Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No escape, no guidance

Orson Bean, ex-Leftist, comedian, Christian, wonders "Where Are The Cinema Heroes Today?" at the great new blog, Big Hollywood.
The movies saved my life. I grew up in the great depression, the only child of a pair of star crossed lovers. My father lost his job. My mother drank. They fought. The movies were my escape. Of course, this was true of everyone back in the thirties. Forgetting for an hour or two cost a dime. But the movies represented a lot more than escape to me. They represented moral guidance. What I learned at home was despair and hopelessness. What I learned at the pictures was don’t give up the ship, we have only begun to fight, it’s always darkest before the dawn. ....

I truly believe that these pictures saved me, gave me the inspiration to overcome what I was going through at home and do whatever was necessary to make a life for myself.

The movie moguls who churned out these pictures were immigrants. They understood what made America great, what set it apart. They loved their new country. If they didn’t consciously set out to make movies glorifying the American dream, it never really occurred to them not to do so. Belief in it was as much a part of their psyches as non-belief in it is a part of the psyches of today’s filmmakers. Where are the cinema heroes today, the characters who refuse to surrender, who just won’t give up? Not in Hollywood pictures. ....

The truth is they’ve forgotten how. They went to college and were taught that their country is wrong, that the system stinks, that to be a hero is to be a sucker fighting for a lie. Like Louis B. Meyer and Sam Warner before them, they want to make pictures that have meaning. But their “meaning” is very different from that of the movie makers of my boyhood. When they churn out what’s in their hearts (the depressing view of life as they actually see it), no-one buys a ticket. Then, because they have to make a living, they revert to meaningless special effect extravaganzas and tell themselves there’s no market for “serious” pictures. [more]
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