On “Hollywoodization” & Hypocrisy

Jeez Louise!

It seems that a flick based on 9/11 will soon see release State-side.

And judging by the noise and furore on The Wright Stuff American distributors dither over allowing their cinemas to screen it.

Panellist Martin Lewis expresses his indignation over movie makers “making money off tragedy”….

…whilst presenter Matthew Wright beats on about “Hollywoodization”…..

…and, judging by the callers to the show, the British public don’t sound too thrilled about the prospect of this movie either…

Watching all this I thought: I bet all you fuckers lapped up Schindler’s List and Titanic when they came out!

Making money off the tragedy? “Hollywoodization”? Spare me your holier-than-thou bullshit! I bet Stephen Spielberg and James Cameron didn’t flinch at the hearty sums of cash they received in the wake of their historical horror flicks! Hell, some Holocaust survivors remain with us! Should Spielberg have waited for them to shuffle off their mortal coil before realizing his artistic ambitions? As for Cameron – well, he “Hollywoodized” the deaths of 1500+ people on the good ship Titanic to considerable financial success – and he proved merely the latest in a long line of cinematic re-enactors of the tragedy stretching back to 1942!

I’m not claiming this flick will be the best thing since broadband, but I will give kudos to the director for pushing through with his work in the face of mass malign. As for the ethical side of things, the fact the families of the dead okayed the project speaks volumes; volumes louder, certainly, than the moralistic hand wringing of those who would deem it distasteful, disgusting and what have you – just whose sensitivities do the naysayers seek to protect exactly?

Funny how I hear no complaint about the upcoming Nicholas Cage vehicle due for release this August….

And whilst we remain on the subject of the “Hollywoodization” of atrocity, the significance of this (Good(?!?)) Friday brings to mind Mel Gibson’s Ode to Suffering and Slave Morality, otherwise known as The Passion of the Christ. Now assuming, as Christians do, that the figure of Christ existed and did indeed suffer and die on the cross, does it speak well of the high and mighty herds (particularly in the God-fearin’ US of A!) who flocked to the cinemas two years back? Fuck, even if you take Gibson out of the equation, the very symbol of Christianity seems to thrive on aestheticizing atrocity – call it a pornography of pain if you will! BDSMers don’t have a thing on an image of a near-naked guy bleeding to death on a crossface! Thaneros incarnate, no?

All that said, I do wonder if the release of the United 93 (and World Trade Center) will play into the hands of those with a more jingoistic agenda. With a “war on terror” still raging in the Middle East and many questioning its entire basis will these sentiment-inducing cinematic slideshows contribute to a renewed endorsement of the one-dimensional justifications of The Powers that Be (TM)?

I hope this film sees release for me to discern an answer….


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9 Responses to On “Hollywoodization” & Hypocrisy

  1. cluebyfour says:

    As I recall, Holocaust survivors (particularly “Schindler’s Jews”) enthusiastically supported Spielberg in making Schindler’s List.
    Eventually 9/11 survivors will have to ask themselves, “how long is long enough?” There will be some people who can never bring themselves to reconcile the horrors of that day, but that shouldn’t be an argument against making movies chronicling the event. They can always choose not to see the movie.

    • MRDA says:

      Indeed. I should have made more of the parallels between the approval of the affected of SL and U93.
      And yes – people have the choice not to be offended by avoiding the flick altogether; what they do not have is the right remove offence by dictating the terms of aesthetic freedom.

  2. jdcooper says:

    my only problem with these films is that they will be awful. as was my only problem with Titanic, Braveheart, Troy, The Patriot, The Passion of the Christ, etc etc. any subject is fair game, as long as a good film is made. in the case of Schindler’s List, i believe that was done, but generally, i will avoid this, and things like it, like the plague.

    • MRDA says:

      Oh don’t get me started on the overblown cumshot that was Titanic; great for carnage and catastrophe, but such, per se, do not a good movie make. I suspect The Passion of the Christ runs along a similar rationale.
      All that said Schindler’s List really proved to be excellent!

  3. konami says:

    The main reason cited at pulling trailers and the protest was about “exploition” in the film trailer, as in actually trying to revel up some feelings about 9/11. Of course some people in New York got really upset and pulled the trailer out. Other issues followed.
    It’s a bit of a double standard I say, Why are politicians allowed to exploit the event for their benefit and not hollywood?

    • MRDA says:

      Good question! I’ll never forget the continuous, hour-by-hour replays of the planes smacking into those towers on that day and the days that followed; I remember having a voice of a sports commentator in my head chanting: “Let’s see that again!”, such seemed the presentation of events….

  4. rinku says:

    My objection to this movie is that it implies people have short term memories — usually the purpose of a disaster film is to remind people of that disaster. A movie reminding us of the disaster 5 years later makes less sense than one reminding it of it 50 or 100 or 2000 years later, because 5 years is still living memory for the majority of people, whereas 50 years is not. So I suspect a lot of the objection is the same, people are thinking that other diaster movies provided a useful role, whereas this one is superfluous. That said, if a movie were made about the crew of the one plane that its passengers revolted against the terrorists, that would be worth making just for heroic value.

    • MRDA says:

      “That said, if a movie were made about the crew of the one plane that its passengers revolted against the terrorists, that would be worth making just for heroic value.”
      Just as long as it wasn’t overly sentimental and jingoistic, I could buy it….

  5. biscayne says:

    The Passion of the Christ was the bloodiest, most ridiculous movie I’ve ever watched. It focused so much on Jesus’s death that the main point of HE GOT UP was completely lost.
    Titanic was a load of crap. It was a pretty pathetic attempt at a love story.
    I have mixed feelings about the 9/11 movie, honestly.

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