Showtime Series Review: The Loudest Voice

The 2019 Showtime series, “The Loudest Voice” is all about the television career of Roger Ailes, who became CEO of Fox News, owned by Rupert Murdock, in the mid 1990’s. What this 7 part series clearly shows is that over time, a person who lacked all empathy, integrity and human decency like Roger Ailes would verbally and sexually abuse countless women who he employed. Ailes never cared about all of the woman he abused and terrorized, because he thought he was better and more important than everybody else. In all cases like this with any person in a position of power over others, including so many during the “Me Too Movement” – time and the number people involved catches up to them, and they pay the price for what they have done. In the case of Roger Ailes he was fired from Fox News in 2016 and the allegations of 23 women finally came out, following the lawsuit of Gretchen Carlson.

There are many things to like about this series, starting with the great acting of Russel Crowe who played Roger Ailes that included wearing a fat suit and heavy makeup during the series. Ailes wife Beth Ailes, was played by Sienna Miller and her acting was also a standout, as she defended Ailes throughout their marriage, despite the endless allegations of abuse and sexual harassment. Miller’s makeup as Ailes 50+ wife made her unrecognizable throughout this series.

The message of this great story is that those of us who get to be in charge of other people who are trying to make a living have a choice to either use their power over others in a humane and professional way, or become abusive because they know that the other person is terrified of losing their job. Abusive leverage like this is far worse in the movie or news industries, because the jobs are far more high paying, and far less likely to ever attain in the first place. People like Harvey Weinstein(now in prison) and Matt Lauer (fired and disgraced as a Today show anchor), Bill Cosby (now in prison) used their clout and power to ruin the lives of other people, never caring about the damage they caused. The victim list during the years of the recent “Me Too” movement is huge and even included a picture of 60 women on the cover of Time Magazine who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them.

The rest of the cast of The Loudest voice include Seth McFarland as one of Ailes rudely treated assistants, Brian Lewis and Naomi Watts who is outstanding as Gretchen Carlson. It was Carlson’s recording of 20 hours of her abusive conversations with Ailes that eventually brought him down. One thing I did not understand during this series was why there was no inclusion of Megyn Kelly during this series, considering her importance to the Roger Ailes story.

The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes for this series at only 55% make no sense, but the very high 7.9 rating on IMDB is far more accurate. This is an excellent series and worth getting Showtime even temporarily just to see it.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984

As the movie industry continues to try and adjust to the new ways of providing entertainment to the masses, the release of the new movie “Wonder Woman 1984” – in theaters a few weeks ago, and today on HBO Max is something that has never been done before. Perhaps this will be one of the many new ways we will be seeing movies from now on, even after this horrendous Pandemic of 2020 is finally over. Many believe that eventually all movie theaters will go away for good and I for one will miss seeing a great movie on a big screen if that ever happens.
One thing has been obvious with action movies for many years is that it is always easier to create special effects than it is to create a great story and screenplay. Screenplays require months or even over a year of hard work and re-writes. Special effects involve advanced computer graphics that can be created in a relatively short period of time. Wonder Woman 1984 is the sequel to the original “Wonder Woman”, released in 2017 and unfortunately has a story that is all over the place, convoluted and in some areas even boring. This movie involves the discovery of an ancient stone that can provide any person anything they want in the world, just by wishing for it. A failing oil executive Maxwell Lord, played by Pedro Pascal uses this stone to try and take over the world, Barbara Minerva, played by Kristine Witt uses the stone to gain the super powers of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, and Wonder Woman uses the stone to bring back her boyfriend Steve Trevor, played once again by Chris Pine. In the case of Wonder Woman, her wish causes her to lose some of her power, which is one of the many areas of this story that was not defined nearly enough.
The messages of this film are good ones, “power corrupts absolutely”, “There is a price for everything” and even “be careful what you wish for”. However, good messages are not nearly adequate enough to save this mostly bad movie, that is even lacks enough special effects within an overly long 2 1/2 hours.
The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie are a below average 70%. My rating is about 55%, only for some good acting and some special effects.  I do not recommend Wonder Woman 1984.