MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Why Can't The Left Make Better Movies?

Damn that right wing! They are so good at making big popcorn movies and the left just doesn’t know how to entertain an audience…
HA! Just kidding. But here is a look at two well meaning films that I wish were made well.
The Hot Button, May 24, 2006

Be Sociable, Share!

13 Responses to “Why Can't The Left Make Better Movies?”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    …in your opinion. Rotten Tomatoes has Inconvenient Truth at 85%. I know, I know: liberal media myopia, right? Heaven forbid that the reviewers actually thought it was a good film….

  2. David Poland says:

    Of course in my fucking opinion! What am I, a religious icon?
    No liberal media myopia. Please note that I don’t even start to qiuestion the science, though I have to say it was a bit deflating when Gore explains that it took 5 years (or something like that) to “fix” the ozone problem, a fact that works against the activism the movie wants to create. So long as there is a 5 year out, there will be little action by average Americans.
    Nor did I ponit out that there is a disconnect between the showbiz roadshow and any serious conversation because, hey, how else to sell this thing?
    That said, I would suggest that reviews are encouraging the idea of the movie much more than the movie. I also encourage the discussion. But the movie is a bore with a capital B. And many of the film’s most ardent supporters will acknowledge the same in private.
    Who Killed The Electric Car is a much better movie… and much clearer about offering a course of action.
    Rotten Tomatoes, much as I like those guys, is turning into this dark cloud rating system. Knowing what percentage of critics like am movie is fine. But as a specific argument, it sucks, whether the numbers fall on my side or not.

  3. Wrecktum says:

    I don’t disagree with you. Rotten Tomatoes is the “quick fix” answer to all movie debate these days, it seems. The only reason I cited RT and clarified that your comment was “your opinion” is because your initial blog entry was a bit strident. Especially your comment that the films weren’t “well made” which, I would argue, is more an objective criterion than subjective.
    But the reviews were very good and thank you for the detailed response. Can’t say I’ll see either film though…the dry subject matter, no matter how well presented, is not my idea of a good night out on the town.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    Way to go to deflate the stridency, DP.

  5. PetalumaFilms says:

    Speaking of, topic wise…
    Anyone else find it ironic that this season of FOX’s “24” is very left leaning and very much a progressives wet dream in terms of what the President “could” do if he wanted. Well, maybe more of a conspiracy nuts wet dream, but still. it pains the President as a sneaky, conniving evil man.
    However, ABC’s “Lost” is one of the most jingoistic, pro war shows I’ve ever seen. The whole thing with “sometimes you have to torture your prisoner to get the answers you want” and other topical items were peppered throughout this season. Just something I likely read way too much into…

  6. Eric says:

    Petaluma, if “24” leaned left this season, it may have been a conscious move to balance out the distinctly rightward tilt of the last few seasons. The third and fourth seasons, if memory serves, regularly demostrated the “upside” to torturing prisoners for information, to presidents bypassing the law to “get things done,” to xenophobia, etc.
    I haven’t seen the fifth season– I watch the show on DVD– so please don’t feel compelled to respond if you have to give awawy any plot points to do so.

  7. palmtree says:

    This is the first season of 24 where the Pres. has been so blatantly overstepping his power. You could argue that it comes out of Logan’s chickenshit character. Or that it is one of the few places that 24 has yet to push (previous pres. were always generally good people). Or that they have it in for Nixon/Bush types. I’d argue the formers since the show does skew right. 24 shows bureaucracy in a negative light while Dirty Harrys like Bauer are shown as positive. And 24 is the mother of torture currently on TV.

  8. Eric says:

    When Palmer was president, he crossed the line plenty of times– didn’t he have the head of the CIA tortured? and journalists detained?– but the show implied that he was right to do so. He was always the good guy, with honest intentions, and torture got results.
    Palmtree, you’re spot on in describing the underlying leanings, regarding bureaucracy and Dirty Harry types. But it goes back well before this season.
    If this is the first season they show a lawless president in a negative light, I would suspect it’s because they want to find some balance, and refrain from alienating half of their potential audience. It also adds a little variety to the show– the fourth season got boring, because it felt like it was more of the same.

  9. JckNapier2 says:

    24 has always been about the horrible things that the ‘heroes’ do in order to attempt to protect us. Of course, what many people miss about 24 is the idea that Jack’s actions are never celebrated. Time and time again, Jack attempts to escape the life he lived, knowing full well that everything he does is costing him a bit of his soul. And time and time again, he gets pulled back in and forced to do often monstrous things. If anything, Jack is to be pitied.
    As for the politics, seasons 1 and 3 were pretty neutral. Seasons 2 and 5 were hardcore liberal fantasies (as a liberal watching season 2 at the start of the Iraq war, it was certainly interesting to see a president demand real evidence and try his damnest not to lead us into a war that was false). Yes, season 4 was a bit to the right, but again, save for that silly torture debate episode (where no one thinks to offer immunity to the would-be victim for the information), the show never commented on the subject matter. Season 5 of course had… (spoilers)…
    the left-wing fantasy of a Republican president who is both incompantant and evil to the point of mass murder. And, in the end, he is taken down not by Jack Bauer’s vengeance, but by evidence coerced from his wife and then arrested to face justice in our due-process legal system.
    As the creator has commented now and then, he may be a moderate conservative, but the only message of the show is that terrorism is bad.
    Scott Mendelson

  10. JckNapier2 says:

    As for Lost (spoilers…)
    Recall that the person who is tortured is not undone by the torture. The secret in question is uncovered by old fashioned detective work. His torture turns out to be a pointless ineffective act.
    Scott Mendelson

  11. palmtree says:

    I think opinions of 24’s leanings come down to this question: is it portraying the ideal or the real? If ideal, then it could be read as a liberal critque of conservatism. If real, then it could be read as conservative critique of liberalism.

  12. Eric says:

    I appreciate the spoiler warning– I didn’t see anything.
    Just to be safe, I am officially withdrawing from this conversation. I got through months and months of my friends trying to give things away– I’m not going to let it happen now.

  13. Crow T Robot says:

    I just ituned the final two episodes late last night…
    Argh, I tell you. Argh!

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon