Conservatives Don’t Know What a Movie Is
What is a movie?
That’s a fair, unloaded question I’d like to ask prominent right-leaning folk, a la Matt Walsh’s asking of ‘What is a woman?’ to academics and the like in his documentary film, ‘What Is a Woman?’.
I’d like to ask it because I think the answers I’d get might be interesting, amusing—and because I’m not sure that conservatives actually know the answer.
You hear all the time from them about the culture war, and wanting to topple the liberal stranglehold on Hollywood, so one would assume they would know what a movie is. But I don’t assume that at all—in fact, it’s clear to me that they don’t, having bought into the authoritarian left’s biased concept of what a movie is.
The power, the hold, that Hollywood has is vast—but it all stems from a simple control over what people can even conceive a movie to be. A movie must be big, must be a concerted effort across myriad people and myriad departments. Must involve countless pieces of heavy and intimidating equipment. Must be a living document throughout its production, able to be bent to the whims of bureaucratic executives whenever necessary. Money must be spent all over the place—millions, maybe hundreds of millions. Stars must be attached. A massive ad campaign must be attached, too—and a massive awards campaign sometimes on top of that. A movie must be something which requires, above all else, an industry—and if you conceive of it beyond industry, if you conceive of movies being made independently, they must suffer from all the same trappings of industry filmmaking, or even literally just be industry filmmaking all over again, hidden through some shell company or ‘division’.
That’s the lemon, by the way, that the left would love conservatives to buy one day—a dinosaur with barely any miles left on it. Everything I’ve described as far as Hollywood filmmaking is not the future, but the past. The future is, of course, truly independent filmmaking—filmmaking that is as close to pen and paper, paintbrush to canvas, fingers to strings as possible. That is the filmmaking that I do—and that is what filmmaking actually is.
When a conservative imagines a movie, they imagine a facsimile of a movie, much like how so many on the left these days just think of being a woman as makeup, or surgery, or pills, or costume. They think about all the great Hollywood movies they’ve seen—ones great despite the system, not because of it, by the way. But all of those great movies, as great as any of them may be, are mere prologue—film is an incredibly young art form, just a century and change. For the vast majority of that time, it’s been under lock and key. True independence—and thus, true art—has been impossible until very recently within the medium of film. With the advent of beautiful, film-quality cameras and microphones purchasable for mere hundreds of dollars, we are just now learning what a movie can, and will, be.
It’s understandable that we were deluded, convinced, for so long that movies were something else—it was all we knew. I actually do not fault conservatives at all for being so out of touch—we all were. But times are a-changing when it comes to film, and not in a way benefiting progressives—the art form is moving towards liberty and away from tyranny. The next hundred years of film and beyond will be freedom-oriented by its very nature. It will be unchained, and if the conservatives play their cards right—and stick to their principles—they can be remembered as its greatest champions. Movies will ‘belong’ to them.
When I watch a movie like ‘What is a Woman?’ or Candace Owens’ ‘The Greatest Lie Ever Told’ or any other Conservative Pundit Inc documentary that’s come out in the last 20 years as an answer to the left’s countless propagandic documentaries, what I see is something without art to it. I see polish, don’t get me wrong, but polish in a business casual, television-ready sort of way. The beauty of a movie has always been that it feels like a piece of art separate from entertainment we could see easily in our day-to-day—any one of these docs just feels like something you’d see on a network. They feel like products rather than like anything that could ever belong in a museum—which is a shame, because documentaries can be quite beautiful.
The left is at least 60 years ahead of conservatives when it comes to their ability to conceive of documentaries as art—the right doesn’t know Maysles from measles. Some of the most beautiful and engrossing documentaries ever made have been made by people I probably disagree with on the vast majority of issues politically. Art is like that—art transcends all that. Because of that, art should always be the goal.
Film is art, movies are art. But so much of what the right puts out artistically is anti-artistic. Whether it’s the latest Kevin Sorbo or Dean Cain or whoever picture, conservatives so often confuse ‘looking professional’ for ‘looking beautiful’. They use all the cameras and crew the industry tells them to use, and create in the way the industry tells them to create too—not knowing, of course, that the industry is snickering behind their back at their ineptitude. Every time out, they get hoodwinked, not able to comprehend why what they spent so much time assembling and glueing doesn’t look at all like the picture on the box. Well, the picture on the box is lit artistically, and is of something assembled with artistic care. You can’t buy that—and luckily, you don’t even have to.
It doesn’t take money, and it doesn’t take industry, to make a compelling movie. We know this when it comes to writing, to music, to any number of other art forms where there’s a well-established direct connection between art and artist by way of a few basic materials. But the Hollywood brainwashing is such that so many of us don’t understand this when it pertains to movies. Until conservatives break from that, and expand their mind to see films as art—and not just as art, but as the still-burgeoning art form that it is—they are dead on arrival when it comes to winning the culture war, which is a shame, because it’s an absolutely winnable war. The wind is blowing in a direction that favors their tenets of liberty—if only they would realize it.
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