When I wrote this last summer about the news of Harvey Weinstein asking for a filmmaker summit on violence in movies in wake of the Aurora, Colorado shootings, I secretly held doubts anything would truly happen. To date, I'm not sure if the meeting of so-called minds actually happened, despite Weinstein's adamancy. But if a powerful producer and distributor of top-flight movies can't get anybody in Hollywood to discuss the impact of violent movies, can a Jamie Foxx possibly do any better?
Now that Foxx has broached the discussion again with his compelling public statements following the horrific school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Hollywood has a much heavier burden on its hands. And it says much when the star criticizes violence after starring in this movie season's most violent film: "Django Unchained." However, Foxx's stance is that Quentin Tarantino isn't presenting violence gratuitously and more as history lesson in the violence of slavery.
If Tarantino uses violence to teach lessons about slavery here, does that give excuse to the violence in his other films? Assuming any summit on film violence ever happens, that's one of the best places to start the conversation. Then again, any quick stalemate could potentially come in the oft-used weapon of the First Amendment that ironically and eerily stands tall next to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
We have to hope that any summit on film violence will take into account that the First Amendment may hold freedom, but holds grave, individual responsibility. Once past that roadblock, the conversation would be one of the most fascinating town halls in perhaps American history. As I touched on in my initial article on the Weinstein summit, such a town hall has to be broadcast live to the public so everyone can see what's truly on the minds of filmmakers and their artistic intentions.
What answers come out of the argument over whether violence can teach or be gratuitous would be a much more meaningful effort than any three-hour grilling in a Congressional hearing hot seat. Hollywood, though, has to open it for public consumption and not become secretive behind closed doors as I suspect the Weinstein summit would have been. The public has had it on the behind-the-doors mentality of Hollywood in their thoughts and actions, particularly with clandestine Motion Picture Association of America movie rating decisions.
The only thing missing in the above summit is a true leader who can guide this all through. Harvey Weinstein has been mum since proposing the idea last July. Jamie Foxx could also potentially be a significant presence. However, he seems to fall into the line of powerful, notable people who have the power to comment without career repercussions, yet ultimately don't take action.
It's time now, Hollywood, to get on the same page with the public on violence in films and what its part is in influencing susceptible people. Let's finally see that summit as a huge, major event in the heart of Los Angeles with every A-list star, director, producer, and studio suit attending. Then let the public in on it as well to gauge opinion on what moviegoers truly want.
This all builds consensus rather than confusion on what Hollywood continually thinks the public wants when the public is really looking for something different. Only then will we be able to see what America truly looks like right now and be able to work in concert together to strive toward a new and improved status quo.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Domestic Violence
- Jamie Foxx