In case it slipped your mind, Scott Foundas takes another opportunity this week to remind everybody: Hollywood is liberal (!!) And boy, does that ever tick him off. Right up front, in his review of The Visitor (in the sole negative opinion on metacritic) Foundas lets us know where he’s headed with the subtitle of his review: “Preachy liberal guilt dwarfs any good intentions in immigrant drama.”
We’ve mentioned recently that film critics are dropping off the pages of national newspapers faster than honeybees losing their buzz in the vanishing hive syndrome — a side-effect of journalistic pesticide. Our insightful Bebe brought up this very salient and significant point:
I think people tend to not consciously recognize that the font of these trends is corporatization of all aspects of American culture… These same companies are tied to the media, which supports the all-in opening weekend, minimized risk mentality. Independent thought, specifically independent critical thought, has no place in a mass produced-to-consumer world.
Critics are not only unnecessary in this grand scheme of force-feeding — they’re downright meddlesome . I’m sure in the midst of this skittish economy, many writers realize that those most willing to tow the line of their parent corporation’s agenda might feel a little more secure about their paycheck. In which case, Rupert Murdoch — after pillaging The Village Voice and gutting their legendary film department — is no doubt tickled pink to see Scott Foundas writing tripe like this:
McCarthy unquestionably means well, but he’s made one of those incredibly na√Øve movies that gives liberals a bad name, and which does more to regress the sociopolitical discourse than advance it.
Of course, don’t expect to find any evidence or explanation about what Foundas finds so “na√Øve” about a man who undergoes personal growth and grows a social conscience. Rather, get ready for the persnickety nit-picking as Foundas chortles over plot points that to him are outrageously unlikely:
I’d call Walter’s meet-cute with Tarek and Zainab accidental, but pretty much nothing in The Visitor happens by accident… That mournful piano music? It turns out to be a performance by Walter’s late wife, a classical concert pianist. And Tarek, wouldn’t you know, is a musician too, only he plays the African drum. And before long, he’s teaching Walter how to play.
Yeah, I can understand Mr Foundas’ incredulity, because what are the odds that two musicians would ever cross paths in New York City? Must be astronomical.
Never mind the unabashed ugliness in Foundas phrasings like these: “Like every other Muslim character in the film, Mouna practically walks on water…” or “Tarek and Zainab marvel, wide-eyed, at the fact that some rich old white dude could possibly care about their well-being.” Let’s get right to the blatant outraged crux of the “review”:
McCarthy has, for his second feature, made another movie about an unlikely threesome‚Äîexcept this time, he’s decided to get political.
And naturally that’s an abomination to conservative critics like Foundas. American movies dare not tread the hallowed ground of politic discourse — because only our politicians and pundits in their glorious wisdom should ever be allowed to push those emotional buttons for us, right?
Last week, Foundas was annoyed that anybody would have the balls or gall to keep making the same old movies about war and stuff, reiterating what he seems to feel are the tedious troubles of soldiers returning home — “some upright, some on wheels. On cue, they begin to go a little bit crazy, picking bar fights, convulsing with night terrors. Not long after, one GI decides to blow his own head off.” …“puh-leeeze!,” Foundas seems to say, “I’m so sick of hearing about that shit!” (and worse, his larger more insidious point: don’t waste your time, kids; skip this one; nothing new to see here.)
Now, just a couple of weeks later, Foundas has heard quite enough about “liberty under siege.” He wishes Hollywood would just shut up and stop boring him with “liberal-guilt-trip movies about first-world ignorance of third-world culture.” Because Foundas knows all that crybaby claptrap inside out, and he’s aggravated that directors continue to bring it up:
Is Tom McCarthy really this dense, or does he think he’s the enlightened one and we are in need of his counsel? I hope the former, but, on the basis of The Visitor, I fear the latter.
I’ll slide past the bizarre sentiment that Foundas hopes McCarthy is dense, and his fear of anyone trying to share enlightenment. We might ask instead, is Scott Foundas really this callous, or does he think he’s the only jaded one and we’re all in need of his recurrent sourpuss harping about liberals? On the basis of his last few reviews, I suspect the former and I’m convinced of the latter.