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.
Free Guy is Light-Hearted Take on Heavy Tech Issues


Perhaps the most refreshing part of the movie Free Guy is the neutral role technology plays in the story. Technology isn’t a dark muse, luring an otherwise innocent into darkness. Perhaps this is why Free Guy seems admirably human despite the fact the entire story is framed within or around a video game. The...
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Earns Its Blockbuster Stripes


One of the more surprising reactions to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings might be how “normal” it is. While Shang-Chi is part of the Marvel Superhero universe, the movie refreshingly draws more from fantasy and mysticism inspired Asian myth than science fiction. The movie, and audiences, benefit. An Epic Chinese Tale...
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Three Movies that Explore Complexity of the War on Terror


America’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan put the world spotlight back on global terrorism. The poorly executed departure has inspired radical Islamic terrorist groups to launch new attacks on Western nations as well as Afghanis unaligned with the goals of global terrorists. Rather than a retreat from the War on Terror, however, Western nations appear...
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In The Heights Celebrates First-Gen Americans


The unexpected and broad-based protests erupting in Cuba are a poignant reminder of the lost liberty experienced by people under authoritarian regimes. The opposite could be said for the movie In The Heights, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical. If the dissent on Cuba’s streets show the dark side of contemporary Marxism,...
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Black Widow’s Performances and Familial Intimacy Lift Marvel Action Movie


Black Widow may be the movie that brings audiences back into the theaters. While released simultaneously on Disney Plus, the movie’s action and immersive visuals simply will not translate as well or as viscerally on a small screen. Yet well-conceived themes combined with adept direction will also satisfy those unwilling (or unable) to make...
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Nomadland’s Humanity Drives Cinematic Brilliance


I was about a third of the way through Choe Zhao’s (The Rider, Songs My Brothers Taught Me) meditative movie Nomadland when I began to fully realize its brilliance. This is a “small” film (budget: $5 million) but carries the heart, production values, and the quality of a drama with a much bigger production...
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A Well-Crafted Action Movie, Run Hide Fight Contributes to Larger Discussion of School Violence


I had mixed feelings when I queued up the action movie Run Hide Fight on the Daily Wire. I knew this narrative film about a high school mass shooting, if done well, was likely to hit a raw nerve. After all, I am a martial-arts trained self-defense coach, a faculty member at a public university...
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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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