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The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood 
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
JamesKunz wrote:
Vexer wrote:
JJoshay wrote:
I hate Funny Games because Haneke succeeded with his goal. I say goal because there are no other goals striven for aside from a deliberate attack on the audience in their part of watching the film and, by circa proxy philosophy psychology Haneke movie motif logic magic algorithm however the fuck he makes his films, their part in the Hollywood movie complex. Haneke himself said that anyone who walked out of Funny Games was in no need of the film, and those who were in need of the film were those who suffered through it. I get it, very clever; by the time the remake came out (without a changed scene, shot, line of dialogue or piece of clothing) it was just insulting. What am I getting out of this movie by rewatching it and evaluating how clever it is at prodding me for watching it? Fuck that noise, I'll watch Cache again and discover something worthwhile.

My thoughts exactly, if the film was trying to be realistic, that went completely out the window with the "rewind" scene, why not have
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the one guy getting killed with the shotgun as a hallucination or imagined scene instead of that nonsense with the remote(which BTW reminded me of Click and made me laugh out, i'm guessing that's not the reaction Hanecke was going for)? Hanecke still could've gone for the mind screw and it would've made a hell of a lot more sense.
There's a actually a video game called Spec Ops: The Line which has a similar aim as Funny Games, only in this case it acts as a deconstruction of games like Modern Warfare. The game developers made similar comments to Hanecke(the lead developer said something along the lines of "there is another choice, turn the game off"), and those who have played the games compared the message to that of Funny Games. I thought the game succeeded pretty well with it's message in that it didn't feel like it was blindly condemning the individual like Hanecke was. Fuck that noise indeed, i'd much rather watch of those "Hollywood" films then sit through another of one of Hanecke's pretentious crapfests.


*Sighs* I rarely argue you Vexer. We're different in terms of our tastes, and I'm normally cool about that. But here...

You. Just. Don't. Get. It. Everything you say is like someone reading Animal Farm and saying that having pigs talk was SO unrealistic and stupid.

No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.


Wed May 29, 2013 12:40 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Johnny Larue wrote:
Babe: Pig In The City....now THERE was some Leftist Hollywood claptrap if ever there was...

Best part of that movie is when the farmer completes the first ever successful warp spaceflight.

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Wed May 29, 2013 12:52 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Ken wrote:
Johnny Larue wrote:
Babe: Pig In The City....now THERE was some Leftist Hollywood claptrap if ever there was...

Best part of that movie is when the farmer completes the first ever successful warp spaceflight.


Right before he drops his nerd sons off at college and then arrests Mickey Cohen to take over L.A.'s organized crime

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Wed May 29, 2013 2:23 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
Johnny Larue wrote:
Babe: Pig In The City....now THERE was some Leftist Hollywood claptrap if ever there was...

Best part of that movie is when the farmer completes the first ever successful warp spaceflight.


Right before he drops his nerd sons off at college and then arrests Mickey Cohen to take over L.A.'s organized crime

I remember watching that film as a kid and being surprised at how dark it was at times.


Wed May 29, 2013 2:46 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
That was Gene Siskel's favorite movie of 1998. Odd.
Vexer wrote:
No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.

I haven't heard anything resembling a cogent rebuttal concerning our Bush v. Obama discussion, so I am going to assume that you have nothing to add.

Another film franchise with questionable politics? The Iron Man trilogy. Sure, it's popular entertainment. I know. I know. It's a comic-book movie. It's not to be read between the lines. But still. In the first film, Tony Stark is essentially a war profiteer who shuts down the heavy-arms manufacturing sector of Stark Industries after being kidnapped by terrorists in Afghanistan. We're then led to believe that Stark has atoned for his sins and should therefore be forgiven, because he's realized just how dangerous the military-industrial complex is. Then, half-way through the movie, we're supposed to think of Tony as something of a savior because he's now using his technology to save innocent villagers from these aforementioned terrorists.

But wasn't he, at one point, one of the largest suppliers of said terrorists? I understand that this is the point that the movie is trying to hammer home, but it never feels as if Tony is held accountable for his own mistakes. (That sequence with him blasting up his basement is powerful, however.) Still, the fact of the matter remains that Tony is just as much a criminal as the warlords whom he backed for a very long period of time.

Jump forward two years later. In Iron Man 2, Tony's friend, Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, steals the War Monger suit and hands it over to the U.S. government. Earlier on in the film, Tony (justifiably) denied corrupt bureaucrats access to his own suit.

Now, in Iron Man 3, the Iron Patriot is a major character. Granted, Stark, given his extensive wealth and resources, could have probably gotten back the suit from the U.S. government. But instead, he allows Rhodes to operate the Iron Patriot suit. A scene in Pakistan depicts the Iron Patriot as if its the nation's very own friendly neighborhood Iron Man. Pakistani women working in a sweatshop are seen grateful upon his arrival, as they rush out the door. Ironic, how a franchise which started out denouncing military aggression now seems to be embracing it.

Perhaps I'm reading too much between the lines, but this is the impression I got.


Wed May 29, 2013 3:08 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Sean wrote:
That was Gene Siskel's favorite movie of 1998. Odd.
Vexer wrote:
No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.

I haven't heard anything resembling a cogent rebuttal concerning our Bush v. Obama discussion, so I am going to assume that you have nothing to add.

Another film franchise with questionable politics? The Iron Man trilogy. Sure, it's popular entertainment. I know. I know. It's a comic-book movie. It's not to be read between the lines. But still. In the first film, Tony Stark is essentially a war profiteer who shuts down the heavy-arms manufacturing sector of Stark Industries after being kidnapped by terrorists in Afghanistan. We're then led to believe that Stark has atoned for his sins and should therefore be forgiven, because he's realized just how dangerous the military-industrial complex is. Then, half-way through the movie, we're supposed to think of Tony as something of a savior because he's now using his technology to save innocent villagers from these aforementioned terrorists.

But wasn't he, at one point, one of the largest suppliers of said terrorists? I understand that this is the point that the movie is trying to hammer home, but it never feels as if Tony is held accountable for his own mistakes. (That sequence with him blasting up his basement is powerful, however.) Still, the fact of the matter remains that Tony is just as much a criminal as the warlords whom he backed for a very long period of time.

Jump forward two years later. In Iron Man 2, Tony's friend, Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, steals the War Monger suit and hands it over to the U.S. government. Earlier on in the film, Tony (justifiably) denied corrupt bureaucrats access to his own suit.

Now, in Iron Man 3, the Iron Patriot is a major character. Granted, Stark, given his extensive wealth and resources, could have probably gotten back the suit from the U.S. government. But instead, he allows Rhodes to operate the Iron Patriot suit. A scene in Pakistan depicts the Iron Patriot as if its the nation's very own friendly neighborhood Iron Man. Pakistani women working in a sweatshop are seen grateful upon his arrival, as they rush out the door. Ironic, how a franchise which started out denouncing military aggression now seems to be embracing it.

Perhaps I'm reading too much between the lines, but this is the impression I got.
To be honest I had completely forgotten about that discussion until now. i'm not saying anything else about Funny Games because there's nothing else for me to say about it, I didn't like it, that's all there is to it, now moving on.

As for the Iron Man films, I can sort of see your point, but I do think you are overanalyzing them a bit much, I don't think the third film was embracing military aggression or anything like that, the sweatshop scene was too comical for me to really take seriously as "embracing" anything.


Wed May 29, 2013 3:26 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
Johnny Larue wrote:
Babe: Pig In The City....now THERE was some Leftist Hollywood claptrap if ever there was...

Best part of that movie is when the farmer completes the first ever successful warp spaceflight.


Right before he drops his nerd sons off at college and then arrests Mickey Cohen to take over L.A.'s organized crime


I've said this for years, but how great would it have been if, at the end of LA Confidential, Guy Pearce turned to Cromwell and said, "that'll do, pig"?

It easily would have been my favorite movie reference ever.


Wed May 29, 2013 3:33 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Vexer wrote:
No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.


Kunzie has a point. You're trying to have it both ways. In one breath you say you understand the film, and the next you criticize it for being unrealistic. Realism is not the goal of the film. Like I said, understanding a film and liking it don't have to go hand in hand.

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Wed May 29, 2013 4:23 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Vexer wrote:
No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.


Kunzie has a point. You're trying to have it both ways. In one breath you say you understand the film, and the next you criticize it for being unrealistic. Realism is not the goal of the film. Like I said, understanding a film and liking it don't have to go hand in hand.

Excellent point. For example, I loved The Master, even though I still have absolutely no idea what it was about.


Wed May 29, 2013 4:40 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Vexer wrote:
No, YOU don't get it! :roll: :evil: I understand what the film was aiming for perfectly well, I just don't think it suceeded very well, just cause I don't like it DOES NOT I repeat DOES NOT mean I don't "get it" if you can't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.


Kunzie has a point. You're trying to have it both ways. In one breath you say you understand the film, and the next you criticize it for being unrealistic. Realism is not the goal of the film. Like I said, understanding a film and liking it don't have to go hand in hand.

I wasn't trying to have it "both ways", due to my AS i'm not always so good at articulating my thoughts(i'm not nearly as elequent of a speaker as say Ken) on things. So i'm sorry for any confusion I may have caused. May I suggest starting a seperate thread for Funny Games if anyone wishes to discuss it further?


Wed May 29, 2013 5:38 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
As long as we're talking about me, I posted a link earlier that I thought was pretty kickass and useful, but it seemed to get overlooked.

So here it is again.

Ken wrote:
Movies can say one thing with their words and say quite another with their style--and at the end of the day, style is going to win almost every time, because film is basically a medium of the senses. That which gets your blood pumping or pulls at your heartstrings is going to override that which speaks to your higher cognitive faculties.

This is a difficult concept to just explain, but Jim Emerson takes a pretty good shot at it with this article and a handful of examples.


I suppose this is where I find out whether or not people were intentionally ignoring it.

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Wed May 29, 2013 10:24 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Ken wrote:
As long as we're talking about me, I posted a link earlier that I thought was pretty kickass and useful, but it seemed to get overlooked.

So here it is again.

Ken wrote:
Movies can say one thing with their words and say quite another with their style--and at the end of the day, style is going to win almost every time, because film is basically a medium of the senses. That which gets your blood pumping or pulls at your heartstrings is going to override that which speaks to your higher cognitive faculties.

This is a difficult concept to just explain, but Jim Emerson takes a pretty good shot at it with this article and a handful of examples.


I suppose this is where I find out whether or not people were intentionally ignoring it.
Interesting article, I definitely agree with him on Mississipi Burning, though not so much on Natural Born Killers and Thelma And Louise.

Another example of an offensive film that says one thing and does another is "She Hate Me" , watching the film, it's extremely hard to believe that it's the same person who directed "Do The Right Thing". The "offensive" part is that film basically implies that the right man can "cure" lesbianism, and of course almost every lesbian in the film besides Fatima is a walking "butch" stereotype, you'd think Spike Lee of all people would've shown more sensitivity on the subject, but no such luck, he's made some some powerful statements about racism in past films, but this film shows that he is incredibly ignorant about the gay community


Wed May 29, 2013 10:48 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Ken wrote:
As long as we're talking about me, I posted a link earlier that I thought was pretty kickass and useful, but it seemed to get overlooked.

So here it is again.

Ken wrote:
Movies can say one thing with their words and say quite another with their style--and at the end of the day, style is going to win almost every time, because film is basically a medium of the senses. That which gets your blood pumping or pulls at your heartstrings is going to override that which speaks to your higher cognitive faculties.

This is a difficult concept to just explain, but Jim Emerson takes a pretty good shot at it with this article and a handful of examples.


I suppose this is where I find out whether or not people were intentionally ignoring it.


That was indeed interesting, Ken, thanks. It confirms that I do need to post the thread I have been mulling over in my mind. Look for it soon. It'll knock your pants off.

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Wed May 29, 2013 10:52 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Thanks for the link Ken. That was an interesting read. I must say that I like Emerson's style even if I don't agree much with his observations (yes - pun intended). You've been talking him up for some time, but this is the first time I've ever read his reviews. It won't be the last.

Wasn't avoiding your link as much as trying to avoid this thread. I'm very right of center and believe Hollywood is almost exclusively leftist with almost exclusively leftist philosophy exhibited in their work. I will freely acknowledge, however, that there are plenty of people of all political types who will do anything for a buck and produce whatever they think will sell. I don't mind pandering businessmen nearly as much as I hate pandering politicians.

Ken wrote:
As long as we're talking about me, I posted a link earlier that I thought was pretty kickass and useful, but it seemed to get overlooked.

So here it is again.

Ken wrote:
Movies can say one thing with their words and say quite another with their style--and at the end of the day, style is going to win almost every time, because film is basically a medium of the senses. That which gets your blood pumping or pulls at your heartstrings is going to override that which speaks to your higher cognitive faculties.

This is a difficult concept to just explain, but Jim Emerson takes a pretty good shot at it with this article and a handful of examples.


I suppose this is where I find out whether or not people were intentionally ignoring it.


Thu May 30, 2013 9:15 am
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
CasualDad wrote:
Wasn't avoiding your link as much as trying to avoid this thread. I'm very right of center and believe Hollywood is almost exclusively leftist with almost exclusively leftist philosophy exhibited in their work.


I've been researching my masters thesis on this very topic, and I've found that since the 1980s, this is hardly the case. "Liberal Hollywood" is a popular thing to say, but a careful analysis of the films of the past 30-35 years show that while there are plenty of liberal-minded figures in Hollywood, the ideas behind the films are not very liberal at all. A few exceptions exist, of course - Wall Street, Syriana, Bulworth, V For Vendetta - but on a whole, the films rarely veer off a centrist path, and some espouse ideas that are very conservative in their nature. I believe I can prove this, and that's why I'm writing about it.

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Thu May 30, 2013 1:19 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
As has been mentioned before, many times a film can be perceived both as "right wing" or "left wing" depending on who is doing the analysis. My personal belief is that the vast majority of films are agnostic when it comes to the left/right dichotomy.

Sexual Chocolate wrote:
a careful analysis of the films of the past 30-35 years show that while there are plenty of liberal-minded figures in Hollywood, the ideas behind the films are not very liberal at all. A few exceptions exist, of course


I would say that where a political agenda or left/right philosophy can be clearly determined (or at least agreed upon by a group of observers), that the "few exceptions" would actually be the "right wing" view point in Hollywood movies compared to the "left wing" viewpoint. Many "right wing" examples cited here have been action movies; if blowing shit up is a "conservative value" then so be it. But don't confuse popcorn spectacle for promotion of an ideology.


Thu May 30, 2013 4:19 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
"Blowing shit up" isn't necessarily a literal descriptor, at least for my part. It's shorthand for a certain kind of socially conservative worldview, which is the realm you're usually in when you're examining a mainstream production for the kind of values it promotes.

It's just a lot less fun to say it that way than to say "blowing shit up". Appropriately for a movie-related discussion, I use the image to dramatize the idea.

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Thu May 30, 2013 4:44 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
Ken wrote:
"Blowing shit up" isn't necessarily a literal descriptor, at least for my part. It's shorthand for a certain kind of socially conservative worldview, which is the realm you're usually in when you're examining a mainstream production for the kind of values it promotes.

It's just a lot less fun to say it that way than to say "blowing shit up". Appropriately for a movie-related discussion, I use the image to dramatize the idea.


Well I am very careful with my opinions here since I live outside the US and don't have the same insight, but I think Ken is referring to any pro-"quick and dirty enforcement" mentality of the old John Wayne and Chuck Heston variety. It can be subtle like, say, on a corporate level. No need for guns or explosives. Just find any reason to fire employees with a mentality that doesn't immediately maximize profits or improve on the image as percieved by the public.

That reminds me: I still have to watch "Up in the Air" (shame on me) - not sure if that movie has a different agenda buried somewhere beneath the surface. Will report back in "last movie you watched" ASAP.


Thu May 30, 2013 8:45 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
I guess nationalism and blowing stuff up could be viewed as conservative by some. But I was thinking more along the lines of social behaviors and economics. It seems fairly rare to see depictions of ordinary and conservative people in movies or even give a hint as to whether characters who are decent and ordinary people participate in common activities such as going to church, while other common activities such as drinking with friends are staples in the industry. I realize this probably has more to do with entertainment than it does politics since conservative behaviors are not generally viewed as entertaining. But it would be nice if a supporting good guy or gal could be a helpful conservative friend and neighbor. Instead, if a supporting character is emphasized as conservative it is usually to set them up to demonstrate some hypocritical behavior either for comedic or antagonistic effect. It seems to me to be much more common to see unwed mothers, sex workers, stoners, absentee fathers, ex cons., etc., depicted as good people in movies these days than it is to see a conservative portrayed that way. In the same way, business people seldom seem to be portrayed in a positive light unless they are fighting against the greedy leadership or are just poor slobs trying to put food on the table while working for the man. Nobody ever seems to be able to enjoy their job while working for good people. Again, I understand that stories need a hook and/or tension to be interesting, but even small supporting characters are rarely depicted as "good" conservatives.


Thu May 30, 2013 9:10 pm
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Post Re: The Left-Right Paradigm in Hollywood
You tend not to see ordinary conservative people in big-budget, big-studio movies for the same reason that you tend not to see ordinary liberal people. You tend to see more dramatic types in general.

A businessman who always cuts his partners a good deal? Not very dramatic. A businessman whose dealings are fraught with conflict? Dramatic. People with a stable family situation? Not very dramatic. Families where the mom is single, the dad's a deadbeat, the parents have gotten/are getting divorced? Dramatic. People who frown upon drugs tend not to generate drama unless their position brings them into conflict with someone who doesn't feel the same way. On the flip side, people who use drugs and write novels or study microbes tend to lose out to people who use drugs and get embroiled in crime or foolish slapstick. Gay partners in a healthy, committed relationship? Probably not, unless they're way in the background or mined as a source of irony or funny stereotypes. And so on.

My contention isn't necessarily that Hollywood movies are awash in favorable depictions of conservatives and unfavorable depictions of liberals, but that the conflicts and resolutions of those movies tend to mirror a comfortable vision of wholesomeness and the status quo. Basically, is the behavior (whichever side of the fence) applicable as a source of conflict, by which the virtues of tradition and normalcy might be affirmed? Boom--it's in the movie. And that can be a positive or a negative.

You'll rarely see negative depictions of soldiers, unless they're the bad soldiers who exist to highlight the heroism of the good soldiers. Conversely, you rarely see an unwed mother in a plot that ends up legitimately promoting unwed motherhood, even if the character herself is the protagonist. The message is usually not "unwed motherhood is great". A mild exception might be Juno: an indie-ish, fairly straight depiction of teen pregnancy that had the sack not to include a crushing moral at the end of the story, and it was loudly criticized for making that choice. It says something about the movies that typify the marketplace that we don't see that reaction very often toward other movies that include a teen mom.

Drug characters are usually handled one of two ways: they usually run afoul of the destructive consequences of their actions, or they're depicted with such audacity that audacity itself is the only thing excusing their behavior. When James Franco tries to kick out the windshield while he's driving and his foot gets stuck in the hole instead, that' pure audacity forming a firm barrier between the movie and plausibility. It's an elbow in our ribs, letting us know that stoners can be heroes as long as their antics have no basis in reality. If they were depicted in more realistic situations, such a favorable spin would be highly unlikely. Though, to be fair, depictions of drugs as a business are often glamorous.

Churchgoing characters are an interesting case, though, now that I think about it. You don't see a whole lot of Ned Flanders type characters (though Flanders himself would be a good counter-example of a humble churchgoing character, at least before The Simpsons lost its way), though I think you do see flawed churchgoing characters whose flaws aren't attributable to the church. It's a weird disconnect--obviously there's something about their faith that informs their values, but those values might not manifest in their deeds. It's rare to see religion itself depicted from a skeptical or hostile point of view.

This is strictly speaking big company, big budget movies, of course. I think there's a much bigger variety of characters in smaller movies. They're more likely to take the chance that an ordinary character might have a dramatic life. They're more likely to depict a liberal worldview, but I think that's because they're more willing to give a variety of worldviews a fair shake. They don't have to worry so much about offending a mass audience. They can tell stories about small-town conservative guys, they can have healthy gay couples, they can have independent women whose independence isn't just a gender-flipped tale of masculine individualism, they can have soldiers whose willingness to fight isn't smothered in anvilicious patriotism, and so on. I'm not saying that the indies are always better; just that they don't cling so tightly to the apron strings of the tried-and-true.

I think I'm rambling, but that's what you get for writing a thought-provoking post.

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