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Films Also Polarized and Politicized

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Looking at it from the meta position, I think it’s fascinating how politicized the nation, and in particular pop culture has become over the last year-and-a-half (since the Iraq war), which is exactly the opposite end of the spectrum from the unity brought about by the terrors of 9/11 (which generally lasted through the retaliation against Afghanistan). In fact, I think the highly polarized air we now breathe is in fact a reflexive reaction against the unity of 9/11.

We’ve seen it for some time in music, but now, energized by the box office success of Fahrenheit 9/11 (over $100m domestic), a spate of politically-charged films are getting attention:

    You could blame it on it being a presidential election year or on the angry national emotions spewing out because of the Iraq war. One of the year’s biggest hits is Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which accuses President Bush of starting a war that no one needed or benefits from.

    ….Yet another hit is “The Manchurian Candidate,” a remake of the 1962 paranoid thriller about how Communists plotters try to capture the White House through brainwashing and assassination rather than by winning over hearts and minds the traditional way — by spending millions on character assassination TV ads.

    …And coming soon to theaters are John Sayles’s “Silver City,” about a know-nothing candidate apparently modeled after the current White House incumbent, and a political satire called “Team America: World Police,” a marionette movie made by the creators of the “South Park” comedy series.

    ….Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, Moore’s take-no-prisoners “Fahrenheit 9/11″ has inspired movie theaters to book more political documentaries in the hopes of luring customers.

    Either in theaters or coming to them shortly are “Control Room,” about the Arabic satellite television network Al Jazeera, “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,” about the Fox news channel, “Bush’s Brain,” about presidential adviser Karl Rove, and “The Hunting of the President,” a film made by Harry Thomason, a close friend of former president Bill Clinton, and Nickolas Perry which details what the filmmakers call a decade-long conspiracy to drive Clinton from office. [AP]

And as with music, the great majority of these points of view would appear to be considerably left of center, which is predictable both from the general left lean of the arts and entertainment community, and in reaction to the current Republican government.

UPDATE
Coinkydink: Look at what Howard Kurtz had to say today.

    As the ton of Bush-is-a-liar and Liberals-are-bigger-liars books makes clear, media marketing these days is all about capitalizing on polarization. Or, as Annenberg chief Kathleen Hall Jamieson put it: “What Limbaugh and Moore have done is find the hard-core partisan audience.” [Washington Post]
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About Eric Olsen

  • http://halfbakered.blogspot.com mike hollihan

    You didn’t even mention network television. I seem to recall a series of news stories this Spring about the anti-Bush jokes and story lines that writers and producers planned to introduce in the Fall. If that’s true, watch for lower viewing levels than ever. I’m just glad I stopped watching much network television.

    BTW, “Team America” is the sleeper in the movie bunch. “Fart-hype 911″ is already over, in terms of media life; so is “Outfoxed,” which hasn’t made much of a public splash. Nothing against John Sayles, but his movie won’t be much of a media sensation either. Very few folks know who he is. “Manchurian Candidate?” We’ll see.

    But “Team America” is anti-Left and anti-anti-War on Terror. It’s coming out less than a month before the election. It’s weird ‘n’ wacky and profane in the South Park vein. Unless the media decide to pan it and push it aside, which is always possible, it will own the box office and the media for at least a couple of weeks. Right before the election.

    Should be fun!