Hollywood actors use the word “brave” almost as loosely as the term “amazing” when describing their fellow artists. It’s brave to gain or lose weight for a role, to shave their head if a play demands it and tackle a subject from a perspective nine-tenths of their peers agree on wholeheartedly.
Yet today, with their industry being blasted by social critics and the government alike, artists are mostly silent.
Where is all that brave talk now?
Hollywood is under assault for the violent nature of its content in the wake of the school shooting in Connecticut earlier this month. Screenings have been cancelled, shows have been yanked off the air and even the star of the season’s most violent movie, “Django Unchained’s” Jamie Foxx, says movie violence has an impact on our culture.
So are artists speaking out in defense of both their craft and the First Amendment? What about Bruce Willis of “Die Hard” fame? Tom Cruise (“Mission: Impossible,” “Top Gun”)? Liam Neeson, the older man’s action hero?
Not really. “Django Unchained” director Quentin Tarantino is defending his bloody film canon, and “Sopranos” creator David Chase essentially did the same recently, but where are the industry’s loudest voices on the subject?
Are they worried about potential clampdowns on free speech? Will a new, unspoken Production Code, with echoes of the one which existed before the movie ratings system emerged in the late 1960s, take root today?
That’s not the only front where the entertainment world is under fire. A trio of Senators is attacking the new film “Zero Dark Thirty” for allegedly misstating the narrative behind the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The group even sent a sternly worded letter to Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film, on the matter.
The CIA also weighed in on the film, claiming its depiction of enhanced interrogation and the intelligence gleaned as a result doesn’t accurately reflect the historical record.
Did those senators nap through Oliver Stone’s “J.F.K.”?
How often do senators and major governmental bodies share their disgust over movie content? Did the Bush administration send a sternly worded letter to the folks behind “Fahrenheit 9/11” telling them Michael Moore’s arguments were essentially hogwash? If that happened, you bet there’d be an outcry from some of the same voices who speak up in Hollywood during an election year – and rightfully so.
Will anyone voice their concern about the attacks on their livelihood, their right to express themselves through the arts?