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What Should, and Should Not Happen With Capitol Riot Movies | Opinions | LIVING LIFE FEARLES
CHARLES DE JESUS

What Should, and Should Not Happen With Capitol Riot Movies

A writer for the San Francisco Chronicle named Tony Bravo earned the (mostly deserved) enmity of Film Twitter on January 16, when he published a story titled “A message to Hollywood: Don’t make the insurrection your next blockbuster.” 

Bravo’s piece was based on the generally defensible notion that Hollywood shouldn’t immediately jump to exploit the tragedy of the January 6 insurrection to make a blockbuster movie. 

“One way I’m working through the feelings is with a letter-writing campaign asking filmmakers and showrunners not to look at the attempted takeover of the U.S. Capitol and see their next project,” Bravo wrote. “This is not the time to start making script outlines or planning your pitch to studios. I am begging you, Hollywood, please give us some time to process.”

So far, so good. But what really got Film Twitter angry at the piece was the “letters” to individual directors asking them not to make such a movie. Including one in particular, which was also the one that the paper used in a tweet to promote the story: 

The idea that Gerwig would ever even consider making a movie that asinine is kind of mind-boggling, and especially insulting to the actress/director. This is especially since the two films Gerwig has directed so far — Lady Bird and Little Women — were neither topical, nor high-concept, nor completely silly. Gerwig almost certainly doesn’t have that temptation, although speaking of those two actors, it was kind of smart of her to make Chalamet’s character a proto-Bernie Bro in the second act of Lady Bird

Part of what was so dumb about the piece was that most of the directors mentioned — Wes Anderson, Ron Howard, Ryan Coogler, Ryan Murphy, Ava Duvernay, Sofia Coppola, Aaron Sorkin — would never touch that sort of project. Another, James Cameron, will almost certainly never make another feature film that’s not an Avatar sequel. As for Oliver Stone, I’d have loved the Stone of 1990 to make such a movie, but certainly not the Stone of today. 

The thing is, some of the directors mentioned — Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Clint Eastwood, or even Coogler or Duvernay — would probably make very good movies about the Capitol insurrection. If any of them, tomorrow, announced plans to make such a movie, I’d be excited to see it.

The idea that Gerwig would ever even consider making a movie that asinine is kind of mind-boggling

Bravo later said that the piece was meant as satire, leading to speculation that the piece had originated as a Slack exercise that some editor erroneously believed could sustain an entire piece. 

That said, it’s practically inevitable that such a movie will be made, one day. I’d guess that either Michael Bay, Peter Berg, or Peter Greengrass will produce or direct a Capitol insurrection movie in the next five years, and when they do, it will be shot in a shaky-cam style that makes the action practically impossible to follow. And it’s a better than 50/50 shot that movie would star Mark Wahlberg.

And there will be documentaries, too, probably many of them. I’m sure Alex Gibney will make one — hell, he’s probably halfway done with it already. Michael Moore, too, and Alexandra Pelosi.

But the truth is, versions of documentaries about the riot have already been made and released by different news outlets, who were either in the Capitol covering the events live, or assembling a narrative from footage . Like The New Yorker

The Washington Post did as well: 

Or Elle Reeve’s stunning work for CNN:

Perhaps most impressively, ProPublica published an interactive timeline,  assembled from videos taken from Parler, the since-kiboshed social network, and made possible by the rampaging idiots’ tendency to film and stream themselves committing federal crimes. 

So what type of movie should ultimately be made about the riot? I’d love to see a real-time depiction of everything that happened. Or maybe a dark, dark comedy, in the tradition of Four Lions, that leans into the part about the insurrectionists being rampant dumbasses. 

Maybe a dark, dark comedy, in the tradition of Four Lions

Whatever does happen, it should be done respectfully, in a way that’s not exploitative. And yes, it should probably wait another year or two.

What I don’t want to see? Any movie that makes Mike Pence the hero of the episode, which I highly suspect will eventually happen. Or one that makes any attempt to “both sides” the riot. Or, you know, “Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan playing congressional interns from different sides of the aisle swept up in the chaos.”

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

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