iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Marshall Fine

Marshall Fine

Posted: June 22, 2010 11:51 AM

Reading Too Much Into Movies

What's Your Reaction:

We've already had this discussion -- that everything is political, even in the most mundane and inane of movies.

Still, what's always amazing to me is how hard some people work at reading political meaning into works that had no such ideas in mind. Just because you can make a case for a metaphorical reading of a movie doesn't mean that you should.

Consider the recent hoo-haw over Toy Story 3. No, not the mudfight over the fact that a couple of contrarian critics stood between that film and a 100-percent-positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That argument is too silly for words. There's always going to be someone who hates a terrific movie for whatever reason -- just as there will always be someone willing to offer a positive review (and a glowing quote) for a total stinker. That's just human nature.

No, I'm talking about the guy who wrote a whole piece discussing his perception that, in fact, Toy Story 3 was really a metaphor for the Holocaust. A segregated population, who wind up imprisoned and would rather be in the attic than wind up in the incinerator -- get it?

I mean, yes, you can draw a parallel if you work at it. But do you need to? Do you want to? Really, doesn't it trivialize the Holocaust to think that Toy Story 3 is secretly retelling its story?

But some people aren't happy unless they've got a reason to be upset. Recently, for example, a right-wing blogger got up in arms because several reviews of Sex and the City 2 suggested that the film -- with its flip depiction of Islamic conservative attitudes toward women and sexuality -- would only serve to inflame passions against the West. I believe some critics referred to it as "a jihadist recruiting tool," in what was obviously a jab that was meant facetiously.

After all, fundamentalists of all stripes -- and not just Islam -- don't have much of a sense of irony, or humor. So radical Islamists don't need the SATC gals to suddenly focus them on the perfidies of the West. We're all infidel dogs in their eyes, no matter how liberal or conservative our politics. The only good American is a dead American -- it's not a matter of degree.

But the humorless right-wing bloggers, who really struggle with the notion of sarcasm, conflated these remarks as yet another example of political correctness run amok. Not only weren't the comments taken as humor -- they were lumped in with the perpetual left-wing cabal in Hollywood which exists solely to push an agenda of gay rights, widespread abortion and, of course, the curtailment of free speech for the right wing.

This commentary continues on my website.

 
 
 

Follow Marshall Fine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollywoodnfine