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"Doing The Right Thing" An Analysis Of The Movie Insider's Influence On Our Society In Response To Sydney Polack's Article "The Way We Are."

2321 words - 9 pages

It is not easy to do the right thing. Doing the right thing often involves compromising one's self-interest for others who might not appreciate his/her sacrifice. However, such an action is a benevolent virtue that our society tries to encourage by honoring it and making it memorable to everyone. In addition to a plethora of newspaper and magazine companies, our movie industry is also zealous about presenting stories with such a theme. Many commendable virtues are presented on television and in movies. While many believe that movies cause the public to establish new morality values, Sydney Pollack claims that movies do not inspire public virtues, but reflect what is already ingrained into society. Instead of leading the public movement, movies simply follow it. While his statement has a strong standpoint, I believe that movies can, to some extent, influence public views on many moral values, leading to popularization or promotion of virtues that are not often held in our society. Michael Mann's Insider (1999) venerates and promotes many hidden virtues, such as justice, honesty, and self-sacrifice, while disdaining negative qualities like injustice, dishonesty, and materialism present in our society.Pollack states that before anything else, "American Movies are a product" (522).A movie's first goal is to make money. Therefore, whatever themes and moral content filmmakers would like to have in their films, movies can only reflect what the public wants to see. The public mostly wants to see something it can relate to. The public views movies as an escape from real life and entertainment, not education. Therefore, American audiences rarely prefer message driven movies without excitement. As Pollack states, American films "work by indirection...action and movement... almost always movement" (527), clearly showing that in order to attract the attentions of the audiences, films need to be energetic and nerve-grasping instead of simply preaching a message. Even when movie companies plan to include intellectual ideas, they are first forced to focus their content on the sensational entertainment that satisfies the audience. Movies do significantly reflect the values in our society, but they are, at the same time, a major influence on cultural trends. The power of media cannot be underestimated, as it changes our views on all aspects of our lives and the world around us. The movies that come out during presidential elections reflect our country's politics, but do they not also influence how we view our government and often modify our expectations for our political leaders? The truth is that people are constantly looking for something new. Michael Petracca states that during the old days, "explicit sexuality was found only in 'stag' films, not in mainstream theaters" (520) but how did such content become mainstream? Perhaps watching "what the public wants" over and over again caused people to search for new themes. The movies with sexual content become the...

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