It's just a wee bit early in the year for official Braffy nominations..but anyone looking for an early favorite should focus pretty closely on one Mr. Jason Apuzzo. The columnists on Townhall.com are all ridiculous idiots, don't get me wrong...But this guy is really something special. Check out his Oscar recap, which for some reason appeared only a few days ago. I guess a turd like this requires a few extra weeks of polishing to make it suitable for publication on any level.
Right after the Oscars a lot of conservatives were celebrating - with good reason - the show’s low ratings, and the fact that relatively few people had seen the nominated films.
Really? Conservatives checked out the Oscar ratings and then celebrated the fact that the show didn't do well? Did you guys throw, like, a Poor Oscar Ratings Bash in the courtyard of your apartment building, complete with Orange Slice and Peanut M&M's, even inviting the girls from 8H even though they never come to your cool parties?
Seriously, don't you guys have anything better to do? Aren't there some rape victims or lesbians or hurricane refugees you could be attacking in print? Look, I'm a huge movie fan, I watched the Oscars and saw all the nominated films, and even I don't know what kind of ratings the show received. Because I recognize that, if there's one thing more superficial than the results of a movie awards show, it's the demographics of that show's audience.
There was Rachel Weisz, picking up a statuette for playing a shrill, anti-corporate activist in another left-leaning, niche film (“The Constant Gardener”) nobody had seen.
I wasn't a huge fan of Constant Gardener, but is Rachel Weisz's character actually "shrill"? She seemed pretty nice, and even kind of laid back, under the circumstances. I'm thinking, based on his shallow description, Apuzzo might actually include himself in the category of those who haven't seen the film. In which case he's, of course, qualified to make value judgements about the film's award worthiness.
He arbitrarily assigns movies "viewpoints" - liberal or conservative, left-leaning or right-leaning - and then harangues Hollywood for not nominating enough films with each "viewpoint." As if the Oscars is the Fox News Network, holding up some imaginary claim to being "fair and balanced."
There were pimps and ho’s strutting their stuff, gay cowboys - even a paleolithic Leftie like Robert Altman dropped in from overseas to pick up a lifetime achievement Oscar.
For Jason, whether or not a guy has a stellar filmography has nothing to do with giving him a Lifetime Achievement Award. I mean, he really wants to argue that the director of Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts, 3 Women, California Split, The Long Goodbye and McCabe & Mrs Miller doesn't deserve an Oscar?
It should only be based upon whether he's ever said anything mean about George W. Bush? (Also, if Jason was paying any attention, he'd know that his current project is A Prarie Home Companion, written by and starring Garrison Keillor, about as American a film as you could imagine). And what does he mean by "paleolithic Leftie"? Old guy on the opposite side of the political fence from me? Ooooh, how dare they award someone like that!
How quaint, how vaguely pre-9/11 it all seemed. “Those crazy Hollywood people,” you can almost hear conservatives saying, “they’ll never learn!”
Dude, Jason, no one's calling things "pre 9/11" any more. Just letting you know. That phrase is totally pre 10/05.
Or have they? What lessons, exactly, has Hollywood learned from this past year? Unfortunately they might not be the lessons conservatives had hoped for.
Unfortunately, Jace never spells out what these lessons are, exactly. What do conservatives want to teach Hollywood? Based on Jason's column, and a few other right-wing screeds I've read, here are my guesses:
- God hates fags
- Blacks, particularly rapping blacks, are vaguely unsettling and undeserving of awards
- Violence in media is usually wrong, unless it's directed towards Jesus or A-rabs
- Michael Moore is, like, seriously, totally fat
- George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Joe McCarthy are the greatest statesmen in American history
- Better dead than red
Any more vital lessons, JA, that I forgot?
Everyone knows by now that Oscar 2006’s low ratings were just the last gasp of a bad 2005 at the box office. The reasons for this box office downturn are many, and one of those reasons is certainly the"out of touch" liberalism of which Mr. Clooney is so proud.
Sure, that's one reason. I mean, rampant piracy, readily available and ubiquitous DVD's, the explosions of DVR's and TiVO...none of that even enters the equation. Americans just hate that stupid librul George Clooney. I've heard talk that he'll be officially rebuked by People Magazine as 1997's Sexiest Man Alive, so you know it's getting serious.
I'm not going to link the next few paragraphs, because they are long and stupid. I'll summarize: Jason argues that, because you can make your money back on DVD and international ticket sales, you can afford to ignore what "real Americans" in "the Heartland" want to see.
Of course, this is stupid. Hollywood has abosolutely no interest in appealing solely to coastal elites. Yes, yes, I know that most filmmakers and even a lot of the entrenched entertainment industry types are real left-wingers. I'm just saying that this is only represented in a small portion of their product, the portion that gets a lot of attention come awards season.
Most of the time, Hollywood is all business. Trust me, I know from experience...This entire town is about figuring out what yokels want to see and giving it to them over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Yes, those are not the films that are nominated for Oscars. Because the Academy Awards isn't about the most popular or mainstream movies in a given year. It's about the best, or in the case of this year, it's about the most loopy and insane and rooted in Scientology and beloved by Roger Ebert. How can Jason really think that an industry churning out Yours, Mine and Ours, "American Idol" and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo only wants to appeal to elite libruls on either coast? Looking at that list, it seems more like they want to appeal to slack-jawed rubes in every state in the union, right? Right?
The model Hollywood’s following here is that of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore’s $6 million film from 2004 that generated $222 million in worldwide boxoffice. “Fahrenheit” opened a lot of eyes in Hollywood - but not about George Bush or Iraq. Those bulging eyeballs were staring at “Fahrenheit”‘s grosses.
Of course, Jason brings it all back around to Michael Moore. Conservatives really really hate this guy. So much so, that his little documentary from more than a year ago still comes up every time they write about movies. Yes, Fahrenheit did really well. No, it didn't really affect how anything is done in Hollywood. The only other documentary to do nearly as well since then? That completely non-political bullshit about how much penguins love one another despite having teaspoon-sized brains.
So here’s the bad news: Hollywood doesn’t need the Heartland anymore. There’s basically no pressure for Hollywood to change what it’s doing, because there are plenty of Blue State audiences and DVD sales out there to make even something like the gender-bending “Transamerica” a hit, so long as the film doesn’t cost too much.
So, now it's time to decide whether we think Jason is merely misinformed or deliberately trying to deceive his readers. This brief paragraph is full of inaccuraces:
(1) A movie like Transamerica is a small film that doesn't really reflect the typical product produced by Hollywood in any way, and which a mainstream audience would not even be aware were in not for the publicity surrounding its Oscar nominations;
(2) Hollywood needs everyone to keep going to movies in order to make money. Everyone, in Red or Blue states. I mean...duh...It's a big business, and like any other major American business, the executives want to make the most money possible.
(3) Who does Jason think is buying all of these DVD's? George Soros? Random exceedingly wealthy Manhattanites? George Clooney? No, it's all kinds of Americans. Americans love DVD. Hell, I love DVD. It's awesome. But he must think he's got some pretty naive readers, if they're going to swallow this "Hollywood only caters to Blue States" line. What about Harry Potter? We all know how much children in Iowa hate that four-eyed little bastard.
I’ve heard conservatives tell me for years that ‘market forces’ will eventually force Hollywood to change, become more mainstream. The argument goes something like this: Hollywood’s product will eventually become so toxic, so nakedly political, that there will eventually be a backlash’ from the public - at which point things in Tinseltown will magically change for the better.
Okay, I've decided, he's a liar. Because there's no way he's heard random conservatives tell him for years that eventually, "market forces" will cause Hollywood to start making movies the right way, damn it! Or, if you believe that, then I've got a story for you.
"People for years have been telling me that Jason Apuzzo is a schmuck who doesn't know shit about movies. And now, I've read his column, and I realize they are correct."
Also, dude, what are you talking about? There's a film opening in a few weeks called Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Both this year's Will Ferrell summer comedy AND it's big PIXAR summer movie deal with fucking NASCAR. The top films at the box office right now are:(1) Failure to Launch
(2) The Shaggy Dog
(3) The Hills Have Eyes
(4) 16 Blocks
(5) Eight Below
Now, out of all of those, none are political in any way. These are not "liberal" movies or "conservative" movies. They're just movies, some of which feature Tim Allen running around on all fours and humping stuff. That's at least 90% of Hollywood product right there. That's your Mission: Impossible 3's and your King Kong's. Unless you consider "don't piss off widdle Tommy Cruise" or "don't go on mysterious expeditions to Skull Island" to be political messages.
But, no, a few movies that came out last year offended JA's delicate sensibilities, so the entire industry is teeming with librul propaganda and should be done away with completely.
Guess what? It ain’t happening. Hollywood simply doesn’t need the Red States any more. Hollywood’s more interested in how a film plays in Mexico or France these days than in Kansas. After all, Charles Krauthammer may hate “Syriana” - but the Germans and the Brits love it! So do the Spanish and the Italians. That’s the global economy for you - Hollywood’s now out-sourcing its audience.
Can you believe it? Movies made in your country actually appeal to dirty foreigners? Aren't you angry about that? Worse yet, I've heard tell that some of these dirty, filthy, disgusting Europeans are actually trying to export their movies over here! The horror! How is one supposed to remain a closed-minded, myopic, ugly American under these sorts of circumstances?
All of this may be depressing to read, but here’s the good news: if the price of entry into the movie game is $5-$20 million, conservatives can play too.
Conservatives, as we already know, already are heavily involved in show business. They just call it "The Bush Administration."
Okay, before I go any further...Jason's already mentioned Fahrenheit 9/11. Please now say aloud the name of the other film he'll work into his analysis. Come on, think hard now. Conservative idiot columnist, talking about "Hollywood," trying to prove that conservatives can make good films...Okay, fine, I'll tell you.
Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” grossed over $610 million worldwide on an initial investment of only $30 million. And guess what? There’s no reason to assume that conservative productions made on even lower budgets couldn’t be successful, as well. George Lucas even said recently that the economics of ‘blockbuster’ filmmaking no longer make sense, and that Hollywood’s future is probably in making films at about the $15 million level.
But, wait, Jason...Wasn't Lucas' 2005 film Revenge of the Sith critical in some side-long ways of Dear Leader? Then how can you use a quote from him as an...oh no wait...does not compute...system failure...YOUR HEAD ASPLODE.
Phillip Anschutz’s Walden Media turned a lot of heads in conservative circles last year by pumping about $180 million into “The Chronicles of Narnia.” It was a great, successful experiment - but you won’t see another “Narnia” until 2007 - and in the meantime Hollywood will go about its usual business, merrily bashing Bush.
Can conservatives really take credit for Chronicles of Narnia? Walden teamed with Disney to make the film, first of all, and if having Disney back you is an indication of conservatism, then there's a whole lot more conservative films in a given year than Jason would want to admit in his article. (Including this week's #2 film, The Shaggy Dog). And despite C.S. Lewis' strong Christian faith, merely being the work of a religious guy or even including some Christian allegory does not make a movie conservative. I mean...come on...that's just dumb. By that measure, every film Roman Polanski ever made is "conservative," cause they're all teeming with religious imagery.
Anschutz’s $180 million could just as easily support twenty films - maybe about the War on Terror? Maybe about loopy Marxist academics? Maybe about snotty West Hollywood liberals who drive gas-guzzling SUVs? Anything’s possible.
Oooohhh! Don't those movies sound awesome?! Apuzzo, you really ought to forget this whole columnist thing and start writing those screenplays. I can't wait to see the snotty Hollywood liberals driving SUV's movie! (Actually, I think Albert Brooks already made that one. It's called The Muse. Actually, he also made a film about the so-called "war on terror" just this year. Maybe he and Apuzzo ought to hook up.)
Wouldn’t it be fun if a conservative company followed the model of Participant Productions, and pumped out a few low-budget conservative films each year? Such a company could kick-start a conservative film revolution.
Honestly, folks, I wouldn't have a problem with some movies coming out with politics that differ from mine. Really. I'm perfectly open to watching a film that takes on a contrary viewpoint from my own. Zhang Yimou's Hero is a film with a worldview that's pretty much equivalent to fascism, but I didn't protest the film being brought to my local theater or write a column about how it's an outrage. I saw it, discussed it with people afterwards, and learned a bit from the experience. Because that's just the sort of thing open-minded, thinking people can do - encounter viewpoints that differ from their own without feeling personally threatened.
It would be a refreshing change from what we’ve become accustomed to - and wouldn’t it be great for our side to make George Clooney angry for once, rather than the other way around?
Why do you think George Clooney made Good Night, and Good Luck. in the first place, you twit?! Because George Bush and the right-wing media made him angry. Just like you are making me now, with your endless stream of juvenile nonsense.
[UPDATE: In one of the comments over at Townhall on this column, a guy named BountyHunter20 offers the following insight:
I have not watched a movie in a theater since that ghastly pc butchering of Robin Hood.
Haw haw haw! Ask yourself...Does he mean Prince of Thieves or Men in Tights? Does it even matter?]