by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Afew months back I wrote about the failures of the most recent Charlie’s Angels reboot and how its director, Elizabeth Banks attacked male movie goers for not coming to see it. The reason why I bring this up is because I think this could be a good teaching moment for aspiring movie makers with conservative and libertarian leanings. It’s not just the failures of the Charlie’s Angels reboot that can provide teaching moments. We can also learn from the mistakes made by the makers of Ghostbusters (2016), Ocean’s 8, Star Wars: Last Jedi, Terminator: Dark Fate, and Birds of Prey: The Fabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn, all of which were more interested in promoting feminism than creating good story lines.
Whenever you have a movie that is driven by a political ideology, you will always have trouble attracting those who don’t share the same beliefs. I believe that was one of the reasons why the Atlas Shrugged movies had a hard time finding an audience outside of objectivist and libertarian circles. Some of you are going to ask “Gee, Sean, are you saying that we can’t use movies to get a message across?” No, your movie can most certainly have a message. As a matter of fact, I have always thought movies were the best mediums to spread the message of the freedom movement. My point has always been that while movies can certainly have messages, you shouldn’t necessarily beat your audience over the head with them. There are exceptions such as the religious themed movies produced by Pure Flix, which have been able to profit off of a loyal Christian audience. Unfortunately, as we have seen with the Atlas Shrugged movies, there aren’t enough objectivists or libertarians to keep a movie a float like the Fundamentalist Christians can with their movies. The two most important elements to all movies are plot and character development, which is what people pay to go see. They don’t want to be preached to; they just want to be entertained. This is what the feminists and SJW’s that are giving us these garbage reboots don’t seem to understand. Most people don’t want to be lectured when they go to the movies.
Another trait that all aspiring film makers need to learn is how to take criticism like an adult. It’s not to say that I don’t sympathize with artists who have to put up with reviewers who are overly critical of their work, but bad reviews do come with the territory. The best way to deal with it is to either ignore that critic or if there was any constructive criticism offered, try to use it to improve your craft. Sadly, SJW’s aren’t exactly renowned for their ability to accept criticism (understatement of the millennium). This is due mainly to the fact that they are by nature easily offended and oversensitive. Also, many of these snowflakes have lived sheltered lives and played in leagues where everybody got a trophy. Though what amazes me the most are the studios who actually put up with certain actors, directors and producers that attack their critics and members of their audience that don’t support their content. When it started with the Ghostbusters 2016 reboot, I was baffled that anybody could think that attacking your critics, especially those in your own fanbase, is a winning strategy.
Sadly, it is not just the SJW’s who can’t take criticism. As much as I hate to bring this up, since he is no longer with us, there was a libertarian who went by the name of J. Neil Schulman who wasn’t the best at handling criticism. I remember the feud he had with Davi Barker over the negative review that he gave on his movie adaption of Alongside Night. I also remember Schulman attacking people on Amazon who gave his movie low ratings. He believed that it was left-wing bots and trolls who were purposely trying to sabotage the success of his movie by giving it low ratings. There may have been a degree of truth to this, since I have actually seen certain users post negative reviews about books and movies that they obviously hadn’t read or watched. I also thought that people like Barker were unreasonably critical of a movie that had a limited budget. Yet, I think Schulman made a big mistake when he decided to attack his critics, since many potential customers probably found it off-putting that he couldn’t handle criticism. I remember there was one user on Amazon that actually advised Schulman to stop attacking his critics before he became the same laughing stock of the internet like Ann Rice did when she attacked her critics. Sadly, Neil didn’t heed his warning and kept going on about left-wing bots setting out to destroy him. So not only did it look as if Neil couldn’t take criticism, but his rants about the bots also made him seem paranoid. I hate to bring this up, since Neil Schulman is no longer with us, but I think it is important that all aspiring filmmakers in the freedom movement learn from both Schulman’s accomplishments and mistakes.
I do find it telling that despite the failures of the Atlas Shrugged movies being able to reach a wider audience, you don’t see objectivists or libertarians throwing hissy fits and blaming statists for the movies failing at the box office. Usually we just shrug it off as market forces rejecting the movie or the simple inability of the movies’ producers to reach a wider audience. Though I have always wondered what the story of Atlas Shrugged would have looked like if it had been written in present time with SJW snowflakes trying to tear down all forms of creativity. I could just imagine a scenario where Hank Rearden, instead of producing a new metal, is actually the head of a major movie studio and his freeloading brother, Philip Rearden is trying to pitch a social justice themed movie to him.
Hank: Yeah, I don’t think that your idea about rebooting the Star Wars franchise where all the characters are transgendered Ewoks is going to fly.
Philip: Come on, Hank. Social Justice is in right now. People want to see movies that fight the cis-gendered white male patriarchy.
Hank: Name one that has actually made money.
Philip: Uhm… is it all about money with you?
Hank: Yeah. Don’t you know your own brother?
Philip: Well, look at you, you greedy capitalistic patriarch, who only cares about money.
Hank: Yeah, well, you don’t seem to have a problem with my greedy capitalistic patriarchal ass giving you free board and free food at my house. Not to mention the money I gave you to save those gay fruit-bats in South America.
Philip: Transgendered Bats!
Hank: How is that even possible?
Philip: Forget the bats. Forget the movie. How about a job?
Hank: As what? A leading man? You can’t act worth a damn. Just ask your high school friends who booted you out of the drama club.
Philip: How about a camera man?
Hank: You can’t even hold your cell phone steady enough to take a selfie.
Philip: What about a key grip?
Hank: Do you even know what that is?
Hank: We have been through this before. Just because you are my brother, it doesn’t mean that I am obligated to give you a job.
Philip: Come on you cis-gendered, white male patriarch. Know your privilege.
Hank: Security! Remove this man from the premises and don’t ever let him back in.
Philip: Come on! I’m your brother!
(Security removes Philip).
Hank: (calls his secretary on the intercom) Trish, can you get me the number to the locksmith so I can change the locks on my house?
Trish: Sure thing, Mr. Rearden. You may want to turn on the news. The government is trying to pass a bill to force all the major movie studios to produce transgendered romances.
Hank: Son of…
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