Myth Busting! The Hollywood Liberals

Myth: "Hollywood Liberals push their agenda on middle America."

Right wing blow-hards and 'Organization for the Deification of Arch-Typical Family and Gender Roles' types have been trying to convince us that the reason that ticket sales have been slumping for the last few years is that the liberals out in Hollywood are no longer in touch with Middle America. They tell us that the movies being released are practically liberal propaganda, a turnoff for the (imaginary) conservative majority in America.

Although most wing-nuts are going to ignore things like science and facts, willing to embrace an idea 'because it feels right,' we're members of the reality based community and will examine the evidence.

Below are the top 15 Movies from each year under Bush:

Top 15 movies in 2005:

Revenge of the Sith -- This movie is praised & condemned by both sides for various reasons. In reality, it's a money machine for George Lucas. Nothing more.
Hitch - Romantic comedy with no possible political overtones. Or any tones, for that matter.
Madagascar - This one IS a liberal propaganda film. The Right doesn't want people knowing that there are actually countries other than the USA (and possibly Canada.)
Batman Begins -- Pro-torture/vigilanteism. Rich people are portrayed as caring for those less fortunate. This is conservative propaganda.
War of the Worlds - Didn't see it. As a remake of a book that reaffirms man's status as the strongest life form known to man, doesn't seem to be a leftist screed.
Fantastic Four - Another Comic book turned movie. These guys have been around since the 50s. The 50s! The perfect decade! Also a Republican plot to return us to the Cleavers.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - A couple who decide that divorce ISN'T the answer to their marrital problems. Pro-gun AND pro gender-rolls.
The Longest Yard - comedy remake. Didn't see it.
Robots - Ok, Robin Williams was a character in this animated children's movie. His presence alone is mildly subversive.
The Pacifier - Shows the military in a peaceful, pro-family, protecting Americans kinda way. How bad could THAT be?
Are We There Yet? -- Guy bonds with Girlfriend's kids. Pro-Family.
Monster-in-Law -- Hanoi Jane is in it, but all she betrays is J-Lo. Hardly a Hollywood staple anymore, her first movie in fifteen years.
The Ring Two -- horror sequel, but theme is about mother saving son
Constantine -- Pro-heaven in the whole God v. Satan thing. Definitely Christian and 'fire and brimstone.'
Sin City -- Okay, morally bankrupt characters abound. Violence, sex and combinations thereof. However, please note it was made outside the studio system. Rodriguez shot it as an indie.

Top 15 in 2004:

Shrek 2 -- animated family film with acceptance as a theme. That's a dangerous message for Hollywood to be sending our children.
Spiderman 2 -- objectively pro-science and the whole 'with great power...' thing. Subversive only because George W. Bush would be the bad guy.
Passion of Christ -- The kind of entertainment the Christianist Right wants us to be watching even if it is anti-Semitic.
Meet the Fockers -- Barbara Striesand and the name 'Gaylord Focker.' How could they possibly object?
The Incredibles -- Value of family theme. Dad as the strongest man in the universe. How much more conservative can you get?
Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban -- Good triumphing over evil.
The Day After Tomorrow -- Hmm. I guess if you're someone who believes this movie is pitching the whole climate change issue as its central theme rather than a convenient way to bring about big-budget mayhem, I'll give you this one. Of course, you then have to argue that Roland Emmerich is objectively pro-alien, and Independence Day was a vicious assault on the Clinton's administration's lack of a coherent anti-alien policy.
The Bourne Supremacy -- sequel, spy thriller. Don't remember it...
National Treasure -- The founding fathers didn't just write a great Constitution and found a country, the protected the world like superheros!
Polar Express -- Animated movie about a Christmas book. Objections?
Shark Tale -- animated children's movie. Don't know anything about it.
I, Robot -- Anti-science and anti-technology. Seems pretty conservative to me.
Troy -- This movie lied MORE about the Iliad than the Bush Administration lies about OUR war in Asia. That should be good Bush...
Ocean's Twelve -- sequel to a remake. Look, celebrities! Looking cool!
Fifty First Dates -- This is what the Bush Administration WANTS America to do. Forget everything that happened the day before...

Fahrenheit 9/11 is down at 17 here, by the way -- between Van Helsing and Lemony Snicket. It was an indie film, not a studio (Hollywood) film.

There was controversy, primarily by people who missed the entire point of the movie, about whether Million Dollar Baby was pro-euthanasia, but seeing as it's just a notch above Princess Diaries Two, let's null those two out.

Top 15 of 2003:

Return of the King -- Adopted by conservatives, if I remember. "Men of the West..."
Finding Nemo -- This is about accepting people with disabilities and finding the value of family. But Ellen's voice is in it, infecting our children with gay-ness. SHAME! SHAME!
Pirates of the Caribbean -- About a ride in Disney World/Land, the most conservative place on earth.
Matrix Reloaded -- maybe, kinda, Zen existentialism?
Bruce Almighty -- Christians generally thought this was a positive portrayal of God and faith. Hunh.
X-Men 2 -- Again, main theme is accepting people who are different from you. This is NOT the lesson the conservative establishment wants coming out of Hollywood.
Elf -- It's about Christmas. It functions on the assumption that Santa is real, like the WMD in Iraq. Bush loved it.
Terminator 3 -- sequel, sci fi actioner
Matrix Revolutions -- ok, encourages people to question reality. Could be bad for Scott McClellan, he's good at ignoring reality...
Cheaper by the Dozen -- Again, pro-family fluff stuff. This is what ALL movies should be. Wholesome and family oriented. No Swear words.
Anger Management -- buddy comedy... I'm not remembering any political overtones...
Hulk -- So fantastically bad that nobody saw the whole thing. Doesn't count.
2 Fast 2 Furious -- Encourages High risk driving?
Something's Gotta Give -- Old people like sex too! GASP!
Seabiscuit -- inspiring historical epic. Does have the little guy beating the establishment. BAD! The establishment ALWAYS wins.
The Last Samurai -- The old ways are more honorable and better and more heroic. Conservative to the Hilt.

Top 15 of 2002

Spider-Man -- Flag waving wonderful-ness.
The Two Towers -- book adaptation, but seen as very patriotic post 9/11
Attack of the Clones -- sci-fi fluff. Vaguely political. Like the other Star Wars, claimed by both sides.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -- again, good triumphs over evil.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- surprise indie. Pro-marriage, pro-family, pro-tradition.
Signs -- God may not play dice with the universe, but apparently he does play charades. Family sci-fi movie, very pro-faith.
Goldmember -- comedy sequel. Naughty in a Benny Hill way. Good Conservatives know that there are no naughty-bits. We're all like Ken and Barbie dolls.
Men in Black 2 -- Government Agency protects Americans from invading Aliens. Maybe the first part of Bush's new campaign on immigration.
Ice Age -- Children's film morality.
Chicago -- musical remake. strong political message ... for 1933.
Catch Me if You Can -- biopic. Can't run from the law, even if you're Leonardo DiCaprio, you'll still get caught.
Die Another Day -- 007 protects the world again. Pre-marital sex, though...
Scooby Doo -- OK, this IS a leftist propaganda film. Damn dirty hippies.
Lilo and Stitch -- importance of family & love.

That was a lot of movies. By and large, they didn't seem to be all that subversive or leftist or liberal. The exceptions, such as Fahrenheit 9/11, weren't made by the studio system. This leads me to two separate conclusions:

1. The people in Hollywood may have liberal tendencies but that doesn't seem to be reflected in their movies to any great degree. The reason Hollywood doesn't make flag-waving, Pro-America epics anymore is because these movies are released world wide and if you haven't noticed, THE REST OF THE WORLD HATES US.

2. The further from the Hollywood Establishment (studios) you get, the more 'Liberal' the movies become. Essentially, artists creating powerful cinema DO tend towards Liberalism and allow that to show through in their art. These artists are reacting to the politically charged world around them. If their work is powerful enough to transcend the usual art-film / studio-box office divide and gain a large audience, it's not because liberal Hollywood is pushing it, it's because the public wants to see it.

Brokeback Mountain is actually causing less controversy than I had hoped. I haven't seen it yet, though I intend to. By all accounts, it is a powerful story acted with enough force to communicate to audiences that might not normally go for the whole 'gay cowboy movie' scene. This is an example of two things; the power of art to communicate and the growing acceptance by the vast majority of Americans of people with different sexual orientations.

The current Conservative push is a reflection of the failure of Conservatism, not the failure of Liberalism. Reactionary periods like this one are a sort of final gasp by a portion of society that sees its views / traditions / values falling by the wayside. In a recent poll by Rutgers University, self identifying Republicans made up only 22% of registered voters (37% for Democrats and 29% independent) and things like the Gay Marriage bans got the Republican base out. 9/11 was also an aberration that will not be useful to the Republicans if they wish to continue their reactionary policies. The louder the Right is yelling, the more their failing. The more they have to complain about, the less they have in common with the rest of society.

Turn in your teacher for cash reward.

Vatican says 'Intelligent Design' is bullshit.

1 comment:

sanpiper said...

I'm not religious by any stretch but the latest from hollywood does annoy me. It's not because I'm offened but because these movies liberal hollywood lines up to honor are not good movies. I have seen "broke back mountain" and "thee family ston" neither of these are particularly good movies, but they are being honored at nausea becasue they feature the right agenda. I think it's a shame when the award shows stop caring about the quality of pictures, and just the agenda.