Yesterday Apuzzo published a column at Townhall.com decrying the rise of "terrorism chic" in Hollywood. Apuzzo warned readers that "Hollywood has finally come around to contributing what it can in the War on Terror: namely, glossy, star-studded movies that sympathize with the enemy."
Apuzzo then went on to list 10 films in various stages of production which he asserts are part of Hollywood's attempt to, well, sympathize with the enemy.
Normally it's not worth talking back to places like Townhall.com--really, one might as well shout at the sea--but Apuzzo's cri du coeur seems to have taken in my good friend John Hinderaker. You see, Apuzzo, never one to let facts get in the way of a good Conservative argument, may be overstating matters a bit. Here are some of the films he warns readers about:
"V For Vendetta." From Warner Brothers and the creators of "The Matrix" comes this film about a futuristic Great Britain that's become a 'fascist state.' A masked 'freedom fighter' named V uses terror tactics (including bombing the London Underground) to undermine the government - leading to a climax in which the British Parliament is blown up. Natalie Portman stars as a skinhead who turns to 'the revolution' after doing time as a Guantanamo-style prisoner.
"Munich." Steven Spielberg directs this film about the aftermath of the 1972 Olympic terror attacks that killed eleven Israeli athletes. "Munich"'s screenplay is written by playwrite [sic -JVL] Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"), who has been quoted as saying: "I think the founding of the state of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity ... I wish modern Israel hadn't been born." The film focuses on the crisis of conscience undergone by Israeli commandos tasked with killing PLO terrorists - rather than on the barbarity of the terrorists themselves.
"Syriana." Starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, this Warner Brothers film - set during the first Bush administration - features a plot by American oil companies and the U.S. government to redraw Middle East borders for greater oil profiteering. The film even depicts a handsome, 'tragic' suicide bomber driven to jihad after being fired by an American oil company! The film's climax comes with the jihadist launching an explosive device into an oil tanker as American oil barons and Saudi officials look on.
Sounds pretty dreadful, doesn't it? And it would be, if Apuzzo's descriptions were on the level. But it isn't clear that they are.
V for Vendetta, for instance, is based on a 1980s comic book by Alan Moore. The project was set up at Warner Bros.--with Joel Silver producing--by 1994. The Wachowski brothers were, as Variety reported "hot" to adapt Moore's book, "but then set it aside as they were consumed by their massive Matrix trilogy." Whatever liberal paranoia V for Vendetta may hold, it long predates the GWOT.
As for Spielberg's Munich, Tony Kushner is only one of the three writers listed on the project, and based on the credits of the other two (Eric Roth and Charles Randolph), and the leanings of Spielberg that we've seen regarding Israel and the plight of Jewry, I'll be very surprised if this is an anti-Israel movie. Look, for instance, at the long list of Holocaust and WWII projects that he's produced in recent years. Or consider his ongoing work with the Shoah Foundation. Does this sound like the background of a man who's been planning to make a movie that sympathizes with terrorists who killed innocent Jews?
And then there's Syriana. The plot summary Apuzzo gives is radically different from what's listed on IMDB, which says:
Robert Baer (Clooney), a 21-year veteran of the CIA, spent his entire career investigating terrorists around the globe. As the dangers of terrorism increased, Baer watched as the CIA's funding was cut, politics overtook judgment, and warning signs were ignored. But the struggle becomes personal when an oil executive (Damon) and his wife (Peet) are faced with a family tragedy…
Again, I haven't seen a script, but given that the writer/director is Stephen Gaghan (most notable for Traffic), I'd be surprised if what makes it to the screen is closer to Apuzzo's summary than what's on IMDB. Don't forget, Gaghan adapted James Webb's Rules of Engagement, the closest thing we've seen to a Hollywood apologia for America and the military in recent years.
Who knows about the rest of Apuzzo's list--an Oliver Stone-helmed 9/11 movie sounds like trouble. But surely this is enough to raise questions about Apuzzo's overarching premise.
There is no doubt some truth to the worry about the sympathies of Hollywood filmmakers--I'm the guy who wrote the story two years ago about their unwillingness to do movies based on the war on terrorism. But Jason Apuzzo isn't a particularly reliable guide to the industry and his alarmism about a fleet of movies specifically designed to "sympathize" with our enemies seems, at best, overwrought.