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A Conservative Screenwriter in Liberal Hollywood

When Charles Winecoff alerted me to his upcoming coming-out piece on BigHollywood, not only did he draw my attention to his post, but he also reminded me about the recently-launched site. I know (and highly respect) a number of people associated with Big Hollywood, notably my pal John Nolte, its editor-and-chief, and wanted to blog on its recent launch.

John and I have been corresponding for over four years now ever since I discovered his wonderful site, the now-defunct, Stranded on Blue Islands. He’s bounced around on the web a lot since then, but let’s hope he’s found a permanent home on BigHollywood, the perfect site for a guy like him.

John, like me, is a conservative film buff with Midwestern roots. He is one of the few people I know who has a DVD collection larger than mine.

Not only is he a good writer, but he’s also a great guy. And he’s been rewarded by his qualities as a human being with a beautiful and intelligent wife. I highly recommend you check out the site he edits.  It offers a conservative perspective on movies and the entertainment industry.

As I scanned the site today, I recalled my own history in Hollywood, how I had become a film buff in the late 1990s when, after watching As Good As It Gets, I realized movies could convey on screen the ideas I had hoped to express in books. And they did it with an immediacy that literature lacked. In a matter of hours, a great flick could move you and so remind you of the things that mattered.  Human relationships.  Respect for difference.  The need to stand up to evil.

Shortly thereafter, I find myself writing scripts, then moved out here to try to sell them.

I had a certain idealism about the entertainment industry when I came out here, an idealism contradicted by my very conduct.

I assumed that since movies appealed to that part of us which transcended politics and brought us together as individual human beings, reminding us of our shared human values, politics wouldn’t matter to those who produced them.  Having lived then for the better part of a decade in our nation’s capital where all too often I had been defined by my conservatism, I was tired of being isolated in gay circles because of my politically incorrect political philosophy.

It would be different here in Hollywood. The stories I told would matter more than the ideas I espoused.  My politic views would not pigeonhole me.

Even as I held that about Hollywood (my idealism), I deliberately obscured (the contradictory conduct) my political leanings so they would not compromise my professional success.

Only later did I wonder at the irony of my conduct, believing that Hollywood represented ideals which could unite all Americans regardless of political views, but obscuring my political views because I feared knowledge of them would prevent entertainment industry executives from seeing the universal themes in my stories.

Even as I claimed to believe otherwise, I recognized that those executives did not espouse the ideals of the movies I so loved.

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8 Comments

  1. I recognized that those executives did not espouse the ideals of the movies I so loved.

    Can you give examples of new releases that espouse those ideals?
    Old movies are wonderful, but what has come out of Hollywood in the last few years that isn’t a cliche?
    The movies I enjoy tend to be indie or foreign films.

    I’d say Hollywood executives very much espouse their own views in the movies they produce.

    Comment by Leah — January 17, 2009 @ 6:06 pm - January 17, 2009

  2. Dark Knight, for example. Gran Torino. . . . not many, alas, fewer and fewer each year it seems.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 17, 2009 @ 6:09 pm - January 17, 2009

  3. I’ve given up on movies. I think that there is the occasional TV show that gets it right, probably because so many have to be made to fill up cable channels. My current favorite is a Canadian comedy, Corner Gas. I don’t know if it intends to be conservative, but since it so dead-on about life in a small town, it can’t help but be. There’s tolerance of diversity, respect for elders, understanding of the beauty of simple things, and all that–but in a way which is extremely funny.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 17, 2009 @ 6:16 pm - January 17, 2009

  4. I’m still waiting for Hollywood to make a movie about decent, upstanding corporate executives trying to save the jobs of their company’s employees from the predations of bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and environmental extremists.

    Actually, I’m not. Hell will freeze over before that script gets green-lighted.

    Comment by V the K — January 17, 2009 @ 7:38 pm - January 17, 2009

  5. “I’m still waiting for Hollywood to make a movie about decent, upstanding corporate executives trying to save the jobs of their company’s employees from the predations of bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and environmental extremists.”

    That would be, to a certain extent, Sandler’s MR. DEEDS.

    Comment by Kit — January 18, 2009 @ 10:39 am - January 18, 2009

  6. Transcending…

    My friend Dan Blatt (GayPatriotWest) went to Hollywood to write scripts that highlighted the values he embraced. He believed that “it would be different in Hollywood” – and that scripts would transcend political leanings. In that regard, Dan reminded…

    Trackback by what if? — January 19, 2009 @ 10:51 am - January 19, 2009

  7. Adam Sandler is rumored to be a closet Republican.

    Comment by V the K — January 19, 2009 @ 11:41 am - January 19, 2009

  8. I think that there is the occasional TV show that gets it right

    On network TV, NCIS is hands down the most anti-moonbatty show airing. On cable, BSG. There are also those cable reality shows that are anti-moonbatty in more subtle ways: Deadliest Catch, Dog, Axemen, Dirty Jobs, etc.

    My TV is usually on the NHL or NFL channel, neither of which is infested with lefty nutcases.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 21, 2009 @ 10:18 am - January 21, 2009

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