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August 25, 2008

No Hoorays for Hollywood

I was disturbed to turn on the television this weekend and see trailers for two bid-budget—and extremely violent—films being released by Hollywood this month.

The first was for "Righteous Kill," which stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. The trailer certainly lives up to the film’s name, glamorizing the use of handguns and assault weapons and implying that some forms of homicide are both moral and acceptable:

Unknown: "Somebody shot another bad guy."
DeNiro: "We got to find out who did this."
Pacino: "Give him a medal."

In another segment, DeNiro quips, "Nothing wrong with a little shooting, as long as the right people get shot."

The "Bangkok Dangerous" trailer with Nicolas Cage is every bit as audacious in glamorizing murder. In it, hitman Cage boasts that “there is no right and wrong” and is shown shooting multiple people.

These films follow closely on the heels of others that have glamorized vigilantism and murder, including "The Brave One" with Jodie Foster, "Shoot 'Em Up" with Clive Owen, and "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie.

What is most baffling is that many of the same actors who are appearing in these movies have made strong statements about the need for tougher gun laws in the past. Cage was the lead in the thought-provoking film "Lord of War," which catalogued the tragedy wrought by the illicit international trade in small arms. DeNiro has been vilified by the gun rights community for his support for sensible gun laws. Foster stated that she was “absolutely” for gun control after “The Brave One” was released. It’s hard to see what is driving this apparent contradiction outside of a large paycheck.

One thing is for sure…when it comes to idolizing guns and glamorizing “justifiable” homicide, Hollywood can certainly give the gun lobby a run for its own money.


  1. Well it is about time that voices in the gun control movement began deploring the outrageous gun violence in Hollywood movies. The violence Hollywood throws at us is a cultural catastrophe, and we should start telling the producers, directors, script writers, and actors that we condemn them all for their degrading, disgusting use of violence. Keep making the message and sending it to Hollywood.

  2. I can assure you, there was no intent to condemn all producers, directors, script writers, and actors with this blog. The fact is there are many thought-provoking films being produced in Hollywood that bring a positive message; and the individuals behind them deserve our praise and respect.

    That said, we will continue to call attention to the films that market gratuitous violence with a profit motive. - CSGV

  3. Shouldn't we just teach our kids that movies AREN'T REAL? Maybe a more empowering curriculum in our nation's schools would be a good idea.

  4. DJK, we don't know of a single young person who believes that movies are real. We do, however, know many that look up to the celebrities who appear on the silver screen and seek to emulate them. It would probably be very difficult to get youth to stop paying attention entirely to individuals who are well known in popular culture.

    That said, we certainly should, and can, promote positive role models for young people outside the movies and sports. In every single community across America, there are individuals who are taking action to better the lives of others - their story needs to be told and "glamorized." - CSGV

  5. ***In every single community across America, there are individuals who are taking action to better the lives of others - their story needs to be told and "glamorized."***

    Couldn't have said it better myself

  6. Cinematic violence is a biproduct of a culture already obsessed with violence. It is an unimformed association to link fictional violence with real acts of violence. Gun violence nearly always comes with some aggravating circumstances. Hollywood promotion of violence is obnoxious, but it follows the lack of creative minds who work in the entertainment industry.