"H O L L Y W O O D" as we all once knew it has gone so far into the ash heap of history that I (who in my youth was star-struck and raised to dote on all things Hollywood) don't even check the new movie listings or reviews anymore, and haven't for years. I find myself watching a new film in an actual public theater only once or twice a year, and invariably it is a kids' movie seen with my children. But I know I'm not the only one who has gone through this metamorphosis of taste. My own mother quit going to movies or caring about what came out of Hollywood when the 1960's ethos hit the silver screen. Burned too often by disappointed expectations and offended by what she was paying to see, she decided "the new movies aren't worth seeing anymore." I didn't share her viewpoint when I was a teen (movies and going to them alone was all too new to me), but I do now.
Like the so-called mainstream media, Hollywood's production line (outside of the lucrative Pixar and children's movies) these days is a mere ghost of its former self, masquerading as a much more populist and democratic entity than it really is. Most people no longer care about the movies, as they once almost all did just 50 or 60 years ago. And the result cannot entirely be blamed on the advent of TV. In fact, thanks to television, more people are watching and valuing classic old movies than ever before.
With the vast majority of its former customer base killed off, these days Hollywood and the Los Angeles-based television entertainment industry it spawned cater to various remaining unique market segments: almost all of them are pursued and pandered to for nothing more sacred than the almighty dollar. That is why we have more glossy sequels and stylish remakes and recycles than creative original stories and developed, believable characters. And that is why, in the hands of the former "studio bosses" of Hollywood's golden era (like Louis B. Mayer who, in tandem with his horse-trading sense and ambition, had strong moral and patriotic standards and a sense of responsibility to and respect for the people and the nation he served), we had movies that enlightened, lifted, and inspired audiences. Can you name a Hollywood movie recently that enlightened, lifted, or inspired you?
Yet there is one market segment that is valued more than bucks in today's Hollywood and that is the vast, unwashed, imagined "little people out there in the dark" of the political left (and the "ignorant undecideds" who may be persuaded left) across America. Idealists these days who manage to get large-budget, high-production-values films made and released are doing it not for money (for the money has dropped out of that market, evidently); they are doing it for the message. And that message seems to be one of American self-loathing.
Many of us have noticed the strange difference in Hollywood's reaction and productions now as compared to during World War II. As Michael Fumento writes in "Hollywood's War on the War on Terror
" (via Little Green Footballs
In 1942, Hollywood went to war. It began pumping out countless movies designed both to entertain the public and bolster its will to fight. A lot of them were cheap, hokey, or both. But even in a nation that seemingly needed little reminder of the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor or the evils of the Nazis, they kept drilling home the message that we must persevere no matter the costs or the duration....
Fast forward that reel to the post-9/11 era. Just how many Hollywood movies (not documentaries) have been made in which the bad guys are Islamist terrorists that do not specifically concern the Sept. 11 attacks? If you have to guess, guess “none.”
His observations are so true. Read the whole thing. And while Hollywood refuses to produce any films glorifying the American side of the War on Terror, it also refuses to glorify much of anything about America. In fact, it chooses to run down and denigrate America, and as Fumento says:
Instead, they’re giving us the equivalent of 1943 movies equating FDR with Hitler.
Ed Driscoll amplifies on this phenomenon with his post, "Hollywood Nihilism
" (via Ace, who says that to Hollywood, the real enemy is us
As I noted at the start of the month, Hollywood has, over the last decade or so (in other words, prior to 9/11, or even George W. Bush taking office) adopted a remarkably nihilistic view of America's involvement in war--any war, whether it's Iraq, the War On Terror, or even World War II. The latter is all the more remarkable, considering WWII was long thought to be "the Good War" by virtually all concerned--partially because it had the blessings of the left, happy that we stopped the Soviet Union's former ally, Nazi Germany. Nearly a decade ago, Mark Steyn documented the first signs of the change in Hollywood's souring on WWII in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan:
Purporting to be a recreation of the US landings on Omaha Beach, Private Ryan is actually an elite commando raid by Hollywood and the Hamptons to seize the past. After the spectacular D-Day prologue, the film settles down, Tom Hanks and his men are dispatched to rescue Matt Damon (the elusive Private Ryan) and Spielberg finds himself in need of the odd line of dialogue. Endeavouring to justify their mission to his unit, Hanks's sergeant muses that, in years to come when they look back on the war, they'll figure that `maybe saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we managed to pull out of this whole godawful mess'. Once upon a time, defeating Hitler and his Axis hordes bent on world domination would have been considered `one decent thing'. Even soppy liberals figured that keeping a few million more Jews from going to the gas chambers was `one decent thing'. When fashions in victim groups changed, ending the Nazi persecution of pink-triangled gays was still `one decent thing'. But, for Spielberg, the one decent thing is getting one GI joe back to his picturesque farmhouse in Iowa.
As Mark Steyn has pointed out, "'Saving Private Ryan' is the antithesis of 'Casablanca'."
And frankly, I'll take "Casablanca." Many of us "little people in the dark" have noticed and are demanding out loud: where are the Islamofascist bad guys in today's Hollywood movie blockbusters? Why are we recycling tired old Nazis as villains when there are plenty of current "political thriller" characters among the jihadis to portray?
What's the matter, Hollywood? Aren't guys who stone women, blow up children and behead infidels bad enough for you?
When do we get to root for the good guys? Where are the true stories of American good guys and good girls? Where is the great film story of the tragedy of 9/11
? Where is our generation's "The Longest Day" about the sacrifices and courage shown by our best and brightest on the run toward Baghdad and the capture of Saddam Hussein? Is Hollywood too cynical to care?
Does anybody want to bet that movies telling some of those stories would be big money-makers (and would not increase any perceptible "anti-Muslim backlash")? D'ya think such movies might even make money among audiences of moderate, pro-American Muslim moviegoers, ready to have their own views expressed for once, and their own stories truely told? I do.
Get off your leftist, defeatist, America-hating soapbox, Hollywood "liberals," and entertain, enlighten, and inspire us with some decent characterizations, some truly portrayed events, and some bold, old-fashioned patriotic fare. You might be surprised by the good results. Or perhaps you don't really want good results?
BACKGROUND: "Hollywood's Missing Movies" by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley
gives the historical development of how the Left got its grip on Hollywood.
UPDATE: "Box office patriotism is dead
" (via Michelle Malkin
UPDATE: Read the comments in response to this article. I am not alone
UPDATE: Roger L. Simon summarizes the avalanche
and reveals the motivation:
The audience members themselves – that is the Breitbart commenters – are having none of this nonsense. The third one down, “Extremely Bored,” puts it this way: “Let me correct this point - I am not weary of war news at all. I am shunning these movies - and many others- because I am tired of Hollywood’s anti-American stance on absolutely everything. However we got into the war, and whatever mistakes were made up to this point, we are one country. We need to win and we need to remain tough against terrorism. It doesn’t benefit anyone to do otherwise. I will go see a movie that reflects that point.”
He is echoed almost immediately by commenter “Lee”: “The real answer - the obvious one that liberals can’t bring themselves to accept - is that most Americans are tired of liberal spinmeisters trashing their country, our soldiers, and our way of life. The Redfords of the world sit in their ivory towers and try to tell us how to think and react based on their own prejudices …”
And so it goes down the page… hundreds, soon thousands....The truth is Hollywood people are massively uninformed. They live in a bubble and, outside what they read in the New York Times and hear on NPR, they know almost nothing about what is really going on in the Middle East. And very few of them are curious to find out, because they assume what they already know is true and they have no impetus to investigate further.
But there is deeper reason for this than mere convenience and received conventional wisdom. These are not curious people because they are highly self-protective. They live a hugely privileged lifestyle, often based to a great degree on luck (and they know it), and this existence could only be threatened by contradictory information. Who wants that – particularly when it would alienate your colleagues, hurt your reputation and cause work problems?...
And there is another benefit. (Here is where I am really going to make enemies.) Making movies like these or making extreme liberal public pronouncements make you seem like a good guy to yourself, when in your private life you are a miserable, self-serving bastard.
In order to understand how important that is you must never forget that Hollywood is a brutal place. It is just as vicious and competitive as dramatized in TV shows like Entourage, only nowhere near as entertaining. Only the most ambitious and determined survive and, to do that, the chances are you will not come out of the process a nice person. You will step on the backs of your colleagues, mistreat your staff and have generally erratic personal relationships based much more on status and connections than love or genuine affection.
Of course I am overstating to make a point, but I have noticed, in the years I have worked in Hollywood, that, with rare exceptions, the more successful people are, the more wretched they are to others. And those with the most obvious public liberal credentials are often the ones who are the most despicable in their private behavior. You could almost graph it.
Much of this public liberalism of the excessive knee-jerk variety stems from a form of self-loathing. These same people do not want to be bastards – life just put them in that position. But, at the same time, they do not want anyone to take away what they have – the vast acclaim and fortune – even if deep down they wonder if they are worthy. What to do? What to do?
The solution is to create another self, a kind of mini-me, who goes out and loudly proclaims what a fine liberal humanistic person he or she is- a public projection to obfuscate the private self. Sometimes this results in actual good works, but usually it is basically blather (see Streisand’s website) or dopey showing off like Sean Penn putting in an appearance with Hugo Chavez.
Other times, distorted work emerges like the current group of films no one wants to see.
I think the time has come and the opening is obvious now for many more voices to succeed in entertaining Americans than the tired old Hollywood "mainstream" that really isn't anymore.
Labels: anti-Americanism, Hollywood, movies