It’s not often that I write a column in answer to feedback from a previous one, but last week’s piece on Hollywood generated a great deal of criticism. And surprisingly, much of it came from self-professed conservatives; younger Tea Party types it seems, who I hoped would have gotten the point. And that point is, to take America back, we must concentrate, not only on the body politic, but also on the restoration of our culture. We can’t allow Hollywood to shape the views and values of future Americans. John Adams cannot be quoted enough on this: “Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
To set the record straight, I never said that there are no good movies today, or that all movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood were great; I merely posited the theory that most of the movies made then could or would not be made today. Why? Is it because modern viewers would be bored by movies devoid of flashy animated special effects, filthy language and nearly non-stop sex and violence? Would today’s audiences be turned off by witty and well-written dialogue or plots and characters that are reflective of their values and belief in the goodness of America? No, that’s not the reason, and statistics back this up.
Of the 100 top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation by Box Office Mojo, 54 were made before 1980. Of the 46 made in the last three decades, 35 were either children’s movies or fantasy/comic book fare. Of the remaining eleven, four of these were comedies, meaning that only seven of America’s 100 top grossing movies were of the brooding, depressing nature that Hollywood insists on shoving down our collective throats today.
So how do they continue to survive this way? Simple: the revenue from DVD sales of the movies people actually like covers the huge salaries and payoffs to those who make the films they believe define their “art.” For every Little Mermaid with its animated cast they produce, there’s that much more to dole out to American patriots like Johnny Depp and Sean Penn. But even the milk from that cash cow is drying up, and the sooner the better.
No, the problem is not with the majority of the movie-going public, it rests solely with the powers that be in Tinseltown. In almost every industry in America, the market determines the success or failure of the product. Not so in the entertainment field apparently, and it’s not hard to figure out why. A culture is defined by its heroes, and Hollywood no longer believes in heroes as once defined by our national ethos. Allow me to once again demonstrate my point via celluloid.
Take the 1938 version of The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn in the title role. Are there any among us who foresee a return to the days when Hollywood would portray women who not only desire the charm, good looks and virility of a man like Flynn’s Robin, but…shudder…that they would also yearn for the chivalrous protection afforded by such a catch? And even more unlikely, could a modern screenplay produce a male character who would desire the pure, noble and chaste love of Olivia de Havilland’s Maid Marian?
Now contrast that movie — a delight to the eyes, the ears and the heart — to the dreary 1991 version; the awful, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring the most miscast costume-drama actor of all time, Kevin Costner. What he did to he-man western heroes in Dances with Wolves, he does for the merry men of Sherwood Forest: induce great bouts of somnambulism. Even Roger Ebert called it, “a murky, unfocused, violent and depressing version of the classic story…totally lacking in the joy of living we associate with the character…the most depressing thing about the movie is that children will attend it expecting to have a good time.”
And that’s the thing; except for the aforementioned fantasy movies, there are hardly any good times to be had in today’s multiplexes. Depressing and devoid of any true emotion save guilt and feminist triumphalism; mistaking schmaltz for joy and lust for romantic love; literally reducing male heroes to comic book caricatures; today’s movies just can’t measure up to those which actually reflected American values, because their makers simply don’t share them.
So just say no to Hollywood’s twisted view of America. Instead of plunking down a major chunk of your hard-earned money to sit in a theater and have your ears and your intelligence insulted, buy a nice bottle of wine, nuke some popcorn and romp through Sherwood Forest with the real Robin Hood, and pray for a return to the days when robbing from the rich to pay the poor only existed on the silver screen.