When will Hollywood get the message?
Some of that is thanks to the shifting methods of distribution and production in moviemaking; it’s cheaper than ever to make movies, and it’s cheaper than ever to sit home and watch them. That means that studios are interested in churning out huge-budget films that simply demand to be seen on the big screen, rather than streamed via Netflix six months later.
Which is fine. The problem is that of late, Hollywood’s big budget flicks are missing more often than they’re hitting. And that is thanks to Hollywood’s continual desire to slap Americans across the face with liberalism.
Take, for example, The Lone Ranger. The Johnny Depp-starrer was misbegotten from the start, a bloated $250 million effort that couldn’t figure out whether or not to take itself serious. The original Lone Ranger was John Reid, a Texas Ranger who was ambushed by desperadoes and left to die, but survived thanks to the help of Tonto, a Native American he had saved as a child and who then became his sidekick. In the movie version, however, Tonto is the hero of the piece, and Johnny Depp plays him as an honorable man far too lofty for the hijinks of the white men. Depp said that the movie was “potentially an opportunity to right the wrong” of Tonto being relegated to sidekick status.
Depp told the press, “What came from the idea of Tonto, and I talked about from early on, is he’s a man apart. He feels that he’s done horrible acts upon his people and is ashamed and he goes out on his own to avenge that. It’s the only thing, to be able to try to show these people who, as I said before, are warriors, even in the face of some hideous corporal smacking them around or shooting them in the foot or raping their women.”
There is no doubt that the treatment of Native Americans was often brutal. But the notion of the “noble savage” put forth by the left is both patronizing and historically inaccurate. The Comanches – the tribe of whom Tonto is a member, according to Depp – were particularly brutal to settlers.
The film also attempts to downplay the importance of guns – an odd move for a Western. In a key scene, the Lone Ranger refuses to take a gun into an ambush.
The film misses the mark on all fronts. Nobody under the age of 60 remembers the Lone Ranger. They remember the Lone Ranger as manly and certain, not a tool of Tonto’s and not an individual who shrinks as much from violence as from romance. It’s no wonder that the film is slated to lose $150 million at the box office.
The Lone Ranger isn’t the only misfire. The Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx flick White House Down, which casts Foxx as the president and white guys as the terrorists, cost $150 million, but earned just $26 million in its opening weekend. That film is chock full of liberal tropes; it says that terrorism is caused by poverty, that defense contracts are behind all military engagements by the United States, and that conservative radio hosts are morons. “Corporations are in bed with radical regimes,” says President Sawyer (Foxx).
Then there’s Pacific Rim, where monsters escape from the ocean’s crust thanks to – you guessed it! – ozone depletion and pollution. The film was outgrossed by the Adam Sandler pic Grown-Ups 2, which currently sports a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with Pacific Rim’s 72% rating. Ouch. After Earth, the Will Smith vehicle positing humanity’s ruination of the earth (again), fell apart, too.
So, which summer blockbusters have done well? Man of Steel blew the doors off the box office with a traditional take on Superman, glorifying America and individualism while condemning everything from population control to top-down societal control by our betters. Family-friendy flicks like Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University also provided solid performances.
In other words, if you’re going to spend big, don’t let your leftism take over the script. That’s a lesson that those in Hollywood have yet to learn, even though they’re paying for it dearly at the box office.
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