Hollywood Mystified As Anti-War Films Bomb

November 9th, 2007 | by Sqotty |

It’s becoming more difficult every day to take Hollywood seriously (Sorry John!). The reason is they simply don’t get it when it comes to war, politics and, yes, global warming. This has been made very clear when it comes to the war in Iraq in a piece posted on BreitBart.

Hollywood is mystified over the poor returns of the anti-war films they have been turning out, films focused on the war in Iraq. After all, many of these films were well received at the Cannes Film Festival prior to their release. The films are not only performing dismally at the box office, the reviews they are getting are also fairly brutal.

Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” and De Palma’s “Redacted” are due out soon. The chances are they will also under perform. I wonder why?

Now I admit that I have had zero interest in seeing any of these films thus far. There may be one, reported to be in pre-production now, which I may go see, but that is a long way off. Oh, and that one is on Afghanistan, not Iraq.

From BreitBart:

Lew Harris, the editor of website Movies.com, said the films have struggled to be successful because the subject matters of Iraq and 9/11 remain too close to home. And in many cases, the films have not been entertaining enough.

“These movies have to be entertaining,” Harris told AFP. “You can’t just take a movie and make it anti-war or anti-torture and expect to draw people in.

Harris has a very good point, although I think if you are pushing an anti-war theme you will have to have a lot more going for it than being entertaining and having Redford and Cruise in it. It has to have substance, and be accurate in the facts. Whether or not these films are can be debated, but not be me as I haven’t seen any of them.

Harris then points out that the Iraq war is too current and that Hollywood didn’t start making movies about the Vietnam War until years after. Like “The Green Berets” (1968). Okay, it wasn’t until 2002 that we got a truly great Vietnam War film in “We Were Soldiers…”, so there may be something to the claim that it may be years before we see a good film on the war in Iraq.

“M*A*S*H’ was a highly successful anti-war film. It was made at the time of Vietnam War, but set in Korea for the reasons Harris mentions: it was contemporary to Vietnam. It was also highly entertaining and, as I was a kid, never realized it was an anti-war film. But then I was a kid at the time, so maybe I missed something.

Even Steven Bochco admits that it is hard to make a film or series successful about the war in Iraq as it is perceived as being a “hugely unpopular war.” Who ever heard of a popular war? There are wars that need to be fought, and wars that shouldn’t be fought, and it all comes down to the perpetrators of the conflict. WW2 was made necessary by the Nazi’s and by Japan. That does not mean it was a popular war, especially if you were one of the ones drafted into the Army to fight it (on either side).

Bochco continues (also from BreitBart):

Iraq films remain a difficult sell for audiences because of the swirl of confusion surrounding the rights and wrongs of the conflict, he added.

“World War II was hugely romanticized in terms of its fiction. There were unambiguous villains, and the feeling we were fighting the right people over the right issues, as opposed to this war, which many people feel is misguided.

And this explains why Hollywood doesn’t understand why their anti-war films about Iraq are doing miserably: Because they believe it is misguided and there no “unambiguous villains” then everyone must feel that way.

Until Hollywood realizes that the Iraq war has had a whole series of unambiguous villains from Saddam Hussein and his sons, Uday and Qusay (with their rape rooms and torture chambers) to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, and the various sectarian death squads.

Instead of focusing on how the U.S. led coalition is doing good for the people of Iraq, Hollywood brings us films like “Redacted” where we are treated to the brutal rape/murder of an Iraqi girl by several soldiers, all of whom have been convicted of this heinous crime and serving long prison sentences (hopefully taking big rocks and turning them into little rocks, or something like that). Yes, the subject matter of “Redacted” is important, however I believe Hollywood could better spend their energies making movies showing the good side of the war and the heroics of our armed forces, and those of the coalition partners (especially the new Iraqi military). I have no doubt that if Hollywood were to do so they will also find such a film quite profitable. Unless they were to cast Julia Roberts in it as Cindy Sheehan.


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