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Long Absences, We'd Rather Hollywouldn't
I would like to thank you for putting up with my absence over the last two weeks. Personal matters kept me away from my PC. Now that these matters have been (happily) resolved, I return to my daily jaunt into punditry. As my first foray back into the waters of commentary, I take notice of the 17-week long Hollywood box office slump. It’s the worst in 20 years, and ties the worst slump since the studios began keeping statistics on this sort of thing. Of course, Hollywood blames the movies, saying that the quality of summer releases this year is lacking. I think they miss the bigger picture.
Did the studios ever think that the people may be rejecting Hollywood’s extreme leftist politics? Aside from Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Ron Silver, Gary Sinise, Charlton Heston and a small handful of others, Hollywood is fairly crammed with a pile of very rich people who ironically are political bedfellows of Karl Marx. We saw Rosie O’Donnell in early June on The View as she mercilessly but vainly attacked Sean Hannity (who by the way handled it with poise and elegance, and in so doing showed Ms. O’Donnell out to be an illogical ranting ideologue with no idea of the facts). We all know about Michael Moore; no more needs to be said there.
"This country is populated by fundamentally-decent, hard-working people. Is it so hard to understand that, given that the last huge blockbuster to come out of Hollywood was The Passion of The Christ?"
This country is populated by fundamentally-decent, hard-working people. Is it so hard to understand that, given that the last huge blockbuster to come out of Hollywood was The Passion of The Christ? Hollywood rejects Mel Gibson’s faith based hit as legitimate (no Oscar nominations). So what does Hollywood serve us instead? Remakes of anti-authority films (The Longest Yard), films decrying American suburban life (Kicking and Scremaing), preachy films shoving euthanasia down our throats (Million Dollar Baby, winner of the 2005 Oscar for Best Picture) and off-color adaptations of clean TV Shows (The Honeymooners). And the people are staying away in droves. My eight-year-old son wants no part of Star Wars III, Shark boy and Lavagirl, Madagascar or Herbie. Personally, however, I would like to see if Herbie goes against trend since it is a clean family-oriented movie.
Back in the days before film ratings, there used to be the "Production Code." This was developed in the early 1920s as self-regulation by the studios, and that code enforced the modern equivalent of a "G" rating. Why did the studios do this? Because they did not want to offend the sensibilities of the public, who could always do as they are doing now and vote with their feet. This was not the "evil censorship" that modern licentiousness advocates portray; it was a smart move. At the time, many church groups decried all movies as an evil thing that would deprave the populace. The Code allayed those fears. As time passed, filmmakers wanted to titillate more and more, and by the 1968, Jack Valenti championed the ratings system and implemented it.
With no more production code, Hollywood produced more and more risqué films. By the late 1970’s, full frontal mudity and simulated sex were common in R-rated films, as they are today. However, with this creative license came power, and in my opinion, Hollywood has become power-drunk. Actors think that their $20 million per movie fee means that their opinions are entitled to more weight than those of the people who in reality paid them that money. The studios think that they can influence the people to think "their way" by releasing preachy dreck that runs counter to the fundamental values upon which we stand. The people have wisely voted with their wallets and feet, and Hollywood is losing money.
"Could this also be a political backlash? Remember the legions of Hollywood "stars" that came out, militantly, for Kerry in 2004? These actors were downright vicious in their condemnation of our President and his efforts to keep us safe."
Could this also be a political backlash? Remember the legions of Hollywood "stars" that came out, militantly, for Kerry in 2004? These actors were downright vicious in their condemnation of our President and his efforts to keep us safe. Are they stupid? Did they not know that they are selling a product and politics and product marketing never mix? Many of these people now appear in the movies that are not doing well. Surprised? I am not.
The people have their choice of entertainment, and apparently, for now, they’d rather Hollywouldn’t.