Is Hollywood Becoming More Conservative?

DirtyHarryby Tim Jones1/24/15
During the latter part of 2014, there have been three war-time movies introduced to the public, each depicting the heroism, sacrifice and ingenuity of the human spirit. It is interesting they have come out at a time of extreme political cynicism and fragmentation. Each one is incredibly inspirational providing a sense of unity and optimism that is sorely needed at this time, so one wonders if Hollywood is getting more conservative or have they gotten the message that the public is a lot more conservative than they think, or possibly both.

American Sniper may be one of the most heroic movies in years. Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who is deployed to Iraq four different times as a marksman specialist to back up troop movement by identifying and killing anyone who threatens American soldiers. Kyle gets asked a couple of times why he keeps going back and his reply is always because he loves his country, he wants to protect it and his ‘brothers,’ and is willing to die for what he believes in if it should come to that.

One of the many powerful scenes in the movie occurs when he’s back in San Diego in between tours and he’s at a tire shop getting a new one put on his truck. A young man recognizes him and introduces himself to Kyle and knows him from Iraq, that he saved his life by carrying him to safety after having lost his leg while in combat together.

Kyle doesn’t recognize the young man but you can tell he is clearly uncomfortable when the wounded veteran with the prosthetic leg thanks him multiple times, salutes him and then bends down to tell the young son that his father is a true hero and that he saved his life. Kyle’s humility, although subtle, is demonstrated when he doesn’t salute back and seems to be totally embarrassed by the overwhelming adulation.

In Unbroken, a tour de force of survival amid the most unrelenting situations of depravity and brutality. It is the life story story of Louis Zamperini based on the book by Lauren Hillenbrand. In the movie, Zamperini survives forty-seven days floating in the South Pacific after his plane crashed due to mechanical failure. His misfortune only gets worse when he and a surviving crew mate are found by Japanese sailors and taken to a prison camp outside Tokyo.

There he is perpetually tortured by the sadistic camp commander nicknamed “The Bird.” One wonders how Zamperini could have possibly survived up to this point and continues to worsen. He’s transferred to a slave labor camp with other prisoners of war, only to find that The Bird is the commandant having been previously transferred from the one where he terrorized Zamperini. And the terrorizing and torture begins all over again.

In one scene the Japanese take Zamperini to Tokyo to entice him into being a propaganda tool, where if he were to publicly support their failing war effort, he would be allowed to leave the camp and live in relative comfort as some American soldiers had chosen to do. Without hesitation, he tells them he won’t do it and is returned to the hard labor and torture he had been enduring for nearly two years. His liberation along with the other prisoners-of-war finally arrives and he’s reunited with his family back in Los Angeles.

The Imitation Game is the not-so-well known story of a British mathematician Alan Turing, who plays a pivotal role in helping the Allied forces win World War II by cracking the codes of the Nazi “Enigma” machine. It is a device they use for communicating mission instructions to their armed forces wherever they’re located. By breaking the code, England and its Allies will know the Nazis every move.

With the conviction and the certainty of a man who knows he will be successful, Turing convinces the powers that be that he can create a machine that can break Enigma, a seemingly impossible project since it has 159 million million possible combinations. It is his determination to succeed that pays off when it appears that his ‘machine’ he designed and built is not going to work.

The back story throughout the movie that comes to the fore towards the end is Turing’s homosexuality. A British court convicts him of indecency and forces him to either serve two years in prison or undergo hormone therapy to ‘cure’ him. He chooses the therapy but commits suicide a year later. Although some may find the subject of his homosexuality not a conservative theme, it’s more his perseverance to succeed is what really stands out, most definitely a conservative theme.

Turing’s invention that broke the Enigma encoding device and what came to be called “Turing Machines,” was essentially the first computer, paving the way for the explosion in computer science and development in the years to follow. All the smartphones, laptops and tablets today are descendants of the original Turing Machine.

The common thread between all three of these movies is the triumph of the human spirit. The heroism, sacrifice and ingenuity of Chris Kyle, Louis Zamperini and Alan Turing are not the themes nor characteristics that are found very often coming out Washington or Hollywood in the myopic Age of Obama. But if Hollywood is getting the message then hopefully Washington might be getting it as well. By learning from the past, something conservative by nature and antithetical to liberalism, just might bode well for the future. • (3625 views)

Share
This entry was posted in Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Is Hollywood Becoming More Conservative?

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, it has been pointed out that conservatives in Hollywood have to be quite about their views because the place is run by typical liberals (i.e., closed-minded, intolerant, devoted to political correctness and multiculturalism). This means that there are far more conservatives than most people realize, which shows up occasionally on movies such as this. One can also note that Angelina Jolie (who did Unbroken seems to have left out the later portions, including Zamperini’s religious conversion, and that Turing’s status as a homosexual makes him a suitable liberal hero (and note that The Imitation Game exaggerates his task; the Poles broke the earlier version of the Enigma before the war, and supplied the British with much of what they needed to break the later versions). Then, too, the Nazis and Imperial Japanese are still acceptable villains in Hollywood — and Clint Eastwood is well-known for not being a Hollywood liberal.

    • Rosalys says:

      I think Unbroken ended heroically and at a good spot, otherwise it would have been too long. Zamperini’s conversion to Christianity is mentioned in the epilogue. Fantastic movie and a fantastic book!

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    He chooses the therapy but commits suicide a year later. Although some may find the subject of his homosexuality not a conservative theme, it’s more his perseverance to succeed is what really stands out, most definitely a conservative theme.

    As the British might say, he did the decent.

    Out of all of these movies mentioned, “The Imitation Game” is that one I want to watch. Yes, I’ll try to get Cumberbatch’s dull portrayal of Kahn out of my mind. And I’ll wait to see how much of IMDB’s 8.2 rating for this movie has entirely to do with having a homosexual hero. But given that this movie deals with computers and code-breaking, that’s the kind of stuff I like.

    There’s a mildly (and only mildly) interesting series on British TV called The Bletchley Circle which is about four women who worked at Bletchlely Park during the war and then later went on to use their magic decoder ring skills for the odd mystery that popped up.

    As for Hollywood turning conservative, I’d again caution to separate the entertainment factor from any cultural-wide significance. Michael Medved for years has been telling the story of Hollywood libtards making movies that are losers because they are either anti-American or they are rated R just for the sake of using foul language. He notes the real money-makers have always been the G or PG movies based on generally normal (non libtard) themes.

    So it’s not cynical to say that perhaps Hollywood has put its desire to make money over its desire to spread their libtardism, at least in some cases. But is this a sign of Hollywood turning conservative or just getting a better return on its dollar?

  3. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    I don’t think Hollywood is actually growing more Conservative. Remember, the Left never, ever learns nor admits to past mistakes, and the Hollywood elite will never give up its pursuit of the socialist utopia. What could happen is that some independent (from Hollywood) filmmakers just might be able to get their movies produced and distributed, which is what happened (let’s say) in these three cases.

    If this were to occur on a much wider scale, then we would really have something – a cultural movement. But the problems are great, especially when it comes to distribution. Let’s suppose you raise the money to produce your implicitly Conservative movie (Conservatism in a non-documentary film will always be implicit) and you’re able to get around union work rules, etc. and actually get the thing made. How will you distribute your film? There are a number of film distributors in the U.S., but how many can actually get the movie into major theaters in every part of the country? How many of these distributors will suppress their Left-wing political views to distribute an independent film that probably won’t make them much money anyway?

    I think it can be done – in fact, we see here that it has been done – but no one should be deluded into thinking it will be easy. I know from experience how hard it is just to get a simple comic-book into the stores (a story that I expect to tell here on ST some day): my problem was a monopolist distributor who arbitrarily refused to solicit the book, leaving me no way to get it to that particular market.

    A related question which I pose in an attempt to pique the interest of my fellow ST contributors is, “What makes a drama Conservative?” This turns out to be a difficult question, and while I have given it some thought I’ve had no time to write about it. Maybe someone else can leap in and tackle this or the even broader question of how we fight to take the culture back.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An interesting take on union work rules in Hollywood can be found in the movie The Wizard of Speed and Time, which portrays the making of a short special-effects film of the same title (which actually exists, though I doubt the movie itself is precisely accurate in portraying events).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      “What makes a drama Conservative?”

      Nik, any movie without Janeane Garofalo in it is a conservative movie. That’s the short answer.

      The long answer is that there isn’t any such category. Or, one could say it is a conservative movie is one that is not centered on liberal themes. Is “The Caine Mutiny” a liberal movie because it shows the Navy in less than a perfect light? Probably not. The movie is more complex than that (particularly regarding the Van Johnson character). In fact, the very definition of a liberal movie is a dependence upon crude, even laughable, stereotypes or narratives based on a narrow political consideration, not reality or even drama.

      Is “A Few Good Men” a liberal movie? Yes, unmistakably. It’s also a near perfect litmus test to find out if you’re a conservative or not. As tragic as Private Santiago’s death might have been, if you side with a too-eager-to-smere-honorable-men libtard lawyer (Cruise) over a career officer on the front lines (Nicholson), then as Jeff Foxworthy might say, “You might not be a redneck…” Don’t worry, a lot of people get this one wrong.

      Is “Dr. Strangelove” a liberal movie? Without question because it’s aim is to belittle the military and show the impulse to protect one’s country as nothing more than some kind of spillover of an unbalanced psycho-sexual urge by the repressed (and, as we all know, libtards are never repressed). Still, it’s one of my favorite movies because it’s so damn funny. And, yes, there are people in the military who are probably a little too gung-ho. But god help us if we don’t have the General Rippers when we need them and instead have a bunch of pencil-pushing PC weenies.

      Yep, you guessed it. I think Patton had every right to slap that soldier. And although it’s unlikely that Francis Ford Coppola had any notion of showing Patton in a favorable light, the movie itself is not a libtard movie. I’m not sure how that came about considering I don’t think Coppola hung around with the Heston types.

      You basically can’t swing a dead cat these days without running into liberal themes in a movie. But it’s not the politics or social aspect that is so bad, per se. It’s that you weaken any story when you insist on telling lies — throwing your liberal narratives over the top — instead of telling something more authentic. Life is full of tragedy and one need not make them all fit the stilted libtard narratives.

      I watched about half of “The Imitation Game” the other day, and there’s no way this is a conservative movie. It ranges easily into the libtard range if only because the actually story of Alan Turing (gauging by the comments I’ve read from other reviewers) is barely held to. And rather than getting into cool techno-geek stuff, the movie is over-stuffed with personal-conflict themes. The semi-official theme of this movie is not “Let’s beat the Nazis.” It’s “Everyone should be allowed to be different, and how horrible the British government was.”

      Considering how sensitive their job was, it was certainly at the time a relevant point that Turing was a pole-smoker. The fear is that indiscretions such as this make one susceptible to blackmail…let alone (for better or for worse) that homosexual behavior was illegal at the time. Here’s the theme of the movie out of the mouth of Cumberbatch himself:

      “If any young person’s ever felt like they aren’t quite sure who they are, or aren’t allowed to express themselves the way they’d like to express themselves, if they’ve ever felt bullied by what they feel is the normal majority or any kind of thing that makes them feel an outsider, then this is definitely a film for them because it’s about a hero for them,

      When a movie takes one of the premier events of the last century (WWII and the breaking of the German Enigma code) and turns it into little more than an anti-bullying film, you have run straight on into a libtard movie. A “conservative” movie would not necessarily have skipped mention of Turing’s homosexuality, but it would perhaps be a minor footnote in regards to the significance of WWII and cracking Enigma. Perhaps if the libtards in England prior to WWII had produced anti-bullying films for the German market, they could have avoided the war altogether. But once the war was on, what a stupid theme to concentrate on. But that’s libtards for you.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One thing about Patton that was very relevant to how the movie portrayed people and events is that the historical consultant for the film was General Bradley. It’s no accident that he comes off very well in the movie.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        “If any young person’s ever felt like they aren’t quite sure who they are, or aren’t allowed to express themselves the way they’d like to express themselves, if they’ve ever felt bullied by what they feel is the normal majority or any kind of thing that makes them feel an outsider, then this is definitely a film for them because it’s about a hero for them

        This pretty much sums up the whole business model of the American arts industry. In movies, TV and books, the format starts with a protagonist who feels slighted, abused, insulted, unloved, unappreciated i.e. different and goes on to show the slings and arrows which the hero had to suffer. Then it shows how he overcomes prejudice, bigotry, hate and ignorance and arrives victorious at sainthood.

        This is a model which works especially well with adolescents, especially those who are poorly educated or lack parental guidance, i.e. a huge number of kids.

        In short, the media is pushing the view that we are all victims and traditional society is horrible and is responsible for all the evil in the world.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I seem to recall that Robert Bloch once noted that when he decided to reprint his crime novel The Scarf in the 1960s, he just had to present his villain protagonist as an anti-hero. He wasn’t thrilled by that attitude; for example, in an interview in — I think — Twilight Zone Magazine he pointed out that his novels were far more moral than Burt Reynolds movies that made smartass crooks seem cool, noting that no one would ever want to be someone as pathetic as Norman Bates.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Mr. Kung, no one yet has been able to reconcile free speech with good taste. The best the Progressive mindset has been able to do is to say that expression itself — never mind what vulgar images are being painted — is the thing. It fits the adolescent, Freudian view that to have a feeling go unexpressed is that nasty thing called “repression.” Certainly the cell phone industry has made a ton of money off that.

          Even in the best of times, we can expect free expression, for better and for worse, to bring us some uncomfortable things. For there to be freedom, you’re always going to have this combination of the good, the bad, and the mediocre. What is so interesting about today’s conservatives is that they haven’t gotten the message to “change the channel,” although those who homeschool their children, for instance, clearly have.

          I have sympathy for those waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. But anyone waiting for the coming of a conservative tide in entertainment faces an inherent contradiction. In Luke 17:21, KJV, it says “the Kingdom of God is within you.” To me that’s a pretty good hint that the point for conservatives is not necessarily to try to order the world external to them in a certain way so that they are always comfortable. The point is to pick and choose the things one wants for oneself. The ordering comes from within.

          Thus I don’t really give a rat’s ass about a “conservative swing” in entertainment because, 1, there will be plenty to pick and choose from given the hundreds of movies released every year and, 2, please see the movie, Ida, which is available for streaming on Netflix. I watched it last night.

          And it’s worth watching so I hope most people stop reading now and go watch it. It is, quite incredibly, a religious-themed movie produced in Europe that isn’t the typical shallow secular trash. It’s a thoughtful movie on various human themes. I’d always heard that the Poles weren’t as far gone as the rest of Europe, and that seems to be true.

          Anyway, the plot of this movie consists of a young girl, Anna, who has been living in a convent since birth. She was hidden there during the Nazi occupation. After the war, when she’s grown up a bit and ready to take her vows, her mother superior comes to her and tells her that before finalizing her vows she must visit her aunt in the outside world. And this aunt, sadly, is her one and only remaining living relative. Her family, you see, was Jewish. She was able to be hidden because she was so young, a girl (there was no issue of circumcision to give her away), and Anna didn’t look Semitic.

          So she goes and meets her aunt who is, at the moment, a sort of amateur prostitute of some kind. Before that (during the War) she was some kind of “People’s Judge” who sent more than a few people away for crimes against socialism. (Don’t we all fear that eventually, eh?)

          Her aunt smokes and drinks a lot, carouses a lot, and generally is living a very shallow life. But she’s a nice lady, scarred certainly by the war and the occupation by the Soviet Communists. And if there’s a reason to drink and whore around, you’d have that in 1950’s, early 1960’s, Poland.

          This aunt, seeing in young Anna her beloved sister who was murdered in the war, quite against her hardened exterior takes to the girl and vows to help this girl live a full life — which means, to the aunt, getting her out of the convent. And this is all very subtly played. There are no grand villains. There’s just an aftermath of sadness that pervades that part of Poland.

          So far I haven’t given anything crucial away. But now for the plot point you won’t want to read if you intend to see the movie. But it’s a point I need to make to make my overall point about a conservative entertainment culture. The conservative entertainment culture is an oxymoron. This is by no means a fundamentalist film. But it shows Anna’s aunt (who eventually kills herself) living an increasingly Western lifestyle of music and endless parties. And yet she’s as hollow as ever. But yet she wants to steer Anna to this way of life. And this story being far less stereotypical than you would have thought, Anna actually does take a brief walk on the wild side. She gets involved with a handsome young musician. And this was soon after realizing that she could not yet take her final vows in good conscience, thus she went off on this fling, seemingly to be sure of what she would give up if she were to give it up.

          All throughout this picture (and Mr. Kung will surely appreciate this point), Anna, the child (about 15 or 16, I’m guessing) has a more wizened and adult attitude while her somewhat nihilistic aunt has reverted to the mindset of a child. And so as it all comes about, Anna decides the regular world is not for her. This is a very quiet realization. There are not a lot of over-the-top mood swings in this film, which is probably why many people either won’t like it or just won’t get it. Some of this stuff isn’t telegraphed with the usual hyperactive hyperbole of Western movies.

          The very nature of passive entertainment is not particularly conservative. Anna’s aunt was flooding her life with it — sometimes good, conservative Jazz entertainment even — and yet could not find peace or happiness. Certainly the message then is not that one must join a convent or monastery. But there is a lesson in that movie that we probably do need to wall off part of the world, if only in our minds (the opposite, of course, would to do what the Taliban does and blow up any symbols of other ways of thinking s as to never be confronted by them).

          If we are depending upon the culture around us to shift (and I can see many signs of people desiring this to happen beyond all evidence), we may be missing the point that simply churning out more pro-American, pro-family, or pro-conservative themes in movies might be good compared to the alternative, but the real problem is spending so much damn time expecting to be entertained or flattered by the external culture.

  4. GHG says:

    Not to pile on here, but the reasons already expressed in the comments regarding The Imitation Game clearly debunk the idea that it is a conservative movie.

    The triumph of human spirit is not exclusive to conservative themes any more than it is to liberal themes. It is the details and the way they are presented that shape it into a conservative or liberal or neutral movie. As has been pointed out, Imperial Japan is an acceptible bad guy in the same way as Nazi Germany to liberal Hollywood. That the antagonist in Unbroken is WWII Japanese does not make it conservative or liberal and I would argue it falls into the philosophically neutral category. It is simply a movie about one man’s idomitable will to survive.

    There’s no doubt American Sniper is conservative. One telltale scene is the scene that wasn’t shown. Kyle was murdered by a fellow soldier who was having psychological problems after coming back from Iraq. We could have been subjected to a scene where we felt Kyle was portrayed as a victim of the war. We weren’t. We were left with the simple fact of what happened and, at least for me, a sense that Kyle was not a victim but rather a hero warrier who gave his life for his country.

    Is Hollywood becoming more conservative? My guess is no. Obviously there are conservatives in Hollywood – Eastwood, Jon Voight, Gary Sinise, just to name a few, but the power brokers are what they are and I don’t think that’s conservative. The redeeming aspect, using that phrase in the most bastardized way, is the power brokers worship money more than their shallow philosophical “convictions” so perhaps more conservative movies will be made now that American Sniper is proving to be a huge commercial success.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That the antagonist in Unbroken is WWII Japanese does not make it conservative or liberal and I would argue it falls into the philosophically neutral category. It is simply a movie about one man’s idomitable will to survive.

      I haven’t seen “Unbroken,” but there seems to be a lot of affinity for what I call “getting the living shit kicked out of you” movies. That seemed to be the appeal of “Lone Survivor” a movie adored by conservatives although it is arguably a movie about eff-ups from day one and rescue plans gone horrible wrong. Again, I’m from the Patton school: let the other poor bastard give his life for his country.

      I think movies such as “Unbroken” edge a little more toward a liberal orientation where instead of kicking the living excrement out of the bad guys, we sit around and honor the suffering of somebody. Such movies can thus over-psychologize or emotionalize something (and veer more toward “victimhood” as a theme). I would think this is so because, officially, we’re not allowed to hate anyone (but right wingers). Therefore many movies turn into “self suffering” lovefests. That’s a safe thing to do.

      Again, I haven’t seen “Unbroken.” But I know the type. And it may be a marvelous movie of that type. But when the character picks up a railgun and makes his captors pay in spades— with suitably campy Schwarzenesque quips — that’s when it tends to be a bit more of a true conservative movie. Liberals love reveling in angst. Conservatives like payback.

      Still, there is plenty of room (conservative or otherwise) for telling about the harsh realities of war, or any subject. It needn’t all be glamorous. It can be fairly realistic while staying outside the infantile narratives typical of the Left where “realism” actually means degrading any positive image of America or the West. One of the better movies that deals with some of the harder facts is “The Best Years of Our Lives” about “the social re-adjustment of three World War II servicemen, each from a different station of society.”

      And the reason “In Harm’s Way” is one of the best war movies ever made is because it’s not just a one-dimensional jingoistic portrayal of war. Anyone who hasn’t seen either of the above movies should drop everything and go watch them. There isn’t a more “conservative” war movie than “In Harm’s Way” even though John Wayne’s son hates him, Kirk Douglas is a brutal womanizer, and Patrick O’Neil exquisitely plays the John Kerry of his time. In such a large war, you’re going to find all types. But what triumphs in the end is good old-fashioned John Wayne-ism. And one could say that Patricia Neal shows the hard work the ladies easily performed during that war. Imagine if Patricia Neal’s character in this were the model for generations of women instead of the men-hating nags of N.O.W.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, this is my point earlier. There are plenty of conservatives in Hollywood, but with the power in the hands of psittacine liberals, they have to be quiet about their views most of the time. This makes it difficult to determine how many there actually are, and what the trend might be. But I’m not sure how much good the desire for more money will do. The ultra-rich can afford to sacrifice for their politics, and a liberal ideologue is always an ideologue first and foremost. That trumps everything else (except for personal desires — liberals tend to be very narcissistic even as they prate of their altruism).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *