Should Hollywood Kick Its 'Gun Habit'?

When it comes to movies, I’m one of those guys you don’t take to some melodramatic film with poignant messaging and Oscar-bait performances. Well, you don’t take me to one of those unless I’m suffering from insomnia. The only reason you’ll see me at a chick flick or RomCom is that I’m a married man who understands that the wife has preferences too.

No, if it’s up to me, it’s going to be an action movie of some sort. I want good guys taking out the bad guys, preferably with some explosions here and there.

While I get that not everyone shares my taste in films, a lot of people do. Action movies are the ones that tend to do really well at the box office, after all.

So imagine the stupidity it takes to tell Hollywood to “fix its gun problem.”

One of the fondest fantasies of Second Amendment obsessives is that a private citizen with a box of ammunition could fend off the US Army, should the need arise, and that fantasy is endorsed by “A Quiet Place”, in which gun-toting farmers fare better against the aliens than the entire American war machine. Defenders of the right to bear arms will also see flattering reflections of themselves in the film’s heroes, a photogenic white family that lives on a backwoods farm. And it’s notable that Krasinski has said in interviews that “A Quiet Place” isn’t really about ravenous extra-terrestrials; it’s about “the extremes you go to as parents to protect your kids”. Meanwhile, Roth has said that “Death Wish” is “really about family and protecting your family.” So that’s all right, then.

I’m not saying that Krasinski set out to pen a love letter to right-wing gun nuts. He acted in Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”, so he is obviously happy to be in films which push an anti-Democratic Party agenda, but in the case of “A Quiet Place” it’s far more likely that he was intent on making a knuckle-whitening, throat-tightening creature feature – and on that score he succeeded in style. He probably didn’t think too much about the film’s unambiguous pro-gun message, nor is it a message I’ve seen discussed in reviews – again, mine included. But that’s an indication of how prevalent the NRA’s beliefs are in Hollywood thrillers and horror movies. We are so used to seeing gun ownership being celebrated that we barely notice it any more.

None of this is new. Jean-Luc Godard and D.W. Griffith are often misquoted as saying “All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun”, but, as far as Hollywood is concerned, even girls are surplus to requirements. But two things have changed recently. The first is that social-media campaigns, such as #OscarsSoWhite, are forcing the industry to reconsider the political impact of its films. The second is that the teenage survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in February are keeping gun control in the public consciousness. In the circumstances, it might be time for Krasinski and other directors to ask themselves why they persist in being the NRA’s answer to Leni Riefenstahl. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that action heroes were never seen without a cigarette, but now even James Bond has kicked the habit. Maybe Hollywood could address its gun addiction next. When films like “A Quiet Place” tell us that a shotgun cartridge will answer our prayers and solve our problems, we shouldn’t be so quiet about it.

If you don’t see anyone making a legitimate case for Hollywood to stop including firearms in its movies in the above quotes or the original piece, there’s a reason for that. There isn’t one.

While the author blasts Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the NRA spokespeople out there for supposedly blaming Hollywood for mass shootings, he’s missing something important. What most gun owners blast isn’t the inclusion of guns in Hollywood films. It’s the hypocrisy of Hollywood elites making their fortunes with a gun in their hand, then suddenly acting like no one should own a gun. People who have a firearm in so many of their movies until they can afford private security don’t really have a leg to stand on to tell me guns are bad.

They just don’t.

However, Hollywood does play an important role in the gun debate.

You see, Hollywood has a lot of creative people. Some of them are pretty smart, yet they have yet to find a better way for an individual to protect themselves than the venerable firearm. John Krasinski isn’t an NRA member by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is his co-star and wife, Emily Blunt. They’re actors who wanted to help tell a compelling story.

But the fact that people seem to be up in arms that they use a shotgun to defend themselves from freaking monsters is ridiculous. It’s the work of mentally challenged protozoa, not supposedly intelligent commentators, though that’s about par for the course these days.

The truth is, Hollywood doesn’t need to give up its guns. It needs to give up lecturing people to give up theirs.