With so many Hollywood celebrities jumping on the various presidential bandwagons, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell where politics leaves off and show business begins. This being the movie awards season, one sort of expects the politicians to return the favor by announcing their support of, say, George Clooney or Johnny Depp for the Oscar.
When I read recently that Robin Wright was divorcing Sean Penn after 11 years of marriage, I was hoping she would attribute the split not to the usual irreconcilable differences, but to irreconcilable differences of opinion. I mean, if I were the judge and Mrs. Penn testified that she’d finally had her fill of Sean’s going on like a besotted teenager about how cool Hugo Chavez is, I’d be happy to give her custody of the kids and 100% of the community property, including the Oscar he should never have won for his hammy over-the-top performance in “Mystic River.”
Speaking of Oscars, there’s a great deal wrong with them, even aside from the fact that the Academy voters actually handed one over to the bozos who wrote the song, “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp.” For starters, there’s the fact that they are hardly ever awarded to comedies or to those who write or star in them. On rare occasions, someone such as Kevin Kline or Marisa Tomei picks one up in a supporting role. But, as a rule, if you want to win an Oscar, your best bet is to appear in an overlong, overwrought drama as a mute, a cripple or a prostitute.
Many Americans have complained that the only message to be found in Hollywood product these days is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are dictators, that the CIA is a combination of the Gestapo and the KGB, and that those who serve in the U.S. military do so only because it enables them to rape, pillage and murder, to their hearts’ content. But I wonder if the subliminal message that comes through when audiences around the world watch this swill isn’t the opposite of what the Hollywood crowd intended. I believe if I were watching one of these stinkers in most foreign nations, I would be thinking, “What a great and free country America must be that these ungrateful louts are allowed to make movies so critical of the government. Over here, they wouldn’t be paid millions of dollars and treated like royalty. Over here, they’d be jailed or lined up against a wall and shot.”