November 28, 2005


Hollywood's PC perversion stifles storytelling (MARK STEYN, 11/27/05, Chicago Sun-Times)

Say what you like about those Hollywood writers of the '30s and '40s, but they were serious lefties. Their successors are mostly poseurs loudly trumpeting their courageous ''dissent'' while paralyzed into inanity. This year's Sean Penn thriller, ''The Interpreter,'' was originally about Muslim terrorists blowing up a bus in New York. So, naturally, Hollywood called rewrite. And instead the bus got blown up by African terrorists from the little-known republic of Matobo. ''We didn't want to encumber the film in politics in any way,'' said Kevin Misher, the producer.

But being so perversely ''non-political'' is itself a political act. If there were a dozen movies in which Tom Cruise kicked al-Qaida butt across the Hindu Kush, it would be reasonable to say, ''Hey, we'd rather deal with Matoban terrorism for a change.'' But, when every movie goes out of its way to avoid being ''encumbered,'' it starts to look like a pathology. And by the time Hollywood released this summer's ''Stealth,'' some studio exec must have panicked that, what with all this Bono/Live8 debt-relief business, it might look a bit Afrophobic to have any more Matoban terrorists. So ''Stealth'' was a high-tech action thriller about USAF pilots zapping about the skies in which the bad guy is the plane.

That's right: An unmanned computer-flown plane goes rogue and starts attacking things. The money shot is -- stop me if this rings a vague bell -- a big downtown skyscraper with a jet heading toward it. Only there are no terrorists aboard the jet. The jet itself is the terrorist.

This is the pitiful state Hollywood's been reduced to. Safer not to have any bad guys. Let's make the plane the bad guy.

Everyone knows cars are the bad guys.

Hollywood missionaries: In a drive to boost revenues, American film bosses are targeting the country's 30 million evangelical Christians. And the religious right is proving only too glad to help them along (Boyd Farrow, 21st November 2005, New Statesman)

Although Hollywood could tie itself in knots addressing what exactly a "Christian movie-goer" is - after all, 70 per cent of consumers of mainstream films in America consider themselves quite or very religious - it is clear that simply affirming Christian values in non-religious films can only help commercially. Examples include toning down explicit sexual imagery, and having Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wear "Jesus Rocks" jackets in Fox's summer hit Mr and Mrs Smith.

The studios learned an important lesson from Universal's Walden-financed Oscar-winning biopic, Ray, which was previewed at churches. Congregations loved the film but objected to the word "God" being used as a cuss. Ray's director, Taylor Hackford, who had already cut four-letter profanities to satisfy Anschutz, the Walden boss, insisted he would not edit the film further, but it cost Universal the support of some church advocates. Hackford told the New York Times: "It's impossible for Hollywood not to reflect the nature of the country and Bush has made his religion clear."

The desire to turn films into a vehicle for Christian propaganda has led to some extraordinary claims. In August the editor of the right-wing magazine National Review urged delegates at a Young Republicans conference to watch the documentary March of the Penguins. The conservative critic Michael Medved suggested that the film, which shows the emperor penguins' 70-mile journey over Antarctic ice to breed and raise their young, "passionately affirms monogamy, sacrifice and child-rearing". A Christian magazine even claimed that the birds' journey made "a strong case for intelligent design". The film has taken $76m in the US and is the second-highest grossing documentary ever - after Michael Moore's Bush-baiting Fahrenheit 9/11.

Despite the undoubted commercial rewards, some film-makers are uneasy about the need to play to the Christian market.

Christian is redundant in that phrase.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2005 8:46 AM

Hey it worked for Capt. Kirk destroying all those rogue computers on "Star Trek". And that was real, wasn't it?

Posted by: John at November 28, 2005 8:56 AM

"Everyone knows that cars are the bad guys."

Movie Director Judd:

"Night of the Living Gremlin"

"Curse of the Vega"

"Death of the Impala"

And for you mature adults:

"Hummer XXX"

Posted by: AllenS at November 28, 2005 9:17 AM


The Car

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 9:20 AM

There will be many more G-rated films - as a percentage of the total issued - in the future. And they won't all be cartoons or CGI. Hollywood reflects American culture, maybe at a delay.

Calling in movie rewrite to be politically correct is economically absurd in today's entertainment marketplace. Just getting a paying body into an expensive theater seat is an art and a science.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at November 28, 2005 9:24 AM

Orrin really hates "Knight Rider."

Posted by: Bryan at November 28, 2005 9:43 AM


Who doesn't?

The only good automotive show ever was The Rat Patrol.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 9:47 AM

Dukes of Hazzard was a great car show.

As to the other topic, who can forget the way the movie people changed the bad guys in Clancy's, The Sum of All Fears, from C.J.'s to some sort of "Nazis."

Time for some folk-enemy/culture traitor witch-hunting: the left holds that winning the culture war for the sake of perversion and baby-murder is so important that they consciously undermine our national will to resist our foreign enemies.

Here's how it works. Celebrating the clash of civilizations by naming the enemy in the arts strengthens the hand of the conservative side. For the left, it were better for the world to be sunk into C.J.-ism than for the right to remain in ascendancy. They are not called enemies and traitors without cause.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 28, 2005 10:11 AM

to feed his automotive obssesion, OJ left out the best graph in the Steyn piece:

on the way home from the hell of Harry Potter, I stopped to buy the third boxed set in the "Looney Tunes Golden Collection." Loved the first two: Daffy, Bugs, Porky, beautifully restored, tons of special features. But, for some reason, this new set begins with a special announcement by Whoopi Goldberg explaining what it is we're not meant to find funny: "Unfortunately at that time racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in ways that may have embarrassed and even hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups," she tells us sternly. "These jokes were wrong then and they're wrong today" -- unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg's most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There's a gag for the ages.
Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 28, 2005 10:13 AM

Car 54, Where Are You?

There's a hold up in the Bronx,
Brooklyn's broken out in fights.
There's a traffic jam in Harlem
That's backed up to Jackson Heights.
There's a scout troup short a child,
Kruschev's due at Idlewild
Car 54, Where Are You?

Car 54 Cast

Posted by: Rick T. at November 28, 2005 10:14 AM

Dukes was a T&A show...and a stupid one.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 10:17 AM

You talkin' 'bout the front or back of General Lee, OJ?

Posted by: Sandy P at November 28, 2005 10:49 AM

Has there ever been a non-stupid T&A show? The best ones are self-confidently stupid (Charlie's Angels, VIP).

Posted by: Brandon at November 28, 2005 11:06 AM


WKRP in Cincinnati.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 11:11 AM


One Lonnie Anderson does not make a T&A show.

Posted by: Brandon at November 28, 2005 11:18 AM

Don't forget Speed Racer. I'm sure OJ still has nightmares about the Mammoth Car.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 28, 2005 11:26 AM

One Catherine Bach does not make a T&A show, either. The Love Boat, now there was a T&A show.

Posted by: Bryan at November 28, 2005 11:33 AM

Let's not forget all the Herbie the Lovebug movies or that hit TV show "My Mother The Car."

Posted by: Dave W. at November 28, 2005 12:31 PM

I forgot about Herbie - he has almost supplanted Thomas (the tank engine) in my son's life. And everytime we use a Bank of America AMT, my kids see the Golden Gate Bridge and wonder where Herbie is.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 28, 2005 1:40 PM


Julie didn't have either.


Only swine watched for Loni. Bailey was the goods.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 1:58 PM

oj, I have to say from time to time you amaze me. Jan Smithers is a goddess.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 28, 2005 2:25 PM

Everyone roots for Christine.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 28, 2005 2:28 PM

Julie, your coked-up cruise director, wasn't the T&A I was referring to on The Love Boat. All those background balloon smugglers, however...
In any event Julie and Bailey Quarters had about the same amount of per capita T&A.
A Marvel-zombie like yourself must have loathed Wonder Woman.

Posted by: Bryan at November 28, 2005 2:52 PM

There's not a red-blooded male my age who didn't have golden lasso fantasies....

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 3:07 PM

Linda Carter in all her natural glory:

Posted by: oh yeah at November 28, 2005 7:06 PM

also, jan smithers was at least 10x better looking than lonnie anderson -- and lonnie was not bad to begin with.

Posted by: oh yeah at November 28, 2005 7:08 PM

having Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wear "Jesus Rocks" jackets in Fox's summer hit Mr and Mrs Smith.

Wow, and to think I wasted my money seeing The Passion . . .

The fact that Hollywood thinks these two goofballs are acceptable period says how many light years they have yet to go.

Posted by: AC at November 28, 2005 8:18 PM


Remember when HBO first started and they played that film just because she appears topless?

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 8:48 PM

Jan Smithers was a cute girl, but Lonnie was the better actress. It was a great show.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 29, 2005 12:05 AM

it's what makes the world go round :) yes, funny tp think how hbo jump started the cable market with a little known b-movie and the two most accomplished...well, you know the rest

Posted by: oh yeah at November 29, 2005 12:54 AM