Nick Searcy's 'Hollywood Ain't Right': Conservatives Have to Get In the Game (Part I)

*Nick Searcy is an actor, director, and writer. His credits include Justified, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cast Away, and The Shape of Water. His film GOSNELL was released in October 2018, and his next directorial effort, WHERE I’M BOUND, about Southern gospel music, will shoot in 2020. 

Being the non-Democrat international film and television star that I am, I hear from an awful lot of conservatives who have given up on the products that Hollywood generates.

“They aren’t getting one more dime of my money.”

“I haven’t gone to a movie in years, and I’m glad I haven’t.” 

Or: “Once the networks and movie studios start losing money, they will come around.”

Wrong. They won’t.

A couple of weeks ago, the leftists at Esquire Magazine went after actor/director John Krasinski by insinuating that he might possibly be a closet conservative because he was in a couple of shows — the movie 13 Hours, the Amazon show Jack Ryan — that portrayed the American military in a positive light — and, worst of all, because some conservatives actually like these shows.

One critic even attacked Krasinski’s hit film A Quiet Place because it shows“a white, gun-toting family fending off strange creatures”  — and no, I’m not kidding.  A person who is paid to write crap about movies actually wrote that crap.

But Krasinski is publicly an Elizabeth Warren supporter.  In 2014, he even hosted a fundraiser for Lieawatha (or Taxagawea or Runs With Mouth Open or Spreading Bull or Fauxcahontas or whatever your favorite triggering name for Warren is).  He probably would have voted for Fired For Papoose (that’s my favorite) if her campaign had not gone to the Happy Hunting Ground.  But because he makes shows that EVIL TRUMP SUPPORTERS LIKE, he is suspect and must explain himself. He had to reassure Hollywood that he was still in the Cool Kids’ Club.

It’s almost like they are trying to tell you something, right?  They are telling you that they don’t want you to like their shows if you don’t vote their way. Therefore, telling them you won’t support them doesn’t hurt them. They don’t want your support.

If you doubt this, look at what happened with HBO’s incredible 2019 miniseries Chernobyl, a compelling and well-done drama about how the USSR covered up the worst nuclear disaster in world history.   I remember watching it and thinking “How did HBO approve this searing indictment of the evils of socialism/communism?”  Did they not know what the show was saying?  Had someone managed to slip a conservative, pro-freedom, anti-collectivist show past the leftist gatekeepers?  As my friend screenwriter Michael Walsh likes to say, “Did someone throw the lamb chop past the wolf?”

My friend Rush Limbaugh (whose show I guest-hosted once) touted Chernobyl on his popular national radio show (the one I guest-hosted — did I mention that?), announcing that he was “stunned at the portrayal of the Soviet Union in this show” because he remembers how the USSR back during the Reagan years was “every bit as much revered and lionized as Venezuela is by the Hollywood left today…,” and telling everyone they should watch the series.

So were the producers and creators of Chernobyl thankful that Rush recommended the show to his vast radio audience (that was, on 12/27/2017, my radio audience, but enough about me)?  Did they think, “Great!  Now our show will reach even more people, people that don’t usually watch our product because of politics?”

Aw, HELL no.  Are you kidding?  It was damage control time. The show runner Craig Mazin had to hit social media and disavow the praise for the show from Rush and other cons by claiming that this painstakingly researched expose of the USSR’s endemic corruption and heartless disregard for individual human lives, which is built into the fabric of all socialist/communist regimes, was actually an indictment of MEAN BAD ORANGE MAN, and all you conservatives out there liking the show could, as self-proclaimed “good Christian woman” Donna Brazile likes to say, go to Hell.

So stop fooling yourselves, conservatives, that they give a damn whether you watch their shows or not.  They don’t. They are no longer making shows for a mass audience comprised of both left and right, Democrat and Republican.  There aren’t any more MASHes or Andy Griffiths.  They are making shows to impress each other, to prove that they are in the Club. Their next job is not going to come because the audience liked their show.  It’s going to come from impressing the person above them in the food chain.

At their insufferable awards shows, the winners use their speeches not to thank anyone or show the slightest bit of gratitude, but to go on and on about how morally superior they are to you awful people sitting out there in your little pink houses ruining the planet by eating Doritos and watching NASCAR.  They are intentionally sending this message to other artists: if you ever want an award, you better get in the No Trump Club.  And if you want to make a movie that conservatives might like, you are OUT.

The Left never wants to win fair and square in the marketplace of ideas because they know they can’t.  The Left’s intention is always to keep their opposition off the field and march down it unopposed.  They throw the word “fascism” around, and they couldn’t define it if their next bloated government program depended on it. They try to silence anyone who disagrees with them, whether on campus or onscreen.  They are the fascists, and that is why they call us that.

They are never going to let us in. They can’t risk it.  But the good news is that this leaves us a huge opening.  There is a vastly underserved audience out there that has an appetite for entertainment that does not demean their faith or their country — and it doesn’t all have to be sanitized and made by PureFlix.  And for the sake of our children, we need to fill that void.

We ceded academia to the Left 70 or so years ago, and they have been running up the score in our school systems and universities ever since.  You can see the consequences of that at any Bernie Sanders rally.  We now have a vast number of historically ignorant and poisoned college students who want to vote for an unashamed Communist, and who think Chernobyl, if they even watched it, is about Trump.

Now add the fact that nearly every bit of mainstream entertainment they consume reinforces the same ideas — Republicans are racist, Christians are hypocrites, progressives are compassionate, policemen are corrupt, real socialism has never been tried, America is evil and imperialist, etc. — and you have a societal problem among our younger generation that is a hell of a lot worse than vaping.

The solution is not to turn our backs on Hollywood and cede the field of popular entertainment to them.   The solution is to GET IN THE GAME, people.  Our conservative investors out there who are funding all manner of think tanks and news websites have to recognize that storytelling is important.

Hollywood is telling you they they don’t need you.  It’s time for us to realize that we don’t need them either.  We can build our own. Our side has enough money and enough talent.  It is not enough simply to ignore them. We need to overtake them. We have to realize that storytelling and pop culture is more important than news shows and talk radio in the battle for hearts and minds.

In Part II, I will address how we will build a new Hollywood.  Tune in next week, if the Wu Tang Clap hasn’t killed us all by then.