Wynne Wins, and Two Shades of Jimmy Stewart

June 14, 2014 | By



Oh, come on. She has to be better than Premier Dad.

Before I get to the pair of Jimmy Stewart Blu-ray reviews, I obviously have to say something about Thursday’s Provincial election and the spectacular turnaround and turnabout in which an election triggered by an arrogant party leader in the hope of grasping the province’s top job for herself went down in flames, and the arrogant poser of another party with a vision of fiscal slashing will not be leading his party in the next election because he realized his political capital is now toast.

That isn’t to say winner Kathleen Wynne is the best choice, but she has an opportunity to prove she’s not a complacent leader like Premier Dad, Dalton McGuinty, and will not tolerate squandering millions on poorly conceived projects, and stop corruption and stupidity before it seeps deep into party foundations.

On the day of the election, pollsters calling it a tight race, assessing a neck-in-neck status with each of the three main parties, but what emerged was perhaps something better than expected:

1)      Had the PC’s Tim Hudak or the NDP’s Andrea Horvath achieved a minority win, each leader would have to eat crow and flip-flop on their prior position of not even entertaining cooperating with other parties so the government doesn’t fall again.

2)      Had Wynne returned to power with another minority government and the overall metrics of seats differed by a few here and a few there, Horvath would’ve been guilty of blowing $90 million worth of taxpayer dollars on a pointless election triggered by her own greed, envy, and a phony sense of ‘outrage’ at the corrupt Liberals.

3)      Horvath perhaps gave the province a rare gift for $90 million – actual change, starting with the inevitable removal of Hudak (and likely herself) as party leaders. They ran on lousy campaign planks lacking vision and financial pragmatism: Hudak went for radical Mike Harris changes, and Horvath opted to push the ideological pendulum of her party from left to centre-ishy to centre-right to who knows what the NDP are now. The PCs and NDP can use a long period of self-assessment because it’s clear what worked for the past two terms went nowhere. The last thing any province needs is a lack of potent opposition parties, because one loud voice and power grasp yields little change in the long run. (Example: in spite of all the barking promises, Prime Minister Steve Harper failed to reform the Senate, provide substantive income breaks for the middle class and poor, and bring in promised accountability rules to purge weasels. He also armed himself with noxious pitbulls not really ideologues, but  arrogant weasels, of which Pierre Polievre is the most vile.)

My advice to Wynne: don’t do a David Petersen and become complacent, comfy, and over-confident Premier, because it’ll bit you in the ass and you can just as easily be turfed in the next election. Deliver on promises, add safeguards to catch internal fuck-ups, and dump cabinet screw-ups before they taint the party, because every boo-boo will come back to you.

Also: put into motion some initial plans that’ll deliver results. We may not have needed a reduction in the GST, but Harper’s knocking down the tax in stages made it appear he was delivering on some promises. Do a few simple tricks, and Steve will have little to sway Liberal and NDP voters to the Conservative camp in the next Federal election.

As for Horvath, there was an amusing gaffe that occurred after her speech to supporters Thursday evening. Enmeshed in a media scrum, a CBC’s reporter was clearly heard asking from behind if Horvath was thinking about stepping down (as Hudak had announced moments before). Horvath almost did a double-take but wasn’t able to see the face that uttered such a frank question, but the reporter did a quick re-adjust and asked something more benign about ‘reflecting’ on the day’s events.

It was a quick recovery on live TV for both, but Horvath’s predicament was as clear as the commentators opined soon afterwards: stripped of her powerful ability to dictate changes to legislation (or the budget) in exchange for supporting the former minority Liberal government, Horvath has now lost everything, and it’s probably a matter of days before murmurs of needed new leadership will emerge from the ranks, and the NDP will see a change either shortly, or at the next party gathering where a fresh strategy will mandate major adjustments from the top down.

Now let’s get to the reviews.

TwoRodeToegther_BRTwilight just released  a pair of Jimmy Stewart films on Blu-ray, and the contrast in roles couldn’t be more extreme. In Two Rode Together (1961), Stewart plays a cynical, self-entitled marshal who regains a little of his humanity when racism and his own contemptible greed for money prove too stomach-turning. There are some light buddy-buddy moments in this very uneven John Ford film, but it’s the simple scenes where Stewart gets to be dark that sell the movie and transcend its periodic weak spots.

MrHobbsTakesAVacation_BRTo the other end is the Fox-made Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), a goofy family vacation film based on the novel by Edward Streeter (author of Father of the Bride) which I’ve always loved for its very dry humour, and for being an early template of the classic 80s family vacation sub-genre. It’s all there, and besides just a few scenes, it really hasn’t dated badly. (Chevy Chase would’ve been seamless in the Hobbs role.)

Hobbs’ wife is played by Maureen O’Hara, a longtime member of John Ford’s stock company, and there are some great moments of ridiculousness in this leisurely paced comedy, including Hobbs’ horrible grandson who instantly hates his “Boompah,” a decrepit house with the most preposterous water pump system ever designed, and a zaftig Hungarian beach bunny who attempts to read Tolstoy.



Valerie is now ready to tackle War and Peace!


The Hobbs’ script by Nunnally Johnson (writer of Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath)  is filled with snappy repartee and cynical side comments, and director Henry Koster makes sure major and minor roles don’t come off as straight cartoons, and the dialogue isn’t mean-spirited.

Fair warning: Fabian and newcomer Marie Wilson sing a ludicrous bubble gum ditty at the local teen hangout. This syrupy confection could never have sold more than 8 copies.

The next reviews may not be up until Sunday night, as I’ve got to get cracking on my TUFF entry, plus do some camera tests. I spent a good chunk of this week’s late nights fiddling with an old JVC  broadcast mixer which may be all furbar inside, or have a finicky genlocking setup. Why would you not include a colour bars generator inside an SEG? The cost would’ve been what, an extra $2.28 in circuits?




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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