Charlotte's Web: The Movie (for Personal Development)



Charlotte’s Web

movie poster In December, Your Business Blogger and Charmaine and the Penta-Posse went to a private screening of Charlotte’s Web at the Motion Picture Associate of America.


The Yoests at the MPAAAt the Jack Valenti Building at 1600 Eye Street N by NW, in Your Nation’s Capital.

Normally, institutions do not name buildings, roads or ships after a still-living legend.

But since Valenti, age 85, wasn’t going to die, the MPAA went ahead and named the building after him anyway.


Jack Valenti, lower left, on Air Force One

November 22, 1963

Valenti served as the movie industry leader for 38 years and was a pilot in WWII. A veteran. A knack for being in the right place at the right time.

EB White’s masterpiece is a favorite in our house. The movie was completely faithful to the tone and spirit of the original. And we enjoyed it immensely. Free food and adult beverages were helpful.

But it almost wasn’t so.

As the credits rolled at the end, Charmaine and I sat and read the Who’s Who of who did what where in the film.

I read with horror.

Julia Roberts was the voice of Charlotte, the spider

Oprah Winfrey was the voice of Gussy, the goose

Robert ‘Whisperer’ Redford was the voice of Ike, the horse, of course

At least Dakota Fanning, voice of Fern, didn’t get raped (in this picture).

Yes, I knew the voices sounded familiar. But I was saved from a terrible movie experience by my ignorance. Blissfully. Your Business Blogger has been quite lucky over the years in this regard.

All those Surrender-Now liberals doing the voice-overs in a do-good, feel-good film would have ruined it for me. The voice medium is, indeed the message.


Charmaine, Allen, Jack

I do not have the maturity of my new best friend, Allen Covert.

We met Allen at the National Review Institute conference, here in DC. Alert Readers will recognize Allen as the long-time friend and colleague of Adam Sandler. Allen was the executive producer of The Longest Yard (2005) and Anger Management (2003) and many others. Covert wrote The Benchwarmers (2006) and Grandma’s Boy (2006) and more. Covert is a master screenwriter and actor and producer and the nicest guy on the planet. He is, of course, a conservative.

From LA? In Hollywood?

Yep, him and a half dozen others, like Sylvester Stallone.

So I ask Covert how he was able to compartmentalize and work for months at a time with liberals. Something like in Academia.

He said it’s all about focus on the mission of the movie and the work. Most of the Hollywood liberal elite know of Allen’s political bent, but put show business first. Business first.



Allen Covert

Go see and buy the movie. And remember the wisdom of Allen Covert and enjoy the movie and the message, even if the voices, in real life, want you to surrender to the Islamic terrorists.

The voices in my head said so.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Not everyone enjoyed the film. Variety said it was “sorely disappointing.” More at the jump.

We also saw a private screening of Amazing Grace. (This is hard work, blogging.) We saw the trailer a few months back and it is a soul-saving winner. See Wilberforce and Gapingvoid.

UPDATE: Jack Valenti 85, dies.

See What Jack Valenti Taught Us All, By Matt Gerson, Saturday, April 28, 2007,

One paragraph is a must-read for the BlackBerry-addicted. Jack quoted Emerson’s observation that “for every gain, there is a loss. For every loss, there is a gain.” While lamenting the number of nights he spent away from his family, he reminded us that attending one more reception meant missing a meal around the dinner table, and one extra night on a business trip would mean one less chance to help with homework or watch a soccer game.

From Variety

Charlotte the Spider – Julia Roberts

Fern – Dakota Fanning

Templeton the Rat – Steve Buscemi

Samuel the Sheep – John Cleese

Gussy the Goose – Oprah Winfrey

Golly the Goose – Cedric the Entertainer

Bitsy the Cow – Kathy Bates

Betsy the Cow – Reba McEntire

Ike the Horse – Robert Redford

Brooks the Crow – Thomas Haden Church

Elwyn the Crow – Andre Benjamin

Wilbur – Dominic Scott Kay

Narrator – Sam Shepard

Mr. Arable – Kevin Anderson

Homer Zuckerman – Gary Basaraba

Dr. Dorian – Beau Bridges

Mrs. Arable – Essie Davis

Mrs. Zuckerman – Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Lurvy – Nate Mooney


Camera (Deluxe color), Seamus McGarvey; editors, Susan Littenberg, Sabrina Plisco; music, Danny Elfman; production designer, Stuart Wurtzel; supervising art director, John Kasarda; art director, Tom Nursey; set designers, Michael Bell, Andrew Walpole; set decorator, Lisa Thompson; costume designer, Rita Ryack; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Ben Osmo; sound designer, Christopher Boyes; supervising sound editors, Richard Hymns, Frank Eulner; re-recording mixers, Scott Millan, Gary Summers; visual effects supervisor, John Andrew Berton Jr.; Charlotte animation supervisor, Eric Leighton; Templeton animation supervisor, Blair Clark; talking animal visual effects, Rhythm & Hues Studios; Charlotte visual effects, Rising sun Pictures; Wilbur visual effects, Digital Pictures Iloura; Templeton and crow visual effects, Tippett Studio; additional visual effects, Illusion Arts, Syd Dutton, Bill Taylor; assistant director, Benita Allen; second unit director, E.J. Foerster; second unit camera (Australia), John Mahaffie; casting, David Rubin, Ellen Lewis. Reviewed at Paramount studios, Los Angeles, Dec. 9, 2006. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 97 Minutes.


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4 Responses

  1. “Normally, institutions do not name buildings, roads or ships after a still-living legend.

    But since Valenti, age 85, wasn’t going to die, the MPAA went ahead and named the building after him anyway. ”

    It is just possible that this might be because Valenti was, until recently, president of the MPAA?

    This is the Valenti famous for saying to Congress, “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” At the tim he was lobbying for a law to ban the VCR. And who has constantly worked to extend copyright law to become ever stricter in the name of fighting piracy, until it became the easily-abusable one-sided mess it is today.

    Putting aside the Valenti-bashing, does it really matter what the political views of actors are? They are famous for acting, paid to act, and usually very good at it. They dont get to put their politics in a script, and they arn’t usually the greatest of thinkers, so why do they matter more than anyone else?

  2. Jack says:

    Suricou, Truman Capote would agree with you — He once said that most actors were quite dull — they didn’t have to think because their thinking was done for them in a script.

    Except, of course for Ronald Reagan, who wrote most of his own work as the spokesman for GE.



  3. otto says:

    Perhaps you could simply cut the politics and enjoy the movie for what it is. And enough of the Dakota rape jokes, they’re beyond tiring.

    As for actors not thinking: ever actually tried potraying a character in a role and bring them to life? Not as easy as you might think.

  4. Jack says:

    Otto, I did enjoy the movie and would highly recommend for families.

    It was only after that I had any regrets– but kids should still see the movie.

    Acting is indeed not easy — especially for an elitist like Your Business Blogger — I am not an aristocrat, but I played one on TV — but then the director changed me to a peasent.

    Type casting, I think he said.

    Alert Readers will know that we all had to keep our day jobs.

    Charmaine and I were what is euphemistically called “background artists.” The Dude had the real work. And he did great. Even at 4 years old.


    Thank you for your comment,