Just behind the richly-deserved smackdown laid upon "The Passion" by The Academy (and pretty much every single major film award of relevance), the second-biggest political story of this year's award's season is turning out to be a rapidly-mobilized, thinly-veiled and outright-disgusting campaign being leveled by the storm troopers of the Religious Right against Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby."
(I'm going to tread super-lightly to avoid spoilers of the film, but if you haven't seen it yet my advice is that you not click ANY of these links and, in fact, your probably best to skip this whole post until later.)
The first shot was fired by the reliably vile Michael Medved. The fallen-angel Lucifer of Film Geeks, Medved helped invent the venerable pastime of modern geekdom, appreciation of bad movies, with his early book "The 50 Worst Films of All Time." Soon after that, though, Medved fell and fell hard. He became a full-on traitor to film, art and film fandom by aligning himself with so-called Religious Conservatives (who are neither religious NOR truly conservative, btw) and became a vocal supporter of film-censorship. Medved, since the films' premier, has indulged in the practice of giving away the 3rd-act twist to "Baby," under the rationale that he considers the film "disguised propaganda." This is coded language for: "Medved and his masters disagree with what they see as the 'message' that comes with the surprise, and want to prevent it from being seen by ruining it for people."
Medved, thus far, has not only spoiled "Baby" on his own radio program, but also on the Laura Ingrahm Show and a host of other programs where he has appeared (he's in higher-profile than usual, promoting his new book "Right Turns," which comes complete with endorsing quotes from the likes of Anne Coulter, James Dobson and, of course, Mel Gibson.) You can read his, and others', weak defenses of themselves HERE in USA TODAY:
Medved takes the opportunity to AGAIN spoil the movie here in his obligatory Oscar column, amid the expected rant that The Academy's failure to nominate Mel Gibson's plotless scriptural sadism, "The Passion of The Christ," for Best Picture:
This is a preview of coming attractions, folks, as to what the "mode of attack" will be from the Fundamentalist movement. "The Passion" was their (370)million dollar "baby," a film which they turned into a manufactured megahit by using Churches and preacher's as unpaid advertisers and literally bussed people to see. Mel and his movie were supposed to lead an insurgency of "moral values" into "secular" Hollywood, and now those hopes have been dashed by the surprise growing of a spine by The Academy.
So the attack will be to trump up, through articles and press releases, the notion that ALL of the other nominees are somehow coded anti-moral propaganda films that "Passion" was passed over for. "Passion For Fairness," a front group founded to inundate The Academy with "demands" (their words, not mine) has been ticked off for the past two days that their efforts have failed:
They've passed on the idea of a boycott, how nice of them, but they ominously promise a "major announcement" in the coming days. Ooh, I'm a'shakin.
By the way, PFF's slogan is "impose your values on Hollywood!" Nice buncha folks, eh?
More on this to come, I'm sure.