Have you heard that Hollywood screen writers are on strike?
Do you care?
Are they producing material that makes you want to watch on TV or go to the movies to see?
If you are like most people I suspect the answer to these questions will be: No, No and No.
One of the favored topics or film in the past year has been the Iraq war and the War on Terror. Of course these are grim little numbers that are not tales of heroism or derring do. No they are gritty little dramas such as Brian De Palma's "Redacted", a tale of rape and murder by GI's in Iraq. A film which went down well with European film festival crowds but not one to pull the general punter. Anyway he covered this ground with his 1989 film "Casualties of War"
There is a whole slew of others in the pipeline of the same ilk.
And people are not going to see them.
According to AFP
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The wave of recent films set against the backdrop of war in Iraq and post-9/11 security has failed to win over film-goers keen to escape grim news headlines when they go to the movies, analysts say.
In a break with past convention, when films based on real conflicts were made only years after the last shots were fired, several politically-charged films have gone on release while America remains embroiled in Iraq.
This isn't so of course. During World War 2 Hollywood made plenty of films about that War. It was in fact an active participant. The cynics of today describe these films as propaganda - at the time they were considered morale boosters. But whatever Hollywood was on board when it came to the fight against fascism.
And the films were mostly pretty good too - they didn't sanitize the death and suffering and they lauded the heroism of the ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary struggle.
The most famous is the "Why we Fight" series mostly directed by Frank Capra, one of Hollywood's greatest directors.
Another great one is "Action in the North Atlantic", starring Humphrey Bogart, the story of American Merchant Seamen (civilians) and what they endured ferrying goods across the Atlantic.
Hollywood actors were on board as well, Jimmy Stewart for example actually put is acting career on hold to fly Bombers in the European theatre. He also flew in Vietnam during that war just quietly.
It is only after the sixties that it became de rigueur in Hollywood to be anti war.
At first it was subtle, Mash was released right at the end of the American involvement in the Vietnam war but its subject matter was Korea. John Wayne made Green Berets in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam war and it was a gung ho patriotic thing. Not a bad movie either but was an anachronism in the sixties.
We all know the Vietnam stereotypes - American soldiers as drug addled mass murderers and rapists who cannot cope with the trauma of those years, an image reinforced by Hollywood over the years.
Not all Hollywood movies have taken this line - "We were Soldiers", for example, starring Mel Gibson didn't. But most have.
Anyway as far as I'm concerned let the writers stay on strike. Perhaps this will allow some new ones to emerge perhaps from the ranks of those who have put their hides on the line to fight the modern version of Fascism and are proud of their service (as well they should be).
And we might even get some films about Iraq and Afghanistan that people will be happy to part with their hard earned money to see.
And heroism will be back in fashion.