In 2011, Hollywood’s revenue dropped 3.36 percent. That doesn’t sound like a lot of money until you realize that Hollywood has jacked up its prices for movie tickets to Weimar Republic-rates. And its movies are not nearly Fritz Lang quality. Fewer and fewer Americans are rolling their wheelbarrows of cash to the nearest multiplex. In fact, take away the conclusion of the Harry Potter film series, the latest Transformers sequel, and the most recent installation of Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hollywood had a downright awful year.
Maybe it has to do with the movies. They’re terrible.
It’s not that Hollywood doesn’t have the potential to make great film anymore. In 2010, Hollywood did itself proud with The King’s Speech, Inception, Toy Story 3, Tangled, How To Train Your Dragon, The Fighter, and Rabbit Hole. In 2011, Hollywood humiliated itself with The Tree of Life, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Dangerous Method, The Descendants, Drive, J. Edgar, Melancholia, and other depressing dreck.
So what happened? Hollywood went political once again. Three of Hollywood’s big releases – upcoming or recent – highlight the problem that Tinseltown has in stifling its political liberalism. There’s a reason that none of these films made lots of money, or will make lots of money.
First, J. Edgar. Clint Eastwood’s love affair with drab colors comes to its culmination in this perverse biopic of J. Edgar Hoover, a complex character to be certain, but one turned into a cliché-ridden closeted homosexual by militant gay Milk-writer Dustin Lance Black. There is a lot to unpack about Hoover, including the fact that he did uncover massive amounts of Soviet espionage. But there is precisely zero evidence to suggest that he liked trying on dresses. As far as Hollywood is concerned, though, if Hoover had just visited Fire Island as a teen, America would have been spared the Red Menace.
Then there’s The Iron Lady, the Meryl Streep-starring Margaret Thatcher biopic. Instead of focusing on Thatcher’s accomplishments, the film places the entire story of her career in the context of a made-up miasmatic present in which Thatcher wanders around suffering from dementia. The movie has no grand sucker punches, but the fact that the creators of the film felt it necessary to turn Thatcher into a victim of senility in order to make her sympathetic is bad enough.
Finally, there’s Steven Spielberg’s new Lincoln biopic, due out next year. In case you thought that Spielberg had moved beyond the historical and moral atrocity that was Munich – well, not so much. This biopic will be written by Dustin Lance Black’s elder counterpart, Tony Kushner – a radical leftist gay man and wildly overrated hack who thinks that Lincoln was a bisexual. “I’m struggling with that question while I’m writing it,” says Kushner. “The historical record is very cloudy.” Actually, it’s not. There is an absolute dearth of evidence that Lincoln was anything but straight. If Kushner wants to write about a gay president, he’d be better served going back just one term, to James Buchanan – but Hollywood has no interest in portraying America’s worst president as “Mrs. Buchanan,” the underground nickname carried by our 15th president.
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