Welcome to Hollywood

I love a good story. I always have. I read voraciously when I was a kid and only read less now because I have to work for a living. I love to write (I know, shocker!) and currently have three different novels in the works. I love movies, too. GOOD movies. If a movie is too political or preachy, so much so that I notice that before I even notice what the story is supposed to be, I won’t finish it. I can rattle off a list of actors/actresses that I love because they absorb their characters so completely that you almost forget who you’re watching (Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Michael Caine, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Edward Norton, Donnie Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Downey, Jr., Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway…I could go on forever).

The problem now, however, is that so few movies are worth watching anymore. I loved Transformers when I was a kid; I was so happy when I found out that Michael Bay was making a movie out of the franchise that I did a little dance. I was irritated when, barely 20 minutes into the movie, the character playing the president appeared. He was portrayed as a faceless hayseed, twang and all, reclining in his bed aboard Air Force One in his stocking feet – his single line was, “would ya rustle me up some dingdongs, darlin’?” At that point the flight attendant, an attractive woman, makes a sardonic comment to another crew member: “we’re on board Air Force One and the man asks for dingdongs!” He is never named, but it is made perfectly clear that the scene is a jab at then-president George W. Bush.

Contrast that scene with one in Transformers: Rise of the Fallen, the second film in the series. You almost miss it if you’re not paying attention. About halfway through the movie, a strand of news clips are played to add to the realism and one of the clips shows a grainy clip of Barack Obama and the anchor says, “President Obama was moved to a secure location after news of the attacks…” Then, in the beginning of the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, main character Sam Witwicky receives an award from – you guessed it – President Obama.

The difference in tone and delivery are palpable. Directors and producers think the unwashed masses don’t notice these things, but we do – and it’s irritating. I don’t go to see a movie to hear a sermon; if I wanted that, I’d have gone to see Michael Moore. I want a story. I want to be kept on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what the next twist is going to be. I want to laugh with the characters. I want to be able to feel what they’re feeling. If I get the impression for even one scene that I’m being made the punchline to a bad joke because of my political views, I will immediately lose respect for the film and its creators.

I cannot watch anything with Matt Damon in it anymore. I can’t even stomach the lighthearted films because he’s been so nauseatingly arrogant about his views. It wasn’t bad enough to say that having Governor Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency “is like a really bad Disney movie” – he had to step it up after that. He has openly attacked everyone who isn’t steeped in liberalism. Cameron Diaz is another I can’t watch. When the Charlie’s Angels silhouette was changed for the movie – removing the guns and replacing them with karate hands – Diaz said that they wanted women to “feel empowered to defend themselves without guns.” Several years later, when Bush was up for re-election, she said, “if you think rape should be legal, then don’t vote!” In other words, she thinks all conservatives are knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers who want to take America back to an age when marital rape wasn’t a recognized crime and women weren’t allowed to vote. Ben Affleck? I can’t even watch Daredevil anymore, and that used to be one of my favorite Marvel character films. Cher, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Janeane Garofalo, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, Lindsay Lohan (she, too, attacked Governor Palin on multiple occasions, once saying, “is our country so divided that the Republicans best hope is a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?”), Chris Rock…oh, and who can forget Alec Baldwin? I can’t watch any of them anymore. All I see when they appear on the screen are the video clips of hateful anti-conservative comments.

Of course, we’re talking about people who never studied political science, constitutional law or history in college. None of these airheads ever served in the military. None of them have lost a friend to war, sent a brother or sister to that same war, or written to friends who are deployed. They live in their own private bubble, oblivious to the realities of what real life is like for the rest of us. The part that disgusts me is that they expect all of us to follow them blindly and believe whatever they say because they have higher status in the social pecking order.

They’ll make a movie one minute about how evil the government is, then turn around and make another one about how the government needs more power. They make movies preaching about the evils of corporations, yet the very movies are being made by powerful corporations called movie studios and production companies. They’ll eviscerate one political candidate as lacking executive experience (a state governor with a long, storied history of incredible accomplishments) while praising the other – a senator with nary a single congressional accomplishment to his name who has never filled an actual management role. When called out on their hypocrisy, they’ll just tell you you’re uneducated and intolerant, right before appearing on an anti-bullying ad.

Welcome to Hollywood.