Friday, January 26, 2007

Hollywood Just Doesn't Get It

Dakota Fanning's new film "Hounddog" is having trouble getting a buyer. The film has been getting horrible reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, which is said to be causing the reluctance. But I have a different reason.

It's because of the 12 year old girl played by Fanning getting raped in the film.

Hollywood lives in its own little world and seems to be divorced, or at the very least legally separated, from the rest of us. Come on, who really thought "The Dukes of Hazzard" needed the big screen treatment? Time after time, movie goers have to choose between the 7:10 showing of complete crap and the 7:25 showing of other complete crap.

And when they're not trying to recycle bad ideas into even worse movies, Hollywood seems hellbent on "saving" us, Hollywood style. Some of the films that have come out in the past decade have been more morality tales than films, trying to get us to follow their way of thinking. More often than not, there isn't much morality in their morality tales. "American Beauty" glamorized the midlife crisis and adult-teen sexual relations. "Brokeback Mountain" was a love story about two married men having a gay affair. And now "Hounddog" advances a scene where a 12 year old gets raped. And from early indications, the scene really wasn't that important to the film.

Know that that is, boys and girls? That's called exploitation. Granted, Hollywood has exploited the talents of children for decades, but it still doesn't make it right. And with "Hounddog" somebody had to green-light it and then shoot the footage and get Dakota Fanning and her parents to consent to it. Even if the scene isn't that graphic, the idea of it should disturb people, especially parents. How in the heck did the filmmaker think this would go over with the public?

I'm no Hollywood insider (and given what I've seen coming out of there, I'm glad for that), but I can tell you that it's no coincidence that theater revenues are dropping. We go to movies to be entertained and to escape the real world. (Of course, the Internet does the same thing for a lot cheaper, but I digress.) When Hollywood can't do either, the money's not going to be there. Even if Americans aren't so swift on a number of things, we still know right and wrong and quality from crap.

So, keep pumping out the stinkbombs and faux morality tales. Just try to look surprised when you make less money than an air conditioner salesman at Ice Station Zero.

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