Bruce Willis Naturally Has All the Answers About Gun Violence

Bruce Willis, who is starring in Die Hard 5: Die Even Harder, But Quicker, Because Old People Die Pretty Easily, has some things to say, naturally, about the notion that violence in films promotes violence in real life. I mean, that’s fine, because he is a person who makes movies. But he also has something to say about gun laws, particularly those that restrict gun ownership, because that would allow the government to start taking "all your rights away from you." If you ask me, that’s the kind of knee-jerk political response we should avoid perpetrating, but what do I know? I’m just a blogger, not an actor, so I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

[via Daily Mail]

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Robert Redford Addresses Guns In Film At Sundance

Robert Redford briefly touched on guns in Hollywood as he opened the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, pondering whether the entertainment industry is overreliant on gun violence.

“I think it’s appropriate and overdue to have this dialogue,” Redford said told the opening night crowd, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I have a question, though. I was driving in L.A. recently, and I saw two billboards that featured guns prominently. It made me wonder, ‘Does my business think guns will help sell tickets?’ It’s worth asking that question.”

Festival director John Cooper added that Sundance 2013 is screening a film that touches on gun violence directly. Valentine Road is a documentary by Marta Cunningham about the 2008 murder of eighth-grader Lawrence (Larry) King, 14, by a classmate Brandon McInerney, 15, during their English class in Oxnard, California. The film explores the lives of both boys — Larry, an effemenite, possibly gay kid, and Brandon, who thought Larry had a crush on him. 

Cooper added that Valentine Road was selected for Sundance prior to the December 14 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. He continued, “Newtown and the gun-control dialogue going on will change what the documentary means to people at the festival. But for us, a truth is a truth, and it’s about allowing our filmmakers to tell a deeper story.”

You can watch Redford and other festival organizers at the opening of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival below:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

CBS Makes Vague Promise Of Sensitivity On Violent Shows Post-Newtown

In a fairly meaningless gesture, the head of CBS’ entertainment division has promised the network will be sensitive on its violent programs following the December 14th massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 people dead. 

Nina Tassler excused the violence on the channel’s crime procedurals, according to Yahoo, by explaining that on CBS programs, the bad guy always loses and the good guy always wins. However, what the specifics of the "reneweed sensitivity" post-Newtown (and post-Taft) even means is unclear.   

CBS, of course, aren’t the only ones grappling with how to handle violence on TV in a post-Newtown era that’s galvanized both pro- and anti-gun control activists. Immediately following the massacre, Paramount Pictures rescheduled its premiere for Jack Reacher, a violent flick starring Tom Cruise as a detective who hunts down a sniper. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is an actor again)  added his peanut gallery opinion last week when he defended his new movie The Last Stand — in which he fires a gun from a school bus — calling guns on film "entertainment" and suggested stricter gun laws. And of course, there was that awkward "Demand A Plan For Gun Violence" video starring a bunch of celebrities who got roundly criticized for using guns onscreen. 

Please God, let’s just not let what happened in Newtown become an episode of Law & Order: SVU?

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Remembering Ani DiFranco’s ‘To The Teeth’ In Light Of The Newtown Massacre

On a more personal note, the past 36+ hours have been extremely difficult for me, as I am from a Connecticut town just 20 minutes from Newton. Both Newtown and the enclave of Sandy Hook are places that I have spent time throughout my life. It’s utterly inconceivable to me that 27 people were murdered there yesterday morning. As I have tried to wrap my head around this senseless violence, I keep coming back Ani Di Franco’s song about gun violence, To The Teeth

When To The Teeth came out on an album of the same name in 1999, it was on the heels of school shootings like the ones in Littleton, Colorado; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and West Paducah, Kentucky. When DiFranco sang:

school kids keep trying to teach us / what guns are all about / and every year now like Chrismas / some kid gets the milkfed surbarban blues / reaches for the available arsenal / and saunters off to make the news

it was easy to think about those school kids with guns, the ones who lived in the South or the Midwest, places that have a more vibrant gun culture, places where people belong to the NRA and care about hunting. It felt like something that happens "out there," over there, to other people. Gun nuts, even. 

Well, now it is 13 years later and school kids are still trying to teach us what guns are all about. And now they’re doing it, literally, in my backyard. Thirteen years later, this song still fits. Thirteen years later, the song is still devastating and Ani is still right:

if I hear one more time about a fool’s right to his tools of rage / I’m going to take all my friends and move to Canada / and we’re going to die of old age

My thoughts are with the victims, their family, and the Newtown, Connecticut, community. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.