Is a Hollywood liberal conspiracy keeping 'Red Dawn' away from theaters?
If we could wave a magic wand and do just one thing that would bring true happiness to the right-wing blogosphere, what would it be? Make sure Nancy Pelosi got tossed out as speaker of the House after the Democrats lose big in the November elections? Guarantee that the next Sean Penn movie would be a big bomb? Ensure that President Obama would be brutally skewered by Jon Stewart every night, just as he was Tuesday night?
Right now, if we could measure things on our trusty conservative ecstasy meter (which has just emerged from the repair shop after bursting into flames after Elton John performed at Rush Limbaugh's wedding), I'd say that the winner would be the news that Hollywood is about to release a remake of "Red Dawn," the 1984 John Milius Cold War fantasy-thriller about a courageous scrum of young patriots who fend off a Soviet invasion of America. The original film has long been a cult favorite among conservatives, who rarely find any movies to call their own coming off the liberal Hollywood assembly line.
So all across the conservative blogosphere, the word is out that -- miraculously -- Hollywood has made a $75-million movie about kicking Commie ass, with the Commies this time being of the Chinese variety. No one is more enthused than Jason Apuzzo, who just posted a big piece about the film's bona fides on the Libertas Film Magazine, a newly revived version of the blog that set the standard for smart conservative film writing and in its first weeks of new life has already easily surpassed Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood, if for no other reason than that Apuzzo and his film-loving cohorts (including the always provocative Govindini Murty, who recently weighed in with a stirring defense of "Sex & the City 2") don't spend all their waking hours simply bashing all the usual lefty Hollywood suspects.
Apuzzo is full of lusty anticipation over the arrival this November of "Red Dawn," offering the following: "A brazenly patriotic smack-down of Obama-era socialism. Centering around an Afghanistan war vet. Starring Tom Cruise's son. Featuring music by Toby Keith. With a plot devised by the Rand Corporation." For conservatives, it all sounds too good to be true, or as Apuzzo put it: "This is all some sort of gag, right? Hollywood doesn't do this sort of thing. This isn't the 1980's anymore. Wake up! This is the era of 'Avatar.' of 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' of Sean Penn hanging with the mullahs of Iran. The communist Chinese aren't our enemy. ... Our real enemies are American corporations, environmental polluters and all those blonde chicks on Fox News."
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I have grim news: "Red Dawn" isn't coming Nov. 24, as the conservative blogs have all promised. In fact, no one knows when the movie will ever be released. Although it sounds like yet another liberal Hollywood conspiracy, the movie (which was filmed in Detroit last year) is suffering from a far bigger problem: It was made by MGM, and MGM has run out of money. The troubled studio managed to make several movies recently, one that was already released ("Hot Tub Time Machine"), one that is being released next year by Sony ("The Zookeeper") and one, "Red Dawn," that is in the can but may stay there for quite a while, at least until someone buys MGM or provides the kind of big investment needed to market and distribute new films.
According to an MGM insider, the bloggers have a few other things wrong beside that release date. The film didn't cost $75 million. It was made for $42 million, thanks to a load of tax breaks from being filmed in Michigan. It doesn't have any music by Toby Keith, because no one has recorded any music for its soundtrack yet. (Keith's name was simply used as a reference in the script.) And Tom Cruise's son, Connor, isn't the star, simply one of an ensemble of young actors paying the roles handled by Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell in the original.
But yes, the Commies do get their butts kicked in the new film. So I guess conservatives do have something to look forward to. But if they want to do something constructive to ensure that "Red Dawn" makes it to theaters, I'd advise calling Rupert Murdoch and ask him if he'd spend some of the money he normally puts into the salaries for all those blond chicks on Fox News and give "Red Dawn" a nice slot on the Fox release schedule. After all the money he's made off of "Avatar" and its lefty propaganda about global warming, it's the least Mr. Murdoch could do to level the playing field.