Hollywood Explodes With Anti-War Venom

Ed Lasky
The New York Times notes how the custom of allowing some "breathing room" has been abolished. This breathing room allowed some wounds to heal, but more importantly allowed perspectives to be developed-away from the emotions roiled by a war. Well...there is an election coming up and the primary season is in full swing. Recall, when our actors voluntarily joined the armed forces (Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable), when actresses manned USO canteens, when producers filmed patriotic movies to support the troops and give America a sense of pride and shared battles.

So yesterday!
On Sept. 14, Warner Independent Pictures expects to release “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama inspired by the Davis murder, written and directed by Paul Haggis, whose “Crash” won the Academy Award for best picture in 2006. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as a retired veteran who defies Army bureaucrats and local officials in a search for his son’s killers. In one of the movie’s defining images, the American flag is flown upside down in the heartland, the signal of extreme distress.

Other coming films also use the damaged Iraq veteran to raise questions about a continuing war. In “Grace Is Gone,” directed by James C. Strouse and due in October from the Weinstein Company, John Cusack and two daughters struggle with the loss of a wife and mother who is killed on duty. Kimberly Peirce’s “Stop-Loss,” set for release in March by Paramount, meanwhile, casts Ryan Phillippe as a veteran who defies an order that would send him back to Iraq.
Maybe the fact that people in Hollywood live in insular worlds, are graduates of top notch MBA schools, and are beneficiaries of nepotism within the entertainment industry gives them a very narrow perspective on the world's events.


UPDATE

Frequent AT contributor Doug Hanson emails some information on Paul Haggis:

"It should come as no surprise that Paul Haggis, the writer and director for the upcoming film "In the Valley of Elah" would be involved in this piece of anti-war propaganda. He also was one of the writers of Flags of Our Fathers , another film that twists World War II history in an attempt to condemn both Vietnam and the campaign in Iraq. Haggis also was a contributing writer and the executive producer for the sequel to Flags, Letters From Iwo JimaLetters was produced to essentially provide the much sought after "balance," which in war films made today, simply provides relief for Hollywood guilt because of US victories in war. So, Hollywood is simply continuing the Vietnam war tactic of propagandizing via the indirect approach: exploit the problems of returning veterans and to cheapen the sacrifices of those who have given their lives in the cause of freedom."
The New York Times notes how the custom of allowing some "breathing room" has been abolished. This breathing room allowed some wounds to heal, but more importantly allowed perspectives to be developed-away from the emotions roiled by a war. Well...there is an election coming up and the primary season is in full swing. Recall, when our actors voluntarily joined the armed forces (Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable), when actresses manned USO canteens, when producers filmed patriotic movies to support the troops and give America a sense of pride and shared battles.

So yesterday!
On Sept. 14, Warner Independent Pictures expects to release “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama inspired by the Davis murder, written and directed by Paul Haggis, whose “Crash” won the Academy Award for best picture in 2006. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as a retired veteran who defies Army bureaucrats and local officials in a search for his son’s killers. In one of the movie’s defining images, the American flag is flown upside down in the heartland, the signal of extreme distress.

Other coming films also use the damaged Iraq veteran to raise questions about a continuing war. In “Grace Is Gone,” directed by James C. Strouse and due in October from the Weinstein Company, John Cusack and two daughters struggle with the loss of a wife and mother who is killed on duty. Kimberly Peirce’s “Stop-Loss,” set for release in March by Paramount, meanwhile, casts Ryan Phillippe as a veteran who defies an order that would send him back to Iraq.
Maybe the fact that people in Hollywood live in insular worlds, are graduates of top notch MBA schools, and are beneficiaries of nepotism within the entertainment industry gives them a very narrow perspective on the world's events.


UPDATE

Frequent AT contributor Doug Hanson emails some information on Paul Haggis:

"It should come as no surprise that Paul Haggis, the writer and director for the upcoming film "In the Valley of Elah" would be involved in this piece of anti-war propaganda. He also was one of the writers of Flags of Our Fathers , another film that twists World War II history in an attempt to condemn both Vietnam and the campaign in Iraq. Haggis also was a contributing writer and the executive producer for the sequel to Flags, Letters From Iwo JimaLetters was produced to essentially provide the much sought after "balance," which in war films made today, simply provides relief for Hollywood guilt because of US victories in war. So, Hollywood is simply continuing the Vietnam war tactic of propagandizing via the indirect approach: exploit the problems of returning veterans and to cheapen the sacrifices of those who have given their lives in the cause of freedom."