Sunday, July 18, 2004

Last week, Tammi posted an entry on her blog about movies that you just have to watch all the way through if you catch them while flipping through the channels. She listed her "must watch" movies and asked her readers for theirs. My list (which is, I'm sorry to say, much longer than what I posted in her comments section) included the movie Ocean's Eleven. I was referring to the recent remake, not the "Rat Pack" film it was based on (also a good movie, BTW).

I was flipping through the channels a few nights ago and there it was, Ocean's Eleven. True to form, I watched it through to the end. As I watched it, I couldn't help but notice that this movie contains some prominent members of the Hollywood liberal elite. In 2003, cast members Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, and Carl Reiner all signed a letter to President Bush imploring him not to pursue military action in Iraq. While I disagree with these folks, they do have a right to their opinion. A few of cast members, however, have been downright mean about their liberal "activism".

-George Clooney made light of actor/NRA President Charlton Heston being recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He justified it by saying that being head of the NRA made Heston deserving of his affliction. Clooney also compared the Bush administration to the Sopranos TV crime family.
-Brad Pitt taunted Jenna Bush while she worked as an intern at a PR firm that represented him.
-Julia Roberts, the Pretty Woman herself, remarked that it is no mistake that Republican comes between "reptile" and "repugnant" in the dictionary (yeah, like she even owns a dictionary). Who says beauty is only skin deep.
-Matt Damon compared President Bush to Fredo (the dimmest of the Corleone brothers) in The Godfather.

It's hard to justify watching a movie with people like this in it. After all, I'm putting money into the pockets of some less than wonderful people. On the other hand, if I only watched movies made by people I agreed with, or were at least less disrespectful in their "activism", I would have a very short list of "approved" movies to watch. Since I am a movie buff, that just won't do.

I finally came to peace with this issue by viewing entertainers as service providers. After all, I don't know what the politics of the kid who served me that burger at the Wendy's drive-thru are. Ditto for my mailman, my car mechanic, the guy at the car wash, or the receptionist at my dentist's office. My only concern is that they provide me with good service. As long as they provide me with good entertainment, I guess I can overlook the politics of celebrities. There is, however, a limit to how far they should go. Politics is one thing, mean-spiritedness is another. Even the kid at the drive-thru knows that, which may make him smarter than Matt Damon and less repugnant than Julia Roberts.

I have to admit though, that there are a couple of them who are near the point of no return with me. It's not saying much about the state of things when you have to choose between popular culture and civility.

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