UPDATE: By “war movie” I of course mean a movie about the battles in the War on Terror. I thought that was obvious in the piece, some comments show that wasn’t clear enough.
Between documentaries and narrative feature films, Hollywood delivered somewhere close to two dozen box office bombs during the Bush Administration — all of them attacking President George W. Bush and various elements of the War on Terror. Not one of these films was anything other than a critical and commercial humiliation. That, however, didn’t stop Hollywood from making them. The entertainment industry’s anti-American agenda will always trump greed. This weekend, though, with “Lone Survivor,” Hollywood finally as a hit war movie on its hands.
According to Deadline, “Lone Survivor” is expected to top the weekend box office with a take of $33 million to $35 million — which is well above industry expectations and double the expectations of its distributor, Universal.
Though I haven’t yet seen “Lone Survivor,” by all accounts the true story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his harrowing odyssey to stay alive after being ambushed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, is apolitical and respectful of the men who fight our wars. Writer/director Peter Berg (working from Luttrell’s own book) is also receiving near-universal acclaim for crafting a damn fine war movie.
This is not a difficult code to crack: No one, not even American-hating leftists who could have made all of those flops a hit, want to be preached at in the movies. We also don’t want to see the men who risk and sacrifice everything for our country denigrated. Sure, like there are in every field, there are some bad apples in the military. But to focus only on the bad and never on the overwhelming number of good is nothing more than American/troop-bashing and lying through omission.
The other part of cracking that code is to put telling a good story above politics.
I saw almost every one of those box office bombs and found most of them sinister and designed only to undermine our war effort by turning the tide of American public opinion. At the time we had hundreds of thousands of brave men and women in war zones; tens of millions of innocent Afghan and Iraqi citizens had turned against the terrorists and desperately needed the protection we promised; but here were these evil bastards in Hollywood spending hundreds of millions of dollars to aid and abet the terrorists.
Despite the presence of Hollywood’s biggest stars and top directors, to excuse this 100% failure rate, Hollywood and its media claimed that the politics and agenda of those flops had nothing to do with their failure at the box office; people were just “tired of war.”
“Lone Survivor” proves that excuse a lie.
Polls show that people are even more tired of war today than they were then. But in a single weekend “Lone Survivor” has grossed more than many of its anti-American counterparts combined.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC