybe some of you here knew that, but it was news to me when I happened to read something about him the other day. I always wondered why DL's Gene Shalit referred to him/herself as Lynn Stairmaster...
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 24||05/15/2013|
How would Mariah Carey and Alex Pettyfer have a child that looks like Forest Whitaker? Hell, MC and Nick Cannon didn't have children that look like FW. Or is it just a random rape scene and not Cecil's conception?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 25||05/15/2013|
[quote]Uhhh, yeah, you did, [R22], because it was directed by Madonna.
Oh, honey, [italic]no.[/italic] Not even the slightest bit.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 26||05/15/2013|
This sounds like a terrible t.v. movie! Oprah is not getting my $12.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 27||05/15/2013|
Is Oprah a lead or a supporting?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 28||05/15/2013|
R25, Thomas the plantation owner isn't Cecil's dad. His father is shot dead by Thomas.
Sorry to disappoint but Pettyfer doesn't show any skin in this. I sure wish Lenny Kravitz did because that is one beautiful man.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 29||05/15/2013|
Did Lee Daniels get to fuck Alex Pettyfer? That's the only way that no-talent can get cast these days.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 30||05/15/2013|
please answer my question!!
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 31||05/15/2013|
Lynn, I HATE your taste in film. You are so off on every single one of your reviews, at least to me. But I LOVE your pluck! You just keep on coming here and begging to be picked. I would so want to have a drink with you, just not see a movie after.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 32||05/15/2013|
[quote]He's an amazing actor's director. I doubt Mo'Nique would have been as brilliant as she was in Precious without someone like Daniels guiding her.
Holy shit, apparently you haven't seen "Shadowboxer" or the embarrassing performances of "The Paperboy". Mo'Nique's performance was courtesy of Mo'Nique.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 34||05/15/2013|
MELISSA LEO - CUT FROM FILM? . That was a performance I was looking forward to seeing.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 35||05/15/2013|
I laughed at r17 - but isn't that Mary Fisher (She-Devil)?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 36||05/15/2013|
R32, you sound like someone I'd want to have a drink with, too. I don't know if it's "pluck" that brings me back here to express my views on films I've seen at test screenings, though. I really do enjoy the attacks on some level, they can be quite amusing.
M, you have nothing to worry about re: Oprah. I haven't seen August: Osage County yet but I sense your performance in it will blow everybody else away, including my beloved Marion.
R34, your post makes no sense.
Good catch, R24. Lynn Stalmaster was THE casting director back in the day.
Back to The Butler-another performance to single out is Yaya Alafia (sp?) as Carol Hammie, the love interest of Lewis. Carol's exquisitely pretty but also has intelligence and, uhh, pluck. She endures several hideous experiences while participating in civil rights exercises and ends up being radicalized. She looks like Angela Davis if she was hot. There is a FABULOUS scene where Oprah's character Gloria calls her a low-class bitch for belching at the dinner table. And Gloria then smacks her son Lewis for calling Sidney Poitier an Uncle Tom. That is one great scene.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 37||05/15/2013|
Yes, Mary Fisher.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 38||05/15/2013|
Oprah is getting the Oscar, I just have that feeling.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 39||05/15/2013|
Wait, wait, wait...MINKA KELLY is playing JACKIE O?!??!
I can't fucking wait to see this. If it's anything less than the new Showgirls, I'll be bitterly disappointed.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 40||05/15/2013|
Not when I have Grace of Monaco out Dec. 27. I am the only one of Kevin's Angels who actually blows Harvey. Kisses from Cannes, Nicole
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 41||05/15/2013|
I heard from someone close to the production that the film has been scoring through the roof at these test screenings. And that Oprah is amazing in it.
With Harvey steering the ship, I bet she gets an Oscar nom.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 42||06/03/2013|
Oprah and Meryl are winning the Oscars. You can call it in June.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 43||06/03/2013|
Will this be released in 3-D? Since Oprah is in it.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 44||06/03/2013|
Viola IS getting The Oscar for Never Back Down...
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 45||06/03/2013|
I forgot to mention the wonderful performance of Clarence Williams III in this. The role is comparatively tiny but his character is enormously touching. The sequence in which this old man shows kindness and forgiveness to the young version of the protagonist is somewhat reminiscent of Les Miserables-you'll know what I mean when you see it.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 46||06/05/2013|
Lynn, are you really trying to lord it over us, bragging that you get to see crapfests like W.E. and Les Miserables months before most of us never see them? You couldn't pay me enough.
Surely there are more dignified ways to make a living?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 47||06/05/2013|
Oh, dear, R47. I hope you get some rest tonight. You clearly need it.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 48||06/05/2013|
Oprah looks like a fat slug these days. She could barely fit in her seat the other night at THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 49||06/05/2013|
Lynn, so would you say Mariah Carey isn't very good in this movie? I'm shocked to hear that she gets raped in the movie. Do you see that scene?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 51||06/21/2013|
From what I've seen in the trailer, The Butler looks extremely trite. JFK is portrayed in a heroic light while Richard Nixon is the devil incarnate.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 52||06/21/2013|
This thread would be pathetically hilarious if it weren't so tragic.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 53||06/21/2013|
Mariah Carey is only in the first five minutes or so. Her character gets dragged into a shack by Alex Pettyfer's character and raped. The rape apparently renders her mute. Her husband protests and he gets shot in the head. The son leaves the plantation and we never see her or even hear about her again. She had a far more significant role in Daniels' Precious. I'm sure she just did this cameo as a favor to him.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 54||06/22/2013|
Oh my god, that rape scene with Mariah sounds horrible!
Ugh, I hope she at least did a decent job with a scene like that. Actors who don't pull off rape scenes well can just RUIN a traumatic scene like that
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 55||06/26/2013|
Sorry, Creshal, the rape scene occurs off-screen.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 56||06/27/2013|
Damn, and I was going to replay that scene over and over, like Goldie Hawn replaying Meryl's death scene in "Death Becomes Her".
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 57||06/28/2013|
Sounds like a crappy OWN or Lifetime movie.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 58||06/28/2013|
It's not crappy.
I was at the premiere tonight.
Oprah will be remembered at Oscar time.
And Lynn Stairmaster is right: the actor plays Charlie steals his scenes.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 59||08/06/2013|
And although slavery was obviously a heinous system of persecution I just didn't care for Cecil equating plantations with concentration camps.
Slavery was completely horrible but please! people in concentration camps in the Holocaust saw their babies being thrown into the air, and used as target practice, they used the hair of the dead for stuffing for pillows, made soap from the fat of the skin of the bodies,etc. One of those who are in charge of the camps in World War 2 requested skin with tattoos on them because his wife collected them and made lamp shades out of them. A lady who they called the Bitch of Buchwald was a wife of one of the generals who ran a concentration camp. She was extremely ruthless to the point that she had fingers from dead bodies to be used as light switches.And she rode on her horse to see who looked in her direction so she could send that person to his or her death. she love to see people tortured.
The camps in Eastern Europe in the 90s the people were tortured with mind boggling ways.
Again, I am fully aware the slaves went through a lot, and I have read a lot on American slavery and it's truly awful,but there is no comparison to the concentration camps of World War 2 and many others. I'm getting so tired of movies which there is a constant message how rotten white people are. Oprah is a billionaire, Forrest Whittaker is a successful actor, we have the first black president in the White House, we have many African American congress men and women,and in the president's cabinet, and the list goes on and on. White people did play a big role making these people successful, and placed in power positions, good grief!
BTW, I think it is over the top Forrest Whittaker hair is done like Obama's when Forrest is playing someone who worked in the White House through the 50s to the 80s.
NO! I'm not a Repub! No I'm not a Frau.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 60||08/06/2013|
I disagree re: Oprah, R59, but nice to see we agree re: the young man who plays Charlie. He really is exceptional in this.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 61||08/06/2013|
so is Melissa Leo as Mamie Eisenhower in the movie or was she cut out? and if so was Oprah scared Melissa might win another OSCAR? i for one am only going to watch The Butler for Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 62||08/14/2013|
Went to a Bafta screening last week. Very good. Not perfect, but enjoyable. It'll be a best picture contender. Oprah was terrific. So was Forest Whitaker. Great ensemble cast and fun cameos for the presidents and wives. Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. Genius.
I'd recommend it.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 63||08/14/2013|
hey R63 was Melissa Leo as Mamie Eisenhower in the movie? she would of had scenes with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower i looked up her IMDb page and she is no longer listed as having appeared in The Butler
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 64||08/14/2013|
[quote]And Lynn Stairmaster is right: the actor plays Charlie steals his scenes.
You're aware that's not a good thing, aren't you?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 65||08/14/2013|
So how did Lynn like "August: Osage County"
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 66||08/14/2013|
I just can't believe that anyone would think this affected persona was witty, funny, or captivating in any way. You sound like a fucking idiot. The end.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 67||08/14/2013|
so was Melissa Leo cut from the movie?
anyone who saw it know?
please. thank you.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 68||08/14/2013|
Rave review in the New York Times.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 69||08/15/2013|
Can't believe anybody gave Daniels money to make a movie after the debacle of "The Paperboy". I like campy/bad films, but this one was so poorly made I couldn't even get through it.
Though some of the blame could be put on the casting. Kidman dusts off her "To Die For" character 20 yeas later and adds a suthun accent. McConnaughey does the same character he always does. Efron, despite a gym body and a handsome face, is always oddly unsexy (risque' scenes are squirmy- you just want them to end).
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 70||08/15/2013|
Here's the NY Times rave.
Suck it, haters.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 71||08/15/2013|
I hope this movie tanks big time because there are nothing but complete assholes who are in this cast. besides, they said it is loosely based on this butler's story. Rent, Backstairs at the White House. It is a true story of a black maid who worked at the White House practically her whole life. Also, the cast is phenomenal and there are no agenda's behind this story. It is told like it was period. I plan to buy a copy of this miniseries.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 72||08/15/2013|
Big Woo R71, NY Times is so PC that they don't even report what they really think about the film because it's about an African American and a large part of the cast are African American.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 73||08/15/2013|
[quote]Melissa Leo (Mamie Eisenhower) has been cut from the film altogether.
That's got to be a plus. I can't even begin to imagine her in that role.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 74||08/15/2013|
R6, thank you very much. Yours is one of the best posts I've read on DL, ANYwhere. Thanks for summarizing the film very well; I especially appreciate 'cause I won't be able to see (health;transportation; long story) until someday on video (I realize is quicker than I think! -yes, I'm old.)
I have perhaps a BIT of a problem off the bat with, "...Oprah...affair...Terence Howard..."(??!! does she look especially good in this film??)
And wow, I'M surprised to picture James Marsden as JFK??! (have to get "Hop" - which I actually liked - out of my mind, hee-hee!)
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 75||08/15/2013|
Okay - no one has mentioned that just maybe the prevailing mood/subconcious of the country/filmgoers is going to be ramped up a bit, seeing this film, by the Trayvon Martin killing/murdered getting off free? Anyone???
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 76||08/15/2013|
[quote]Ms. Winfrey, meanwhile, demonstrates that, in addition to being the most famous and powerful woman in the world, she is a fine character actor.)
P.S. that is how those of us in the film business say someone is fat....."character actor"
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 77||08/15/2013|
It just sounds like audience repellent.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 78||08/15/2013|
True dat, r73. NYT wouldn't dare criticize it.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 79||08/16/2013|
It seems that "The Butler" will win every Oscar award.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 80||08/16/2013|
[quote]every Oscar award.
English is not r80's first language
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 81||08/16/2013|
I will look for it on my next flight.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 82||08/16/2013|
Oprah's corset to win Best Visual Effects!!!!!
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 83||08/16/2013|
The Washington Post gives The Butler 2 stars, this doesn't look good.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 84||08/16/2013|
Racism!!!! Racism!!!!!=The Washington Post
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 85||08/16/2013|
The film critic for NPR's "Morning Edition" wasn't impressed by The Butler. Though he didn't say "Don't go," he got close to saying that.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 86||08/16/2013|
I think it's tragic that Jimmy Carter was skipped over! But I do understand it in light of the terrible casting conflict that arose. I have it on good authority, Jimmy insisted Jeff Bridges play him, and then Rosalyn got very mean and insisted that she would play herself opposite Jeff Bridges, and then Jeff Bridges said he was busy playing with Ryan Reynolds and was unavailable.
At one point, Rosalyn threatened to divorce Jimmy, but they increased the dosage on her meds and she's doing fine. Jimmy, of course is still hurt and disappointed. He refused to comment when they found him at the airport heading out to Dafur to build houses. Without Rosalyn. There'll be more on this item later...
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 87||08/16/2013|
I was very underwhelmed. The script and direction are very choppy as the movie bumps along from big event to big event; yes, there are a couple of good moments -- I loved the crosscutting between a White House dinner and a Woolworth's protest -- but they are few and far between. Forest Whitaker is good, David Oyelowo is terrific as the rebellious son, but Oprah Winfrey is laughably bad -- more Razzie-worthy than Oscar-worthy. Though, as far as bad acting goes, she gets a run for her money with John Cusack's hilariously awful Richard Nixon.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 88||08/17/2013|
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 89||08/17/2013|
R88, our opinions could hardly be more different. I enjoyed the movie in spite of myself. I really didn't want to see it, but my partner did... so I went.
I'm surprised how moving it was. I was bawling at the end. And Oprah is really good -- much better than in Color Purple. And I hated the crosscutting between the state dinner and the lunch counter -- just too heavy handed. My favorite scenes were the intimate family stuff -- black middle class social life. The parties, the food, the music. They were authentic and fresh. All the black actors are great. The white actors... eh... not so much. Jane Fonda is perfect. Vanessa Redgrave delivers. But the rest are pretty bad, some laughably so. There's a young black actor named Elijah Kelley who plays the younger son. He's amazing. Just a couple scenes, but he really is good and very memorable.
It's a good history lesson too. Most of it I knew from Garrow's MLKing autobiography, but it's always good to be reminded.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 90||08/17/2013|
I still remember those two main scenes in which Elijah Kelley appears. Damn, he's talented. You really do find yourself sitting up and thinking "Who the hell is he?" Talk about a scene-stealer.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 91||08/17/2013|
I root for Lee Daniels. How many gays and/or blacks ever earn a platform as he has?
But, his movies are often terrible, often after the fact. He tackles such high minded issues and topics that the movies sometimes initially seem good or "important" but after a while (sometimes months down the road), you realize how much the movie sucked. Also, there's usually some genuinely great performances (often among laughably bad performances) which detracts from how bad the movie is.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 92||08/17/2013|
Hated this movie with a passion.
The only thing I liked was the torture of Mariah Carey in the first 5 minutes. Someone should do that to her in real life and get her off her high horse. And she gets third billing. Give me a break.
If a white director made this movie, Spike Lee would have decried the glossing over of black history for the highlights that is by now just buzzwords.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 93||09/10/2013|
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 94||09/10/2013|
Four Historians Take On 'The Butler's' Racist Depiction of Reagan
By: Courtney Coren
Four Ronald Reagan historians have slammed the portrayal of former President Reagan in the movie "The Butler," saying that the 40th president's "attitudes toward race" as shown in the movie are inaccurate.
They begin the article, "What 'The Butler' gets wrong about Ronald Reagan and race," published in The Washington Post, by recounting instances in Reagan's life when he decried racism and took a stand for the African-American community.
While serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild, for example, "Ronald Reagan called upon the entertainment industry to provide greater employment for black actors." That position was controversial at the time.
When giving his infamous "evil empire" speech in March 1983 against the Soviet Union, Reagan also attacked the "the resurgence of some hate groups preaching bigotry and prejudice" in America.
These examples came after the historians recount the time when young Reagan brought two African American football teammates home from college to spend the night with his family.
That is hardly the "sense" of Reagan that one gets from the Lee Daniels film the historians explain.
The four historians, who have more than a dozen Reagan biographies between them, are Stephen F. Hayward, whose books include "The Age of Reagan"; Paul Kengor, author of 2007's "The Crusader"; Craig Shirley, who wrote last year's "Rendezvous With Destiny" and the 2005 book "Reagan's Revolution"; and Kiron K. Skinner who has compiled several books on Reagan's life including "Reagan's Path to Victory."
They say they are concerned "by the movie's portrayal of Reagan's attitudes toward race."
"We are especially concerned because many Americans readily accept Hollywood depictions of history as factual," they add.
"The Butler" is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, an African American who worked as a butler in the White House under eight presidents and resigned during Reagan's tenure. Allen's character is named Cecil Gaines in the movie.
The quartet of historians are mainly concerned about two instances they say are inaccurately portrayed in the movie, which has topped the box office ratings for the past two weeks.
The first is when Gaines, played by Forest Whitaker, is given a personal invitation to attend a state dinner, but he is seen feeling very uncomfortable because "he feels he's being used as a political tool, a prop, a token African American."
It is not long after this that he resigns from his position at the White House because of "supposed humiliation" at the event.
However, the Religion News Service said Allen "was especially fond of the Reagans," and a fellow member of Allen's church said that the butler "often talked about how nice they were to him." The historians point out while it is true that Allen left his position during the Reagan presidency, but it was on good terms and "he received a 'sweet note' from the president and a hug from the first lady."
The other instance takes place when Reagan promises to "veto any sanctions against South Africa." The Republican congresswoman meeting with him pleads with him over the matter saying that it is right thing to do and congressional Republicans are in agreement. The supposed reason for Reagan's refusal to support sanctions against the racist government is that he is "apparently unsympathetic to black suffering."
"While accurate in depicting Reagan's opposition to sanctions against South Africa, 'The Butler' does not explain why he opposed them," the historians write. "Reagan saw sanctions as harmful to the poorest of South Africans: millions of blacks living in dire poverty. He also feared that the apartheid regime could be replaced by a Marxist government allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba and that communism would spread throughout the continent.
"South African blacks were denied rights under apartheid
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 95||09/11/2013|
With all these year end lists and critics group, The Butler seems to get lost in the shuffle. Oprah's Oscar chances are falling away to a young black woman more talented than her.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 96||12/09/2013|
I wouldn't count O down for the count just yet. Plus she (and the movie) have Harvey behind her.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 97||12/09/2013|
Hoping that Oprah is finished.
Guess we'll get some idea of what might happen at the SAG awards.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 98||12/09/2013|
By rights Lupita should have a straight shot at a nomination and eventual win, but 12 Years a Slave seems to be losing a bit of steam. The recent critics awards overlooked it. I think everything is a toss up at this point.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 99||12/09/2013|
I think 12 years a Slave was overpraised because The Butler made it look better than it actually is. I wasn't impressed with Fruitvale Station or Blue is the Warmest Color either...
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 100||12/09/2013|
Butler is completely out of the running. Lynn Faildisaster flops again.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 101||12/10/2013|
No, it's not, R101.
SAG nominations are tomorrow, right? And Golden Globe nominations Thursday? The Butler will definitely score nominations this week from both.
And it will probably win the SAG Award for Best Cast of a Motion Picture.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 102||12/10/2013|
I really liked it. IMO, it's simply more than the sum of it's parts. For some reason it works. The president characters are fairly bad. The eldest son's story is pretty ridiculous in terms of being conveniently the exact opposite of the father's situation - proud civil rights activist vs. demure Butler hardly questions the establishment.
But, again, it works. Good film. Really wondering if it will get Oscars. I think it's great, but not sure it's Oscar-caliber when you break it down. But, should you break it down, or just take it as a whole?
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 103||12/10/2013|
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 104||12/10/2013|
The only SAG nomination it will get will be for Oprah, and she won't win. The Best Ensemble award will go to American Huistle, not 12 Years a Slave.
The Golden Globes may be nicer to the Butler since they have 10 lead acting and Pictures nominees.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 105||12/10/2013|
No r102. Not happening anywhere other than your fantasy world. The Butler is forgotten.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 106||12/10/2013|
It was re-released this past Friday in a few theaters, including two in Manhattan and several in the boroughs and suburbs.
I'm glad they did that, because I got to see it for myself and think it was very good -- not the best picture of the year but in the top ten.
I also liked the wide scope of the movie -- from the 1920's to the 1980's and I thought the message was delivered with appropriate weight but didn't sledgehammer it over our heads.
We have seen massive changes in this nation over the decades of the 20th century and the movie ably portrayed them.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 107||12/10/2013|
R105, the SAG Award is for Best Cast of a Motion Picture, not Ensemble. And I'll be very surprised if The Butler's wonderful, diverse cast isn't nominated tomorrow.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 108||12/10/2013|
Told ya so. And it will probably win the SAG Award for Outstanding Cast, too. Whitaker doesn't have a chance.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 109||12/11/2013|
Oprah has to get nominated, I'm betting big bucks on it!
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 110||12/11/2013|
She did, R110, but she won't win. The cast has an excellent chance of winning. It will be interesting to see how many of them will show up at the awards. Will Jane Fonda? She only has one line in the movie.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 111||12/11/2013|
"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house!"
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 112||12/12/2013|
The snub of Oprah is perfectly appropriate. She gives a good performance in The Butler but hardly an outstanding one.
And I continue to think her performance in The Color Purple was downright bad. Sofia's "rise from the dead" scene at the dinner table is wince-inducing.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 113||12/12/2013|
Finally watched this via a SAG-AFTRA DVD screener. I will definitely be voting for this for Best Cast of a Motion Picture. I was pleasantly surprised by Winfrey-I thought she was better than just good this time and I suspect it's to do with the editing. In the DVD extras Daniels tells Winfrey to stop moving her shoulders in a scene, to remain completely motionless. So I believe her "improved" performance from test screening to final release is primarily a result of good direction and editing.
I remember making a comment in the form we filled out at the test screening back in April regarding Howard, the adulterous neighbor played by Terence Howard. In one scene there was a mention of a local guy who'd been shot to death after being caught in bed with someone's wife. I'd assumed it was Howard but then he turned up for at least one more scene afterward. In the finished film it IS Howard who ended up being shot to death. I somehow doubt I was the only one to bring up the confusion I felt.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 114||12/31/2013|
I finally saw this tonight, and I wasn't terribly impressed. I was relieved to learn that the main character was only very loosely based on a real White House butler (by a different name), because there was just way too much credibility-straining going on. His oldest son just happens to be in virtually EVERY situation important to African-American history during the 1960s (including being in Martin Luther King's Memphis motel room when he was killed, and having just seen Malcolm X speak before he was killed)? Also, it was a mistake using well-known actors to play the Presidents.
As for Oprah, the only reason people talked about the possibility of her getting an Oscar nomination was name recognition. If the role had been played exactly the same way by an unknown actor, there's no way there would be awards talk. The character as written seemed to be supposed to be a force of nature, but Oprah played her as fairly mousy. I saw that as a lack of confidence in her acting. She wasn't nearly big enough.
|by Lynn Stairmaster||reply 115||01/20/2014|