Movie ticket receipts in North America dipped by six percent in
2005 to nine billion dollars, comes today’s report on the status of
the film industry.
The most hyped movie of 2005 was a depressing, pokey flick about
gay sheepherders. The Oscar nominations were otherwise dominated by
one movie that flogged us all for our supposed racism in a wearisomely
familiar way, another that rehashed left-wing grievances against a
minor and ineffective demagogue who’s been dead for pushing fifty
years, and a thriller that made an Islamic suicide bomber out to be
a saint and Americans parasitic villains.
Call me crazy, but I can’t help but think there might be some tenuous
shred of a hint of a connection here…
Hollywood is still capable of producing a decent flick now and
again (I think the last really good one I saw was
Firefly). But if George Clooney was right when he said Hollywood should be
proud to be out of touch, it’s got more and more to be proud of every
year. I’m no conservative and no prude either, but I have not even
the slightest interest in a movie about two sad losers with penises
compulsively buggering while their lives and marriages fall apart
around them. Cripes — if you held a contest to come up with a
story concept that would repel the heterosexual 96% of males, and
people of both sexes who go to the movies to be entertained,
you couldn’t do better than that.
Don’t bother telling me what I’m supposed to feel about
Brokeback Mountain or what a philistine I am for dismissing
it out of hand, or why it would be good for me to see it. That’s exactly
my point; I don’t want to pay $9.00 to see a movie because somebody else
thought it would be good for me. I buy entertainment from Hollywood, not
moral prescriptions, and if Hollywood now thinks its job is to improve
my character it can just fuck off.
It happens that in America in 2006, Hollywood is trying to pound
wacky left-wing political correctness down our throats, but my
complaint would be identical if the movie industry were taken over by
Christian evangelicals and persisted in cranking out edifying tales
from the Bible. Fuck all that noise; the harder you try to
‘uplift’ me in either direction, the more I’ll gravitate to the simple
thalamic pleasures of gratuitous nudity and big explosions.
Actually, I expect Hollywood’s drift to get far worse. All
indications are that the people who greenlight films live so deep
inside the bubble world of elite bicoastal left-liberalism that
they’re barely aware anything else exists. And to the limited extent
the are aware, they feel little but contempt for people on the
outside. This kind of problem tends to be self-reinforcing.
But it’s difficult to serve customers that you feel little other
than contempt for. Sooner or later, they tend to notice the contempt.
And go elsewhere. I expect those box-office receipts to keep falling;
the interesting question, now, is when Hollywood’s narcissistic,
dysfunctional culture will break under the resulting strain.