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.
Harriet Breathes Life into Call for Liberty


One of the most overlooked movies of 2019 may have been Harriet, the historical drama about American fugitive slave Harriet Tubman. The movie breathes long overdue life into Tubman’s heroic efforts to rescue her family and others from slavery. Indeed, she may be one of the most underappreciated heroines of American liberty.

Parasite Makes Worthy Run for Best Picture Academy Award


If a subtitled foreign film has a shot at winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Parasite might be the one to do it. The dark comedy by acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho is well-scripted, universally well-acted, and carries a thought-provoking message about inequality, human dignity, and social justice.

Jojo Rabbit’s Humanism Lifts Parody of Nazi Germany


Some critics dismissed the Oscar-nominated dark comedy Jojo Rabbit for making light of the evil embedded in Nazi Germany when the movie was released in October 2019. Hitler and National Socialism were, after all, existential threats to freedom and liberty throughout Europe, much of North Africa, and the Middle East until they were finally...
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Cinematic Excellence Gives 1917 the Brutal Realism of War


1917 has become a front runner in the race for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Indeed, the epic movie featuring the brutal trench warfare of World War I is grand in scope and should be experienced, not just watched. Few films are as clearly and convincingly made for the big screens of movie...
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Bombshell Bombs With Too Much Hollywood, Too Little Real Life


Bombshell, the narrative film chronicling sexual harassment at Fox News, appears to be a dud at the box office. After three weeks in theaters, it still hasn’t generated enough revenue to cover its production budget, a leading indicator of commercial failure. Yet, the movie has A-List actors, directors, producers, and a timely topic. What...
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Little Women Shows Timelessness of “Coming of Age”


Louisa May Alcott’s respect for the individual journeys of her characters is honored in Greta Gerwig’s movie version.

Media Distorts, Misses the Mark on Richard Jewell


Warning! This article contains plot spoilers for the movie Richard Jewell in its analysis of the public controversy surrounding the film. For a review without spoilers, click here.  The mainstream media has staged a public relations coup against the movie Richard Jewell.

Neo-Noir Motherless Brooklyn Puts Power, Corruption at Center of Urban Renewal Story


Motherless Brooklyn is a stylish homage to classic film noir. It also provides a powerful narrative for the uncompromising way in which power can be wielded by those with access to it. Add in the story’s unusual context—urban renewal in post-war New York City—and Motherless Brooklyn might well contend for the most pro-liberty film...
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The Current War Highlights Drama Over America’s Electrical Grid


The Current War (Director’s Cut) had a circuitous and uncertain road to American theaters but finally arrived in 2019. The 2017 historical drama depicts the fight to build and control America’s electrical grid in the 1880s, but became ensnared during the Weinstein Company’s implosion following sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein.  The delay probably saved...
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Miss Virginia and the Political Realities of Public-School Reform


The political roots of the modern school-choice movement are still poorly understood nearly thirty years after the first publicly funded private-school voucher program was established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1990. Miss Virginia, a narrative film in select theaters and Amazon Prime, helps fill this void, offering a rare look at the political realities underlying...
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