The actress (or is it “actor”?) did not thank the dearly departed for merely entertaining the masses, which is all actors and directors are capable of doing. Oh no. Her deities were, instead, acknowledged for “mentoring us, challenging us, elevating us”; “they made us want to be better, and gave us a greater understanding of the human condition and the human heart,” language that should be reserved for the likes of Ayn Rand and Aristotle.
Where a motion picture has indeed transported anyone—it is because it cleaved to a decent script, usually a good book. “Gone With the Wind,” “Doctor Zhivago,” “Midnight Express,” and “Papillon,” are examples.
Still, Hollywood is quite capable of reducing great literature to schmaltzy jingles, belted out by shrill starlets. This was the fate of “Les Misérables,” last year. Lost in the din were a lot of lessons about “the human condition.” The Victor-Hugo masterpiece I read as a kid was about France’s unfathomably cruel and unjust penal system, and the prototypical obedient functionary who worked a lifetime to enforce the system’s depredations—a lot like the powers that hounded Aaron Swartz, the co-founder of Reddit.com, to death, in 2013, and are intent on doing the same to the heroic Edward Snowden.
The dead were deified, but what of the walking dead?
To the Chinese, who appreciate the value of experience, the greater the ratio in a team of “grey hairs and no-hairs” to “black hairs”—the faster and better a task will be completed. The opposite assumption obtains in the youth-obsessed U.S.
On the old, Hollywood performs professional geronticide.
Aging actors are put out to pasture, retired into buffoonish, badly scripted roles (“Nebraska”). The annual Oscar Awards will see at least one old actor trotted out (in 2011, the “distinction” went to Kirk Douglas) from retirement. From the sympathetic thunder clap received by Harrison Ford, 71, this year, I’d say he’s ready to be retired.
Yes, a silly society is a youth-obsessed society. Duly, a precocious kid actor will typically cameo. This year, viewers were spared the spectacle. Tykes did, however, twerk and twirl with the adults in a Pharrell Williams routine, conjuring the current crop of Walt Disney cartoon characters (“Rio 1″). Once-upon-a-time, our beloved cartoons were cute, innocent and mischievous. Think Disney’s Donald Duck, Warner Brothers’ Bugs-Bunny and Amblimation’s Fievel of “An American Tail” fame.
Alas, like The Kids, the animated characters that festoon film nowadays sound and act as if created by another Victor (Frankenstein), combining pixelated bits of the putrefying Bethenny Frankel, and some “Mob Wives,” “Real Housewives,” and “Dance Moms,” for good measure. …
Read on. The complete column is “Hollywood: The No-Good, The Bad & The Beastly”” now on WND.
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* For his help, I thank my young friend, movie maven Kerry Crowel.
UPDATED (3/7): Anyone who praises the Titanic idiocy as a “classic” is lacking critical faculties (see Facebook thread). The scenes of the ship going down are fun and well done. But as to the “story”: It includes the use of “Freudian slip,” before the term was known, among other Americanized inaccuracies, and the upstairs-downstairs dynamic and proletarian insurrection: Whence does that rot come? But then, if you read the comments @ WND Comments (http://www.wnd.com/…/hollywood-the-no-good-the-bad-and…/), you get that our readers are more comfortable with Bill O’Reilly’s “output” or that of Maureen Dowd at the NYT.