Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Go Right Young Man

So is the advice to Hollywood in this article by Bryan Anderson in today's LA Times. Going back to traditional, yes conservative, themes might help Hollywood with its falling box office.


Blogger Kate Marie said...

Interesting article, Stewdog. One of the things that's so annoying to me about Hollywood is how often they talk out of both sides of their mouth about this issue. Some Hollywood types will go on an on about the philistines in flyover country who can't appreciate great art without fitting it into some pre-digested ideological or political framework, and then they'll do exactly what they pretend to despise by talking about/packaging films as social advocacy or as a "challenge" to mainstream culture or ideas -- all the while missing the irony that in an industry where so-called "challenges" to bourgeois culture are fairly common, films which uphold "mainstream" values are the really subversive ones. That's why The Passion of the Christ (which I still haven't seen) is arguably the most subversive film to come out of Hollywood in quite some time.

I thought about this when I saw a preview for the "gay cowboy" movie, "Brokeback Mountain", the other night. The preview wasn't spectacular, but the movie is directed by Ang Lee, and it's possible that's it's a really fine movie. To the extent that it's being promoted and packaged (in articles, interviews, etc.) as some kind of celluloid social activism, I just find it annoying, though, and I'm not inclined to shell out money to see it.

November 16, 2005 10:22 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

There's some good advice for Hollywood in that piece--but I think it's a sign of serious trouble (for left-leaning folks specifically) when Spider Man 2 is touted as a "conservative" movie simply because it points out that sometimes what you have to do trumps what you want to do; or that the Lord of the Rings flicks are "conservative" because they portray a military coalition responding to barbaric, destructive evil.

A very left-leaning friend of mine who loved The Incredibles told me that she was nonetheless a bit put off by the mom character, who (correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't seen the film) gives up her career to take care of her family. When she said that, it occurred to me how few movies and TV shows actually portray such a choice as normal, fulfilling, or desirable, even though staying at home is a popular choice among young parents these days. Apparently, a good story can also be a fine marketing strategy unto itself, one that acknowledges the film's potential audience. After all, who's more likely to take small children to the movies than the stay-at-home mom?

November 16, 2005 11:08 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

1) Very good point about what's considered "conservative," Jeff. Are those who call themselves liberals so willing to cede to conservatives all the noble themes of The Lord of the Rings movies? "Conservatives" are often accused of having a pessimistic view of human nature, and maybe they do, but it seems that many of the "liberals" in Hollywood consider their art unauthentic unless it deals almost exclusively with the ugly, the violent, the perverse, the criminal.

2) Your friend objected to a positive portrayal of a stay-at-home mom? I was trying to think whether I've been put off from the other direction by a film, and I remembered seeing a movie called "Hideous Kinky" about a mother who takes her two young daughters to Morocco (I think) in the early 70's on some sort of spiritual quest to meet some Sufi mystic (the details are a bit fuzzy). Anyway, they fall on some pretty hard times, and then they meet some fellow British people, and when the mother decides to go off in search of the mystic and one of the daughters refuses to go, she *leaves* the kid with almost-strangers (but she does remember to come back and get her later, and she finds that the strangers have abandoned the child to a religious orphanage). The movie never won me back after that. But the character made an appalling choice . . . is at-home-motherhood really so appalling? Anyway, the first two (not-so-recent) movies that sprang to mind when you mentioned portraying at-home motherhood as desirable or fulfilling: Mr. Mom and Fatal Attraction (though even I can kind of see why feminists hated Fatal Attraction). Crossing Delancey (definitely a chick flick), while not dealing specifically with at-home motherhood, also put "traditional values" in a good light.

3) Why haven't you seen The Incredibles?

November 16, 2005 3:35 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hey, I haven't seen The Incredibles yet because my friends' kids are either too young or live too far away. But I'm way behind the times anyway: Thanks to my nephew, I watched Nemo for the first time just this past weekend...

November 16, 2005 7:29 PM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

What did you think of Finding Nemo?

And did your nephew like his birthday presents?

November 17, 2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I liked Nemo. I actually found it more entertaining than many movies ostensibly made for adults.

The nephew liked his gifts, although he received so many toy trucks that he had a serious meltdown midway through the Liturgy of the Unwrapping...

November 17, 2005 9:50 PM  

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