Movies cover everything: the ups and downs of romance, WWII, the daily struggles of a SpongeBob, the heartbreak of cancer, WWII, humanity's far-flung future, what would happen if a monkey learned to break dance, WWII, stoic hitmen learning to love, gritty cowboys exacting vengeance, and of course, WWII. It seems like there's nothing Hollywood won't cover, but there are a few huge blind spots in our pop culture. For example ...
There Are Relatively Few Movies About The Korean War
America has waged war with various nations for all but 21 of the years since its official founding in 1776. So we can forgive Hollywood for forgetting about a few of the smaller wars. Scripts about the Mason County War don't have to make it to Spielberg's desk. But American war fatigue doesn't explain why we haven't seen a notable movie about the Korean War since 1970. It was a world-shaping event that constantly gets glossed over in cinema. Most people would be hard-pressed to name any Korean War movie that isn't M*A*S*H. Over the course of the war, the U.S. bombed the holy spirit out of North Korea, wiping out 20 freaking percent of its population with airstrikes, sparking a grudge that North Korea holds to this day. How is this never referenced in film?
We have more superhero war movies this century than ones for this.
In the past, the problem was timing. The Korean War came on the heels of the WWII, and people were tired of war. Movie studios would have had a hard time selling movies about a new war to people who had only been home from the last one for five years. Most of the films made about the war were on the exploitation side. Then, before the dust could settle in Korea, America Tarzan-swung balls-first into the even bloodier Vietnam War.
But today there is a much different problem: China, which has become a huge market for the film industry. And the Chinese government has made it clear that they want more positive representation in movies if Hollywood wants their money. American studios want to avoid portraying China as bad guys to make sure their films play globally. The issue with making a Korean War flick is that China fought alongside North Korea, and still has a somewhat supportive relationship with them. Studios don't want to risk losing the money they'd get from Chinese ticket sales of Transformers 9: Shia's Revenge.
Where Are The Movies About America's Opioid Crisis?
The opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S. is the single worst drug crisis in the nation's history. It kills more people than guns and car crashes combined, more than AIDS did at its peak, and it's worsening by the year. It is a shocking and ongoing issue, yet its pop culture presence is almost nonexistent.
We have dozens of movies about cocaine, like Scarface and Blow. Crack showed up all the time in '90s "hood" movies like Clockers and Menace II Society. Tons of pot movies will get made every year until people stop loving pot, which is due to happen any never now. But the opioid section is bare. Even heroin movies are rarer than other drug flicks. You have Trainspotting, Requiem For A Dream, and Pulp Fiction, and those are all decades old. There's nothing about Oxycontin or fentanyl, even though those are killing way more people than heroin.