home > archive > 2008 > this article

Search this site Search WWW

Media doesn't get why Hollywood's dismal Iraq War pics are flopping

By Warner Todd Huston
web posted March 31, 2008

Ryan Phillipe and Channing Tatum in the latest Iraq War themed-flick Stop-Loss

On the 25th, the Washington Post served up a lament for Hollywood's dismal box office returns for the many Iraq war pictures it has churned out over the last several years, wondering why they have all failed so spectacularly? The whole article amounts to the Post just not understanding why moviegoers have stayed away in droves from these dark and dismal movies. But with the anti-Military, anti-American point of view depicted in every single one of these movies, it is no surprise that Americans have ignored these self-denigrating flicks. After all, with soldiers really taking casualties on the battlefield, who wants to see a film that tells us all it's our fault?

Still, the Washington Post is mystified.

After five years of conflict in Iraq, Hollywood seems to have learned a sobering lesson: The only things less popular than the war itself are dramatic films and television shows about the conflict… A spate of Iraq-themed movies and TV shows haven't just failed at the box office. They've usually failed spectacularly, despite big stars, big budgets and serious intentions.

The Post then goes on to wonder if audiences are "turned off by the war, or are they simply voting against the way filmmakers have depicted it?" As the post asks that question, you'd think they are on the verge of understanding. But, this question is dropped right away as the story details one flop after another. Ridiculously, the Post seems puzzled by the fact that audiences have not just mindlessly followed into the theater the "big stars, big budgets and serious intentions" of these failed flicks and no further attempt is made in this story to explore the public's disinterest.

The Post quotes TV legend Steven Bochco who imagines that his TV series "Over There," which failed after only 13 episodes, was not well received because Americans felt "a certain sense of powerlessness" about the war. The Post also quotes film historian Jonathan Kuntz of UCLA that the whole thing is just a "bummer."

For now, Kuntz agrees with Bochco: "We're bombarded by information about [Iraq] 24 hours a day," he says. "We already know plenty about it. We don't need to learn more about it from the movies. Right now, it's something people want to forget and escape from. I speak for the American public when I say, ‘What a bummer.' "

The American people are saying "what a bummer," but you don't speak for them, Mr. Kuntz. The "bummer" is coming from how the films depict every aspect of our current action as wrong, bad, even evil. Too bad the Washington Post dropped their initial inquiry because they might have had something interesting to explore with the question of how these movies portray the war and those participating in it.

Each and every film discussed by the Post portrays the war as wrong, the soldiers as dolts, mislead, murderers, drug addicts or victims of one sort or another. These films also constantly show a U.S. government uncaring and uninterested in the welfare of soldiers, their families or the people living in war torn areas.

There is nothing good depicted in any of these movies and that is why Americans don't want to pay their hard earned money to go see them. The "bummer" is that each and every one of these movies are aimed at bringing down America's spirits as far as possible in order to spur the public to acquiesce to Hollywood's political agenda of ending the war and tearing down the U.S. military.

So, it is a "bummer," Mr. Kuntz. It is a "bummer" that you and your friends in Hollywood want to make films that attempt to tear this country down and dispirit its people.

Fortunately, most Americans don't seem to be dumb enough to waste their money on the garbage Hollywood is foisting upon them. But, too bad that the Washington Post eschewed the more interesting and probably more correct angle to this story just to give us the boring lament that America is merely "war weary" as opposed to detailing how Hollywood is failing because of its political agenda.

In the end, there is one thing that isn't a "bummer." It is good that Hollywood is losing their financial rear ends with failure after failure letting them know that America isn't interested in their junk. ESR

Warner Todd Huston is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

Send a link to this page!
Send a link to this story





Site Map

E-mail ESR

Musings - ESR's blog


1996-2020, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.