“Remember that these movies are made by gigantic global conglomerates, sometimes with defence contracts, so they’re making movies and weapons at the same time. And their basic ideology is not one I agree with. It’s the ideology of anti-intellectualism in the American tradition. Anti-experts. The primacy of taking power. And the solving of every problem with a massive show of force.” – Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos in Will Hollywood ever end its love affair with guns? [via theguardian.com]

58 Responses to Blue Force Quote of The Day: Why Guns Are in Movies

  1. Why do these people fail to understand a basic, universal truth:

    Violence may not be THE answer, but it is ALWAYS AN answer.

    • It may not be the best answer or the right answer, but it’s usually better than no answer, or as a wise man once said, if violence is not your last resort, you did not resort enough of it.

    • But sometimes, violence is the ONLY answer.

      Unfortunately, when it comes to the Hollywood intelligentsia it’s about making money. All the slime ball actors who shoot up every scene and then pontificate about the need for gun control (like Matt Damon and Ewan McGregor) are nothing but narcissists and hypocrite Liberals who think what’s okay for them isn’t for anyone else because they are so much smarter than the rest of us.

    • So. Much. This.

      They love money more than their professed love of Progressiveness.

      It is the literal embodiment of capitalism selling the rope that will hang them.

      (Humming ‘God Bless America’ to myself right now, and the cat is looking at me funny…)

    • And more people bought tickets to just about every other movie in the theaters that weekend, didn’t they?

      But seriously, who braves the Black Friday traffic to watch a first run movie when they can be home with their family on Thanksgiving weekend?

    • Anyone with half a brain would have realized that this movie would be doomed to having a guy and his 2 lovable robots make fun of it much less making any money at the box office.

    • “Godard seems to have first attributed the phrase to Griffith in 1964, in the trade-press spread announcing his forthcoming film Bande à part:

      ‘What do filmgoers want?’ Griffith asked. ‘A girl and a gun’. It’s to meet their wishes that I have made, and that Columbia will distribute, Bande à part, a sure-fire story that will sell a lot of tickets.”

      “In the 1978 lectures that would lead to his ‘Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television’ (now available in Timothy Barnard’s brilliant new translation), Godard compared Made in USA with Bande à part and returned to the phrase:

      ‘Griffith said: “What is cinema? A girl and a gun”. I believed in that.’ “

  2. As I’ve harped on repeatedly in TTAG, Hollywood in all its ‘glory'(?) is our greatest ally in the culture war for self-defense normalization.

    Warts. And. All.

    Hollywood was a major driver in the war on cigarettes, but unlike the lowly cancer-stick, guns are not just a ‘prop’ an actor holds to enhance an ‘image’.

    No, sir. Guns and their use (and, unfortunately, sometimes misuse) are keys to the very plots of the movies themselves. Every time they ‘save the day’ in a movie, it cements their very use and utility.

    Embrace Hollywood. They actually have the power to vilify guns, but they are far more addicted to the money they make with them in their movies than goose-stepping to their Progressive ideology…

    • Q1: which movie is more believable, one where a bad guy on an unspeakable rampage is ended by a good guy – or even a less-bad guy – in a shootout? Or a movie where an impassioned plea from a whiny 16-year-old stops a bad guy from continuing his unspeakable rampage?

      Q2: which is more fun to watch?

      And that’s why Hollywood needs guns on both sides in movies. They tried doing without good-guy guns, and making it work is really really hard.

      • “Q2: which is more fun to watch?”

        You hit on a major truth with that. For the most part, people go see a movie to be ENTERTAINED. Not preached to.

        Hollywood thinks it can kill two birds with one stone if they can sneak the preaching into the entertainment. Only problem is, the viewers with a rational brain pick up on the preaching and instinctively recoil away from it. Case in point, the environmental catastrophe movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and that Steven Segall movie with the environmental ‘lecture’ at the end.

        Their #1 target audience is the youth through twenties set. They love things that Go Fast! and Explode! (And bare skin, of course!).

        They have a money-making formula and they have no intention of ever killing that ‘Golden Goose’…

      • On occasion, I have noticed protagonists using only handguns to fight off the legions of “assault weapon” welding assailants. But then I watch John Wick and I’m happy again.

      • “They tried doing without good-guy guns, and making it work is really really hard.”

        And the resulting movies are really stupid, not to mention impossible.

      • “Q2: which is more fun to watch?”

        Depends entirely on how annoying the whining 16 year old is, since the Bad Guy will likely perforate him/her.

        I have seen more than enough Hollywood productions with the whiny, spoiled teenage daughter going on and on about Daddy needing to pay more attention to her while he is trying to save the world (or L.A. from a preposterous volcano). Sometimes you just wish someone would show up and shoot the little punk.

    • I threw up in my mouth just a little in reading “Hollywood”, “ally” and “self-defense normalization” in the same sentence, but upon reflecting you may just be right in your first paragraph.

  3. This guy is beyond stupid. Every since the beginning mankind has been telling stories about warriors and glorious combat. The modern movie is just a continuation of that fantastic storytelling.

      • Or if not conflict, then some adversity must be overcome.

        Two excellent examples that come to mind immediately are “Apollo 13” (based on actual events, and according to Lovell not too far off) and “Gravity” (based on a reasonably plausible scenario).

        But neither had a villain that had to be stopped, so we’re back around to how to stop a bad guy.

  4. Hey genius! By all means explain how you make War, Crime or Western movies without guns? Perhaps all our movies should be Millenial-themed Romantic Comedies so we can kill the liberal movie industry completely.

    • Or as Cormac McCarthy said, “I don’t think it’s a novel if nobody dies.”

      The Old Testament and the Illiad and the Odyssey, unquestionably keystones in the structure of Western literature, are bloody as hell. And we have kids read them. And we should.

  5. Hmmmm… Just curious. Fact check time:

    Are there really many large, global movie studios that also have defense contracts (or have corporate parents who do)?

    This claim doesn’t – at first glance – seem to past the sniff test…

    • I was going to say the same thing. It sounds suspiciously like the Global Conspiracy of Reptilian Aliens set. They let this guy walk free without a minder?

    • The only one i can think of is Sony, which happens to be the largest movie studio company. Sony’s electronics, software, and even their financial group have some U.S. defense contracts.

      However, Sony isn’t in even the top 100 defense contractors either globally or just among the U.S. military. So I don’t really see how this guy can make the point that defense business is driving gun glamorization in movies or whatever piffle he’s peddling.

  6. “But maybe, even at this late stage, there remains a way back, a means by which Hollywood can begin to cool – or at least regulate – its abiding love of firearms. The opportunity is there; it simply needs to be taken.”

    Yeah, *right*.

    How did that work with Nancy Regan’s ‘just say no’ program? Abstinence as birth control?

    *snicker* 🙂

  7. same reason movies like Passion of the Christ are big hits. people pay to see what they like.

    I always find it hilarious that the ‘golden globes’ or ‘oscar’ awards go to movies that, for the most part, i would consider a minor form of torture, sans Action category.

    La La Land…name says it all.

    • Saw it last night.

      A bit long and the first 20 minutes are S L O W. Not a single gunfight or chase scene. But then it picks up and Emma Stone shows herself to be one hell of an actress. Singer. Dancer. Needs to eat a sandwich every now and then but wow.

  8. Anti-expert? Like the ‘experts’ who keep trying to tell me which guns I can and can’t have who have never so much as held a gun, let alone actually shot one?

  9. Under compulsion by a significant other, I once saw “The Notebook” (a total suckfest) and imagined how much better it would be if it had guns in it. Then I remembered that Hollywood already made “Bonnie & Clyde.”

    • I imagine that’s the same impetus behind “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.” Probably a couple of guys sitting around trying to figure out how to make Pride & Prejudice remotely stomachable. Add zombies!

      The book was horrible, but the movie was much better than expected.

  10. Why are cars in movies?
    Maybe because cars and guns are a part of reality. They’re both tools that humans have created to address problems.

  11. Life imitates art or art imitates life? Chicken or egg?

    I do imagine, however that when one gets in the WayBack machine, and reads the literature that was developed in the pre-firearms era, so the equivalent of today’s movies, one would find it to be full of swords, axes, bows, and spears. Oh, and that pesky human propensity for Violence as A Solution to Violent Problems. If you need to sink a nail into wood the hammer IS the best tool for the job.

    The reason presented by the author-in-question is patently stupid. I think his tinfoil hat is cinched too tight

    • You only have to read Shakespeare. Murder, mayhem, sword fights, assassinations, suicides! And never a single firearm mentioned.

      Also note that in the Three Musketeers (all of them) the protagonists were, by name, Musketeers, and yet I don’t recall that they ever shot their muskets in the stories.

  12. Oh man the family HAD to watch the Golden Globes last night. The worst was the overacting creepy(and unattractive) Meryl Streep winning a lifetime “award” going off in a Trump derangement rant. We all know where that old be-otch stands on guns. And you could see the crowd grimacing. So when is John Wick II coming out?:)

  13. As mentioned above and in the article, D. W. Griffith said “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.” Even more fundamentally, relationships between characters and conflict. Griffith’s quote implies two high stakes variants of each of those: “a girl” suggests a love interest, and “a gun” suggests the threat of death. A cast of characters with love and death on the line has a lot of motivation.

    Basically, whether or not guns will appear comes down mainly to genre. There are naturally movies with modern settings have guns in them a lot, because they’re heightened situations. It’s an action thriller, a crime drama, a spy story. The main character or characters are under threat of physical harm, and it would be out of context in most cases for guns not to appear.

    There are also plenty of kinds of movies where guns mostly don’t appear: romantic comedies, relationship dramas, feel-good sports movies, a lot of bio-pics (if the subject didn’t shoot, didn’t spend time around guns, or wasn’t shot, why include it?)

    Culturally, I think stories with guns are popular because seeing individuals succeed and win is invigorating, because so much we do in life is part of the faceless mob.

    For example, the Taken franchise. The guy has a very particular set of skills, the main of which is kicking ass, not calling 911 and describing the situation to the nice officers. His family members are placed in mortal danger, he takes care of it personally. Guns are used to threaten him and his loved ones, and he uses them to address the threats. He triumphs, individually, not as part of the collective.

  14. Oh, *GOD* yes! So Hollywood actors and actresses are employed by the gun industry? I just LOVE that! I bet they are all going to quit when they find out, right? Go out and get real jobs? Or are we maybe being lied to?

  15. If I understand Mouthpiece Gaydos’ the entertainment industry’s response to their customers liking guns is to ponder when “those people” will get a clue, talking down to (at) them in the meanwhile … while servicing their twisted tastes for money.

    That last is called “whoredom” for the basics, and “rough trade” when it gets weird. Meanwhile, they call the rest “listening.”

    I hope mouthpiece Gaydos can find himself more honorable employment. Obviously, his life compromises make him uncomfortable. Sad.

  16. Quoting Steven Gaydos? His only job is to make sure an industry gossip sheet makes enough money to keep its owner happy. Even the implication that he might be in a position to evaluate the collective personality of the US …is absurd. He perpetuates a cheap commercial attitude towards culture, but thinks WE’VE got a problem?

  17. As if to answer Gaydos’ clueless question, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven just released ELLE. I laughed when the trailer popped up on another site. Perfect.

    Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starhip Troopers, and Showgirls: PV gets movies.

    • He butchered Starship Troopers though. He wanted to do a scifi action flick but didn’t want to come up with his own material.

      • “He wanted to do a scifi action flick but didn’t want to come up with his own material.”

        It is very much his own material, only very loosely based on Heinlein’s original story. Not only did it appear that he had never actually read Starship Troopers, I read that people who told him he was getting it wrong were ignored. He focused on the action and turned the politics into a fascistic joke when Heinlein himself wrote that the only purpose of the action was as a hook to get people to read and understand the political principles he was attempting to promote in the story.

        Starship Troopers was never supposed to be about “killing bugs”, it was about how a rational society should work together for self preservation.

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