Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Media — Rick Moran @ 7:25 pm

Even a casual visitor to this site knows how much I love films. While I have an affinity for older films (pre 1960) there is much to be said for movies from every era, every genre.

I’m not much for romantic films although a good mystery/romance like Bogart’s The Big Sleep are among the best films ever made. And I enjoy a good comedy now and again if the script is good and the story interesting. I usually find that the director of a comedy is as important if not more so than the actors. A George Cukor or Ivan Reitman can make me laugh almost anytime.

But I love action films. And sci-fi as long as it has decent FX. But any horror film made after Alfred Hitchcock died is a waste of time as far as I’m concerned (with 3 or 4 notable exceptions). In short, I would rather watch a movie than almost anything else. Exceptions to the rule include the White Sox and My Beloved Bears. Beyond that, I have yet to see a complete episode of Seinfeld, or Friends, or Everyone Loves Raymond or any other sit-com since M*A*S*H* went off the air. And the number of dramatic series I’ve watched could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The point is Zsu-Zsu and I are getting antsy. It is becoming harder and harder to find a recently released movie to watch that we haven’t seen already. In desperation, we hit the video store the other night and rented 5 films; only one of them a new release (The Legend of Zorro) and the other four movies from the 1970’s-90’s. With the Comcast On Demand option (and the Digital Platinum package that gives us 50+ movie channels) we have rarely had to go to Blockbuster for movies to satisfy us both. In fact, since we get almost all non-new release movies for free, we rarely need to shell out extra money to feed our addiction.

And that’s what has me worried. In the last two years, we have been to the video store a total of 4 times. In addition, I found it much too easy to count up the number of films we were willing to shell out $3.99 to watch on a pay-per-view basis instead of waiting until it came to one of our subscription movie channels. There were exactly 7 films since April of 2004 that we’ve paid to see outside of our subscribed movie networks.

The problem is that I can remember in years past renting 7 new releases in a month. It is not a stretch to say that something has happened in Hollywood that has affected both the quality and quantity of films. Forget the dearth of family films or Hollywood’s left wing slant. The sad fact is that the product that Hollywood is putting on the street just plain sucks. And the reason has less to do with money and more to do with a lack of dedication to the art of moviemaking.

Films are different than any other art form because making them is an artistic “process” rather than a singular burst of creative energy. There are so many layers of production on a Hollywood movie as to almost defy belief. It takes literally thousands of talented people to take the raw film and turn it into the polished, finished product we see in theaters or on DVD. There are several different edits that must be performed. There’s sound of course and music but there are other aspects of sound production not readily recognizable that fill in the background of the film and in many ways give it extra richness and heft.

Even the simplest films have FX of some kind today. And then there’s continuity edits to make sure there are no jarring anomalies that take us out of the world created by the film makers. And then there’s all the pre-production work such as script writing (which has always resembled mud wrestling as the director, producer, and writer clash on what works and what doesn’t), production designers, lighting, props, set construction, and on and on.

This army has always been a part of moviemaking. But the process itself was usually controlled by someone with either the good sense to get out of a talented director’s way or someone who really knew the artistic side of moviemaking. This was the producer, someone who had a finger in all the production pies and who was intimately familiar with the project and the director’s overall vision of what the finished product would look like.

The problem today is that Hollywood in many respects is a victim of its own success. The public demand for bigger, better, faster translates into ruinously expensive projects that cost more than the gross domestic products of some countries. No studio is going to give that kind of money to anyone without having a hand in the production. This is why so many “blockbusters” turn out instead to be simply “busters.” The interference of studio bean counters in the creative process has ruined the big budget film (Spielberg and LOTR director Peter Jackson are big enough they can make their own turkeys with very little help).

But what about the smaller films?

First, there aren’t as many of them. And even “small” films can cost around $80 million dollars to make and promote. For example, the comedy Cheaper By the Dozen released in late 2003 cost $70 million dollars to produce and promote. While it was a hit, making $190 million at the box office, the fact is most films of that size are flops, grossing less than $50 million.

And when we talk about losing twenty or thirty million dollars, we’re not talking about government money. Twenty million means almost as much to a studio as it does to you and me.

It isn’t just fewer movies coming out. It’s the kind of movies that are produced today. Have you noticed how many movies are sequels, or remakes of successful films in the past? And can you believe all the movies they’ve been making out of comic book characters and old TV shows?

Films are no longer as much a creative endeavor as they are a way to separate you from your money in return for 2 hours of boredom killing. Guess who gets the raw end of that deal. While we make fun of a movie like Brokeback Mountain there are people like me who can’t wait to see it for the simple reason that it’s different! The formulaic way in which Hollywood approaches movie making today is so tiresome that they are losing avid film buffs like me who refuse to spend money on either horrid remakes of good films or movies about TV shows that I never watched when they were on in the first place.

The anti-Americanism of an Oliver Stone or a Sean Penn also makes it difficult for people to connect with films. Clooney’s Syriana may very well be a good film despite it’s anti-Bush take. But Americans generally are so sick of the left’s attempt to smear our motives and efforts that getting past the blatantly anti-government tone in these films becomes impossible. It’s not that Hollywood generally hates America so much as it hates the movie-going public. It’s arrogance and snobbishness about middle America and its values and beliefs is on display in so many movies that people would rather stay at home and watch re-runs of apolitical sit coms than spend $6 being preached to about how stupid they are.

I will not be watching the Oscars this year. I have no desire to watch people congratulating themselves for ruining an industry that used to be known as “The Dream Factory.”

Now, it’s just a factory. And the products it’s turning out are unsafe, smelly, and bad for your health.


  1. Now quit going to the movies and quit buying DVD/CD’s. I have and life is much more enjoyable. Get cable or satelite tv and you control the buttons. Shut the BS off and/or complain to the carrier or the sponsors all the time. There shouldn’t be a day that everyone doesn’t submit a complaint against the Holy-wood garbage pit to several sponsors. Hit them in the pocket where they will notice. I burn the local stations up for the garbage content of their broadcast/print and they have changed in several instances. I won’t quit, everyone else start.

    Comment by scrapiron — 3/3/2006 @ 8:16 pm

  2. Once we had Bogie. Now we have looney tune George Clooney

    Comment by stackja — 3/3/2006 @ 8:38 pm

  3. Rick, I know what you mean about todays movies and the Oscars have been the pitts for years. But I would like to recommend these three movies that I have found quite enjoyable. Ice Age, yep, animation, haven’t enjoyed animation since Cinderalla and Snow White.Now for something scary, Kiss the Girls and semi-scary, but very good, Blood Work with Clint Eastwood. Ice Age Two is coming out end of March, you don’t want to see it until you see the original Ice Age. Let me know what you think if you see these three movies, I would hate to think that I have no taste in movies, how can that be when I’m a avid fan of 24 before 24 was 24. Yep, I hung on the previews!

    Comment by diamond — 3/3/2006 @ 9:41 pm

  4. Can I sue for product liability if Hollywood rots my brain?

    Er, better make that a class action suit.

    Comment by Ken McCracken — 3/4/2006 @ 12:55 am

  5. I’m not watching either. Like you, I’m enjoying older films, “Mildred Pierce” was on the other day, and I watch it as often as I can. As for the new stuff — blah.

    Comment by Jo — 3/4/2006 @ 7:27 am

  6. I finally saw _Pride & Prejudice_ the other day on DVD. I thought it was very well done. It is not simply a remake of the version from the 1940s. This was a different approach and it paid off - sets, costumes, story developmnet all a great leap ahead of the previous effort.I’m a historian with a life-long passion for the subject so I can be very hard on period pieces; this is a good one.

    That said, however, the overall point about Hollywood is well taken, and is one I have also made for some time. I think though that it is a mistake to see the slant of HW ideology and the dearth of creativity as unconnected. Creativity seems to me to have declined as open leftist activism has risen.This should not be surprising. Hollywood is now too busy promoting social change and striving for “The Greater Good” by preaching to the ignorant masses to truly pursue its art.

    They might start making good films again when they stop trying to make propaganda films.

    Comment by Hawkeye — 3/5/2006 @ 9:05 pm

  7. Hawkeye: I enjoyed “Pride and Prejudice” as well- it was an excellent film that I thoroughly enjoyed. Of the nominated films, my personal choice was “Munich”. I know it’s been roundly criticized by the Right, and I understand the complaint. But it was challenging cinema- and the good guys won. Finally, I was glad to see the wealth was distributed last night, especially since there wasn’t one monster film that outshined all others. I enjoyed “Crash”. I was glad that the Academy voters didn’t artifically anoit one film in the feeding frenzy that so often happens. It was refreshing.

    Comment by kreiz — 3/6/2006 @ 9:44 am

  8. I don’t mean to minimize your complaints about boycotting the Oscars, Rick. Hollywood is a victim of its own success- always trying to do something different. And in conjunction with the tangible leftist bias, there’s a dirth of American Exceptionalism movies. So we get a steady diet of “The Constant Gardener”, “Syriana”, “Munich” and “Jarhead” without any corresponding pro-American films.

    Comment by kreiz — 3/6/2006 @ 10:08 am

  9. My wife watched some of the oscars, so i lowered my book to notice George Clooney remark, “We are a mirror of america, we are not just leading america”… and then turn around and say , “we are out of touch and proud of it”. What?

    He went on to say, Hollywood awarded pro civil rights movies before it was acceptable. How many? With the possible exception of the best actor award in 1963 to the white actor Gregory Peck for his excellent performance in “to kill a mockingbird”, they did not overstep other great movies to “reward” a civil rights message movie (if you want to call it that) until 1968 with the mediocre “Guess whos coming to dinner” that beat out classic “The graduate”. The same year MLK was assasinated. Thats not a leader, thats a late comer.

    How about civil rights and affirmative action in Hollywood? How often do you see asian directors or actors up on that stage. Ang Lee’s claim to fame was “Crouching Tiger, hidden Dragon”, which 2000 Oscar MC Steve Martin joked, was a description of a Siegfried and Roy show. Yes, There have been funny MCs in the past. Ang Lee also made “The Hulk”. So this asian director makes a movie like broke back mountain, and leapfrogs everyone and gets “Best Director”. Message: Asians need not apply unless you kiss the ring. Does anyone expect to see Mr. Lee on that stage again?

    The Left really wanted conservatives to attack “Brokeback mountain”. All they got were yawns.
    Others stated that it takes courage to make these “out of touch movies”. You want to have courage and make a controversial movie? Make a movie about Jesus Christ.

    You will not see many movies about our soldiers as the most dramatic and epic story of our times unfolds behind the media curtain that encourages shots of body bags, but censors images of courage, devotion and love that motivates them to sacrifice everything for the freedom from human bondage that threatens the whole world.

    But, you can bet, as we speak, there are hundreds of Hollywood executives pitching there own version of Brokeback Baghdad battalion.

    Oh Brother!!!

    Comment by TJ King — 3/6/2006 @ 4:37 pm

  10. How about this; The Hollywood elite meets a couple of times a year (three if you count the Emmies) anyway, the Hollywood chosen throw a gala party complete with red carpet. They all attend this self aggrandizing extravaganza where they parade before the adoring public in borrowed gowns, jewelry etc. The festivities include all the social comment (that they are only qualified to address) and what they feel should be the route of their cultural hegemony. The cause celebre includes everything from homosexuality to how to successfully run the government.
    For three plus hours they thank each other and praise each other as if from their perches atop the peaks of Mt. Olympus and they after they have thoroughly gourged themselves on lavish praise and adorned themselves with the borrowed seductive trappings of God’s selected few, they have an elaborate dinner party complete with champagne and caviar, so the love fest continues only now without our participation.
    The irony of the entire situation is that after all this, they sell the “show” to a network and have them pay for their evening of mutual adoration. So therefore you won’t catch me watching this bachanal.I refuse to encourage them any longer to make horrible movies with horrible plots and with horrible actors and then to throw a party and allow us to see the results of their misdeeds.

    Comment by Tony Lafauce — 3/7/2006 @ 9:11 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress