Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hollywood "Honors" Our Veterans

On this Veterans Day weekend, no doubt many of you will go to the movies to catch a flick. If so, you would do our military a favor by crossing Jarhead off your "to see" list. The movie is based on the same-named book by Anthony Swofford about his service during the first Persian Gulf War. Tom Neven, who served in the USMC for seven years, has this to say about the book:

Third-generation enlistee Swofford joined the Marines to escape a dysfunctional family, but unfortunately he brought a lot of that dysfunction into the Corps. In the end, he dishonored the uniform he wore....

...Jarhead the book is a silly political manifesto, too, asserting that the Gulf War was fought to protect "the profits of companies, many of which have direct ties to the White House." Most egregious, though, Swofford relates an incident in which he threatened a comrade with a loaded weapon, twisting the rifle barrel into the man's ear until he broke down in tears. Swofford deserves to be court-martialed for that.

All of which makes Jarhead a perfect vehicle for the Hollywood left to trash the military:

Many people throughout the world will come away with the unmistakable impression that all American fighting men are foul-mouthed, sex-crazed, homicidal maniacs and that their wives and girlfriends back home are unfaithful harlots just itching to hop into the nearest bed. After all, they have the "word" of an actual former Marine.

Not to worry, though - despite the hype, Jarhead hasn't been burning up the box office. As of Veterans Day, the movie has grossed just over $39 million during it's 8-day run. Not a flop, but not the blockbuster that it's backers had hoped. Which is a segue to this:

But guess what: ever more Americans are shunning Hollywood’s wares—and disgust with Left Coast politics, both on and off screen, clearly plays a part. In a time of declining moviegoing, what gets people out to the theaters, it turns out, are conservative movies—conservative not so much politically but culturally and morally, focusing on the battle between good and evil, the worth of heroism and self-sacrifice, the indispensability of family values and martial honor, and the existence of Truth. Hollywood used to turn out a steady supply of such movies—watch just about any film from its Golden Age of the thirties and forties—and it still makes them once in a while (sometimes thanks to off-screen lefties like Steven Spielberg). We may soon see a lot more of them.

There’s no question Hollywood is reeling. Film attendance is down a wrenching 12 percent from last year, and a May USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that nearly half of American adults go to movies less often than they did in 2000. Some pundits have blamed the rising price of tickets, but in constant dollars a ticket costs less than it did 25 years ago. Others believe that it’s all those DVDs that people are buying—except that DVD sales are slumping, too. The most likely explanation is the left-wing politics. “You can date the recent box-office decline from the end of the summer last year, with the intensification of the presidential campaign,” notes conservative film critic and talk-radio host Michael Medved. “It wasn’t just Hollywood’s hostility toward President Bush; it was the naked, raw partisanship.”

If even one in ten Bush voters boycotted Hollywood after hearing the latest Tim Robbins anti-Bush diatribe or seeing yet another big-screen conservative villain (like the Dick Cheney look-alike who nearly destroyed the world in last year’s The Day After Tomorrow), it would add up to 6 million fewer viewers, Medved points out. “This is what many people in the movie industry don’t get: when you express hostility to conservatives, many Americans feel that you’re expressing hostility to them.”

I would be interested in the comments of readers who have seen Jarhead. As for me, my semi-boycott of Hollywood continues.

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