Happy Atlas Shrugged Day!


April 15

We've seen hearty thumbs-up from Objectivists, split decisions from fans and foes, qualified non-praise from P.J. O'Rourke and Kyle Smith, and from our own ranks a dart from Kurt Loder and a laurel from Brian Doherty. So are there any other reviews and commentary about Atlas Shrugged Part I worth reading on this, the opening day of the long-awaited cinematic adaptation? As you hit refresh on Rotten Tomatoes (where it's polling a brutal 7% among critics, but a healthy 85% from the audience as of this writing), here are some readables:

Reason Foundation co-founder Tibor Machan goes down memory lane:

I saw the movie "Atlas Shrugged: Part I" (set for release April 15), and I liked it a lot, just as I did the book when I first read it in 1961 while serving in the Air Force near Washington, D.C. (The maiden ride of the John Galt Line train was the most riveting segment in the book for me and remains so in the film.) […]

I was won over to Rand in part because I already held individualist views, having survived Soviet communism and a Nazi parent's brutality. Such collectivist, communitarian regimes held out no attraction to me. Yet I lacked the education to figure out why a human individual should be acknowledged as the center of values, and Rand helped me figure this out.

Right or wrong, I found Rand (whom I met in 1962 for a 30-minute private chat but who later banished me, too, from her group of close-knit students) sensible, passionate, a bit bellicose and all-around very insightful about nearly all aspects of philosophy. Then, three years after its publication, came "Atlas Shrugged." I read it on a single day; that is how vivid and good a read it was and, judging by its phenomenal sales worldwide, still is. […]

Although "Part 1" didn't grab me as did the book when I first read it – how could it have? – it is a very good picture; it's modern, serious, full of poignant anti-statist and pro-capitalist dialogue (unlike most Hollywood products).

A bridge too…

Roger Ebert does the rumpy-pumpy:

The most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone's vault. I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand's 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it. For the rest of us, it involves a series of business meetings in luxurious retro leather-and-brass board rooms and offices, and restaurants and bedrooms that look borrowed from a hotel no doubt known as the Robber Baron Arms. […]

The movie is constructed of a few kinds of scenes: (1) People sipping their drinks in clubby surroundings and exchanging dialogue that sounds like corporate lingo; (2) railroads, and lots of 'em; (3) limousines driving through cities in ruin and arriving at ornate buildings; (4) city skylines; (5) the beauties of Colorado. There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

Hearst Newspapers' Mick LaSalle gives the rare non-Randian non-pan:

Yes, it's a right-wing diatribe. It presents liberals from a conservative point of view, as meddlers and mediocrities who resent, fear and aim to keep down the talented and the visionary. Its misunderstanding of the liberal mind is ridiculous and unfair […]

What is a selling point are the boldly drawn characters, played by a cast of unknowns, some of whom deserve to be known. I'm thinking in particular of Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart, a railway heiress, and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden, a manufacturing magnate and the inventor of Rearden Metal. Even with director Paul Johansson practically missing in action, giving them nothing, Schilling and Bowler are forceful and attractive.

I'd be willing to sit through Part Two right now.

Missed it by *that* much!

Will Wilkinson talks to anxious Randians:

According to my informal survey of Rand fans, "apprehensive" and "cautiously optimistic" are the watchwords. Many fans drew parallels to the hopeful trepidation preceding the screen debuts of the "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" books. "It would be so great if they can pull this off," AeonSkoble, a professor of philosophy at Bridgewater State College, told me, "and it'd be really awful if they can't." But he's hopeful.

"A novel that's been a best-seller for more than 50 years should have generated a Hollywood blockbuster starring George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow," said David Boaz, the executive vice-president of the libertarian Cato Institute. "It's too bad that instead it's an indie film with little-known actors and a limited opening."

Yet Mr. Boaz, who caught a preview screening, seemed pleasantly surprised. "The actors looked right," he said. "And the cinematography is very good."

FreedomWorks puts together an Atlas mash-up with the Moucher in Chief:

Ayn Rand attempts to breathe blue life into the black soul of Nick Gillespie

Time magazine writer Claire Suddath attempts to get a date on The Atlasphere

NPR goes to an ideological screening in Washington, D.C.:

Variety reports that "according to online ticketing service Fandango," Atlas, "bowing at 299 locations, surprisingly ranks third with 15% of the site's advance ticket sales," behind Scream 4 and Rio.

And National Review's Daniel Foster gets into the business proposition:

[W]hat's the benchmark for success? Aglialoro said he'd like to recoup the $10 million shooting budget and the roughly $10 million he spent on rights and development. He'd also like to have cash to invest in the second installment of a planned trilogy — and of course, a profit.

"If it does a hundred million, roughly, at the box office, about half of that goes to the exhibitor — so if I were to subtract that $20 million, that would leave $30 million. And about half of that would be reinvested for the second one."

The latest of's many videos about Ayn Rand and the movie project:

NEXT: Today in New York Times Navel-Gazing

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  1. It’s going to be terrible. All my experience in reading between the lines of reviewers’ comments, combined with seeing the utterly flat and unprofessional preview, says this is going to be disappointing at best, embarrassing at worst.

    I was considering seeing it this weekend but I’m going to have to hear back from those of you who do go see it first. I can’t do two hours of shot-for-TV mediocrity.

    1. I think you are probably right. Without commenting on the quality of the novel, love it or hate it it is a philosophical polemic as well as a novel. Such novels, even if they are great, have never translated well into a movie. For example, The Brothers’ Karamozov, a book that only the most ardent Randian won’t admit far surpasses Atlas as pure art has never been made into an even watchable movie.

      1. Don’t go hatin’ on the Shat.

        1. You! Klingon. Bastard, YOU! Killed my. Book.

    2. Will the ghost of Ayn Rand haunt me if I say I plan to torrent it?

      1. Why, no, dalink, but your shmecky will shrivel up and fall off.

    3. There are sixteen professional reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as of now, and almost all of them are scatching.

      Some of it is just blatantly obvious liberal bias, but I have a feeling that you’re on the money.

      1. And of 5,152 viewers, 86% liked it.

        Even if each professional reviewer is worth 100 viewers, its still bringing in a good number.

        1. From the only positive professional review (NY Post):

          Though a bit stiff in the joints and acted by an undistinguished cast amid TV-movie trappings, this low-budget adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel nevertheless contains a fire and a fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item.

        2. You’re right, I hadn’t even noticed that.

          I guess like most political movies, this is just going to be one where there’s a huge opinion gap between the so-called mainstream media and normal Americans.

          1. You think it will be as good as Armageddon, too? Sweet!

        3. Yeah, but they are preaching to the already converted. This is libertarianism/objectivism’s The Passion of the Christ-and there are a lot less libertarians/objectionists than Christian fundies. Plus, The Passion of the Christ got some good reviews-Ebert (who is a liberal and a secular humanist/borderline atheist) gave it four stars.

    4. I can’t do two hours of shot-for-TV mediocrity.

      This is what I dont get about your pre-criticism. As I said previously, Im assuming Lifetime movie level. That is the budget they had. How is that “mediocrity”?

      1. Sounds like preformed bias to me.

    5. I can’t remember where, but someone made the argument that Atlas Shrugged has already been a movie recently, only it was called Iron Man 2. I think I’ll watch that again this weekend instead.

      1. Haven’t seen AS yet, but I agree that Iron Man 2 was one of the most blatantly anti-government-intervention movies I’ve ever seen.

      2. Yes. They made this movie once, with a big budget and name actors. They called it The Aviator.

        Yes. They made this movie once, with a big budget as an animation. They called it The Incredibles.

    6. I’m thinking of just paying for tickets via Fandango and then “forgetting” to use them. My $30 will help the box office total, and I won’t spend two hours squirming in a theater seat.

      1. Somehow I don’t think Rand would approve of your “donation”.

        1. You got the “I don’t think” part right

          1. I always love when this guy posts. His name even looks retarded. It’s like he’s tripped up before he even gets to his comment, as if just typing his name caused him great difficulty.


            1. The Mr. Bean of trolls

    7. It can’t help but be a message movie, and all message movies suck.

      1. If they ever get to part three, it will one big

        1. Judging from the mangled cliffnote-style movie I saw lastnight, I expect the speech will go like this:
          “This is John Galt Speaking. You politicians should lower taxes and limit regulations. Huckabee 2012!!Have a nice day.”

          That was the

          1. …worst

    8. I got tickets for 10pm tonight. I will let you know.

    9. I saw it earlier tonight. I liked it a lot.

    10. It was good if you’ve read the book. Confusing if you haven’t. Check it out. It’s badness is exaggerated. Dagny and Hank carry scenes.

      1. Really? My wife and I are huge fans of the book and we almost walked out. We even went in with cautiously low expectations and armed with excuses about the low budget and rushed production. They didn’t just distill most of the best ideas and scenes and dialogue. They just removed them entirely. It seemed like, instead of figuring out how to use the movie format to replace a lot of words, they just started ripping out pages.

        1. i thought it was going to be awful and it was only… well, better than awful. Could have been the booze in me though.

          1. The two of us couldn’t get to the bar to get whiskey in us fast enough after the credits ran. I never understood why people get so worked up when their favorite book is being turned into a movie. Now I do. Fuckin stressful.

    11. Sad to say you’re right. It was bad production quality like you say. But the treatment of the content of the novel was the worst part. It was what you would get if you asked Sarah Palin to read it and give you a book report through twitter.

      It should have been a twenty episode mini series with all the controversial ideas and scenes and dialogue left in tact. There are enough super fans like me out there to make tons of money. I wish this shit for brains Aglialoro had lost the movie rights.

      1. yes^10 to this. because it’s so true, and because reading it very nearly sent a surge of diet coke though my nasal passages.

    12. Saw it yesterday at the only thearter showing it in Queens. The movie was good on it’s own. And as a Libertarian it was refreshing to hear people questioning the wisdom of government. Characters were well portrayed. The audience applauded at the end. Can’t wait until April 15, 2012.

    13. Actually IMHO it was better than I ever gave it hope to be. Not incredible, but affecting, somewhat riveting, and pretty well-acted. The Galt line approaching the new bridge scene was good for a few claps and the audience I was with clapped vigorously at the credits. You should give it a try. At least it’s refreshingly NOT leftied out like nearly everything else out for the last hald century.

  2. Rumpy? Dumpy?

    1. Sorry, that was me channeling my inner sub-saharan sociopathic kleptocrat.

  3. Unless every location can average 33,000 tickets, $100 million isn’t happening…

  4. It’s too bad that instead it’s an indie film with little-known actors and a limited opening.

    And we all know perfectly well why almost no big-name producers, directors, or actors would ever be associated with this film in a million years. Nobody wants to end up on the blacklist of the rabid left-wing that controls Hollywood.

    1. “Nobody wants to end up on the blacklist of the rabid left-wing that controls Hollywood.”

      You mean the people who have worked hard to become influential, rich and controllers of movie-making resources and networks? You mean the people who have never broken laws or taken from other people, yet still have managed to make their ideology dominant in Hollywood? You mean the Galtian ?bermensch who have every right to spew left-wing garbage around while discouraging any dissenting ideation and aesthetics in Hollywood movies?

      You are just a jealous little parasite. Make you own movies, degenerate!

      1. You are just a jealous little parasite. Make you own movies, degenerate!

        …which is exactly what they did, you raving moron.

        1. “…which is exactly what they did”

          And it is failing because they don’t have the marketing or the big names. This is in turn a result of them being weak and lazy workers, unlike the superior people in Hollywood.

          1. Uh, it’s been open for less than 12 hours, bright boy.

            It is too bad it doesn’t have big names like J-Lo or Ben Affleck, like Gigli had.

          2. Not necessarily weak or lazy, just less experienced, less talented, and lacking in capital and connections. What kind of monocle is the libertarian in your mind wearing?

            1. The kind of monocle that takes over the brain and makes one a republican with slightly higher thoughts about oneself. I.e. a libertarian.

              1. You were doing pretty well, but this just sucks. Like George Costanza, you should have left on a high note.

                Learn some style.

            2. Not necessarily weak or lazy, just less experienced, less talented, and lacking in capital and connections.

              It’s funny. The libertarian in me is moderated by the points you bring up. People find themselves on uneven footing due to circumstances beyond their control. I believe in meritocracy, and recognize that this is not in conflict with social support, because of the points you bring up…

          3. Yeah no one goes to see right wing movies. That is why movies like The Passion flopped. Oh that is right the movie made a half a billion dollars despite having mostly dialog in dead or near dead languages. Yet, Hollywood never copied it once. Holllywood made millions from biblical epics back in the day. And they still could if they would make them. But they won’t make them because they are narrow minded worthless pieces of shit who would rather lose money than let any competing voice into their little world.

            Tell me, when you were a little kid did you dream about growing up into an ignorant, intollerant asshole or did it just kind of happen that way?

            1. Hollywood never copied The Passion because it’s controlled by the Jews.

            2. Churches bussed people in to see crazy Mel’s snuff film extravaganza.

              Just like they bus people in to vote for Republicans. The flock is easily herded. Always in support of utter bloody horror, curiously.

              1. You are such of fucking tiresome twit Tony.

              2. It’s wonderful seeing you decrying the bussing of people to polling places. The Democrats would never do that, would they?

                1. Bussing people to movie screenings is a big part of indie film promotion, whether the movie is left, right or center. Because it’s cheap.

                  Similar grass roots strategies were used for that Al Gore movie/powerpoint presentation and all the Michael Moore atrocities.

          4. Its the number 3 in presales behind a big horror sequel and an animated family movie… not bad for a right wing diatribe of a drama. I wouldn’t call that failing.

      2. What, you mean the ever-increasing set of government protections for their ever extended “temporary” government-granted monopoly? That was more the hard work of their lobbyists, I assume.

        1. Never mind the huge subsidies places like Austin and Louisiana hand out to them.

  5. Obama could be given four more terms and have an all-blue congress during every term, and not once would they create the sort of anti-individualist, creativity-snuffing situation you glibertarians mumble about so feverishly.

    During and at the end of that era, not a single business-owner, idea-maker or creator would ever feel the impulse to go Galt. The end of that era would be completely impossible to compare credibly with the paranoid, pissy and resentful scenario that sexually immature Russian flapper threw together. I’m willing to bet my life on that.

    There is not a single living objectivist that isn’t human shit. If Rand was my daughter I would probably try to kill every man who *didn’t* sexually assault her.

    1. And people complain that Rand’s villains are cartoonish.

    2. Trolls are inferior to humans. Let this one starve.

    3. Re: Atlas whined like a bith,

      There is not a single living objectivist that isn’t human shit.

      Or that became someone even worse, later on, hence: Alan Greenspan.

      During and at the end of that era, not a single business-owner, idea-maker or creator would ever feel the impulse to go Galt.

      People are simply too enamoured of Fascism to do that.

    4. Which Objectivist hurt you, Axel? Did they break your heart?

      1. Leonard Peikoff slapped Axel’s face real hard with his cock.

      2. Yeah I once had a hankering to eat the sauerkraut of an aging, narcissist chain-smoker with rape fantasies and an ugly haircut. And she turned me down – ever since then I am taking out my frustrations on Ayn Rand as she is an accurate substitute.

        1. So was it a man or a woman? It’s ok, big guy: you can tell me.

          1. It was a little guy epi. But he was really mean and Axel doesn’t want to talk about where the guy touched him and how much he really enjoyed it. Okay. He working through some issues right now. You got to understand that.

            1. “Hee hee, Axel is a fucking faggot, unlike me!”

        2. Actually dude, rectal keeps pickles up there, not sauerkraut. Besides, pickles make the perfect chaser for vodka.

    5. AS is not an attempt at forecasting, it is a work of fiction. Nobody denies that.

      1. “AS is not an attempt at forecasting, it is a work of fiction”

        Matt Welch just posted a youtube clip titled “Atlas is shrugging”. So apparently he and freedomworks think that Obama is a harbinger of the mega-collectivist future Rand forecasted. This is because Welch is sick in the head.

        1. Is Rand to blame for Obama acting like a character in her book?

          1. No, Rand is not to blame for your parents being siblings, or for the fact that all of her fans are embarrassments for the species.

            1. Is this Max, back for a bitch-slap?

        2. Just like Orwell was attempting to predict the future, not trying to illustrate and idea! OK little man, put the keyboard down and no one else will get hurt by teh stupid.

    6. This is a spoof, right? No one is this bitter toward a philosophy that has had so little impact on actual political culture.

      1. Don’t underestimate the irrational vitriol of a pathetic attention-seeking narcissist troll.

    7. You don’t have to move to some remote area in order to “go Galt.” Economics operates at the margins. While Google is not going to shut down all of its operations if its tax rates increase by a few percentage points, it sure as hell is going to adjust the timing and manner of its investments in response. Every time politicians and bureaucrats feel the need to tax and regulate another area of the economy, they create unintended consequences and distortions in that market. The cumulative effect of all of these actions is just the opposite of what people like Obama claim. Overbearing government influence on the marketplace stifles innovation and reduces productivity.

      “Going Galt” is just a metaphor for this phenomenon, you imbecile.

    8. There is not a single living objectivist that isn’t human shit.

      Show us on the doll where the Objectivist touched you.

    9. Obama could be given four more terms and have an all-blue congress during every term, and not once would they create the sort of anti-individualist, creativity-snuffing situation you glibertarians mumble about so feverishly.

      During and at the end of that era, not a single business-owner, idea-maker or creator would ever feel the impulse to go Galt.

      Tell ya what – at the rate Obozo and his crew are going with the economy, by the end of a second term there wouldn’t be any need to go Galt, what with the way all the copper thieves are dismantling the infrastructure. It’s already to the point that cities have to weld manhole covers shut to keep them from being stolen and sold for scrap iron. Country’s turning into a bunch of atavists. At the end of four terms it would be Somalia.

    10. So my wife and I are human shit huh? You progressives truly are the party of raving impotent hate.

  6. At, 7%. Does not bode well.

      1. It’s a lot like the response when the novel was released. I’m not saying that the movie will even approach the quality of the novel but its reception seems to match. Critics have a hard time remaining calm enough to keep themselves from explicitly calling it Nazi propaganda. While everybody with any job other than art critic is thrilled to see a story that glorifies heroes rather than one that worships misery and failure and asks them to broaden their minds and join in and hate life.

    1. Considering how many movies I like that critics hate and how many movies critics love that I hate, 7% would be awesome to me. Especially this movie. If wanting to make money is the goal, and of course it is, the 86% fan support and 93% (typically liberal-progressive) critical disapproval sounds as close to perfect as you can expect.

      1. I recall the internet being *flooded* with generic Paul-supporters in 2008.

        These 86 % gave the film a recommendation whether they really liked it deep down or not, in order to huddle together and make the movie look better together. Libertarians are over-represented on the internet – because they have collectivist tendencies and are prone to hugboxing.

        1. Have you considered that while libertarians are under represented as a % of voters but like the over representation online perhaps they are also over represented at the cinema? the book is a best seller. The movie can do well also.

          1. Hey, as long as your religion stays in hackneyed cultural expressions and on the internet, I am fine with it.

  7. If you look at the promotional poster for this film, you’ll see that the “globe” perched on the shoulders of Atlas looks suspiciously like Barack Obama’s campaign logo. Tell me THAT wasn’t intentional.

    Years ago, when I was visiting my parents, I found a paperback copy of “Atlas Shrugged” on a bookcase and decided to tackle it. After all, some people consider it a contemporary classic, and I live to immerse myself in a good novel. I got about 200 pages into it before putting it down for good. I found all of the characters to be absolutely reprehensible, self-important jerks. And the idea that altruism is some kind of weakness or character flaw grated on me. I personally think “Atlas Shrugged” is utter crap.

    It’s no surprise the talking heads at Fox News make it sound like this film is the greatest thing since sliced white bread.

    1. Oh ho ho, a Fox reference! Genius! You must be an example of the finest minds we have, because as we all know, Fox = libertarianism! What other brilliant pronouncements can you grace us with, oh wise sage?

      1. Yeah, but he forgot the Kochtopus reference. C-

        1. I wonder how she’d feel about the Kochs. My guess is that she’d hate them, considering their considerable philanthropic interests — altruism being one of her cardinal sins.

          1. Oh, she LOVED the Koch.

          2. You know, there’s plenty about Rand that you could be critical of. But it’s so much easier to just beat straw men…

          3. The Kochs give according to their interests. That’s good. Rand opposed self-sacrificial charity or giving because it earns you moral points. She didn’t oppose all philanthropy, she identified it as a moral non-essential.

          4. She wouldn’t hate the Kochs for their charitable giving; she would hate them for their acceptance of government subsidies (being accomplices/beneficiaries to theft).

  8. Wish I could be there but tied up in Aussie local regulations

  9. “It presents liberals from a conservative point of view, as meddlers and mediocrities who resent, fear and aim to keep down the talented and the visionary. Its misunderstanding of the liberal mind is ridiculous and unfair […].”

    Translation: “They just don’t understand how good our intentions are.”

    1. Don’t hate on the Mick, he writes for the San Francisco paper. If he hadn’t learned to preface a review like that with an elaborate liberal shibboleth, he’d have been out of a job long ago. This review is what passes for an act of courage here in Babylon-by-the-Bay.

    2. The don’t want to hold down the talented and visionary, they just want the government to take every single dime those people make from their talent and vision. And make sure that anything people do with their talent and vision is approved by the government and doens’t hurt anyone. That is a lot different than holding them down.

      1. And the people. It’s not that we hate the talented and visionary, it’s just that we prefer that the results of their talent and vision applied through hard work should be credited to the people. As long as they pretend that they couldn’t have done it without the people and they pay the people their fair share, the talented and visionary come in pretty handy.

  10. Ebert has a point about trains. While modern train transportation is a lot more important than most people realize, it’s not what it was in 1957. And certainly almost no one takes passenger trains of any distance anymore.

    The story line should’ve been updated somehow.

    In spite of critics, though, I predict — as Variety would say — boffo box office.

    1. “Boffo box office”?!

      hokae…as a certain rock star transplantee might say.

      1. If this was a wider release, I could see it opening well, as plenty of people have heard of the novel. Of course opening and being good and/or successful are not the same thing.

        1. On the other hand, my buddy’s wife watched the trailer on reason and made him pre-order tickets. Neither are regular readers, I sent him the link. She is definitely not political or ideological. She just thinks the movie looks pretty.

          1. I will put money on this movie not doing “boffo box office” by any conventional understanding of those words. I am not a betting man.

            1. I eagerly await the Pavlovian parroting of the marching orders from the NYT.

            2. It’s the feel-good movie of the year!

            3. I bet it does great box office. There are a lot of Randians out there. And every last one of them is going to see this movie. Movie tickets are what $10 a piece? If there are 10 million Randians out there and then maybe a third of that who come out of curiousity or by accident, that is over 13 million tickets or well north of a hundred million dollars. The movie does something a lot of movie don’t, appeals to a dedicated group of customers.

              1. If there are 10 million Randians out there…

                I have no reason to believe there are anywhere near that number.

                1. There are what 350 million people in the US and Canada? I don’t think 10 million Randians is a very “highnumber”.

                  1. 🙂

                    Let’s find something that verifiably has 10M adherents and check how many fans it has on Facebook. This isn’t scientific, but it could give us a guideline.

                    1. Ayn Rand: “223,982 people like this”

                      The Mormons: “454,306 people like this”

                  2. I seriously doubt there are twice as many Objectivists as Mormons in the U.S.

                    Note that this film could still turn a profit at $50 million box office. The $100 million figure is the “we made so much money that we totally will do Part 2” number.

                    1. And that ignores the other money coming in from DVD sales and whatnot. $20 million box office for theaters is probably close to the break-even point indicator.

              2. “If it does a hundred million, roughly, at the box office, about half of that goes to the exhibitor ? so if I were to subtract that $20 million, that would leave $30 million. And about half of that would be reinvested for the second one.”

                I’d love for the film to be successful, even though my suspicions are it won’t be very good.

                That said, Aglialoro is smoking some great shit if he thinks AS will get anywhere near $100 million domestic. He should thank his lucky stars if it gets to $10 million domestic theatrically
                (And yes, I know this doesn’t cover his investment. Having worked in low budget movies for quite a few years, my experience is he should still be happy to get that much back, as it will probably help drive ancillary revenue).

    2. The only passenger trains left in this country are run by the government! Aw, irony.

    3. This movie is not about passenger trains.

  11. I read it on a single day; that is how vivid and good a read it was and, judging by its phenomenal sales worldwide, still is.

    Holy shit!
    Took me a whole year to read the damn thing!

  12. It presents liberals from a conservative point of view, as meddlers and mediocrities who resent, fear and aim to keep down the talented and the visionary. Its misunderstanding of the liberal mind is ridiculous and unfair.”

    It hurt, didn’t it, Mickey?

    1. The ad campaign should proclaim “Critics are Raving!”

      1. +1. Maybe one suggestion: “It has the critics…raving!”

        Leaving out “ranting,” of course.

  13. Commenting at Volokh Conspiracy:

    If the law agrees with me, it should be followed. Otherwise, it can go to hell.

    I don’t trust the law to know better than me. No one asked me for input when it was written. Sure, I was taught in school that following it is important. But it isn’t really in society’s interest to tell me anything else so I don’t ascribe that very much authority.

    On a related note, I also think W should have been impeached but if the same law used against him would also have led to the impeachment of Obama, then I would have had to change my opinion of the law depending on the situation. The law is just a tool, much like those who trust it to be deserving of following to the letter.

    1. Oh nooooooo I am sooooo embarrassed…

      No seriously – do you think I care about whether anyone on the internet approves or disapproves of me? I stand fully by that statement.

      I say the same thing about the democratic majority – if voters support the wrong policies, politicians should ignore them and try to get away with it. If the voters support the right position, the politicians should submit. This is not rocket surgery.

      1. Ah, so you’re still an idiot. I think the one commentator was right when he said psychopathy is a lifelong ailment.

        1. Re: Our friend Axel,

          I think the one commentator was right when he said psychopathy is a lifelong ailment.

          You can’t fix stupid.

      2. Which just proves that you’re a statist fuck.

  14. Here’s a rather amusing take:

    The movie also strips away what was truly original and subversive in Rand’s vision. Rather than a savage critique of egalitarianism and the proud worship of hierarchy, beauty, and excellence, not just in politics but in humanity, it gives us vague policy prescriptions and laugh lines for the libertarian crowd. When Rearden crumples up a request for communication from a union and throws it in the trash, the crowd cheered. (In the book of course, the longtime head of the union for Rearden’s workers helps him.) Rather than presenting a certain “sense of life,” as Rand suggested, it basically tells us to donate to the CATO Institute and read Reason.

    1. Well, there used to be unions who cared about themselves AND the company they worked for. How true is that today?

      1. Yes, capital and labor were in perfect harmony in the US but then the unions got greedy and ruined the good arrangement.

        Libertarianism is such a shitty religion. Catholics get wine and discipline at least.

        1. I didn’t say they were in perfect harmony, you zealot. Just that many union members did care something about the success of the place they worked and even had some pride for the company they helped to operate. I think that is more rare now than it ever was before.

          1. In response to Nick at 1:08-

            Kind of like the attitude Carl Fox (father of Bud Fox) demonstrated for Blue Star Airlines.

          2. “I think that is more rare now than it ever was before.”

            And this is the fault of the workers who started thinking only about themselves, right? Because that is the only possible causal order, right? It’s not as if some other party of the arrangement could ever draw first blood. Nah, it must be the unions being greedy.

        2. Catholics get wine and discipline at least.

          We get hookers and blow.

          Also, you’re an asshole.

    2. The movie also strips away what was truly original and subversive in Rand’s vision. Rather than a savage critique of egalitarianism and the proud worship of hierarchy, beauty, and excellence, not just in politics but in humanity, it gives us vague policy prescriptions and laugh lines for the libertarian crowd.

      You mean it takes sophisticated and subversive ideas and reduces them to cheap laugh lines? Damn, it must really be a Hollywood movie.

  15. If you love something let it go,
    But please don’t shoot it at the last minute on a low budget more suited to the story of a giant turtle attacking Tokyo.

    1. I saw it lastnight and I wish your sound advice had reached Aglialoro’s ears a year ago. I blame his wife for telling him to follow his heart.

  16. We have to see this movie, dude!

  17. I find it hard to understand the mind of someone (esp. Ebert) who is unmoved by the completion of the John Galt line.

    I remember getting a lump in my throat the first time I read Dagny’s response to, “Who is John Galt?” at the launch of the line.

    1. Re: Anthony,

      I find it hard to understand the mind of someone (esp. Ebert) who is unmoved by the completion of the John Galt line.

      Ebert is the same guy that liked The Entity, presumably because of the special effects(*), and said that Ron Paul deserved to be punk’ed by Sacha Baron Cohen [aka Bruno] because “Ron Paul had made some racists comments before.” Huh?

      I have taken Ebert’s reviews with a grain of salt.

      (*) Yeah, the scenes where Barbara Hershey is being brutally ravaged by a ghost had NO BEARING AT ALL on his “enjoyment” of that turkey. Even his friend Gene Siskel made fun of his review.

      1. I have taken Ebert’s reviews with a grain of salt.

        I can do better by not taking Ebert’s shit reviews at all.

      2. Ron Paul may or may not be a racist, but he is a monotheist and he is pro-life so I hope he dies soon. Of course, libertarians are commonly ready to sell out gays, women and the environment in order to give the Galtian elites their tax cuts. Libertarianism is mostly money-obsessed and considers social issues to be secondary. Well, apart from the gun issue.

        1. First, no they aren’t. Second, did you come directly from the douche factory?

      3. Yeah, the scenes where Barbara Hershey is being brutally ravaged by a ghost

        As I recall, Hershey likes doing movies where she gets raped or “ravaged.” Ever see Box Car Bertha? Leftist propaganda smear if I ever saw one.

  18. Damn, this movie doesn’t sound so good. I’m actually not that surprised because I heard Yaron Brook say that it was mostly mediocre but I held out hope that this was just an incidence of the ARI shitting on something associated with TAS. Darn.

    Still that 7%-85% disparity says so much more about the reviewers than it does about the movie. Also, Ebert is a shitty movie critic and I knew that long before now.

    1. I sort of disagree. I’ve always really liked reading Ebert’s reviews. Until recently, that is. His politics have obviously begun to inform his aesthetic judgments, and it has left him, at times, nearly as unhinged as the moral majority of yesteryear.

      I guess one thing about near-terminal illnesses is that you just start doing whatever you damn well please, industry standard or not.

  19. I watched it last night at a 12:01 show in Houston. Didn’t suck, but it won’t bring in a lot of the general public; there were about 20 fans last night.
    No D’anconia money speech, or any speeches.
    Eddie Willers is a (ring the bell)
    Dagny goes around with a bare midriff like a teeny sometimes.
    Only one smoking hero, and this without a cigarette holder.
    Feynman diagrams and contemporary physics mumbo-jumbo power Galt’s motor.
    No attacks on mysticism; the baddies are all political.
    They give up the Big Secret to the viewer at the end; maybe there’s no part 2 coming?
    No director credits noticed, not even Alan Smithee.
    If there is to be a part 2, I hope the producers get a good screenwriter/director team and let them run with it.

    1. No D’anconia money speech!? Shit! That was one of the best parts of the story. In fact, it was one of the “speeches” that was worth reading.

      1. I think D’anconia’s speech is in Part 2 of the book.

    2. I saw it at 7:30 last night. About half full small theatre. Crowd skewed old. And single 20 somethings in “Who is John Galt” tees. Okay, only one of those, but lots of white haired couples (most seemed to be in groups of 4 with another white haired couple).

      As far as I can tell, most everyone enjoyed the movie.

      I enjoyed it, it has some weaknesses, but generally positive. RBL mentioned some, I was disappointed with the lack of the Francisco speech. Also Taylor Schilling as Dagny was mixed – she seemed fine in conversation, but when she was getting speechy you could see the “turn cue card” moments. Stilted. I noticed it the most right at the beginning when she is ripping into James Taggart.

      I liked Ellis Wyatt. He was well done.

      I think they got the most out of the $10 million dollars.

      A few other nits:
      1. Dr Stadler was wrong. I pictured him as the kindly old professor type. I had a specific one that I had in college pictured in my mind. Are there really Iranians named Stadler? In some ways, the hard to understand accent was realistic for a modern college physics professor, but still, didnt work for me.

      2. Dagny didnt ask Akston if he was proud of his students. I dont remember if he answered her in Part 1 or Part 3, but I wanted it asked.

      3. When Dagny tells Frisco (yeah, I went there) that she is naming her company the John Galt Line, he doesnt get his line about John Galt taking it from her.

      1. Looked it up, Akston answered Dagny in part 1. So, yeah, disappointed they cut that line.

      2. I was horrified by Ellis Wyatt. I like that actor but the introduction to Wyatt in the book says:
        “The man who entered was a stranger. He was young, tall and something about him suggested violence, though she could not say what it was, because the first trait one grasped about him was a quality of self control that seemed almost arrogant.”

        There is not a single thing right about him. He is old, short, fat and the only thing about him that suggests violence is his screaming fits of anger and his lack of self control.

        They didn’t save time on screen by changing his character and all his lines either, they just changed it for no particular reason.

        I agree about the missing lines where Dagny tells Francisco what she named her line.

    3. Dagny goes around with a bare midriff like a teeny sometimes.

      Its 2016. If she is 30 in the movie, they she was born in 1986 (Taylor Schilling was born in 1984, so close enough – which puts her at 26 during filming)…so if 26 in the movie, she was born in 1990. Have you seen what kids these days wear?

      1. Dagny goes around with a bare midriff like a teeny sometimes.


        1. man, she does wear it well.

  20. This movie’s upside is whatever numbers Howard Stern’s movie pulled, because neither really appeals to the mainstream or are very good/interesting as movies…but both have die-hard fanbases

  21. I’m planning to see it this weekend. It’s been long enough since I read the book that I’m not to go line-by-line to compare them.

    Personally, I think Atlas Shrugged as “a Hollywood blockbuster starring George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow” would have been wretched.

    I haven’t followed the making of this movie, but it sounds like they haven’t adequately gotten around the problem of a story based around 1957 tech. I know the Randroids would burst into flames, but I think it needed to be more loosely adapted than appears to have been done. As long as the basic story line and message is kept, the details aren’t as important.

    1. Yeah. the should have made it a private space firm or some kind of computer company. a high speed railline doesn’t work.

    2. First, it’s Objectivist, not Randroid. Second, although I have not read the book, your suggestion does not irk me in the least…but perhaps a new title would be in order.

    3. It was kind of forced, but I think the train stuff worked. Willful suspension of disbelief on my part? Probably.

      1. concur. waiting for it to cross the new bridge had me nearly cheering.

  22. They had to give up a bit at the end, in case a Part 2 never happens. I liked it, and was riveted to the seat throughout. I’ve also noticed most of the above hatemongering is coming from folks who haven’t seen it. Just looking for an excuse to hate something? Geez. If you don’t like it… don’t watch it twice. Whattaya want to do, start a government agency to force *your* view on what movies should be?

    1. I saw it this morning. I enjoyed it. It is refreshing having statists as the bad guys for once on screen.

      I have never read it, but I could easily pull out the direct quotes, because they didn’t seem to fit naturally.

      Plain and simple, this movie is about the message. If you like the message, I think you will enjoy the movie.

    2. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It was slow, but good. Also, the theater was sold out (glad i got tickets in advance) and added more showings on the fly. I think these guys are going to make their money back and more. Part 2 and 3 here we come- but get a better director and can the John Galt dude- at least the wardrobe.

  23. This is positively the worst movie ever produced. It is more like a 7th grade school play than a hollywood production. The acting makes one cringe and the direction more amateurish than Plan 9. It feels like they ran out of money half way through and started running only stock footage of hills and trains. The so-called message of the film is infantile to boot.

    There is no way I am ever going to watch his film.


    2. “There is no way I am ever going to watch his film.”

      And yet you say, “This is positively the worst movie ever produced.”

      Hmm. Then I’d guess your opinion is worth almost what it cost.

      1. It figures you would go see this film. I guess that goes to which one of us is intelligent and discriminating and which one of is a redneck retard! I will never watch one second of this movie, not even the trailer. I would never threaten my social standing to sink so low. It is god awful.

        1. It is god awful.

          How the fuck would you know,you dumb bastard, if you haven’t seen it? Stoopid shit.

          1. The stoopid shit(s) here is/are the one(s) responding to the troll(s).

            1. And I suppose you’d be a smart shit, huh? Tool.

              1. In all seriousness, that empty thing just sits on the sidelines and makes snarky comments about how you choose to conduct yourself on the blog. It never ventures to suggest an idea or opinion. Don’t sweat it.

        2. Lou??

          Dude, I was going to go to your show in MA last week, but I fell asleep because I was too tired. I had tickets and everything. Did you guys just play Bakesale, or were there songs off of other albums? Can you send me a pick or a set list or something?


    3. nice try. leftard. go back to mummy’s basement and have more twinkies and koolaid.

  24. Well, that didn’t take long! Looks like it’s already made it to The Pirate Bay.

    Moochers and Looters, on your mouse, get set, click!

  25. I also read Tand’s 2 big books while inthe military. In my cas it was at the Camp Pewndelton Library preparing tofightJFK’s wat. Almost 45 years ago!
    Seems a lot of exmilitary filk are anticollectivist

  26. Ok, I watched it. My review?

    Not too bad. I didn’t really have too big of an issue with the acting (except for the ridiculous scream at the end), but the whole thing seemed kind of rushed. When you read the book, it feels like the actions of the government are happening at a much slower pace. In the movie, it’s like light speed which makes it seems unplausible. Second, the discovery of the engine is rather odd in the movie. There’s really no set up as to why they’re so compelled to find it and once they do, there’s no compelling reason why they’re looking for the builder.

    All in all, I think it was fairly decent. And the theater was packed. And the next couple of shows were sold out as well. I think that’s a good sign for the per screen box office, which means parts 2 and 3 should at least happen.

    I should say I’m not a Rand devotee, but I liked AS and The Fountainhead. I never really read those books as religious tomes, but more of individualist entertainment. I think the movie serves that purpose.

  27. This is positively the worst movie ever produced.


    Starship Troopers was the worst movie ever made. Gangs of New York was a close second.

    And you seem to know an awful lot about a movie you have never seen, Captain Butthurt.

    1. It is testament to my high level of artistic discernment that I do not need to actually see the movie to loathe it and mock those who do.

  28. The movie is horrific, one of the worst I’ve ever seen to be frank. I really hope part 2 and 3 get shelved … and this is coming from a Rand fan …

    1. Yeah, me too. It seemed like someone read cliffnotes of the book and wrote the screenplay via twitter. I’m not sure what I would have thought if I had never read the book but I’m pretty sure I would have kinda liked it a little bit and never bothered to read the book. Which is exactly what I hoped the movie wouldn’t do.

  29. I enjoyed it. Despite the flaws, it was compelling to watch. Better than Avatar anyway.

    Theater was packed. Place clapped at the end.

  30. Saw it last night. I had fairly low expectations after the reviews here and was a bit delighted that it’s not nearly as bad as everyone has been saying. I’m not saying it’s great, but it’s actually pretty decent. The theater I went to was packed and erupted in applause at the end, which sorta surprised me from an audience in Ventura, California. My wife has never read the book but says she’d like to after seeing the movie.

    1. “My wife has never read the book but says she’d like to after seeing the movie.”

      That’s good to hear. I thought the opposite might happen. That people who have been meaning to read it would go see the movie instead and decide it’s not worth the read.

  31. Saw AS on Friday at 7:20 pm on the lone screen showing it in Hawaii, with a group of libertarians and Objectivists. Theater was about 2/3 full.

    I enjoyed the film, and laughed out loud at some of the lines delivered — who knew AS was that funny?

    Had a post-film gathering that lasted till midnight — went around the table, with everyone ranking it from 1 to 10 — answers ranged from 7 to 9.5. I gave it an 8, because of some of the villains being cartoonishly evil and overplayed instead of a bit more understated, and the cinematography and special effects not on a par with blockbuster productions, but noted that for a film with a production budget of only $10M they did a hell of a job in getting their money’s worth and creating value.

    Highly recommend it to anyone who is libertarian or Objectivist or free market oriented — might be confusing to people unfamiliar with the book and the plot.

    Thought it was amusing the disparity between the critical and popular rankings on — critics gave it a 6% positive ranking, the audience gave it an 86% positive ranking.

    My favorite scenes were the two featuring the bracelet Rearden gave his odious wife, and when his wife traded it to Dagny for her expensive necklace, not realizing that she was giving someone who was turning into a romantic rival a vivid symbol that Dagny valued Rearden and the work he was doing in a way that the wife never could.

  32. The numbers for Fri. are in:

    We’re seeing it in Tempe tomorrow. A four hour drive there and back.

  33. 3rd in per screen dollars, effectively tied with the top 2.

  34. Mrs. Hobbit and I saw it today.

    2PM showing in Albuquerque, theater was about 25% full.

    The movie was MUCH better than I had anticipated. I realize that it had to be an adaptation and that much of the meat of the book would have to be discarded (Tom Bombadil, anyone?) but I thought that they did well with what they had.

    I’m re-reading the book and I’m glad that I made it thru part one before seeing the flick. Mrs. Hobbit never read the book and was still able to follow along.

    I really only found two faults:

    I thought that the actress playing Dagny was a bit wooded but the Mrs. thought that she had to play it that way because of her character.

    Second, the first run of the John Galt line was in July, right? How come all of the trees were in fall colors?

    *** out of ****

    … Hobbit

  35. I saw it today in Northern Virginia. The theatre was packed and clapped at the end.

    I thought it was OK. I really loved the book and was cautiously optimistic that the movie would do it justice. They did an admirable job all things considered, but I can’t help but think that an HBO-type miniseries would have handled it better. Oh well.

    1. “…but I can’t help but think that an HBO-type miniseries would have handled it better. Oh well.”

      The first time I heard that idea, I was convinced no one should ever bother with a film adaptation. The premium channel miniseries would just be so perfect.

    2. I liked it better than it sounds you did, but your idea is an interesting one about the miniseries.

  36. …and folks wonder why most of what comes to theaters is a bunch of statist overdone garbage… reading a bunch of these posts it’s no wonder! Damn, there’s no pleasing some people.
    I, for one, liked it, and hope that he’ll be able to improve on it with the funds from this one, but what do I know…

  37. Atlas Shrugged numbers for Friday – $683,000 with $2277 per theater showing.

    The big opener was RIO at 10 million with $2666 per theater.

    Scream 4 pulled $8,000,000 with $2,421 per theater.

  38. The critics spoke louder than anyone here.

    “Atlas Shrugged” Producer Scrapping Plans For Pt. 2 & 3, Blames Reviews

  39. The Free Market does Not support Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged movie?

  40. I would love to see this film, where is this available?

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