A few days ago, conservative film critic Christian Toto wrote a piece on his website HollywoodInToto titled Why Conservatives Must Support ’12 Strong’ (Or Stop Complaining). In the article, he makes the case that the film should be a draw for conservatives because “It’s patriotic and lacks the kind of pearl clutching seen in some war movies. The Taliban is depicted in the cruelest way possible, reflecting the truth behind the barbaric group. It’s also apolitical to the core.” Now, while I agree with his assessment that these are the films right-leaning audiences should be supporting with their money, there is a problem with getting them out for the film…it’s the contempt of the people making the movie.
To say that Hollywood has burned its bridge with Middle America is a damn understatement. Hollywood celebrities do not shy away from virtuing their contempt for people who don’t share their political views. Some have made it a secondary career to show how much they detest conservative values. So when you have a film like 12 Strong, a film that normally would grab the eye of right-wing audiences, they are just as quickly turned off by the stars of the film, like Michael Shannon.
Last year, shortly after President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Shannon had some harsh words for those who made it happen. “The big red dildo running through the middle of our country needs to be annexed to be its own country of moronic assholes,” Shannon said. “You can call it the United States of Moronic Fucking Assholes.” “If you’re voting for Trump, it’s time for the urn.” And if your parents voted for Trump? “Fuck ’em. You’re an orphan now. Don’t go home. Don’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Don’t talk to them at all. Silence speaks volumes.”
Now if you can get conservatives to watch your film after that, you may be a better negotiator than the President. Hollywood’s moral grandstanding has become the last straw for many moviegoers as attendance for movie theaters has hit its lowest point in a generation. But Christian brings up an interesting dilemma; Do you swallow your pride to support a film in the hopes of changing the output of Hollywood? Or has the rhetoric become too much to support the voices of those who hate them the most? Personally, If you are looking to reform Hollywood, you have to send a much louder message.
I’m all for supporting a conservative story, but the big problem here is that Hollywood thinks they can have their cake and eat it too. They believe they can send strong messages against their audience and then expect those same people to support their latest project. Until they start really feeling the impact at the box office, they will continue to think they can get away with it. If you want to support a conservative project, you should support one made by people who respect your viewpoint, not by people who want your money and nothing else to do with you. Does it suck that cinema has become politicized to this degree? Yes, but as Andrew Wilkow always says “You can only spit in someone’s face long enough until the wind changes direction”