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ken123

Do politics factor into your decision to watch a film?

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NO! I disagreed with about 99% of John Wayne's political positions.but nevertheless he starred in some of the GREATEST FILMS of all time.While,on the other hand Jane Fonda,with whom I agree with a great majority of the time has NOT. I my humble opinion she has NOT appeared in any film that could be considered classic.I don't consider "They Shoot Horses,China Syndrome,or Klute to be THAT good.Wayne had the advantage of having John Ford and Howard Hawks as the director,of his greatest films-Fort Apache,The Searchers,Red River,The Quiet Man,and The Long Voyage Home.John Ford became MORE conservative after WW2,but he is still the greatest director,of all time,in my book.

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I feel the same as you about John Wayne politically,but I never went out of my way to see his films.The Long Voyage Home is superb and the performances as well.It seemed to me Wayne was always publicized as the All American Hero.I was just turned off by him and his politics didn't help.In The Long Voyage home,Wayne was part of an ensemble.it was such a fine film,that I enjoy it.I think if a person loves movies more than they dislike an actor's politcs they will watch a film.It depends on the person,though.

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Only when their views are extreme (usually to the right). Number one example: I can't watch Charleton Heston anymore. Turns my stomach. In the same vein musically, I threw away all my old Ted Nugent albums years ago. As far as John Wayne goes, it wasn't his politics that turned me off, it was the fact that he always played the gung-ho military man and never served. I was an Air Force brat, and my parents, their friends, and my fellow brats considered him a joke. I feel the same about most politicians, left and right. As for Jane Fonda, didn't you like "Cat Ballou"?

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No, I believe actors are entitled to their own personal beliefs just as the rest of us are. Some of them have used their fame as a plaform to promote their own personal agendas. This can be annoying at times (especially if the agenda being promoted is contrary to my own beliefs), but I don't decide the issues based on what an actor says. Do you? I prefer to ignore their political views and enjoy their work (or not) solely on its own merits.

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Old movies, no. John Wayne's or Heston's political views didn't influence their movies. They were actors doing their jobs. Today, however, some movies are not only political at the core, and there's nothing wrong with that, but most are very disingenuous with the facts when making their point, omitting the facts that don't sell their agenda. Movies like Good Night, Good Luck, or Munich, to name a couple, were examples of this. People who aren't well read in History are going to take them at face value, which is what the filmmakers count on. Same thing goes for Al Gore's new "documentary." People who don't keep up with real science journals and climatologist's articles, will buy his snake oil.

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I'm conservative, and I have long tuned out contemporary Hollywood. If it weren't for Pixar and my kids, I'd never go to the the local theaters. Of course, old Hollywood wasn't eactly a conservative bastion. I believe HUAC was correct. Unions were heavily composed of members of CPUSA - who didn't have the stones to stand up and say so. But I'll watch Jane - cuz she's cute. I just won't pay to see her. I feel the same way about pop music. I'll borrow a Springsteen CD and record it, but I wont't spend any money on him.

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Interesting question.

 

Yes? No? Maybe?

 

I dislike the horse's pittooties that Tom Cruise and Jane Fonda make of themselves in the media. Actually, I despise what Fonda did to our Vietnam vets, but that's another story. I also heartily dislike Streisand too.

 

The fact that ac-tors think they are political spokespeople simply because they had the genes and the luck to become 'starrrs' makes me nauseous. I always wonder what the talented ACTORS out there who didn't have the luck to make it big think of these hacks?

 

So, I think it's more about their inability to act that makes me lunge for the remote if I see the faces of those who would speak for me on the teevee.

 

On the other hand, I dislike John Wayne's acting intensely, except for Stagecoach, and don't have any problems with his politics, but I lunge for the remote when he is on.

 

Meanwhile, I think Bogey was a bleeding heart liberal and I adore him and his acting, so I pause and revel whenever HE is on.

 

So, the answer.

 

Yes. No. Maybe.

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Terrific question, ken, as usual. I've often wished that performers could adopt Disraeli's recommendation that one should "never complain, never explain." I don't need to know an actor's private political and spiritual beliefs to appreciate their work. It's not the person's views that necessarily affect me, but whether or not the tales they tell ring true to me and are dependent on another question that, when choosing to watch something, I ask myself unconciously: Do I like to spend time with this person?

 

Does the fact that Emil Jannings later worked enthusiastically under the Nazi regime make his performances in The Last Laugh, The Last Command, or The Blue Angel, less skillful? Does Elia Kazan's betrayal of his friends to HUAC make A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Viva Zapata or On the Waterfront bad movies? Do John Wayne's reactionary politics don't diminish The Searchers, The Long Voyage Home or even a little throwaway movie like Trouble Along the Way diminish my deep enjoyment of these stories and their star?

More recently, do I dismiss Mel Gibson's The Man Without a Face or We Were Soldiers because he may have some fairly, (to me), extreme religious views?

 

Not to me, because they are well made films that tell some truths about human experience. And yes, I like spending time with these people, even though I don't share their views.

 

Since Fonda and Streisand and Cruise have been mentioned previously, let me say that I am not comfortable with the political positions of a Jane Fonda or Barbra Streisand and I've never seen a more foolish man than Cruise among celebrities--who, apparently is trying to coast through a career on a bare modicum of talent and an ability to be eternally boyish. My real problem with them is that they have committed a sin against the unwritten 11th commandment: Though Shalt Not Take Thyself Too Seriously.

 

You know, the older I get , the more I think that alot of people have some gifts, Fonda's acting is okay at best, and Cruise was pretty good, (emphasis is always on pretty, with Mr. Cruise) in well-crafted stories helmed by others, but they, like Streisand always need to let the audience know how hard they're working. This always struck me as contemptuous, since most people work very hard for everything they have in this world, and aren't compensated on the same scale as these pampered people. Would Fonda have gotten anywhere without her more talented father's reputation? Would Streisand have had her opportunities if she hadn't had a God given gift of a beautiful voice? Do I want to spend time with people who seem likely to hector me with their "vision". Nah, I'll pass. Gimme a good story, and a person who can tell it without reminding me every five seconds that they're brilliant. Oh, for a little less pretension in this world.

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I really don't care for "Cat Ballou", its neither funny.nor charming.Lee Marvin,who could be great in comedy(see"Donovan's Reef and"The Comancheros") is totally wasted.Ms Fonda added nothing!

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For me it's less about the politics of the actor than it is about the politics of the movie. Like one of the others I don't listen much to today's lot, maybe as some make their politics so out front. I don't see where their opinions are any more important than our own.

 

We might know what the politics of old stars were but I'm not so sure they were "in your face about it". Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda could be life long friends as long as they didn't talk politics. Current stars could do the same.

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For Heaven's sake, NO! My criteria are: glamour, beauty, acting, and escapism. I have often avoided "message" films, and have only forced myself to watch "some" of them as an older individual. I care nothing for individual actor's political beliefs and less for the filmmaker! Poor Gale Sondergaard!!!! I also don't care for believability. I will believe what I want in a film, unlike many of my contemporaries who laugh at the "backgrounds" in early films and call the whole film fake and unbelievable! I am a firm believer in "the suspension of disbelief." And, politics are often so real, that they hit you in the face. I much prefer fantasy. I get reality everyday, and it gets worse and worse! Give me old Hollywood and "THE DREAM FACTORY!"

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One of my favourite character actors is Ward Bond. Politically though, according to several John Ford biographies he was a none-too-bright right wing reactionary windbag who made John Wayne look like a liberal. Victor Mclaglen was allegedly an anti-semite. Does that reduce 'The Informer'? Thinking about it, it does, perhaps because being racist is quite a bit different than someone who has contrary political views.

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Re: the question -absolutely.

 

I've yet to see any movies starring Bill Clinton or George Bush and I'm going to try not to for my whole life.

 

"Clowns to the right of me, jokers to the left. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you." (head bobbing to the beat)

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[the clowns are to the left, and the jokers are to the right...]

 

Political content in movies is hard to avoid.

 

I have no fear of being bamboozled by political content in films. If money is all I lose when watching a film, I should consider myself fortunate.

 

I will walk out on a film if it isn't entertaining before I walk out on a film whose politics I don't agree with. I haven't done the latter yet; I'm not too afraid of information.

 

Does paying for a film mean that you've made a contribution to a political stance - well, that might be something to discuss...

 

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wordmaster

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Old movies, no. John Wayne's or Heston's political views didn't influence their movies. They were actors doing their jobs.

 

Wayne bragged at least once about his part in helping blacklist a screenwriter. I doubt that he would've made a jingoistic Red-baiting movie like BIG JIM McCLAIN were it not for his politics. It's sad, really, because Wayne was widely regarded to be a very nice man, kind and generous. Still, like many in his position, his political vews were not fully formed, and he tended to parrot pronouncements made by others he admired, but whose own reasoning he understood incompletely.

 

In a sense, I think that, had he been more politically astute and thoughtful (and hadn't hung around even more clueless thugs like Bond and McLaglen), his views might've been at least a tad more moderate.

 

 

I believe HUAC was correct. Unions were heavily composed of members of CPUSA - who didn't have the stones to stand up and say so.

 

Utter rubbish. While no one doubts that the Soviet Union had spies in this country, the very idea that rank-and-file members of the Communist Party USA were complicit in any espuionage is laughable.

 

Firstly, the Soviets didn't trust anyone who wasn't a Soviet by birth. Whatever money came through contributions and dues to the CPUSA, they were happy to accept, but that was about it.

 

Secondly, being a member of CPUSA (whose politics were formed by domestic incidents such as the Haymarket riots, the bulldozing of WWI-veteran "Hooverville" camps by federal troops and police, the use of police and federal troops as Big Business's private army to break strikes; and foreign incidents such as Francisco Franco's ruthless, genocidal bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War), especially in Hollywood, generally involved sitting on a folding chair in somebody's living room every couple of weeks, with a cup of fruit punch in one hand, and a sugar cookie in the other, while listening to some speaker extoll the nobility of the working class.

 

Some threat.

 

The fact is that the men who ran HUAC (one of whom, Congressman J. Parnell Thomas of New York, ended up in federal prison -- ahead of the "Hollywood Ten" he railroaded on contempt-of-Congress charges -- for evasion of federal income tax. Some patriot) hit upon a perfect scheme: create a "crisis" and then offer up a solution (kind of like the current Congress and White House's concoction of "crises" like imminent Social Security bankruptcy, and threat to marriage and the Republic from gay marriage and flag-burning). By doing so, these men, largely nameless and faceless even to their own constituents guaranteed that they'd be re-elected over and over, and that a path to higher office would be cleared before them (Richard Nixon's strategy).

 

In short, the hunt for Communists, especially in Hollywood, wasn't about threats to the nation, but about career advancement for those in Washington.

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As someone whose politics, without changing much, qualified me as a political moderate in 1986 and a ranting whackjob Bush-and-America hating moonbat in 2006, I think it makes more difference to me with modern film than it does when watching classic movies. Wayne was a chickenhawk, but I still love The Searchers and Stagecoach. Eugene Pallette was a far right wing loony, but I love watching him on screen.

 

It does factor into my enjoyment of modern films and TV though. I can't watch an episode of Frasier since I heard Kelsey Grammar playing kissy-face with Sean Hannity. I've lost all respect for Dennis Hopper as well. Part of this is disgust over the misery and death that the modern Republican party is bringing to our soldiers and the Middle East -- it's not just politics, it's human lives. Part of it is that since the GOP took over, there is no value in trying to bridge the aisle -- they govern as though the half of the country that disagrees with them doesn't exist. It's difficult for me to find anything to like about those on the right in this atmosphere, and that extends to actors.

 

I strongly disagree with those who think that stars should not comment on politics. I comment on politics all the time in other forums, and the fact that my job has nothing to to with politics is irrelevant. It's the same with a movie star -- they have an absolute right to express their opinion and raise funds for their candidates. The fact that the press wants to cover it is not something we should hold against them, although we're certainly justified in finding those views abhorrent.

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Nice comments CINESAGE-But Rep.Thomas was from New Jersey,NOT New York."COMMUNISTS" were NOT the REAL HUAC target,but liberals,DON'T BE ANYKIND OF A CRITIC toward AMERICA,,past or present.THE FRONT(and STALIN) ARE EVERYWHERE,that is close to the title of a 1950's anti-red book.McCarthism,before McCarthy(who had NOTHING to do with Hollywood)couldn't"t breach ANYTHING QUESTIONING of U.S.policies or goals.It is the same today with the rightwing hatred for anyone opposed to Bush or the Iraqi war..

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Nice, CineSage jr. But we must be careful, Uncle Dick might be listening. Or the John Birch Society, which still seems to exist.

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It depends, I don't even have a set of "cut in stone" guidelines for what's over the line for me. I don't watch modern movies period,so it doesn't matter,concerning those. There are some stars I refuse to watch,because their politicism was so blatant and shoved down the public's throat,that they made it too clear to me that I despised their politics(Jane Fonda is definitely one of those). If they don't want me to take their politics into account,then don't shove them in my face. Most of the classic Hollywood actors didn't,so it's not usually a factor. I don't care for blatant "message movies",but I'll either overlook or appreciate(depending on the politics of the message),a subtle message(naturally I'll appreciate the ones I agree with more:))

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?I don't watch modern movies period,so it doesn't matter,concerning those.?

 

I tried to watch a modern movie yesterday. Something about a jury being rigged, from a John Grisham novel. The whole thing was pretty stupid. One of the lawyers carried a brief case that contained a camera and transmitter, so he sent video and audio of the entire trial and the judge?s chamber to some warehouse where a group of crooked jury riggers in suits were set up with a lot of technical equipment.

 

This is impossible. The amout of transmitting power needed would cause radiation bleed-over that would cause interference in various receiver, such as police guard radios. The local FCC office in a big city is constantly scanning various frequencies looking for illegal transmissions.

 

This is a typical modern ?conspiracy? movie, so people chased various people through the streets of a big city, just like they always do in conspiracy movies. There was a young small weak girl who beat up a big 200 pound thug. That happens in a lot of conspiracy movies today. We have no idea what?s going on until the end of the movie, and until we watch it a second time and take some notes during it. Everyone in the film (except the Yankees) are stereotypical Southern idiots and crooks. Two young people in their twenties outwit the smartest gang of crooks in the country. (Common in modern conspiracy movies.) Very boring and unrealistic.

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I try not to watch anything 'modern' related to politics except for one thing: "The Daily Show".

 

Jon Stewart keeps me laughing, no matter how grim things become, so I watch him. Everyone else? Fergetaboutit!

 

As for classic film actors, I don't really factor politics TOO much into things. Although I have to admit that I was very disappointed at the actors who 'named names' during the McCarthy hearings, and this has influenced me against them.

 

Guys like Gary Cooper, who were very conservative and who testified, but did not 'name names', I'm perfectly okay with. In fact, Gary Cooper is perhaps one of my favorite actors. As is Charlie Chaplin...who was at the opposite end of the political spectrum.

 

As I said, I'm okay with conservatives...and even conservatives who testified. But ones who named names and assisted in ruining someone elses career? Yeah...I do try to avoid them, because I can't stand a snitch. :P

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