December 18, 2009, - 10:50 am

VIDEO: The Unoriginality of the Hollywood Left

By Debbie Schlussel

In my “Avatar” review, yesterday, I noted that the movie is a repeat of a gazillion movies you’ve already seen.  I also noted, citing my dad, that as a society’s level of capitalism and freedom declines, so does it’s level of creativity.

This clever video, sent to me by fellow Detroit movie critic, Jeff Meyers of the Metro Times, shows that in spades.  Liberal Hollywood has zero ideas.  This goes beyond the endless stream of annoyingly bad remakes and moronic sequels.

Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s the dullest form of boredom.

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16 Responses

If Pete and RePete were sitting in a boat and Pete fell off who is left……?

Scott on December 18, 2009 at 11:12 am

The original and still the best enhancing sequence in film is from Antonioni’s Blow Up in the 60s. And there is no dumb dialogue. It’s all in silence with no use of the word ‘enhance’ to indulge the geeks. And most of all, it results in ambiguity rather than clarity. Ah those were the days.

roger on December 18, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Antonioni may have been a Commie, but “Blow-Up” still
    holds up as his best film and an eternal evocation of the “London that’s dead”. A recent viewing spotlighted the racist and sexist touches (all 100% appropriate) and beyond-cool music that make this my ultimate 60s nostalgia film. For a couple of hours, I’m back there in 1966 again for better or for worse.

    12-String Infidel on December 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm

One is hard pressed to think of a single new movie idea Hollywood has greenlit in the past decade. Why spend ten dollars to see a movie you’ve already seen? It does reflect the emptiness of American popular culture, which appropriately enough reflects the empty dummy in a suit who happens to be our President today.

NormanF on December 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I think what I despise most about Liberals is that they are boring and needy. They won’t get off stage because they are such narcissists they can’t live without the spotlight.

    How I hate it when a work of fiction is soooooo predictable. I hate it when the business man is always bad, even though he pays every one’s salary. And if I never see another TV show or read another book about an evil real estate developer who is up against a good and decent environmental cause type person, it will be too soon. I”m sick to death of the condescension of Liberals with their cutesy non western, native type who is just so simple and cloyingly cute with all the answers. BORING!

    I think I’ve basically accepted the fact that Liberals dominate the media and are such selfish, insecure bullies that no one who isn’t a fully vetted liberal, can get by them.
    Here’s what you need to qualify as someone who can create culture in Liberal Land.
    1. Hate Bush and have published books to that effect, or be famous for it.
    2. Be a non Western person who is also a Liberal and hates Western culture.
    3. Be gay and Liberal.
    4. Be Western and hate yourself, especially if you live in Vermont or Oregon.
    5. Be a lawyer and hate how rich you are and how you screw everyone.
    6. Be a teacher and have contempt for Western Culture and teaching anything that might be useful in the depraved modern world.

    Marcy O on December 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Cameron always seems to make the ‘good guys’ who keep America a free, safe and prosperous nation into villians in his films:

TITANIC – “The Rich”…you know, like the ones who bankroll ocean liners (but not his $300M film backers, I suppose).

AVATAR – “Mercenaries” (ie: Blackwater, etc.) even though they are portrayed more like U.S. Marines in the film.

THE ABYSS – The baddest guy was…wait for it…a U.S. Navy Seal Team member. What a shocker.

ALIENS- O.K….I guess The Marines were good guys, but totally ineffectual. It took a lone feminist (Weaver) to prevail.

TERMINATOR 2…Let’s see, the evil robot took the form of a Los Angles Police Officer throughout the film. Hmmmm…

Anybody else here detect a sad ‘arrested adolescent’ pattern of rebellion against authority figures here? What a cry-baby!

12-String Infidel on December 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

You know who’s kind of dumb? Roger Ebert – Watching “Avatar,” I felt sort of the same as when I saw “Star Wars” in 1977. That was another movie I walked into with uncertain expectations. James Cameron’s film has been the subject of relentlessly dubious advance buzz, just as his “Titanic” was. Once again, he has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. “Avatar” is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It’s a technical breakthrough.

And then there’s Chris Tookey, who watched the same film – Avatar: It’s Dances With Smurfs

And the entertaining paradox at the heart of the film is that this example of cinema at its most corporate pretends to have such a hippy-dippy view of the environment that it even wants us to be teary about an ecology that doesn’t exist.

The love story takes recycling to extremes, since it’s virtually identical to Disney’s Pocahontas.

And of course, the DS review.

And yet Roger Ebert is paid to review films and tell you what he thinks about them, in print, and via television.

What a world.

Martin on December 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Roger Ebert is on the Left. And how you react to a movie is a Rorschach Test about your worldview. Its no surprise most movie critics like the stuff they review in no small part because they share the worldview of the people who make the movies.

NormanF on December 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I dissent, Debbie, with your Dad’s point. Sometimes the harsh pressure of a repressive regime aids the creative process. The great Polish director K. Kieslowski(Red, White, Blue, The Double Life of Veronique, The Decalogue)said that working with communist censors cutting away at his work made him a better director because he had to outfox them by getting his point across in an oblique manner. Another example would be the Russian director Tarkosky(Solaris) who flourished under communism, but then fled to the west.

In a sick way, one might argue that a free society does allow for creativity, but often, we forgo this and ‘waste’ our time on stupidity and shallow art, while perhaps great strife, sadness, and conflict and oppression might just spark great works of art: The book Night, The Gulag Arch, Blood and Hope, and how about Kosinski’s art The Naked Bird. Kosinski survived both Nazi horror and communist, Stalinist horrors and his greatest work was The Painted Bird.

David Oberlander on December 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Movies are subject to the same economic forces as all other products. The primary ticket buying audience consists of people who aren’t old enough to have seen a dozen manifestations of the same story or aren’t the sort of people who read books. Millions of adults stay home and watch a DVD on their home entertainment centers rather than pay ten dollars each to sit in a theatre. Recycling an old story for the entertainment of a young or relatively unsophisticated audience is simply a safer business plan than taking a chance on a new idea.

The Terrorist's Advocate on December 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Kind of like politicians all using the same sound bites to win elections.

CaliforniaScreaming on December 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

Here in America Avatar is getting raves, but in Europe they say it is a flop. Just shows how much our nedia lies.

hermster on December 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

Media even. lol

hermster on December 20, 2009 at 9:12 am

I’d also like to point out that “enhancement” is not a panacea and rarely works.

It’s garbage in. Garbage out. If the video or photo image is low quality, poorly lit, or too far away, all you get when you enhance is: a bigger blob of whatever was there in the image.

I pick my teeth with Photoshop. How many times have I been able to “enhance” an artist’s illegible signature to make it out? Maybe one in a hundred. And I have a LOT of tricks.

nolotrippen on December 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

As dull as people sitting in front of computer screens is on tv and film, it’s better than the other obsession directors seem to have; dialogue delivered standing at a urinal.

tempus fugit on December 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

If you want to read an interesting book on Hollywood and the business, read William Goldman’s book. It has been literally years since I read it and in cruising amazon.com find he has 4 pages worth of books, but I think it is Adventures of the Screen Trade.

Goldman is an award-winning screenwriter of many years. The part of his book that stuck out with me is that most of the time these people have no clue what will be successful and what will bomb.

And usually they will spend as much in advertising as they did in making the movie – usually 50-50.

That’s why you see so many dumb sequels. Can you think of a more glaring contrast than the original (The Whole 9 Yards) and its sequel (too nice to call it a bomb) “The Whole 10 Yards”?

When a movie is a success they don’t even know WHY it was a success.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict “Avatar” will not recoup its production costs (estimated 500M!). Well, I guess that isn’t really being too bold ;-)

That YouTube video – in contrast to the 1000:1 ratio of absolute video crap (20 seconds of a car idling?) one sees there, someone really spent a lot of time putting that piece together.

Bill Brandt on December 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

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