Some accuse me of reading too much politics into popular movies. I
plead guilty, but I’m not alone. Take conservative critic John Podhoretz’s
recent appreciation of the life and career of Ingmar Bergman in the July 31 “New York Post.”
“Bergman used motion pictures to explore grand and grandiloquent
themes - the fear of death, the horrors of old age, the mysteries of womanhood,
the disasters of marriage, the trauma of living without God.”
Holy shit, that almost sounds like real life. If we start making
movies about that, the next thing you know it might start popping up on the news and
in White House Press Conferences.
even momentary good feeling are all but absent from a Bergman movie, which is a
portrait of a traumatized species.”
Yeah, that “Magic Flute” is a real bummer. Mozart, lighten up!
Actually, isn’t all of classical music a drag, too? And Shakespeare, Greek
tragedy. Art, when you come down to it, is like one long whine.
What we want is entertainment, and the lower the common
denominator the better. Anyone looking for anything else is a masochist. Some,
like the critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, in fact, are so masochistic that they don’t
like Bergman because he’s TOO entertaining. But that’s another issue.
“They didn't admire the medium,” continues Podhoretz’s
description of the movie-haters. “They
were offended by its unseriousness, by its capacity to entertain without
offering anything elevating at the same time.” It comes as no surprise that the
writer’s favorite movies are “Cinderella Man,” “Road House” and “Phantom
Menace.” And as for those who admire such freakish anomalies as “Vertigo”
(“silly”), “The Searchers” (“turgid, wooden, boring, weird”) or “2001” (“a
crashing bore”) as well as the works of the late Swedish pretender: thy are "embarrassed by the movies.”
How so 1960s! Don’t they know that the delusion that movies can
be BOTH entertaining and intelligent died out at least 25 years ago?
“[Bergman] stopped making
motion pictures in 1982, though he wrote and directed several small films for
television. And the truth is, he quit just in time. His day had passed.”
Yes, his day had passed. It was morning in America. Reagan
was in the White House. Greed was good. Americans had become willingly blind to
whatever might disturb their materialism, entitlement, hedonism and false
piety. And movies had gotten over their airs of artiness and recognized their
role as providing mindless stimulation to the bored, empty and stunted. They
became at last what they always were, a billion dollar industry grinding out
tawdry fantasies acting out the basest desires and anxieties of the hordes that
went to see them.
This is a good thing, unless the fantasy starts to tresspass on
someone’s ideological, or “faith-based” interpretation of the real world. Hence
Bill O’Reilly’s recent umbrage at the commercial and — most suspiciously! —
critical success of “The Bourne Ultimatum:”
“I knew this movie was trouble when I read the reviews,” he
writes in his column “The Bourne Boffoonery.” “Almost
all the critics liked it. The only way American movie critics would like a
violent car chase film like this was if it bashed the USA, which, of
course, it does.”
My first response to this: Bill O’Reilly reads reviews? Maybe my
profession isn’t as moribund as I thought, movie haters and American haters
though we are. And since only Stephen Hunter didn’t like the film, O'Reilly's conspiracy theory is
probably onto something.
And what do you know, it turns out that Bill’s suspicions prove correct (as usual!). And
why does the movie bash the USA?
Because the actors and filmmakers are “far left.” Like that Commie Matt Damon:
“ The actor also told the Idaho Statesman that the CIA's
use of waterboarding is an erosion of our American values. Guess what? There's
a waterboarding scene in the flick. What a coincidence!”
Waterboarding an erosion of values? The next thing you know he’ll
be saying there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And its “coincidental”
inclusion in the movie -- doesn’t that prove that liberals' claims that US interrogators use torture are as farfetched as a Hollywood fantasy?
And did I tell you that the director is not just an American
hater, he’s not even an American? And get a load of this:
of the movie, Paul Greengrass, told the Times of London
that he purposely tapped into the mistrust the world has of the USA. In my
opinion, Mr. Greengrass has used his skills as a filmmaker to create a slick
propaganda package that will make him millions of dollars. And standing between
Mr. Greengrass and real life terrorists who would slit his throat are, of
course, real life American intelligence people.”
Sounds like Greengrass could use a little dose of waterboarding himself.
Sad to say, though, lots of Americans seem duped by this
diabolical “movie” passing for entertainment. $70 million worth last weekend
alone. These losers fall into two basic groups:
“America-haters will love The Bourne Ultimatum and apolitical others
may enjoy the action and carnage. The movie is a perfect storm of misguided
ideology, silly plotting, and absurd conclusions. In other words, it's a blockbuster.”