Sunday, May 26, 2013

Movies that are Tea Party, not Occupy!

What is it with Hollywood actors getting the politics of a movie wrong? It's aggravating. It happens more than I like.

I watched Les Miserables tonight on DVD. Having seen the stage musical 4 times, you can say I'm a fan. I enjoyed the movie version in the theater at Christmas, and then again tonight. I particularly enjoyed Hugh Jackman's role of Jean Val Jean, to which he brought an incredible portrayal of brokenness and redemption and mercy. True depth.

Ah, but then I made the mistake of watching Hugh Jackman the man opine in the special features about how timeless Les Miz is, and how the French Revolution and the Occupy movement started the same way. (Cue the documentary filmmaker who made the special feature to show glowing photo montages of the Occupy crowd).

Oh, heck no.

Did Jackman not watch the film he was in? The stage musical and the movie are conservative through and through. Tea Party conservative even. Certainly not representative of the Occupy Wall St phenomenon, which was organized by athiest Marxists.

Set aside that Les Miz is a spiritual musical / film which protrays and respects faith and personal redemption and charity. Just take in the early scenes of JVJ's treatment at the hands of the state versus his treatment by the Bishop of Digne, who saves his soul for God and transforms his life to a life of service and charity. A conservative vision indeed, and thoroughly un-Marxist.

Yes, Les Miz is a story about the wretched poor and their plight compared to the royal class. `But the solution to their poverty is not found in the failed revolution. It's found in the capitalist factory run by the mayor. A factory that he established using the capital of the silver given to him by the Bishop. JVJ sings it well in his inspiring self-examining solo "Who am I" when he sings "...I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me. Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free?"

Indeed, Fantine starts her death spiral when she's forced to leave his factory and survive in the streets. Before that, working in JVJ's factory, she had the means to pay for the care of her daughter Cosette. After, as she died, she was forced to lean on the personal charity of the redeemed Christian man to rescue her little girl. Occupy Wall St. has nothing on that.

I had this same unsettling experience with actors last March when "The Hunger Games" came out. I had read all three books, and was eagerly anticipating the movie. Then I had the misfortune of watching Donald Sutherland compare his movie to Occupy Wall Street.

Oh, heck no.

Did Donald Sutherland even watch the movie he was in, or just read his lines in the script? The Hunger Games is not about New York City and Occupy Wall St. It's not about the 99% being oppressed by bankers and the one percent.

The Hunger Games is a Tea Party book. You can compare the Capitol in THG to our actual Capitol in Washington DC. The Capitol residents live in wretched excess just like our permanent political class does in DC, where the richest zip codes in America are. They play golf 128 times and are feted with top talent concerts in the West Wing while people out in the states (the "Districts") battle joblessness, layoffs, and inreasing taxation.

Note to Hollywood actors: Les Miserables and The Hunger Games are not leftist Occupy analogies. If anything, they are Tea Party conservative. Watch them again.


  1. why can't both the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement be analogous to those two stories?

  2. Mike Doran aka Lowbrow CrankMay 31, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Question for you, Randy:

    Has anyone involved in the creation or production - at any level - of either Les Miserables or Hunger Games ever identified the respective productions with either Occupy or TeaParty?

    Until - or unless - that happens, one way or the other, your opinion on the matter carries no more or less weight than those of the performers you've quoted.

    The redesign of has made that site all but impenetrable to me, so if you've put up anything over there like this, I haven't seen it.
    Back in the day, I mentioned that I hadn't seen either of these films, for lack of interest - in either superserious Broadway musicals or in dystopian fantasies aimed at teenagers of all ages.
    Any political content in either film, whether left or right, would be a disincentive for me, although I strongly suspect that in both your case and those of Messrs. Jackman and Sutherland, such content is mainly "eye of the beholder".

    That concept -"eye of the beholder" - is the keynote of just about all political commentary, whether Left or Right, professional or amateur, written or broadcast.
    Which is the major reason why I can't take any of it seriously - or respect any of it at all.

    I suppose that's why I took the time to write this, just to let you know that I'm still out here, shaking my head in mixed wonderment and bewilderment.
    If I ever find someone who's as intransigently Left as you are unyieldingly Right, I'll likely write this same note to him (with necessary emendations, of course).
    But I'm not kidding myself - hardline ideologues never listen carefully or read closely. That never happened at Roger's journal, nor at any political site in my ken.
    And it sure as h-e-double-hockeysticks isn't going to happen here either.
    Have a nice weekend anyway.