August 16, 2013 |
THERE ARE mysteries afoot in the suspense picture "Paranoia," though none as big as how Richard Dreyfuss could possibly have fathered Liam Hemsworth. They play father and son - blue-collar "bridge and tunnel" folk living on the outskirts of Manhattan (although parts of the movie were filmed in Philadelphia). The description looks laughable on Hemsworth, an Aussie who's only just mastered a generic "American" accent and wisely makes no attempt to speak "Long Island" in any form.
October 10, 2003 |
It's a movie about paranoia, dementia and fisticuffs - and people who get their jollies infiltrating 12-step groups and hearing the woes and wailing of the addicted and bereaved. It's Fight Club, David Fincher's intense '99 nightmare in which Edward Norton plays an office drone befriended by a charismatic, mysterious Brad Pitt, as a guy who launches an underground association of men pummeling other men to a bloody pulp. And then there's Helena Bonham Carter, offering a rare contemporary turn as a chain-smoking, quip-spewing girl - and being chillingly, seductively good at it. Innovative and adventurous - until, perhaps, the final revelation, which some folks find a letdown.
March 18, 1987
Syndicated columnist James J. Kilpatrick is obviously a paranoid Reaganite. When a free nation such as ours encounters a case of gross negligence, as evidenced in Iranscam, we publicly air out the problem using the news media as the vehicle. After this is done we can move on. President Reagan has not been unfairly treated by Dan Rather or anyone else. John Mumford Philadelphia.
January 2, 2000
The extremes of positive liberty were seen in the false claims of communism. But they are also inherent in attempts . . . to force people to live in particular ways, to shape their businesses in a certain manner . . . to refrain from smoking cigarettes even in private, to bear costs and obligations for the sake of society or a presumed community interest. Such illiberal behavior may be commonly associated with dictatorship, but it is also a strong tendency in democracy, for majority votes are in effect mandates to do things that minorities did not want.
April 8, 1987
Gennady Gerasimov, the Soviet Foreign Ministry's affable, telegenic chief spokesman, has been cracking jokes about the "Soviet Mata Hari" who allegedly led a U.S. Marine sergeant astray. "American fear of spying is a permanent feature of our relations," he remarked wearily last week. Ironically, the same day that Mr. Gerasimov was belittling the Americans' "absurd" overreaction to the Marine scandal, the French were expelling three Soviet diplomats for spying. That was small potatoes compared to the 47 Soviet diplomats the French expelled in 1983, but the action suggests that the proud Gaullists share America's irrational obsession.
October 7, 2001 |
I flew to London a week ago. I'm still an emotional wreck. Before Sept. 11, the flights from JFK to Heathrow and back would have been delightful, even for a nervous flyer like me. Spick-and-span equipment; blue skies; an attentive staff; barely any turbulence. But I found myself driven to the edge of paranoia by the unshakable fear that terrorists were on both flights. Today, safe on the ground, I tell myself I was being irrational, silly, racist. But behaviors that would have been all of those things before Sept.
March 30, 2010 |
Last week, Fox News analyst Glenn Beck, known - and loved by millions - for his warnings about the many sins of liberalism, finally got around to denouncing rock icon Bruce Springsteen. In an impassioned attack, Beck branded the Boss' 1984 single, "Born in the U.S.A," as "anti-American" and a piece of "propaganda. " Beck's penchant for finding enemies around every corner makes him one of today's leading mouthpieces for what the late American historian Richard Hofstadter in 1964 termed the "paranoid style" in politics.
October 16, 2001 |
I live 46 miles south of Center City, so deep in the corn and soybean fields of Jersey that I figured there was nothing to fear there from terrorists. Then I remembered Elmer, the Salem County crop-duster guy. So often I've seen the wings of his shiny yellow plane glinting in the sun ? as Elmer would swoop low over a neighbor's field and lay down an even, white fog of pesticide. That gave me pause, I will say. That gave me pause. Paranoia has taken a seat at the table, and so we inspect the mail for white powder and eye swarthy men in planes.
June 21, 1998
Would you like black oil on your popcorn? Should that soda come in the Weird, Paranoid or Jumbo Conspiracy size? Sorry, unlike The Syndicate, this theater does not allow cigarette-smoking. Yes, The X-Files movie has made it to the cineplex, and those opening weekend grosses will provide an interesting test of the power of hype. How many people who've never bothered to check out the dark, cultic doings of The X-Files for free on the Fox network will plunk down $6.75 to sample them in concentrated, big-screen form?
July 6, 1999 |
Columbine has left one certain legacy. "There's a lot of paranoia since Colorado," notes Anthony Guarna, chief juvenile probation officer for Montgomery County. We flinch at the sight of teenagers in black trench coats. We interpret every threatening comment as if it were a loaded gun. A never-before-in-trouble kid, Sean Kelley, 17, was a sophomore at Norristown Area High School, a budding rock singer, a Boy Scout, and an aspiring jewelry maker. His crash course in post-Columbine paranoia started a week after Colorado, when his social studies teacher encouraged discussion on the tragedy.