Posts by Samuel R. Staley
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 and Housing America.
Mulan’s Subtle Subversion Withstands Beijing’s Censors


Last month, Disney launched the controversial and much anticipated live-action version of Mulan using its Disney Plus streaming platform. Many think the choice to stream the movie first rather than open in theaters will shake up the industry. And it might. After all, if families are willing to shell out $30 to watch a...
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Supreme Court Ruckus Got You Down? Queue Up These Movies


The debate over Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation is yet another flashpoint in an uncivil and disruptive presidential election. For those interested in learning more about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), or who simply want to be entertained during these trying times, try teeing up these movies for...
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Antiwar Message of The Dawn Patrol Still Resonates 82 Years Later


In retrospect, perhaps one of the more remarkable aspects of the classic movie The Dawn Patrol is the year it was released: 1938. The bloody carnage of World War I, the setting for the movie, was less than a generation away. Yet, a depression-ravaged Europe was again preparing for war. This time, rather than...
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Personal Freedom and Liberty Anchor Brave New World


Yet another cinematic remake of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World made its debut this year, this time as a nine-part series on NBC’s streaming service Peacock (watch the trailer here). Fans of the novel are likely to be disappointed. However, those looking for a contemporary aesthetic and interpretation may find David Weiner’s spin refreshing...
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Created Equal Provides Long Overdue Balance to Clarence Thomas’s Narrative


Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words is now streaming on PBS. It’s appearance on PBS is a important testimonial to the hard work and objectivity brought by filmmaker Michael Pack to the story of one of America’s most controversial and misunderstood figures on the American political landscape. Thomas is notoriously private about...
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Just Mercy Provides Stark Warning About Death Penalty Injustice


Just Mercy is the type of drama that infuriates its audience. Based on a true story, the plot focuses on the case of Walter MacMillian (Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained, Baby Driver), an African American man unjustly accused and convicted of murder in mid-1980s Alabama. MacMillian spent six years on death row before criminal defense...
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George Floyd and the Future of Police Misconduct


The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer with a history of excessive force complaints has spurred protests, demonstrations, and riots across the nation. Peaceful protests are more than justified. However, the lawless riots are not; they are enacting the very injustices they claim to contest and on a colossal...
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The Stand at Paxton County Puts Leftist Activism at Center of Corruption Drama


The Stand at Paxton County, an independently produced drama now streaming on Netflix, has a surprisingly straightforward message: Our freedoms and property rights are at risk when dogmatic special interests use the legislative process to achieve their goals. Moreover, poorly designed legislation opens the door to corruption. The movie, produced by Forrest Films (founded...
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Waco Demonstrates the Real Dangers of Militarizing Law Enforcement


On April 19, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ended a 51-day standoff with a religious cult located outside Waco, Texas, by leading a massive military-style assault on their compound. The complex was left in ashes, killing 76 members of the Branch Davidian religious sect. Among the dead were 25 children, two pregnant...
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Queen and Slim’s Cynicism Should Prompt Serious Discourse on Race and Criminal Justice


When Queen and Slim went into wide release in November 2019, trailers suggested the movie was a story of a “black Bonnie and Clyde.” It’s not. That’s also the point.  The movie, directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, is a disturbing commentary on racial injustice in America. Most white and mainstream...
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