9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, Federal Judges, Movies, Television

A Movie Recommendation from Chief Judge Kozinski

Were you disappointed by James Franco and Anne Hathaway as Oscars hosts? If so, you weren’t alone. PopEater described their hosting efforts, especially Franco’s, as “a disaster.” The New York Times declared the proceedings to be “downright painful” at points.

Next year, the Academy Awards should go in a different direction. Enough pandering to the youth. For 2012, the Oscars host should be a certain hilarious, older Jewish gentleman, who has been celebrated over the years for his brilliance and wit, and who knows a great deal about movies.

Bring back Billy Crystal? Not a bad idea — but here’s a better one. Bring on Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit!

In addition to his incredible intellect and superb sense of humor, Chief Judge Kozinski has an encyclopedic knowledge of film. Recall his famous ruling in the movie-industry case of United States v. Syufy Enterprises, featuring over 200 film titles woven artfully into the text of his opinion.

Chief Judge Kozinski knows movies, and he loves movies. He goes to the cinema every chance he gets. In fact, His Honor recently sent a movie recommendation my way — and it’s PG-13, in case you’re wondering….

Here’s what Chief Judge Kozinski shared with me, via email (reprinted with His Honor’s permission):


[Last week] my family and I (and two of my law clerks and an extern) attended a preview of the new movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, at the Sony studios in Culver City. The public release is not until April 15 (tax day), but we wrangled an invitation because my son, Yale, who is a film editor, had worked for one of the producers.

In any event, I thought the movie was fabulous. Below is a link to my IMDB mini-review of the movie, as well as a link to my other IMDB mini-reviews.

The next Siskel & Ebert?

In Judge Kozinski’s review of Atlas Shrugged, he gives the film the highest possible rating (10 stars), praising the “impeccable” performances, “gorgeous and convincing” sets and costumes, and superb direction. He concludes by declaring the film “exciting and rewarding for those of us who have been Rand fans for many years.” (Read the review in full over here.)

So Judge Kozinski is an Ayn Rand fan? He’s not the only prominent federal judge with a weakness for the controversial authoress and movies based on her books. See also Justice Clarence Thomas, who discovered Rand’s writing while in law school, and who likes to have his clerks watch The Fountainhead after they arrive in chambers.

Looking for other movie recommendations from Chief Judge Kozinski? Check out his IMDb profile, which contains numerical ratings for a whopping 1,101 films (and counting). Wow!

What do you think of His Honor’s favorite and least favorite films? Feel free to peruse his list and discuss notable findings, in the comments to this post.

(I’ll get the ball rolling with an obvious observation: Chief Judge Kozinski seems to like law-related movies. He gave perfect scores to Witness for the Prosecution, My Cousin Vinny (which has some great courtroom scenes), and 12 Angry Men — a movie that contributed to his decision to go into law, interestingly enough.)

UPDATE (5 PM): All of Chief Judge Kozinski’s IMDb mini-reviews can be found here.

Movie Review: Atlas Shrugged (Part I) [IMDb]
Judge Kozinski’s Favorite Movies [IMDb]

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