An editorial in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times explained in one simple paragraph. Consider:
Hollywood’s box office has hit the skids, and the entertainment media are in overdrive trying to explain why. The most obvious explanation for box office malaise is consistently overlooked: Hollywood’s ruling liberal elites keep going out of their way to offend half their audience.
Anyone with grey matter between his ears will understand that this theory is stupid. Hollywood is full of cultural elites who believe that the Heartland of middle America, the “real” Americans, are dumber than the soil they farm. Gee, thanks, that’s original, and I’m happy that we’ve cleared it up. But that forgets the all-important truth at the heart of Hollywood’s slump. The pink elephant in the corner, the one we’re not supposed to think about, lest it divert us from the culture war being waged by Hollywood, is that story still matters.
We want to be entertained, regardless of perceived politics. Anything short of Fahrenheit 9/11 will draw the ideological ire of only the most partisan hacks. While the conservative radio hosts blather about how Star Wars: Episode III is directed at the Bush Administration, I’m watching Yoda kick ass. Most of the time, for most people, entertainment is just entertainment.
But the editorial’s author doesn’t believe that. Consider:
Did we need to hear from “War of the Worlds” screenwriter David Koepp that the aliens in his movie are stand-ins for the U.S military – and the innocent Americans they attack are stand-ins for Iraqi civilians? Or that Americans are guilty of post-9/11 anti-Muslim “paranoia”? (A question to Koepp: Were we “paranoid” after Pearl Harbor too?)
War of the Worlds is about the military and Iraqi civilians? Hmmmm, I guess I shouldn’t go see the movie if I love America. Since ignoring the screenwriter’s opinion isn’t an option. But, I don’t think I can. No doubt H. G. Wells had that in mind when he wrote The War of the Worlds in 1898. And I’ll bet you anything Orson Welles made certain to imply that in the 1938 radio broadcast that scared so many people. They knew the U.S. military was coming for them, as innocents, so the artistic people needed to get the message out.
Or the movie could represent Hollywood’s refusal to risk new ideas. The only reason I’m debating whether or not to see War of the Worlds isn’t because the writer is a nitwit who overthinks his job. I’ve heard good reviews of the movie and it might be fun to watch space aliens and war and all that in this summer popcorn-movie season, but I’m still debating. Why? Because Tom Cruise is nuts.
The author approaches the idea that Hollywood might be risk-averse but apparently the non-political answer scared her. Consider:
Hollywood could turn things around, but that might mean tolerating films with pro-conservative themes. Hollywood liberals are so consumed with hatred for George W. Bush and the right, they would rather go down with the ship than allow a conservative message. The result is a creative paralysis in which liberals are out of ideas and have to resort to endless sequels and remakes – while conservatives who have new ideas aren’t allowed into the mix.
Right. Liberals aren’t in danger of being shut out because they’re all busy writing a Silver Spoons movie, except in their new version the father will be a rich do-gooder who behaves like a child and let’s his kid play with multi-racial friends from different social classes. And I guarantee that Ricky will be tormented by the social injustice of capitalism to the point where he’ll shoot a film about homelessness in which he and his father are the stars and learn a valuable moral lesson. Those crazy liberals will not stop with the bastardized, ideology-laced remakes.
All is not lost, given that signs of hope abound.
Fortunately, a new conservative film movement is arising to give hope to those on the new Hollywood blacklist. Michael Moore’s emergence showed us we could no longer passively yield Hollywood to the left, and Gibson’s success showed us there was a market for films that lean to the right.
Right, so here’s an idea. How about an abundance of films that lean to story? If Hollywood leans to the right, the left will feel ignored and we’ll get these same boring rants from liberal columnists that we’re now getting from conservative columnists. Remember, President Bush won the last election with 51% of the vote. That’s a majority, sure, but not an overwhelming indictment that the movie-not-going public is pissed off about the screenwriter’s politics. Quality matters above all else. It always has, and it always will.
For example, I watched about an hour of Troy on Sunday. I’d never seen it before since I’d felt no incentive when it hit theaters. I had, and still have, no idea who the screenwriter(s), voted for last year, nor do I care. I skipped Troy because I couldn’t see paying for something I suspected of being poorly written drivel. So is it a surprise when I say that the dialogue was wooden, the story dull, and the special effects stunning? That wasn’t worth my $9 then, and it wasn’t worth lost sleep on Sunday night.
My opinion hasn’t changed with the current gaggle of movies at the theaters. Consider these movies currently playing in my area:
- The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D
– Four-year-olds love it. I’m not four.
- Batman Begins
– I’ll see it, but it’s still been done.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Cinderella Man
– Based on a true story, so it only half counts as original.
– Poorly marketed, so I know nothing about it.
- Dark Water
– Horror, so I don’t care.
- Fantastic Four
– Another comic book movie. I don’t care.
- George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead
– I enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, but don’t care for zombie movies.
- Herbie: Fully Loaded
– This has been done before, and it’s from Disney. No thanks.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
– Based on the book.
- The Interpreter
– This stars Sean Penn, so I don’t care.
- Kicking & Screaming
– I’ve heard horrible reviews, but at least it’s original (I think).
- Ladies in Lavender
– What the hell is this?
- The Longest Yard
– Oh, what’s this? Another remake? Who would’ve guessed.
– Animated, but without cursing 8-year-olds, so forget it.
- March of the Penguins
– I want to see this more than anything else. It seems fascinating.
- Me and You and Everyone We Know
– Not even
VaughnMichael Vartan can overcome the Jennifer Lopez, so forget it.
< li>Mr. & Mrs. Smith
– Not even guns and explosions can overcome the Angelina Jolie, so forget it.
- Sin City
– Don’t care.
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
– Teenage chick flick, based on the novel(s).
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
– This was good. And I didn’t even think Iraq.
- War of the Worlds
– See above comments.
For those who subscribe to the vast left-wing conspiracy theory about Hollywood, answer these questions. How many truly original movies are in that list? Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Kicking & Screaming, and March of the Penguins? Maybe Madagascar? And then the art house-type films that no one’s heard about? If we aim for originality and quality, that’s not a particularly stellar list. But liberal? Please.
The author tries to paint the logical idea about quality, but swerves at the end to satisfy the conspiracy theory.
Everyone – liberal and conservative – acknowledges that a once-great film industry is out of ideas and in dire shape. Wouldn’t it be smart, then, to let some new ideas in from the right, and give everybody a real choice again at the box office?
If liberals are so partisan and possess such a tight grip on Hollywood’s purse strings, then why would they acknowledge that opening the industry to ideas from the right is the correct way to solve the lack of ideas? That doesn’t make sense. Pretending that it makes sense only to enable a push for
propaganda right-wing approved films is no better than the accusations levied against supposedly liberal Hollywood. It’s so obvious that it dips into pathetic, simplistic folly. Future pushers of this nonsense should try as hard at thinking as they want Hollywood to try at making movies.
(Source: Michelle Malkin)