BP Movie Journal 7/30/15

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13 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    I really enjoyed this one, guys. I kinda like it when you talk politics. I saw Best of Enemies, and what struck me the most was how mild the ad hominem attacks were compared to the constant screeching on the airwaves today. It’s almost sweet how Buckley never quite forgave himself for losing his cool in the debate, when nowadays that’s just another tactic.
    As for your discussion on whether or not Hollywood depicts Christians unfavorably, I think the distinction is that a liberal Christian is depicted favorably while a conservative Christian is not. . And to put and even finer point on it, I think it really just comes down to whether or not the Christian is anti-gay. Compare Mercedes on Glee with the students in the abstinence club. They’re all Christian, but Mercedes is friends with Kurt, so it’s cool. You’re not going to see a Christian who believes homosexuality is a sin depicted positively, and most conservative Christians believe that. And I have to say, I’m fine with that negative depiction.
    I look forward to your show debating whether Hollywood is conservative or liberal, mainly because it seems like a layup to me that it is unequivocally liberal.

  2. Chris Mosher says:

    Hey, an atheist/skeptic type here. I agree with that Christians dont getting the fairest shake but i disagree with you they are uniformly portrayed negatively.

    Spoilers for the Mist

    Tyler brought up the Mist and we know that the whacko crazy lady but you also have the biker guy who is put forward as also being Christian but is one of the more sympathetic characters. On the other hand the neighbor who is the only out right skeptical character does not have a happy ending. In fact the the character who does have a positive ending the is the woman at the very begging who puts her faith that in the fact she can get to her kids. I would even hazard that Tom Jane’s ending could be said to be a punishment for his giving up faith and not joining the mother at the beginning. It seems to as though moderate religion is portrayed vas the correct way to go in the Mist.

    Religion is also seems get some positive play in super hero films such as Man of Steel and is portrayed as a positive motivation for Daredevil and Captain America. As for skeptics trying a horror film. You know what skeptics are in that genre? They are wrong and probably got people killed as a result.

    Any ways despite this rant I really enjoyed the episode and hearing the two of you discuss your personal beliefs.

  3. Marc says:

    Great episode, please don’t let any negative comments prevent more of these kinds of discussions.

    The whole liberal-conservative bias argument comes down to a split between individuals in the arts being more liberal but also having to work within a large corporate structure, the ownership of which is more conservative. Thus there will always be that tension, both within films and even extending to the media at large. This also is where I disagree with the fallacy of the liberal elite, especially in academia. Yes, humanities professors are overwhelmingly leftist, but this isn’t all the academy (business departments are much further to the right, the hard sciences more divided) and the people in power/admin also tend to be more conservative.

    As for the anti-semitism of Occupy Wall Street and its comparisons to the racism of the Tea Party, this is a false analogy. For one thing, this was reported by all the major papers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. It also was clearly overblown by the conservative right (Bill Kristol being the most prominent) as a way to discredit the movement. One way to show how little validity there was to these claims is to look at who is outraged. Is it Jewish organizations? No, it’s mostly conservative groups. Of course, some would say these Jewish organizations are leftist and this is why (poor Jews, scapegoated for being lefty commies and having control of the banks). To suggest that it is on par with the much more widespread racism of the Tea Party is not proven by the facts. There are a plethora of direct quotes from Tea Party elected officials as evidence of the racism of the movement, something that does not exist with the Occupy movement (I guess you could argue that this is because they haven’t been as powerful or successful, but that also shows why the analogy is false, just as comparing a racist comment by white people and black people is false).

    But other than that, I thought the discussion was thoughtful and interesting and would like it applied more to films in future episodes (look forward to the episode with Scott Nye).

  4. antho42 says:

    Thank god we do not have people like William F. Buckley anymore. He supported segregation in the USA and apartheid in South Africa.

  5. Drew says:

    That was a very interesting show. I’m a Christian, but I lean left politically, so I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with you both on the political side. I’m very excited to see a BP episode that addresses conservative/liberal in Hollywood. I don’t know what angle you’ll take, but I’ve always found it fascinating that you can have, say, an Apatow whose characters are foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, and use drugs openly but whose movies glorify traditional family values like marriage and kids. Similarly, I remember reading once that some consider Married…With Children to be one of the most conservative shows on television ever, not because of Al’s hatred of fat women but that, despite Al’s frequent trips to the “nudie bar” and wishes for death, he is quite protective of his family and that entire institution. For a show that was criticized for vulgarity and obscenity, it’s quite traditional.

    Also, on the dash argument, here’s the way it typically goes: If you have a hyphen (i.e., “-“), then you typically wouldn’t put a space on either side. That’s how you’d get Spider-Man or Ant-Man. An em-dash (written as two hyphens: “–” and often turned into a solid line on Word) can be used to set apart words or phrases, similar to the way you would use a comma. In most style books, you wouldn’t put a space around either side. The Associated Press, however, recommends a space on either side. So I’d argue that most movie reviews probably should include a space while most movie criticism (essays, book chapters, etc.) should not.

    Interestingly, Zoller Seitz and IMDb use a hyphen in the MI title while other outlets such as Variety use a dash with spaces around it.

  6. Jackson H. says:

    Glad to hear that David liked Ant-Man and Tyler liked Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Enjoyed both quite a lot myself. My big takeaway from the latter, though (which you did not mention, which means I get to), is how great is that Rebecca Ferguson? I had no idea who she was before the other night and now I think I’m a huge fan. Her character isn’t quite as compelling as Imperator Furiosa in Fury Road this year (hard to beat), but she’s definitely in the same category: a woman in a “man’s movie” who pretty much runs away with the whole show and makes the movie all the better for it. At any rate, she certainly makes a greater impression than any of the other ladies in the franchise thus far. Can’t wait to see where her career goes next. She’s a star.

  7. John Shannon says:

    If you guys started a political podcast I would subscribe to it as fast as possible. Loved that chunk of political talk in the middle.

    PS: I’m on your side, Tyler.

  8. arjay says:

    Here’s why liberals prefer art.

    Think about an idea like equal opportunity. A conservative would say that if the law treats everyone fairly than everyone has an equal opportunity. But a liberal would say that such a view ignores historical and cultural inequalities. The dominant cultural metaphor for the conservative view is sport. Baseball, for example, has a set of rules that treat both side equally, but these rules necessarily ignore historical or economic inequalities. No consideration is given to the fact that the Yankees might have more money than the A’s. The A’s aren’t given a 2-run head start as compensation. The game starts at 0-0 and within the context of sport this is seen as moral and fair.

    The dominant cultural metaphor for liberalism is narrative art because the liberal sees moral justice as inseperable from cultural, economic, racial and historical casuality. And it is casuality that is at the heart of narrative. While stories contain action, they are mostly about what those actions reveal about their characters past or social status or inner psychology.

    This is, of course, reductive. You can tell a story with a conservative slant, and sports fans can root for the underdog. But it does explain the bias.

  9. Scott L says:

    Hi guys, just another listener chiming in with his support for your political side-bars. Always enjoy listening to them. And let’s not pretend like art doesn’t exist at the intersection of many elements of human social existence, including the political.

    Also, regarding conservatives and art appreciation, I wanted to say that there is some psychology research on how personality correlates with political affiliation (source: me; I have a PhD in Social/Personality Psychology). It’s been admittedly a number of years since I’ve read up on that work, but I do remember seeing some work showing that political conservatism negatively correlates with personality traits like Openness to Experience (one of the “Big Five” traits – basically what it sounds like), as well as dispositional tendencies like tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Basically, there are some underlying personality traits that seem to both push people towards more conservative orientations, as well as push them away from engaging with things that feature ambiguity and uncertainty (a disposition which arguably underlie many creative endeavors and the appreciation thereof).

    As for negative representations of Christianity in movies, I wonder how often a character’s Christianity is used more as simple characterization shortcut, rather than as an indictment of Christianity itself. Making characters explicitly Christian is a quick and easy way to establish some basic dynamics involving morals, relationships to larger institutions, public vs. private beliefs, etc. that the writer may want in play, but that may not necessarily be comments on Christianity, specifically. You need a hypocrite? Make him an amoral Christian – quickly establishes the fairly complex social dynamic of someone presenting a public face of morality that lacks private conviction in terms people can easily follow and understand, but doesn’t necessarily mean the writer is condemning Christianity.

  10. M. Bromide says:

    “Em and en dashes are typ­i­cally set flush against the sur­round­ing text. Some fonts in­clude a lit­tle white space around the em dash; some don’t. If your em dashes look like they’re be­ing crushed—par­tic­u­larly if you’re set­ting type on screen—it’s fine to add word spaces be­fore and after.”

    So if you don’t use an em dash, you’re both wrong. Using a regular hyphen is definitely wrong.

    Ha ha. It doesn’t really matter.

  11. Dan Roy says:

    There is a well-known Ted talk about the difference between conservative and liberal views of art. So the issue has been settled.

    As someone who makes videos for a church, I feel like it requires way too much patience to listen to people explain how Christians basically get a fair shake in film and television. When Erlich in Silicon Valley says “Christianity is borderline illegal in Northern California”, he could have left out the Northern and it would have still have had the same ring of truth.

  12. Matt says:

    Weighing in on the dash. First, you’re describing hyphens, en dashes and em dashes as if they’re interchangeable. They aren’t. As for spaces between the words before and after the dash, that depends on which style you’re using. MLA and AP recommend no spaces, two hyphens for a dash. (Film and English professor here.)

  13. Travis says:

    Loved the episode guys, I like when you get into politics from time to time. B
    efore you guys get around to the episode with Scott, I would recommend Steven J. Ross’ book Hollywood Left and Right. Chapter by chapter it goes back and forth between chapters on prominent liberals and conservatives, working forward through history. On the left it covers Chaplin, Belafonte, Warren Beatty, among others, on the right are Louis B. Mayer, Reagan, and Schwarzenegger, each side getting equal chapters. Ross points out that more often you’ll find conservatives as producers, getting into politics, liberals are more likely to be in the more artistic elements, choose projects that fit their political views.

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