Over at Libertas the reviewer Ridiculous Pseudonym graciously replies to my heads up -- and by the way, all joking aside, that is the best web handle I have seen in years.
First off, my congratulations to John on his success with the film, and for his part in making the first movie in a long time that openly treats our country, military, government, and ideals in a positive, fair, and respectful way. And I must say, it’s good to hear from him that those values are shared by his fellow “progressives.” Hopefully, that means we’ll see more of it on screen than we have in the past.
Now, there's a (nigh-overwhelming) temptation to get all thoughtful here, and use this as a jumping-off point to talk about the things we looked as back in a "Liberal Hollywood" post last year sometime. My point is that in America there is this enormous cultural Hiroshima Mon Amour -- I prefer that to the Rashomon metaphor, thank you -- in that what we are locked in this ridiculous manufactured culture war and so rewrite our memories to reinforce this mind-lock.
But then I saw the movie again tonight. With a regular theater audience.
Premieres are stressful things, and I spent a great deal of the first time I saw the final cut still mentally processing. "Wow, that's what that scene looks like", "Oh, they cut that bit from the shooting script", and "Jesus, Shia LeBeouf is going to be a frikkin' mega-star." etc.
And I will admit, when I first heard about the little Conservitas thing, I was ticked. On this blog, you guys get an honest look at what it's like being a writer, and sometimes that means seeing me not at my best. Longtime readers know I will sometimes snap at you, often disagree with you, occasionally go out of my way to humiliate you if you try to bring trash into my wee blog house. But I will never lie to you.
So the truth is, I work hard, pay my bills, try to give a little back, and whenever I see people just assume there's no way I can be patriotic, or all "good" things automatically qualify as "conservative", I knee-jerk.
But tonight in that theater, I remembered. Seeing people scream and clap, I remembered that I got into this business because I wanted to write goddam huge images that you never imagined seeing in the real world. If some percentage of the country has to watch a giant frikkin' robot movie with a checklist, well, if that makes them happy, as long as they like the movie, God Bless.
I moved from television into film to write just this sort of big-adventure stuff. And tonight, instead of carrying all the creative disappointments, the vicious studio infighting, the monstrous unravelling of wonderful projects, all the crap of the last twenty years of career with me into the theater...
... I let it go. I realized that yeah, I was in the dark with a hundred strangers, seeing the dream, the heart of the stories I love to watch and try to tell -- heroic soldiers fight against impossible odds while the fate of the world rests on a boy and his car.
Stephen Spielberg and Michael Bay made that happen, up there, on the thirty-foot screen. Tonight I was reminded how grateful I should be for the small, very small, part I play in the Dream Factory. I am the luckiest twelve year old boy in the world.
Oh, and that JJ Abrams project? The one with the kick-ass teaser trailer? I nearly leapt out of my seat when I saw that Drew Goddard wrote it. I've mentioned him before. He's unspeakably talented.
That. Is going to be. Amaaaaazzzzing.