The evil of Hollywood vs. Humanity and grace

By | October 14, 2013 | Entertainment

The evil of Hollywood vs. Humanity and grace

A Dad’s Point-of-View

In my opinion, one of the biggest culprits to the deterioration of our culture and society is Hollywood. My son took me to see Prisoners because he read good reviews and said it was likely an Oscar contender. I didn’t ask him much about it, but his brief description made it sound like a good thriller and it had a stellar cast.

The movie was among the most unpleasant movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. Yes, the movie looked good and here
were good actors and performances. However, the movie didn’t include anything relating to the human spirit, goodness, making the world a better place, or even the long-dead Hollywood standard of good vs. evil. It was simply ugly.

I’ve always respected Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal and will continue to respect their work, but I can’t help but wonder why they’d want to be part of something that debases us as human beings? Would they take their children – at any age under eighteen – to see their performances in this dismal soulless film? Are they actually proud of their participation in this dreadful exercise in morbidity?

I suppose the answer is, “Yes” because actors love to play villains and challenging roles. When Heath Ledger received all that deserved acclaim for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises, I understood why he chose the part. Similarly, that movie and that character left me empty. I appreciated the performance and the outstanding special effects but the movie left me wanting to take a shower and cleanse myself of its ugliness and dirt.

I felt the same while enduring Prisoners. I’m irritated with myself for not leaving. I kept thinking, “This has to get better,” when in fact it only got uglier and uglier by the minute. My son extolled the virtues of the twists and turns, which were indeed clever but so what if evil is not matched by humanity and grace?

It’s so common for people to reflect on the past through rose-colored glasses and I fear I’m guilty of that when it comes to Hollywood and music. There was a time when Hollywood celebrated the human spirit, supported America in times of crises, and its stars served in the military with honor and pride. Those days ended in the sixties when it became fashionable to rebel, regardless of whether the rebellion really had any merit.

Hollywood began easing its self-imposed standards on the depiction of sex and violence, beginning a descent into ugliness that has culminated with video games like Grand Theft Auto and movies like The Dark Knight Rises and Prisoners, not to mention the plethora of torture/horror/suspense movies that are among the most profitable of the times. They make those movies on the cheap so that the profit margin justifies the content choice regardless of any concern for its affect on our collective soul (and our children).

I spent a quarter-century in showbiz and I’m proud of much of what I produced and much of what we did in television. No one wants to be accused of being a prude or holier-than-thou preacher but I sure as heck don’t want to pay $25 for two people to attend a movie like Prisoners only to feel literally dirty afterward, dispirited, and actually mildly depressed – until I talked myself out of it!

I guess I’ll just put in the DVD of Singin’ in the Rain later and get uplifted at the joy of that film that came out right around the time I was born. Those were different times, for sure.

Photo credit: The City Project by Floyd B. Bariscale

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Bruce Sallan

Bruce Sallan, author of The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues: An Interactive Journal from A Dad's Point-of-View and A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation and radio host of “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View” gave up a long-term showbiz career to become a stay-at-home-dad. He has dedicated his new career to becoming the Dad advocate. He carries his mission with not only his books and radio show, but also his column A Dad’s Point-of-View, syndicated in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide, and his dedication to his community on Facebook and Twitter. Join Bruce and his community each Thursday for #DadChat, from 6pm -7pm PST, the Tweet Chat that Bruce hosts.

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