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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Hollywood and Rich Assholes: A Love Story

Normal Folks: House from Home Alone

It’s blatantly obvious that Hollywood doesn’t think that normal, middle class people and below are capable of anything remotely resembling a meaningful life, let alone relationships. I can’t limit my critique to only Hollywood because independent filmmaker Woody Allen is the most class-conscious asshole in the entire world of cinema, so I'll target my criticism to include almost all American filmmakers.

A movie industry which exclusively features rich assholes isn’t a Spanish tradition, at least not yet, thank god.When we peak into the lives of Spanish people in movies we see people who live pretty much like all of us, or the vast majority of us.This in itself doesn't mean that the movies are better but at least they down sow the seeds that brainwash people into thinking that being rich is the only way to live. Even in many American movies that are supposed to be about working people the filmmakers can't seem to get the lifestyle quite right. In Pedro Almodóvar's Volver (my favorite of his films) the protagonist lives in an apartment that any middle class Spaniard can relate to, dirty dishes and all.

I think that a big part of the political problems America faces today has to do with the way movies portray rich people as being superior to folks who don’t have multiple dwellings and travel by private jet. “All men are created equal” isn’t exactly the message Hollywood is out to sell to the American public. Instead the rich are seen as what we all should aspire to be.  Ask 100 young kids today if they will be rich someday and I would imagine that 100% will answer “Hell yes!”  The current myth is that Hollywood is a hotbed of liberals much like we have a "liberal" press.  There may be a few outspoken liberal celebrities and there are many fine liberal journalists but they don’t make a liberal film industry and we sure as shit don’t have a liberal press in America.

I recently saw the film Last Night (dubbed into Spanish as Sólo una Noche) which was pretty terrible as far as the story and writing are concerned, but even more disturbing—at least for me—was that the only way the filmmakers could see to reveal their artistic vision was to have the characters inhabit the world of the wealthy. As if people who don’t live in designer apartments in Manhattan simply aren’t capable of having personal lives worthy of attention.  

I’m not saying that they need to make every movie about desperately poor people but would it kill these bourgeois pricks to portray the middle class as an honorable station in life? Sex and the City made it perfectly clear that women couldn’t achieve orgasm unless they had a Gucci bag clasped firmly in one hand.  The four harpies on the show practically masturbated to fashion symbols that will be Goodwill fodder in six months. Yet this frivolous, consumerist bullshit doesn’t seem to anger many among those of us who shop off the rack. Why is this? Why is there almost zero class resentment among the lower middle class and the poor towards the ruling elite? Hollywood and the “liberal” media have done a great job of making everyone believe that they, too, can make it into this stratosphere of wealth and privilege—this at a time when upward mobility has been stagnant for a great portion of the populace and wages a re falling.

I’m sure that all of the prol slobs who make up the Tea Party think that they are one lotto ticket or one tax break away from entering the halls of the true Republican policy makers.  What they never seem to realize is that the only way they can rub elbows with the true Republicans is if they strap a leaf-blower on their back and do Dick Cheney’s yard work.  Despite what Ronald Reagan implied, we can’t all be millionaires. The pie ain’t that big nor will it ever be.

So just fucking stop it, Hollywood. Stop rubbing our noses in the sports cars, vacation homes in the Hamptons, private jets, hyper-expensive restaurants, and all of the other life-style porn you shove down our throats with every shitty movie you crank out. Besides being artistically mediocre—for the most part—you are damaging the psyche of the American public when you brainwash people into thinking that rich is the only way to live.

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