Can a Happy Ending Save THE MAJESTIC?
Release Date: December 21, 2001
Audience: Older children to adult
Distributor: Castle Rock Entertainment/Warner Bros.
Director: Frank Darabont
Executive Producer: Jim Behnke
Producer: Frank Darabont
Writer: Michael Sloane
Address Comments To:Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros., Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
So soon after Sept. 11, it would be difficult to make a movie about Usama Bin Laden, showing that he was just a victim. However, Hollywood persists in making movies about the Stalinists in its ranks during the Golden Age of Hollywood, excusing them as being nice guys who were just misguided. These movies often banter about the First Amendment and hold up the threat of censorship to say that, even if these men were Communists, they were entitled to free speech. So, once more, it’s important to set the facts straight. Just as in the case of Usama Bin Laden and his jihad, the Communist Party during the 30s, 40s and 50s advocated the violent overthrow by revolutionary means of the United States government - and anyone who read the paper knew it. It was not a political party, or a bunch of misguided socialists, it was a revolutionary terrorist organization, which followed men such as Joseph Stalin, who murdered up to 100 million people in his revolutionary zeal, according to Alexander Solzhenitsyn and many other eyewitnesses. In fact, Stalin makes Usama Bin Ladin and Adolph Hitler look like midgets in the terrorist hall of fame.
THE MAJESTIC revisits this issue with the same party line as other movies in its ilk, including Robert DeNiro’s ABOVE SUSPICION. It tells the story of a young writer, Pete Appleton, played by Jim Carrey, who has just gotten his first big break in Hollywood in 1951. However, his contract is torn up when it’s found that he once attended a Communist front organization meeting while at college. He says he was just there to court a young lady. Devastated by his firing, Pete gets violently drunk and drives up the coast of California, off a bridge and into a river. He wakes up with amnesia, perhaps symbolizing the amnesia that everybody in Hollywood has about this period in history.
Pete is taken in by a small town called Lawson. The townspeople manifest all the great virtues of America – hospitality, generosity and patriotism. A man named Harry Trimble, played by Martin Landau, recognizes Pete as his son, Luke, who went off to World War II nine years earlier. Soon, everybody in town recognizes him, including Luke’s fiance, Adele Stanton, played by Laurie Holder.
Harry owns The Majestic theater, which he shut down when Luke left town. Now, Harry wants to refurbish The Majestic. Luke/Pete helps him, and all seems to be going well, until they book a movie called THE SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA, which Pete wrote. Suddenly, Pete’s memory comes back. At the same time, the FBI shows up to subpoena him to speak before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Furthermore, Harry has a fatal heart attack. Pete can’t decide whether he’s going to confront the committee or confess and be let off. Adele challenges him to confess.
Much of the movie THE MAJESTIC is dull, boring and silly. The plot meanders and the direction is more scenic than incisive. It is being billed as being a Capraesque movie, but it is actually anti-Capra, expressing its politically correct stance in the line of dialogue which says "we need to beat the bullies back down." Who needs to beat the bullies back down? Perhaps the revolutionary proletariat, but whoever they are, they are not Capra’s individualists, who stood for grace, forgiveness and redemption.
Although Martin Landau makes some positive references to God, there is a lot of profanity in this movie by the other characters. Also, the movie does not seem to treat God or prayer seriously, which Capra did, especially in his classic movies MEET JOHN DOE and, particularly, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Although Capra was a politically liberal Roman Catholic, he was not a Communist, and, later on in his life, according to a couple sources, he became more conservative in his Christian faith.
Nearly every other note on the 12 pages of review notes that I wrote on THE MAJESTIC says, “Silly,” and that’s exactly what much of the dialogue and storyline in this movie is like. There is the knee-jerk, FBI weenie, and the reference to J. Edgar Hoover in a dress, all left-wing canards or lies that are trotted out to produce predictable emotions. Only mush-headed, emotionally and spiritually confused liberals will find these didactic stereotypes captivating or insightful.
Jim Carrey, as usual, does a terrific job playing two very different characters. It’s too bad that he’s apparently been seduced by the Hollywood left, but then, again, Carrey does hail from Canada, which is even more socialist than the United States has become. Martin Landau brings off his character with aplomb. Laurie Holden is a little flat at times and doesn’t seem like the compelling romantic interest that the movie needs, but this is her first role, and the director thought she had good chops, according to the press kit.
A lot of titles could be tacked onto this movie. Perhaps, director Frank Darabont thought that he had to “Grovel before Graumann’s,” the famous theater where the movie was screened for some of the press. Or, you could call it “Communist Nostalgia” or “Touchy-Feely Socialist Realism.”
Whatever you call it, this movies preaches too much to be entertaining. It is very tendentious and didactic. It tries to replace drama with cleverness. Ah, but the ending, which we’re not supposed to reveal, gives a little nod to Jimmy Stewart, if you can read between the lines, in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. Comparing the two movies, it is clear that the filmmakers of THE MAJESTIC had no idea what Mr. Smith was saying to Congress. Carrey’s speech is a poor rip-off, but it does have emotional punch, and many people will be enthralled by it.
It is insightful to note that THE MAJESTIC is produced and distributed by Castle Rock, a company run by the anti-Christian Rob Reiner, one of the biggest backers in Tinsel Town of the Clintons. Like many other such ideologues on the left side of the political rainbow, he and his colleagues apparently have bought into the leftist delusions about the so-called Hollywood Blacklist. This is unfortunate, because it continues to paint the noble cause of Anti-Communism with the broad brush of Marxist hysteria.
Ironically, Castle Rock is part of Warner Bros. Pictures. Jack Warner, and his brother, Harry, were avid anti-Communists. In fact, Jack Warner was one of the most important people who prevented the Communists from completely taking over Hollywood in the 1940s. The history of this can be found in Kevin Billingsley’s fabulous book, HOLLYWOOD PARTY, about the Soviet Union’s attempt to take over control of Hollywood by using the Communist Party USA and its “fellow travelers” among the American left.
Despite another terrific performance by Carrey, much of THE MAJESTIC is dull, boring and silly. It also contains a strong Marxist, politically-correct worldview that favors the Communist sympathizers in Hollywood during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In reality, these Marxists were not nice guys who were just misguided. They were political stooges of the Stalinist government in the Soviet Union, which murdered millions of people. They were the terrorist sympathizers of their day, and, like the terrorist sympathizers of Usama Bin Ladin, they should be condemned, not eulogized.