November 25, 2007


Hatched by Dafydd

Not a movie review; I haven't seen the movie.

But of course, neither has anybody else. That's the point. According to Box Office Mojo, Brian De Palma's new anti-war, anti-American, anti-soldier tour de farce Redacted, winner of the Best Director award at the Venice Film Festival -- which tells the stirring and subtle story of how American soldiers raped, murdered, and burned a fourteen year old Iraqi girl, and then raped, murdered, and burned her entire family to silence them, and then raped, murdered, and burned the military investigators, then the news reporters who tried to report on it, then families of random American soldiers, then Mr. Whipple, then all the animals at the petting zoo -- has enjoyed a resounding lifetime box office gross of $25,628 dollars.

But wait, that's not entirely fair; that's just the domestic gross. We really should include the international take, too... that would be $71,968 (all from Spain, where the movie opened), for a whopping grand total of $97,596.

Over three days (November 16th, 17th, and 18th), at 15 theaters in its widest release (I believe distributer Mark Cuban has reduced the number of venues since that high point). That works out to a domestic take of 1,700 clams per theater. Assuming a measley two showings per day per theater, and assuming tickets average $8.50 each (factoring in the bargain matinees!), that indicates that about 33 people per showing managed to straggle into the theater, some of whom probably thought they were buying tickets to that animated movie about the mouse who wants to be a cook.

It only seems to be playing at one theater in the LA area now; check your local listings!

Director Brian De Palma is doing everything he can to persuade American audiences to go see the movie:

[De Palma] said the film provided a realistic portrait of U.S. troops and how "the presentation of our troops has been whitewashed" by mainstream media.

De Palma, who looked at the atrocities of conflict in the 1989 film "Casualties of War," which also centers on the rape of a young girl by U.S. soldiers, believes news coverage of wars had changed since the Vietnam War.

"We saw fallen soldiers, we saw suffering Vietnamese. We don't see any of that now," he said. "We see bombs go off, but where do they come down? Who do they hit?"

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was "clearly a mistake," he said, that was perpetuated by "defense contractors, big corporations of America" profiting from the war.

"How many billions of dollars are those companies making? And who gets more famous than ever? The media. There is nothing like a war to fill the airwaves 24 hours a day," he said.

But for some unfathomable reason, moviegoers just aren't responding, no matter how conciliatory De Palma gets. I believe the point of his movie is that the biased, conservative American news media simply refuses to report on the rape and murders in Mahmudiyah, which were ordered by Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon; just as they refused to report on the Rumsfeld-ordered Haditha massacre, the Rumsfeld-ordered sex-torture at Abu Ghraib, the Rumsfeld-ordered butchery of an innocent wedding party, and the well-established fact that nearly all the bombings and sectarian violence in Iraq since 2003 were committed by American soldiers disguised as Sunni al-Qaeda groups and Shiite death squads, and operating under the direct orders of Donald Rumsfeld.

So what do you want to bet... the lesson Hollywood will take from Redacted -- and Lions from Lambs (Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Michael Pena -- $13.8 million domestic), In the Valley of Elah (Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon, Charlize Theron -- $6.7 million), and all the other anti-American, spit-on-the-soldiers movies about innocent Moslem terrorists being mugged, raped, and brutalized by vicious, bloodthirsty, criminal American soldiers -- the lesson Hollywood takes will be... "Gee, I guess Americans just don't like war movies anymore; war has become unpopular at the movies!"

You know, like We Were Soldiers ($78 million domestic), Master and Commander ($94 million), Troy ($133 million), 300 ($211 million), and Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers ($342 million).

The lengths the industry will journey in order to avoid drawing the obvious conclusion -- that Americans don't like being told that we're nothing but a bunch of depraved, murderous, racist thugs, the world hates us, and we're responsible for all the ills that befall innocent people everywhere -- is little short of astonishing. I predict the result of the debacle of this spate of films exploring the war against global hirabah will not be a batch of pro-America movies; instead, they will simply stop making war movies altogether.

I reckon the alternative, that Americans like movies where we're the good guys, is simply too horrible to contemplate.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 25, 2007, at the time of 1:56 PM

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The following hissed in response by: boffo

I think there's two obvious conclusions, both of which Hollywood is missing. One is that people aren't interested in seeing American soldiers as the villains.

But the much bigger problem is that the movies are just terrible. If they made a *good* anti-American movie, people would see it. I mean, Michael Moore manages to make a profit just by sprinkling a few not very funny jokes into his diatribes. If Redacted had an actually decent story, it would do fine. But filmmakers keep expecting true believing to trump quality, and it's just not working for them.

The above hissed in response by: boffo [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 25, 2007 2:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


On the other hand, war movies that have lousy stories but are not snidely anti-American (300 and Troy above, for example) can still manage to do quite well.

Maybe it's the combination? "All right, so maybe it's anti-American... but at least the story sucks!"


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 25, 2007 5:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: MegaTroopX

Tommy Lee Jones is a moonbat? Say it ain't so!

No, seriously.

The above hissed in response by: MegaTroopX [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 25, 2007 5:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: Fat Man

MegaTroopX: TLJ was algore's college roommate.

The above hissed in response by: Fat Man [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 25, 2007 5:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: Binder

I dunno, if any of the three movies you mentioned (Redacted, Lions for Lambs or In the Valley of Elah) manages to score an Oscar for anything other than technical fields I suspect the entertainment industry will spin up another round...if they're not already in production of a set slated to come out in October '08, in hopes of reminding the American public how terrible a "mistake" the conflict in Iraq has been, just before the election.

The above hissed in response by: Binder [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 4:40 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/26/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 8:15 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Hollywood in the past was no less full of perverts and wackos and anti-Anerican bigots. But they also had tough minded people who were not wacked out and who were not anti-Americans and who would not be intimidated. Today, however, we have a Hollywood culture so in-bred and so powerful financially that they think it is acceptable to shove their peculiarities down our throats.
We saw "The Mist" at a sneak preview last week. It is the first insultingly bad Stephen King movie we have seen. How long are we to be fed movies whose plots are focused around evil Army plots and cardboard cutout figures representing religious thought? And on top of that, to have the gall to recycle ,pnsters and special effects in the age of CGI is just plain lazy.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 8:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

A point made by commentators on Fox News over the weekend was; these area vanity movies made by Hollywood types for each other. The payoff is social approval from withing the insular Hollywood community.

Two things I wonder about:

1. How long can Hollywood afford to keep making junk?

2. How long can the theater owners afford to show Hollywood junk?

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 9:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman


How long? Well, economics, logic and reason are not the strong suits of liberals. I'd say they will keep making them (bravely, in the face of extraordinary pressure from the right wing fascists who won't buy tickets) until their is no more money left to burn, and no more career to trash.

You forgot to mention with redacted that the movie is supposedly just bad. Amateurish is the word I've heard to describe it. From Brian De Palma of all things.

Now, what does it say the Enchanted is the #1 movie in America?

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 10:00 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

Geoman, I'm basically wondering how long until Hollywood runs out of money... Not until then will they discover the state of their careers vis a vis the public.

But I expect the theater owners to bolt first, and start showing imported movies, or cut deals with the foreign companies Hollywood sold it's movie libraries to.

According to Captain Ed, Enchanted is actually pretty entertaining. Of course it doesn't hurt that it has so little competition.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 1:08 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Geoman, Larry D:

We saw Enchanted last night: It was a great movie; Sachi and I really enjoyed it. And wait -- at the end of the movie, the audience spontaneously applauded! When is the last time you heard that?

(For us, the last time was the Narnia movie, and the time before that was the last Lord of the Rings movie.)

It's an exuberant movie that celebrates traditional values; it's pro-marriage and very, very American. When the fairy-tale almost-princess, Giselle, comes to New York, she meets a New York Lawyer. But rather than showing him as a cold, self-absorbed narcissist (like the doctor, Tom Cruise, in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut), Enchanted depicts him as mostly concerned about his daughter's safety from what appears to be a crazy woman. But he's still driven to help her somehow -- as he understands it (he wants to get Giselle to a hospital, where she can be cared for).

He is as helpful as he can be without endangering his own child and his girlfriend. And as he starts to believe she is who she says she is, and he's less afraid, he becomes more compassionate.

I really love this movie. If you have kids, you must take them to see this; but even if you don't, get yourself out there!

It's a throwback to the great Disney movies of yore. See? Just get rid of Michael "the Beast" Eisner, and the old Disney finally returns in full force. Walt himself could have made this flick.

We both enthusiastically recommend Enchanted to everyone, even if you don't have kids: You'll love it; and if you don't, you're a sad and heartless ogre.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 1:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: boffo


I disagree with your examples of lousy but not anti-American movies that did well. 300 may not have been to your taste, but it certainly delivered on what its target audience wanted. Troy was crap, but it also failed domestically. (It did well internationally, because it delivered on the promise of well choreographed action scenes, and international audiences cared a lot less about a decent story.)

By contrast, look at The Great Raid, which despite being very pro-American, was a lousy movie that bombed.

I think being pro-American rather than anti-American has an impact at the box office, but nowhere near as big as the impact from being good rather than terrible.

The above hissed in response by: boffo [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 5:05 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Looks like IowaHawk may be getting his material -- or at least his inspiration -- from you.

(Just kidding, IH.)

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 29, 2007 12:07 AM

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