My husband used to work for a businessman who consistently made decisions that kept him in control, but cost him money. It quickly became obvious that he would rather lose money than surrender even the slightest bit of control of any aspect of the corporation, including the day-to-day operations. Just so, Hollywood consistently makes movies with a liberal ideological bias that guarantees a box office failure because they offend the sensibilities of the general public. This is true, despite the fact that the top-grossing movies are generally the ones with the broadest public appeal and cleanest content.
Sadly, the public’s choice often narrows down to a movie guaranteed to offend or one that will insult their intelligence and sometimes a single movie will do both. Far too often, movies patronize the audience, disdain traditional values, and depict clean-cut citizens as stupid and nae. Regrettably, the assaults on values include mocking and stereotyping Christians as well as conservatives. Christian, “right-wing,” or patriotic Americans are consistently portrayed as hateful and mean-spirited. Jim Hubbard, head of the American Patriot Film Festival, says that Hollywood is “openly hostile to millions of Americans” and that “there’s a huge cultural gap between middle America and the Hollywood left.”
On the opposite side of the movie-producing coin is the bias that keeps the liberal establishment from promoting or rewarding the movies that bring in audiences and rack up profits. It has been obvious for years that Hollywood filmmakers would rather distribute a dud of a film with a liberal bias than promote a popular, money-making movie with conservative themes. Likewise, they would rather promote a movie that garners praise from like-minded critics rather than one that appeals to conservative values, even when a creative and clean movie would guarantee a blockbuster hit. But, as Govindini Murty wrote in an article published this past weekend by the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood’s “left-wing ideological rigidity is having a deadening effect on free speech and creativity.”
It’s like President Bush said in his convention speech before the 2004 elections, “If you say that the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, you are not the candidate of conservative values.”
Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, is a prime example of a conservative, Christian movie that Hollywood blackballed both in production and in awards, even though it became a top box-office draw. Currently, War of the Worlds a Tom Cruise movie is a Hollywood favorite being promoted everywhere, yet it is a disappointment at the box office. Could be the public is not interested in paying good money to hear anti-American and anti-war diatribes; it’s bad enough to hear liberal polemics over television; to sit through it after paying to be entertained is another matter entirely.
Movie critic Ted Baehr points out that even a movie that is considered a box office failure, like Cinderella Man, praised for its positive portrayal of family and Judeo-Christian values, has made more money than any other drama released by Hollywood this year; plus, it has made more money than four of the most popular of the year’s failures (Kingdom of Heaven, Fantastic Four, Bewitched and Land of the Dead).
We also hear about high-level Hollywood meetings wondering how to punch up audiences for events like the Academy Awards that used to be big draws, but have failed to attract large numbers of viewers in recent years. Could it be that audiences are tired of offensive liberal elites bashing everything they hold dear patriotism, values, decency, dignity, clean entertainment and creative excellence? Could it be that clich, tired plots and repetitious diatribes about the U.S. from the president to the military are getting old? Could it be that Americans don’t think it is entertaining to have their values and beliefs trashed every time they go to the movies? Could it be that Americans agree with movie-critic Michael Medved’s description of Hollywood as “an alien force that assaults our most cherished values and corrupts our children”?
There might be a glimmer of hope in the newest movies lighting up the marquees this summer. Two immediately come to mind: Madagascar and Batman Begins. Conservative critics are praising both as creative, fun movies that promote values. Earlier movies, like Shrek 2 and The Incredibles, also were considered good choices for family entertainment. I’ll join in the chorus of praise and be hopeful, too, when an adult drama with strong family values like Cinderella Man gets the box office take that it deserves.