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.
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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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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