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.
Revenge Thriller Promising Young Woman Challenges Thinking About Sexual Assault


According to Wikipedia, the film Promising Young Woman (2020) “follows a woman who takes revenge against men who have wronged her.” This isn’t accurate. The movie is actually darker, and much better, than this description. Fair warning: I have written a book on campus sexual assault, so this movie review dives deep into the...
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Wonder Woman 1984 Lassoed by Sprawling Plot and Confused History


It’s not a promising sign when I have to re-read a movie review of an original film to check my priors or expectations about its sequel. But that’s what I found myself doing after watching Wonder Woman 1984 (WW 1984). While enjoyable and watchable, WW 1984 simply fails to rise to the same level...
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The Jim Crow Legacy of Southern Military Bases


The U.S. Congress passed a military defense spending bill with a veto proof majority in December. Yet, President Trump has vetoed the bill setting up a to-the-wire showdown with Congress. Trump’s objections included a provision in the bill to rename U.S. military bases honoring confederate generals. While Congress overrode Trump’s veto – its first...
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Mr. Jones Makes Compelling Case for Scrappy, Robust Journalism


Perhaps one of the most overlooked movies of 2020 may be Mr. Jones. For those interested in freedom of the press and government accountability, this historical drama written by Andrea Chalupa and adroitly directed by Polish director Angieska Holland may be one of the most important movies in recent years. In chronicling the intrepid...
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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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