Hollywood Is Committing Suicide

By | January 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

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We often hear that the movies are dying. Even here in Los Angeles, the movie capital, many theaters have closed. In Westwood, the area around UCLA, theaters with 10 screens have closed in recent years.

Recently my wife and I went to the opening of the new film. There were fewer than 20 people in a large theater. Afterwards we drove past a condo that used to be a major theater. A few films still take in many millions of dollars, at least inflated dollars ‒ assuming it’s not a money laundry. But the movie business is in serious trouble. Why?

People have many more entertainment choices than they did in the past. There are hundreds of TV channels, rock videos, video games, and the Internet. Many people watch DVDs at home, so the empty theaters may be deceptive. Nevertheless, movies play a smaller role in people’s lives than they did in former years. But Hollywood isn’t just dying − it’s committing suicide.

Anti-American movies.

I used to keep a list of films that depict America as militaristic, imperialistic, greedy, racist, and generally despicable. I used to be able to recall the films that depict our leaders as corrupt, even homicidal. I used to be able to name the films that show our military as crazed, murderous fascists, and our veterans as alcoholic, drug-addicted, divorced, unemployed, mentally unstable losers.

But there have been so many of these films that I lost track. For example, take the “Bourne” series. The hero is so disgusted with being a hired killer for the CIA that he develops amnesia and forgets his own identity. He is so busy beating up and killing Americans that he has no time to fight America’s enemies. It’s not only Jason Bourne who forgets his own identity – it’s also the moviemakers who forget theirs.

I grew up watching “High Noon” and saw the brave lawman face the killers while cowards hid. I watched “Sergeant York” and saw the pacifist learn that violent evildoers must be opposed by force, then go on to win the Medal of Honor. I watched “The Fighting Sixty-Ninth” and saw the Catholic chaplain, “Fighting” Father Duffy, praying with wounded soldiers. So when we passed his statue in Times Square, I may have been the only one on the tour bus who knew who he was − not bad for a Jew who was born in North Dakota.

Instead, we now watch “Training Day” and see police as drug dealers who kill their own partners. We watch “Syriana” and see Americans as murderous money-grubbers, while the only sympathetic character is a Muslim suicide bomber. We watch “In the Valley of Elah” and see our troops as bloodthirsty killers. We watch “The Da Vinci Code” and see Christian clergy as murderous fanatics and charlatans.

Now films teach that America is loathsome, our military and police are treacherous, and Christianity is detestable. Why should Americans patronize films that insult their values? Why should Americans patronize films that insult their family members in the military?

It would be bad enough if only Americans watched our films. But people all over the world watch them. Why should we patronize an industry that presents us to our friends and our enemies in such an unfavorable light? Who knows how much anti-American emotion ‒ or even terrorism ‒ may have been provoked by such films?

Juvenile movies.

Many moviegoers are young. Understandably, movie moguls aim films at this audience. But this raises two questions. The first is the chicken-egg problem. If you make films for young people, mainly young people will see them. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is also a short-sighted business practice. Wise business persons strive to attract new customers. Otherwise, the business can never grow; it can only decline.

The second question is deeper. Film makers try to please young people, but how? When I was young, I was called an adolescent. This term denotes someone becoming an adult, just as obsolescent denotes something becoming obsolete. Today kids are called teenagers, which describes what they are, but says nothing about what we hope they will become.

We see middle-aged “boys” walking through the mall wearing shorts, baseball caps on backward, and T-shirts with juvenile or even obscene lettering. And we see middle-aged “girls” with see-through tops, tattoos, and navel rings. Only weeds grow spontaneously. Boys and girls must be taught how to become men and women.

● The teaching used to be done by parents, who knew their job was to be parents, not pals to their kids. But now, middle-aged parents try to dress and act as young as their kids. Mothers run around in revealing clothes, tattoos, and body piercing. Fathers shave their legs in an attempt to look prepubescent. How can they be role models of womanhood or manhood if they themselves are immature?

● The teaching used to be done by teachers, who dressed and acted as adults. But now, many teachers dress sloppily, try to act “cool,” and are addressed by their first names, instead of modeling adult behavior and ethical values for their students.

● The teaching used to be done by Scoutmasters and ROTC instructors. But now, the Scouts are being kicked out of schools and other public facilities. Now, schools teach “nonviolence.” Defense of self, family and nation are no longer considered noble − or even acceptable. Boys no longer have master sergeants with combat ribbons as role models. They are left with rappers or gang members to emulate.

● The teaching used to be done by movies. I watched Gary Cooper in “High Noon” and Ward Bond in “Fort Apache,” and learned what it meant to be a man. But now, Hollywood panders to middle-school tastes. Instead of adult role models to inspire them, kids now see adults acting childishly to amuse them. The problem is not that Hollywood tries to attract a young audience – the problem is how Hollywood does it.

Many moviemakers are at the intellectual and emotional level of the middle-school kids at whom they aim their films. They fire writers older than 35 or 40. They revel in anti-American, anti-Judeo-Christian propaganda and mindless violence. They make films to please themselves – their own leftist, atheist, obscenity-spouting, cowardly, rootless, juvenile selves.

Otherwise, they would be aiming at a larger audience, not a smaller one. They would be making films that depict our war on terrorists, and which show our Judeo-Christian and American values in a favorable light. But they make few such films. They prefer their narrow agenda to a wider audience.

Hollywood Lemmings.

During World War II, Hollywood gave us films that encouraged morale. Even during the less popular wars in Korea and Vietnam, Hollywood gave us films like “The Bridges at Koto-Ri” and “The Green Berets.” What films has Hollywood given us since 9/11?

We have “United 93,” a docudrama about the brave passengers who fought the hijackers on 9/11 and prevented the plane from crashing into the Capitol or the White House. But omitted was the heroic Todd Beamer reciting the Lord’s Prayer with the phone operator, then shouting, “God help me. Jesus help me. Are you ready? Let’s roll!” All this is documented − why omit it? And then we have “World Trade Center,” which depicts police buried in the rubble. Americans are often shown as villains, sometimes as victims − but rarely as heroes. Does that tell you something?

Yes, there are pro-American films. There is “The Hurt Locker,” which is ambivalent, and “Zero Dark Thirty,” which is unequivocal. But they are by far the minority. “Hacksaw” depicts a pacifist who refuses to touch a gun. He becomes a medic and rescues many wounded with great heroism. But if everyone emulated him, no one would fight tyrants or terrorists. An Oscar winner? Perhaps. But someone to depend on in a crisis? Not so much.

There are many films about heroes. But they are cartoon heroes like Spiderman and the X-Men, who fight cartoon villains. These heroes are irrelevant to current events. They don’t inspire; they merely entertain. I could try to emulate Gary Cooper in “High Noon,” but today’s kids can’t emulate Spiderman. They can only sit passively and watch.

Support us in our time of danger? No, that’s too “controversial” for today’s Hollywood. If someone did make a pro-American, pro-Judeo-Christian film, he or she wouldn’t be invited to any more Hollywood cocktail parties, and that would be a fate too horrible to contemplate. Lemmings aren’t known for their individuality. They just go along with their group − even if it’s over a cliff.

But what will happen if our war on extremist, Islamo-fascist terrorism turns out successfully, as now seems possible? Leftists in general, and Hollywood specifically, have bet everything on America losing. Some of us have long memories.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.


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