The 2008 election is still more than a year away. But judging from this fall’s movie schedule, Hollywood filmmakers believe the time has come to capitalize on a lame-duck presidency and unfavorable public sentiment toward the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the government’s antiterror tactics.
Yes, it’s about time Hollywood turned its attention to these issues. I’d been wondering where they’d come down on them. Hopefully, they’ll tell me what to think about them, too. When I need some help figuring out what to believe, I often look to my moral betters and intellectual superiors in the film industry.
…Studio executives say they believe intelligent audiences are ready for thought-provoking movies,…
…but instead they’ll offer predictable pap with America as the Global Bad Guy and pander to a tiny market segment that confuses “self-righteous loathing for one’s country” with “intellectual complexity”. Oh, and remember: if we would just try to (sigh) understand the other side, none of this violence would be necessary.
…Moviegoers haven’t always embraced films about politics and war. They often come up short at the box office despite critical raves and outsized expectations….
And yet, they keep making them. Lucky us.
Critics say Hollywood, with its distinct liberal bias, lacks credibility when it comes to making political films.
That’s not fair. Hollywood lacks credibility on many things besides that.
Some executives say they wonder if moviegoers confronted with grim realities on the nightly news will want to see fictionalized versions of them as entertainment. “I am concerned about viewer fatigue,” says Chris Carlisle, president of domestic theatrical marketing at New Line Cinema, which is releasing “Rendition” on Oct. 19. “A lot of people don’t want to hear another thing about what’s wrong with the government.”
Not from the likes of you, we don’t. You schmucks are driving Maseratis and sipping Barbaresco in Bel Air and you’re telling us how awful this country is? A little gratitude would be nice. For a change.
One of this year’s films, “Lions for Lambs,” was developed and polished into its final form in about one year, an uncharacteristic speed for a major Hollywood movie. With a roughly $35 million budget, it’s the first production from the revived United Artists studio, which is being run by Tom Cruise and his producing partner, Paula Wagner.
Thirty-five million? That’ll barely cover e-meters and hairspray for Cruise, and wrinkle-putty for Redford. Which explains the low-rent CGI. Were those Chinook helicopters in the trailer or light cycles from TRON?
…Director Paul Haggis, whose new film “In the Valley of Elah,” stars Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon in a classic murder mystery set against the backdrop of the Iraq war, makes no bones about his political stance. … “I’m very political and was very much against this war and the Afghanistan war before we invaded,” he says. He describes the film as a political “Trojan horse” disguised as a murder mystery.
Mr. Haggis, the Oscar-winning writer-director of 2004’s “Crash,” launched the project during the early phase of the war, when public sentiment was largely behind the conflict. He says the current public mood will make it much easier to market the film, which opens today. “It would have been impossible if the war had gone as well as the president predicted or had there been another major terrorist attack,” Mr. Haggis says.
That’s a pretty candid and depressing admission. No one would have time for this self-indulgent whiny crap if Iraq were humming along like it ought to. And had there been another major terrorist attack the country would have united and shut out his defeatist, America-flagellating hogwash.
What does it say about Mr. Haggis, that he would even embark on a project like this when he believes that American military defeat is in his financial interest? Good thing for his precious box-office receipts that our troops are being shredded by IED’s.
…[Rendition,] which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon and Ms. Streep, is a tale about secret CIA interrogation policies and a family torn apart when a green-card carrying husband is quietly arrested by the U.S. government and disappears, seemingly without a trace.
While he says many of the details about government tactics in the film are largely unknown to the public, Mr. Hood says it will have to walk a fine line to bring in moviegoers. “There’s always a challenge if a film is perceived as political; people may react poorly if it’s preachy in some way,” he says.
Hmm…would anyone care to place an advance bet whether the arrested green-card carrying husband is innocent and falsely accused by overzealous McCarthyite thugs, or a secret terrorist plotting violence against innocent civilians?
…Some films with political overtones are basically action movies. General Electric Co.’s Universal Pictures is betting $70 million on “The Kingdom,” which stars Mr. Foxx and Jennifer Garner, will draw audiences who also enjoyed the studio’s “The Bourne Ultimatum.” That movie has raked in $313 million world-wide since its release on Aug. 3.
“The Kingdom,” which opens Sept. 28, has been incubating for more than a decade. It was first envisioned by director Peter Berg as a movie about terrorism in the Saudi kingdom around the time of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombings.
Wait…exactly what are the politics here? I saw a short trailer for this and it actually seemed to be a bit witty about Saudi attitudes toward women even as it made fun of a stereotypical State Department weenie. “We gonna dial down the boobies? We gonna cover these situations? No verbal response.”
So I went and looked at the main trailer here. Terrorists attacking a kids’ baseball game? Not brainwashed U.S. soldiers or Halliburton demolitions-expert ninjas? Well, that’s a daring direction. I’m intrigued.
I’m curious if they’re going to drop some ugly anti-American smear into the middle of the Kingdom, but it looks like they’re serious about making a movie that someone besides film-school dropouts will actually give a rip about seeing. I expect the politics will be an anti-SUV message or something more general about oil dependency propping up an America-hating terror-sponsoring society.
Which, if that’s all it is, I am quite willing to deal with in exchange for watching Jennifer Garner run and shoot some Al-Qaeda types.
I don’t know, though: Relative to all of these, Rocky does Burma is still looking pretty good. And its success will drive the lily-livered angstmongers behind these other films crazy.
UPDATE: Ah-ha! A reader who saw a sneak preview of The Kingdomhad this to say:
I caught a sneak preview of it about a month ago in my town, its actually probably one of the best flicks that conservatives could hope for out of Hollywood. U.S. personnel are generally portrayed in a positive light, the terrorists are portrayed as bad guys- there’s very little of the ‘nuance’ that Hollywood typically injects such films with, no “Why they hate us” speeches or such. It’s not perfect- there’s one throwaway line in the last minute of the film that left me with a bad taste, but the other hundred or so minutes are excellent- the action scenes are superb (The last thirty minute portion of the film is probably the best extended action scene I’ve seen in any movie in years), and the movie is probably the best film I’ve seen thus far this year.
He says it is, in fact, mainly an action film and not a preachy sapfest political movie. I think me and Mrs. Seedub will have to check it out.