December 06, 2006

Larry Miller interview

In a local radio interview, Larry Miller (the actor and comedian, not the Utah Jazz owner) has some interesting and insightful things to say about life in general, in the context of being an unapologetic member of the Hollywood entertainment community (he tells a very funny anecdote about encountering Annette Bening in the "real" world), and specifically about what audiences are really looking for in--and taking away from--popular art.

I particularly like his riff about how the "backstory" obsession with the "motivation" of characters ruins movies. And how what we look for in our entertainment are not cynical depictions of "reality" ("God save us from art that wrings its hands"), but the small moments of shared truth that stand transcendent to everything else, including the medium itself.

This confirms my general observation that the most interesting Hollywood personalities (note Larry Miller's definition of "entertainment")--like Larry Miller, Roger Simon, John Stossel (okay, he lives in New York), Ben Stein--lean libertarian, often with a right-of-center slant. Perhaps because tilting against so many windmills demands a generous store of contrarianism.

The Hollywood left is more Lutheran than Catholic (more Garrison Keillor than Mel Gibson): they believe in faith, not works. So you can preach against third-world poverty while dodging taxes, and against global warming while living in 10,000 square-foot mansions with heated pools and flying around in private jets. You need only confess the "inconvenient truth," the same way Born Again Christians confess Christ.

Oh, and buy a Prius.

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