Skip to comments.Conservatives in Hollywood?!
Posted on 10/31/2005 8:54:59 AM PST by paltzEdited on 10/31/2005 10:39:32 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
It was hard to parody Hollywoods loony limousine liberalism this summer. Im coming out, trumpeted actress Jane Fonda about her plans for an anti-Iraq-war bus tour (thankfully later canceled). I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnamif stand is the right word for her 1972 lovefest with the enemy. Paramount announced that conspiracy-minded director Oliver Stone, who described the 9/11 terrorists revolt as a legitimate **** you, **** your order to culture-controlling American movie corporations (of all things), will helm Tinseltowns first large-scale drama about the attacks. David Koepp, co-writer of Steven Spielbergs remake of War of the Worlds, likened the movies ravaging aliens to the U.S. military in Iraq. And on the Huffington Post website, such celebrity lefties as Rob Reiner and Laurie David huffed daily about President Bushs outrages against civil liberties, Mother Earth, and all thats proper.
But guess what: ever more Americans are shunning Hollywoods waresand disgust with Left Coast politics, both on and off screen, clearly plays a part. In a time of declining moviegoing, what gets people out to the theaters, it turns out, are conservative moviesconservative not so much politically but culturally and morally, focusing on the battle between good and evil, the worth of heroism and self- sacrifice, the indispensability of family values and martial honor, and the existence of Truth. Hollywood used to turn out a steady supply of such movieswatch just about any film from its Golden Age of the thirties and fortiesand it still makes them once in a while (sometimes thanks to off-screen lefties like Steven Spielberg). We may soon see a lot more of them.
Theres no question Hollywood is reeling. Film attendance is down a wrenching 12 percent from last year, and a May USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that nearly half of American adults go to movies less often than they did in 2000. Some pundits have blamed the rising price of tickets, but in constant dollars a ticket costs less than it did 25 years ago. Others believe that its all those DVDs that people are buyingexcept that DVD sales are slumping, too. The most likely explanation is the left-wing politics. You can date the recent box-office decline from the end of the summer last year, with the intensification of the presidential campaign, notes conservative film critic and talk-radio host Michael Medved. It wasnt just Hollywoods hostility toward President Bush; it was the naked, raw partisanship.
If even one in ten Bush voters boycotted Hollywood after hearing the latest Tim Robbins anti-Bush diatribe or seeing yet another big-screen conservative villain (like the Dick Cheney look-alike who nearly destroyed the world in last years The Day After Tomorrow), it would add up to 6 million fewer viewers, Medved points out. This is what many people in the movie industry dont get: when you express hostility to conservatives, many Americans feel that youre expressing hostility to them.
Surveys support Medveds theory. A Hollywood Reporter poll finds that nearly one in two Americans might shun a film starring an actor whose politics repulsed them. The politics is definitely having an impact, observes Govindini Murty, an actress and editor of Libertas, an influential conservative film blog. Do car companies insult Republicans in their ads?
When Hollywood does put its liberal worldview aside to make movies that embody traditional values, it often scores big with the public. Consider 2004s Spider-Man 2, a sequel far better than the original. Directed by Sam Raimi, the movie is a visual wonder: the scenes of Spider-Man (played by soft-spoken Tobey Maguire) battling the tentacled benefactor-of-humanity-turned-terrorist Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) high above New Yorkfurious tangles of fists, mechanical arms, and shattered glass and stonevirtually explode off the screen. Spider-Man 2 is so eye-catching that you might miss the storys old-fashioned moral truths.
The movie is a fable about duty and heroism. Young Peter Parker decides to hang up his Spider-Man costume, since his super-heroicsmade possible by the bite of a genetically mutated spiderhave kept him from chasing his dreams, which include, above all, winning Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Parker takes this step after visiting an aging hippie doctor, Grateful Dead shirt under white scrubs, who advises, in vintage if-it-feels-good-do-it style: You always have a choice.
Yet as city crime skyrockets and the threat of Doc Ock grows, Parkers conscience haunts him. In a crucial scene, his loving Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), the moral center of his life, sets him straight. Everybody loves a hero, she says. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, theyll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. Her old voice grows somber. I believe theres a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want most. Even our dreams.
Struck by her plain wisdom, Parker eventually does the right thing, not his own thing: Spider-Man returns and saves Gotham from Doc Ock. Not, though, before a band of straphangers risk their lives by stepping between the injured superhero and his terrifying enemy, proving that one doesnt need superpowers to be valianta lesson that New Yorkers know well after September 11. The movies essential message is exactly contrary to the guilt-free just do it ethos of the sixties: sometimes the choice you have to make, to live a morally meaningful life, is to do your duty. The movie resonated powerfully with the public, grossing a whopping $374 million domestically, and it took in another $400 million or so overseas. Factor in DVD sales, and youre getting close to a billion-dollar movie.
Pixar Studios dazzling animated superhero film The Incredibles (2004) is another box-office winnerdomestic gross $261 millionwith a surprisingly right-of-center worldview. Writer and director Brad Birds story, enjoyable for kids and their folks too, revolves around an appealing family of five, who just happen to be hiding the fact that theyre superhuman. Like others with enhanced abilities, parents Bob and Helen Parr (the former Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) retired with the help of the federal governments superhero relocation program. Tort-crazy lawyers, you see, had slapped the superheroes with so many spurious lawsuits on behalf of those theyd savedHe didnt ask to be saved, he didnt want to be saved, one lawyer histrionically complainsthat it became impossible to use special abilities without incurring financial ruin. The Parrs now raise their kids in a typical American suburb, a seemingly typical family.
The defense of excellenceand frustration with the politically correct war against itis a central theme of The Incredibles, as in a scene when Helen chides Bob for not attending their son Dashs graduation from fourth grade. Its psychotic, Bob thunders. They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional. . . . In another scene, Dash yearns to play school sports, but Helen says that his super-speed would make it unfair. Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed ofour powers made us special, Dash complains. Everyones special, Dash, his mother tritely replies. Thats just another way of saying no one is, ripostes Dash, glumly.
The films science-wizard villain, Syndrome, seething at the superpowered (since he has no superpowers himself), has been killing off the heroes with his advanced technology, which he then will use to play champion. Your oh-so-special powers, he snarls at Bob. Ill give them heroics. Ill give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when Im old and Ive had my fun, Ill sell my inventions, so that everyone can have powers. Everyone can be Super! And when everyones Super . . . no one will be.
The Incredibles affectionately embraces the bourgeois family, flaws and all. The Parrs have their difficulties: teenager Violet is sullen, the kids fight, Mom and Dad bicker, Bob hates his drab insurance job. But for the Parr kids, the family bond is all-important: a worried Violet, suspecting (wrongly) that their middle-aged father might be having an affairHelen has rushed off to rescue himtells Dash, Mom and Dads lives could be in danger. Or worsetheir marriage. And the parents will risk anything to protect their children, as the film thrillingly demonstrates more than once. Like Pixars 2003 runaway winner Finding Nemo, the movie shows children what adults are supposed to do, writes author Frederica Mathewes-Green on National Review Onlineto be brave and self-sacrificing, to defend children even at risk to themselves, to give, even in the face of ingratitude.
Nor are Spider-Man 2 and The Incredibles the only recent movies to bring conservative values to the big screen and win huge, enthusiastic audiences. Robert Zemeckiss Cast Away (2000) is an updated Robinson Crusoe, starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a Federal Express troubleshooter marooned for years on a desert island. The movie makes us keenly aware of the benefitsthe immense human achievementof an advanced capitalist society. (Untypical for Hollywood, Cast Away depicts a big corporation as a caring and effective organization: when Noland returns after his rescue, FedEx takes him in like a long-lost family member.) For castaway Noland, a rotten tooth is a near-lethal problem, finding a little fresh water to drink a matter of existential urgency. Zemeckis and [screenwriter William] Broyles file a brief in the case of Locke v. Rousseau, coming down squarely on the side of civilization, writes critic Jonathan Last. There is nothing either romantic, or even beautiful, about the island Noland is stranded on. It is a prison. Nolands survival depends on the washed-up detritus of civilization: FedEx packages from his crashed cargo plane and a door torn from a port-a-potty, which becomes a makeshift sail.
Cast Away quietly repudiates the sexual revolution, too. Reunited with his true love, Kelly, Noland discovers that she has married and is a mother. The meeting is overwhelming for bothits clear that Kelly still loves Noland, and his love for her, we know, has kept him going through his years of solitude. But Noland recognizes that his own happiness isnt paramount. You gotta go home now, he says to Kelly, tearfully: theres now a family involved, and the family is the basic institution of the civilized order he has rejoined.
Finally, as he later reflects, Noland realizes that survival on the island required more than rational efficiency, as important as that is; he also needed something like faith. After his rescue, he tells a group of friends about succumbing to despair as a castaway and tryingand failingto commit suicide. I had power over nothing, he recalls. And thats when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow . . . even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. . . . And one day my logic was proven all wrong, because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. Perhaps we need more than reason alone to lift us above animal nature and become fully human, Cast Away implies. Though director Zemeckis on most accounts belongs to Hollywoods liberal establishment, this is a profoundly conservative film, like his earlier blockbuster Forrest Gump, which conservatives applauded as a repudiation of the sixties.
Martial virtues, long jeered at by liberal Hollywood, have enjoyed a big-screen comeback over the last half-decade or so. Peter Jacksons sweeping adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings trilogy (20012003) teaches us about the need for free men and women to stand up with military force to totalitarian eviland about the potential of power to corrupt even the most decent from within. Many observers have likened Mordors destructive horror in the movies to the Islamofascism that now threatens the West, just as readers of Tolkiens novels likened it to Nazism. The films have grossed over $1 billion domestically and twice that overseas. Spielbergs 1998 World War II blockbuster, Saving Private Ryan, devastatingly realistic in capturing the horror of military combat, also extols martial virtues, in the heroism and honor of U.S. soldiers.
And all this is before coming to Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ, the 2004 movie that became a flashpoint in the nations culture wars. An emotionally gripping and devout retelling of Christs crucifixion in the dead languages of Aramaic and Latin, The Passion filled theaters worldwide with tradition-minded evangelicals and Catholics, many of whom rarely go to the movies. Despite fierce (and unjustified) criticism that the film was intolerant and anti-Semitic, The Passion, made for $30 million, grossed a staggering $370 million domestically and another $240 million overseas, making it one of the biggest movie sensations ever.
The size of the market for such conservative films first grew clear in the late sixties and seventies, when Hollywood nearly stopped making them. Swept up in the eras revolutionary spirit, the industry junked its decades-old production codewhich mandated respect for marriage, the military, and religion, and forbade cussin and nudityand went in for movies geared to a rebellious generation . . . challenging every cherished tenet of American society, as leftist film scholars Seth Cagin and Philip Dray approvingly put it. Production-code-era Hollywood hadnt ignored the darker side of human existence, but even its hardest-boiled noir films werent anything like this. The countercultural movies of New Hollywoodsuch as Arthur Penns violent, criminal-glorifying Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Robert Altmans cynical antiwar comedy M.A.S.H. (1970), Hal Ashbys sordid paean to the sexual revolution Shampoo (1975), and Martin Scorceses urban nightmare Taxi Driver (1976)wowed critics, who shared their anti-establishment and anti-American attitudes.
But moviegoers turned up their noses. Weekly film attendance in 1967, the first year after Hollywood dumped the production code, plummeted to 17.8 million, from 38 million the year before (television had already eroded moviegoing from its late-1940s peak of 90 million a week). In a single one-year period, Medved notes, more than half the movie audience disappearedby far the largest one-year decline in the history of the motion picture business. That audience then hovered around 20 million for the next three decades, despite a growing U.S. population.
Theres no mystery why so many stay home. Still dominated by countercultural types, Hollywood keeps churning out edgy, envelope-pushing moviesmore than half of its films receive R ratings, for exampleand Americans keep giving them thumbs-down, as the correlation of profit and ratings shows. Only five of the 50 top-grossing movies of all time have R ratings, and 13 of the top 100. A big 2005 Dove Foundation study examined the 3,000 most widely distributed Hollywood movies from 1989 through 2003 in each ratings category. It found PG- and PG-13-rated films between three and four times more profitable on average than R-rated onesand G films, like this years hit nature documentary, March of the Penguins, more profitable still. The average R movie loses $6.9 million, the study showed; the average PG movie made nearly $30 million; the typical G movie made over $70 million. And a Christian Film and Television Commission study of the box-office receipts of the top 250 movies over the last three years found that films expres- sing a strong traditional moral message, whatever their ratings, earned four to seven times as much as movies pushing a left-wing cultural agenda.
Hollywood owes its best recent years2002 and 2003, when it cracked the 30 million ticket mark again for the first time since 1966largely to the massive box-office success of a handful of conservative, family-friendly movies, including the first two Lord of the Rings installments, Finding Nemo, and the low-budget smash My Big Fat Greek Wedding, virtually an ethnic Father Knows Best. The non-R movies draw more children to the theaters, as youd expect, and more moviegoers 40 and up, tootheir parents. The largest consumer segment in America is mainstream families with traditional values, emphasizes Dove chairman Dick Rolfe. National Association of Theater Owners head John Fithian concurs: Family values sell tickets.
Theres a simple explanation of why Tinseltown churns out so many commercial duds. Elite filmmakers want to make moola, of courseand they still do, lots of it, though not nearly as much as they could be making. But giving the public what it wants isnt their prime motivation. More important is their wish for recognition as artists from peers, critics, and the liberal elites, says Emmy- and Oscar-nominated writer and director Lionel Chetwynd, one of Hollywoods most vocal conservatives. And it has been true from the late sixties on that if you wanted to be seen as an artist, you have to be a liberalyou have to rail against the government, be edgy, he adds. Having the right artistic vision can mean other social advantages, too. Making something commercially successful and appealing to a broad public, like The Incredibles, is less likely to get a Rebecca Romijn look-alike to sleep with you than making dark, hard-hitting, critically acclaimed material like Million Dollar Baby, says longtime Hollywood watcher Medved.
Further reinforcing Hollywoods leftish leanings are liberal interest groups that monitor script content for offensiveread: politically incorrectcontent. This pressure can utterly transform a film project, as Tom Clancy will tell you. In his novel The Sum of All Fears, Muslim terrorists explode a nuke at the Super Bowl. When Clancy optioned the book and the film went into development, the Council on American Islamic Relations got to work. The 2002 film villains: white neo-Nazis, not Muslim fanatics. Some Hollywood production companies actually have outreach offices that contact advocacy groups ahead of production to vet potential film scripts. Keep in mind [that] one of the reasons why the FBI or the government or business are the villains is because everyone else has a constituency, former Motion Picture Association head Jack Valenti points out.
The PC concerns, internalized in scriptwriters heads even before any advocate complains, can produce bizarre incoherence. Novelist and screenwriter Andrew Klavans True Crime is about an innocent white man on death row, railroaded because officials needed to prove that the death penalty isnt racially biased. The only one who figures this out is this politically incorrect journalist who can see through the B.S., Klavan relates. The gripping 1999 movie version, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as journalist Steve Everett, transforms the innocent death-row inmate into a black man (played by Isaiah Washington). The movie works, even if it takes the anti-PC edge off Klavans novel.
But the screenplay leaves in a sequence depicting a black woman confronting journalist Everett for caring only about injustices against whites and not blackseven though the movie now revolves around the reporters relentless quest to exonerate a wrongly convicted African American. That scene no longer makes any sense, Klavan laughs. The screenwriter apparently found the original politically inappropriate.
Even so, jolted by The Passions huge success, Hollywood seems to be catching on that it is neglecting a large part of its potential audience. When something does nearly $400 million in U.S. box office, and it isnt in Englishit makes an impression, says former Universal Pictures boss Frank Price. The New York Times reported in July that studios have hired newly minted experts in Christian marketing to help sell movies with religious or family themes to red-state America. After cold-shouldering Gibson when he shopped around The Passionhe famously had to finance it himselfthe studios lined up for the chance to distribute his next movie, the Mayan-language Apocalypto, with Disney landing the deal.
But a movie comes out of a worldview, and the Hollywood of Barbra Streisand, Rob Reiner, and Alec Baldwin may still not get it. Libertass Murty says that a publicist for Ridley Scotts expensive 2004 flop about the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven, asked her and her filmmaker husband, Jason Apuzzo, for advice on marketing the film to conservatives and Christians. Invited to a press screening along with representatives of various Christian groups, the two watched in disbelief as the movie opened with a Catholic priest beheading a woman and stealing her rosaryand went on in that vein, while also presenting the Muslims as noble and wise. Every single person directly associated with the Church in the movie is a murderer or a liar. They really thought this would appeal to Christians, Murty recounts. Some of these people live in this completely sealed world in West Hollywood and didnt register how offensive the movie would be.
Nevertheless, several indicators suggest that the film industrys cultural stance may be changing more dramatically than hiring some new marketers. For starters, Hollywood is home to a growing right- of-center presence, including hotshot young producers like Mike De Luca of DreamWorks and Gavin Pollone, and rising screenwriters like Craig Mazin, Cyrus Nowrasteh, and Klavan. Whats more, if reports are true, other young Hollywood types are on the Right, but keep their views quiet, for fear of career trouble in a still-liberal town. Its becoming increasingly clear that a significant majority of the young people coming into Hollywood are conservative, opined Chetwynd this summer. Last fall, Details magazines exposé Young and Republican in Hollywood caused a stir by outing comedian Adam Sandler, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., and others as secret right-wingers. AMCs 2004 documentary Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood, directed by former Democratic speechwriter Jesse Mosse, concludes that Hollywood will be shifting right as the under-40s become its new establishment. Already reinforcing David Horowitzs long-established Wednesday Morning Club, which hosts conservative speakers for open-minded industry listeners, are such newly formed right-wing salons as the Hollywood Congress of Republicans and the discreet Sunday Evening Club, for still-closeted rightists.
When a trendsetter like Polone (subject of a glowing 2004 New York Times Magazine cover story) can observe that we live in a much more conservative country than the entertainment industry had thought it was, and it would be much smarter for them to move in that direction, its a pretty safe bet that the new Hollywood establishment will indeed be very different from the one that it soon will replace.
No one seems better positioned to move Hollywood right than billionaire Philip Anschutz, whose Anschutz Film Group oversees two studios: Walden Media and Bristol Bay Productions. Owner of everything from oil fields to railroads to newspapers, and a major contributor to conservative causes, Anschutz decided not long ago to begin a career as a twenty-first-century Louis B. Mayer. His agenda: producing humanistic, family-oriented films. We expect them to be entertaining, but also to be life affirming and to carry a moral message, he told a Hillsdale College audience last year. Anschutz sees a golden market opportunity in such movies. Hollywood as an industry can at times be insular and doesnt at times understand the market very well, he explained. But he also saw a chance with this move to attempt some small improvement in the culture.
Like an old-time film mogul, Anschutz has nailed down the distribution side. His Regal Entertainment is the nations largest movie-theater chain, with about 18 percent of all U.S. indoor screens. He keeps a firm hand on the creative process. Many things happen between the time you hatch an idea for a movie and the time that it gets to theatersand most of them are bad, he told his Hillsdale listeners. So you need to control the type of writers you have, the type of directors you get, the type of actors you employ, and the type of editors that work on the final product.
Anschutz demanded, for instance, that director Taylor Hackford revise the 2004 Ray Charles biopic, Ray, toning down the films focus on the performers drug problems and sexual exploits. After initially threatening to quit, Hackford came around to Anschutzs more family-oriented vision. The resulting movie is an honesttheres no effort to whitewash the drugs and womanizingbut ultimately inspiring narrative of Charless successful perseverance against the great odds of his own blindness and moral flaws and societys racism. The moviefunded entirely by Anschutz, after every major studio had rejected itgarnered six Oscar nominations, winning two, including Best Actor for Jamie Foxx, riveting in the title role.
Anschutz is off to a gangbuster start, and not just because of Ray. This years bittersweet Because of Winn-Dixie, based on the childrens novel by Kate DiCamillo, tells the story of ten-year-old Opal (newcomer Annasophia Robb) and her preacher father (Jeff Daniels), whove just moved to a lower-middle-class Florida town as the movie opens. Opals mother, hating being a preachers wife, had abandoned the family several years earlier. The film unsentimentally captures the pain and loneliness that divorce causes children to feel. Portraying both small-town America and the Baptist faith with unpretentious sympathy, Winn-Dixie made back most of its modest $14 million production budget on its opening weekend and is currently one of the top-selling DVDs in the country.
Anschutzs most ambitious effort yet is the forthcoming $150 million adaptation of C. S. Lewiss The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a Walden MediaDisney co-production opening in Decemberthe first in what Anschutz hopes is a long-running franchise. The Narnia booksan extended allegory of Christs resurrectionhave sold 120 million copies worldwide, more than either Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, Anschutz notes, suggesting the eye-popping box-office potential. Walden will work closely with Christian organizations to market the film.
A third signal that the film world is growing less culturally monolithic is the launch last year of two annual conservative film festivals: the American Film Renaissance Festival in Dallas (and soon to expand to other cities) and the Liberty Film Festival in Hollywood. Featuring conservative-themed movies, panel discussions, awards, and other events, both proved wildly popular and generated wide press coverage, including articles in Time and USA Today.
The festivals also generated golden networking opportunities. After a Michael Medved talk at AFRs event, festival co-founder Jim Hubbard tells me, several aspiring filmmakers in the audience held up finished DVDs and complained that they couldnt find distribution. Here I am, announced David Goodman, who had just started his own distribution company. He swiftly signed distribution deals for several films, among them Is It True What They Say About Ann?, an amusing documentary on liberal-baiting controversialist Ann Coulter (she signs one left-wing college students shirt: Have fun in Guantánamo!).
Feisty independent documentaries dominated both festivals; many, like Chetwynds Celsius 41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain Begins to Die, were pointed rebuttals to Michael Moores mendacious oeuvre. Winning the Best Documentary award at the Liberty Film Festival was Stephen Bannon and Timothy Walkins In the Face of Evil, based on Peter Schweitzers bestseller Reagans War. The viewer comes away from the films canny account of Reagans anti-communist efforts, from his Hollywood days in the 1940s until the fall of the Berlin Wall, with a sense of the late presidents greatnessand of the decisive importance of political leadership. As someone who had lived these times, I was very moved by the detail and emotion in which they were brought out on film, pronounced former Polish president Lech Walesa.
If the festivals produced a potential star documentarian, its Evan Coyne Maloney, 33, an affable exsoftware developer. His hilarious and disturbing 45-minute short, Brainwashing 101, exposes PC bullying at several universities. In one revealing sequence, pompous Bucknell economics prof Geoffrey Schneider gleefully acknowledges his desire to subvert the values that his students have learned from their parents. Imagine your typical very wealthy Bucknell student taking a course which is a critique of capitalism and often saying things like: Your parents are doing awful things around the globe, either indirectly or directly, Schneider crows. The big danger at Bucknell, in Schneiders view? Our trustees have made noises every now and then about interfering in the curricula and making sure that we have enough different perspectives. Horrors!
These documentaries represent the Rights first efforts to compete on a cinematic terrain long dominated by liberals. Its a crucial development, says Lee Troxler, a former Reagan aide who wrote and helped produce Fahrenhype 9/11, a sober refutation of Moores monster-hit polemic Fahrenheit 9/11 that has shown on 500 campuses and sold a half-million DVDs. Just as the pamphlet was the persuasive tool of choice during the American Revolution, the documentary has become a valuable tool in politics and culture today, Troxler argues. You can bring it out very quickly, without spending a lot of moneythe technology makes it possible. Reagan documentary co-director Bannon, a conservative Catholic, is equally revved up about the medium. If the last election showed one thing, its that culture drives politics, he told the New York Times in June. I want to take the form that is now owned by the Leftthe documentaryand use it to help drive an overall political agenda that supports the culture of life.
After long using liberal Hollywood as a political punching bag, conservatives are moving to an if-you-cant-beat-them-join-them approach. If they can create a popular cinema that artistically reflects a right-of-center worldviewrather than crudely imposes itit would be a huge advance for the Right in Americas ongoing cultural struggles. After all, its not just reason and analysis that will decide the outcome of those struggles. The imagination and the heartthe Dream Factorys stock-in-tradewill play at least as large a part.
Personally, I would argue that it is the quality of the wares that Hollywood is producing, rather than their politics. If you tell a great story, people will listen. It's as simple as that.
Are you allowed to post article with the "F" word on FR?
A lot of our money goes to liberal causes, and we can't do
much about it. But spending bucks at the ticket office
isn't one of those funnels.
Always estimate what percent of your ticket dollar is
going directly to the DNC.
PS - Expect the mods to edit the quoted article for
Yikes! LOOOOONG post...and with a collection of F bombs to start, too.
I have my own home theater.
But, I do not buy or rent DVDs that include actors, directors or producer who are openly critical of Bush, Republicans or conservatives.
I'm still alive.
Please don't pull the thread if you could take out the "F-bombs."
Bump for later reading.
The title of one of the shortest books ever written.
Some others are:
Liberal War Heroes
The Ethics of the Democrat Party
What a classy person must have written this. Now tell me, is the F word necessary?
"No one seems better positioned to move Hollywood right than billionaire Philip Anschutz, whose Anschutz Film Group oversees two studios: Walden Media and Bristol Bay Productions. Owner of everything from oil fields to railroads to newspapers, and a major contributor to conservative causes, Anschutz decided not long ago to begin a career as a twenty-first-century Louis B. Mayer. His agenda: producing humanistic, family-oriented films. We expect them to be entertaining, but also to be life affirming and to carry a moral message, he told a Hillsdale College audience last year. Anschutz sees a golden market opportunity in such movies. Hollywood as an industry can at times be insular and doesnt at times understand the market very well, he explained. But he also saw a chance with this move to attempt some small improvement in the culture."
Phil has spent 5-10 million per year for over 20 years on conservative causes. I wish him all the luck in the world with his films.
The story and quality is lacking because of the politics of those who decide what is portrayed.
Good article, worth reading! I find it very encouraging that more young conservatives are coming to H-wood. I may actually go see movies again.
(I only counted two F-bombs, and they were in a quote)
Linda Rondstadt made it clear that she DIDN'T like having conservatives in her audience.
Screw these politicos. I don't pay to be insulted or hated. Take my money but believe that I am evil/foolish?
So much for respecting an opposing viewpoint.
I skimmed and didn't see the "F" word anywhere.
This is a dumb article. Hollywood doesn't need to bring back the production code (people like sex and violence), they need to respond to the market place. Movies have become too politically correct; one example is how they force females into actions roles, which male action fans are just not interested in seeing. The white males that use to be in those roles (Arnold, Bruce, Sly, Mel, Clint....) a decade or so ago don't make those kind of movies anymore, so instead we get women or minorites. Hollywood is trying to send messages with their movies and neglecting what the market demands, thats the problem.
But moviegoers turned up their noses. Weekly film attendance in 1967, the first year after Hollywood dumped the production code, plummeted to 17.8 million, from 38 million the year before (television had already eroded moviegoing from its late-1940s peak of 90 million a week).
Hate to spoil an otherwise good article, but it was the "anti-establishment" films of the 70s, followed by the "blockbuster" films of the late 70s (Jaws, Star Wars) that kept the studios from going bankrupt. The reason the studios were near bankruptcy in 1967 and 1968 was due to the fact that younger audiences had NO DESIRE to see crap like "Hello Dolly," "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," or "Paint Your Wagon." The "anti-establishment" crowd came along during the next decade, although "Easy Rider" (directed by Dennis Hopper) was the earliest example of an "anti-establishment" cinematic commercial success.
Never mind...found it.
For me, it only is when talking about DU...
I'll have to try to find time to read this later. It looks like a good article and shows that films don't have to be pushing "Republican policy" or "demonizing Democrats" to be positive films produced by conservatives.
I'd like to see a comeback of those 1980's style action movies myself.
Does anyone know how to ge4 "In the face of Evil", the Reagan film?
The desire for approval and status is a prime motivator in Hollywood, no doubt about that.
I guess that shouldn't come as a suprise...
One of the decisions I have made, and stuck to, is I do not see any movies where corporations, the American military, or Nazis (unless it is a world war II movie) are the enemy.
I am so tired of being preached to by the left on how evil we are.
I don't go to movies or buy/rent DVD's starring particular people who have tried to use their celebrity status to push their political agenda nor will I see movies that do so (in other words I watch very few new films :)). I don't consider myself anything special so I'm sure this guy is right. I do agree that movies over the past few years have been bad for the most part but I think that's in part, because of the PC and the fact that the Hollywood left has been trying to use movies to force their politics down our throats rather then coming up with good stories.
No, any first year marketing major wouild first see if the numbers of the Passion could be duplicated by another film geared towards the same audience. The jury is still out on that one.
His case agains anti-establisment films of the past was pretty weak, I agree.
He had it nailed until the very last paragraph....
It can be a great movie ("Million Dollar Baby") but I absolutely will not watch it. Nope, nada.
And there's one particular sort of approval that is never discussed:
Making something commercially successful and appealing to a broad public, like The Incredibles, is less likely to get a Rebecca Romijn look-alike to sleep with you than making dark, hard-hitting, critically acclaimed material like Million Dollar Baby, says longtime Hollywood watcher Medved.
Whoops! Michael Medved just mentioned ELEPHANTS! That's not allowed!
Check the alternative beginning on the DVD. You'd think Phyllis Schlafly herself wrote it :-)
But, I do not buy or rent DVDs that include actors, directors or producer who are openly critical of Bush, Republicans or conservatives.
I agree, certain people I will not watch at all, Susan Surranden,Baldwins, Streisand, Reiner, on and on the list goes. Movie stars are not like us, why they earn so much money and have so many homes is beyond my understanding.
Blah...blah...blah...long article and, I believe, the wrong thesis. People aren't going to movies because of the high ticket prices and more importantly, the higher quality of television shows today. I'll take any good TV show over a movie. And then, in a month, I can rent the DVD and watch it on my big screen TV. It's not rocket science.
I recommend that FReepers check their local library for DVD's, incl. your library's version of inter-library loan. In some library in your city is a copy of the old or recently-released DVD that you want.
Senor Zorro - there are NO great liberal stories.
By the way, I plan to see your latest movie. I loved the first and Zorro has always been one of my favorite folk heros - right up there with Robin Hood
Conservatives in Hollywood
The title of one of the shortest books ever written.
Some others are:
Liberal War Heroes
The Ethics of the Democrat Party
You forgot "Famous Jewish Sports Legends" ;)
The last film I saw in theaters was "Fantastic Four" and although it was an entertaining film, I was disappointed by a lead character saying "goddamn". That word didn't have to be used, the producers just threw it in (probably toget a PG-13 rating.) You can't even take the kids to a family film anymore without cringing, wondering what sh*tty unnecessary grime that Hollywood is going to inflict upon you.
I don't know that you'd call Patton, True Grit, Dirty Harry, the French Connection and the Exorcist "anti-establishment" unless you are marking the very good case that the establishment was the left. Granted there was gore and bad words in those movies, but all espoused conservative values.
And actually, the top grossers in 1970-- Love Story and Airport -- were rather uncontroversial.
My favorite Sci-Fi author Orson Scott Card rights political essays and he also reviews everything including books and lots of movies. Check his reviews here: http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/index2005.shtml
I would have figured she'd be one of the first picks for Regan
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