Monday, November 12, 2007


Comment at an A-list right-wing blog in response to the disappointing weekend grosses of Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs:

Memo to Hollywood ... we don't hate America as much as you do. Want to make some money? Make a movie where Americans are the good guys and the terrorists are the bad guys. It’s not like there's a shortage of stories that fit the bill.

Er, the film rights to that "fit the bill" story -- Marcus Luttrell's book Lone Survivor -- were snapped up by Universal Pictures last summer, according to Variety, which tells us that "Several producers were vying for the tome."

"Hollywood is losing money because Hollywood hates America" is the new meme that all the cool right-wingers are parroting mindlessly. (How it jibes with "The entertainment industry gives us sexually deranged TV and poisonous rap music because it will do anything to make money" I can't explain.) We heard the meme from Jonah Goldberg in a syndicated column last week ("By confusing the public's war-weariness with their own carefully cultivated rage they've badly overreached"), and then John Gibson of Fox News declared that "Aging movie great Robert Redford and all the other Hollywood anti-war types whose anti-war movies are bombing at the box office are losers" -- even though, as Cursor noted, Lions for Lambs (the Redford movie Gibson had in mind) hadn't opened yet.

Yeah, Lions for Lambs and Rendition and In the Valley of Elah are flopping -- but so are Things We Lost in the Fire and Reservation Road and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Hollywood is good at making blockbusters and cartoons, and it thought it was good at making dour films with big stars that win Oscars and (despite the huge salaries of the big stars) make a reasonable amount of money. It isn't, or at least right now it isn't.

Hell, I'm a liberal and I don't even see most of these movies. If the reviews are poor (as they are for most of this year's crop), I stay away. I don't care if the political point of view jibes with mine. I get news from newspapers and radio and TV and the Internet. I don't get it from fictional films. A lousy movie is a lousy movie, even if it has my politics.

Of course, I don't see any right-wingers making star-spangled blockbusters, either. What's the problem? Why isn't there a Fox News of Hollywood? (Why isn't it, er, Fox?) If changing the (allegedly) monolithic liberalism of news was just a matter of will and deep pockets, why isn't the same true for Tinseltown?

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