Trapped in Hollywood – 13/12/05


A Famous Filmmaker joins Moviehole to rant!

By ‘A Famous Filmmaker’ (No Amount of Money, Bribes or Babes will have us divulging his identity!)

The big sale at Barney’s is confirming what the decorations on Wilshire Boulevard have been suggesting for weeks – the Holiday Season is upon us. Here in Hollywood it’s definitely the Holiday Season and not Christmas; there are simply too many atheists, Jews and “other” to let the Christmas crowd gain a toehold. Why anyone is getting upset about not calling it Christmas is completely beyond me anyway. Aside from the fact, that the holiday has its roots in traditions that were started well before some Jewish insurgent claimed to be the son of god and is full of decidedly un-Christian imagery, the whole idea of the giant consumption orgy flies in the face of any discernible spiritual value, unless, of course, it is consumption. That, it turns out, is a religion even I can subscribe to. Trying to find a bargain on some designer threads, I had to fight my way through hordes of personal assistants shopping for the same silver picture frames and alligator desk top sets their employers will be sending out to clients trying to make them believe they actually thought about them in any way other than how much their income contributed to the year end bonus. Presents are a good gage of the kind of year you had. Of course, you have to calibrate the scale to a baseline, which can vary greatly, but, when you go from expensive electronics in one year to a half case of not so great Champagne the next, you know you could have done better.

Hollywood, too, could have done better. It’s been a dismal year at the box office and everyone is surprised. The idea that better movies might have helped has clearly been dismissed, as everyone tries to pack on one more insurance policy by making their choices just a little bit safer. The fact that George Lucas with yet another sequel to his space soap holds the top spot at this year’s box office doesn’t help either. Who can blame the bean counters for the movies they greenlight, if sequels and remakes top the annual box office list. I’m almost looking forward to Stephen Spielberg exploiting yet another human tragedy to feign a gravitas he clearly doesn’t posses – at least there won’t be a sequel. The fact that these promising filmmakers who were born out of the great Hollywood of the 70’s went to the dark side and are responsible for the business model, which killed the cinema by which they were inspired in the first place, is a tragedy in and of itself. No matter how much Mr. Spielberg likes to pretend he’s serving up a six Dollar burger, it’s still fast food with no nutritional value. If there were truth in numbers, McDonalds would be the best restaurant on the planet.

While the action on the big screen is leaving me cold, at least it’s heating up elsewhere. After years of trying to catch Osama and invading a country, which, as we knew all along, had nothing to do with the World Trade Center attack, Federal Air Marshals finally blew a bad guy away. True, he was a churchgoing man with mental problems who hadn’t taken his medication, but it was just so satisfying to see John Wayne enter the scene and solve this the old fashioned way. It’s heart warming to know, that there are marshals with guns who ride to the rescue and dispense instant justice. No pussyfooting around the courts and playing word games with the international community, just a clean shot down the jetway. Maybe, some day, there will really be a terrorist on another plane and then they can blow him away for a big happy ending, instead of the bittersweet outcome of “acting properly” by wasting a mental case. In the meantime, we are stuck with a war the president started to get re-elected and now that he was and can’t be re-elected again can’t stop, and films, which were invented to make money, and now that they don’t make money anymore can’t be stopped. John Wayne would have never done any of this. He wouldn’t have picked a fight with someone who had nothing to do with his grievance only to make himself look good, and he most certainly wouldn’t have shot a crazy guy.

He also wouldn’t have sacked up with another cowboy, no matter how cold it might have gotten. Leave it to Ang Lee to drop the real bomb this Christmas by undermining the very iconography this country is built on. Now that the seed is planted in our heads, what are we to think of the Rangers chasing Bin Laden in the mountains of Pakistan. It gets cold up there. They’ve been on the hunt for a long time and haven’t gotten him – dead OR alive. Would Bush really object, if they just cuddled a little to keep warm? Maybe he won’t ask, as long as they don’t tell.


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