Is Hollywood Dead?
On Monday I received an email from the Motion Picture Academy informing me that if I didn't pay my dues, I wouldn't be able to vote in the Oscar nominations in a couple of weeks. I debated for a few minutes. Dues have inflated since I joined in the eighties and are now a hefty $450 per annum. Nevertheless, spendthrift that I am, I bit the proverbial bullet and went for it. Call it the inability to break a bad habit. Or an addiction to the non-stop influx of screeners that arrive at my door every December, not that I watch many of them. (I suspect I'm not alone in that.)
But it wasn't just the money that had made me hesitate. On one level, I wouldn't have re-upped up for $4.50, let alone $450. I mean -- what was the point of this? Does anybody care who wins the Oscar anymore? I certainly don't -- and I'm a voter.
Even the recent dust-up over the Oscars now having no host, since Kevin Hart ankled (as they used to say in Variety) over obscure homophobic tweets for which he had apologized years ago -- talk about tempest in a tea pot -- was of little interest to me. Drudge apparently felt otherwise, having put the "scandal" briefly at the top of his page, but I suspect not many feel similarly and that this year the Oscars will continue on their downward spiral toward life support.
I'm tempted to answer my title question with a paraphrase of Preston Sturges' great line from 1942's "The Palm Beach Story," made when movies were actually fun: "Hollywood's not only dead, it's decomposed." (Sturges was referring to chivalry.)
But it's not quite that. It's kind of half-dead, lumbering along because people still want entertainment, but far from what it was because we all have too many other distractions. Further, the quality is down, way down. And it's been that way for years.
This semi-rigor mortis is one of the key reasons we hear so much dimwitted left-wing political blather from Hollywood. These people crave attention. And if we don't give it because of their movies, they're going to get it one way or another. This also explains why in those endless YouTubes with earnest actors telling us why we should hate Trump, there are so many faces we don't recognize. At least it's a part.
On top of that, these people are among the worst conformists on the planet. And if there's one thing that's the enemy of creativity, it's conformity. L.A. is one of Earth's great centers of group-think. Heaven help the apostate. Being a Republican in Hollywood is like being an evangelical in Mecca.