Hollywood’s Pseudo-Intellectualism

The movie business just loves tackling “the big issues,” especially near Oscar time. Nothing gets a green light faster than a mildly controversial storyline captained by a big-name star going out on a limb to shed light on the horrible scourge of, say, sexual harassment. Or war profiteering. Or physical violence. “Because these movies are Hollywood products, though, they need to navigate between inoffensively pleasing a mainstream audience and actually saying something. What results is a genre of timid films with portentous-sounding themes, works that offer prepackaged schoolroom lessons or canned debates. Hollywood may be drawn to Big Ideas, but it is always more comfortable with sound-bite-size thoughts.”