October 17, 2006

Oliver Stone's new approach to making political movies.

Take a story that is fully surrounded by hot politics, but tell the story politics-free. Given his past work, the lack of politics is perceived as some kind of amazing accomplishment. And everyone, even those who used to hate him, can now enjoy him. But make no mistake: He's the ultimate political filmmaker. He's the one who devised a brilliant political strategy for his own success.

10 comments:

George said...

There is no such thing as a "politics-free" work of art.

What that statement really means is that the artist is contending that his vision is so Olympian, so perfect that it acts like a corrective lens bringing into focus mere mortals' blurry sight. Mortals, of course, means conservatives.

Stone filming an Afghan War flick would have been like having Tokyo Rose narrate "The Sands of Iwo Jima."

"9/11"'s most interesting scene was its last, a picnic. In it, the movie's two heroes walk (and limp) into the welcoming multi-cultural arms of their families and co-workers.

All the scene needed was a narrator wistfully intoning, "And they lived happily integrated ever after. Good night boys and girls. Sweet dreams."

Goesh said...

Blood n' guts at Tora Bora - oh boy! Maybe he'll show the Northern Alliance lads shooting wounded taliban in the head. It was after all a war, until NATO and the UN started nosing around and Aid workers started wringing their hands over these primitive people locking those captured from the other side in containers and forgetting them. Then these same bleeding hearts started crying about the interrogation of those captured via drilling their teeth, so the primitive Afghans said "fuck you", we will still grow our opium and market it to the best buyer and play ball with the West only when it suits our needs. It'll be quite the movie no doubt. Drugs, cash n' guns, baby, it's the only real 'grease' in that part of the world.

Pogo said...

Sounds like Oliver Stone took the mantra laid on him during the filming of 9/11 to heart.
[Last chance, doofus. Get it right, or no more movies. Just tell the effin' story. "]

His pieces are otherwise not unlike Ayn Rand's novels. Dull polemics have no legs.

The Drill SGT said...

Yo Goesh, reminds me of Kipling. I will paraphrase some classic Kipling lines about the Afghan culture from a previous Super Power's experience there.

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier. "

Goesh said...

You've seen the elephant too it appears, drillSgt. The big idea was to mostly divert it into the Asian market, China in particular given its economic expansion, and Malaysia. That was the asking price of the Pakis for use of their air space and hedging the frontier region, now it's been all mucked up but that's what you get when politics enters the killing fields. Having a short-timers stick used to mean something but not anymore....I may have to see the movie for laughs.

Reel Fanatic said...

I thought checking his politics at the door was just perfect for "World Trade Center," but I'm still hoping that, despite what he has said so far, he takes the gloves back off to take on the Afghanistan flick

OddD said...

George--

There is no such thing as a "politics-free" work of art.

What that statement really means is that the artist is contending that his vision is so Olympian, so perfect that it acts like a corrective lens bringing into focus mere mortals' blurry sight. Mortals, of course, means conservatives.


I'm presuming, by the last sentence, you're referring to modern times and modern works of art, but I disagree that "there is no such thing as a "politics-free" art."

Art begins with observation of what's actually there. This is a very humble thing.

Politics is external spin and "context" and always (always!) detracts from art (though it may boost its short term relevancy). I suppose that's where the Olympian aspect comes in, but it's definitely imposed on art. (Look at Aaron Sorkin's latest stuff.)

And when time passes and the politics fade, all that is left is art. Sometimes, nothing is left. We don't really care about the Greek/Trojan politics in "The Odyssey", but it still stands the test of time.

As a result, art generally has to make its point through the small, the local, the directly observable.

Revenant said...

I can't think of an Oliver Stone movie I've liked. Even back when I basically agreed with the politics of "Platoon" and "Salvador" I thought they were heavy-handed and preachy films populated by caricatures rather than characters. Since "JFK", though, he's really gone downhill into unwatchability -- even relatively politics-free films like "U-Turn" and "Alexander" are pretty awful stuff.

He was a pretty good screenwriter back in the day, though. His script for "Conan the Barbarian" did a good job of capturing the tone of Howard's short stories.

Eli Blake said...

Hey, let's be honest here. Oliver Stone is a very rich man. And he got that way producing a product that sold. Maybe some of you don't like his movies, but obviously a lot of other people did, enough to cough up some serious change.

Revenant said...

Oliver Stone is a very rich man. And he got that way producing a product that sold.

Oh, I'm sure he's reasonably well-to-do. He's had three hits (Platoon, Wall Street, and Born on the Fourth of July) mixed in with a bunch of flops and marginal successes. I fully acknowledge his ability to make a living in Hollywood, just as I acknowledge Britney Spears' ability to make a living in the music industry. I'm just unimpressed with the quality of the work they produce to make that living.

Maybe some of you don't like his movies, but obviously a lot of other people did, enough to cough up some serious change

He's had exactly one movie that did more than $100 million at the US box office, and that was Platoon (with $138 mil).

He's no Spielberg. He isn't even a Keenan Ivory Wayans, actually. His success comes mainly from making America-bashing movies that do good overseas box office.