Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Chicken In Every Pot, A Gun In Every Film. . .

I don’t find guns fascinating. I do appreciate them and their role in guaranteeing our freedoms, as well as their power to protect the weak from the predatory. But on a personal level, I don’t like them OR dislike them. They are a tool, much like a hammer, a spoon or a power mower, and I don’t have any strong feelings for my tools. But I am getting sick of seeing them in every movie.

This issue actually first came up for me about 15 years ago, when my German grandmother was paying us a visit. After a couple weeks, she suddenly said that she wanted to see a movie that didn’t include any guns. Hmm. At first, I thought this was just German anti-gunism. But it wasn’t. Her point was that every single movie we watched included guns, and she wondered why there were no American movies without guns. No big deal right, I'll just pop in one of them there non-violent films. But guess what?

As I looked at the movies we had on DVD and what was on television, I was amazed to discover that EVERYTHING had guns in it. The action flicks obviously involved guns, as did the westerns and the war flicks. No brainer there. Crime stories? Yep, them too. But what about science fiction? Hmmm. Guns as far as the eye can see. Comedies! Surely comedies are by and large gun free, right? Nope. Comedy after comedy included guns in some capacity. Dramas? Them too. Heck, even the chick flicks occasionally toss in an armed robbery moment.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t movies without guns, there are. But the selection is much smaller than you would think. And many of the movies that you would think wouldn't include guns, do inject them: Airplane had one, so did Vacation, so did Ocean’s 13, as did Legends of the Fall, Beethoven, Back to the Future, Wall Street, and Titanic. Here’s an incomplete but extensive list of guns in movies: Click Me. (Believe it or not, your best bet to find a movie without guns is in the horror genre.)

Why is liberal Hollywood so obsessed with guns that they need to inject them into everything, even films that don’t need them? Would we be better off as a society with fewer films including guns? Probably. Monkey see -- monkey do, after all, and it probably doesn't help that liberal Hollywood solves all conflicts with gun play. But even if it doesn't change society, can't we at least get a break from this? Can't more movies find more creative ways to generate or resolve conflict than reaching for the old warm pistol? We wouldn't accept it if every film involved a knife fight or a briefcase full of money, so why do we ignore the gun-crutch?

Like I said, I have nothing against guns, but this is becoming ridiculous.

25 comments:

CrispyRice said...

OMG - no time to read just now, but I LOVE the picture!!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Crispy, I believe it came from "Guns for Pandas". Their motto -- "because Pandas need a lot of guns".

AndrewPrice said...

FYI, If you're having problems getting to the site today, I do apologize. This appears to be a blogger issue that is giving us problems.

Ed said...

I'm with Crispy, I love the photo. Another thought provoker Andrew. I've been trying to think of the last five things I watched and they all used guns. I hadn't noticed, but I think you're right. Very strange.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, It is kind of interesting when you notice. I never noticed for years until this was pointed out to me. Now I always pay attention and it's a bit of a shock how few films don't use guns in one way or another.

Like I say in the article, I have nothing against guns, but it is kind of ridiculous how many movies end up using guns.

Tennessee Jed said...

I had this thought that Hollywood actually tries to set trends while pretending they are reflecting it. Are we, as a society obessed with guns? I actually don't think so. Are we obsessed with sex? Well, sure, but even still what percentage of America actually behaves like they do on Californication? We keep seeing good honest likable characters behaving as liberals, and yet . . .

AndrewPrice said...

I think you're probably right. Hollywood loves to hide behind the "we're only giving society what society wants" argument, but their view of society is certainly skewed.

I would say that whenever they try to recreate society on film, what they really do is to aim for the lowest denominator of society and present that as the norm. Hence, Hollywood norm is a bunch of pimps, crooked businessmen, hookers, gun toting gangbangers and hillbillies. . . except of course for the noble Jane Goodall-like liberal who lives amongst us spreading enlightenment.

Which makes me wonder, if the gun thing is how they think the rest of us are? Or if it's just a matter of being really easy to generate drama by injecting a gun into a story?

CrispyRice said...

Ok, now that I read the article...

I was going to say, well, I just watched a movie last night that-- and then I realized that (1) it was French and (2) it had guns, too. (It was the Cyrano de Begerac with Gerard Depardieau, btw, which is still an excellent movie after all these years.)

So, I would put on my conspiracy hat and ask you to consider that maybe Hollywood goes overboard with guns because they want that to be the impression of America for the rest of the world. Ie, what a cruel country, clinging to our guns and religion?

The more they can portray guns as nothing but evil and violent, the better they think that will be to get rid society of them totally. (Never mind the guy who just chased gangbangers off his lawn over the weekend and probably saved his family's life...)

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I have to disagree. If they only used guns in a negative way, then I would agree. But everyone uses guns in films. The bad guys use them to start problems and the good guys use them to solve problems. In many way, Hollywood is more like an arm of the NRA on this one. It's very strange.

That's why I think it's just a crutch. I think it's very easy to create tension or drama by handing out guns to your characters. It's much harder to do it otherwise.

CrispyRice said...

Right, but it's still an over the top, guns everywhere culture. I've travelled abroad and been asked on more than on occasion, "Do you own a gun?" The automatic assumption is that all Americans own guns, because of what Hollywood shows. Then Hollywood can blow any bit of violence in this country out of proportion and blame it all on guns.

Like I said, it's a bit of a conspiracy theory... ;)

BoilerRoomElf said...

Out of our cold, dead slippers!

That's all we're sayin'!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I don't doubt the effect (as I've also been asked if I own a gun and I've been told that "all Americans" own guns). But I don't think that's their intent because they use them for good as much as bad. If the portrayal was always bad, then I would agree. (Though I can't rule out your theory.)

I'm honestly not 100% sure why there are so many guns in films. I just know that they're EVERYWHERE in films.

AndrewPrice said...

Elves, I expected no less! LOL!

rlaWTX said...

last movie I saw had LOTS of guns and a REALLY cool shotgun (KABOOM) -- Expendables!!!

I guess because I prefer the "gunny" types of TV/movies I hadn't thought about it... but you're right, they show up everywhere. I lean toward Crispy's Conspiracy - it's their attempt to reflect flyover country. But also kinda agree with the "it's easier to shoot it out than solve it" perspective on screenwriting. So, I'm not sure.

movies before Expendables: Salt and A-Team (twice)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Don't get me wrong. I love a good action flick and I have nothing against guns. It just bothers me that they are everywhere in films -- even comedies. It's literally like they don't know how to make a film that doesn't use a gun.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Funny you should mention it. I just saw Zombieland (I've had it stored in the DVR since July). Guns everywhere, including the one they shoot Bill Murray with. What ever happened to gravediggers shovels, pitchforks, and wooden stakes?

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I guess it is because guns are sexy.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Always shoot a walking corpse, never just try to bury them. That's straight out of the "How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse Manuel." LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, So I'm told. . . but then so is a powermower and you don't see many of those in films (at least, not enough of them).

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

Yeah Right! Just what we never needed! Another power mower movie!!!

The last power mower movie was over the top. Don't you think?

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Admittedly, it was a little over the top, but that's what you get with these "powermower fights drug dealers" movies. It was still a good time! ;-)

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

Yes, but did they have to do that to the bunny rabbits? ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, LOL! I thought it was quite artistic!

DUQ said...

Another great point, Andrew. It's definitely a crutch. Hollywood has lost any sense of creativity and they are really lazy. Storytelling is a dying art.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I would agree with that! We seem to be in the age of formula and only repeating what's been done before.

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