The Hush-Hush News Report: 12.20.12: ‘Tis The Season To Scapegoat
Hey there 411mania readers. I’m Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report. Like many, I was heartbroken at what transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. Losing that many 6 and 7-year-old children in such a barbaric manner is hard to handle and the fact that – once again – we are living through another mass shooting makes it even worse. It was just less than 5 months ago that I wrote about the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and just in the last several years the nation has seen mass shootings that resulted in the deaths of 32 people at Virginia Tech in April 2007; 13 at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., in April 2009; 13 at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009; and the shooting at an outdoor rally in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011 that took the lives of six people and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. That we couldn’t get through 2012 without another mass killing is depressing and frustrating.
Many have written words honoring those victims – the 20 children and 7 adults who became victims of an extremely troubled young man. But as with every shocking tragedy, words are also written and said looking for answers and scapegoats. This isn’t the Politics page, so I won’t spend much time on this, but those who seek to use the Newtown massacre as a way to go after “the culture of violence” (their words, not mine) – mainly violence in video games, movies and television – run the gamut from uninformed and ignorant, to opportunistic demagogues and reactionary gits. They speak and point the finger at things they know not of and at things that don’t fit into their own cultural milieu. It’s incredibly easy for older generations to lay the blame at the doorstep of a part of the culture that they’re not generally involved with and it always comes across the same sad, predictable way.
Today’s traget is more realistic first-person military shooters (or, in the case of some incredibly uninformed pundits/”experts”, Starcraft). In July it was Batman and violence in movies. At the end of the ’90s it was heavy metal and Marilyn Manson. At the start of the ’90s it was rap. 50 years ago, it was rock and roll, comic books and crime dramas on TV. Centuries ago, it was particularly heretical and rabble-rousing literature that dared even question the traditional institutions of the day. In fact, blaming the youth, art and entertainment is something of a societal tradition. The following is from a Gallup piece over a decade ago:
In a Gallup poll from 1954, 70% of American adults thought blame for teen-age crime could be placed on “mystery and crime programs on TV and radio” – 24% assigned the programs “a great deal” of blame, with another 44% assigning “some” blame. The results were similar for comic books, which were just gaining mainstream popularity in the 1950s. Again, 70% said the reading of comic books could be blamed for teen-age crime, with 26% assigning “a great deal” of blame.
When a 1999 Gallup poll asked adults whether the depiction of violence in popular entertainment (such as TV, in the movies, music, and video games) was one of the major causes of violence among young people, a majority (62%) said that it was. A separate poll from that year found that 74% of Americans thought some of the blame for teen- age crime could be placed on television and movie violence. 31% thought TV and movie violence deserved “a great deal” of the blame.
However, the fact is that there is absolutely, positively, zero valid statistical evidence that violence in video games, movies or television has any sort of positive correlation to mass shootings and violent crimes. In fact, if anything it appears to have either no negligible impact or a small negative correlation. As Max Fisher at The Washington Post points out through a graph mapping the per-capita spending on video games in the top ten national markets on one axis and the per-capita gun-related murders in those countries on the other the graph actually shows a small negative correlation. To put it succinctly (if admittedly a bit simplistically), as video game spending goes up, gun-related murders tend to go down.
The fact of the matter is that the United States, more than a culture of violence, has a culture of guns. And if these pundits, so quick to blame violent video games or movies, want to start actually proposing sensible solutions and have a real, earnest dialogue, perhaps they should start with the gun culture in America. That isn’t meant to demonize gun advocates, but to point out that gun issues are much, much different in heavily populated urban and suburban areas versus sporadically populated rural areas. Also, that it is no longer the 18th century. The British are not coming, the Cold War is over and Red China aren’t landing ashore. Red Dawn is a movie, not a vaild excuse for unlimited, unfettered and unchecked gun rights. Guns in 2012 America is at a different place than guns in 1776 America, 1865 America or 1963 America.
It is a human response to look for answers when something so tragic occurs. However, I had thought we had finally managed to move beyond scapegoating art and entertainment for the actions of a troubled and deranged few. This was a troubled kid with easy access to guns (and perhaps more questions should be raised about why the shooter’s mother had so many guns around knowing that her son had “issues”). It’s not because he played violent video games (or Starcraft). It’s not because he may or may not have appeared on the Asperger’s/Autism scale. It’s not even solely down to guns (although they undoubtedly make these events easier to execute). In fact, on the very same day as the Sandy Hook massacre, a 36-year-old Chinese man attacked 22 children with a knife at a primary school in China. Easy gun access can play a major part, but as Christopher Ferguson (an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University) puts it at Time.com, these things happen in every part of the world and they almost always come down to the same thing:
“a perpetrator who has a history of antisocial-personality traits; suffers from mental illnesses such as depression or psychosis; and, an obsession about how others, whether other individuals or society at large, have wronged them. (These conclusions are similar to the findings of a 2002 U.S. Secret Service report on school shootings.) These individuals seethe with rage and hatred and despondency, until they decide to lash out at individuals or a society they believe has done them great wrong. Mental health, as well as our failure to address it as a society, is at the core of these events.”
Those traits – not Call of Duty or Django Unchained or The Walking Dead – are generally what tends to define these mass tragedies, whether it be Sandy Hook in 2012 or The Bath School disaster in 1927. I’m hopeful the Sandy Hook shootings will touch America enough to ask real questions and openly engage in a rational, honest discussion about guns and mental health in this country. We deserve more than another witch-hunt intent on nailing easy scapegoats and demagoguing an element of the culture those in a position of power and influence don’t partake in or understand.
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments. Now, with no real good way to transition, let’s do this thing.
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Now allow me to plug some of our 411 film reviews here including reviews of:
Reviews by other 411 writers:
The Guilt Trup
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Rise of the Guardians (2)
Rise of the Guardians
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Well, it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a ridiculously unsubstantiated rumor concerning Star Wars: Episode VII. Far too long, I say.
This week’s seemingly grasping-for-straws rumor was found in a Reuters article about fans who flock to the Mayan city of Tikal because it’s the location George Lucas used as the rebel base on Yavin 4. Plus it’s that whole “end of the world” thing. The report states:
“Yavin 4 and the rebel base return to the Star Wars plot in the forthcoming Episode VII, announced in October by the Walt Disney Co, in which Skywalker comes back to the planet to build a Jedi knight academy.”
Obviously, Star Wars fans and various blogs are desperate for anything related to Star Wars or hits and any possible “plot point” will get people discussing. If you ask me, this barely rises to the level of “worth talking about,” but some have mentioned that Luke returning to Yavin 4 to build a new Jedi academy would be similar to what’s done in the Expanded Universe (specifically the Jedi Academy trilogy written by Kevin J. Anderson). However, it’s already been stated – repeatedly – that Kathleen Kennedy and Disney won’t be using the EU for the next trilogy of films. It is possible they lied of course, or it’s equally plausible that Reuters could be mistaking the EU use of Yavin 4 for the films yet to come.
Anyway, until anything is confirmed or sounds remotely plausible with sourcing attached, take any Star Wars rumor with a grain of salt.
Samuel L. Jackson says that he won’t be featured quite as much in Marvel’s “Phase Two” of its Cinematic Universe as he was in Phase One. While promoting his upcoming supporting turn in Django Unchained, Jackson spoke to Movies.com about whether he would be appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy as Nick Fury.
On his upcoming schedule: “Oldboy is done, that’s finished. I still have to do RoboCop, and go to Toronto in January. After that I’m doing this live-action version of Kite, the Japanese anime film. So I’m doing a live-action version of that in Johannesburg. And then I do Captain 2.“
How many more Marvel movies are on his contract: “I got three or four left on my contract.”
Whether he would appear in Guardians of the Galaxy: “No, Cap 2, then nothing until The Avengers 2, but that’s in 2014 [as a production start date]. Hopefully they’ll throw me another Star Wars movie.”
On if he loves playing Nick Fury and if he ever wants to break out and curse: “Yeah, I love Nick Fury. We have done that [with the cursing]. In between takes, they’ll say “‘Do it the way you do it,” and I just go, “Let’s go kill these motherf**kers!” They just fall on the floor laughing.”
On if he’s involved in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series: “So far not yet. No one has said anything to me about it. I would think, even at its worst, I would be like Charlie in Charlie’s Angels — like at least they’d let me talk to them every week and be a voice, if they won’t put me in the show. I don’t know yet, I need to talk to Joss [Whedon] about it.”
On if he’d even want to be a part of the show: “Sure. There’s a lot of money in TV these days … [Laughs] And there’s some good TV out there, even on networks.”
Meanwhile, Marvel has released a new official still from its next film, Iron Man 3. In it, Tony Stark is in pretty rough shape and it further reinforces the idea that this might indeed be the a darker film than previous Iron Man entries.
Iron Man 3 will be released May 3, 2013, while The Avengers 2 will hit theaters Summer of 2015.
Director Adam McKay has tweeted the official release date for the highly anticipated sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
It’s official. Anchorman 2 has a release date: December 20, 2013. Very excited.
— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) December 20, 2012
The sequel to 2004′s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy stars Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner. The story will now see the out-of-touch San Diego news team amid the culture of the 24-hour news cycle. Continuing rumors have Kristen Wiig joining the cast as a possible love interest for Carrell’s character and director McKay has already confirmed there will be a fully-choreographed musical number.
Pain and Gain is Michael Bay’s new non-walking, talking robots movie. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, the film revolves around body-building macho types who decide to kidnap and extort a wealthy mark, but it predictably goes wrong sooner rather than later. Also starring Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Anthony Mackie, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong, Tony Shalhoub and Kurt Angle, Pain and Gain opens April 26th, 2013. The film’s trailer (below) has a very distinct Bad Boys vibe to it and is more comedic than a number of recent Bay films.
Additionally, another R-rated buddy flick trailer has been released this week. The Heat stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCartney (the former as a FBI agent and the latter as a local Boston cop) who join forces to bring down a drug lord. Also starring Katilin Olson, Demian Bichir, Tony Hale, Taran Killam and Michael Rapaport, the film opens on April 5, 2013. The film’s official synoposis and trailer are below:
Uptight and straight-laced, FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence–and hyper-arrogance. Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), one of Boston P.D.’s “finest,” is foul-mouthed and has a very short fuse, and uses her gut instinct and street smarts to catch the most elusive criminals. Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies. From Paul Feig, the director of “Bridesmaids.”
If we know anything about Hollywood, it’s that it is a copycat town. Multiple similar projects tend to be going on at once and if something hits big, everyone wants their own version of it. That’s why it will be interesting to see how Warner Bros and Guillermo del Toro’s giant blockbuster Pacific Rim does as one of the signature tentpole films of next year. The release of that film’s first official trailer last week was met with an unsurprising enthusiastic reception and has led to speculation the giant robots (not named Transformers) will now become a “thing” in Hollywood’s future. Various projects – including Robotech, Gundam, Voltron – could be born out of a successful Pacific Rim. One such project already announced is Gaiking, a live-action feature film adaptation of Toei Animation’s anime property “Gaiking, one of the super robots from Shogun Warriors. Valhalla Entertainment has announced that Gale Anne Hurd, the producer of Terminator, Aliens, Armageddon and The Walking Dead will produce the project, which has already released some CG test footage.
The press release states: “Gaiking follows a young man who is recruited to serve as the lead pilot for the Super Robot Gaiking. When Earth is threatened by an alien race intent on taking over the planet, he emerges as the only one who can pilot the massive robot. Together with his fellow co-pilots he must fight off the alien force in order to save mankind.” While the project has been kicking around since march of 2010, it appears now that Pacific Rim is poised to break out, this might finally get officially green-lit. The official press release is below:
VALHALLA ENTERTAINMENT SET TO PRODUCE “GAIKING” FOR ANEW AND TOEI ANIMATION
LOS ANGELES – December 18, 2012 – Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment (“The Walking Dead”) and Toei Animation have teamed with All Nippon Entertainment Works (ANEW) to develop Toei’s iconic anime property GAIKING. This marks a new push for Toei into the U.S. marketplace and the first development deal for ANEW.
GAIKING follows a young man who is recruited to serve as the lead pilot for the Super Robot Gaiking. When Earth is threatened by an alien race intent on taking over the planet, he emerges as the only one who can pilot the massive robot. Together with his fellow co-pilots he must fight off the alien force in order to save mankind.
“I’m extremely excited to be working on GAIKING,” said Hurd, “which marks a huge step forward in adapting one of the best Japanese IP for a global audience.”
Valhalla Entertainment recently announced their USA Network pilot HORIZON for Universal Cable Productions. Additional projects on their development slate include THUNDER ROAD for Discovery Channel, RECONSTRUCTION at The History Channel, JANE WAYNE with USA Network,11th COMMANDMENT with NBC, and AREA 51 at AMC.
On the feature side, Gale Anne Hurd executive produced the upcoming Sundance Premiere film, VERY GOOD GIRLS, and is moving forward on the action/thriller THE NAMELESS with Route One. Hurd is also known for her sci-fi blockbusters THE TERMINATOR 1 & 2, ALIENS, ARMAGEDDON,and THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
ANEW, led by CEO Sandy Climan, is dedicated to partnering with Japanese underlying rights holders to develop creative content, including films, books, toys, animation, and Manga, into global English language motion pictures and television. It has an initial capitalization of $80M from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a public-private investment fund affiliated with the Japanese government. ANEW’s creative partners include a broad spectrum of the leading media and entertainment companies in Japan.
“ANEW’s mission is to bring the highest quality Japanese stories to a global audience in partnership with world-class producers,” said Climan, “I am thrilled that ANEW is joining with Toei Animation and Valhalla Entertainment in developing this landmark property into a major motion picture.”
Toei Animation is the largest animation production company in Japan and is responsible for thousands of hours of programming, including DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK, which is being remade as a 3D CG animated feature film. Since it’s founding in 1956, Toei has produced more than 10,000 episodes of TV (191 titles) and over 200 animated feature films. Toei Animation is the original rights holder of the underlying GAIKING IP and a Co-Producer with Valhalla Entertainment.
“Gaiking has long been one of the most beloved giant robot animation franchises with a global fan base. We are very excited to be partnering with Valhalla Entertainment and ANEW to bring this title to a worldwide audience as a live-action feature film, which we hope to be the first of many more to come from Toei’s large stable of IPs,” said Yoshi Ikezawa of Toei Animation.
Gale Anne Hurd will serve as lead producer on the project. Yoshi Ikezawa of Toei Animation and Joseph Chou will also serve as producers. Sandy Climan, Tim Kwok, and Kozo Morishita of Toei Animation are executive producing. Kris Henigman, Director of Development at Valhalla, will oversee development for the company in association with Annmarie Bailey, Vice President of Creative Affairs for ANEW.
The Matrix, A Christmas Story, Dirty Harry and Breakfast at Tiffany’sare among the most notable films deemed culturally significant enough for inclusion on the National Film Registry, whose new slate of 25 selected titles was announced on Wednesday.
The NFR, established by Congress in 1989 to preserve U.S. film heritage, already holds a swath of Hollywood’s early classics, docs and experimental films, including Casablanca, Citizen Kane and The Godfather. The Registry now totals a 600 films.
“These films are not selected as the ‘best’ American films of all time but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture,” Congressional Librarian James H. Billington said. “They reflect who we are as people and as a nation.”
Additional titles named to the registry include “The Times of Harvey Milk”; Academy Award-winning “One Survivor Remembers,” a short doc about Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein; and “Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests,” a two-color film produced as a demonstration at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, N.J., in 1922.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, the librarian of Congress must select 25 films every year that are at least 10 years old and “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
The Augustas (1930s-1950s)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
A Christmas Story (1983)
The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight (1897)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2 (1980-82)
The Kidnappers Foil (1930s-1950s)
Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922)
A League of Their Own (1992)
The Matrix (1999)
The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair (1939)
One Survivor Remembers (1995)
Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia (1990)
Sons of the Desert (1933)
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
They Call It Pro Football (1967)
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914)
The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)
The holiday movie season kicks into overdrive this week (starting on Wednesday) as a ton of films get wide and limited releases, including This is 40, Jack Reacher, The Guilt Trip, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D, Monsters Inc. 3D, The Impossible, Amour, On the Road and Not Fade Away.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
Trailer of the Week (You Might Have Missed): Part Deux: John Dies at the End
Funny/Awesome Video of the Week: “Truck full of cows crashed”
That’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT…
…and definitely, “Hush Hush!”