Friday, July 27, 2012

Politics Vs. Art


It's official: the much anticipated Gangster Squad has been postponed until 2013 due to the fact that it depicts a shooting eerily similar to the Aurora shootings.

Personally, I'm completely torn about how I feel about this. On one hand, I want to commend their tastefulness. The shooting in Aurora was a horrific tragedy. Everyone can agree with that. On the other hand, part of me wonders if this is an appropriate response. A great response to the shooting would be what Christian Bale did--he went around visit victims of the shooting, on his own, without the press. Of course, "without press" means basically nothing in this day and age when it's impossible for an actor to cover his mouth while coughing without it being a PR move. That said, the sentiment was there, and it was a touching move on his part.

But then there's that nagging left side of my brain. The part that can't abide censorship, even under the right circumstances. The part that doesn't like to see art tamed and neutered. The part that believes we shouldn't jump to stigmatize the violence in a movie like that right away--if art is good at anything, it's good at therapy.

I'm sure Warner Bros. knew what they were doing when put this movie on pause. I'm sure every knew what they were doing when they decided to chop out that bit of the script and started to go into reshoots to fill in the gap with something a little more political correct. And, again, I praise them for their tact and respect for everyone affected by the shootings. But there's just a part of me that's uncomfortable with the way they're handling this tragedy. Maybe I'm just a bitter leftist who doesn't like the fact that, while the victims and heroes are (rightly) being showcased in the media, no one is talking about the societal repercussions of glorified villains and a lack of gun control. Windows of discussion that, maybe, a movie like this might have opened up. If you need to chalk it up to that, so be it. But I need some voices to quell that nagging dissent in the back of my head, because I really do want to give three cheers to the decision makers behind this shift in Gangster Squad, and right now I'm at two cheers and a golf clap.

15 comments:

  1. Can't help sway you I'm just as, if not more torn.

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    1. Leaving me in my time of need! Teasing, it's a complicated issue!

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  2. I'm torn too. When I went to see TDKR, I was treated to Disney-esque children's movie trailers instead of the normal R and PG-13 trailers. It was annoying as all get out. I mean I know that they were trying to be respectful, but there is that line of censorship. I don't want Big Brother telling me what's good for me, putting padding on the edges so I don't hurt myself. They could have just not shown that scene for that weekend instead of force feeding us mindless baby food.

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    1. Agreed! I am not a fan of Big Brother. In any way, shape, or form. Even when it's "in my best interests." Good point about the padded edges bit. It's a strange situation to deal with, but it's there! They had a similar thing happen with the Trevon Martin case recently, but on a smaller scale. They changed the name of "The Neighborhood Watch" to simply "The Watch" so they wouldn't get any unwanted attention. Frankly, I think "The Watch" is a better name so I'm not complaining, but it's interesting how many cues big, blockbuster movies take from current events.

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  3. It's an honest dilemma. Of course I can understand trying to respect a tragedy, but honestly these things can happen anytime anywhere. It sucks, but it's true. A film is still just a film. Gus Van Zandt's "Elephant" for example, is a difficult film to watch as it is so close to actual school shootings, but he had a story to tell and did so. (not that it would ever be a commercial film) We don't see delays on war movies because there have just been casualties.

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    1. I'm with you there. Not to mention, there's always something therapeutic about turning tragedy into art. I think the big debate here was the fact that the connection was so unintentional, which puts it in an awkward grey space. But I agree with you about the war movie bit--that's a good point. Honestly, I just think this was not the best way to go about handling something like this.

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  4. Torn as well. I get that it's too close, but where do we draw the line.

    Wasn't The Watch originally titled Neighborhood Watch, but changed because of the Trayvon Martin incident? Not to take away from that tragedy, but doesn't that seem a tad silly now? Where do we draw the line?

    I guess this image in GS is a lot closer in relation to the Aurora tragedy, but in the end, who's to say?

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    1. Yes to the Neighborhood Watch bit! Though I just found that amusing. No one seems to have any idea on where to draw the line. I think we just have a little too much political correctness going around.

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    1. Thanks, homie! The LAMB is awesome and great for connecting other movie bloggers! I'll have to check yours out!

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  6. Replies
    1. Wha, thank you! I will have to check it out!

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  7. I think a good dividing line ties into what I wrote about September 11th films: movies have a hard time doing justice to real, fresh tragedies. If you recall, I was really pissed about the effort to remove the towers from movies that had already come out...

    However, motion pcitures *do* do a good job of portraying fictitious tragedies. I agree with your anger because this wasn't a movie about the real-life event. It was just a scene that resembles something awful - that really happened just recently. In terms of good taste, it should get a pass.

    My main response to the tragedy was to try to ignore it and avoid news as much as possible. It's clear that the guy wanted to get a lot of attention, and I think that the right move is to not give him what he clearly desired. I don't want to help that person stay famous.

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