Is Going to the Movies a Political Statement?

Conservatives aren’t going to the movies anymore. There’s no shortage of reasons why.

Former soldier and award nominee Clint Eastwood expresses his thanks to the men and women of the armed forces before the 79th Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Feb. 25. (U.S. Army photo)

Big movie studios certainly have their work cut out for them these days.

Even with technological CGI marvels, virtually unlimited budgets, massive mergers, and no shortage of talented writers and actors, movie producers are having a hard time getting people to go to the movies.

People just aren’t going out to movies as much as they once did.

It is understandable; people in 2019 have more entertainment choices than human beings have ever had in the history of mankind. It is hard work convincing a sedentary population to go out to the movies when most of us would rather stay home and watch old Indiana Jones movies for free while we cruise the web in our pajamas.

It gets dark at 4:30 p.m. anyway.

But with so many fewer people going to the movies, even franchise hits like Star Wars are having trouble finding traction in the marketplace. And Star Wars has joined forces to the entertainment colossus Disney.

Even blockbuster superhero movies, complete with all-star casts and award-winning directors, aren’t the draw they once were at the box office.

The movie theatre isn’t the only place American consumers of film are expressing their disinterest.

Oscar viewership, once a a mainstay in American households has been steeply declining since Ellen Degeneres hosted in 2014, with a slight bounce this year up from 2018. Viewership had been steadily declining before that.

Why aren’t people tuning in?

Is celebrity culture losing its appeal?

There are a few schools of though with regards to dwindling consumer spending on the movie theatre experience.

One is that conservatives, especially in the years since the election of Donald Trump, feel increasingly isolated and excluded from the almost overwhelmingly liberal politics of Hollywood.

When young Hollywood film star Jennifer Lawrence starred in the spy thriller “Red Sparrow” in 2017, the movie didn’t bring in as much money as expected. Some industry insiders pointed to the star’s outspoken diatribes on President Trump during an interview tour promoting the movie as the reason why.

Conservatives, it should be noted, particularly religious conservatives, were probably more likely to avoid the movie due its “R” rating, and the nudity and graphic rape scene it contained as opposed to the political feelings of its star.

“The importance of Hollywood and the movies has diminished greatly since I started in the seventies. The juvenile political posturing of today’s stars only makes matters worse, potentially alienating half the audience. Why should anyone be more interested in Meryl Streep’s opinion than their plumbers?” — Roger Simon, HollywoodinToto

That conservatives might avoid an “R” rated movie with sex violence isn’t surprising. What is surprising, is how well the occasional movie with a possible conservative bent does at the box office.

Consider the success of American Sniper, which made more money than the Hunger Games and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.

The director of “American Sniper” was Clint Eastwood, one of the lone openly conservative figures left in Hollywood. Eastwood has just released a new film, “Richard Jewel”, another true-story bio-pic.

In “Richard Jewell”, Eastwood tells the story of a small-time security guard who saved many lives after discovering a bomb hidden in a public place, but was later wrongly accused of the crime himself and smeared in the press.

Conservatives in America bemoaning the biased state of the “fake news” mainstream media, led as ever by the clarion calls of Donald Trump, are quick to draw parallels between Jewel’s story and life in 2019.

Conservatives, like everyone else, has noticed how quickly lies about someone can be spread by a 24-hour news media machine designed to generate ad clicks.

The Covington Catholic School student maligned in the press after a rush to judgement over a video where the student appeared to taunt a Native American activist has sued the Washington Post, among others, for defamation.

Conservatives have not forgotten the sorry tall tale told by hoaxter Jussie Smollett about being attacked by Trump supporters, nor the eagerness with which it was swallowed up by the press in spite of the whole account sounding like a bad made-for-tv movie from the beginning.

Nor have conservatives forgotten the recent story condemning the Trump administration for holding 100,000 immigrant children, which was later retracted as it used stats from 2015 during the Obama administration.

There are too many of these incidents to mention. The one thing they have in common in that they always err on the side of progressives. Always.

Conservatives have certainly noticed this too.

Now that the mainstream media is little more than an adjunct to Hollywood, and Hollywood an adjunct to the Democratic Party, it is difficult to imagine conservatives returning to movies that increasingly depict, and in greater degrees of realistic intensity, those very things which conservative film-goers eschew; namely graphic sex, violence and profanity.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store