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.
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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Joker Earns Its Accolades, but Offers Much More


Joker is billed as a psychological thriller, and indeed it is... to the core. An origin story for the Batman villain, this dark drama is the blockbuster its creators had hoped, already earning nearly $300 million worldwide. Joker deserves the accolades and the revenue. Perhaps more importantly (long term), the movie has the potential...
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Hustlers Explores Seedy Side of Strip-Club Economics


The core of the story is a sophisticated character study that will leave many in the audience pondering the meaning of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and ethics.

Unplanned Searches for a Broad Audience but Gets Lost in Its Advocacy


Unplanned follows an advocacy narrative that limits its ability to reach a broad audience. Those in favor of reproductive rights will find little in the movie or its story that will sway them.

Yesterday, the Beatles, and the Value of Earned Success


Yesterday is a tribute to the enduring legacy of popular music and its ability to bring joy to the human heart.

Apollo 11 Highlights Human Capacity for Technical Achievement


Released commercially in March, Apollo 11 is an achievement in filmmaking in its own right.

Anna Is All Action in Quest for Personal Freedom


Anna is not just another stylish, action drama. The movie is all those and more: a paean to the human spirit and its innate quest for freedom.

Hotel Mumbai and the Face of Terrorism


Hotel Mumbai captures it all—the heroism, the carnage, the evil, the heartbreak, the senselessness, the pure terror—while never losing its humanity.

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