Sunday, March 06, 2005

My Movie vs. Hollywood

I was watching television last night and again, earlier today. I don't have HBO or any movie channels, but I was watching TNT and USA and FX. Just flipping through the channels.

What was on? Well, today, I found a movie, I don't know what the title of it was, but it had Bruce Willis in it and the premis of the movie was that this little kid broke our super secret crypto encoder. The kid was autistic, just to make him really sympathetic. The NSA (National Security Agency) decides to take the kid and his parents out in order to keep it secret and make sure that the bad guys don't get the kid and break our code. Enter the super FBI guy that rescues the kid and tries to save him from the super nasty NSA guy played by Alec Baldwin.

Alec's character, Lt. Colonel something or other, has a little dialogue with Bruce's character where he is loudly proclaiming himself a patriot and that, whatever he is doing, is for the safety of all the FBI, CIA, military and, of course, the whole country and one little boy, no matter how sympathetic, is not worth all of this other.

Bruce's character tells Lt. Col that his code is crap and if a kid can break it so can the rest of the world and he should leave the kid alone, just admit that it's a crap code and fix it (instead of hiding it). Nice thought, huh?

How many movies have you seen like this? Under Siege? Conspiracy Theory? Outbreak? Those were the movies that were just on in the last 24 hours. Don't forget Crimson Tide (although, I did like that movie and several of the others it was still about the power of nukes in the hands of a rigid ideologue on a submarine), Manchurian Candidate, etc. Can you name a few others? I know they're out there. I'm not going to list them all, but I think you can get the picture.

Let me break down the encrypted Hollywood code for you:

  • Be afraid, be very afraid of your government.
  • It has rogue elements in it that will do anything to maintain their hold on power
  • You don't know it, but they can control you, monitor your every move, watch you brush your teeth if they wanted to.
  • If you claim to be a patriot and act in the name of your country you are most likely doing it for a very bad reason.
  • People who claim to be patriots are immoral because they think that patriotism is the only moral and trumps all other morals like, oh, I don't know, thou shalt not kill some poor pathetic little kid. (yes, patriots are bloody minded, cold blooded killers with no morals; how many ways can I say it?)
  • There are better ways to do things than kill people, go to war, etc and only the only real patriots are people that keep that from happening and go against the government (a nice round back in a hopeful parody of the founding fathers' ideas about standing up to the government except they forget the part where the founding fathers actually took up arms against their oppressive government. Wait, maybe they don't because most of their opposing characters end up carrying guns and shooting some nasty member of the government)
  • Which leads us to the "I say I don't like guns and there is too much violence in America, yet, subversively, I make movies with a lot of guns and explosions or about standing up to the government with a gun". But, hey, don't look at hollywood because they are only reflecting an exaggeration of society, they aren't creating it.
  • The government is too big and would be quickly able to control us or trick us into doing something we wouldn't normally do (we're all a bunch of unthinking morons except them) and we should all be scared, but, conversely, most people in hollywood vote for the party that is traditionally for, you guessed it, more government. Accept for that little old thing about first amendment rights where they want to be able to say whatever it is they want to say in films, but there is too much hate and discriminitory speech in America so we should make laws against that and insure everyone is politically correct in their speech as long is it is their version of politically correct because only they know what is politically correct and you can tell from their movies.

    Did I miss anything yet?

    When was the last time you saw a movie made that showed an American fighting against a bad guy that wasn't part of his own government?

    Saving Private Ryan? Not really because that was really about a few guys sacrificing all to save another guy. It was about how conflicting and terrible war is, not about the reasons for the war or why such a conflicting and terrible thing had to happen.

    If I was a social studies or history teacher (in high school of course), I would show this movie and then make them watch Schindler's list. Those ought to be companion movies. At least that would give kids a true sense of why terrible wars are fought because terrible people exist and, no, it wasn't your own freaking government that was terrible, they were just forced to make a decision by a terrible deed. Make sure you show Tora! Tora! Tora! or Pearl Harbor.

    How about the Patriot with Mel Gibson? That had to be one of the best, even if they did show his character being conflicted about all the death and carnage and the loss, it still showed how, in the end, the cause, patriotism and freedom, were greater than those things.

    But those movies are far and few between.

    How about "The Sum of All Fears"? The book has the terrorists as Palestinians who get a nuclear bomb and set it off in America while Ben's character is doing all he can to stop it, but of course he's too late. Wait. That's not the movie. The movie is about neo-nazis, right wing fascists that want to take over the world and re-invent the Third Reich. Why? Because everyone hates neo-Nazi, right wing fascists (I know I do) and Palestinian characters are sort of sympathetic because, you know, they have been oppressed by the big, ugly Americans and they might have a reason to try and blow us up. Or, worse yet, you might get the idea that the people that want to blow us up are not white, Christian, whackos, but brown, Islamic whackos. That might insight some sort of hatred against our Arab/Islamic populace since we are all a bunch of moronic sheep that can't think for ourselves, we might go into the street and start burning mosques or demanding our Arabic populace be interned.

    What the hell is up with Hollywood?

    Of course, I won't even go into the crappy Michael Moore mockumentary that was lauded because, of course, it fits in with their agenda.

    I have an idea for a movie (even though I know they'd screw it up).

    There's this whacko dictator over in the middle east. He is always saying crazy shit like he wants to blow up America and take over the middle east as the great desert leader. He makes plans to rule the entire middle east because it is full of oil and he thinks he can become a great power by controlling 40% of the world's resources. Everyone knows he's a crazy, egomaniacal bastard. There are scenes, just flashes because we can't see clearly into his regime, flashes of people being beaten, blood, screaming, men, women and children being gassed, men and women being marched towards ditches with lots of soldiers surrounding them (the scene fades to black or looks off into the desert then you hear machine gun fire and screaming; scene rolls back in, but all you see is a pile of bodies, no faces, maybe the hand of a child with a toy in it, a mother's arm around a little body, men's legs and feet with only sandals on, piled together like so much wood, then a bulldozer comes in and is pushing dirt on something, but you can't see it).

    They know he's crazy and the world puts sanctions on him, but there are these other ambiguous or downright evil bastards who are laundering money and sneaking in weapons and parts for his machinery, all for money which they talk about almost openly at fancy restaurants, drinking their wine, smoking their cigars, surrounded by beautiful women dripping in diamonds while they make little jokes and smirk about how brilliant they are to circumvent the world and how they will become rich and powerful, too, while the world looks the other way.

    Juxtapose that with scenes of oil drilling by these men's companies, trucks with millions of gallons of oil being sent through while the "inspectors" look the other way and take bribes, drinking vodka and eating at some little restaurants around town, with belly dancers entertaining them, they are laughing and thinking how grand life is in their own little kingdom. Flash to scenes of the evil dictator's sons arguing amongst themselves and with their father and then going back to their own private little dungeons where they have people beaten for their pleasure, scared women dragged in and tied up for them to rape, and, don't forge the lions in the compound roaring for some human flesh when they get done with their "entertainment".

    Now, back to the USA where some erstwhile, fortunate escapees are trying desperately to tell the world what an evil bastard this desert dictator is, but many have dismissed them because, well, it's just not convenient to start a war right now and would cause instability. We can throw in serious discussions with the cabinet, NSA, DOD and others where the government of this country discusses the implications of going to war, the possibility of starting a greater war in the region that would effect all the countries, who might be more pissed than others, etc.

    Cut back to the desperate expats of the desert despots tyranny who discuss amongst themselves what it would take to convince these people to go in and remove this guy who is butchering their families every day. They talk about the dictators weapons programs, who knows what, what they don't know, what they do know and what they should tell the government.

    Flip to news scene where the other arch enemy of the USA is making claims that if he could he would use a nuclear device or any device to harm the USA and kill its citizens.

    Cut back to expats deciding they should tell the USA about the arms programs they knew about and the terrorist training camps. Maybe argue amongst themselves about whether it's that great of importance, they don't have fresh information, but they do know the dictator they escaped and how ruthless he is so they should tell everything they know. Maybe now, somebody will listen.

    Cut back to the White House. The president is just getting off the phone with the leader of China who is very concerned about the interruption of oil flow to his country and the dire implications. Then an aide walks in and tells him that the president of a European country is on line and they proceed to have a short discussion about the problem of so many people from the desert area in their country (PC for Muslim/Arabs) and the civil unrest that might ensue. President says he understands and he hasn't made any decisions yet.

    Cut to scene in Europe where the evil money/arms launderers are talking about their President calling the USA and what was said. The evil money/launderers say, "good, good, just as we want it" and then call over their associate and instruct them to deliver a message to their desert associates and put the word out on the street so that it appears that there will be civil unrest. Just to remind the president of their European country what is at stake.

    Cut back to USA where desert country expats have just finished meeting with their NSA contacts who then proceed to ask for an emergency meeting. Discussion at meeting ensues concerning how much of the information can be verified, what is the intelligence agency saying, can these people be trusted? Military leaders are talking over each other about what it would take to invade, how many soldiers, whether air power can be the most effective tool, remember the first war, how many casualties might be inflicted. Finally, an aide opens a cabinet with a monitor and a video recording. They show video of arch enemy #1 talking about attacking the USA again with whatever means necessary. End video and look at intelligence information regarding arch enemy #1's activities. Everyone is finally quiet, looking at the president. They will have a meeting in the morning when he will decide.

    President is back in his office. He is sitting at his desk, contemplating the risks. His spiritual advisor comes in. They talk about the implications of the war. People dying. The burden of that decision for the president and the country. They discuss how war was never in the plans for his presidency, he just wanted to make America better at home, but 9/11 changed that. Now it was very hard. He knew the job would be hard, he thought he was prepared, but he hoped he would never make these decisions. The spiritual advisor and President pray. They pray for guidance. They pray that they will make the right decision. Amen. Spiritual advisor leaves.

    President goes to his apartment. His wife is there, but they don't talk much. They sit down together and hold hands. Maybe exchange a few mundane words about the day. Both knowing that there is something very important about to happen. Very dangerous.

    Cut to scenes in desert dictators palace. He is getting information from his cronies who got information from the other countries that the USA is going to attack. They start discussing battle plans, discussing moving money, treasure and whatever weapons programs they have out of the country, hide them. The dictator is angry. How dare they try to interrupt his plans. He is the desert king. The savior of his people. When he crushes these American dogs, he will be ready and able to move on the rest of his plans. Enter some guards with an old, dignified man who has been beaten. He was once a friend of the desert dictator. He plotted against him. Desert dictator takes out the sword he was given for his birthday "from the people". He shows it to the traitor and talks about how proud he is of the gift, how it reminds him of his hero, Nebuchadnezzar, who carried his great sword into battle and conquered his enemies. When he's done with his speech, he cuts down the bound man, slashing over and over again. All we see is the maniacal gleam in the dictators eyes, the sword slashing and blood flying.

    The dictator finally stops, hands the sword to his aide, waves the others over to take care of the mess and goes back to the table with his cronies, calmly smoking a cigar (like his other hero, Al Capone) and says, "now, you were saying?".

    Cut to scenes on the desert country's streets. Everyone is watching their TVs or listening to the radio as the great desert dictator makes a speech about the agression of the evil enemy and how the desert people will stand up to them. There is cheering and yelling in the background of the speech. Intercut scenes of the American secretary of state talking to the UN, showing the pictures of possible WMD sites. Intercut president making a speech about the dangers of this dictator, the possibility of WMD, of interaction with terrorists and the implications for American security. The people watching and listening have mixed reactions. Some are just fearful of what the war will bring. Some are angry and agree they will fight the aggressors who would attack their home land. The scene is inside a cafe. A few are quiet and saying nothing. One of the quiet men get's up and leaves the cafe.

    We see the quiet man walking to his home where his two brothers are waiting. They talk about the speech of the desert dictator. They talk about the coming of the Americans. They talk about the damage that may be done and the people that will die. They talk about their own danger if the war comes. The elder brother reminds them that this may be their one chance to be free. Remember their friends who went missing from university and they have never been seen again. This is a risk that must be taken. This is the price that must be paid for their freedom. They talk about what must be done if something happens to one of them. They must take care of the rest of the family, take care of their mother and sister. They put their arms around each other and the scene closes with the elder brother saying, "May Allah have mercy on us all."

    Cut to scenes of the USA army encamped in a neighboring desert country. Several soldiers are sitting in their tents, cleaning their weapons, stowing their gear, some are reading or listening to music. They are of different backgrounds, different color, different ideas. One has been in the shit before. He was there in the first battle to remove the enemy from the country they are in now, waiting. He remembers what it was like. Some of the younger ones are cocky and talking about killing the enemy. One is nervous about what it will be like and is writing a letter to his parents or wife about how much he loves them, how he wishes he wasn't there, but he will do his duty because that's what he swore an oath to do. One of the soldiers is talking about how crappy it is to be there and how the war is bogus. It's about oil. Why doesn't his country mind its own business and leave these people alone.

    The older, experienced one is quiet while he listens to the younger ones get into a fight about it, the cocky ones and the angry one. Finally, he tells them to shut up. None of them really knows. They didn't see what he saw when they came to the little desert country they saved. Whatever the reasons they were there, the desert dictator and his army were the enemy and their job was to eliminate them. That was their job and that's what they needed to focus on. For the cocky ones, they don't know what it will be like either. But, when the shit started flying, they'd know why they were there. It's for the guy next to you and they'd better pull together or they wouldn't have to worry about the reasons why.

    Cut to a scene where a desert army post commander is getting his orders. He is quiet while he looks at them and his adjutants stand by, also quiet, watching him. Enter a fedeyeen and several compatriots. He's there on orders. They will fight to the last man against these American dogs. He expects that the commander will do his duty or he will have to make sure that he does. He has orders. (his men stand around, toying with their guns. everyone gets the implications of the "or else).

    We see the commander of the desert army post having a quiet discussion with a few of his captains. When the fighting starts, they are to let off a few rounds and then instruct their men to abandon their posts take off their uniforms and go home. Some are fearful about the fedeyeen. They will shoot deserters. The commander tells them not to worry, it will be taken care of. The captains leave except one. The commander has a quiet discussion with the captain about what he is supposed to do (regarding the fedeyeen). The captain indicates that he understands and leaves. The commander goes back to his room. The evening prayers are being called. Scenes around the camp show men pulling out their prayer rugs to pray. The commander does too, alone in his room. Scene fades to black.

    Cut to scenes at a prison in the desert country. The doors are being opened and the criminals are being urged to leave. They have amnesty due to the benevolence of their great leader. They are leery of such kindness, but eventually they begin to trickle out, slowly and then jubilantly. Some kissing the ground. Kissing their guards hands and feet. In another part of the prison, we see guards entering certain cells and summarily shooting the prisoners in the head one by one. In one cell, an older man and a younger man are listening to what goes on. The younger man is agitated. They are coming to kill them. The older man tells him to calm himself. It was either now or later. Today, they will be free and, Allah willing, their country and their people will be free someday.

    He kneels down and puts his forehead to the ground, praying. The younger man is still agitated. The old man raises up, takes his hand and gently pulls him to kneel on the ground. Then goes back to praying. The younger man follows suit. The cell door flies open and several guards come in. The old man and the younger man raise up. They immediately shoot the older man in the head. The younger man tries to rise up against the guards, but they shoot him several times. He falls to the ground, dying, he grasps the older man's hand. The guards leave the room. You see their bodies and the open door of the cell. They are finally free. You hear the guards continue on, opening doors, shouting orders, shooting the prisoners. As you watch, two anonymous men in uniform enter the cell, grab the bodies by their legs and begin dragging them out, leaving a trail of blood.

    Cut to scenes from Centcom. It's very busy. Commanders are looking at giant monitors talking about strategy and preparation. An adjutant walks in and gives the General a piece of paper. The General turns to the other commanders in the room. There is information about the where abouts of the desert dictator. The intelligence is fresh but they only have a limited window as other intelligence indicates he is moving around frequently. The Air Force commander is directed to get some fighter/bombers in the air, take out the SAMs and other air to ground radar and weapons and get his group tasked to bomb the coordinates they have. This is operation "cut the head off the snake". The commanders are quiet for a few seconds and then they get busy ordering the strikes and preparing their units.

    Cut to scenes on an aircraft carrier. Crews prepare the planes, pilots are getting into their aircraft. One throws the American flag, folded in a neat triangle on the dash of his craft. He closes the cockpit, exchanges thumbs up with his crew and salutes the flight deck officer. The jet takes off. Scenes of stealth bombers preparing and taking off.

    Cut to scenes inside desert country city. Air raid sirens go off. There are scenes and sounds of anti-aircraft fire and bombs falling. The three brothers are in their house with their family. They are quickly putting furniture and mattresses against the windows, putting blankets and other materials over their family which huddles together in the center of the room. Every once in awhile, the women and children scream, though the children keep up a steady crying and moaning. The brothers huddle with their family, their arms linked together. They are scared and hopeful. The eldest brother says to the others, it has begun.

    Cut to scenes somewhere else in the city. An aide rushes in as the distant sounds of bombing continue. They must leave. They are urging the desert leader to leave to another location. The one they are in is not safe. They finally hustle him out to waiting beat up cars and SUVs outside. The commander is angry about the old beat up mercedes he has to ride in. They are begging him to get in the car so that they can go. Many guards are standing around with guns, watching the horizon as bombs go off. The leader finally gets in the car and they quickly drive away. As they get a few blocks from the building, a bomb strikes, blowing it up.

    Cut to scenes of the US army driving across the berms. It’s still dark. A fierce fire fight erupts. Enemy are standing their ground in some places and fleeing in others, surrendering or running. Bombs are dropping on tanks and other locations. The soldiers from the tent are together, riding in an armored personnel carrier. They come to a battle with the desert command post from earlier. They jump out of the carrier, spread out. Heavy fighting. Bullets and RPGs and other munitions are flying. The angry soldier (who doesn't want to be their) and the older soldier are near each other. They see a group of black clad men running towards their position and firing. The older soldier is wounded in the leg. The angry soldier is convinced that this is it. This was crazy. He quickly slaps on a pressure bandage on his sergeants leg wound. Cursing the whole time, trying to remember his training. he's yelling for a medic, who comes running. He turns to see that their position is in danger of being over run. The angry soldier slaps in a magazine, grabs a grenade, pulls the pin and throws it at the running soldiers. Then he brings up his weapon and begins firing repeatedly at the charging black glad fighters. Yelling incoherently as he fires over and over.

    Cut to scene inside the desert camp. The commander is watching as incoming rounds take out some of his men. The black clad fighters are hurling themselves at the US forces and being mowed down. Others are behind the lines with their weapons trained on the commander's soldiers or just standing around waiting to do what they must. As the US forces draw nearer, more of the black clad fighters are called forward to actually fight, leaving less to guard the rear. The fedeyeen commander is busy directing his men into the battle. The desert army commander turns to his captains and nods his head. One of them walks up to the fedeyeen second in command and shoots him. The others are confused. A few other soldiers start shooting the fedeyeen where they are. The captains begin shouting orders for their men to abandon their weapons. All hell breaks loose as men starting jumping out of their tanks, throwing down their guns and running from the area, stripping of their uniforms. Some of the other fedeyeen finally notice what is going on and begin shooting the fleeing men.

    The desert Commander has walked back to his office where he pulls out pictures of his wife and children. He puts his gun on the table and a copy of the Qu'ran. He kisses the Qu'ran and lays it gently on the table, taking up the picture of his wife and children, he gazes at them for a few moments. The captain of the fedeyeen bursts into the room and sees the commander sitting there. They look at each other for a moment. The commander makes no effort to reach for his gun. The fedeyeen captain calls him a traitorous dog in Arabic and shoots him point blank.

    Cut to scenes of the battle. The fedeyeen are continuing to attack but return artillery and tank rounds are dying down. The sun has come up fully. Scenes of dead and dying lying around. Medics rushing to treat the wounded. Helicopters come in to evacuate. Apache’s and Kiowa’s fly overhead towards the forward fighting. The angry soldier is watching the scene. They take his sergeant away. He sees one of the cocky soldiers is dead. His friend is crouching beside him, tears are falling. The nervous soldier is now quiet and confident. He walks towards the angry soldier. A medic zips the body bag of the dead cocky soldier as his friend stands up and begins walking towards the angry soldier. The angry soldier is still angry, but now understands what the older soldier was saying.

    The lieutenant approaches the angry soldier. He is now the squadron leader. The angry soldier gathers his troops up and they proceed to push forward into the town. As they walk by the desert outpost, they see the medics of both armies treating the wounded. They can see how many have been shot in the back.

    They trudge on to the city. As they do, they pass many men in civilian clothes walking up the road towards the city. Most just glance at them as they pass. Some give them thumbs up. They continue riding by in their humvees and armored vehicles. They reach town where they see many people slowly coming out to the road. Some were just looking. Others clapped and gave thumbs up. The children waved. Many people seemed to be walking towards a building. The unit stops and they are told to secure any buildings with arms. A captain is speaking through an interpreter to a group of people who are insisting that they go to the prison and help them release their people. The captain tells the lieutenant to take a squadron and an interpreter to the prison to see what is there. He orders the angry soldier’s squadron to go with him. They get to the building and people are yelling and pulling at the doors. The soldiers help pull down the doors, using bolt cutters and the butts of their heavy weapons to break the locks.

    When they open the doors, old men, women and children start pouring out. They are filthy and starving. As the squadron goes through the prison, they find other areas that are open cells. Some of them are bloody. Further down they find rooms with hooks on the walls and hanging from the ceilings. Other torture devices are sitting around. The room is ugly and dirty. Bare wires also hang from the ceiling near the hooks hanging from the ceiling. There is a stool under the hooks.

    The interpreter explains what was going on there. The soldiers are stunned looking around. One of them walks over to boxes stacked next to a wall. He grabs the box and dumps it on the ground. It’s full of identification papers with pictures. He dumps another box, they are all full of identification papers. Out in the courtyard of the prison, people are re-uniting with their loved ones. Others continue looking for their loved ones.

    The embedded reporter and cameraman come into the room and take pictures talking about what they’ve found.

    Cut to scenes of the army going to down town capital city of the desert town. Scenes of some of the fighting. Scenes of the people trying to pull down the statue of the dictator. The military comes into help them. The crowds go wild and beat on the statue, celebrating. Flash scenes of the mass graves being dug up and people wailing, taking away the bones, others are looking through piles of identification cards.

    Cut to scene of dictator being pulled out of his hole. The translator from earlier is there, pulling the dictator out. Asking him his name over and over. Then he gets angry and punches the dictator. The soldiers around him have to pull him away.

    Cut to scenes of political people talking about no WMD. Accusations about lying. Other politicos arguing that the dictator was dangerous and was planning something terrible. Now news scenes showing evil money laundry/arms dealers, sanction violators, inspectors and complicit politicos being interviewed by reporters, asking them where the money was, what did they do with it, whom was it going to.

    Flash back to the scene with the soldiers at the prison. Other news organizations are there. They are filming and talking to the captain of the unit about what was found there. Some of the squadron are standing near by. A European reporter asks the angry soldier if he knows why he was at war. The soldier replies simply, “Yes.”

    Pull back from the scene with over views of desert country citizens milling around. Some celebrating.

    Scenes of dictators in other countries making denunciations against the US and threatening war. Scenes of Islamic militants preparing for war, imams preaching death to America. Scenes of other countries liberating themselves, going to vote, promising elections. People are celebrating freedom.

    Overlay sound of president of USA giving speech about freedom and democracy are the only way to make USA and the world safe from tyranny and terrorists.

    You think anybody would make this movie?

    Probably not.

    You have any ideas who would play the parts? Anything I'm missing? Are the characters conflicted enough? Exaggerated enough?

    Where are the patriotic movie makers? During World War II, before the war was even over, war movies were being made about the heroics of soldiers and the epic struggle. Now, they won't make that movie because it might actually glorify war or heroes. It might portray somebody as evil or bad. It's not culturally sensitive.

    It's not what they believe. They believe such a movie would make them seem naive while I believe the movies they make sound like paranoid delusions brought on by a little too much sniffing of illegal substances.

    Okay. I'm done ranting. I just want to know why no one would make a movie about the truth? Or, if they do, why are they shunned by Hollywood and laughed at as "propaganda" films?

    You wonder, after all the self liberations going on post Iraq, how these folks can still believe that we are naive? Then again, maybe it's not that we're too naive so much as they have dragged their own innocence so far into the gutter, they can't recognize the real thing when they see it.

    I'm not holding my breath to see my movie being made. I don't think I have that many years left in my life.

    But one can dream, right?


    Francis W. Porretto said...

    The movie you caught was Mercury Rising, starring Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin.

    As for the plot outline, yes, it does resemble many, many other movies being made that imply anti-government sentiments. But there are a couple of things one must take into account before haring off across JudgmentLand on that basis:

    1. Moviegoers want to see dramas -- usually, the opposition of good versus evil, in fairly stark terms.

    2. To be morally compelling, an evil entity must have the capacity to wreak great destruction.

    3. To be dramatically compelling, the evil entity must be nominally more powerful than the good protagonist battling against it. (There's a plausibility limit on the discrepancy, of course; no one would take seriously a movie that pits a three-year-old with polio against the Warsaw Pact.)

    4. It also helps if the evil entity is seen as one that can effectively cloak its intentions behind a facade of neutrality or benevolence.

    5. Beyond all disputation, the most powerful organizations in the world -- the ones with the most capacity to change people's lives against their will -- are governments. More, governments killed more than 170 million people in the century immediately behind us.

    6. Every government, no matter on what basis it was founded, seeks to increase its power over private citizens, and its power in relation to other governments. People seek positions in government largely because they want a share in that power. Few will admit it, of course. In the quest for that power, politicians, appointees and bureaucrats savage private citizens in one way or another each and every day -- yes, here in America, too.

    7. Therefore, moviegoers will usually find a good private guy -vs.- bad government guy(s) plot design to be both plausible and dramatically compelling, whereas a good government guys -vs.- evil private guy(s) setup will be much less so.

    However, if you'd like to see a Bruce Willis movie of the contrary pattern, check out his Tears Of The Sun, which also starred the beautiful and gifted Monica Bellucci.

    Jason Rubenstein said...

    Heh.. you'd never make it in Hollyweird, Kat.

    92alpha said...

    Hey Kat, it's a great plot but nobody will ever believe it! I'd pay to see it!

    Jamie said...

    How about "Diary of Anne Franks"... That one should be on the list.

    Kender said...

    Wow...I'd love to make that movie...but in HW it wouldn't fly.....too damned bad huh?

    Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

    Hollywood would screw it up.

    Mel Gibson might give it a go with less of an America-hating slant, but would throw in a lot of Catholic symbolism and make bad guys out of Israel somehow.

    Kender said...

    Hahahahaha.........The Passion of the Right, or Really Lethal Weapons or MadMax, Beyond Baghdad.

    Kat said...

    francis. I saw that movie. Tears of the Sun. It was interesting the way it portrayed "peace keeping" missions and such.

    I just wanted to know where the John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima movies of our generation was?

    As for the title of this movie, how about, The Burning Sands? Or, Wasted Time? The Last Dictator?

    Reap The Whirl Wind?

    Or, parodying(?) the title from a blog I read: 365 Days to Iraq.

    Or, stealing from Julius Ceasar: The Ides of March

    Isn't that a good symbolic note to dictators?

    Or, simply: April 9th

    Anonymous said...


    This is exactly why I hate so many Hollywood movies.

    Add this to your Hollywood code: If over the rank of Major, you are on the side of the bad guys. Only lesser-ranking officers are to be seen in a good light.

    I decided not to see "Sum of All Fears" when I heard of the change of antagonists. Great book, such a shame about the movie going PC

    "The Patriot" was one of the best movies I've ever seen.

    Tom the Redhunter, on an unsecure computer.