July 9, 2005

No!

After September 11th, I had a conversation with my sons about whether there could ever be a movie about it. I clearly remember John saying it could never be made into a movie. I noted "Titanic." Surely, after, say, 50 years, a movie could be made? No, John said. Never.

Now, I read that not only is a movie too be made now, only four years after that terrible day, but that the movie is to be made by Oliver Stone. God, I despise that man.

UPDATE: This movie is to be made by Paramount Pictures. Perhaps you will join me in refusing to buy tickets to any Paramount Pictures production as long as it is backing this film. Here is their current line-up:
In Theatres Now:
· War of the Worlds
· The Honeymooners
· The Longest Yard

Coming Soon:
· Hustle and Flow
· Bad News Bears
· Four Brothers
· Elizabethtown
· Aeon Flux
· Get Rich Or Die Tryin'


IN THE COMMENTS: A commenter prompted this response from me:
Your comment underscores for me why I think a movie using special effects would be an obscenity. We already have the images. What is the point of recreating them? To show it can be done? To be more vivid? To put us even closer? To have a roaring sound effect along with it? To show it in slow motion from many angles? To let us see the people inside expressing anguish, then getting crushed? To instruct us with a montage connecting this person suffering and this destruction with someone somewhere else suffering and some destruction somewhere else?

40 comments:

tommy said...

I'm sure somewhere there is a worse choice but I can't think of one.

Pancho said...

Oliver Stone is a malignant opportunist of the highest order. It makes me sick to think that once he was a soldier in my old unit, the 25th Division.

Ron said...

Ann: I could not find, in a Hitchens-like way, the witty, beautiful language to say how much I simply adore you, just because you have written the sentence "God, I despise that man." My loathing of Stone knows few, if any, bounds. Brava!

I'd rather see a Tarantino Romatic Comedy, An Arnovsky film on kittens and puppies, a Michael Bay film on anything NOT requiring large scale explosions, A Michael Moore "documentary" on Gitmo, (well..maybe not) A John Hughes film on Emma Goldman, A Lars von Trier film on The Continental Congress, Clint Eastwood's version of "Gigi," ANYTHING but Stone on 9/11!

Walt said...

Stone can't halp it; he's not quite right in the head. I blame the producers and bankers who facilitate his affliction.

Don't any of them know any better?

Sorry. Dumb question.

Walt said...

Stone can't halp it; he's not quite right in the head. I blame the producers and bankers who facilitate his affliction.

Don't any of them know any better?

Sorry. Dumb question.

Meade said...

What the world needs now is more John Cohens and fewer Oliver Stones.

Slac said...

Nicholas Cage? Why not go all the way and hire Jerry Bruckheimer?

Alcibiades said...

Clint Eastwood's version of Gigi

LOL.

Quite possibly as surreal as Stone doing 9/11.

Mr. I said...

If this movie is made (which I hope it isn't), then all the profits must go to a charitble cause. Aside from the fact that I think it is way too soon to be making a movie about 9/11, making a profit off of it is even worse.

peter hoh said...

So who all has made money off of 9/11? Rudy Giuliani gets a fatter speaker's fee because of it, but does that count?

Wade_Garrett said...

A lot of people have made money off 9/11. Think of how many tacky commemorative books have been sold, how many American flags, and how many armaments for the war in Iraq.

Alcibiades said...

I'm already refusing to go see War of the Worlds to protest Spielberg's next film on the Munich massacre. Which is his way of going all gooey and leftis on 9/11 by dragging Israel into it.

Maybe the thing to do is organize a protest campaign to the studio before the film is begun. These protests are occasionally successful. And with all the movie execs worried about sinking attendence ratings, they might just listen up.

Mark Daniels said...

Stone's pictures are in fact, despicable and willful distortions of history. So it's hard to imagine how this can turn out well.

By the way, a British made-for-TV flick about the 9/11 conspiracy was already made and shown last year. By most accounts, it was pretty good.

Palmer said...

Mark - Is there any Hollywood movie based on true events that isn't a willful distortion of history?

Matt said...

Actually, Stone has (at least in recent years) aggressively worked outside the studio system with foreign entities providing funding ("Alexander" was 90+% funded by outside people), so I wouldn't necessarily blame Paramount. And Stone's "Any Given Sunday" is a pretty solid film, even though I find much of his oeuvre unpalatable and unwatchable.

Brendan said...

Professor, are you objecting to his direction, or the notion of a 9-11 film in general? It seems to me that is "is" possible to do a purely rescue movie without delving into politics--although some will incorrectly conflate patriotism with right-wingingism. We'll see.

chuck_b said...

I can't muster strong feelings one way or another about Stone (I've only seen one or two of his movies--I want to see Alexander; heard it's a hoot), but reading this made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

"It's a work of collective passion, a serious meditation on what happened, and carries within a compassion that heals," Stone said in a statement issued by producers.

Slac said...

Here is their current line-up:

Ha! That won't be tough.

Dave said...

Stone is overrated, and perhaps he is being opportunistic, but I think you're overreaching here.

Ann Althouse said...

Brendan: I don't think there should be a 9/11 movie at all. I object to exploiting even the human interest side of it. I especially object to recreating the plane crashes and building collapses and so forth using special effects. That would be obscene. And the worst would be to mount some sort of political/conspiracy theory sort of movie, which is exactly what Stone is famous for doing. Plus, Stone is a narcissistic, preening egoist, and I don't want to see ANY of that getting on the memory of 9/11.

chuck b. said...

If on the other hand you crave post-9/11 themes in your entertainment viewing, you could do worse than watch the Sci Fi Channel's new Battlestar Galactica series. (Link from Virginia Postrel)

Matt said...

While I generally agree that a movie "about 9/11" is a bad idea for many reasons, that doesn't mean that a movie shouldn't address 9/11. One of the many things that makes Spike Lee's "25th Hour" so good is that it's a resolutely post-9/11 film set in downtown Manhattan. Pretending that it just didn't happen isn't workable.

Elizabeth said...

Oliver Stone is one of those figures that people across the political spectrum can join in despising. What a hack. People who know just what a raving lunatic New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was, and what a respected, good man Clay Shaw was, were enraged by "JFK," in which Oliver Stone luridly repackaged Garrison's lunatic and homophobic conspiracy theories on Kennedy's assassination.

Ron said...

Ann: I object to the idea that there cannot be an artistic, intelligent film about 9/11. Is Stone the man for this job? Of course not, he's a hack who WILL exploit this tragedy for the sleazyist of reasons, but I think it's wrong to say there can't be art about this great tragedy; there's art about every great human, tragic loss. They made movies about WWII during WWII, (although not very good ones) and there have been very moving films about the Holocaust. If there can be a Night and Fog or a Schindler's List (to pick a movie that made it to mainstream theaters) than there can be a 9/11 movie, and I'd sooner see Carrot Top do it than Oliver f---ing Stone.

miklos rosza said...

I don't see anything wrong at all with propaganda movies being made during wartime. because if we wait and wait... well, theres no telling when this one might be over, and meanwhile the young and stupid only see michael moore.

Jim Gust said...

Yay, Anne. I agree with you 100%, and I promise to boycott Paramount.

nina said...

Forget about Stone. Are you saying that there is something particularly unique about the 9/11 tragedy that makes it un-filmable? What is it? What elevates it beyond every other human tragedy that has been depicted (sometiems more sometimes less successfuly) on the screen?
As a post-war kid, raised in Poland, in the shadows of the Holocaust and WWII, I was always hungry for more rather than less in terms of what was written or filmed about it. I'm not sure why that doesn't apply here. Of course, you can pick and choose, based on reviews and previes, what is worth watching, but to boycott a company for the sheer act of producing a film that we haven't heard anything about yet? I don't get it.

Drethelin said...

I'm agreeing with Nina here. I personally don't think 9/11 (due to the short timescale and concentrated effects), will make a film of any quality. I'm picturing a montage of firefighters and people phoning missing relatives with tear-filled hope/despair here.

This dow not mean there isn't any reason to make a film about it.

Pogo said...

Boycotting Stone will be easy (I'd rather watch Gigli 10 times on Imax than see any of his movies). So will avoiding everything else on the Paramount list.

Given Tom Cruise's antics and the merely-okayness of War of the Worlds, I'll be surprised if they break even. The rest of the list is an example of how out-of-touch the moviemakers are with the public.

Doesn't the movie industry want to make any money? You can guess even before the script is written that this will be a dog like Alexander. I can understand someone in the entertainment industry not having any shame, but don't they have to pay their bills? Don't their stockholders get tired of their shell games?

Adam said...

Hell, Ernst Lubitsch, with Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, did a comedy about getting Jews out of Poland in 1939 that was filmed in 1942! And it's brilliant.

No, I'm not an Oliver Stone fan, but I'd prefer a Hollywood that invested in flawed serious movies than in more sitcom adaptations.

Dirty Harry said...

The sad fact is that this will be a film made for international box office.

And we all know what that means...

F15C said...
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F15C said...
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F15C said...

It will be difficult if not impossible for any movie made by anyone, even with the best and most reverential of intentions, to top the visual and psychological impact of 9/11 itself. The thousands of images played over and over on TV, the web, and in our minds still reside in our collective psyches and will not be easily overshadowed by Hollywood special effects.

Of all the thousands of images of 9/11 I've seen, there is one image of the second tower collapsing, taken by a friend from a nearby rooftop, that sums up all the others and epitomizes 9/11 to me. The tower is frozen in time, collapsing forever. The sky behind the dying tower is a stark beautiful blue that contrasts horribly with the unseen, but undeniable, red of the blood of the dead and dying. My mind insists there should be another tower with thousands of people working, laughing, and thinking about their lives - doing the things I am still able to do. But there is no second tower.

Worst of all, there are no people in the picture at all. Looking at it provides no solace against the horror of what my heart and mind know all too well is happening in that instant to the people in the building - and to the rest of us. The picture forces me to stand amidst all the people that were alive and dead in that building at the instant the picture was taken. With no THX sound or CGI effects I experience the horror of 9/11 in as visceral a way as is possible for me having not been there. The massive scale of sheer quiet terror depicted in that picture will haunt me forever.

No movie will ever come close to depicting 9/11 more effectively to me, so why would I pay for such a thing?

Ann Althouse said...

F15C: Your comment underscores for me why I think a movie using special effects would be an obscenity. We already have the images. What is the point of recreating them? To show it can be done? To be more vivid? To put us even closer? To have a roaring sound effect along with it? To show it in slow motion from many angles? To let us see the people inside expressing anguish, then getting crushed? To instruct us with a montage connecting this person suffering and this destruction with someone somewhere else suffering and some destruction somewhere else?

Ron said...

Ann: Well, if a filmmaker could somehow convey the horror/drama of the event without the CGI, then, hey, go ahead! But I don't think that's very likely, right? When you go see "Titanic" somehow, someway, you're going to see a big ship sink, right? How is this any different?

I still don't see how you can seperate this tragedy from all the other filmed tragedies that we have. Is it still too close in time for you, is that it?

XWL said...

I whole heartedly hope this movie gets produced, filmed, and shown by Sept/Oct of 2006.

Just as Farhenheit 9/11 most likely aided President Bush's election by strengthening his base and giving voice to the very most cracked of crackpots within his opposition (and helped lenghten his senatorial coattails), this Stone project will most likely garner praise from the left for its 'fair portrayal of the complexity of the issues' (or some such nonsense, any ideas on the proper punctuation for a quote that doesn't yet exist?).

Such talk can only help lead to a fillibuster proof Senate, and if Paramount wants to spend their $150,000,000 to lead to this goal, then more power to them.

And as far as the imagery it seems that nearly every summer requires some form of hollywood destruction porn, and this habit of fetishizing destruction will be what is most offensive about this project (even more so than the likely anti-Bush/War on Terror slant).

One last thing, any director's that would be acceptable and what story should they tell connected to the events of that day?

Greg D said...

What I'd like to know is when someone is going to make a movie about Flight 93. You don't need CGI and special effects for that one. It's a perfect story for a movie. You can do it practically in real time without going long.

It would make a glorious story. Perhaps Clint Eastwood could do it.

But I can't think of any other Hollywood producer who would be willing to make a movie about white male Americans coming together to fight and defeat Moslem Arab terrorists.

And that, IMHO, tells you everything you need to knwo about Hollywood today.

Judith said...

No problem - I wasn't planning on seeing any of those films anyway,

Mark said...
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