Taking the enema out of cinema

The election season for ASUU always makes me depressed because it reminds me of how powerless I am. I’m also beginning to feel that way every time I go to the movies.

I know politicians don’t care what I think, but I used to think students might. After student opinion was either ignored or manipulated on issues such as the College Readership newspaper stands, mandatory health insurance and a Student Life Center, I wised up.

I used to think that I had some say in what movies were made. I KNOW that sounds ridiculous, but I thought it was the power of the consumer. If we don’t drink Royal Crown Cola, it disappears. The more I learn about the movie business, however, the more I come to learn that it’s a lot like politics.

In both Hollywood and Washington, the people already in decide who comes in, and the people in are indebted to the moguls and tycoons who got them there. All the while consumers and voters are told they have the power, but in fact, dollars and ballots are only sought to give a “mandate” to the oligarchy. The oligarchs do whatever they please and then convince us it’s what we really want.

Change requires revolution. I think our political system — even the one here at the U — is effective enough to leave alone. I’d like to start a revolution against the moviemakers, but I don’t know how.

What has gotten me riled up recently is David Mamet’s book, Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business. I haven’t actually read the book, but I was unfortunate enough to hear him promote it on National Public Radio.

You know Mamet’s work even if you don’t know him. He wrote several films you’ve heard of, including “The Untouchables” and “Wag the Dog.” His book is full of essays on what is wrong with the movie business. Reviews I’ve read agree with his complaints but question his motives. I don’t care about either. What struck me is what an idiot he was as he spoke definitively on what makes a good movie.

For example, he gave a moviemaking recipe for disaster that included “any movie with a quill.” As calls and e-mails flooded in disagreeing (hello? The “Pirates of the Caribbean” series), he stood his ground. His idea of a great movie: Tim Allen’s “Galaxy Quest.”

This is one of the people making millions for movies! Were he a politician, we could vote him out — or at least force him into a primary. But whenever idiocy among Hollywood’s elite is pointed out, it just makes great reading in People magazine.

I can’t stand it because film is our era’s quintessential art form. If we don’t have good art, who needs politics?

Oscar night always reminds me how out of touch these people are. I honestly didn’t hear a single favorable review for “Babel” or “Dreamgirls” when they first came out. Critics I follow liked but didn’t love “The Departed.” No one I know liked “Happy Feet” more than “Cars” or “Monster House.”

I know some of you are thinking, “Well, that’s why I only watch Mormon movies.” Guess what? Go ask an insider about LDS filmmakers and you’ll find that they’re almost all scumbags as well.

An insider could write an entire book just about nepotism in the movie business. One of the creators of the new film “Music and Lyrics” hired his 13-year-old son to write songs for the movie. I’m glad he’s father to a genius, but did they have trouble finding a mature musician deserving a big break? Is the world so short on genius that there’s talent scouting in junior highs now?

It’s time for a revolution — or at least a purge. A well-placed dirty bomb would do the cinema a world of good.