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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Report Card---"Lee Daniel's 'The Butler' ".

Now that the Academy has rolled over and played dead for a picture ennobling the Black Experience, this and the next post will deal with two films with similar themes that the Academy completely ignored.
Beginning with "Lee Daniel's 'The Butler' ".
You kind of know you're in some sort of trouble when you give a possessive credit in the title to a director you've never heard of.
Seems, what's the word, pretentious?
This pretty much sums up the film.
I disliked it less than I disliked "Twelve Years A Slave", a dead horse that I will continue to flog at any opportunity, but that's not saying much.
This "Butler" film is essentially two movies.
One follows the butler character as he serves various Presidents in a career in the White House spanning generations.
The other follows his son, who has morphed himself into an Eldridge Cleaver type.
It's difficult to determine which is less interesting.
They each give each other a run for their money.
I was a little less impartial to the Butler's story.

On to the scoring: 

Is it interesting?

On rare occasions.

Compelling even?


Is it controversial?

It seems to strive for it, but it really isn't.

Is it a story worth telling?

I saw no need.

Is it good storytelling?

It was told rather tediously.

Is it well written?

There wasn't much to work with, and the writing certainly didn't transcend it

Is it well cast? Well played?  Well shot?

I suppose all three.  That's the kindest thing I can say about it.

Is it too long? Too short?

A little long.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

I cared about the butler.  I didn't  care about his son.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

You don't even think about it in those terms.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Not a bit.

Is it funny?


Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

Maybe if you're black.  Maybe.

Is it impressive ?

It didn't impress me.

Overall grade: C-.

It was really just pageantry..

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
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I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. Yes, a director's name doesn't belong in the title. It's just one of the reasons I can't stand Tyler Perry (other than the fact that his films and TV shows are horrible to the nth degree). Didn't enjoy the Butler, except for the soundtrack.

  2. There's a story as to why Daniels' name is in the title...

  3. Thanks for the link to the story.

    1. You cannot copyright a title.
    2. The earlier move named "the Butler" is in the public domain, anyway.
    3. The dispute stems from a private agreement between the studios as to how to run their businesses. The supervisory organization is the MPAA, the group that gives us PG13 ratings for violence and R ratings for "The King's Speech." This is an antitrust and contract issue.

  4. You might be eligible to get a free Apple iPhone 7.

  5. There's a chance you are qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."