Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Red Dawn

Craig Titley, screenplay writer for such films as Scooby Doo and Cheaper by the Dozen, has written an article comparing the film slump if 1985 to 2005. His thesis is simple In 1985 and in 2005 Conservative Presidents had been elected to second terms over the howls of a Liberals and Democrats. In 1985 and 2005, the film industry found itself in a slump. In 1985 the film industry made a lot of conservative and pro-American films, and this got them out of the slump. Hollywood should take a hint, and do the same thing again.

It's nice to see him referring to movies such as Death Wish 3 and the Chuck Norris vehicle Commando in his argument.

That said, I think the differences between 1985 and 2005 are worth mentioning as well. Reagan clearly won in a landside; 2004 was a very tight election (despite what Republicans like to say). President Bush has trapped us in an ongoing and increasingly unpopular conflict in Iraq; Reagan widely avoided such wars. So puposefully promoting conservative values to win back their audience may not work as well as Mr. Titley thinks.

That doesn't mean Hollywood won't try it. There was a recent article at the New York Times on Hollywood producing more movies that target conservative audiences. Specifically, the article references "The exorcism of Emily Post" and "Just Like Heaven" as proof of a new Conservativism.

Of course, another way of reading those movies is to suggest that they are hallmarks of a new religiosity in Hollywood. I mean neither of these movies is specifically a political movie.

One of the more offensive things about this argument is the idea that being Pro-America goes hand in hand with being Conservative. Consider George Clooney's bio pic about Edward R. Murrow, "Good Night, and Good Luck." Is it a conservative movie? Well, it has at its center a liberal newscaster who took on Joe McCarthey (and, in fact, the conflict between McCarthey and Murrow seems to be the center of the film). So what's that, like fifteen strikes against it?

But is it a pro-America film? I haven't seen it (it hasn't made it's way here yet), but my guess is yes. It celebrates the American spirit of decency and in the face of bullies and oppression. And isn't that worth celebrating?

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