Sam Staley Archive

Samuel R. Staley is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Managing Director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center in the College of Social Sciences at Florida State University. He is a contributing author to the Independent books, Property Rights: Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings Re-Examined and Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis.
Full Biography

Review: Book of Henry Breaks from Convention to Ask Important Questions



Critics panned The Book of Henry when it opened in June, but this may say more about their ability to step outside their pre-conceived ideas about what a movie “should be” than anything else. The film’s storyline conforms much more to what a reader would expect in a suspense novel than the conventional three-act...
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Review: All Eyez On Me and Hip Hop’s Shakespearean Tragedy



The most satisfied people leaving the theater after seeing the biopic All Eyez On Me are likely to be hip hop music fans and Tupac Shakur enthusiasts, one of the rap industry’s most talented and iconic artists. Others are more likely to feel that the tragically short life of Shakur, who was just 25...
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Review: Megan Leavey Explores Emotional Trauma of War



The film Megan Leavey carries a message much more important than its pedestrian name and movie trailers imply. This is not a feel good war film, nor one principally of battlefield heroism. Instead it’s a poignant and relatable story about human trauma and healing based on the real life experiences of coincidental war hero...
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Review: Wonder Woman’s Anti-War Theme Elevates Superhero Action Film



Wonder Woman is already one of the year’s most successful films just three weeks into its U.S. box office run, and for good reason: It’s a smart, well-executed action film. Despite acting that is just above average for superhero films—probably no Academy Award performances in this movie—the directing is top notch, special effects scaled to...
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Hollywood Versus the Real History of Pirates



Films often take creative license to deviate from historical fact, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales follows in this tradition. Often, this creative license simplifies complicated realities. Below are four ways the Pirates of the Caribbean films oversimplify the complicated and very rational real-world of Caribbean piracy during the so-called...
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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Romps Through Space with Purpose



Chalking up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as a just a fun romp through the universe with the galaxy’s most dysfunctional family would be easy. But the film, like the Marvel comics that inspired it, is much more. Writer-director James Gunn (Slither, Dawn of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy) has done an...
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Review: The Promise, the Armenian Holocaust, and the Origins of Genocide



If you want to know the origin of the term “genocide,” watch the film The Promise. Literally. The movie is billed as a romantic drama, but it’s really a well-produced, narratively complex story of the Ottoman Empire’s systematic and targeted extermination of 1.5 million Christian Armenians through starvation, forced labor, rioting, and massacres in...
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Review: The Liberty That Drives A United Kingdom



A film capable of tying political and economic freedom together in one story is rare, but the British film A United Kingdom makes a valiant effort. The story hinges on the culturally and politically taboo romance and marriage between the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana), and his white, working-class English wife...
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The Dignity and Value of Work in La La Land and Moonlight



The award-winning films La La Land and Moonlight did more than share a chaotic stage in the closing moments of the 89th Academy Awards. They also share an intriguing underlying economic theme through rare insight into the substance and dignity of work, albeit in radically different ways. Work is front and center in La...
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Review: Did Can We Take a Joke? Forewarn Middlebury College?



Liberal intellectuals may be finally getting around to confronting the illiberal behavior of fellow liberals, particularly the recent episodes on American college campuses. Writing at The Atlantic, Peter Beinart examines the physical attacks at Middlebury College against Charles Murray and his faculty host and (liberal) interlocutor Allison Stanger. Hopefully, this introspection will prompt them...
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