Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hollywood in wartime: another lament

I've remarked in the past how starkly different Hollywood in the 1940s was from Hollywood in our day.

In the 1940s America was engaged in World War II. Hollywood put out scores of movies sharing the function of uniting us as a country in the conflict, extolling our troops' bravery and heroics, identifying the enemy as an enemy. This was after 2403 people died in an attack on American soil, on Pearl Harbor — itself the subject of a number of movies.

In our day, after 2985 people died in an attack on American soil, on 9/11/01. America went to war against terrorism. It was necessarily a very different and more difficult war, in that "terrorism" is not a country. Rather, terrorists use host-countries as bases of operation.

In the ~8 years of the prosecution of this war, Hollywood produced nothing along the lines of the WWII movies. A good movie on the WTC, another good one on Flight 93... and that's about it. Nothing positive about the conflict, the troops, the conduct of the war.

Think about that. Afghanistan? "Foolish! Nobody can win there! The Russians had to admit defeat and withdraw!" Bush sends the troops in, they fight with honor, bam! initial objective achieved.

Worth a movie?

Apparently not.

Iraq? "O noes! Elite Republican Guard! Saddam will fight like a madman! Can't be done! We're all going to die!" Bush sends the troops in, they fight with honor, bam! initial objective achieved. People liberated from a tyrant, another democracy planted in the Middle East, free votes, purple fingers.

Worth a movie?

Apparently not.

Both conflicts filled with stories of troops serving with great honor and distinction and heroism, every bit on a level with our fathers and grandfathers at Normandy.

Worth a movie?

Apparently not.

In fact, Hollywood positively backed away from anything that might remotely be construed as supportive. When the TV series 24 featured terrorists, it also put out an announcement in effect apologizing for the fact. Movie plots were changed so as not to feature the sorts who actually carried out the September 11 attacks.

The difference?

Hollywood has become rabidly liberal, which is to say anti-American. This war was prosecuted by (some kind of) a Christian, pro-life, (at-least nominally) conservative Republican president. He didn't fit Hollywood's marriage to the Democratic Party and cocktail-party liberalism. So, troops fought, bled, died without the Hollywood film factory's support. (Though individual stars such as Gary Sinise did do their part and more to support the troops.)

What brought that up?

Well, eight years of heroics and battles and stirring successes were not worth a movie.

But now, Hollywood is instantly planning a movie about the heroics of one man, Captain Richard Phillips. Instantly, within weeks of the incident — which was, indeed, heroic; and almost surely does, indeed, rate a movie retelling.

Gee, but why now?

Simple. You all know the answer.

Their man is president now — a radically-liberal pro-abort extremist. He's like Hollywood. He affirms Hollywood. He shares their arrogance and contempt for America. And he looks good in this event. Now it's okay to do a positive movie about something American.



The Squirrel said...

I remember watching the film version of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears with incredulity.

Clancy's book portrayed a frighteningly realistic scenario of an Islamic nation and it's affiliated terrorist groups obtained a lost Israeli nuclear weapon, smuggled it into the United States and blew up Denver during the Super Bowl.

Yet, for some unknown (ahem) reason, Hollywood had to make the bad guys some sort of vague European neo-Nazis. It made the film much less realistic and removed the real warning factor that Clancy's novels have always contained.

Of course, according to Hollywood, there hasn't been a "good" war since WWII, and the only reason that anyone dislikes America is because America is the focus of evil in the modern world...

I wish they'd left the country like they promised to if Bush won in 2000...


DJP said...

That's one of the movies in the back of my mind, couldn't call up the title. Exactly!

An excellent Clancy novel about Islamist terrorists, for a country that has just lost thousands to Islamist terrorists — so Hollywood changes the plot!

Exactly, thanks.

Jerry said...

I am presently reading Doug Stanton's "Horse Soldiers" (the Kindle is wonderful, Al Mohler recommends the book on Friday and I am reading it the same day!).

If this story of heroism in Afghanistan doesn't warrant a movie, then no event in all of American history does.

CR said...

The actual Academy (all actors, directors and producers) may not be as liberal. Tony Curtis pointed out that the academy is not as liberal as one may think that's why a movie, he said, like Brokeback Mountain never had a chance of winning Best Picture. He went as far as to say, he himself wouldn't even look at the picture for voting.

So, most of the directors and producers are liberal. The academy board which nominates pictures - liberal. But there is a chance that most of the academy is not liberal. Here's an encouraging interview of Jon Voight by O'Reilly.

DJP said...

But what do Voight and Curtis have in common?

CR said...

Are you saying they are from the older generation, is that where you're going with that?

Unfortunately, we may never know the true numbers of conservatives in Hollywood. You have a few notables, Bo Derek, Kelsey Grammar, Ricky Schroeder.

So, they are there, there just a little bit more closeted, kinda like how a lotta Christians become closeted about their faith outside of church.

DJP said...

Yessir. They're both from our dads' Hollywood. Now the leading starts tend to have massive mouths and use them to spout liberal gobbledygook freely.

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

And the only younger actors who are conservative are guys like Matthew Mcconaughey. Who is ever going to take him seriously? I mean, he'll never be a nominee, let alone an academy member.

CR said...

Well, there's the key operative phrase, the ones that open their mouths. I can't argue with that.

Associate Pastor - I was not aware that Matthew Mcconaughey was conservative?? Anyway, Ricky Schroder is also "young" and he supported W. He won a Golden Globe, I think.

DJP said...

Also, excellent actress (and former Buffy) Sarah Michelle Gellar Prinze is at least rumored to be Republican. Wonder how that worked with ultra-liberal Whedon and crew, if true.

Jay said...

If hollywood wants to make a successful movie about the war in Afghanistan they should do it about the 4-man Seal Team's heroic battle in June 2005. The leader of that team, Lt. Michael Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle, and the other three team members were awarded the Navy Cross. Only one member survived, Marcus Luttrell, who told the story in the book "Lone Survivor".
Highly recommended!

The Squirrel said...

Yes, Jon Voight just said some insightfully harsh things about Obama in the Washington Times, but Dan's right, the majority of the younger actors and actresses are much further left. Just look at Voight's daughter...


DJP said...

Crisply-put, Squirrel. Jolie and Voight = New and Old Hollywood, respectively.

CR said...

The Squirrel,

I'm just not willing to admit most of the young actors are liberal. Again, if you look at the ones that open their mouths, it would seem that many of the young ones might be liberal, but I'm not willing to stake my life on it.

Rush Limbaugh has spoken to many actors and he has said they have begged him not to tell anyone. Can I blame them? I don't know. We've seen what happened here in CA with prop 8, some talented music director was forced to resign because liberals got a hold of prop 8 donor lists. Many of these actors want to be able to have a career and they put their career at risks by coming "out of the closet." When Mel Gibson (I'm not saying he is conservative per se, he was in some respects, but hated the Iraq War) was asking the movie industries to produce his move the Passion, all turned them down, and he ended up having to produce it himself - he made a ton of money for it.

Other notable conservatives are Jerry Bruckheimer and David Zucker.

The Squirrel said...

"Rush Limbaugh has spoken to many actors and he has said they have begged him not to tell anyone."

CR, my friend, I hope that you're right.

I've also heard Rush make those statements, and I have no doubt that there are conservatives among the younger set in Hollywood. I know of no survey one way or another.

But they certainly are not vocal about there beliefs. I can understand that, as they want to work and put food on the table. They, like all of us, face discrimination for their beliefs. Just look at the things that have been said about Angie Harmon regarding her outspokenness.

But I think Dan's point stands. Hollywood as an institution, is anti-American.

Our country is changing, changing at a rapid rate, and not for the better. We've moved much further, much faster, then I ever thought I'd see in my lifetime.


CR said...

I forgot about Angie Harmon.

Anyway, this is all in line with Scriptures. Things will get worse, people will call good, evil and evil, good. Let's pray the Lord has mercy on our nation like He did with the city of Nineveh.

The Squirrel said...

"Let's pray the Lord has mercy on our nation like He did with the city of Nineveh."



"Obama does have one thing in common with God. God does not have a birth certificate either." - Rush Limbaugh

Rachael Starke said...

Having spent a year or two on with my toe in the shallow end of the murky Hollywood pool, I was stunned by the ideological bigotry and McCarthyism I saw, let alone the number of people who literally had no idea that Jesus was a real man who lived in space and time, and not just a swear word.

There a very few true followers of Christ in the business because their convictions and worldview keeps them from the compromise and power-at-all-costs machinations that are the lifeblood of the entire industry. And so, when you have an entire idustry informed by only one worldview, and a morally bankrupt one at that, it's not surprising it works the way it does. And makes the movies it does.

I remember vividly the day I was working on a movie set and had a long conversation with an extra who turned out to be a well-connected friend of the producer. After hearing my plans to pursue acting, and also my testimony, he looked me straight in the eye and said "Sweetheart, run away from this business. It'll destroy you."
I worked on a few more projects after that one, but his words, and those of some godly older mentors, stuck with me and I walked away. I do pray that God would sovereignly raise up some people who are so talented (or rich) that they can be a force for good (or a restraint for evil) in the field. But sure don't see too many.

CR said...


Were you an actual actress? I'm just curious, because if you were, you then get to vote in the Academy for best pictures, etc.

Also, I don't believe we have any high expectations of Christians in the Hollywood industry. Christians will be a minority in every industry, simply because, the Lord works through remnants, not majorities and the fact is, Christians are a minority. Latest Barna figures are, there are 7 million Christians in the US. That sounds about right.

In Hollywood, Christians wouldn't be able to star in most movies since we wouldn't kiss another person or use foul language. Um, that would limit us to mostly sci fi movies.

So, I don't think we're expecting there to be many Christians in Hollywood, but I think the issue is are there many conservatives in Hollywood. Remember, conservative doesn't equal Christian.

I think there are more conservatives (not necessarily Christian) than we realize.

RT said...

Great post Dan, although I am sorry not to see more discussion of what was certainly one of the Navy's finest moments in recent years and quite worthy of film treatment. The focus, of course, should be on the heroes on the scene (including CDR Frank Castellano, previously assigned here, who commanded Bainbridge) rather than on the anyone in Washington. As far as Christians in Hollywood are concerned, CR is quite right to make a distinction between conservatives and Christians, but really -- kissing someone or using foul language, in a movie, means you are not a Christian?! I assume you must be joking.

CR said...


I don't know how to interpret Eph 4:29 when it says no unwholesome words should come out of our mouths. Foul language is not wholesome.

And yes, I don't see how anyone can kiss someone other than their spouse and not say they are breaking their commitment.

I didn't say that an actor kissing another actor in a movie or an actor using foul language says they are not Christian. Is it sin, yes.

Kirk Cameron was a great example when in that Fireproof movie he had the director do a silhouette so that in actuality he was kissing his real wife.

I can guess what the next question is going to be...

RT said...

No question - just a facial expression signifying incredulity. I scarcely think St Paul had actors in mind, nor would my commitment to a spouse, if I had one, be impacted morally by my pretending to care for someone else. One might as well say that an actor portraying MacBeth would be guilty of sin by pretending to kill Duncan. Of course I recognize that not everyone sees the line between "pretend" and "real" in precisely the same way.

Colloquist said...

RT, the big difference is that an actor in a film production of Macbeth would be pretending to kill Duncan. Actors don't pretend to kiss, or pretend to swear; they really do kiss, and really do swear on screen. While Paul obviously didn't have acting in mind, he also doesn't give any wiggle room for unwholesome talk (what about if I'm really, reallymad?) or for lack of purity outside marriage (what if I'm really, really twitterpated?). If Kirk Cameron's conscience convicts over kissing an actress who is not his wife, I would absolutely honor his commitment not to do so. And if I were his wife, I would love him even more for it.

CR said...

Thank you, Rabbit. I couldn't have said it better, myself.

Rachael Starke said...

I was an aspiring actress. :) Was working toward my SAG card when I decided, for the reasons you and Rabbit mentioned, as well as a host of others, that it was very much not a wise career path for me.

As for the conservative/Christian distinction, it's funny, but especially since my recent Facebook dustup with my fiery, more conservative than Christian, college friend, I've shied away from personally identifying with either conservatives or liberals specifically. That was sort of indirectly my point. Unless you're a Christian, which means that you have a worldview you would die rather than deny, there isn't a lot of motivation for mere political conservatives to really stick to their guns and sacrifice their livelihoods on the altar of their beliefs. And you're not going to be willing to really love your enemies and bless those that curse you for long. It gets old.

Thaat's why I'm pessimistic about conservatives other than Christian ones ever having a voice in Hollywood.

But what I think is interesting is that, usually, as per their worldview, Hollywood types will follow a money trail pretty much anywhere. And my understanding is that most of the recent bunch of really depressing, negative, America-loathing movies have done spectacularly badly.

I will be singularly disgusted if this movie with Captain Phillips does well, and the MSM make it out to be some metaphor for the Obama presidency. You know - the brave leader's country hijacked by evil Republican pirates, only to valiantly deafeat them with soaring oratory and heartfelt apologies for intruding on their personal space.

Jon said...

The Sum of All Fears brings back horrible memories (Ben Affleck ugh!) and now you've gone and pointed out how much of a train wreck they turned the original book plot into. Doesn't surprise me in the slightest though.

I still remember Tom Clancy being interviewed on one of the late night comedy shows (Conan I think) and he was asked about what he thought of Harrison Ford and he basically didn't want to say anything. Heavily hinting at the idea that he and Harrison Ford had VERY differing opinions on politics.

One movie I remember pulling out and watching after 9/11 was "The Siege" with Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Not sure if we'll ever get to that point in this country now with Obama at the helm. If something doesn't change, then Obama is going to convince the world that we're just big push overs.

Just look at how the MSM portrays Israel trying to protect themselves. They keep talking about how Israel needs to stop fighting and start negotiating with the very people that are terrorizing them. I still just wonder what the liberal Hollywood elite would want to be done if their beloved Beverly Hills was ever hit by a massive Islamic terrorist attack? Hold hands and sing "We Are the World"? I'm thinking probably not.

RT said...

Rabbit - The distinction you make is of value to the extent you apparently regard kissing and swearing as sacramental in character. It seems to me there is absolutely no difference between striking someone in pretend anger and kissing someone in pretend lust (or love). Unless the act itself is somehow intrinsically meaningful then it is indeed the motive, or the inward reality, rather than the appearance that matters. Acting out a love scene might be for some an irresistible temptation to sin, but I do not think it is intrinsically "sin in itself." The general lack of long-term Hollywood marriages may be evidence of the corrupting nature of such activities and to the extent Cameron's prophylaxis is effective for him or necessary he can alternately be praised or pitied, but I would resist labeling a particular action "sin" without at least considering motive.

CR said...

Thanks for the clarification and elaboration, Rachael.

What do you think about Patricia Heaton? I know RT and I have been going back forth on the kissing in Hollywood issue. She is a Christian, I guess. I loved ELR, very funny show, but one of the things that bothered me about her was that she would take the Lord's name in vain a lot, and she did a show where she dressed very provocative.

Anyway, she did appear to stick to her guns on a few issues.

Colloquist said...

We just see it differently, RT. No problem.

Rachael, good perspectives there.

mKhulu said...

As a Viet Nam veteran I am too often looked upon as a victim by those fully innoculated by MSM and Hollywood. Most of my comrades served the people of Viet Nam with honor and many with distinction. Too bad for them (People of Republic of Viet Nam) that liberal society didn't care about them enough to stay the course.

The War on Terror (what we used to be allowed to call the War On Terror) has not produced quite the level of "victim mentality." However, the soldiers against terror certainly haven't been appropriately honored by MSM or Hollywood.

There has been no generation quite like "the greatest generation". That's for sure. The world's stage has not been so brightly lit as it was in WWII. But, men still have accomplished much (as well demonstrated in your post) for defensless peoples and surely have produced many laudable episodes of bravery which should be proclaimed.

As we slide further toward a secular socialism, I fear fewer and fewer will be the dramatized productions of American accomplisments- even with a liberal in the White House. Mainstream Media and Hollywood do not appear likely to become pro-American- even in a socialist America.