Friday, January 9, 2009

Step Three -- Profit

As what has unintentionally turned into Big Hollywood Week rapidly comes to a close, let me just say what a blast it was and congratulate all the hard work done by the Clear's Own staff. Also, let me give an extra special thanks to Andrew Breitbart for successfully collecting the largest collection of rightwing douchebags ever and getting them to post their often incoherent ramblings on my favorite subject, that being the movie industry.

I was wondering what the subject of today's post would be. Would it be Jonah Goldberg's comments on Watchmen in which he criticizes what he perceives as the book's liberal politics before declaring that the book's villain was a liberal? Nah, too easy.

How about Debbie Schlussel telling us all about Spider-Man's plan to turn the nation's youth into a caliphate by putting Barack Obama on a comic book cover? Nah, too stupid.

Ooh ooh, what about Ben Shapiro's list of the top 5 conservative characters on Lost? That's a fun little ditty in which he admiringly describes the way in which Lost extols the values of family and faith while simultaneously telling us how much he loves Sawyer, a violent conman and Ben Linus, a narcissistic psychopath. I would take this on but I'd rather not gain any more attention from Ben Shapiro than I have to. I can imagine being knocked out by him some night and waking up in his basement dressed in a leather mask while he refers to me as "The Gimp" or at the bottom of a pit where he tells me to put the lotion on my skin.

Hey, I know. World renowned violinist Endre Balogh wrote a post about Hollywood economics and the way he feels they put ideology above profit, an article that shows he clearly has the knowledge on this subject you would expect a professional violist to have. After flatly declaring, with no evidence to back it up, that Hollywood loves to make ideological films that they know will fail, he writes this:
I recently had a conversation with a very well known actor friend who was dumbfounded by my statement that “No one watches the Academy Awards any more.” Since he attends them every year, he couldn’t imagine how I could utter such a blasphemy.
I think your anonymous actor friend was thinking the same thing I was when I read that. The Oscars are viewed by somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/5 of the world's population and that it's very strange to refer to such a high number as "no one". He goes on to inform us about how none of these liberal movies make money (he still hasn't named one) and that he's the only one who can see this. Like all good right wing bloggers, he blames the 60s.
One answer lies in a change in attitude that first emerged in the 60’s and even earlier in the world of fine art. A film wasn’t considered “artistic” by critics and other filmmakers unless it portrayed the dark underbelly of life. Anything else was just “fluff”. Films and TV had to do more than merely entertain - they had to teach, or worse, preach. I remember as a kid getting sick of watching “Marcus Welby, MD” because the show evolved from entertainment into a dramatized lecture on the illness-of-the week.
So far, the closest things we have to example of liberal movies that don't make money are last year's Oscars and Marcus Welby, a medical drama about a private practice doctor. This show ran for seven years in prime time, many more years in reruns and even inspired two made-for-TV reunion films but, like the Oscars, Endre Balogh didn't care for it so it's a failure.

Finally, after seven paragraphs, we get an example of one of these big stinking losers films that Hollywood won't stop making.
Instead, we are given films like “In The Valley of Elah”, a movie that portrays soldiers as psychopathic murderers of their own comrades. It lost a fortune, but what the heck, it painted the picture that Liberals in Hollywood choose to believe about our military.
Wow! Lost a fortune, you say? How could those stupid movie studios have made the stupid decision of making such a stupid, money-losing film like In The Valley Of Elah? Ah, but once again, the real world must intrude on the imaginary world that Endre Balogh has pulled out of his ass. Elah's total world box office was around 29 million dollars. For most movies, yes, this would be a dismal box office failure UNLESS the movie in question had a production budget of, let's say, around 23 million dollars. Can you take a guess as to which Iraq war movie starring Tommy Lee Jones had production costs that clocked in right around 23 million dollars? It couldn't have been In The Valley Of Elah because Endre Balogh has informed us that it, "lost a fortune." I wish I could lose a fortune like that as 6 million dollars would come in very handy right about now.

There's an example here of the right wing hand not knowing what the other right wing hand is doing when he writes:
I was particularly interested in the figures for 2007 since the winner of the “Best Picture” Oscar that year was “No County For Old Men”, certainly the darkest film ever nominated. It is, in my opinion, a particularly vile, obscenely violent exercise in pointless nihilism. (I know, it was supposedly well made and the acting was great but I’m just a regular guy - not a film critic.)
Mr. Barogh has clearly not received the memo that No Country For Old Men is actually a conservative movie that shows how liberal values are responsible for all the evil in the world. This is especially apparent when he criticizes the Academy for awarding its Best Picture Oscar to a movie that had such a low opening.
As I said, the numbers don’t lie.
No, but liars do use numbers.
One would think, then, that the bottom line might make a greater impact. Yet it doesn’t seem to. The public clamors for more wholesome offerings.
Yeah, how come those jerks in Hollywood spend all their time making all those liberal, anti-America movies when they could be making wholesome films? Here are some ideas for wholesome movies with good values that I would like to offer Hollywood free of charge:
  • A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.
  • A hotel handyman whose life changes when the lavish bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to magically come true.
  • A guy challenges himself to say "yes" to everything for an entire year.
  • An impoverished Indian teen becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to be A Millionaire?"
  • A vampire and a teenage girl fall in love.
Nah, who would want to make movies like that?

So, let's sum up Barogh's argument: Hollywood makes money losing movies that, according to the two examples offered, didn't actually lose money. These movies keep wholesome, popular movies from being made, movies just like five of of the most popular movies released during the past two months. My question is: which big, wholesome family friend blockbusters does Barogh think are getting crowded out by these darker movies made by indie producers? Oh, almost forgot:
Yet, were it not for their Left wing agenda-driven mindset, the film and TV industry executives could have far greater financial success simply by making products that celebrate the positive aspects of American values.
If only Hollywood producers and directors would listen more to their own pocketbooks.
Hollywood had a record setting year which, by Endre Barogh's standards, means that they're doing something wrong and that they should listen to him. Just don't let him balance your books, Hollywood.

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