April 3, 2006
Paean to Power Line
John Hinderaker's got another great post up on my fave blog. This has some of his best writing since he recast Bush's defense of the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program ("if al-Qaeda is calling you, we want to know why").
He's on about the new Paul Verhoeven movie, Basic Instinct 2, which is tanking like Soviet iron: the powerhouse BI2 simply owns the number 10 slot on its opening weekend. When Verhoeven saw the numbers, his response was to blame America's puritanical values for his woes:
"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."
Yeah, that's why there are so few Christians in the world today:
World Religions By Population (from Wikipedia)
John finds this explanation a bit thick:
Apart from the obvious humor value, here are two more or less serious observations: One, what gives with people who say American culture is "Puritanical"? Are they writing from prisons in Albania where they've been confined since 1956? Do they not own computers with internet connections? Do they avert their eyes when they go past magazine racks in airports? Don't they have cable TV?
I love the smell of sarcasm in the morning! This is really good stuff... anybody who walks through this country with his eyes open has probably noticed that sex sells, and there's an awful lot of out there selling every minute of every day. What has Verhoeven been smoking? (Oops, nevermind that last one... "forget it, Jake; it's Hollywood.")
Hollywood also explains the "why" of Verhoeven's absurd claim, according to John:
Here's another theory: maybe Hollywood is indeed so depraved that the normal American culture, sex-drenched though it may be, looks Puritanical by contrast. Scary, if true.
Two: the film directors quoted in this story are presumably not idiots, yet they say things--it's the Bush adminstration's fault when sexy movies fail, since sex has been "banned"--that are obviously stupid. Why? Perhaps because in their world, equally stupid attacks on President Bush are not unusual. Several prominent Hollywood figures have recently suggested that Bush orchestrated the September 11 attacks. Blaming the President for everything from global warming to terrorism is, I think, commonplace in film-industry circles. So maybe it made sense for them to think that they could blame President Bush for the fact that people aren't flocking to see Basic Instinct 2 without getting laughed at. [Emphasis added]
If anyone has ever wondered why I say Power Line is what got me interested in blogging... now you know.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 3, 2006, at the time of 4:22 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Neo
Plus, President Bush's budget request to Congress for next year proposes slashing funding for astrobiology research in half.
Kirschvink fears religious sentiment may be playing a role in the money cuts.
"There are fundamentalists who don't like the idea that their creator put life anywhere other than Earth," he said
They start out by proving that Bush is actually trying to cut the budget .. thanks .. that kind of stuff is hard to find .. then they too go into a diatribe about "fundamentalists". Now does this form a trend .. hmm .. a new theory .. maybe I can tap into the federal grant gravy train .. Naa.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
This story has already received much more play than it deserves, but I get a real kick out of one quote that you didn't mention. Verhoeven may really believe the stuff you mention, but he doesn't really think the movie failed only because of cultural factors. Instead, he thinks its failing because the whole genre has run its course, and because the writing is tired:
"I like erotic thrillers. But in the last 10 years, I haven't found any scripts that interested me."
Paraphrasing then, "The movie sucks, and we knew it sucked when we made it (because the script wasn't very interesting), but we were hoping that the sight of a naked Sharon Stone for about two hours would earn us some buzz, and some bucks."
The following hissed in response by: seybernetx
Scott Ott (Scrappleface) might well have said it best:
At the box office this weekend, Ice Age 2 clobbered Basic Instinct 2 hauling in $70 million dollars, compared with less than $3 million for the Sharon Stone movie. One film is about a prehistoric creature’s struggle to survive and find love, the other is the animated sequel to the movie Ice Age.
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