Yesterday, Big Hollywood's Chris Yogerst weighed in on Greg Gutfeld’s criticism of Hollywood — specifically Greg’s criticism of “G.I. Joe,” Stallone’s new Rambo film and “Inglourious Basterds” — for choosing politically correct villains over the real ones we face today. Chris is correct that turning Nazis into Jihadists is not something a filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino would do. If he has any, Tarantino’s politics have remained hidden in his work. Up on that screen the only thing he advocates for is overlooked 70’s B-movies and audacious entertainment. However, that doesn’t make the director’s decision to use Nazis any less politically correct or Hollywood’s moral cowardice in this area any more defensible.
Where my colleague Chris and I most disagree is with the assertion that Hollywood chooses “politically correct” or “safe” villains because Hollywood is all about the money and therefore wants to appeal to audiences who care what the villain looks like:
The film industry, like any other business, generally wants to appeal to the largest audience possible. Picking “safe” enemies is one way to do that.
Two of the most profitable films released this past year were “Gran Torino,” where our hero confronts black and Asian street gangs, and “Taken,” where the henchmen are Muslims and the arch-villain Middle Eastern.
With a $33 million production budget, “Torino” made nearly $270 million worldwide. On a budget of just $25 million, “Taken” made an astonishing $145 million domestically and another $79 million overseas. And before you give Hollywood credit for producing two films with politically-incorrect villains, keep in mind that both are notable exceptions; that only a Clint Eastwood could’ve made “Torino,” and “Taken” was produced in France, of all places.
In this corner, Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry himself. And in that corner, the self appointed guardian of America's black population, Spike Lee. It's shaping up to be a battle royale, folks, with Lee rabbit punching the aging action star while Eastwood uses his smarts and experience to deliver a knock out blow.
In round one, Lee came out swinging at Director Clint Eastwood's WWII films, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," claiming that Eastwood "erased the role of black GIs from history." Lee tried on his self-righteous air of moral certitude and labeled Eastwood a racist. "Many black veterans who fought in Iwo Jima were hurt that there was no representation of them in both of those films," Lee said in an interview in Rome last year.
But not to fear for Eastwood losing the bout, as he is about to show us all that Spike Lee doesn't have what it takes to go toe to toe with a master.