And not because 99.9999% of everyone in Hollywood is a lunatic. That’s the normal state of affairs, for them.
No, the reason I think that the alien invasion has started in Hollywood (other than its being the logical place to begin: how are the rest of us really going to tell the difference??) is that I just got back from seeing The Monuments Men. I understand that it’s got a low Rotten Tomatoes approval rating, but lemme tell you: that movie gave me The Feels, man. It was good. Not the kind of super-awesome that nets it a place on my personal hardcopy shelf, but definitely worth recommending. And using in Civics classes on those slow days when the teachers aren’t actually going to even pretend to teach anything because finals are over but the school year hasn’t technically run out yet and they’re still forced to babysit the kids.
Here’s my caveat, though: I don’t watch war movies. Like, ever. I haven’t even seen War Horse. Band of Brothers, are you kidding me? I hid on the other side of the house when J was watching that. I don’t need cinema depiction of the truism that War Is Hell in glorious gory technicolor and CGI, kthxbai. So I’m wondering if the low RT score reflects the fact that people were expecting an action-packed war movie… and what they got was a story about peril and sacrifice motivated by the love of beautiful pieces of Western-cultural-heritage art. You know, that culture that all the intelligentsia have been teaching all the students to hate because it was produced by a bunch of racist patriarchal dead white guys, or some BS like that. The “damsels in distress” were a freaking Catholic altar piece and a sculpture of Madonna and Christ child, and if post-modernism has taught the masses anything, it’s taught them that Catholics are a 120% safe target for bigoted vitriol the likes of which would land you with restraining orders and possible jail time if it were expressed towards any of the Designated Victim Classes.
The characters depicted in this movie dared to believe that Western cultural heritage, and the beautiful works of our ancestors, were worth daring war and death to preserve. That the erasing of the memory of the honored dead and their greatest works is a heinous crime, and worthy of opposing even as the Allies opposed the greater evil of the concentration camps. That the Nazi evil was not just in destroying lives – and let us face facts here, genocide is an old, comfortable evil for humankind, and has gone on both before and since the Nazis – but in attempting to destroy all that was good, if they could not themselves control it. In pursuit of great evils they did not neglect the slightly lesser evils on the way.
But, of course, the appreciation for the works of one’s ancestors is a particularly Western cultural value. It does not surprise me that a generation of people who have been deliberately inoculated against civilized appreciation for the past and respect for one’s ancestors find a movie lauding the attempts of the civilized to thwart the barbarous less than deeply moving. Also, at one point a married man resists the feminine wiles of Cate Blanchett and remains faithful to his wife rather than having a steamy sex scene with her, and I imagine that alone shattered most moviegoers suspension of disbelief right there. There weren’t even any corny Venus of Milo puns deployed, so the movie was probably just plain too sophisticated for the general audience, and they’re ticked at not getting to see CB naked. (I wish I didn’t actually believe that could be the case.)
In other movie news, I hear third-hand that the airplane terrorist villain in Non-Stop is a deranged War on Terror veteran. Because vets are totally domestic terrorists and a danger to innocent people on airplanes, y’know. If the aliens could please hurry up and complete their invasion of Hollywood so that they’ll stop producing drek like that, I’d appreciate it. Because, seriously, if you are a typical Hollywood specimen, who is more likely to have lethal levels of disapproval for your dissolute Godless lifestyle of drugs and promiscuity? An American veteran, or a Muslim fanatic? But after Fort Hood, I guess those two aren’t mutually exclusive anymore… hmm.