I am a big movie watcher. I have pretty specific tastes and am choosy on which movies I invest my time on. For me, bio epics and historical films, dramas, gangster movies, war films, action/ adventure and westerns make the cut. Comedies and science fiction occasionally make the cut. Horror, romcoms, animated and slacker guy/loser type movies rarely make the cut.
I never go to movies. I don’t like lines and I don’t like listening to strangers chomping on popcorn and slurping their three gallon soda. I like being able to pause the movie to take a dump or get something to eat. I prefer to wait for them to come out on DVD. If I’m confident I will enjoy it, I will buy a used copy. For example, about 2 weeks ago I purchased Gran Torino for 7 bucks at Blockbuster. Granted, I had to wait 7 months to see it, but now I own it and can view it again without further cost.
The internet is great for avoiding bad movies. Lots of info out there. I rarely see something I hate. This means I get to avoid the most egregious, politically correct, America blaming, feminized, grrrl power movies that come out. I think this is one of the reasons that the most ham handed left wing message films don’t do that well at the box office.
This is not to say that I only have John Wayne movies and “American Carol” running on a loop in my DVD player. Far from it. Left wing message films can be well done without being preachy and holier than thou. For instance, a recent example is Milk. I thought it was well done. Sean Penn’s prosthetic schnoz notwithstanding.
Sean Penn brings me to another point. How much should an actor’s real life politics affect your decision to see a movie they are in? Some people on the right will say a lot. Others will say none at all. I’m closer to none at all then a lot. The movie’s message is much more important to me. It’s also a matter of personal taste. I think Sean Penn is a complete douche off screen. He is a self important jackass and I find his politics disdainful. He is truly one of the worst of the left wing Hollywood crusaders. If someone said, that for them, Sean Penn was beyond the pale and couldn’t stand the sight of him, I would completely understand shunning his movies. For me though, his personal politics don’t affect how I see him on screen. I liked him in Mystic River and loved both him and his perm in Carlito’s Way. The only time I thought differently, was when he went to Iraq and Venezuela and cozied up to dictators. Do I really want to give a guy like that my money? Hmm maybe I’ll reconsider.
Other actors and actresses disgust me much more. I would be hard pressed to go to a Janeane Garofalo movie. Luckily for me, a lot of people feel that way and she is easy to avoid. Barbara Streisand and Susan Sarandon inspire similar feelings. Tim Robbins is a douche of the 1st order. I watched and enjoyed Bull Durham and Shawshank Redemption though. So even Sarandon and Robbins aren’t open and shut cases. I think it makes more of a difference at the margins. If I am lukewarm about a film, but still considering it, and then find out that Garofalo and her snotty mug is in it, I will usually pass. However, if I find out that they are making Shawshank the sequel with Red and Andy building boats on the beach in Mexico, you can count me in.
Hollywood has plenty of assholes. Its full of pretentious left wingers and air headed useful idiots. Many of my favorite actors probably don’t share my values. Luckily for me though, it seems like most of my favorites, while they might be to the left of Fidel Castro, keep pretty quiet about it. Others, like Tom Hanks, while well to the left of me, are pretty respectful by and large. I’ve never gotten the sense that Hanks has contempt for me the way I do with some.
In the future, I plan to comment on many of the gripes that I have, both with television ( which I gave up on) and movies. That being said, their are some very talented people making movies. The ability to realistically take a person to another time or place is an amazing skill. To tell a complex, nuanced and realistic story can’t be achieved by many. It’s a very powerful medium and when its done well, worth every penny.
Unfortunately, much of what comes out of Hollywood appeals to women and 14 year old boys. Shallow summer blockbusters with lots of explosions to fund left wing vanity films. (The blogger Whiskey has a lot of good and provocative insights about movies and television) I still maintain its worth the effort to find the diamond in the rough.
Luckily, in the information age, I only need to spend money on movies that appeal to me. Hollywood has to earn my business. Poor acting, incoherent story lines, preachy left wing messages, and men as buffoons can no longer sneak by me until I have already committed my time and money.