I imagine I'll be visiting Big Hollywood from time to time, at least until the conservative groups that fund them realize that calling George Clooney a jihadist over and over won't be the way in which Obama is removed from office and cut them off.
Today, though, I will concentrate on one specific article by Orson Bean. If you have no idea who Orson Bean is, it means you've managed to go your entire life without watching reruns of Love, American Style or Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman which means you are a lucky person indeed. I remember him best from an episode of The Twilight Zone and...um...I mentioned Love, American Style, right. Oh wait, he was in The Twilight Zone. Anyway, he's been a successful character actor all his life and, even today, has guest spots on shows I've never seen. That and the fact that Andrew Breitbart is his son-in-law qualified him to write for Big Hollywood.
His post is one of those "Everything was so awesome when I was young" articles that you read all the time. Normally, they take the form of, "These kids today with their texting and their YouTubes and always Googling each other and listening to that crazy rap music on their iPods. They'll never know how great it was back when it took six weeks to send someone a letter." Since this is a movie blog, this particular incarnation boils down to, "Old movies=good, everything made since color was invented=bad."
He lists several good movies and cites them as examples of youthful inspiration. In fact, Orson Bean acts like there were no bad movies back in the olden days and every week was a triple feature consisting of brand new Frank Capra, C.B. DeMille and John Ford classics.
These were the movies I saw and when they were over, I would emerge from the theater into the afternoon sun, saying to myself, “Yes, I can. If they can do it, so can I.”
So, how is cinema today different from Hollywood's Golden Age which, coincidentally, just happened to take place when Orson Bean was young and movies made everyone who saw then into Barack Obama?
The truth is they’ve forgotten how. They went to college and were taught that their country is wrong, that the system stinks, that to be a hero is to be a sucker fighting for a lie.
Ah, higher education, one of the usual suspects that is always rounded up whenever right wingers need something to blame the collapse of all that is Good and Holy on. Mr. Bean fails to cite any specific examples of the "country is wrong-system stinks-heroes are suckers" movies though he does talk about "...meaningless special effects extravaganzas," and on that note, he and I would agree. Generally, the only thing that movies like that inspire you to do is go out and get whatever sort of movie tie-in special is being sold at McDonalds.
Hey, remember the olden days of this post when I talked about right wingers and cognitive dissonance? This is something that Mr. Bean wrote in the paragraph just before the one quoted above:
You think audiences aren’t hungry for heroes? There’s a little movie out there called Slumdog Millionaire, which almost didn’t get released and is now being touted for best picture. It takes place in India and tells the story of a young man who overcomes impossible odds to succeed. People are lining up to see it. Why aren’t the many genuinely talented folks in Hollywood making pictures like that?
Yeah, why don't movies like Slumdog Millionaire get made? I bet no one would even conceive of something like Slumdog Millionaire, much less actually get it filmed. Face it, we'll never, ever get to see a movie like Slumdog Millionaire.
In the NEXT paragraph, he writes:
There are a few rays of hope out here in LaLa land. Some raunchy comedies like 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, SUPER BAD and KNOCKED UP come with the requisite number of bodily function jokes but also wear surprisingly sweet hearts on their sleeves.
So, no decent, heroic or inspirational movies are being made today. Well, you know, except for Slumdog Millionaire, 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad and Knocked Up but those don't count. You see, if they did count, this whole article would be nonsense. Other movies that don't count are movies that came out IN JUST THE LAST FRIGGIN MONTH:
- Frost/Nixon -- the story of a talk show host who put his career and personal fortune on the line to make sure a corrupt President had to face at least some measure of justice.
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button -- an uplifting tale of a man who courageously struggles to find a place in the world. He faces prejudice, fights in a war and ultimately must sacrifice happiness for the sake of his loved ones.
- Valkyrie -- Tom Cruise stars in the true story of a colonel in Nazi Germany who decides to risk everything, including his family, to rid the world of Hitler and his evil.
What Orson Bean doesn't realize is that pre-conceived notions are not evidence. Well, except in the world of right wing blogs where this was published which means this article fits right in.
The scary thing here is that I can imagine myself, a few decades down the road, writing something like, "Damn it, when I was young, Hollywood was going through its Golden Age. Surely none of you needs any more evidence that civilization as we know it has declined than the fact that we no longer make classic movies like Four Christmases or Beverly Hills Chihuahua."