"Reese Witherspoon is the patron saint of middle-aged actresses"

This piece offers a short answer to a question I've had. There have been an increasing number of complaints about the status of women in Hollywood: there aren't enough good roles for women, there aren't enough female-directed movies, there aren't enough female-written projects, women don't have enough lines in the top grossing films, etc. Etc. 

My question is this: if the problem is that Hollywood is run by direly misogynist men, why don't some women start their own studios or otherwise bring their own projects to market? Compared to 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago, there are now a number of women in entertainment who are supposedly quite, quite wealthy. Couldn't they do it themselves and let the market work its magic?

Well, Ms. Witherspoon seems to be doing it. If she continues to succeed, she'll attract imitators and the issue will tend to evaporate. If she doesn't, we'll need either a new crisis to worry about or a new explanation. (I strongly suspect the latter would occur: I'd bet it would turn out to be  the direly misogynist audience that needs fixing. Sigh.)

"Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’"

This is David Mamet's famous piece from nearly 9.5 years ago. I ran across it again and was struck again by how good it is. If only more Liberals would think like this. . . .

I don't think I've seen any of Mr. Mamet's plays--what's he's most famous for--but I have seen a few of the movies he's written, and I've enjoyed them all: The Verdict, Hoffa, Ronin, State and Main, and the terrific Wag the Dog.

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Long"

I think this is, at best, a partial answer, but a partial answer to a good question: Why are movies today so long? And I'd refine the question a bit: Why do so many movies nowadays have scenes that seem to have no purpose?

Two conjectures that came to my mind don't seem to hold up: 1) the extraneous scenes are there to be cut when the movie shows on commercial TV and 2) the scenes are there to pad the movie to some minimum running time deemed respectable for exhibiting in theaters. The reason I don't think they work is because both would have applied for quite some time while the lengthening of movies seems to be a recent phenomenon.

"More research is needed."