Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hollywood at War

In 2007 through to present, we've seen about 8 anti-war movies:
The Jacket (2006)
Home of the Brave (2006)
In the Valley of Elah

Grace is Gone
Lions for Lambs

What did I miss....? Hard to keep tabs on all the rubbish I help to torpedo at the box office by staying home with my hard-earned dollars. Other examples of recent years (anti-war, anti-military, anti-corporation, anti-Republican/conservative, anti-religious) that demonstrates a love of leaning leftward: Three Kings, Courage Under Fire, The Manchurian Candidate, and Jarhead. Stephanie Zacharek, writing for Salon, says of Jarhead's director, Sam Mendes:
And with "Jarhead" he pulls off, effortlessly, what so many pro- and antiwar individuals since Vietnam have tried so conscientiously to avoid: His movie is antiwar and anti-soldier.
Then we have other lefty fantasies, like, September Dawn, Death of a President (ok, not Hollywood, nevertheless....)and HBO's Recount, masquerading as historical dramatized reality.

How did these pictures do? They literally BOMBED at the box office. All of them. Why? Because, as Kevin of Pundit Review put it a year ago,
People don’t want to see this crap. Who are they kidding. It used to be that people like Jason Dunham and Paul Ray Smith would be the subjects of Hollywood movies. You know, actual war heroes.
Instead, Hollywood keeps churning out movies that celebrate Che Guevara, (and lefties always like to point out how big business companies and Hollywood is motivated solely by profit- B***sh***!!!),while condemning Joseph McCarthy, hostility toward religion (or more specifically, to Christianity, such as Jesus Camp and The Golden Compass), and quite simply polluting our culture with shameless liberal beliefs and activism.

Can anyone name a single movie post-9/11 that's come out where Islamic terror is named as the enemy? 24 doesn't count. For one, it's a TV series, and hamstrung by the political correctness police.

I didn't see The Kingdom, but I'm not entirely sure this one counts as a pro-American, pro-war on Islamic terror movie, as I've heard there is a scene toward the end that suggests moral equivalence. Compound it by this NYTimes review:
In some ways it’s an anti-Iraq movie, not because it expresses opposition to the war there but rather because it makes no mention of it. Instead, the film spins a cathartic counternarrative. After a murderous terrorist attack a few of our best people — four, rather than a few hundred thousand — go over to the country that spawned the terrorists, kill the bad guys and come home.
Sounds like a return back to dealing with terrorism as solely a law enforcement issue (given the movie's background, based upon Louis Frei's My FBI, it's probably the case).

If you’re looking for a pro-American film this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an anti-American film this isn’t it (sorry, libs, but not to worry, many more coming). But if you’re looking for a film where a bunch of can-do American FBI agents ignore the State Department and unilaterally enter a sovereign nation without so much as a U.N. resolution to kick the unholy ass of a bunch of Islamofascist terrorists, this might be the one.
LIBERTAS does consider it a pro-killing Islamofascists movie; but I'm not entirely convinced (admitting, once again, that I am commenting from a position of ignorance, since I haven't seen the movie). Medved mentions about what he perceived as a moral equivalence copout when toward the end of the movie, Jamie Foxx's character and Abu Hamza are juxtaposed to say "We're going to kill them all".

Peter Berg himself says, "At its core, this film is about FBI agents trying to investigate a series of homicides in a complicated environment. That’s it."

Later in the interview,
Paul: Can you talk about the film’s delay in release?

Berg: I feel really good about that. You know, what happened was we had a series of test screenings a while ago . . . Sacramento . . . and we all went up there and watched the film and it was a pretty bizarre experience. The audience started clapping very intensely and they started responding very aggressively, and I sat there thinking I really f***ed up and had made something that appealed to the most bloodthirsty, violent, militaristic component of our culture, and that was never the intention. And afterwards we had this focus group of 30 people and everyone sort of talking about the film in very emotional terms, and they were responding to Ashraf’s death and to the message at the end, and they said, yeah, there was great action, but that they were finding the film provocative, at which point we were like — maybe we should think a bit more about how we release this film and put a little more thought into it. And the studio was extremely supportive, and said, we want to take more time, figure out exactly what we have, figure out how we want to sell it, and that was followed up by a very intense screening process, which included a European screening with a pretty heavy Muslim population, where we experienced the same reaction. So the bottom line is I’m glad we took the time, I feel great about coming out when we are, and very appreciative of the studio for taking the extra time, and spending the extra money to give it a more thorough release.
So, no: Not a pro-war on Islamic terror movie. Just a straight-up action film. 2006's The Pacifier, like many politically-correct-saddled movies, can't "name the enemy"; in that movie we get "Serbian" terrorists.

Ironman came close also, but not quite there (for reasons explained below, in the Medved review excerpt). Medved, in reviewing September Dawn, points out the confused, liberal mind:

The film's deliberately drawn analogy between Mountain Meadows and 9/11 raises the most puzzling question about this peculiar project: Why frame an indictment of violent religiosity by focusing on long-ago Mormon leaders rather than contemporary Muslims who perpetrate unspeakable brutalities every day?

In fact, Hollywood's reluctance to portray Islamo-Nazi killers remains difficult, if not impossible, to explain. Since 2001's devastating attacks, big studios have released numerous movies with terrorists as part of the plot, including Sum of All Fears, Red Eye, Live Free or Die Hard, The Bourne Ultimatum and many more, but virtually all of them show terrorists as Europeans or Americans with no Islamic connections. Even historically based thrillers downplay Muslim terrorism: Steven Spielberg's Munich spends more than 80% of its running time showing Israelis as killers and Palestinians as victims, while Oliver Stone's World Trade Center highlights the aftermath of the attacks with no depiction of those who perpetrated them. United 93 stands out among recent releases in showing Islamic killers in acts of terror — and it would be hard to tell that story without portraying the suicidal hijackers.

Beyond topicality, Tinseltown's respect for Muslim sensibilities has proved so pervasive that there has been little or no reference to bloody episodes of the Islamic past. In Kingdom of Heaven, Muslim followers of Saladdin appear far more sympathetic than the thuggish, devious Christian Crusaders. Despite the fact that founders of Islam built their religion through centuries of conquest vastly more bloody than incidents at the beginnings of Mormonism, it's unthinkable that filmmakers would ever depict Mohammed and his followers as viciously as they handle Brigham Young in September Dawn.

(In contrast to Medved's movie reviews, especially as it relates to the slate of anti-(Iraq) war films, check out this piece for an example of a liberal reviewer's intellectual sophistry).

Whatever happened to rumors of Bruce Willis' interest in a film project covering the exploits of the Deuce Four? Instead, just around the bend we have Green Zone (Imperial Life in the Emerald City); Sony Pictures bought the rights to Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies. Oliver Stone is making a movie on George W. Bush. Isn't that special? The latest I've heard on the Deuce Four film:
Just heard from Michael Yon on Ed Morrissey’s show, that film about Deuce Four that was rumored in 2005 is still in the works. Yon said he had just sent another “treatment” back to his agent. Three years later it’s still far from being made, but it’s still floating around out there.
If Hollywood wanted to turn a profit, if they wanted to help the world fight Islamic terrorism, maybe they should go back to making pro-American, pro-military films? Michael Medved (Yes, I'm citing him a lot...he is a movie reviewer, after all, as well as a favorite conservative talk show host):
During WWII, there were tons of movies dealing with that war -- and no, the German Nazis were not portrayed as Uruguayans or Fiji Islanders. The truth of the matter is that war movies have changed in a fundamental way, and, I would submit to you, a dangerous way for the health of our culture and for the strength of our republic.

Subversion of the Classic War Film

Three elements were always present in classic war movies -- films like the John Wayne version of The Alamo, or The Longest Day, or A Bridge Too Far or Sergeant York. First, there was great affection for, and indeed glorification of, the American fighting man, who was portrayed as one of us; as representative of the best of what this country is. Second, there was obvious sympathy for the American cause. And third, the wars being dramatized were portrayed as meaning something.

Where's the Hollywood script for this? Do I have to do it myself? Think of the anti-al Qaeda propaganda value of making a movie about Sheik Sattar. His brother, Sheik Ahmad, even suggested as much:
Sheik Ahmad said he wanted Hollywood to make a movie about the life story of his brother, who was so revered after his murder that Iraq’s interior minister dedicated a statue to him on the road from Baghdad to Anbar
Amy Proctor echoes the desire for such a film:
Interestingly, my husband the COIN expert has been saying for some time he’d love to see a Hollywood movie about the Anbar Awakening and how the sheik and his brother helped win it back from al-Qaeda. It is heroic stuff.
I wholeheartedly agree, just on the strength of propaganda purposes, alone. Hollywood, giving Iraqis a hero with an Iraqi face they can be proud of and rally behind. Draw inspiration from. Mythify him; make him larger-than-life! Movements need heroes. America needs to know its war heroes.

Once upon a time, Tinseltown was pro-American, anti-communist, and active in the fight against America's enemies. Today, Hollywood views George W. Bush as the enemy, rather than Islamic terrorists. Hollywood could easily join the fight and exercise their influence for purposes of winning (and shortening) the Long War, rather than in demoralizing the American public and portraying American soldiers as victims and/or murderous monsters. Yes, Hollywood could easily make films that give us something to cheer about, and they could turn a profit while they're at it....

...If only they weren't so far to the left as to be useless idiots.

Reposted from Flopping Aces

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Blogger Mark said...

You mentioned "The Manchurian Candidate". Obviously you're referring to the modern version of the film, and not the original. In the original, The enemy was the Communists, and the treasonous American politicians who attempted to gain control of the Presidency. If you haven't seen the original starring Laurance Harvey Angela Lansbury, and Frank Sinatra, you should do yourself a favor and watch it sometime. It was made back when Hollywood made pro-American movies.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 5:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I just can't go the the movies anymore.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 6:55:00 AM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

Three Kings was really Ocean's Three Go to War. Courage Under Fire was a standard Army tale of a unit with a weak leader. The Manchurian Candidate (redux) just sucked, and Jarhead was boring.

World Trade Center was a tall building disaster movie with brand names as heroes. Flight 93 I found to be intense at times but somewhat remeniscent of the films about the Entebbe raid. Only the terrorists at Entebbe were really frightening while the Flight 93 terrorists were mostly frightened jerks.

The Kingdom was a good action movie, but it was essential the cops chasing the bad guys and along the way they befriend their Arab police minder and swear everlasting fealty.

I liked Iron Man. The bad guys at first seemed to the Islaomfascists living in mountain caves. But, it's a Hollywood movie so the real bad guys are the weapons makers who supplied the weapons to the terrorists, who was of course, Iron Man. Or, rather, Tony Stark, his true identity and the evil American industrialists who will do anything for a buck.

The best anti-war film is still The Americanization of Emily and to my mind the absolute wosrt was A Thin Red Line that I call A Thin Red Storyline.

I go to movies to be entertatined not informed. The Bourne movies were entertaining. The Bruce Willis Die Hard vehicle may be anti-terrorist and pro-America, but for storylines, were just plain stupid.

Most war movies are hardly worth the money. You got the whole thing in the first twenty minutes of Private Ryan with the rest a boilerplate film. The Longest Day as not even close to the reality that the men I know experienced on D-Day.

We can't look to Hollywood, wherever that is, for our patriotism. Hollywood is patriotic to itself. Even very good patriotic movies like The Patriot or Shenendoah were anti-war. Reluctant families dragged kicking and screaming into great conflicts and conflicted within the family, lives torn asunder for causes far removed from the peacable farming life.

Seldom is there a story about any war that says simply that this war, without doubt or reservation, must be fought. How would one depict the slaughter on Tarawa as anything good in and of itself? I knew a Marine who was there, a good man who never got over the killing.

Ultimately, the judgement as to whether the war or its depiction is worthy is within each of us. Every war is by definition bad. Not every anti-war film is bad and not every pro-war film is good. John Wayne's The Alamo and The Green Beret were horrible films. Platoon and Full Metal Jacket were excellent films. But I'll still stand with John Wayne when it comes to my country.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Let me sum all these new movies up for you: they never did SHIT at the box office. 'Nuff said.


Sunday, July 13, 2008 5:19:00 PM  

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