Sunday, March 05, 2006

Message Movies

So, as usual this time of year, we've seen lots of reports about how Oscar voters are out of touch with "mainstream America." I wrote most of what I think about htat last year, but one or two points: I heard one comentator write "this is a death sentance for Hollywood." Well, that's ridiculous. If you can speak of "Hollywood" as speaking with a single voice (a generalization I reject), you'd have to admit that all that really happens is that for two months a year they pretend to care about art and issues, and the rest of the year they care about putting butts in the seat. They all know that March of the Penguins made more money then all the best picture nominees combined.

But this argument assumes that popular block-buster movies and message movies are incompatible. But that's just not true. The biggest movie of the year, Star Wars 3, was according to George Lucas an allegory for the Bush administration and the abuse of executive power. It was definitely a message movie. The last huge blockbuster to win, "Lord of the Rings," was both an anti-war and a pro-environment film. What's this idea that message movies can't be blockbusters? People who say stuff like that know nothing about movies, the movies business, or art in general.

And why do I care?


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