If you've read some of my other articles, you probably know two things about me: I'm a Rust Belt transplant in Los Angeles and I have an unbearable tendency to make everything about me. Whenever I talk to someone from back home or fly back to visit (which is infrequent, because Northwest Indiana is like The Road if everyone also smoked meth to pass the time), I'm inevitably met with sneering questions asking if I "like living in HollyWEIRD," because Hoosier comedy. I had a family friend inform me that since I live in COMMIEFORNIA I actually live in a fascist police state, which is odd because I know for a fact that guy has spent significant time in jail for smoking weed and out in LA you can buy drugs legally in both kinds of pot store: A) Apple Store For Getting High and B) Why Do They Also Sell Knives.
Los Angeles, and the film industry specifically, has a reputation of being a bastion of lefty liberal bleeding-heart kale-likers. And, as someone who lives here and has worked in the film industry, I want to tell you that that's complete and utter BS. Hollywood is, as an industry, right-wing as Halliburton.
Blockbusters are Literally Military Propaganda
Oh, great, you think. Another so-called "comedy" so-called "writer" misusing the term "literally" for so-called "comedic effect." And to you, Imaginary Asshole, I say this: I mean "literally" literally.
Stacey Newman/ShutterstockGood job, buddy; I asked and you delivered.
Have you ever seen a movie, like, say, Battleship, and thought, "Hey, there's a lot of battleships in this movie Battleship -- how did they get so many battleships?" And the answer is, quite simply, they borrowed them from the actual-ass Navy. Of course, the Department of Defense isn't in the habit of doing favors, so there's a price. In return for letting Hollywood use a hundred-million-dollar ship, they got final say over the film to make sure that it painted the military in a sufficiently positive light while Rihanna exploded aliens or whatever that movie was about.
And sure, that's just a dumb movie based on a America's favorite grid-based guessing game, so who cares, right? Just because it had Oscar-winner Liam "I Played Oskar Schindler" Neeson in it doesn't mean it played an integral role in shaping the cultural zeitgeist. Unlike, say, the Marvel films, which are mostly military propaganda that reinforce the righteousness of American cultural hegemony. But in a fun, banter-y way!
Captain Marvel worked extensively with the Air Force, and in return was used as part of a recruitment effort. While this shit has been going on since basically Hollywood's inception, things got turned up to the MAXTREME in the 80s, as things so often did in those halcyon days. With confidence in the infallible morality of the US war machine plummeting in the wake of Vietnam for some reason, the DoD decided they needed to reform their image from "imperialist village-burners" to "totally rad dudes in neat planes" -- and that, kids, is how Top Gun was made. And it worked! Weirdly horny volleyball montages led to a 500% increase in Navy enlistment, and that's not even a Comedy Number.
Making movies is expensive. CGI ain't cheap, somebody's gotta pay to zamboni the corpses of PAs that died from exhaustion off set, and it's a matter of record that Tom Hanks refuses to eat anything except caviar-encrusted rack of endangered river dolphin while filming. Hollywood is all about minimizing cost to maximize profit, cutting corners any way they can. This means that it's now pretty much common practice for movies above a certain size to work with the military to save money, which in effect means the military is writing most of our movies. Man, of all the things we could have cribbed from the Soviet Union, why'd it have to be agitprop and not drunken bear circuses?