Sunday, October 02, 2005

At the Box Office

Most men are fairly simple and uncomplicated when it comes to their entertainment needs. They like to watch sports and action movies. An ultimate guys night is going out to a ball game and then grabbing a pizza and some hot wings on the way home to "dine" on as they watch the latest car chase-blow 'em up DVD from the video rental store or pay-per-view.

Action flicks don't require much of a plot but great special effects are a big plus. Just have a bad guy doing something bad and a larger then life hero who can put a stop to him even if it means leveling half the city to it and wah-lah you have satisfied the typical man's need for amusement. These good guys don't need permission or a vote from congress to nuke the evil dude off the planet. They just get results.... and usually get the beautiful woman who was thrown into the story to try and give the wives a reason for watching these movies with their husbands.

For many generations no one suited the description of an all American movie hero better than the Duke, John Wayne. Listen, Pilgrim, there was never any need for the Duke to be sensitive

or admit he'd made a mistake because he never made one. He was always right no matter what and he always got the job done. Those movies didn't contain any messages except good always triumphs over evil. There was no blurring or shades of gray. Everything was black and white ... right or wrong ... good guy or bad guy. America was great. Period.

As the 1970's approached America was embroiled not only in Vietnam but also the Cultural Revolution. Young people were now openly questioning and defying the "establishment." In 1971 Clint Eastwood brought a new kind hero to the screen in Dirty Harry. As the character of San Francisco homicide inspector Harry Callahan, Eastwood introduced to us to flawed hero. No longer was the hero always right. No longer was the hero without any vices of his own. No longer was the hero a role model. Callahan was not only fighting criminals but a liberal, ineffective judicial system that gave rights to criminals and penalized the police officer. This new kind of grittier and close to life realism rallied audiences from coast-to-coast.

The formula was still there.... good guys vs bad guys BUT sometimes the good guys did bad things to catch the bad guys.

For the most these action movies drew male audiences who were fed up with political correctness, non traditional diverse values being spun as normal, and a system that talked but didn't act. Even liberal commentators like Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball said how much he liked watching John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Arnold, and Bruce Willis despite the fact the themes of their movies were very conservative.

Apparently other liberals were not as "opened minded" as Matthews. After decades of trying to cram political correctness and tolerance at us in "serious" dramatic movies... they changed tactics. They realized that movies like Making Love in 1982 were not the best suited venues to sell America on homosexual acceptance. What did they do?

Give the American male audience the liberal agenda in an action movie!

Enter new action stars like Steven Seagal, a practicing Buddhist and martial arts expert, to punch home the message. The movies started out on easily accepted plot lines... Above the Law where a good cop is chased by not so good cops but everyone is a "little" dirty. Blurring...

The Patriot took on those gun toting, flag saluting, Bible thumping militia nuts that were going to over throw America.

In the Under Siege series Seagal plays Naval officer Casey Ryback who must kill a CIA agent turned traitor in the first movie played by Tommy Lee Jones. When Jones tells Ryback we've been lied to by our government Casey responds, "we both serve the same sick master and he's ungrateful." In the sequel he must kill Travis Dane, the creator and inventor of the Star Wars missile defense system, who has decided to sell this weaponry to the highest bidder after he blows up a Chinese chemical plant.

Both bad guys were actually trained by the US Government until there "usefulness" was no longer needed. The subtle messages of those movies... America creates it's own problems. Sounds like the spin of the media today on why we should withdraw from Iraq. Afterall, we created these dictators and now we're sending innocent young boys to die in George Bush's war.

Most action audiences would miss the changing themes. The special effects are getting better, the plots grittier, and bad guys are still being killed.

Gangsta rapper turned movie star, Ice Cube, has now added his name and influence to the list. After appearing in Boyz in the Hood about gang life in L.A. and the comedies of Barbershop and Are We There Yet?, the Cube melted into the role of Darius Stone for the sequel XXX:State of the Union. Samuel L. Jackson recruits this thrill seeking convict to be the next xXx agent.

His mission: save the US Government from a deadly conspiracy.

Who is the bad guy this time? Five star general and Secretary of Defense George Deckert (played by William Dafoe).

It seems the President wants to lead the world in peace by disarming and reducing the size of the military (one of those quaint but misguided liberal ideas that somehow bad people who hate America will love us if we disarm and surrender). The Secretary of Defense will not allow the President to disarm so he must be stopped. Enter xXx to stop Deckert. Plenty of action, fast cars, and even part of the Capitol of Dome gets blown up while the liberal message quietly begins to make its move... the bad guy is now the pro American conservative who has national security and sovereignty at heart.

Whether it's Will Smith's sci-fi movie Independence Day that plays out like the dated song, "we are the world... we are the children..." where all the governments work together and declare the 4th of July Independence Day for the World (nice erosion of our own national sovereignty there) or the next Matt Damon "Jason Bourne" movie.... the tide is turning. Liberals are slowly but steadily taking the last line of conservative expression in the entertainment field: the action movie.

As the Kevin Costner's make throw back movies like Open Range which clearly depict right vs wrong and good vs. bad... Hollywood will thrive on the multi dimensional character who may save the day but is just as bad as the guy he killed. Now that the Kurt Russells and other conservative actors find other avenues of expression rather than the Big Screen we even see icons like Clint Eastwood making liberal leaning theme movies like Million Dollar Baby which depicts the positive side of suicide.

Where are ya when we need ya, Duke?


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Blogger Kevin Keever said...

Good post. Yes, I plan to watch an action movie tonight. A good vs. bad conservative one...Die Hard maybe or Full Metal Jacket...oh wait, I don't know how conservative that one is, but I do have some wings and there is a lot of gook killing in it. :-)

Bring back the Lone Ranger; Bring back Chips. :-)

OOO-RAAA. Semper Fi Do or die Gung Ho Gung Ho Gung Ho....OOO-RAAA

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