Originally posted by Boss Hog
Okay let me come out and say it.
This is looking more and more like a Department of Propaganda rather than a film studio. Not as extreme maybe, but still with a slow, insidious contextual effect on the society its pervading.
But again, that's Hollywood for you - often promoting a popular agenda. But you do get it going both ways; Wag the Dog was described by many on the right side of the political spectrum as liberal garbage, while when the Lewinsky scandal broke, struck the left as being no longer funny. It's being somewhat disliked again by the right because of the whole Enron debacle and the war in Iraq, which many see as a smokescreen in order to perform damage control in the meantime.
Agendas in media have been around forever and just as offensive. Fatal Attraction has been seen as one of the most sexist messages out there - woman with a career is psychotic timebomb waiting to happen, while the stay at home mom has the family's best interests in mind. It's been decried by many feminist organizations as being one of the most sexist films out there in popular culture, and as having a far right anti-woman message that's thinly vieled as a thriller.
Blackhawk Down went from a book that analyzed how a routine military mission with good intentions at its heart, got perverted and became a bloody nose in american aid in UN efforts and a rather unflattering view of some of the people that were involved in the stay in Mogadishu. The movie became essentially became a two hour fire fight that celebrated American heroism. While there were some mentions of heroism and some pretty astonishing acts of bravery in the book, the film abandonned a lot of the grittier elements of racism that prevailed on the side of the Americans, their recklessness at the end of the mission where they stopped checking their targets and started to shoot at anything that moved, and nearly completely abandonned the Somali point of view towards the UN and American involvement in the whole conflict. The book wasn't a very flattering look at the Americans, and was criticized heavily by some in the military, yet the movie was endorsed by much of the U.S. Army and provided a very generous amount of co-operation when they were approached with the movie.
It dates back an insanely long time, from the red scare undertones pulsing throughout both remakes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead and others to the similar American imperialism is right/ pro-Vietnam war message that's in your face in John Wayne's The Green Berets. Like I said, we've had this a long time, and we're always going to have it with us. What's different between then and now, besides the level of sophistication in storytelling and obfuscating the real details of the story? Not much.
Besides, nobody bitched at Fargo for saying it was based on a true story and the Cohen Brothers admitting to it later being a hoax, instead they're hailed as geniuses.
Sure only idiots learn from film, but there's a lot of idiots out there. Do you blame the idiots or the information they're fed?
I blame both, but I still lean towards the idiot first. Ignorance is no excuse for accepting without question what you're seeing on screen, but I think it's up to us to be able to call bullshit on what we're watching. But like I said, it's fiction first and foremost, even if it is a documentary. People need to be a lot more media savvy when it comes to what they're watching, since there's almost always a message whether they realize it or not underneath it all. You can choose to watch it passively or you can choose to be conscious enought to be able to discect what it is your favorite movie is trying to say.