This film image released by Columbia Pictures-Sony shows director Neill Blomkamp, left, and Matt Damon on the set of "Elysium." The film, opening nationwide on Aug. 9, is a rogue burst of originality _ a futuristic popcorn adventure loaded with contemporary themes of wealth discrepancy, immigration and health care. (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures, TriStar, Kimberly French) (Kimberley French/AP)News flash: Leftist Hollywood is at it again! "Elysium,’ the summer blockbuster starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, has, dare we say it, political overtones, which numerous right-wing groups have denounced as liberal propaganda.
What a surprise.
Honestly, I’m not sure what’s more annoying: These folks sounding like a broken record about the horrors of "liberal’ Hollywood, or the fact that they are, flat-out, completely wrong.
If they stopped blathering for just a second and looked at the real Tinseltown, they would realize that A.) the vast majority of movies have much more of a conservative tilt than a liberal one, and B.) they’d be a whole lot better off becoming part of the entertainment industry instead of incessantly complaining, but doing nothing to change it. In other words, try lighting a few candles instead of cursing the darkness.
A big part of the problem is that too many fail to see the difference between those who produce, direct and star in movies versus the messages of the movies themselves.
Are many, if not most, individuals in the industry politically liberal? No question. But, overall, their movies are not. And that’s because the Hollywood masterminds aren’t dumb. They inherently understand that if they produced films that were leftist in nature, they would lose billions by alienating a huge chunk of American moviegoers. And make no mistake — Hollywood’s first goal is to make money.
The proof is in the pudding, as the most common themes of the biggest movies are anything but far-left: Good guys carrying guns; self-reliance; redemption; racial harmony; fighting for freedom against impossible odds; standing up against corporate greed; stopping terrorists; telling the truth despite the consequences; keeping families together and the rewards of a strong work ethic. Oh, and did we mention good guys carrying guns? (Emphasis on that one never hurts).
So where exactly is that infamous liberal bias? And how do any of the above qualify as leftist indoctrination?
Instead of embracing Hollywood for what it does "right,’ too many on the right ignore the good and instead throw fire to get their 30-second sound bite or use the "liberal Hollywood elite’ line to raise money.
Take all the recent criticism of "Elysium.’ The standard attack line is that it’s a sci-fi socialism pic, portraying the haves versus the have-nots by highlighting the issues of class warfare, health care only for the rich and immigration.
Damon’s character, a factory worker on overpopulated (and slummy) Earth who receives an accidental lethal dose of radiation, can only be saved by obtaining medical treatment on the space station orbiting Earth, which happens to house all the rich 1 percenters. To get there, though, he makes a deal to take up arms and steal (evil) government secrets. While set in the future, critics — and director Neill Blomkamp himself — agree the movie reflects life in the present.
OK, let’s review. Is America increasingly a place where there are haves and have-nots, where the middle class is disappearing, and where class warfare is becoming a way of life? Is there not a major health care crisis, where people now value health care above owning a home, where millions are uninsured, and where those with "money’ are much more likely to receive high-quality care? And do we not have a raging debate about immigration, from open borders to security walls to amnesty for illegals?
So why all the criticism for a movie that asks legitimate questions? Is the right so scared of its own ideas that it can’t defend them, rather than solely resorting to attacks?
Maybe if Republicans stopped their unproductive bashing and offered positive solutions, while holding their own accountable for their (many) mistakes, movies like "Elysium’ wouldn’t hit so close to home.
Is universal health care the answer? Of course not. But it’s not productive, nor accurate, to just blame President Barack Obama (and "liberal’ Hollywood) for these problems, as both parties are equally guilty in driving us to where we stand today.
When the Republicans under George W. Bush had six years and all the power to fix these things, they chose to do nothing. No free-market solutions to health care, no reining in the greed of insurance companies, no border walls, no rational solution for the millions of illegals beyond the insane "deport them all’ line. No overhaul of the immoral tax system, no energy independence, and no reduction in massive government spending, all of which would have led to a more prosperous and exponentially larger middle class — and a vast reduction in the us-against-them mentality that so many Americans now harbor toward their fellow countrymen.
Like it or not, these problems are upon us and they’re only getting worse. If it takes a movie like "Elysium’ to finally make us think about and, hopefully, deal with them, then so be it.
The right would be wise to embrace this movie, engaging in constructive dialogue, rather than cowering behind worn-out attack lines that only serve to marginalize their worthy ideas.
Agree with director Blomkamp’s themes or not, it is commendable that he has put out yet another movie ("District 9′ and its take on the horrors of apartheid was his first blockbuster) that makes us take a hard look at the future. And that future — our future — is now.