I don’t think that Hollywood Interrupted addressed these issues. So when I tend to talk about these things, and I isolate that there is a wholesale rejection of the Hollywood mentality, I think that there are many factors at play here, and I think that the technological revolution is probably the primary one.
I think that the star system is a major problem, though. I think that with stars who end up making it on a sitcom for five or ten years, such as a Courtney Cox or a Jennifer Aniston, because of the success of that ensemble, which was written by, arguably, geniuses of the trade, the studios come to them and say, “OK, let’s create a deal, in which you produce content.”
Well, these people are actors. But they’re given so much power, that it sends a message to me that [the studios] really don’t know what they’re doing. It’s the writer, the creator, who should be given these types of deals. They’re the people who should be rewarded—not the actors.
When a Jennifer Aniston movie doesn’t do great at the box office, [studios] wonder, how this can be. Well, we liked her as that cute 20-something girl on Friends, but we’re not looking for her to be jumping off of bridges, with huge pyrotechnic explosions going off.
I think on so many levels, whether it’s Hollywood trying to figure out the technology issue, or trying to figure out what people actually want to see, the power structure in the town seems completely…
Just like the old studio system needed to be overturned, so does the current anti-studio system. The current system is one in which stars have undue power, and they’re not necessarily the best arbiters of taste. As a matter of fact, since they’re the ones in charge, and artists in Hollywood tend to be left of center, and tend to agree with one and other, and tend to not really hear the other side whatsoever, I think that the disconnect that exists in Hollywood, which far exceeds just the political realm, is best represented, is easiest seen through the political realm.
We’re in a post-9/11 world. And Hollywood eventually gets around to making political statements. And it usually comes at those statements from the perspective that really, we’re the ones who are to blame for the predicament that we find ourselves in.
I just saw Syriana, and I’ve long tried to figure out, whether it be from a lucid spokesperson of the left, or an essayist, or a professor, who could explain logically why it is that the left, which claims to be an advocate of civil liberties and human rights, is utterly silent when it comes to the world threat of Islamic extremism.
And seeing Syriana answered my question, perfectly. By mixing, admittedly, fact and fiction, and using quick cuts and plausible scenes of CIA intrigue and American business meddling in geopolitics using the CIA, it was able to create a feeling within the audience. I saw this in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, where there were “yeses” and “uh-hums” like the type you’d hear at a Baptist church. People were going, “Yup—that’s exactly what was going on.” And in the end, you have America as the villain. “Well, this is the situation you get, when you get into bed with dogs.”
I thought that Hollywood, in another era, would be, by virtue of the marketplace, trying to appease the masses. And in a post-9/11 world, there would have been countless movies that expressed the heroism that existed on that utterly important day. But ultimately, these people do not let their pocketbooks determine what they’re going to do, as many on the left would suggest. They think that that would only fuel the jingoism.
I’ve stated that the primary concern is one of utter confusion in the marketplace, because it’s chaos out there, and technology’s happening so quickly, and the corporate infrastructure, the corporate realm doesn’t really understand how to adapt to it that quickly, and what it means. Especially when one can get things that they used to pay a lot of money for, for free.
But I would say that the problem is profoundly enhanced by the cultural disconnect. That the people who are trying to keep up a good front that all’s fine out here are so utterly removed from the common sentimentality of the average American. And I think that Hollywood, to a certain degree, is at war with Red State values. Is that its number one concern? Should it be its number one concern? I would say, no, I think they have much bigger problems. But for people on the right, and for people on the left, it’s a very convenient one to point to.