With the disappointing election now behind us, I can forsake politics for the rest of the year and jump back into the even more disappointing arts culture beat. Not deeply enough to actually watch the dreck being shoveled on modern audiences, but from a casual distance. As usual, one need look no further than to what was once the greatest source of popular entertainment, Hollywood, now reduced to a leftist shell so repulsive that even entertainment-starved audiences avoid most of its offerings. So, let’s take a quick return view of this wasteland.
The two highest-grossing movies post–election weekend were both comic-book pictures — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever from the Marvel Comics universe and Black Adam from the DC Comics universe. Clearly the desire for juvenile fantasy fare hasn’t abated. In fact, the age limit for patronizing intellectually vacuous material has only increased. For which the paying customers must be given much of the blame. If they read the Bible like the older, wiser generations commonly used to, they would find pertinent advice in 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
As a kid, I loved comic books. I can still tell you what Batman’s worst nightmare was — a quicksand-filled dungeon with machine guns on each wall. I remember Black Panther as a supporting character created by two white comic-book auteurs (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) during the Civil Rights era. I have no idea who Black Adam is. But I could never talk to an adult about any of this because they wouldn’t have been interested.
Sure, for a while they watched Batman the TV series, but only because the show cleverly provided comedy above the youngsters’ heads, plus plenty of sexy villainesses like Catwoman (Julie Newmar) and the Siren (Joan Collins). And even that novelty wore thin after a couple of years.
The young adults at the time were reading Lord of the Rings, The Catcher in the Rye, Childhood’s End, On the Road, and Siddhartha, as did I when I got to high school. They were seeking something more spiritual yet attainable than the Force. And the films of the decade rewarded them with the like of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, rerelease), The Godfather (1972), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), All the President’s Men (1976), Rocky (1976), and eventually Star Wars (1977).
Star Wars literally rejuvenated cinema, although not then at the expense of adulthood. Mature people still trying to find meaning in what was a fun yet infantile trilogy with an ending are the saddest of the lot, to the extent of patronizing the idiotic, empty, money-grubbing sequels. But the original Star Wars did lead to the first real comic-book epic the following year, featuring comicdom’s first and greatest star, Superman. And Superman is still a better movie than any in the current comic-book wave. It also had plenty of classic adult company that year, including The Deer Hunter, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Coming Home, Who’ll Stop the Rain, and Big Wednesday.
But for modern Hollywoke, “adult” necessarily means a captive to progressive propaganda rather than a free-thinking selective mind. So what are the adult movie alternatives to Black Panther and Black Adam this month? Start with the two biggest theatrical flops of the year — after last month’s record-setting bomb, the gay rom-com Bros — Call Jane and She Said.
Call Jane was meant to be Hollywoke’s ultimate slap-down of the Supreme Court’s sage overturn of the Roe v. Wade abomination. Like every pretty starlet in the industry given the slightest undeserved producing power (see Olivia Wilde, Don’t Worry Darling), the lovely, talented actress Elizabeth Banks decided to strike a blow for sisterhood with another joyless anti-man screed. Banks squandered her considerable sex appeal and comic skill playing a desperate woman seeking to murder her unborn baby in an abortion-prohibitive America. She really showed the patriarchy when her film made less than a quarter of a million dollars opening weekend despite playing on more than 1,000 screens. Obviously, Banks learned nothing from her 2019 directorial woke bomb, Charlie’s Angels. (READ MORE: Pro-Abortion Film Call Jane Is Garbage)
Nor did the patriarchy sweat this weekend’s feminist Hollywoke attempt to resurrect the moribund “#MeToo” movement — long shown to be a left-wing partisan canard. She Said tells the questionably true story of how two New York Times reporters, Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, worked to expose Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women. The fact that Weinstein was brought down not by those girls but by an intrepid male reporter, Ronan Farrow, who had to take on the mainstream media and the full might of Hollywood to do it, didn’t stop the female filmmakers, writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Maria Schrader. And stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are almost as unknown as the two reporters they portray. Result: She Said barely grossed $2 million from over 2,000 screens.
And yet, way over on the sane side of the film art long abandoned by Hollywoke, a reverential depiction of the life of Christ earned more than $8 million from around 2,000 screens. People left their homes to see the first two episodes of season three of The Chosen, a low-budget (by studio standards) independent television series soon coming to their small screen. They knew, and know, what to watch this Thanksgiving week, like Hollywood once did.
Looking for an endearing holiday gift book? Try my romantic Christmas ghost story, The Christmas Spirit, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine bookstores.