In his latest column, NY Times Op-ed writer Frank Rich gets it wrong (as usual) when talking about Iraq. This week in particular Frank misses the mark with his explanation of why movies about the Iraq war do so poorly at the Box Office.
He claims Americans want to avoid talking about the war or seeing images of it, because it's all too depressing and horrific to come to terms with.
It would take another column to list all the movies and TV shows about Iraq that have gone belly up at the box office or in Nielsen ratings in the nearly four years since the war’s only breakout commercial success, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They die regardless of their quality or stand on the war, whether they star Tommy Lee Jones (“In the Valley of Elah”) or Meryl Streep (“Lions for Lambs”) or are produced by Steven Bochco (the FX series “Over There”) or are marketed like Abercrombie & Fitch apparel to the MTV young (“Stop-Loss”).
Frank says in the above quote that movies about Iraq "die regardless of their quality or stand on the war", but that is a misleading statement in itself. The only "stand" movies about Iraq have taken up to this point is an anti-war, anti-American, and anti-military stand. Which is precisely why they have been total and complete failures, and will continue to be no matter who stars in them or how many of them are made.
Americans would flock to see a kick-ass movie about the Iraq war that wasn't laden with anti-war/anti-American sentiments. When people go to the movies they're not looking to be preached to or indoctrinated by a hardcore left-wing agenda. They want to be entertained for 92 minutes and leaving the theater feeling good, or at least not leave feeling worse than when they went in.
Hollywood thinks the military is a bunch of country bumpkins turned war criminals who only joined the service to escape a miserable life of poverty and despair. I think John Kerry said it best when addressing a group of high school kids a year or so ago.
"Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well," said Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
The idea that only idiots without an education end up fighting for their country shows an ignorance about who the men and women of the military are that is nothing short of breathtaking.
The vast majority of Americans are proud of their country and don't see it as the evil, "torture nation" that many misguided liberals do. Our effort in Iraq has taken a toll on the American people, because of the incredible sacrifice in both blood and dollars.
Which is why it's so damn insulting for Hollywood to constantly promote the idea that our soldiers are victims or pawns and America is a terrible country.
As Frank mentions in his column, Hollywood distributor "Lions Gate" is holding back the release of their latest Iraq movie called "The Lucky Ones" which is said to be "sympathetic" to the veterans and allegedly made with full Army support.
In case your waiting for the other show to drop, it's starring Tim Robbins as one of the veterans which is sure leave moviegoers feeling warm and patriotic when they leave the theater.
What Hollywood should do is another movie like "Blackhawk Down" which is both accurate and highly entertaining. It's a movie that depicts the battle accurately while capturing the bravery and humility of the American soldier.
Take that formula and make a movie about the battle of Fallujah without anti-war activists as soldiers and you will have a hit movie. Get Ridley Scott to direct it and Joel Silver to produce it, and you'll have the biggest hit of the year.