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10 Foods Men Should Eat More Often

Schiff Vitamins promotes selfishness in this fact-based article about “10 Foods Men Should Eat More Often”: “Want to know the prescription for good health? Taking care of yourself.” Some of the health benefits of these foods you may already know, but this clearly presented top ten list bears repeating and most readers are likely to learn something about healthy eating habits, especially for men. Salt Lake City-based Schiff, founded in 1921 by a Hungarian immigrant named Eugene Schiff, develops, manufactures, and sells branded and private label vitamins and nutritional supplements in America and throughout the world.

Disney Loses Dick Cook

Earlier this month, I pondered whether Disney’s deal to buy Marvel Comics signaled an end to Walt Disney’s legendary commitment to creating wholesome stories—with characters in motion pictures and theme park attractions that evoke childlike wonder. Now that Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook has apparently been ousted by Disney’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, we may be closer to having an answer.

The most interesting report comes from CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, who suggests that Disney’s movie slate may rely increasingly on others, reinforcing my concern that Walt’s original creative philosophy is being incrementally phased out or rejected by Mr. Iger. This would be a mistake in creative and in commercial terms, leaving Disney no more distinct that any other Hollywood studio and making the Burbank, California-based studio merely another entry in delivering me-too cultural cynicism. Disney was already well on its way with a mediocre slate of forgettable movies—Enchanted, Up, Pirates of the Caribbean—while Dick Cook was in charge but the honorable chairman, who worked his way up from Disneyland cast member during his 38 years at Disney, understood Walt’s benevolent sense of life and the need to make movies in a private, proprietary artistic system that nurtures and cultivates the individual’s creative vision (Frank Marshall’s man-dog Antarctica adventure Eight Below comes to mind). He built solid relationships with artists based on trust and respect and he deserved better than an abrupt departure.

If Boorstin’s sources are correct that a scaled back studio leaves Disney free to create fewer bigger, better movies, I see no reason why Dick Cook could not have made that happen—unless Cook had some fundamental objection to corporate plans for the studio. Movies such as The Proposal prove that quality pictures can be made, marketed, and sold to the public and Disney can’t be counted out. The number of recent missteps—overexposing its products and depleting the sense of magic and mystery at the recent self-promotional D23 exposition, bland, bleak movies such as Up and Wall-E and the dreadful decision to release Mel Gibson’s primitive horror movie Apocalypto after his anti-Jewish tirade—is offset by good calls on High School Musical, dumping Walden Media’s Christian Narnia movies, and remaking Disney’s California Adventure as a tribute to Walt Disney and early 20th century Americanism. That mixed record and risky moves such as Disney’s train tour for the expensive A Christmas Carol, pushing cash-strapped consumers to buy movies on the pricey Blu-Ray discs, and upcoming remakes Tron, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (with Terminator: Salvation director McG on board, it might be good) and the new picture, Surrogates, Disney’s future as a great, American movie business might be in jeopardy. Dick Cook’s departure makes that look more likely. Knowing who replaces Dick Cook, who worked his way from Disneyland to promoting the studio’s most imaginative recent achievement, The Little Mermaid, and creating Disney’s Soda Fountain and Studio Store, will provide a leading indicator. In the meantime, Disney has lost one its best minds.

Screen Shot: ‘Love Happens’

With the broad theme that love means being true to yourself first and foremost, and loaded with Hollywood cliches, Universal’s Love Happens lives up to its romantic yet realistic title and delivers the perfect movie for fall’s sense of renewal.

Don’t expect the typically twisted boy-meets-girl affair. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) stars as a widower who turns his wife’s death into a bestselling book and seminar series about grief recovery that earns him a multimedia deal, pending throughout the movie, and the unwelcome prospect of having to practice what he preaches. When the book tour takes him to camera-ready Seattle (actually, Vancouver) where his wife died and her in-laws live, he comes to a crucial juncture.

Enter Jennifer Aniston, who has never been better as a codependent, emergently independent, florist who longs to be noticed, valued, and loved for being competent, romantic, and intelligent. Though she has a bad habit of defacing private property, which is supposed to be cute, the wholesome, knit capped Aniston is swept off her feet by the square-jawed Eckhart and Love Happens, which is mostly about the man, for a change, unfolds beautifully. The florist is an organizer who gets things done; she shows the life coach how to put the play in action. Seeing himself, literally, at his best will either make him want to push her away or claim her as his own.

Keeping it together is an actor who nearly steals the show. His name is John Carroll Lynch (Gran Torino) and he did the same thing in another recovery-themed picture released in autumn, Things We Lost in the Fire. As a father who lost his son, he gives one of the best performances in a picture this year. His sincerity is the key to what makes Love Happens: he dramatizes the point that one’s professed values, in order to be achieved, must be based on reality. It’s not easy to watch people struggle with their loss, but whether his character, Walter, gets back to work and to living his life becomes a pivotal part of the puzzle.

Martin Sheen is overdone as the gruff father-in-law with unresolved issues, a few touches are too pat, and the entire plot is fairly predictable, but one of my favorite things about this picture is its positive portrayals of people making money, pursuing profits, and enjoying living in a society based on capitalism. Both leading characters are employed by themselves, work for themselves, and they love their work. Both are skilled, knowledgeable, and successful. The boilerplate best friends are friends through work and even a kooky performance artist pays her own way. Best of all, the profit motive is never disparaged.

Contrary to the daily government-sponsored slogans being disseminated by the White House, the same old intellectuals, and their mouthpieces in the press (including and especially NBC Universal’s outlets) the upshot of this movie is that being honorable is the way to become profitable. Love Happens is co-written and directed by Brandon Camp, who is, incidentally, the son of Benji creator Joe Camp, and the film is co-written by Seattle native Mike Thompson.

New on DVD: ‘We the Living’

We the LivingAs I reported in May, a film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s 1936 novel We the Living, is available on DVD. It is also on sale through the production company.

The 1942 motion picture was recut from a pirated Italian adaptation and released in fascist Italy and Europe as two separate pictures. I’m planning an interview series about Ayn Rand’s breathtaking literary achievement and the outstanding movie version, which was theatrically released in 1988, for publication on the site.

While the film is also excellent, there is no substitute for the superior experience of reading We the Living, which was recently reprinted with an urgently relevant introduction by Leonard Peikoff, in this new trade paperback edition.

Screen Shot: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’

Attending a screening with radio’s sharpest movie critic, Kate Tyler, I’m surprised to say I enjoyed Sony’s animated picture, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, based on a children’s story that Kate tells me she used to read to her kids.

Cloudy‘s not a great movie, yet it offers relatively innocuous family fare. Flint (Bill Hader), a creative child striving to become an inventor for the wrong reasons (pleasing others and being of service to the community) discovers as a young adult that one of his wild creations actually works and all hell breaks loose. It’s a visually fast-paced affair with the usual three dimensional (3D) tricks (no big deal) in an involving father-son story with a villain that echoes today’s authoritarian White House. Add an excellent subplot about a romantic interest (Anna Faris) whom Flint encourages to stop hiding her intelligence and a policeman (Mr. T in a fun vocal performance) that loves his work almost as much as he loves his son, who adopts a Tea Party attitude of personal responsibility and fuels the movie’s most exciting scene, and, despite an absurdist streak, you get a decent candidate for an afternoon matinee. Listen for a swipe at the Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other digs at Big Government in a generally entertaining slice of life.