Political Hollywood Links

Cracked has a hilarious article about Magic Negros.  Oh, man, I nearly peed my pants.

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John Rogers has a confusedly worded, rambling diatribe on his blog.  Once you get past the beginning, where he seems to be addressing some unspecified reader or readers, he makes some sound points:

This is how it works, kids. Hollywood is run by large corporations. Large corporations do not want to make controversial political movies. Which is why, by and large, they don’t. They want to make franchise-friendly four-quadrant super-profitable family entertainment, with some sex comedies for the teens/dumb-guy comedies for college students, sprinkled liberally with horror movies for Date Night. Which is why, by and large, they do.

This is not hard. This is capitalism. Capitalism is our friend.

Artsy People in Hollywood, on the other hand, often want to do something artistically satisfying, or personally important. And, too, studios sometimes want to win awards, because with that prestige comes more bargaining power with the Artsy People, and often more profits. And, hey, some Execs are secret Artsy People. It’s kind of cool, actually.

And further:

The difference is, the guys at Big Hollywood [a conservative Hollywood website] look at Stop-Loss — costing $25 million and making $11 million — and deduce that America is rejecting Hollywood’s liberal agenda. While I look at An American Carol — costing $20 million and making $7 million — and deduce “Huh, people didn’t seem to like that movie.”

Indeed, I might look at the failure of those two overtly political movies at the either end of the ideological spectrum say “Huh, people don’t seem to like overtly political movies from either end of the ideological spectrum.” But probably not, as I’m not the sort of fuckwit who tries to derive patterns off two lousy data points.

The conversation between the suits is pretty funny, too.

The only thing I take issue with is his dismissal of a “liberal agenda.”  No, there is no organized conspiracy, and yes, the studios are more concerned with making money than anything else.  (Although, I am the sort of fuckwit who would derive a pattern from two lousy data points; I really don’t think Americans like overtly political movies.)

But that doesn’t change the fact that most of Hollywood’s creative power class are liberal.  By that alone, far more liberal movies than conservative ones will be pitched; even if you allow that an equal percentage from each category will eventually be made, that still leaves us with more liberal movies than conservative ones.

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3 Responses

  1. I think this whole notion of a Hollywood “liberal agenda” is way overblown. During my three decades of toil in Hollywood, I’ve met only a handful of people with any sort of political “agenda” at all — and most of them were below-the-liners who just didn’t seem to know when to shut the fuck up. Other than the occasional liberal or conservative propagandistic dramas that tend to emerge around election time, I don’t really see any “agenda” at all in Hollywood, other than the desire to succeed and make money.

    The arts have always attracted a wide spectrum of people who don’t feel comfortable in the cultural mainstream. Many — but certainly not all — of them tend to be more open-minded in their approach to life, and their work often reflects that.

    I happen to fall on the liberal side of the political spectrum, but does that make my blog a purveyor of the “liberal agenda?” I don’t think so, anymore than your conservative leanings make your blog a mouthpiece for the “conservative agenda.”

    Most movies are about escapism of one sort or another — whether that means romantic fantasy, a futuristic world in outer space, or simply escaping into a drama about other people’s problems in life. People go to movies for the relief of being entertained, to be removed from the reality of their own lives for a couple of hours. Preachy or didactic films that beat the drum on any particular “agenda” rarely succeed at the box office . For better or worse, success is the only thing that matters in Hollywood.

  2. i had this conversation with my wife coming from a brunch with her extremely intellectual friends. people complain about the crap hollywood manufactures but someone is paying for it. i was at a theatre a week ago and there were two women talking about how much they wanted to see HOTEL FOR DOGS. i turned to see if maybe they had some children or were retarded and no, just two women who wanted to watch a movie about a dog hotel.

    it takes all kinds.

    the truth is most people watch movies to be entertained. most people (who aren’t under twenty) go to movies a half dozen times a year. nobody wants to work fifty and sixty hours a week and get their evening of escape and have someone question their moralty and they leave a theatre depressed or thinking “maybe i don’t believe in the death penalty.” my wife’s an attorney and she’ll tell you when she comes home she doesn’t want to think about anything. she wants comedies or something where cute boys blows stuff up.

    thank you, matt damon, i reap the benefits of your bourne carnage.

    as for agenda… conservatives love to think someone is forcing them to believe in something not natural to them because that is what they would do. their nature is “i don’t want to have to look at gay culture” because if they are in charge they will make you look at straight culture. their fear is if english isn’t the national language they’re kids will be speaking spanish is because as long as they have a say, you’re kids will be speaking english. it’s a very “get them before they get you” culture.

    maybe STOP LOSS failed because nobody gives a shit about ryan phillipe and they opened it on 1200 screens vs the 3200 BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA opened on. AN AMERICAN CAROL opened on 1600 screens starring chris farley’s brother and they guy who’s been doing SCARY MOVIE sequels. again, who gives a shit?

    again, people like entertainment and that doesn’t mean it has to be dumb. if you can sneak a message in there, more power to you but don’t be surprised when a country engaged in a war they hate won’t pay $10 to see a film about that war confirming what they already know when there is a talking mexican dog movie next door.

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