Hollywood Has Seen the Enemy ...
It's Oscar time. Unfortunately -- or perhaps fortunately -- I haven't seen anywhere near all of the contenders. For that reason alone, I can't write an Oscar column. Throw in the fact that I think the Oscars are one of the most overhyped events in American life. They're almost as bad as the Grammys were when they were still around.
Wait, they still have those? Really?
OK, well, the Oscars are still overrated.
But I do love movies, and I'm fascinated by what they say about
American life. Of course, movies don't always reflect or articulate what
moviegoers are thinking. Often they merely express what
For instance, over the last decade,
It's a bit funny, then, to hear some people claim that "Avatar," with its cartoonish environmentalism and hackneyed attacks on the military and those evil corporations, is proof that Americans love serious left-wing preaching with their popcorn.
"For years," writes
I'm sure Goldstein's right. No doubt
Goldstein's effort is a good example of how critics and historians want to impose significance on films that may not be there.
Early Cold War movies from the 1950s rank pretty high as targets for film school vivisection. For decades, film historians have insisted that "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is a thinly veiled (and paranoid) allegory about Communist infiltration. The movie ends with the protagonist screaming directly into the camera: "They're here already! You're next! You're next!"
The funny thing is that the filmmakers never saw it as an allegory about anything.
That doesn't mean "Body Snatchers" didn't reflect Cold War anxieties. But it's a good reminder that filmmakers aren't always aware of their inspiration and that sometimes the best way to articulate a larger message is to not try to.
Since the end of the Cold War,
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Hollywood Has Seen the Enemy ... | Jonah Goldberg
(c) 2010 Jonah Goldberg