Wednesday, July 07, 2010

SHOOT-OUT AT THE FANTASY FACTORY. You may have been wondering what that crazy bastard Bill Whittle's been up to lately. Around the time we first heard of him, Whittle was trying to build a city in the sky. That didn't pan out, and he retreated to making lunatic videos for PJM.

But now -- with trumpets from The Ole Perfesser! -- comes Whittle's big play: Declaration Entertainment.

In a promo reel, Whittle explains that the hippies ruined Hollywood. "Everything I learned about the Vietnam War, I learned from Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone," says Whittle. "From them I learned Vietnam was an unwinnable quagmire fought by drug-addled psychopaths, serially murdering innocent villagers just for fun."

That may not be what you got out of Apocalypse Now and Platoon, but you don't have the advanced mind Whittle has. Look, he's already moved on to another Hollywood target: "You know who the reliable standby enemy is in Hollywood films today?" he asks. "You are. "

At last! I thought when I heard this. The doctors told me the voices weren't real, but I knew they were after me and I was right!

Alas, Whittle's fantasy turns out to be more reliably Republican: "If you're pro-business, pro-military, pro-Christian, and for limited government and individual rights and responsibilities, then you and everything you believe are the enemy of Hollywood films today."

He turns the show over to a montagist who explains that Hollywood became godless, not because of hippies so much (Whittle must have been out for a smoke break when they made this), but because U.S. films are now using "capital from all over the world." Much like the rest of American business, we'd say, but it's worse in films because it means that, "instead of making American movies and then selling them to the world," these rootless cosmopolitans "make the world's movies and sells them to Americans."

And "it should be no surprise that the values that make it to the screen are very different than the ones Americans are used to seeing." This is punctuated by a little cartoon movie-going child blushing, and cartoon Mom and Dad covering his eyes, to underline the point: Not only Coppola and Stone, but also makers of sexed-up movies from Porky's to The Hangover are part of the anti-American flicker-bombing campaign!

And that's where Declaration comes in: They promise films without "anti-heroes standing up against tradition" or "greedy businessmen or CIA bad guys." (They don't promise not to show tits, though. Maybe they plan to take that up after the launch.)

How do you get these retro films? Just become a member! You'll go "behind the scenes" to see "your movies" being made. You can even "win chances to appear in the movies themselves" and tell moviemakers what you want them to film...

If this begins to sound more speculative than actual to you, your momma didn't raise no fool: Declaration says it will fund its movies with membership fees. As soon as enough of these come in, they'll get straight to work on The Joe McCarthy Nobody Knew. "Declaration Entertainment is not another production company," says Whittle, "it's a movement, it's a revolution..."

And unlike in other revolutions, you don't have to man the barricades -- you don't even have to attend a Tea Party. You just send in your money and Declaration's propagandists will do the heavy lifting for you. You can get in on the revolution for as little as $9.99 -- but there are also "executive membership packages" for $10,000, $50,000, and $100,000 which include perks like autographed scripts and on-screen credits. (Throw in a few more bucks and maybe they'll cast your niece!)

Based on this, Declaration promises to do for filmmaking what Pajamas Media has done for blogging -- that is, burn through its seed money and piss everybody off.

I see a way forward, though: DE should offer films with a high-weirdness factor which can be enjoyed by both serious patriots and giggling, stoned unbelievers -- like Michael Moriarty's Hitler Meets Christ. Plus there are old movies they can get cheap, like the recently revived If Footmen Tire, What Will Horses Do? , or even remake -- how does a new version with Bo Derek grab you?

These are economical work-arounds that can, with a little creativity in the bookkeeping department, keep Declaration afloat until the Republicans get back in and resume dishing out patronage.

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