Hollywood’s Take on Terrorism


Picture-12In Robert Redford’s new film, The Company You Keep, not yet nationally released, a group of former leftist terrorists are apparently portrayed as heroes who were just trying to make their country a better place. Reviewer Rex Reed of the New York Observer says that the film presents “earnest insight into the validity of the noble but misdirected romantic idealism of the ‘70s radicals.” The Hollywood Reporter review similarly fetes 1970s terrorists: the movie, says the Reporter, “provides an absorbing reflection on the courage and cost of dissent.” But as Christian Toto of Big Hollywood writes, “Movie goers may not be so forgiving, what with the fresh images of bloodshed in Boston still on their minds.”

But Hollywood has always been forgiving of leftist terrorists. In the 1988 film Running on Empty, starring Judd Hirsch and River Phoenix and directed by Sidney Lumet, parents Annie and Arthur Pope are on the run for years after bombing a napalm laboratory and accidentally paralyzing a janitor. They are separated from their son, who wants to go to Julliard; they don’t want to let him go. Finally they realize that since they are freedom fighters, they need to let their son follow his dream. “Now,” says Arthur to his son, “go out there and make a difference. Your mother and I tried. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

The reviewers loved that film, too. Janet Maslin of The New York Times criticized the film mainly because she found the notion of leftist terrorism grown old and gray unacceptable. Hal Hinson of the Washington Post, who didn’t love the film, soft-pedaled 1960s terrorism: “What it touches on is the costs of political commitment, specifically the fervent activism of young college kids in the ’60s who, swept up in the revolutionary moment, took actions they pay for for the rest of their lives.”

Hollywood leftists aren’t too averse to Islamic terrorism, either. Whether it’s The Siege, in which tyrannical US government counterterrorism operatives are the bad guys rather than Islamic terrorists, or The Sum of All Fears, where Islamic terrorism is written out entirely in favor of the dastardly scourge of neo-Nazi nuclear terrorism, Hollywood treats Islamic terrorism with a surprising amount of respect. Even in The Kingdom, a searching look at jihadists, in the ending Hollywood attempts to equate Islamic terrorism with American military response.

Then there’s another sort of terrorism. This is the kind of terrorism leftists actually do hate: non-left-wing domestic anti-government terrorism, which according to the left is a massive threat to America’s very existence. While Islamist violence is rarely a subject for Hollywood, right wing violence is something it takes very seriously. In Arlington Road, Jeff Bridges tracks down anti-government bomber Tim Robbins. Robbins’s character babbles: “I’m a messenger, Michael, I’m a messenger! There’s millions of us, waiting to take up arms, ready to spread the word … millions of us!” Robbins’ character, naturally, is supremely evil. Hollywood has yet to create a movie with a sympathetic anti-government terrorist. That’s a good thing. Sadly, they’re not averse to their left-wing bomber friends, and they spend an awful lot of time justifying Islamic terrorism.

That’s because the left craves what it perceives as right-wing violence. Whenever something evil happens, the left jumps to the conclusion that it was “right-wing extremists” – by which they mean crazy people inspired by Rush Limbaugh. Whether it’s Jared Lee Loughner, who shot Gabby Giffords and was quickly labeled a Sarah Palin follower without evidence, or James Holmes, who shot up an Aurora theater and was labeled a Tea Partier without evidence, or Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist who shot JFK and was quickly and falsely labeled a representative of the anti-JFK conservative movement, the left craves legitimation for its worldview that the right is the source of terrorism in the United States.

Meanwhile, the left sees its own terrorists as fighting for something larger– or freedom fighters like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who are still held in high regard at the universities. Anti-government kooks, however, are portrayed as results of talk radio and Fox News.

That’s just how Hollywood likes it. So even as we await word on who perpetrated the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Hollywood releases a Redford film upholding the moral worth of folks who bombed government installations in the 1960s and 1970s. After all, they’re groovy. We’re just supposed to be the dunderheads who create Timothy McVeighs on a daily basis.

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  • IMHomo

    While Muslim terrorists are savages, left-wing kook terrorists are worse. They were born here and want to destroy their own nation. The Soviet Union dies, causing many eastern Europeans to run to freedom. And the west runs to Communism. They snobbishly say, "Well, they didn't do it right. We know how to better do Communism." Sick people. Let's not even mention their disgusting love of pedophiles and homosexuals. Spit.

  • Bob Moriarty

    Robert Redford's next film can glorify the Boston bomber(s) probably securing them tenured positions at Columbia University.

  • pierce

    Hollywood is promoting terrorism.
    A prime example of that is Robert Redford's new film on the Weather Underground.
    It is shameful what he and Hollywood are doing, glorifying terrorism, and terrorists.
    Just one more reason why I refuse to go to the movies.

  • tagalog

    "…the movie, says the Reporter, 'provides an absorbing reflection on the courage and cost of dissent.'” They weren't dissenting; they wanted to see the United States fall, to be replaced with a Communist state. I would call them revolutionaries, but they weren't real revolutionaries.

    In the case of the radicals of the 60s and 70s, what courage? It didn't take any courage; they were all the rage. The courage was required of the people who were willing to fight the Vietnam War – they were treated like social pariahs from the moment they disembarked from their flights after being DEROS'd. to the States. They needed courage to face the enemy and courage to face the disapproval they got after they returned home.

    What cost? They didn't even get prosecuted. They went on to live ordinary lives, and some were highly rewarded high achievers. From the very first, from "If…" to "The Strawberry Statement" on through "A Small Circle of Friends" to "Running On Empty," they were feted as some sort of heroes, and movies and documentaries and TV shows were made about them, and books were written. They didn't pay any costs.

  • theleastthreat

    The legendary Cowboy sees something wrong, is slow to be provoked and eventually realizes drastic action is needed. After setting thing right, he rides off. The typical modern revolutionary gets things wrong from the start, provokes the situation, and sees drastic action as the only solution. And then he stays around running things until a cowboy shows up.

    • tagalog

      It's more like the radical breaks into your living room, throws your furniture around, tears down your drapes, defecates on your rug, then leaves and goes on his merry way, leaving you to clean up the mess.

      A block down the street, the local college authorities gather to give the radical a teaching position, announcing that his experience is so valuable it must be passed on to the younger generation.

    • ltcdmward

      "..he stays around running things until a cowboy shows up." And the "thing" is usually a monopoly, running every "thing".

  • Jerry G

    One correction to this article. Lee Harvey Oswald was not a communist and did not shoot JFK. He was in fact an anti communist CIA, FBI agent posing as a communist to gather intelligence. He was a "patsy" used to cover up the real criminals in the government and in government agencies. The actual shooter has recently surfaced and his name is not Lee Harvey Oswald.

    • Carolina girl

      Show us the proof of this!

      • Jerry G

        If you're really interested in the truth about the JFK assassination read these two books: Interview With History by Pamela J.Ray with James Files (the actual shooter who is still alive) and Me and Lee by Judyth Vary Baker, Lee Harvey Oswald's girl friend. Obviously I can't quote all the facts in these two books.

        • wsk

          I'm sorry, while I have a healthy mistrust of our (present) government, I don't buy it. If it were true and the govt. set it all up; those books would never have seen the light of day.

    • kasandra

      Yeah, he defected to Russia, married the daughter of a KGB officer, then left because Russia wasn't radical enough for him and tried to go to Cuba and tried to shoot Gen. Walker because he was a devoted U.S. patriot. I know I buy it.

      • Jerry G

        You are simply repeating the government's boloney. Read the books for the truth.

    • JamesJ

      Must adjust tinfoil hat

  • Omar

    In the eyes of the left, it doesn't matter how many people die in terrorist attacks. The left's concerns are never for the victims. To the left, only the ideologies of the terrorists themselves determines whether they are guilty or not. That's why the left denounces Cuban dissident and former militant Luis Posada Carriles as a "terrorist", while hailing totalitarian thugs like Bill Ayers and Oscar Lopez for their "social justice" work. The left has no morals at all.

    • kasandra

      It's all a case of what serves "the revolution."

    • tagalog

      Well hell, you can't expect to make an omelet without breaking eggs.

      My only question is (and was), "Where the hell is the damn omelet?"

  • hikerdude

    The Left …ya gotta know the "Common Sense Gene" has bypassed their grey matter.

  • Marty

    The looney (and violent) left has not taken over most campuses. I teach a class that compares fascism, communism, and islam as brutal totalitarian systems. Lots of quotes from mein kampf, marxist polemics such as communist manifesto, and the koran extolling violence and genocide are sprinkled throughout the lectures. It's a lot of fun, actually, and it's all very factual and accurate.

  • patriothere

    This is a hate site. These propagandists are frothing at the mouth waiting to hear the Muslim or Islam. Get a life. There are a billion Muslims in the world and Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

    America is gonna have to change what they do around the world. It's still very hard to hit America. All kinds of people want to do harm to America but it isn't easy. The good outnumber the evil on this site and evil everywhere else.

    Eventually America is gonna have to give up supporting israel. I don't know what it's gonna take. I really believe that the US government would draft every single person in the country to fight every single Muslim nation on earth before they withdraw one dollar going to israel. The US government would risk all out war with the world before they put one sanction on israel.

    That is sick.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      What is sick is a paid hack thinking we should take him seriously.
      Did you really think you can post this garbage and not be challenged on it?

      6 minutes ago @ Breitbart.com – Protests to greet Ahma… · 1 reply · 0 points
      I'm like jesus, I'm gonna chase you money changers out of the temple and out of town and of course out of this forum. Me and ohsoquiet and a few other REAL AMERICANS who are being PAID to be here like you Israeli PR men. I'm here to chase you filth out.

      • patriothere

        You're sick

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Coming from you, I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep.
          Is that the offficial word from your handlers?

    • BS77

      Take a long walk on a short pier you pathetic fake

    • Ghostwriter

      You'd have done great on "Der Stumer,"patriothere. Julius Streicher would have loved you.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        So much they'd pay him to say it.

  • RUI

    No wonder that this terrorism pimp also pimps for subsidized films: he knows that his movies will tank at the box office (because Americans don't watch them!) and has to make back the money by confiscating it from the public, whether it wants to or not.

  • marios

    Statistic is that 90% of Universities professors are leftists/liberals. As all of them are members of Union they spread leftists/soci..st ideas to repay for high salary and enormous benefits, using brainwashing propaganda but not facts. Their main enemies are not Islamo-Nazis but conservatives. They hate 1st amendment and they use cliché blaming their opponents in racism or radicalism.
    about L. H. Oswald. Soviet Union government treated him very well. It means Oswald shared commies ideology. If all books reflect truth!!! But leftists concoct what serve ideology of their (paying to them) progressive establishment and some gullible people still believe in that garbage.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The protesters of the "60's were in large part uninformed idiots but the majority were leftist
    stooges from America's Communist Colleges. These protesters were not protesting but in
    the street supporting the enemies of America and showing the world who they favored in
    the war of Communist opression and freedom. Thier arguments were nothing but falsehood,
    propaganda shoveled out by the Hollywood and Television media. The legacy for the
    leftist progeny is living the choices that were made, Communism….no job and government
    masters or true freedom and liberal choices at education and careers to grow into and
    prosper. The Communist, leftist progressives have built barriers to self fulfillment and
    the good life, there may be time in America to choose to work and thrive, do not listen to
    nor aid in any way those who work against us, thier aim is our destruction as a free people
    and a miserable march to slave status. Down with Hollywood trash and media filth.
    William

  • Christopher C.

    Another movie for the list: Traitor. From memory, it "starred" Don Cheadle. He gets to deliver a paean to the sheer wonderfulness and general peaceablilty of Islam. A thoroughly sneaky bit of work. I always wondered where the production money came from.

    • tagalog

      Don Cheadle was good as the medic in "Hamburger Hill," the anti-radical movie, about people with real courage who paid a real cost.

  • tagalog

    They had a short preview of "The Company You Keep" last night on TV. If the short clip in the preview was any indication, it looks as if it will be very talky.

    Why should anyone be surprised at that? The real thing was about 99% wind (or as one of my friends at the time remarked, "bulls**t and rhetoric") and 1% "revolutionary" action itself.

    I thought about the title a bit, too. If one is known by the company he keeps, what will the movie have to say about that? I guess I know, and of course it's disappointing.

  • tagalog

    A few more films and a TV movie about the 60s radicals:

    Documentaries: 2002's The Weather Underground, 1976's Underground

    TV movie: The Presidio (I'm not sure of the name – it's the one where Michael Douglas plays the "revolutionary")

    Films: Flashback, Medium Cool, 1969 (with Keifer Sutherland)

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris_Shugart

    I love the phrase "noble but misdirected romantic idealism." Famous last words for every regime, dictatorship and political atrocity ever committed throughout history.

  • Questions

    I will virtually guarantee you that Ben Shapiro did not see this film. And he writes like it. I, did, however, see the film the other evening. Believe it, this movie was NOT any sort of apology for Red terror — far from it. If anything, the climactic scene in which Robert Redford and Julie Christie's character meet in a cabin set in the Michigan woods, after decades of being apart, is a stern rebuke to the radical Left, a way of telling those types to grow up. But Ben just couldn't resist writing a histrionic attack piece with the word "Hollywood" in the title.

    This is a mean, low and detestable review. In fact, it's not a review at all, but rather a thin pretext for Ben to stick it to people he envies. The movie is tout, thrilling and has a superb cast. Its two main themes — the distant past as inescapable and the limits of investigative political journalism (the movie, in a real sense, is a stepchild of "All the President's Men") — work together seamlessly. See it, if you don't believe me.