August 12, 2010

The movie industry's crypto-conservatism

Here's an old (2005) cover story I wrote for The American Conservative that's finally posted in full on the web. An excerpt:

To those of us who care about more than partisan politics, however, the Hollywood of today in some ways confirms historian Robert Conquest’s first law: Everyone is conservative about what he knows best. The mainstream audience restrains Hollywood’s leftist affectations, and the vicissitudes of making movies teach filmmakers hard-headed lessons in how the world really works, making the actual politics in the movies closer to Tom Hanks’s than Michael Moore’s. 
Contemporary Hollywood movies approve of manly men and womanly women, guns, violence in self-defense, anti-drug laws, true love, marriage, big weddings, big houses, and moms and dads spending time with their kids. The worst sin is parental adultery, because Hollywood’s target audience of teens dreads anything that could break up their homes. And film heroines don’t have abortions. 
Many of the right-wing attacks on Hollywood stem from it not toeing the pseudo-conservative line of worshipping some of the less conservative forces in history, such as war, laissez faire, and George W. Bush. Movies such as Oliver Stone’s “Platoon,” Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” and Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers” have done America a service by taking war films to a new level of bloody realism. While neoconservative jingoes have worried that revealing the effects of combat too honestly will induce second thoughts about World War IV, veterans have typically been pleased that moviegoers can now get a better sense of the sacrifices they made in the service of their country. Nor is it Hollywood’s fault that the Bush administration didn’t learn anything about the dangers of occupying a Muslim country from “Black Hawk Down,” the minutely detailed 2001 depiction of our Special Forces’ desperate battle in Somalia. 
There are few conservatives in Hollywood, but at least there aren’t many neoconservatives either. When the GOP wanted to feature a movie star at the 2004 convention in New York, the best the party could come up with was Ron Silver, who once played, uh ... c’mon, Google ... Alan Dershowitz in “Reversal of Fortune.”

As lavishly paid members of the private sector, filmmakers admire public sector workers, such as soldiers, cops, and firemen, who risk their lives for the kind of annual pay that a Beverly Hills matron might spend on feng shui consultations. For example, Hanks passed up tens of millions in movie earnings to produce patriotic miniseries about the GIs of World War II and the astronauts and engineers of the space race.

And if movies tend to be skeptical that unbridled capitalism automatically produces the utopia foreseen by University of Chicago economists, well, filmmakers have all had some first-hand experience with just how far human beings will go to get rich. In Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey rages at the subterfuges of the banker, Mr. Potter, not because Capra was a pinko [he was an anti-FDR Republican] but because the director had similarly raged at his own boss Harry Cohn’s nefariousness. 
Cinema, a medium of the visible, is innately ill suited for explaining the wonders of the invisible hand. But the movie’s basic message about business—that the magic of the market is no substitute for individuals making moral choices—isn’t necessarily anti-conservative. Capitalism is a terrific system, but it doesn’t absolve capitalists from the need for ethics

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it below.

54 comments:

Caledonian said...

Capitalism is a terrific system, but it doesn’t absolve capitalists from the need for ethics.

I'm always shocked at how leftists criticize 'capitalism' by insisting that its proponents believe that a laissez-faire attitude is all that's needed to produce a utopia, without effort, self-restraint, careful thought, and enlightened self-interest on the part of the participants.

Many people seem to have the idea that an economic system is supposed to provide things for people, instead of giving them the opportunity to work for and create them. It's as though the most basic assumptions of the degenerate factions of the left - including an external locus of control - have become implicitly accepted by mainstream society.

Mike Courtman said...

"Movies such as Oliver Stone’s “Platoon,” Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,”

Sorry Steve, these are not realistic war films. The best US war film I've seen in recent years would probably be "Gods and Generals". The best war film of the last 20 years would have to be "Enemy at the Gates".

I've not seen Gibson's movie, but I sure hope its better than the Patriot and Braveheart.

Ray Sawhill said...

That's a great piece.

Anonymous said...

¨C´mon...Google¨
F***in´ hilarious. Cheers.

Svigor said...

Nor is it Hollywood’s fault that the Bush administration didn’t learn anything about the dangers of occupying a Muslim country from “Black Hawk Down,” the minutely detailed 2001 depiction of our Special Forces’ desperate battle in Somalia.

Nor is it Hollywood's fault that the Clinton and Bush administrations didn't learn anything about internal security from Executive Decision, the prescient 1996 depiction of Muslims using airliners as missiles in suicide missions.

Or maybe the political class isn't particularly interested in learning much of anything the easy way.

IHTG said...

I would argue that the Bruckheimer/Bay type of movies evoke quasi-neocon sentiments.

Severn said...

I'm always shocked at how leftists criticize 'capitalism' by insisting that its proponents believe that a laissez-faire attitude is all that's needed to produce a utopia, without effort, self-restraint, careful thought, and enlightened self-interest on the part of the participants.



In fairness, I've met plenty of people on the right who are equally ignorant of the need for virtue on the part of the participants. The "greed is good" libertarians come to mind.

rob said...

There are few conservatives in Hollywood, but at least there aren’t many neoconservatives either.

Thanks, Steve. I wondered why Whiskey reserved so much of his psychotic fury for the movie makers.

Anonymous said...

Neocons, blah blah blah neocons blah blah blah, neocons blah blah blah...

Seriously, do have anything else to add about foreign policy besides the neocons are evil and all-controlling? Does your analysis of the Middle East extend beyond repeating leftist tropes except replacing "oil companies" with "neocons/Jews/Israel"?

Whiskey said...

Steve you are wrong, wrong, and completely wrong.

All the evidence suggests that Hollywood is bifurcated: movies made purely for profits, about 10% of them, that drive about 95% of the revenue (this has accelerated as DVD/foreign revenues dried up). And movies made for Hollywood.

This is why a few, very few, films like Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Spider-Man, Transformers, National Treasure 1 & 2, are fairly socially conservative. [Note Superman had the "American Way" stripped out and Captain America will feature 100% less America.]

Stop-Loss, In the Valley of Elah, Rendition, Green Zone, Michael Clayton, Lions for Lambs, Margot at the Wedding, Syriana, Up in the Air, the Kids are All Right, the Visitor, the Hours, TransAmerica, the Reader, all paint a profoundly anti-American, anti-Military, anti-Corporate, anti-Middle Class, indeed anti-Western tale.

The military, war, and anti-terrorism is all bad. Muslims are all peace loving people victimized by evil White guys, marriage is a prison for women, so is family, unless its a lesbian/gay family, White guys are the source of all evil. Corporate execs personally oversee murders. The SPLC and other Civil Rights crusaders are the only thing stopping a Fourth Reich in America. Etc.

THESE are the lessons of Hollywood. This is the message of ~90% of their films and 100% of their Oscar nominees.

Whiskey said...

For a guy who styles himself a movie critic and analyst, you have a blind spot the size of a mountain.

For example, how crypto-conservative is Brokeback Mountain? How Crypto-conservative is "Lana" (formerly Larry) Wachowski and the other one, with their latest film about a gay Jihadi and US soldier? Or their "Black = wise" stuff in the Matrix 2-3 movies?

Capra feuding with a studio boss (who made him rich) is like a trader at Goldman-Sachs fuming because he "only" made 20 million that year. NONE of the current crop of "artistes" has any connection with or even the mildest bit of sympathy for, ordinary people and ordinary life. They come mostly from the Ivies, from second-third-fourth generation Hollywood families, have never worked outside Hollywood, have open contempt for middle class society, marriage, and so on.

Newsflash: Steven Spielberg isn't making ET any more. He's chasing Academy acceptance like Clint Eastwood ("Letters from Home": "innocent" Japanese soldiers save Marines on Iwo instead of what they actually did -- torture/mutilate them to death and booby trap the bodies). A guy like Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez or Lana Wachowski has more prestige and "respect" inside Hollywood not the least of which is that they made one/two movies that made money and for the rest, "refused to comprise" by making movies folks would actually watch.

How "crypto conservative" is "Machete" with its trailer practically begging for an anti-White race war by Mexicans? How Crypto-Conservative is "AVATAR" with its idiotic Rousseauian noble savage "Dances with Smurfs" plotline?

Its even worse on TV, and the boundary between TV and movies is basically erased (JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, Jerry Bruckheimer, McG, etc move between both mediums).

MOST of the very few movies that make actual profits for studios are somewhat conservative. But the overwhelming number of movies are very, very, very liberal, anti-American, anti-White guy, and proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, do have anything else to add about foreign policy besides the neocons are evil and all-controlling?

For starters...how about neocons are humorless and predictable?

contemplationist said...

25 years of Public Choice, decades after Hayek, and STILL the straw man version of laissez-faire does not die. Steve, you should do better than repeat leftist tropes about laissez-faire. The point is not that businessman can (and often do) bad things, but that regulators, bureaucrats and politicians are also self-interested, and Less likely (probabilistic!) to actually SOLVE market failures, and simply reward favored constituencies, and increase costs for everyone, and INCREASE crony capitalism, which will, well...reduce business ethics.

Enough with the stupid trope of "utopia" and "perfect markets." No Chicago economist subscribes to that actual result, and all the classical economists detailed market failures properly.

Whiskey said...

Lets try this time:

Even with Black Hawk Down, the lesson was that Bill Clinton's (and Obama's) minimalist policy was stupid -- if a place was a problem it deserved the full and complete attention of the US military. Including a massive invasion and force-dominance. Using a few helicopters on the cheap (no tanks, no artillery, no UAVs, no air force, nor F-16s, no Spooky) guaranteed disaster.

You don't even see anymore, Rambo/Van Damme/Chuck Norris taking it to Muslim terrorists. Instead we get weepy apologies and suggestions America had it coming. Hollywood is not even as conservative as it was in the 1980's in reaction to Carter-led impotence in the Iran Hostage Crisis. Not a single film has had Osama bin Laden as a villain who gets his.

IF THAT IS NOT 100% COMPLETE CULTURAL SURRENDER I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

Moreover, Hollywood is a race/gender quota PC-driven place. I don't know what Hollywood you're referring to, but DHD is abuzz over Mark Gordon using the N-Word and his career seems to be over.

Black leads like Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and Jamie Foxx get (aside from aging Bruce Willis) all the masculine, testosterone heavy action leads. Heck the "Karate Kid" is remade with Will Smith's spoiled son as the lead. It is unacceptable for a White guy to be the lead masculine character unless he's playing Iron Man or another comic book character. Hence Shia LaBeouf or Michael Cera or the guy from Kick Ass, or the glittery guys like Robert Pattinson or Zac Efron.

Whiskey said...

Cont'd:
Meanwhile, in the Hollywood that exists now, instead of 1988, women are a huge component of the hit-making machine: Sex and the City 1&2, Eat Pray Love, Big Fat Greek Wedding, Mamma Mia!, the Switch, the Backup Plan, any movie with Katherine Heigl, or for that matter Gerard Butler. All of these movies absolutely repellent to any man not "fabulous."

Twilight? How is that traditionally masculine? Tweens and their moms are not a hotbed of social conservatism. And the subject matter and actors are repellent to almost all straight guys.

Moreover, Hollywood's courting of the anti-American foreign box office means that no Americanism (in Superman, in Captain America, in GI Joe) can be allowed. In GI Joe, the guys work out of Belgium ... for the UN. No place BUT Hollywood does global homogenity better because their business model as they understand it depends on it. They take all the America out of every movie to make a global McMuffin.

The Switch -- marriage, man not required for family, along with Kids Are Alright, puts paid to the notion that Hollywood is socially conservative. Its not. As does the Kids Are Alright (Lesbians are better parents than a conventional nuclear family).

Anonymous said...

I like how Whiskey keeps harping about how bad Hollywood is when its been the best promoter of American culture and values. They love Rambo up in Liberia.

Geoff Matthews said...

In defense of Gerard Butler, I thought he played the lead in 3000. If I'm correct, that's a movie that most manly men can appreciate.

asdasdasf said...

Most of Hollywood is simply MONEY.

Deng said what does it matter if it's a white cat or a black cat as long as it catches the mouse.
Same may be true of Hollywood, but it seems to prefer catching the white mouse.

asdfasdfasdf said...

"The studios try to justify the proliferation in movies of butt-kicking babes and girls-with-guns as female empowerment gestures, but they are actually there because nerds get a charge out of catfights."

This is so true. ROTFL.

Since nerds can't get babes, they prefer babes kicking butt(and being worshiped as goddesses)than going with studs. Lots of these killer babe stuff is pretty puritanical in the sense that no matter how sexy the babe, she is too good for men, all men. Nerds don't get them but neither do the studs.

asdfasdfasdf said...

I think Clinton fatigue--culminating in American Beauty--and 9/11 made Hollywood a little conservative, in mood if not in ideology. Though Michael Moore got the oscar for BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, many booed when his acceptance speech.

But then the Iraq War turned into a nightmare and the War on Terror was being used by the GOP to grab more power and control. That's when Hollywood patriotism turned into paranoia with movies like Bourne Trilogy, remake of Manchu Candy, and V for Vendetta. Of course, they might have been made just the same even under a Democratic administration, but there is no doubt that there was a concerted effort on the part of Hollywood to raise the alarms about the 'rise of fascist rightwing power'. Notice no anti-Obama movies have been planned.

In the 90s, I think Clint made ABSOLUTE POWER as a slam on the Clinton administration. I wonder if he made FLAGS OFOUR FATHERS and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA in the 2000s as a reminder of the hellishnes of war when Bush was messing one up really badly.

I wonder what might have happened with Hollywood if Bush didn't invade Iraq and had brought the conflict in Afghanistan to a successful conclusion instead.

brandy said...

The SPLC and other Civil Rights crusaders are the only thing stopping a Fourth Reich in America. Etc.

THESE are the lessons of Hollywood. This is the message of ~90% of their films and 100% of their Oscar nominees.


Gee, ya don't say. Now try the next step in deduction and figure out WHY those Hollywood producers, who mostly belong to a particular ethnic, would be so keen to portray the $PLC and Civil Rights crusaders (especialy the ones doing the organizing of these Civil Rights, who also belong to that ethny) as the saving heroes.

TGGP said...

The bit about 10% of the movies making so much of the revenue is what we'd expect from a power-law distribution even if they're all swinging for the fences. Here's my question: how much money is devoted to attempted blockbusters? How much to political films? It might be hard to categorize movies in that way, so how about action vs drama.

headache said...

Whiskey,
I detect an attempt to encroach on Steve's movie critic terrain. I don't watch any movies, but I'd rather trust Steve on this than a questionable Scotch-Irish aka Evil Neocon looking for a pet topic. Ranting on iSteve is not going to make me read your site, which is pretty predictable, being a combination of Roissy and neocon ideology. Btw those two lines of thought contradict each other, which is why some of your logic is so convoluted.

400 Blows said...

No one is 100% leftist or 100% rightist. Most Hollywood people are leftists with some rightist tendencies(or demons),and they often use cinema to exercise and/or exorcise the rightwing demons in them.

Lucas, as an admirer of Joseph Campbell and myths and all that, has a kind of Himmlerian fascination with the irrational and the occult. And as a fanboy of mecha stuff and technology, I think he was blown away by TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and NAZI PAGEANTRY. But he's also a liberal who knows the evil of Nazism and WWII. So, he has it both ways. He made STAR WARS as awesome Nuremburg rallies in outer space--and it must be admitted the Empire is much more impressive and awesome than the good guys--, but in the end, the EVIL EMPIRE is defeated and diverse good guys win(though the first Star Wars had an all white cast on both sides... as well as funny looking negative creatures like Jawas--hehe--and sand people--haha).

Later in the series, it turns out that Luke is the son of the Darth, and he too is tempted by the Dark Side, the will to power and all that. I think this is partly psycho-autobiographical. I think Lucas is saying he grew up loving and being tempted by all that WWII stuff, Nazi regalia, machinery of war and destruction, mass rallies, the will to power, and etc. A part of him just couldn't get over that stuff(and his movies show)... but another side of him knew very well that Nietzschean will to power, if unmoored and mechanized, can lead to war and destruction.
And notice parts 1, 2, and 3 are actually very sympathetic to Annakin who later becomes Darth. Wink, wink, it's really like a sympathetic biography of Hitler in outerspace--as if to say, yes, Hitler did become evil and joined the dark side BUT he did have some good in him. In Return of the Jedi, Hitler-Darth is even redeemed and restored. (Meanwhile, Palpatine the emperor, the real puppet-master, comes across as a bit Jewish.)

In this sense, Lucas, though shy and withdrawn, is just as whacky as Milius and Stone.

And there's Michael Mann, who is also a kind of liberal fascist. His version of LAST OF THE MOHICANS even revives the famous scene in BIRTH OF A NATION. And COLLATERAL with Tom Cruise is like a movie about the last tragic white male mowing down a diverse multicultural cast of blacks, hispanics, asians, etc. He is finally killed by a black guy, but he fades as a tragic figure. LAST OF THE HONKONS. Mann could be mistaken for a simple liberal because of his black fetish in stuff like MIAMA LICE and ALI, but what attracts him to blackness is pretty fascistic--power, charisma, mastery, victory, pagan warriorhood, tribalism, etc.

asdfasdfasf said...

"For a guy who styles himself a movie critic and analyst, you have a blind spot the size of a mountain."

To be fair to Steve, the article was written in 2005, before the great anti-Bush backlash, GOP wipeout in 2006, rise of Obama, recession, etc.
I don't think he would have written it just like that today.

Up in Smoke said...

>>Stop-Loss, In the Valley of Elah, Rendition, Green Zone, Michael Clayton, Lions for Lambs, Margot at the Wedding, Syriana, Up in the Air, the Kids are All Right, the Visitor, the Hours, TransAmerica, the Reader, all paint a profoundly anti-American, anti-Military, anti-Corporate, anti-Middle Class, indeed anti-Western tale.<<

Whiskey, you're drunk but you do have a point. Though some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters happen to be 'more conservative' (if not truly conservative), and even though the more political and intellectual films make far less money(and even lose money), the fact remains that the latter may eventually prove to be more ideologically influential in the long run. Why? Because people who matter in the industry--writers, thinkers, artists, intellectuals, people involved in creating art and culture--watch them.
Most people don't go to theatre(drama), but the world of drama(leftist and radical)does have a significant impact on mass culture because people who make the culture attend it.
Though pop culture is about giving people what they want, it is not made by the people. It is made by intellectuals, artists, and cultured types who wanna do something higher or worthier but must put food on the table(and are tempted by money and power; they're only human)and sell out. So, a film like VALLEY OF ELAH will not be seen by most people but it will be seen by college students into drama, film studies, etc, the kind of people who may later become the movers and shakers in Hollywood.

Working in Hollywood or in pop culture, they may have to sell out and make populist crap. However, because of their ideological background, they will try to slip in as much PC sermons into the mix as possible. So, even though sitcoms are for the most part pretty innocuous, they have become more pro-gay. And stuff like LA LAW, though aimed at the masses, reeks with PC odors sprayed here, there, everywhere.
And I nearly puked the one time I saw Ally McBeal. And there was that crap with Murphy Brown.

It's kinda like the Monkees and Herman's Hermits sold a helluva lot more albums than Bob Dylan in the 60s, but who had the greater longterm impact? Dylan of course, and why? Because music artists who later became significant were inspired by Dylan, not by Peter Noone.

And Matrix was an example of how even popular movies can be totally politicized. Though Wachowski Brothers make big Hollywood movies, I'll bet they were influenced by stuff like BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, BATTLE OF ALGIERS, BURN, and all the other stuff they saw in film school--movies unseen by most people. (Also by Triumph of the Will, it seems. One of the dirty little secret is how much the Left has appropriated fascist imagery from Nazi aesthetics. As long as Naziesquery is multi-culturalized, I guess it's okay.)

Even so, I would not add MARGOT AT THE WEDDING as liberal propaganda. Baumbach was only trying to exorcise his own demons. The liberal folks in that movie are not idealized; they come across as a bunch of selfish jerks. It's a pathetic attempt to be Chekhov-like but it's not leftist agitprop.

Nashville said...

One thing about 'conservative' Hollywood films....

The enemy must always be EXTERNAL or FANTASTIC. So, it can be about evil Soviets, evil Chinese(who wanna invade Detroit of all places--maybe they mistook it for Sudan or Zimbabwe), Burmese, Arab terrorists, neo-or retro-Nazis, space invaders, sci-fi monster, etc.
But it cannot be liberals, Jewish communists, black power, radical gays, crazed feminists, La Raza clowns, etc. in America.

HOWEVER, liberal Hollywood movies are mostly about evil rightwing forces IN America. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, FAIL SAFE, BOURNE TRIOLOGY, PARALLEX VIEW, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, AMERICAN PRESIDENT, etc.

The weirdest political film is probably FIRST BLOOD. It is a rightwing movie with a leftwing twist. Rambo comes back home and should be the darling of small town gung ho patriots. But he is treated worse than the Easy Rider hippies by small town thugs. Instead of fighting liberals who stabbed him in the back in Vietnam, he rages against patriotic small town people who would have appreciated his military service.

Maybe Stallone figured the movie would not get financing if Rambo had to face with liberal bad guys IN America. Of course outside America, he could kill any number of foreign commies--Vietnamese and Soviets.

And the original RED DAWN, though set in the US, is all about American boys fighting alien invaders. There is nothing about the boys fighting American leftist and liberals who might have collaborated with the Soviets--like rightwing Frenchmen who collaborated with the Nazis.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

"Womanly women"?

Aren't Hollywood's heroines still using karate chops to lay waste to entire armies of men?

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

-----In fairness, I've met plenty of people on the right who are equally ignorant of the need for virtue on the part of the participants. The "greed is good" libertarians come to mind.-----


Well said, Severn. In late 1995, I lost my mid-level management job in a somewhat specialized field to corporate downsizing. The way in which they went about it was rather brutal, and I found it difficult to transfer my skills elsewhere.

When I discussed my travails in on-line chat rooms (this is a little like jumping into shark-infested water with open wounds), liberals and conservatives would respond in different (?) ways.

Liberals would cry, "Loser! Bill Clinton walks on water! He has created umpteen million new jobs. You have to go find one of them."

And conservatives? They would cry, "Loser! Corporate managers and CEO's walk on water! Our great leader Rush Limbaugh has decreed that if you lose your job, you must open up your own business. So go do that then!"

Anonymous said...

"Neocons, blah blah blah neocons blah blah blah, neocons blah blah blah...

Seriously, do have anything else to add about foreign policy besides the neocons are evil and all-controlling? Does your analysis of the Middle East extend beyond repeating leftist tropes except replacing "oil companies" with "neocons/Jews/Israel"?"

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

Anonymous said...

Mike Courtman,
best war movie evah!!

Come and See.

Anonymous said...

... I think he was blown away by TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and NAZI PAGEANTRY.

Are you certain that you're not simply projecting your own obsessions? After all, Lucas is dating a black woman.

Anonymous said...

About First Blood:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Blood_(novel)

dearieme said...

"Capitalism is a terrific system, but it doesn’t absolve capitalists from the need for ethics." Well said. But capitalism, especially when pursued according to the nostrums of American economists,lawyers and business schools, may deplete the moral capital of the societies in which it operates. When notions of decency, honour and propriety have been mocked too often, and social trust destroyed, what will protect the capitalists from the mob?

Anonymous said...

To the commenter who said that Platoon and Saving Private Ryan were unrealistic - of course! All movies about war are inherently unrealistic. It's like complaining that Rigoletto bursts into song when he realizes that he caused his daughter to die.

There are several reasons why war movies are inaccurate. Smell is one of them. Alas Smell-O-Vision didn't catch on like CinemaScope or 3D. Every battle vet testifies as to the stench of rotting bodies yet we have been spared this realism - and that's fine with me. I don't long for that level of immersion.

The second reason is even more critical. Movies are of course pictorial. The good directors don't use dialog or monologue, they show the audience what is happening. But in modern war everyone hides. Concealment means survival. If you can see it you can kill it. Battle vets also testify that movies always get this wrong.

Finally there is the "fog of war". In general a good Hollywood story will make at least a little sense, but battle is often incomprehensible to its participants. Real soldiers often don't know what's going on. They don't know if they killed someone or not, but the screenplay typically insists that the camera zooms in to show the audience what happened. That's not very true to life but endless chaos and confusion are just not entertaining.

Albertosaurus

headache said...

Anon sez:PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

Which one?

Marc B said...

I have to agree with Whiskey this time, but I do appreciate Steve for attempting to take an alternate view of the trash that run Hollywood. Senator McCarthy understood the Communist infiltration of Hollywood, and that is why he is so reviled by them now, because he had those parlor pinkos in the cross hairs and knew exactly what type of subterfuge they were up to.

Polichinello said...

Marc B,

You're confusing McCarthy with the House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy, AFAIK, didn't mess with Hollywood or the entertainment industry. He was more focused on government employees who posed security risks.

Jeff Burton said...

Sorry, Steve. This has to be one of your more myopic posts. A few of the endlessly recycled tropes in movies (and they've been pushing them for thirty or more years): kids know better than parents, sex has no negative consequences, breaking convention is always the best path, a relationship with that bad boy you just met will work out just fine, you should always follow your dreams, conservative Christians are hypocrites if not sexual deviants, job one at corporations is killing their customers, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

asdfasdfaf said...

"There are several reasons why war movies are inaccurate. Smell is one of them."

Yeah, movies, no matter their settings, all smell like popcorn and taste like goobers.

Winter Light said...

"... I think he was blown away by TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and NAZI PAGEANTRY."

"Are you certain that you're not simply projecting your own obsessions? After all, Lucas is dating a black woman."

Did you read what I said? I didn't say Lucas was an ideogical Nazi but someone with a great fascination with fascism as aesthetics and temptation of power.
With Star Wars, Lucas got to kill two birds with one stone. He indulged in fascist pageantry and rejected/condemned it at the same time.
It's rather like what horror movie makers do. They are obviously fascinated with violence, gore, brutality--and even evil, torture, and sadism. And this goes for horror movie fans too.
BUT, no one wants to think, 'yeah, I get my kick by watching people get chopped up and slaughtered'. So, horror movies are moralized so that we can safely identify with the 'good people' and root for the eventual defeat of evil. But considering the fact that horror films keep getting made--and even spawn many sequels--, there is obviously a fascination with the macabre, darkness, black magic, etc. Vampires are both dreaded and admired(even envied) by horror fans. Hannibal Lecter is both a villain and one helluva cool guy.
Our sensibilities don't always conform to our ideologies. Many Jews love Wagner and envy Christmas. Many atheists love Christian art. Even radical feminists who hate men may have the hots for Sean Connery.
And many rightists who don't like black people love black music.

As for Lucas dating a black woman, that only proves my point.
Also, he may be in love with a black woman for quasi-fascistic reasons, like Riefenstahl's admiration of the muscular Nuba tribe or Cameron's thing for the god-like Navis.
Indeed, much of our negrophilia is fascistic in sensibility, essentially an Afro-twist on the imagery of muscle power, god-like beauty, and masterfulness in stuff like TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA--and keep in mind that Riefenstahl, obsessed with all thing beautiful and powerful, insisted that the footage of Jesse Owens be kept in. There is something fascistic in the cult of Obama, which is very ironic since his handlers are Jewish. One of the dirty little secrets of liberalism is that many 'progressives' know very well that the irrational is often more powerful and useful than the rational. Liberals pretend to be rational but employ the irrational far better than the right does.

However, it must be said that Afro-fascism is essentially a Western imagination or idealization of blackness along Greco-Roman lines than something originating from blackness. Black naturally prefer funkery over fascistery.

PS. Funny you're still stalking me, Duper.

AmericanGoy said...

Steve-O.

I got a movie for you, a war movie with realistic combat scenes, with (one of) my fave actors of all time, Anthony Quinn.

In the movie is an French actor who was a para in Indochina War, Alain Delon (but French are pussies, right?).

The movie is, of course, THE LOST COMMAND, and is loosely based on Jean Larteguy's "The Centurions", perhaps the best novel about war ever written.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Command


I highly recommend this one to all and sundry, even though Hollywood totally misunderstood the character of Boisfeures (in Hollywood, it was at the time black and white, good and evil, and reading the book of course Boisfeures is the hero, the link between Asia and Europe, a mongrel).

Get to it, Steve-O!

idealart said...

"Indeed, much of our negrophilia is fascistic in sensibility, essentially an Afro-twist on the imagery of muscle power, god-like beauty . . ."

I take it, Winter Light, you don't lift weights.

Winter Light said...

"Indeed, much of our negrophilia is fascistic in sensibility, essentially an Afro-twist on the imagery of muscle power, god-like beauty . . ."

I take it, Winter Light, you don't lift weights.


Too much muscle on a girl is unfeminine.

Truth said...

"Too much muscle on a girl is unfeminine."

That, my friend, is what is known in the cinema as "le dénouemont".

Kylie said...

Truth said..."That, my friend, is what is known in the cinema as 'le dénouemont'."

Not in the French cinema. It's "dénouement", not "dénouemont".

Truth said...

Oui, c'est sa Cheri!

Dave T said...

Steve, it's a great article; I remember it at the time; and your film journalism is pretty damned good if I do say so myself. But what prompted the, uh, reprise? Context, por favor

Anonymous said...

"Steve, it's a great article; I remember it at the time; and your film journalism is pretty damned good if I do say so myself. But what prompted the, uh, reprise? Context, por favor"

I think it's because American Conservative printed the full article online for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Hollywood sucks. Write about better things, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Winter Light - they found out a few years ago that Leni Riefenstahl was partly Jewish.

Pseudothyrum said...

Hollywood hasn't made a good movie in years. If they had to depend on domestic revenues from American film-goers they would've gone bankrupt long ago, hence why they have to export this trash around the globe - actually it seems they are already mostly bankrupt, having to borrow money abroad to keep operations going: some film studio even borrowed money from a German company recently.

It is a sad state of affairs that Hollywood movies are some of the only 'culture' left in the USA, along with TV. This is sad because Hollywood movies and TV aren't cultural at all, but actually anti-cultural - passive, trashy activities befitting only morons. So it would seem that America overall lacks any true culture unless you count movies, TV, mass-sports, etc as true culture.

David said...

Winter Light said



Camille Paglia, is that you?

Anonymous said...

"Are you certain that you're not simply projecting your own obsessions? After all, Lucas is dating a black woman."

That looks like Melody Hobson. Interesting. Come to isteve for the hbd/political dialogue, stay for the celebrity gossip.