March 23, 2006


"Star Wars" film legend George Lucas wants more worldly Hollywood (AFP, 5/23/06)

Legendary "Star Wars" film creator George Lucas told a packed house the United States is a provincial country with a culture that has invaded the world via Hollywood....

"It shows all the morality we espouse in this country, good and bad. The French were the first to start yelling cultural imperialism."...

People see shows such as "Dallas," about a wealthy Texas oil family, and decide they want the grand lifestyles portrayed, according to Lucas.

"They say that is what I want to be," Lucas said. "That destabilizes a lot of the world."

"There has been a conflict going on for thousands of years between the haves and the have-nots, and now we are in a position for the first time to show the have-nots what they do not have."

We shouldn't show the world's have-nots what we have, because they might want it and "destabilize" their own kleptocracies. An argument only a billionaire can love. This is a nice demonstration of how the Democrats have become, simultaneously, the party of the wealthy and the reactionary party.

Posted by David Cohen at March 23, 2006 8:45 AM

But how to all the have nots see all that the have have without televisions and movie tickets?

Posted by: Brandon at March 23, 2006 9:00 AM

"Have-not" is a term of art meaning "someone who has less than I have." Therefore, Lucas objects to Dallas because he doesn't want the mere millionaires to see how the billionaires live.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 23, 2006 9:06 AM

It is nice to see that Lucas is still stuck in the 70s.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 23, 2006 9:11 AM

It's a wonderful example of the "I've earned my money, but you shouldn't" line of thought that haves of all political stripes have embraced for as long as there have been rich and those who want to be rich.

In most cases, it's an effort by the rich to forestall any new competition from the wanna-bes; in George's case, he simply has made his money taking an American concept -- the Saturday morning serial from the 1930s and 40s, and blowing it up to a high-tech level for worldwide consumption. But now that he's cashed in, others are supposed to start making meaningful films instead of escapist fare for the masses.

The recent Oscars show there are a lot of folks in Hollywood who are thinking the same way. Lucas' statement probably means they can hit the Industrial Light & Magic National Bank up for a loan or two in the near future for more leaden message films, but it also means someone's going to get rich out there giving the 21st Century theater audiences the same sort of escapist films Lucas gave people back in the late 1970s, when message films about Vietnam and nuclear power were the critical darlings of the media.

Posted by: John at March 23, 2006 9:30 AM

I think Mos Eisley was like 70's era NYC in the desert.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 23, 2006 9:55 AM

I've been watching Firefly on DVD, and so far it is delivering most of what made the first Star Wars movie so great: Cowboys in space + 12 o'clock high. It gets a little soap-opera-ish (as all "multiple story arc" series do), but I'm on episode 5 and still interested in where it's going.

Posted by: ted welter at March 23, 2006 11:06 AM

"People see shows such as "Dallas," about a wealthy Texas oil family, and decide they want the grand lifestyles portrayed, according to Lucas."

Ah, yes. But all the sex, violence, racism, sexism, misogyny, and "alternative lifestyles" in movies have absolutely no effect. Got it.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 23, 2006 11:06 AM

Ah; that delightful, creative blend of fact and fiction. But enough about the Evening News.

Film-makers want to be journalists and journalists want to be film-makers.

Posted by: Noel at March 23, 2006 11:30 AM

Lucas, along with many of his cohorts in La La Land, likely speaks in the royal plural, e.g, "we" when he speaks only of himself. Over the hill and off the reservation. The man slips into oblivion.

Posted by: Michael at March 23, 2006 11:33 AM

More than anything, this asinine thinking demonstrates the utterly sheltered, privileged lives elitist snobs like Lucas lead. I would point out to him (after slapping his face with my white gants) that the United States is arguably the least provincial country in the world. Americans, the ones I rub elbows with everyday, have such rich and varied cultural backgrounds in their portfolios, while all still being one thing, that is, Americans. It's nothing less than formidable. Just running down a list of my good friends, I see red-blooded Americans of Vietnamese, Chinese, Cuban, Filippino, French, Venezualan, Indian, Taiwanese, Mexican, Japanese, Eritrean and Croatian origin. We're talking first and second generation here, as well as many friends already in the third and fourth generations and beyond. The combined cosmopolitan knowledge and beauty of all these people is staggering, especially when taken with their love and allegiance to America and the American way of life. What planet is Lucas living on? Oh -

I'd add that, if Hollywood would make pictures that really showed what regular Americans are like and how they live, the "have-nots" around the world would recognize much more of themselves, their own cultures, and it would only increase their desire to "become us." If that's what Lucas has in mind, then more power to him. But if anyone is out of touch with world culture, it's Hollywood and the culturally myopic like Lucas. If you can't see that the beauty of America is people of every cultural background all living in peace under the most successful and long-lived government and constitution in the history of the world, then you're living in another universe.

PS - Brother Ted - Firefly indeed rocks!

Posted by: Brother Jet at March 23, 2006 12:18 PM

Lucas has already been replaced by Peter Jackson, Chris Columbus, and the guys at Pixar. He lost it after Empire - though I have doubts that he ever wrote the first two films anyway. I simply can't believe the same person wrote Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith. Money really does change people I guess.

Fantasy films aren't escapist either - they reveal much more truth about human nature than hollywood's social justice films ever can.

Posted by: Shelton at March 23, 2006 12:41 PM

One can't expect too much from the guy who thinks that the rebels in Star Wars were the Viet Cong.

Posted by: b at March 23, 2006 1:13 PM

" I simply can't believe the same person wrote Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith"

He didn't. Although the story was supposedly his (I'd believe that; it's pretty hodge-podge), the script in "Empire" was written by someone else. Directed by someone else, too. That it's the best installment in the series is hardly coincidental.

The fact that Lucas' words on these subjects is taken seriously by anyone at all, other than being a trivial result of his wealth and fame, reflects a misunderstanding: that simply because someone has the innate genius to syncretize a popular movie series from such a disparate set of sources (early movie serials, Westerns, Joseph Campbell, etc.), his genius can be generalized to anything else. As we have seen, it can't even be generalized to other, specific aspects of moviemaking.

Next up for this misunderstanding: the Wachowski Brothers.

Posted by: M. Bulger at March 23, 2006 3:51 PM

Earlier this week it was announced that he's planning a TV series to be wedged between the end of the third/latest episode and the start of the fourth/earliest episode. "It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers." Huh? Mystery? He was a farmboy in a backwater part of the galaxy who couldn't wait to get the hell and gone to anywhere else. What more is there to be said that's going to "run to at least 100 episodes"? Talk about overkill.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 23, 2006 4:32 PM

Raoul: Especially considering that Luke was a whiny little brat when we first met him...

Posted by: b at March 23, 2006 4:34 PM

Generations of boys as yet unborn will play Luke in episodes reaching to infinity and beyond.

Posted by: erp at March 23, 2006 6:36 PM

" we are in a position to show the have-nots what they don't have".

I think the US military (and guys like Michael Yon) has already shown George Lucas what he doesn't have.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 23, 2006 7:10 PM


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