We may be stuck with more second-rate Hollywood fare from artists eager to bring down a sitting president above all else.
Once upon a time, the director of “The Princess Bride” could do no wrong.
Rob Reiner retired his Meathead character from “All in the Family” to become an A-list director. “This Is Spinal Tap.” “The Sure Thing” (if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat). “Stand By Me.” “A Few Good Men.” “The American President.” “Misery.” “When Harry Met Sally.”
But that was then.
Reiner’s last six films completely flopped, including his latest, “Shock and Awe.”
“Shock and Awe” earned a measly $45,856 at select movie theaters over the weekend along with withering reviews.
Liberal film critics blamed his heavy hand for the movie’s woes. Here’s FilmJournal.com’s brutal assessment: “Shock and Awe” is “a plodding film with ill-placed, klutzy exposition and credibility-defying and/or colorless characters that are spokespersons for various predictable viewpoints.”
Rolling Stone tried so darn hard to like this clunker the critic nearly pulled a muscle in the process.
Oh god, you want to love it. You really, really want to love it, or at least, y’know, like it a lot, to stand up and cheer with it. I mean, a movie about journalists, real ones, doing what they do best, pounding the pavement and searching for the truth?
Spoiler alert: The critic hated it, too.
Where did it go wrong for Reiner? He’s allowed his partisan views to taint his filmmaking. They swamped the production, and most critics couldn’t help but notice the incongruous ideological overlay even though on paper, they agreed with Reiner’s worldview.
Something similar occurred to comic turned oddball auteur Bobcat Goldthwait. The former “Police Academy” star uncorked several impressive films including “World’s Greatest Dad” with Robin Williams. His latest project, truTV’s “Misfits & Monsters” anthology series, attempted to take down President Donald Trump with a “Face in the Crowd” satire.
It didn’t work either. Goldthwait’s targets are too obvious, his script too on the nose. In short, he let his partisan politics get the best of him, resulting in one of his weaker efforts.
The upcoming “BlacKkKlansman” is a welcome return to form for Spike Lee, whose recent resume is filled with questionable features. Only “BlackKkKlansman” stops cold three times for sequences meant to send a message. It’s the equivalent of Cher Tweeting in ALL CAPS. We can read. We get it. Now tell us a story.
The Age of Trump is driving many Hollywood denizens off the rational cliff at a time when his critics would be advised to let the president wallow in his unforced errors. It’s reminiscent of the 2000s when Hollywood cranked out one anti-war movie after another. The purpose? To hurt President George W. Bush’s Iraq War effort in any way possible.
The movies all bombed, some worse than others. “Redacted” may have “won” the prize for biggest dud with a $65,388 U.S. box office haul. The films featured talented stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, John Cusack, Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon… and they generally received weak to poor reviews. Even the legendary Robert Redford couldn’t muster more than a dismal 27 percent “rotten” rating from major film critics for his 2007 drama “Lions for Lambs.”
Filmmakers may have let their partisan emotions swamp their storytelling talents in a rush to smite Bush’s war effort.
Compare that to the excellent Vietnam War movies released during the 1980s, a decade following that war’s completion. “Platoon.” “Full Metal Jacket.” “Hamburger Hill. “The Hanoi Hilton.”
Trump’s presidency will be over in 2 or maybe 6 years. Then, perhaps artists can assess why the country chose such an unconventional candidate. Until that time, we may be stuck with more second-rate Hollywood fare from artists eager to bring down a sitting president above all else.
Christian Toto is editor of the conservative entertainment site HollywoodInToto.com
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