No one cares for fare that has all the taste of unpopped popcorn.
Twenty-eighteen was the worst year for movies ever. There had been awful years before, increasingly in the last ten, but last year, Hollywood reached critical mass by showing full contempt for much of its audience. Simply put, it was the year the entertainment industry stopped entertaining and embraced indoctrinating. This tendency had previously been checked by wiser heads in the business. For every 12 Years a Slave, they made a Gravity, for every Spotlight, a The Martian. But something happened on November 6, 2016 that let loose the dogs of cinema — the election of Donald Trump. The rabid frothing expressed by top filmmakers like Rob Reiner, Joss Whedon, Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin, and company begat last year’s actual productions. And the resultant dump of undisguised leftwing fare left movie theatres empty.
“The Klan won last night,” Sorkin wrote in a laughably heartfelt letter to his wife and daughter the day after election night. “White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life… have been given cause to celebrate. Men who… think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic s***heads everywhere.”
How inevitable then that the film community’s most self-aggrandizing ritual, the Academy Awards show, should melt down in the indiscriminate lava of political correctness. The designated black host, comedian Kevin Hart, had to step aside due to an old gag about dissuading his son from homosexuality. Earlier in the year, actress Scarlett Johansson had to withdraw from a transgender lead role under LGBT pressure because she’s a biological woman. That the pro-transgender film couldn’t get made without a star of her stature matters little in the PC scheme of things. As a fan of the actress, even I might have patronized the movie, unlike many they did make, such as Solo.
Film analysts still puzzle over the box-office flop of that well-received Star Wars prequel featuring the franchise’s most popular character, Han Solo, in his youth. I can save them the discussion. The answer lies in what Disney did to the franchise — change it from a chivalric fairy tale into a social justice warrior fantasy with a female Jedi Knight and her sister commanders saving the universe without the need for no hero — and to Han himself. After the upbeat romantic ending of the beloved original trilogy, Solo ends up a bitter old man, separated from the popular princess he once helped rescue, until he’s unceremoniously murdered by his own son. So why would the audience invest their time following a spry young Solo whom they know is fated to die a pathetic old Solo? Disney is paying a heavier price for its radical feminist agenda. Boy-driven sales of Hasbro Star Wars toys slumped dramatically between 2015’s The Force Awakens and now. For some very fathomable reason, boys might think their dream of future Jedi Knighthood is no longer warranted.
Regarding the new Star Wars film’s poor reception, director-producer J. J. Abrams reappraised the franchise’s mad dash towards feminism. I’m kidding of course. He did what modern Hollywoodians always do in Trump world — blame the audience.“If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’”
Not content with wrecking Star Wars, Disney found another target, er, project in older young adult fare, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Being a girl-centric tale about a smart, brave daughter who crisscrosses dimensions searching for her vanished dad seemed insufficiently woke for the studio. It hired black activist director Ava DuVernay (Selma), cast Oprah Winfrey as the story’s pseudo genie, Mrs. Which, and converted the classic family adventure into an intersectional New Age mess. Kids stayed away in droves and the film flopped.
History fared worse than science-fiction in 2018, in fact proved more fictional to advance the progressive agenda. Mary, Queen of Scots abandoned all pretense of accuracy to spin a tiresome modern feminist metaphor. Challenged by cartoonishly misogynist men, the rival cousin queens Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) and Mary (Saoirse Ronan) pursue their independent means of survival — Elizabeth by remaining single and childless, Mary by defiant sexuality. When Mary’s course proves more vulnerable to male machinations, Elizabeth rejects her plea for sisterhood, sealing Mary’s fate.
American history became somewhat less American in First Man. The story of astronaut Neil Armstrong was reasonably well told, minus one little achievement — his planting of the U.S. flag on the Moon! When word of this leaked out from preview screenings, Universal Pictures and Dreamworks knew they had a serious problem on their hands. Interestingly, before then, they hadn’t cared less. So they sent out the film’s stars, Canadian Ryan Gosling and English Claire Foy, to do damage control and placate the silly American audience who took pride in such trifles as beating the Soviet Union to the Moon. The two Hollywood diplomats naturally guaranteed disaster.
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” said Gosling. “So I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero.” “D.C. is where the giant penis of America lives, in more ways than one,” Foy told the Hollywood Reporter, insulting the President of the United States and half the country.
To no one’s surprise except Hollywood’s, First Man crash landed at the box-office.
Those were some of the subtler 2018 movies, the ones that hid their outright leftism. Others flaunted it. I caught the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic, On the Basis of Sex, and took a severe head pounding. It’s one cloying hagiographic scene after another, starting with the main title sequence. As credits appear, we see hundreds of similarly suited, tall young men converging on the Harvard Law School Building, then amid them a small, prim woman — Felicity Jones playing the young Ginsburg. The groundbreaking woman motif is badly undermined by the very next scene of Ginsburg in the classroom. She looks left to see another woman, then right at yet another. There were altogether ten women in her 1956 Harvard Law class, the school having admitted women six years before. Regardless, Dean Sam Waterson soon blatantly and malevolently addresses the class as he would one of only men. A concerned Ruth comes home to her apartment, and gets welcomed by husband Armie Hammer, I kid you not, carrying their little daughter and wearing an apron. The utter feminist fantasy continues for two grueling hours.
I’m looking forward to a biopic of the first woman on the Supreme Court. She was the true glass ceiling breaker who changed the direction of… What? She was appointed by the evil Ronald Reagan? It’s gonna be a long wait for that film, or for the next good one. Trump will still be President in 2019, and Hollywood will still be melting down.