Friday, December 30, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson, Movie Reviewer

VDH takes on Hollywood and the Middle East with commentary on Flight Plan, Munich and Syriana. Anybody seen these flicks ?

Scrutinizing Hollywood's cockeyed take on terrorists


Blogger Germanicu$ said...

I couldn't even get past the first sentence: "When terrorism goes to the movies in the post-Sept. 11 world, we might expect the plots, characters and themes to reflect some sort of believable reality." Ol' Victor can't see the forest for the ivory towers.

Come now, Victor. Hollywood movies reflect a marketable, not a believable reality. This has been true for a long, long time. 9/11 may have Changed Everything, but it didn't touch the profit motive.

...I've now read the rest of VDH's piece and he clearly misses the point of making and seeing movies. Syriana and Munich (I have seen both) never purport to be documentaries; details of the geopolitical events they depict are cherry-picked to tell a compelling story. THAT's what Spielberg was after in making MUNICH, and what I was after in seeing it.

VDH: "Actors, producers, screenwriters and directors of Southern California live in a bubble, where coast, climate and plentiful capital shield the film industry from the harsh world." Sorry, but Victor's clearly the one in the bubble. Did he even see COLLATERAL DAMAGE? TRUE LIES? Any of the dozens of other movies in which dark-skinned people are the terrorists killed by scrubbed and heroic white people?

"If Hollywood wants to know why attendance is down, it is not just the misdemeanor sin of warping reality but the artistic felony that it does so in such a predictable manner." Attendance is down? That's news to me. And if it is down, wherefore the "plentiful capital shield"?

Finally, aren't the Deuce Bigalow movies a better target for haughty screeds against the Hollywood's moral bankruptcy? VDH clearly phoned this one in.

10:56 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

"Attendance is down? That's news to me."

Check out this article entitled Plummeting 2005 box office sparks Hollywood crisis

relevant bit:
"Ticket sale revenues dropped five percent in the first 11 months of 2005 while the number of Americans going to the cinema fell by 6.2 percent compared with the same period in 2004, according to box office trackers Exhibitor Relations Co Inc."

11:33 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

I have seen both Syriana and Munich. I understand VDH's larger point that the liberal world view shows through in the movies. I'm not saying that is good or bad, its just a fact.

I don't agree with the view in Syriana that Big Oil is the source of all evil in the world that manipulates governments and people.

I don't buy that the Israelis that killed terrorists are morally equivelent to the terrorists that TARGET innocent people. Spielberg (along with playwrite Tony Kuchner) try and make the linkage that the actions of the assasination team led to more attacks. As if Israel sticking its head in the sand would have stopped further attacks.

Germanicus says " Syriana and Munich (I have seen both) never purport to be documentaries; details of the geopolitical events they depict are cherry-picked to tell a compelling story" I don't know that the general public knows this. I think they see Bullshit 9/11, excuse me Farenheit 9/11 as 'fact' just as they will see the underlying story in Syriana as 'fact'. Syriana says it is based on a book by Richard Baer, which I have read and has nothing to do with the movie.

3:24 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

I think my first foray into quasi-conservatism came with my having to watch "Bob Roberts" for a teen movie review I was writing for the local paper (just why they did this, let alone had me do this, I'm somewhat unclear on), when I saw a pretty obvious attempt (even at 16) for the makers of a movie to get in some jabs at their enemies. The political opponent of Bob was a Democrat, but I don't recall Bob ever being labelled a Republican, perhaps to give the ideological propaganda an "out clause."

I haven't seen much in the way of movies, left or right, in the past several years, due to my undiagnosed but altogether certain attention deficit disorder, except when I'm bolstered by good food or beer in bulk. The last two movies I can recall seeing were Jackass and Bowling for Columbine, and I must say that Jackass was the far superior experience (itself augmented by Fosters in a Milwaukee theater).
Come to think of it, I saw the Passion of the Christ. Of course, I had to, or my membership card in "Christian Right, Incorporated" would have been revoked. Seriously, I think Jackass, Bowling, and the Passion have been about it.

So speaking from ignorance, I still have little doubt that people do very good jobs hiding assaults on their ideological foes, while never using the damning words themselves. It's not at all difficult to ascertain the purpose behind Syriana when you see that George Clooney is starring in a movie based on oil corruption, but because George probably never calls George Bush a terrorist, it's just film.

Now noble Germanicus is into the profit motive, but I suggest that once you get enough money, that can take a back seat to political propaganda. That is, George has made his millions, as no doubt have his compatriots. He has said as much in interviews, that he can be "picky" about his roles, and I dare suggest that he's chosen to pick them based on some message he wants to get across, and the reality of uberliberals in Chicago, Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston willing to pay 10 bucks to see a propaganda flick doesn't hurt, either.

He won't go broke doing it, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a real ideological agenda.

8:03 PM  

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