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Why Hollywood Uses Politically-Correct Villains: It's the Economy, Stupid

Posted on September 1 2009 2:00 pm
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"Inglourious Basterds" director Quentin Tarantino in a supporting role in his first film, 1992's "Reservoir Dogs." Like "Basterds" the film was entirely apolitical.

Last night’s Red Eye discussed how Hollywood films like to use certain kinds of villains over others.  Host Greg Gutfeld has a beef with the new “Rambo,” “GI Joe,” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”

According to Gutfeld:

“These three films have two things in common.  They avoid present real danger in the world and choose villains that are not just safe but politically correct to hate.”

On some level this is true.  The film industry, like any other business, generally wants to appeal to the largest audience possible.  Picking “safe” enemies is one way to do that.  As far as the new “Rambo” film, Stallone is just playing it safe because he must.  He does not have much of a career left — just let it slide, Greg.  As for the monumentally crappy “GI Joe,” let’s not even get into that can of worms.

Gutfeld continues:

“You’d think it would be easy for Quentin Tarantino to find a present-day enemy for the Jews (like, say, a terrorist group that denies the Holocaust and wants to wipe Israel off the map), but maybe none exist!”

With the politics surrounding Hollywood, one thing people have to understand is that not every filmmaker thinks he or she is a politician.  They don’t all want to make political statements with their films.  Quentin Tarantino is one of those people. All of his films have remained entirely apolitical.  His only concern is making a great film rather than making a political statement.

FOX News anchor Lauren Sivan said this of the film:

“The Jews finally have a movie where we’re depicted as heroic and you guys just dump all over it.  Give us something!”

I am surprised by some of the backlash from this film.  For the record, both my NewsReal colleague David Swindle and I loved it.  Maybe those who pan it just don’t enjoy Tarantino films.  They may also just be grouping him with the usual Hollywood crazies, which isn’t fair.  Tarantino is no Oliver Stone.

Gutfeld also said:

“It is distasteful to consider a battle between good and evil if it’s happening now, because then you have to choose sides.”

There is some obvious merit to this statement.  With the current economy, filmmakers don’t want to risk losing any potential audience.  Even when ticket sales are up, filmmakers may not want to pick sides on an issue.  Hollywood doesn’t always like a clear line between good and evil, so in order to lock a distributor, a director might keep his or her politics ambiguous (especially if those politics are right of center).

I would certainly love to see some more films clearly taking sides in the war on terror. However, a great film does not necessarily have to pick political sides with contemporary issues.  “Inglourious Basterds” is an ideal example.

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