2016 was a difficult year for many Americans. We lost music and entertainment legends David Bowie, Prince and so many others. A big chunk of the country moved to Facebook and Twitter for “news” and began perpetuating a constant stream of phony news reports. We all suffered through the heartache after shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Dallas and elsewhere. And last but not least, a minority of scared, closed-minded Americans managed to come together and elect narcissist Donald Trump as our next president.
You have to remember that Hollywood started writing the movie scripts that came out in 2016 years before the sexist, smarmy host of “Celebrity Apprentice” was somehow transformed into a presidential candidate. That’s why it’s not too surprising that many of the biggest films of 2016 focused on well-known American cultural myths.
Perhaps all the parents out there who pooh-pooh all the talk of “identity politics” today should consider that taking their kids to see movies like “Zootopia” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” exposed them to cultural myths about the evils of social persecution. Even Disney’s “Moana” dropped not-so-subtle hints about globalism in its Polynesian coming of age adventure.
Given when most of these movie scripts were written, they are reflective of the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and coming to term with the fact that practically nothing was won in these wars, and at a very high price.
For example, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” the story of Iraq War soldiers being paraded about at a Thanksgiving Day football game, tries to break through these cultural myths. The Ang Lee-directed adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel was not a popular or critical success, but the movie made it painfully clear that gratuitous public displays of patriotism are a sham. As the movie progressed, it became increasingly obvious the “Billy Lynn” soldiers were in reality nothing more than a financial bonanza for the NFL and a producer looking to make their story into a movie. The larger question, of course, is what are the consequences when nationalism is coopted for financial profit…can nationalism really be packaged and sold, and what will happen when the general public realizes they have literally been sold a bill of goods?
Source: The Huffington Post