Granville Street is a major street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and part of Highway 99. Granville Street is most often associated with the Granville Entertainment District and the Granville Mall. This street also cuts through suburban neighborhoods like Shaughnessy, and Marpole via the Granville Street Bridge.
The community was known as “Gastown” (Gassy’s Town) after its first citizen – Jack Deighton, known as “Gassy” Jack. “To gas” is period English slang for “to boast and to exaggerate”. In 1870 the community was laid out as the “township of Granville” but everybody called it Gastown. The name Granville honours Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, who was British Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time of local settlement.
In 1886 it was incorporated as the city of Vancouver, named after Captain George Vancouver, who accompanied James Cook on his voyage to the West Coast and subsequently spent 2 years exploring and charting the West Coast.
During the 1950s, Granville Street attracted many tourists to one of the world’s largest displays of neon signs.
Towards the middle of the twentieth century, the Downtown portion of Granville Street had become a flourishing centre for entertainment, known for its cinemas (built along the “Theatre Row,” from the Granville Bridge to where Granville Street intersects Robson Street), restaurants, clubs, the Vogue and Orpheum theatres, and, later, arcades, pizza parlours, pawn stores, pornography shops and strip clubs.
By the late 1990s, Granville Street suffered gradual deterioration and many movie theatres, such as “The Plaza, Caprice, Paradise, [and] Granville Centre […] have all closed for good,” writes Dmitrios Otis in his article “The Last Peep Show.” In the early 2000s, the news of the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games, to be hosted in Whistler, a series of gentrification projects, still undergoing as of 2006, had caused the shutdown of many more businesses that had heretofore become landmarks of the street and of the city.
Also, Otis writes that “once dominated by movie theatres, pinball arcades, and sex shops [Downtown Granville is being replaced] by nightclubs and bars, as […it] transforms into a booze-based ‘Entertainment District’.” In April 2005, Capitol 6, a beloved 1920s-era movie theatre complex (built in 1921 and restored and reopened in 1977) closed its doors (Chapman). By August 2005, Movieland Arcade, located at 906 Granville Street became “the last home of authentic, 8 mm ‘peep show’ film booths in the world” (Otis). On July 7, 2005, the Granville Book Company, a popular and independently owned bookstore was forced to close (Tupper) due to the rising rents and regulations the city began imposing in the early 2000s in order to “clean up” the street by the 2010 Olympics and combat Vancouver’s “No Fun City” image. (Note the “Fun City” red banners put up by the city on the lamp-posts in the pizza-shop photograph). Landlords have been unable to find replacement tenants for many of these closed locations; for example, the Granville Book Company site was still boarded up and vacant as of July 12, 2006.
While proponents of the Granville gentrification project in general (and the 2010 Olympics in specific) claim that the improvements made to the street will only benefit its residents, the customers frequenting the clubs and the remaining theatres and cinemas, maintain that the project is a temporary solution, since the closing down of the less “classy” businesses, and the build-up of Yaletown-style condominiums in their place, will not eliminate the unwanted pizzerias, corner-stores and pornography shops – and their patrons – but will simply displace them elsewhere (an issue reminiscent of the city’s long-standing inability to solve the problems of the DTES).
Six areas in the historic centre and docklands of the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool bear witness to the development of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire and became the major port for the mass movement of people, e.g. slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America. Liverpool was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management. The listed sites feature a great number of significant commercial, civic and public buildings, including St George’s Plateau.
Located at the tidal mouth of the river Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire. It became the major port for the mass movement of people, including slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America. Liverpool was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management, and building construction.
Six areas in the historic centre and docklands of Liverpool bear witness to the development of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. A series of significant commercial, civic and public buildings lie within these areas, including the Pier Head, with its three principal waterfront buildings – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and Port of Liverpool Building; the Dock area with its warehouses, dock walls, remnant canal system, docks and other facilities related to port activities; the mercantile area, with its shipping offices, produce exchanges, marine insurance offices, banks, inland warehouses and merchants houses, together with the William Brown Street Cultural Quarter, including St. George’s Plateau, with its monumental cultural and civic buildings.
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City reflects the role of Liverpool as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence. Liverpool grew into a major commercial port in the 18th century, when it was also crucial for the organisation of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the 19th century, Liverpool became a world mercantile centre for general cargo and mass European emigration to the New World. It had major significance on world trade as one of the principal ports of the British Commonwealth. Its innovative techniques and types of dock, dock facilities and warehouse construction had worldwide influence. Liverpool was instrumental in the development of industrial canals in the British Isles in the 18th century, and of railway transport in the 19th century. All through this period, and particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Liverpool gave attention to the quality and innovation of its architecture and cultural activities. To this stand as testimony its outstanding public buildings, such as St. George’s Hall, and its museums. Even in the 20th century, Liverpool has made a lasting contribution, remembered in the success of The Beatles, who were strongly influenced by Liverpool’s role as an international port city, which exposed them to seafarers, culture and music from around the world, especially America.
Criterion (ii): Liverpool was a major centre generating innovative technologies and methods in dock construction and port management in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It thus contributed to the building up of the international mercantile systems throughout the British Commonwealth.
Criterion (iii): The city and the port of Liverpool are an exceptional testimony to the development of maritime mercantile culture in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, contributing to the building up of the British Empire. It was a centre for the slave trade, until its abolition in 1807, and for emigration from northern Europe to America.
Criterion (iv): Liverpool is an outstanding example of a world mercantile port city, which represents the early development of global trading and cultural connections throughout the British Empire.
The key areas that demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value in terms of innovative technologies and dock construction from the 18th to the early 20th century and the quality and innovation of its architecture and cultural activities are contained within the boundaries of the six areas forming the property. The major structures and buildings within these areas are generally intact although some such as Stanley Dock and associated warehouses require conservation and maintenance. The historic evolution of the Liverpool street pattern is still readable representing the different periods, with some alteration following the destruction of World War II.
There has been some re-development on sites previously redeveloped in the mid-late 20th century or damaged during World War II, for example at Mann Island and Chavasse Park, north and east of Canning Dock. All archaeology on these development sites was fully evaluated and recorded; archaeological remains were retained in situ where possible, and some significant features interpreted in the public domain. A new visitor centre has been opened at the north east corner of Old Dock, which has been conserved and exposed after being buried for almost 200 years. The production and adoption of design guidance minimizes the risks in and around the WH property that future development might adversely affect architectural quality and sense of place, or reduce the integrity of the docks.
Within the property, the major dock structures, and commercial and cultural buildings still testify to the Outstanding Universal Value in terms of form and design, materials, and to some extent, use and function. Warehouses at Albert Dock have been skillfully adapted to new uses. Some new development has been undertaken since inscription and has contributed to the city’s coherence by reversing earlier fragmentation. No significant loss of historical authenticity has occurred, as the physical evidence of the City and its great past remain prominent and visible, and in some cases has been enhanced. The main docks survive as water-filled basins within the property and in the buffer zone. The impact on the setting of the property of further new development on obsolete dockland is a fundamental consideration. It is essential that future development within the World Heritage property and its setting, including the buffer zone, should respect and transmit its Outstanding Universal Value.
Protection and management requirements
The property is within the boundary of Liverpool City Council and is protected through the planning system and the designation of over 380 buildings. The six sections of the property are protected as Conservation Areas under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The properties within the boundary are in mixed ownership and several institutions have management responsibilities relating to them. The property is subject to different plans and policies, including the Liverpool Unitary Development Plan (2002) and the Strategic Regeneration Framework (July 2001). There are several detailed master plans for specified areas, and conservation plans for the individual buildings. A Townscape Heritage Initiative for Buildings at Risk in the World Heritage site and its buffer zone is successfully encouraging and assisting the restoration of buildings within designated areas of the property. A full Management Plan has been prepared for the property. Its implementation is overseen by the Liverpool World Heritage Site Steering Group, which includes most public bodies involved in the property.
At the time of inscription, the World Heritage Committee requested that the height of any new construction in the property should not exceed that of structures in the immediate surroundings; the character of any new construction should respect the qualities of the historic area, and new construction at the Pier Head should not dominate, but complement the historic Pier Head buildings. There is a need for conservation and development to be based on an analysis of townscape characteristics and to be constrained by clear regulations establishing prescribed heights of buildings.
A Supplementary Planning Document for Development and Conservation in and around the World Heritage site addresses the management issues raised by the World Heritage Committee in 2007 and 2008 and was formally adopted by the Liverpool City Council in October 2009.
If I were an employee or student who was required or feeling coerced into getting a COVID vaccine, here’s how I would strategically handle it…
Recently, a friend of mine who adamantly did NOT want to get a COVID vaccine did so anyway because of pressure from her peers and her employer.
For any of you who feel pressured to get a COVID jab and feel like it’s becoming impossible to say no, I’ve got your back.
Before I’m done you will:
- Understand why vaccine mandates and coercion are illegal.
- Have a practical way to converse about your decision to opt out.
- Feel confident in your decision, and (I hope) feel emboldened to speak up.
Side note: In case you missed my recent article on 18 reasons I won’t be getting a COVID vaccine, you might check it out if you want additional talking points beyond what’s below.
Dealing with employer & school mandates
If I were an employee or student who was required or feeling coerced into getting a COVID vaccine, here’s how I would strategically handle it …
Ask for exemptions
Politely, and with a curious tone, ask what exemptions are in place for people who need to decline the shot?
If you get any pushback for asking that question, you can kindly say that is between you and your doctor.
Hopefully, you’ll be presented with how to file/qualify for the allowed exemptions and that will be the end of the story.
If asking for exemptions does not prove to be fruitful, here’s what I would do next.
Point out liability
Pharma can’t be sued for injuries or deaths caused by their vaccines, but companies, schools, and individuals that mandate them can be.
If your institution is trying to mandate or coerce you into taking something against your will, not only is that 100 percent ILLEGAL (more on that below), by forcing you to take a product they make themselves liable if you get injured or die.
No organization wants to hear that, but given the way our government is promoting the COVID “vaccines,” it is understandable that most institutions don’t even know that mandates are illegal, nor do they understand the liability mandates expose them to.
To give you legal and ethical ground to stand on, let’s start here …
Vaccine mandates for experimental COVID shots are against the law in the U.S.
- You can see the actual law in this letter sent to all universities currently trying to mandate the COVID shot.
- Mandates (and shockingly many of the government-sponsored vaccine ads) go against FTC law regarding deceptive advertising.
- Mandates create all sorts of problems with HIPAA (medical-privacy) law – in case you care to see the list of ongoing lawsuits that have arisen when people’s HIPAA rights are violated, you can click here.
Furthermore, coercion tactics are in violation of U.S. and International Law.
The opening frame of the Nuremberg Code — written after WWII to make sure no one is ever again forced to participate in medical interventions without their consent — states this:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.
Did you catch that part about: “without … any coercion”?
In actuality, these mandates, and the entire COVID narrative violate all 10 items of the Nuremberg code.
If you want to see what a group of 1,000 lawyers and 10,000 doctors are doing to highlight these issues and begin new crimes-against-humanity trials, you can click here.
The short version: The good guys are punching back.
The bottom line: Mandates and coercion are ILLEGAL.
If your school or employer goes to court and is found guilty of breaking these very-clear laws, they will lose.
Let that sink in … and now let’s talk about how to practically …
Stand up for your rights
Here are two tactics you can consider to help you point this out the problems with mandates:
Good Cop: You could mention this liability issue as a way to show you are looking out for the best interest of your school or employer — i.e. you could be the hero that keeps them out of court, helps craft a respectful policy, and saves them countless dollars in legal battles.
Bad Cop: You could overtly mention litigation and that you would be happy to file a lawsuit if anything happens to you or your peers. This may or may not be good for office politics (or your education/career path), but if you’re in a position of leverage, this may be the fastest way to sway in your organization’s policy.
Before I get to how I might handle peer pressure or medical pressure, permit me a …
Critical thinking interlude
Given the above, I’d argue there are some critically important questions to ask:
- Why are our governments literally spending billions of taxpayer dollars to overtly coerce all of us to take these experimental products?
- Are they ignorant of the law (seems implausible) or are they actively, knowingly engaged in something illegal?
- Why is the White House not quick to point out to businesses that mandates and coercion are against the law?
- Why is the FTC not cracking down on illegal and deceptive advertising? – Why is it left to non-profits to take our institutions to task?
- Why are donuts, cash, or reestablishing pre-covid privileges (like going to a ballpark in NY without a vaccine and sitting where you used to) not at least being frowned up as manipulation, or discrimination, if not overt coercion?
It’s not as if the federal government, and even some states, are being subtle about trying to get everyone to take these “vaccines.”
They are shoving it on us, and using every well-honed tactic of fear, guilt, shame, and attempts to withhold freedoms that they can come up with.
If you don’t think this is happening, as kindly as I can say it, you’re not paying attention.
This propaganda is happening from the White House podium and our taxpayer dollars are funding the largest, coercion-based, “vaccine” promoting media blitz in history.
In case you missed it, here’s a recent quote from Joe Biden?
“The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.”
I’m not a lawyer, but that sure sounds like coercion, Mr. President!
… and you’re not even being subtle about it.
Shame on you.
- You are breaking the Nuremberg code.
- You are contributing to the division in this nation.
- You are being dismissive of the risks these products carry.
- You’re tying our freedoms to compliance with what you think it best.
- You are stepping into the middle of a private decision between us and our doctors.
- You are unraveling trust in science, medicine, and our government.
When did you become so emboldened as to blatantly violate the law?
Are you actually ignorant of the law, or do you know better and do this anyway?
It makes me wonder if you’re a President … or a puppet.
Side note: I’m saving my thoughts on the wizards behind the curtain for another post about how you can talk me out of my “conspiracy theory.”
For now, here’s the point …
If our federal government can unashamedly break the law, encourage social media titans to censor all dissent, suppress or withhold all non-vaccine treatments, and erode our freedoms, who then is actually looking out for us?
This isn’t a gray area. Mandates and coercion are black-and-white illegal.
Even if you want to get the “vaccine” (fine, that’s your choice), does it not bother you to see what our federal government is doing?
If clear examples of government overreach don’t bother you, I’m guessing (I could be wrong) this is because they have worn you down by taking away so many of your freedoms that you’re willing to make this intellectual compromise just so life can “go back to normal.”
Am I right?
Dear friends, if you think giving up your freedoms has ever resulted in getting them back, you don’t know history.
The only way we take back our freedoms is to fight for them.
As sincerely as I can ask: At what point will you look at the bigger picture and say “OK, this has crossed an unethical line”
What more would have to happen before you say that?
Even if you like the so-called “vaccine,” what is your line in the sand for unethical government overreach, and when will you stand up and do something about it?
OK … interlude over … back to how to effectively push back against pressure to get a “vaccine.”
Find legal help
Given that our leaders aren’t likely to be held accountable or change their tune in the next few months, let’s turn our attention back to the immediately practical.
If I’m in your shoes … and the above didn’t cause your school or employer to (quickly) remove the mandate, or at the very least hastily find an exemption, I’d make sure to kindly submit (in writing) my objection to being forced to take it, and let it be known that if I am forced to do so, or if my employment is threatened, I would have to consider legal action.
If you need help finding an attorney to pushback against your school or employer, here are some resources for you:
- Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) – In order to obtain potential legal assistance, email ICAN at email@example.com and provide a copy of the written notice from your school or employer stating that the COVID-19 vaccine is required. You can also see this letter ICAN is sending to all universities mandating vaccines.
- America’s Frontline Doctors, Legal Eagle Dream Team (love that name) – has put together fantastic letters you can share with your employer or school to put the fear of God in them by showing them how untenable a vaccine mandate is and the scary volume of liability they would have if they tried to.
- Children’s Health Defense – has put together this simple one-page letter explaining the law to any employer or school that attempts to mandate the COVID vaccine.
- Health Freedom Defense Fund – They aid families and individuals whose health rights have been infringed and they support legal challenges to unjust laws that undermine our health and freedoms. You can contact them and see a list of resources here. Their legal team can also send Cease-and-Desist letters on your behalf if needed.
- State-by-State List of Vaccine Attorneys. If you need help for a more specific situation, you can check out this list of attorneys standing by to help.
- For those living in Canada, you might be able to find legal help here.
I’m sure there are other places you can find legal help and letters to submit to your organization (if you know of more please let me know and I will add them), but the above should get you started.
Now let’s turn our attention to …
Dealing with medical or peer pressure
If you are under pressure from anyone in the medical profession to get a covid jab, here are some ways I might handle it.
1: FIRE YOUR DOCTOR
Doctors work for you, not the other way around.
If a healthcare professional is pressuring you to take the shot, politely (or confrontationally if that’s your style) fire that doctor or nurse and find a new one.
There are plenty of doctors who are happy to protect (and champion) your right to decline the shot.
If your relationship with your doctor (or a friend/peer) is one you want to keep and you’d rather take more of a bridge-building/educational approach, you can pivot to this strategy:
2: ASK THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTION
As I detailed in my last post, there are so many show-stopper, inconvenient, exposing questions to ask about these “vaccines,” but let me give you the simplest one that is probably all you need.
Ask for a Lab Test to Screen You for Susceptibility to Vaccine Injury
In other words, ask your doctor (or friend) what type of lab tests are available to make sure that your body (or someone with your health condition) is not at risk for having any of the known, heart-wrenching, life-altering injuries detailed in this video from the Informed Consent Action Network.
If you didn’t watch the above video montage yet, please find the time.
Those stories are just a fraction of the ones that the powers-that-be would prefer to sweep under the rug in their unabashed vaccine propaganda.
The point is …
None of the people in the montage above were tested for counter-indications that would have been a red flag for a possible vaccine injury.
Because testing for susceptibility doesn’t happen.
The best “screening” I could find is this laughable, propaganda document from the CDC that basically says unless you have a severe allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (or your first COVID jab), you should be good to go.
The bottom line: There is no test your doctor can give you to screen you for possible complications.
Let that sink in.
If you don’t believe me, ask for a test.
The pushback you may get …
If you ask the unanswerable question, you’ll likely get the standard, canned reply … “Not to worry, the vaccines are safe and effective, and the risks are one-in-a-million.” (BTW, injuries are way more than one in a million).
In case you get that predictable reply, here’s all you have to do — repeat your question.
Say, “I get it doc, but how do we know MY body is not at risk for becoming injured?”
An honest doctor (or nurse/pharmacist, etc.) will tell you there’s no way to know.
No modestly-informed person, certainly no medical professional, disputes that all medical products carry risks.
Furthermore, is there any medical professional or public-health leader who denies that these shots have injured or killed people?
From blood clots to menstrual issues to Bell’s palsy to anaphylaxis’, body-wide hives, life-altering tremors, and death, these vaccines carry very real risks.
3: LET MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS DO SOME REASONING FOR YOU
In case you’re reasoning with someone in the medical profession, let me drive home the unanswerable question with a video interview of three nurses who were devastatingly injured when they got a COVID “vaccine.”
All three nurses:
- Suffer from debilitating tremors.
- Are unable to work, thus they lost their income.
- Are unable to drive.
- Get no worker’s compensation.
- Have no recourse to sue the manufactures.
- Have mountains of debt from all their medical bills.
- Have been abandoned by their own medical profession.
- Can’t file an insurance claim because their situation isn’t covered.
- Have to rely of family members to meet their most basic and personal needs.
- Blame themselves for not “doing their homework.”
Two of the nurses didn’t even know the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) existed before they took the shot.
One of them even said if she had been presented with the “anecdotal” information about all the risks, she would have still gotten the shot.
Do you suppose she thinks differently now?
Do you think she wouldn’t take back her choice in a heartbeat?
These nurses were all “pro-vaccine,” obviously.
They all “trusted the science” and now have been left with injuries that may be lifelong.
How do you know this wouldn’t happen to you?
Is this the time for blind faith, or is it the time for tougher questions?
4: OTHER INCONVENIENT QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK
In case you need any other questions to reason with your friends or medical professionals, here are some other talking points to choose from:
- Ask when the clinical trials for these “vaccines” ended? Hint: They haven’t. They aren’t schedule to be over until near the end of 2022 or sometime in 2023.
- Ask to see the results of the long-term safety studies. Hint: There aren’t any. How could there be?
- Ask to see the “package insert.” What’s that? It’s an informative piece of paper that should come with every shot. If you can find one, you can ask questions like:
- What does it mean “There is no FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine?” (p.1), or
- Why doesn’t it list “stopping transmission or infection of the ‘SARS-CoV-2 virus’” as one of the benefits (p.3)? Hint: that’s because SARS-CoV-2 is the virus – Covid-19 is the symptoms you manifest. Accidental omission? Hardly.
- Ask when we’ve ever used an unapproved vaccine (or any vaccine) in the middle of an outbreak. Hint: We never have. Why not? What problems could that cause?
- Especially if you’ve already had COVID: Ask when have we ever vaccinated people for a disease they have already overcome? Hint: We never have. Why would we do that now? What risks does that present?
- Ask what other medical product has ever been prescribed for every medical condition, every gender, and (almost … they’re working on it) every age? Hint: Not one. So, what makes these products something that is “safe and effective” for everyone, without even adjusting the dosage regardless of how old you are or how much you weigh?
- Ask if they’ve seen any of these 18 reasons not to get the shot.
You might even curiously point out that:
In 1976, our government stopped a rushed vaccine program (for H1N1) because:
- 450 (of 45,000,000 who were vaccinated) reported developing Guillain-Barre syndrome (.00001%)
- 30+ people died (less than .000001%)
For comparison sake …
(NOTE: The numbers below rely on a reporting system that is notorious for capturing only a small fraction (1%) of known adverse events, Nonetheless, let’s compare the best data we can find from U.S. and EU government agencies.)
- 4,000+ people have reportedly died in the U.S.
- 7,700+ have reportedly died in Europe
- 55,000+ have reported anaphylaxis in the U.S. alone
- 3,200+ have reported clotting disorders in the U.S. alone
That’s probably a few more clotting disorders than you heard about in the news …
… and yet the COVID-vaccine agenda marches on.
What would it take for us to finally be alarmed at the carnage these vaccines are causing?
If you formally ask the CDC such questions, be prepared for a long silence.
With all that said, let’s step back from logical arguments and get personal.
Dealing with the emotional loss of family, friends, and freedom
Now, you may be thinking, “OK, I get it — the vaccines carry real risks and the mandates are illegal.”
BUT, if I cause a ruckus or say no to the shot, I’m also saying no to seeing my family and friends, I’m likely losing my ability to travel, and I may have a pick an uncomfortable fight with my work/school, etc.
If that’s you, perhaps this quote from Benjamin Franklin can be of value:
“He who gives up a little freedom to gain a little security, deserves neither and will lose both.”
Yes, your life, and your choices in the near term may get annoyingly, unpalatably disrupted.
Your family may refuse to talk to you.
You may have to find new friends.
You may travel less … for a while.
But, what is better, handing over your freedom and gambling that you won’t get injured, or adjusting your strategy and expectations, finding new friends, and fighting for your freedom.
Which choice will you look back on and say was the right choice?
Here are two things I can tell you:
- Given that demand for the COVID jab is plummeting, the propaganda engine is kicking into high gear. The pressure is not going to let up anytime soon. You’re either going to cave, or find your backbone.
- You are NOT alone. The truth-loving, science-protecting, freedom fighters are not cowering in their basements. I’ve been encouraged to meet so many of the them (doctors, nurses, scientists, and activists) since writing this post that went viral.
In addition to knowing you’re not alone, be encouraged by looking at the revolutions of history that have overthrown tyranny.
What you find is that there’s a good chance we don’t even need a majority. If (from the estimates I’ve seen) 13-20 percent of us will get loud, organized, and stand up for truth, we win this!
Look, I know it takes courage to stand in the fire.
I know these conversations are uncomfortable, but do you have a better option?
As I said above, once they take our freedom, they won’t give it back.
If we cave in now, there will be more mandates, and more erosion of our freedoms.
Here’s the beautiful thing about speaking truth and asking genuinely-thoughtful questions — there’s no need to be rude, or bombastic; truth just needs to be spoken.
People will recognize truth when they hear it.
Where can you let your voice be heard and stand up for what’s right?
I hope you found this both practically helpful and inspiring.
Don’t be bullied into compromising your integrity and succumbing to an illegal mandate.
The time to stand up for truth is upon us. It may get uncomfortable, but so be it.
For all of you who’ve felt too fearful to speak out, we need you.
Find the courage to stand in the fire and join the fight.
Truth is going win!
A group of films, ranging from art-house gems to big blockbusters, that deserve a fresh look.
Moviegoing is at a strange, tenuous moment. With pandemic fears still circulating, and many studios still delaying their films’ release dates, not everyone is comfortable going back to theaters yet. But this is also a time of extraordinary at-home accessibility for cinema, with many thousands of titles available to stream, or digitally rent and buy, every day. So I’ve returned to a topic that sustained me during 2020’s most isolated moments: celebrating underrated and unique movies in need of wider appreciation. The following 26 films cross every genre and range from art-house to blockbuster. They were all unappreciated by critics or audiences on release and deserve a fresh look.
Used Cars (1980, directed by Robert Zemeckis)
Not long before he hit it big with the blockbusters Romancing the Stone and Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis made this anarchic black comedy about the cutthroat world of used-car sales, starring Kurt Russell as a dealer trying to stay one step ahead of catastrophe. It also features a wonderful dual performance by Jack Warden, who plays both the kindly owner of one dealership and his evil archrival across town. The film was a flop on release, probably because its mix of bleak humor and Looney Tunes–style madcap action was too caustic for audiences. Zemeckis later found the right balance in hits such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but his brilliant, high-speed style of storytelling is already on display here.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace)
This entry in the never-ending Halloween horror series took a chance by not featuring the popular serial-killer antagonist Michael Myers, who had anchored previous films. The movie was intended to turn the franchise into an anthology of sorts, an ambitious idea that unfortunately didn’t pan out. Though its box-office underperformance led to Myers’s return in Halloween IV, this installment shouldn’t be overlooked. Season of the Witch is a weird ’80s gem, a mix of folktale and high-tech horror about a company selling haunted children’s masks. Written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (a longtime collaborator of Halloween director John Carpenter), the film’s scares touch on ancient witchcraft and computer chips made out of Stonehenge fragments. The movie also takes some trenchant digs at TV advertising and emphasizes an odd and foreboding atmosphere over cheap shocks.
Dune (1984, directed by David Lynch)
Before Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel arrives in theaters this fall, David Lynch’s attempt at the material is worth revisiting, even though it was a critical and box-office calamity. Lynch’s failures are clear: He packed far too much material into one feature, struggled to match the broad scope of Herbert’s world building, and made sometimes baffling narrative leaps to abridge his plot. (Villeneuve has apparently addressed this issue in his version by covering only the first half of the book.) But the 1984 version also has bold and exciting design choices, a hypnotic score by Toto, and brassy performances by a wild ensemble that includes Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, and Sting. Lynch has practically disowned the film, but some images in Dune are as unforgettable as those in his best-regarded works.
Ishtar (1987, directed by Elaine May)
Elaine May’s most recent film as a director was such a colossal flop that its name became synonymous with bad movies. Gary Larson, the Far Side cartoonist, once joked that it would be the only option at “Hell’s Video Store.” The criticism was largely undeserved. Ishtar is a complicated, messy work, but it was tarred by bad press about its reportedly egotistical stars, Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, and its inflated budget. Even Larson later confessed that he’d been entertained by the film. Sure, the latter half gets lost in the convoluted details of the dramatic political caper involving a power struggle in a fictional Middle Eastern country that Chuck (Hoffman) and Lyle (Beatty) are wrapped up in. But the first half, chronicling their travails as an unpopular singing duo in New York, is shaggy comic gold.
Poetic Justice (1993, directed by John Singleton)
After his Oscar-nominated debut Boyz n the Hood, the wunderkind director Singleton had immense hype to live up to. In his follow-up, he tried to tell a softer, less polemical tale of life in his neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Whereas Boyz n the Hood followed the lives of three men, Poetic Justice’s protagonist is a woman, Justice (Janet Jackson). Recovering from the tragic death of her boyfriend, she embarks on a spur-of-the-moment road trip with the flirty postal clerk Lucky (Tupac Shakur). Poetic Justice was a solid box-office performer, but critics mostly dismissed it at the time. Still, it’s a worthy entry in Singleton’s oeuvre. The movie has a romantic twist and offers a loving but critical meditation on Black masculinity in the early ’90s from a female perspective.
Clifford (1994, directed by Paul Flaherty)
Released as a star vehicle for the comedian Martin Short, Clifford was widely derided in 1994—not because it’s unfunny, but because it’s so deeply weird. Short, who was in his 40s at the time, plays Clifford, a 10-year-old boy with a penchant for mischief and an intense fixation on a fictional theme park named “Dinosaur World.” Dumped by his exhausted parents on his uncle, Martin (Charles Grodin), for a weekend, Clifford proceeds to ruin his caretaker’s life in an effort to get to Dinosaur World, gleefully sabotaging his career and his love life, and getting him arrested. Short’s performance is wonderfully peculiar, never quite acknowledging the strangeness of his casting. Grodin, a master of playing frustration on-screen, is a perfect foil.
The Glass Shield (1994, directed by Charles Burnett)
The film that should have launched Burnett to wider success, The Glass Shield is a melodrama about police corruption that feels years ahead of its time, full of incisive observations about institutional rot in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Burnett is best known for brilliant independent works such as Killer of Sheep (a landmark art film of the 1970s) and To Sleep With Anger (an incredible dark fable of Black family life). Though The Glass Shield was mostly ignored on release, it deserves revisiting. Michael Boatman plays the first Black recruit at the LASD, who finds allyship with the only female deputy (Lori Petty) but struggles to balance his commitment to the job with the racism he witnesses. With clear eyes, Burnett renders the verdict that changing a broken system from within is practically impossible.
Dead Presidents (1995, directed by Albert and Allen Hughes)
One of the few films to touch on the experiences of Black servicemen in the Vietnam War, the Hughes brothers’ follow-up to their shocking debut, Menace II Society, is an unfairly unheralded work. It follows Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate), a high-school graduate who enlists in the Marines to avoid college. After tours marked by death and atrocities, he returns to the Bronx unable to readjust to normal life and gets embroiled in a plot to rob a bank truck. The Hughes brothers are unflinching storytellers, and the material in Dead Presidents is often graphic and unsettling, but it’s in service of a pointed tale of people left behind by their own country, and the drastic measures they take in response.
Trouble Every Day (2001, directed by Claire Denis)
A bloody, outré work from one of France’s finest auteurs, Trouble Every Day was greeted with revulsion by critics on release, especially because it followed Denis’s highly acclaimed Beau Travail. The only entry in her filmography that explicitly belongs to the horror genre, Trouble Every Day follows a man (Vincent Gallo) who travels to Paris seeking out a doctor (Alex Descas) who is guarding a dark secret—his wife (Béatrice Dalle) is a cannibal. Denis is concerned with how people’s suppressed sexual impulses connect to acts of violence—an idea present in many vampire or werewolf movies—but her film is also deeply human, filled with tender characterization alongside shocking gore.
Psycho (1998, directed by Gus Van Sant)
Van Sant’s big-budget follow-up to the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting completely baffled critics and audiences: a shot-for-shot remake of one of the most famous films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Given that sequences from the original masterpiece of horror—the shower scene, the attack on the stairs—are burned into the brain of any cinema fan, it was hard to understand Van Sant’s decision to redo the film, in color, with a new cast including Vince Vaughn as the disturbed motel owner Norman Bates and Anne Heche as the doomed Marion Crane. But the weird magic of the film is in the tiny changes Van Sant makes to certain sequences, the strange visual interpolations he weaves in, and the way he reconceives unforgettable images. It’s a blockbuster art project of sorts, a true Hollywood rarity.
Forces of Nature (1999, directed by Bronwen Hughes)
From a decade defined by romantic comedies and A-list actresses such as Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Drew Barrymore, Forces of Nature is an odd outlier, a comedy presented as a whirlwind romance that transforms into something quite different. It features Sandra Bullock, who was often drawn to rom-coms with an edge (such as While You Were Sleeping or Practical Magic), and Ben Affleck, who was enjoying his newfound stardom post-Armageddon. But this movie is all about flirtation and temptation, throwing the tempestuous Sarah (Bullock) and the soon-to-be-married Ben (Affleck) together on an impromptu road trip after their flight is canceled. The visual aesthetic is busy and washed-out, straight out of MTV, but the storytelling is mature, taking Sarah and Ben’s relationship in unexpected directions as they wind across the country wondering whether fate is trying to tell them to get together.
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999, directed by Jamie Babbit)
Something of a cult classic now, But I’m a Cheerleader was unfairly jeered on release as a John Waters knockoff. Babbit’s coming-of-age lesbian comedy combines Waters’s kitsch aesthetic with her own ’90s style, telling a knowing and witty story of the 17-year-old Megan (Natasha Lyonne) being sent to a conversion-therapy camp. There isn’t much subtext to But I’m a Cheerleader—the counselors and fellow campers Megan encounters all wear their insecurities openly—but the screenplay crackles with surreality, Babbit’s colorful visual approach is memorable, and Lyonne’s central performance is one of the best of her career.
Jason X (2001, directed by Jim Isaac)
By the 2000s, the major slasher franchises—Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th—had long passed their commercial apex, and some were embarking on reboots and remakes to try to recharge their brand. But Friday the 13th went in a different, far sillier direction with Jason X, the 10th installment in the series revolving around the lumbering killer Jason Voorhees. Although most Friday the 13th movies are set at summer camp, Jason X takes place in the far future, where a cryogenically frozen Jason is awoken to rampage on a spaceship. It’s a goofy yet self-aware film, a quasi-comedy that revels in how far it has strayed from the formula but is filled with nerdy nods for superfans, including an over-the-top cameo from the master filmmaker David Cronenberg.
Blood Work (2002, directed by Clint Eastwood)
In between his Best Picture–winning classics Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood churned out eight solid-to-great films—all mid-budget dramas, and all but two based on best-selling novels. One of the least loved is Blood Work, a fun, gritty thriller adapted from a Michael Connelly book. It stars Eastwood as a retired FBI agent recovering from a heart transplant who tries to solve the murder of the woman whose heart he received. It’s an appreciably silly metaphor for Eastwood to sink his teeth into; he was 72 when the film came out, and it’s very much a tale of an over-the-hill legend trying to cling to his fading days of glory. The grandest irony is that Eastwood would go on to make films for another two decades—and has shown no signs of stopping yet.
In Her Shoes (2005, directed by Curtis Hanson)
A terrific sibling dramedy starring Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, and Shirley MacLaine, In Her Shoes is that Hollywood anomaly—a major film mostly focused on the relationships between well-drawn female characters. Directed by Hanson, who was coming off a major-hit streak with L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, and 8 Mile, In Her Shoes is a lightweight that isn’t too concerned with wringing laughs out of the audience, which is why it stuck out on release (as cinemas were still dominated by fratty, gross humor). Collette and Diaz give fantastic performances as sisters with little in common, struggling to heal a rift that opens near the beginning of the film; Hanson and screenwriter Susannah Grant chart their path to reconciliation with care and grace.
The Skeleton Key (2005, directed by Iain Softley)
My favorite kind of horror movie is one that derives most of its scares from the atmosphere of an unusual location. The Skeleton Key, a supernatural thriller starring Kate Hudson and Gena Rowlands, is set on an isolated plantation home in southern Louisiana, and so much of the fun is the detail put into its creepy production design, which evokes a place laden with dark secrets. Hudson plays a former hospice aide who takes a job at the plantation caring for its aging owners, but as she explores their crumbling abode, she discovers its evil history, and Softley builds out a clever mystery with pointed themes that unsettles without resorting to cheap jump scares.
Aeon Flux (2005, directed by Karyn Kusama)
Undoubtedly one of the oddest blockbusters ever produced by a major studio, Kusama’s adaptation of the cult ’90s MTV series was critically derided and somewhat disowned by its director, who said it had been reedited for commercial appeal. If that’s the case, her cut must have been unimaginably bizarre, because the final version is a visually giddy, borderline-incomprehensible sci-fi actioner loaded with intriguing ideas of how our utopian future could go awry. Charlize Theron stars as the raven-haired, ultra-athletic warrior fighting to take down her future government; she eventually uncovers a conspiracy that helps explain both the cloistered world she lives in and the hazy dreams she has of another life in the distant past. Kusama has made better movies, such as Girlfight and The Invitation, but even her biggest flop is overflowing with more cool ideas than most summer tentpole releases.
Déjà Vu (2006, directed by Tony Scott)
In his career, the high-octane master Tony Scott made five terrific thrillers with Denzel Washington. Initially Déjà Vu seems like a fairly routine collaboration, following the ATF agent Douglas Carlin, who’s trying to unravel the mystery of a bomb attack on a New Orleans ferry. Washington is playing the kind of dogged blue-collar character he often inhabits, but Déjà Vu takes a surprising sci-fi turn when he’s introduced to an FBI team that, through magical surveillance technology, has opened a window into the past. As Carlin uses this technology to try to solve the crime, the film becomes a sort of high-tech Vertigo in which Carlin is haunted by the sight of a tragedy he can’t undo. Given that the movie is directed by Scott, it’s also filled with great car chases and explosive action.
Morning Glory (2010, directed by Roger Michell)
The workplace-comedy genre is mostly confined to television at this point, but Michell’s Morning Glory is a recent, overlooked cinematic example that’s filled with stars and propelled by peppy humor. Rachel McAdams plays a harried young producer named Becky Fuller who’s asked to turn around a network’s low-rated morning show; she conspires to hire the grizzled newscaster Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), pairing him with the long-suffering morning host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Though the film sprinkles in romance and zany jokes, it’s focused on the relationship between Fuller and Pomeroy, whose distrust for each other evolves into mutual respect. Ford’s epically grumpy performance makes that eventual connection feel triumphant.
Killing Them Softly (2012, directed by Andrew Dominik)
One of few movies to have gotten an “F” CinemaScore from audiences, Killing Them Softly is a grim adult drama based on the crime novel Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins. Although the film was billed as a thriller about an assassin (Brad Pitt), it spends the most time with criminals who are much less cool. The absence of glitzy thrills may not appeal to as wide of an audience, but the movie’s grittiness makes for a standout viewing experience. Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy play disheveled lowlifes who rob the wrong poker game, Pitt and James Gandolfini are the dispassionate hit men sent in to clean up the mess, and Ray Liotta is incredible as a nervy Mafia middleman. Set during the 2008 financial crisis and presidential election, Killing Them Softly brilliantly highlights the corruption in both America’s economic system and its criminal enterprises.
Lockout (2012, directed by Stephen Saint Leger and James Mather)
A delightful piece of sci-fi trash from the French production company EuropaCorp, Lockout is essentially Escape From New York set on a space station. In fact, the plot is similar enough that the latter film’s director, John Carpenter, successfully sued for plagiarism in a French court. Still, Saint Leger and Mather’s take on the story is worth watching. The fun, cheap thriller follows an ex-CIA operative (Guy Pearce) trying to rescue the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a space prison in exchange for his freedom, after being jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. Pearce has a joyous time as the wisecracking, cigarette-smoking antihero, and Joe Gilgun gives a great villainous performance as the frightening inmate holding the president’s daughter hostage.
Hotel Transylvania (2012, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky)
In this gag-heavy, horror-themed film, the director Tartakovsky’s skill in rendering physical comedy and its lead actor Adam Sandler’s love for Borscht Belt humor combine to spectacular effect. The Hotel Transylvania franchise has largely been ignored by critics, perhaps because they underestimated its star, Sandler (who plays Count Dracula as a magnanimous hotel owner), and his crew of collaborators, including Kevin James, David Spade, and Andy Samberg. But the series’s first three movies, directed by one of animation’s modern geniuses, bear the same deftness that make Tartakovsky’s other efforts, such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, so strong. The third, cruise-ship-centric entry is my favorite.
By the Sea (2015, directed by Angelina Jolie)
A seemingly autobiographical project written, directed by, and starring Jolie, By the Sea centers on a couple vacationing in France whose marriage is on the rocks. (She has said that it was not based on real life.) The movie, which co-stars Jolie’s husband at the time (Brad Pitt), was initially dismissed as a vanity project. But after Pitt and Jolie’s separation (which they announced just a year after the movie’s release), the film’s tone takes on a new weightiness. Jolie is borrowing from ’60s and ’70s European art cinema—particularly Éric Rohmer—but the sad, angry undercurrent between the characters gives the entire work a fascinating edge.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018, directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail)
I decided to watch Teen Titans Go! To the Movies on a whim while bored on a plane. I had never seen the children’s cartoon series that it’s inspired by—I really didn’t know much about the Teen Titans at all. It doesn’t matter. The film is the most effective cinematic spoof of the never-ending superhero trend I’ve ever seen. It’s a raucous, in-joke-laden satire of the movie business that makes time for plenty of witty musical numbers and action sequences. The plot follows Batman’s sidekick, Robin, and his teenage hero friends as they try to persuade Hollywood to make a movie about them, but it’s really a sharp critique of how the film world revolves around comic books now. The movie actually got solid reviews on release—but it deserves to be seen as more than just kids’ entertainment.
Plus One (2019, directed by Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer)
One of the best romantic comedies in a decade that saw the genre flounder in theaters, Plus One is just waiting to be discovered by a bigger audience. The setup is clean: Longtime friends Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) agree to be each other’s dates to every single wedding they’re invited to, as a cure for their loneliness. Romance ensues, and then hurt feelings, and complicated conversations, and finally more romance in a winning, acerbic script that carries out every turn with ease. Quaid is a charming cad, but Erskine is the real star, never letting Alice become an easy stereotype of the 20-something sad sack looking to have it all.
The Empty Man (2020, directed by David Prior)
Released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Empty Man was essentially dumped by its distributor into vacant theaters. Still, the quiet horror film eventually found an audience—a testament to its quality. The superb opening sequence, which could function as a short film in its own right, sets out the spooky particulars of the unseen “Empty Man,” which possesses its victims. Then the movie shifts into a conspiracy thriller, following a former detective whose efforts to unravel a bizarre set of deaths lead him to a cult that calls to mind many of today’s toxic online groups. Prior’s debut film is wild, woolly, and daring, and deserves all the attention it’s received from a small but vocal group of fans.
With the release of Rubinstein’s praised WarGames, it was time for me to go back to the roots and rediscover the score I knew his name off. Popular eighties director John Badham had a knack for the synthesized action score. No wonder he searched for the composers who could get the job done. Arthur B. Rubinstein and Hans Zimmer are the two most common used composers by the director. Yet it is weird to discover that in the same year the orchestral WarGames and the synthesized Blue Thunder were created.
Instrumental, electronic synthesized action music can all work in a movie about a modern helicopter, on disc though it doesn’t always do the trick. Blue Thunder has a very good (read very fitting and cool) main theme and occasionally some bright spots. But we must be honest, this score sounds really cheap. It sometimes even drives me nuts. The first track “Main Title / Crook Dusting” perhaps explains it all. The rise of the main theme, and the continuation of the action droning that works wonderfully well in the movie, but on disc it ain’t that pretty.
Further think of Stakeout as you listen to “Nam Flashback” because it carries the same beat and dreary tone. I sometimes wonder if it’s not exactly the same. “Sanity Check” uses a more rhythmic (with added bells) version of the main theme while “Kate’s Theme” is carrying a somber piano note. All you need to hear are “Night Search”, “Sunrise at Pinkville” and “Pinkville Strafing Run” to realize that this score works inside the movie (offering a certain nostalgic look of the movie) but doesn’t give you a truly satisfying feeling on disc. The only thing to remember is the great main theme representing the chopper passing by for the first time.
The more playful (yet that doesn’t make it pretty) “Follow my Leader” and the droning of track 2 in “Murphy’s Nightmare” all lead to “Blue Thunder Ballet”, a track that has the most obnoxious sounds circling around the main theme. “Following the Bad Guys / Thermographics” isn’t better. The unnerving suspenseful sound in “Adios J.A.F.O.” is somewhat enticing, creating an added string sound around the droning that is effectively entertaining.
I’m going to tell you something that is positive. The first minute in “River Chase / Hide and Seek” is probably the best minute of the entire album. The main theme is accompanied by a great action fanfare and it was the one moment besides the theme I always loved. Naturally what follows is more of the same electronic droning we’ve come to expect by now. The final two tracks (bringing the main theme) are solid closers.
But it isn’t enough, this must be said loud and clear. While I appreciate the ideas and the construction of the score, the sound and produced tone of the entire album is not a pretty one. The electronic sound is simply hideous and it makes the average idea sound like a waste of potentially solid music. Rubinstein’s score is surprisingly effective and even entertaining inside the movie, but on disc this doesn’t sound that way at all. The only question is the following, if WarGames received its orchestral rousing affair, why didn’t Blue Thunder? It truly would have made of it a better album.