Home / The “Million Dollar” Controversy

The “Million Dollar” Controversy

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Well, conservative author, talk show host, and movie critic Michael Medved was accused again yesterday during his show of playing the part of spoiler for the controversial Eastwood movie, “Million Dollar Baby.” As the whole world likely knows now, the movie features a scene of assisted suicide.

When the movie was first released, Michael Medved was very critical of the fact that this part of the plot had remained a carefully guarded secret, and was instantly assailed and accused of trying to damage the movie’s box office results. Here are some of the comments made by Medved via his “Eye On Entertainment” site:

Warner Brothers never tells you the truth about a key plot twist that turns this pedestrian boxing movie into an insufferable manipulative right to die movie. With one of the characters horribly handicapped begging for assisted suicide.

Yes, quite a harsh statement regarding the movie. But is Medved hoping to hurt the movie’s box office receipts? If he wanted to do that, touching off a controversy is the worst thing he could do, right?

Think about the controversy over movies such as “The Passion of The Christ” and “Fahrenheit 911.” These two movies are worlds apart. One was created to appeal to people of faith, the other to criticize President Bush and the Iraq War. Yet, controversy helped power each of them to a bottom line that they NEVER could have otherwise enjoyed.

So, really, if Medved wanted to hurt “Million Dollar Baby,” he would have been better off simply calling the movie “a dud,” or something to that effect, rather than starting a controversy over assisted suicide. Right?

Finally, I want to comment on the ridiculous claim that the movie will not send a message to someone one way or another regarding the issue of assisted suicide. Many of the movies proponents have insisted that it is “neutral” to this issue.

Such a claim is bogus! The movie WILL influence people, whether you like it or not.

This lame argument reminds me of some of our prominent professional players in the United States who, after being criticized for negatively influencing kids with their bad behaviour, like to say, “I never asked to be a role model.” You didn’t? Then why did you enter professional sports?

If you don’t want to be a role model, don’t become famous!

Similarly, if you don’t want to send a message one way or another on assisted suicide, DON’T INCLUDE ASSISTED SUICIDE IN YOUR MOVIE!

I apologize for the shout emphasis there, but the level of ignorance coming from those espousing this view is incredible. Seems to me that a lot intelligent people are dumbing themselves down so that they can ignore the obvious.

What do you think?

David Flanagan

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  • Juliane

    Michael Medved is an ass. I’m sorry, but movie reviews are no place for your political rambling! I just don’t get why the radical right is so upset about “liberal Hollywood”. Come on, Hollywood has always been political. Even movie stars from Hollywood’s golden age became friends with politicians, and many supported FDR. What makes movie stars today any different? The Political Right’s treatment of the movies (not to mention current literature and music) makes me sick. Medved is a shitty critic, if I do say so myself. If the “Hollywood Republicans” wanted films that “embrace a culture of life” or whatever why can’t they just pen their own screenplays about those subjects instead of constantly criticizing the works of others? “Million Dollar Baby” was a wonderful movie (I cried at the end) so fuck Medved and whatever bullshit that comes from his mouth.

  • Eric Olsen

    #1 was edited, heavily

  • I think it’s reasonable to point out that Medved does this with his movie reviews. I know I have ceased reading them, because he doesn’t comment on the film, he comments on the result of seeing the film.

    Knowing this about his reviews, I never even saw the “spoiler.” Until it was posted here.

  • so use the delete button more. A couple of these and many more elsewhere are simple personal attacks.

    People complain about their mailboxes being full of !@#$% but scrolling through posts where there’s at least one personal attack per (remember that quaint “attack the ideas not the person” thing we used to do. It’s much more of a waste of time and energy.

  • Eric Olsen

    let’s try to figure out what this is about:

    1) Medved specifically posted spoilers in an effort to criticize the movie and to suppress attendance. This is pretty shitty and against, if not the “rules” of criticism, then certainly against its ethics. As Roger Ebert himself told us here (comment #2), a review when the movie is “current” should not give away key surprises, but those plot points can be revisited later when the film is no longer current: ie, after most of those who would be inclined to see it have had a chnace to see it. Medved has clearly violated this, and not accidentally or out of enthusiasm, but with malice aforethought.

    2) I also do not buy the argument that the moral importance of the plot point bone of contention justifies violation of critic ethics

    3) However, as usual, David is being attacked vastly out of proportion for his “offense,” which is simply disagreeing with me on points 1 and 2 in his post, and this is as great a breech of ethics as was Medved’s in the first place.

  • The objection Medved and his flock have with “Million Dollar Baby” is that the fictional drama has a fictional character facing a moral dilemma which has no positive outcome. They see a danger in a movie which will cause people to question their beliefs, and some people’s doctrines.

    This is dangerous, because it will lead to people thinking ideas which aren’t approved by the authorities.

    And then they might start wondering where the money for this campaign is coming from, and who benefits.

  • David F.-

    Should we just outlaw all films, books etc that deal with difficult situations, and people doing things that make us squirm or otherwise consider objectionable?

  • Jim,

    You are talking about others who shouldn’t be procreating? I’ve got news for you, you’re a Darwin Award waiting to happen.


  • >>Dee Nalle doesn’t like movies, doesn’t like music, hates most teevee, hasn’t met a book he’s not read he didn’t want to burn, is a heretic, and probably won’t let you suck his balls.<< You're so deluded, Jimbo. I love good movies, have great music on my iPod and am a big TV fan. Plus I'm morally opposed to burning books. Aside from that I am indeed a heretic and I definitely won't let you suck my balls. So you're batting only 165 which is likely to get you sent down to the minors. Dave

  • JR:

    Certainly people enter professional sports for the money, but with the money and the fame comes that unavoidable spotlight and, like it or not, many players become role models for kids.

    You ask that player, “why did you originally start playing basketball,” for example, and they’ll tell you about their heroes, the one’s who inspired them. Now, of course, they are saying, “I never asked to be a role model.”



  • What I really want to know is why purported humans like Medved and the Daves can never do anything interesting or creative. It is like they are terrified that their only option is to confront the huge black gaping void which is their soul.

    Or they really like Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick.

  • JR

    David Flanagan: This lame argument reminds me of some of our prominent professional players in the United States who, after being critisized for negatively influencing kids with their bad behaviour, like to say, “I never asked to be a role model.” You didn’t? Then why did you enter professional sports?

    Um… for the money? Or hey, how about the opportunity to compete at the highest level in a game you’re good at.

  • Dee Nalle doesn’t like movies, doesn’t like music, hates most teevee, hasn’t met a book he’s not read he didn’t want to burn, is a heretic, and probably won’t let you suck his balls.

    And they let him procreate?

    I guess they need somewhere to get fodder for Court TV from.

  • Frozen pickles, arrrgh…

  • I leave you to insert long stiff objects in your orifice of choice, Jim – that’s not my bag.


  • Dee Nalle:

    You forgot to insert your “Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick”

    There, doesn’t that feel more “normal”?

  • Yes, David, I gave him as much attention as to write a column on the topic. I’ve got nothing against getting attention, though I’d prefer it be for something good, rather than for being a schmuck.

  • I thought the whole complaint about Million Dollar Baby was just silly opportunistic posturing, but now that I’ve seen Carruthers insane gibbering reaction to it, it’s clear that the movie is the essence of evil and should be stamped out for the good of humanity.


  • Playing spoiler has, however, gotten more attention for this Medved schmuck than pretty much anything else ever.

    Some attention which, as I see, has come from you; yes?



  • Tom, all I ask is that you insert “Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick” into every reference of fucktards you use. ie: David “Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick” Fucktard sez: blah, blah, i got paid for this filth.

  • So, remember kids, when you see a member of The Republican Guard, do like Bobby Hill does.

    Yell: “That’s My Purse”

    Then, kick him in the nuts

    Twice if it is Medved.

    Remember, Republican is a bad man who wants to do bad things to you, so do them first.

  • Jim, “Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick” might just be my favorite phrase of the week.

  • Y’know what amazes me? Why would a sub-literate boob, who isn’t even as smart as a poo-flinging monkey, even bother to try to roll out a “Frozen Sour-Pickle-On-A-Stick” cart in a neighborhood which isn’t even remotely interested.

    What sort of idiot would even bother unless he was being paid to?

    And if he wasn’t being paid to, what a sad sack of self-hating shit he must be.

  • Since The Rock is hosting this year’s Oscars, and since they give the technical awards at another ceremony, how much is the pay-per-view event where Clint Eastwood kicks Medved’s ass for a good solid hour?

  • You know, you could just view it as a movie to enjoy. Jesus, people need to get a friggin’ life. You can choose to be offended or just go “I didn’t agree with his choice.” It’s a movie.

  • I can’t wait for Flannelman’s (the under-hero with skid-marks in his undies) outrage with “The Aviator”.

    Flannelman: “Wife-unit, does this milk taste funny to you?”

    WU: “I don’t think so, we did buy the bottles from the Howard Hughes estate, and he was an enormously successful businessman, so there’s nothing wrong with them.”

  • I remember Eatwood saying something about telling a story, and that he doesn’t necessarily agree with assisted suicide, but it was part of the story, he also sai that he shot people in a lot of his films but that doesn’t make him pro gun.

    All that said, it was a good movie, but I don’t feel it is completely worthy of all the praise it has gotten. It is a top 20 film for sure, but not sure about best of the year…

  • All I know is that Donny Darko is going to burn down Medved’s house this week, and when the fire fighters find out what he has in that secret room, I imagine there’s going to be a lot of denial going on.

    And isn’t that mustache known in “the trade” as a merkin?

    A virtual “beard” for bald-faced liars.

  • David — Would I be wrong to think that you are just the kind of young person Bill Maher is addressing in today’s L.A. Times Op-Ed?

  • Eric Olsen

    I remember what a turd he was all the way back to his “alternative to Siskel and Ebert” show, like 20 years ago

  • Screw Medved, and his cheap, literal way of shoehorning his political agenda into a work of art. The fact that the movie deals deals with an assisted suicide doesn’t automatically mean that Clint says it’s cool.

    Plus, the point of stirring up controversy isn’t necessarily to hurt the movie, but to promote Medved’s own lame product. Eastwood was doing fine without this extra promotional help, what with being Clint Eastwood and getting a buttload of Oscar nominations. Playing spoiler has, however, gotten more attention for this Medved schmuck than pretty much anything else ever.

  • I think you’re an ignorant hypocrite who is a week late in getting his marching orders from the Party paymasters at the Committee for the Overseeing of Vice and Virtue.

    So piss off, stick to lecturing people who agree with your version of sharia.

    If you don’t like the movie, don’t go see it. Stick to your political porn.