Guns ‘n Hollywood

By David de Beer

All You Need To Make A Movie

Movies and TV have a strange relationship with guns. On the one hand you regularly have some actor coming out and declaring him or herself anti-gun. This is to be expected from people who are mostly liberal democrats. On the other hand you have lots and lots of guns in movies. Guns add drama, conflict and even humour. Frankly, without guns in movies and TV, there would be far fewer movies and TV series made, and what would be available to watch would be pretty boring.

It is pretty strange how a lot of the actors that come out as anti-gun are the very ones who have made a career out of portraying characters who use guns. Let me correct that, they play characters who use guns BADLY. Yes, these very same characters who are supposed to be CIA assassins, FBI agents, cops and Special Forces regularly do things that even new gun owners know are unsafe and stupid, never mind unprofessional.

Now you may say “Dave, what the fuck does it matter? It’s fiction, DAVE! It’s just some light hearted fun!” Of course, nobody ever imitates what they see on TV, right? So you could imagine that a person with very little formal firearm training or experience could be doing things he’s seen on TV, and in that way the anti-gun actor’s reckless portrayal is probably contributing to accidents and injury in real life. Irony can be a bitch that way.

And stupid gun mistakes aren’t only made by anti-gun actors. Despite an actor’s proficiency with firearms and the advice of a skilled armourer or consultant, a director might instruct them to do something totally insane with a gun because it looks good on film.  Yes, I do realise there are times when you have to break the basic safety rules to tell a story. How can you show someone threatening suicide without having them point it at themselves? I do realise sometimes there’s artistic merit to it, and that it’s usually done in a controlled, safe environment. But the portrayal is often skewed, and characters who are supposed to be extremely proficient with firearms make glaring, basic mistakes.

So what is Hollywood & Co. getting wrong about guns? I’m not talking about physics defying acts like bending bullets in Wanted, I can concede that that is fiction, and if people try to imitate that, they have bigger problems with reality than I can help them with. I’m talking basics here, so let’s look at the four basics rules of firearm safety:

All guns are always loaded. Treat them so.

Movies guns can range from real guns shooting blanks to rubber guns with no moving parts, so no real guns with real ammo are used in the movies, why should we care about this?

Well, firstly, there is the example being set. These guns represent real guns. Even sci-fi ray guns used on screen can show people how to handle and treat guns. Without a real life influence to guide them away from the stupidity, this is how they think guns should be used.

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And secondly, who remembers John Erik Hexum? He’s a shining example of why all guns are always loaded, and where do you think he got the idea for the Russian roulette joke that ended his life? Probably in a movie or on TV.

Never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy.

The sweeping, oh dear lord the sweeping! A character moving with a gun is bad, more than one character moving in the same scene is so much worse. They sweep the muzzle across their own body; they sweep it across friends, enemies, children, animals, aliens and every sort of background actor. They even sweep the leg. (Yes, that’s a Karate Kid joke, deal with it)

Moving the muzzle of a gun, where metal exits it at high velocity, across anything that’s alive is extremely stupid. In any situation this is at the very least frowned upon, even if the gun is obviously unloaded (All guns are always loaded, remember?)

Next time you watch an action movie, keep an eye on the muzzle direction and you’ll spot it some serious sweeping going on:

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          Jay Baruchel sweeping Jack Black’s ass, if not the whole squad.

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Jack Black about to return the favour in Tropic Thunder.

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Some Suicide Squad sweeping at head level.

I know some will say “But in a conflict/contact/group situation sweeping someone is almost inevitable!”

Yea, it’s not. If you’ve ever seen properly trained professionals do their job, you’d know they go to great lengths not to sweep the muzzle of their gun across anyone’s body.

Here’s how it happens in real life:

Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

Obviously nobody has ever told Pinewood Studios to keep their booger hooks off their bang switches. I have always considered this to be the most fundamental rule. None of the four basic rules may be broken, but even if you break the other three, someone can only get hurt if you also break this rule.

I suppose if you look at the bright side, at least James’ gun is pointed in a safe direction. But pay attention, you will often see actors walking, talking and sweeping their friends with their fingers on the trigger.

Be sure of your target, and what’s behind it…

..and what’s behind that. Captain Deadpool knows this rule and uses it to good effect in his triple headshot.

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In the movies you have good guys shooting at bad guys with crowds in the background, in busy marketplaces, in subway stations and while driving. No concern is shown for innocent bystanders, crouching down a little always seems to make sure they survive (Unless killing an innocent civilian is a plot point).

So there you have the very basic rules of firearm safety. Just safety, something most people who use guns learn early, and practice religiously. And yet our friends in the entertainment industry seem to feel shooters trained to a point where their ability is almost mystical, wouldn’t practice these basics.

Besides basic safety, there’s a lot more the movies get wrong.

Does your gun say “Leatherman” on the side? Because some movies seem to think guns are multi-tools. Splitting the rope above someone about to be hanged is the classic here, but you also have them shooting chains, shooting out lights, shooting levers to activate gears and close doors and using their guns to hit people with. Ricochets only happen when the story needs them to.

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Then there’s accuracy. Not only can this vary wildly for the same character during the course of a movie, but it can also reach superhuman status in movies with no super humans in them. The same character that repeatedly missed an entire car elsewhere in the movie can suddenly shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot them in the ear, arm or leg right from a quick draw.

Use of optics and sights is also pretty dubious. If you’ve seen any kind of Walking Dead meme recently, you probably know thatRick is especially bad at this. In this photo he’s doing even worse than usual.

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And then you have all the people who shoot by feel, mostly because it’s a movie and we need to see their faces. Who cares about accuracy, either of the shooting or factual kind, when we’re paying Bruce Willis’ salary? Show the face!

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Now, how about humanity and compassion? Surely writers, directors and actors can get that right? I mean, almost all of them are human after all. Wrong again!

How many of you have seen a real person directly after that person has successfully and justifiably defended their own life from an attacker that meant to physically harm them? I hope very few have seen this for themselves, because it’s not pretty, but it can also be a big eye opener. Experienced policemen who deal with violence on a daily basis and who have been in those situations before are very shaken up by an experience like this, civilians do much worse.

Think about that the next time the hero of the story breezes through a building full of people, killing one after the other, or executes the villain after finally defeating him. Do you know who reacts to violence and death that way? Psychopaths, that’s who.

The last point I’d like to make has less to do with guns directly, and more to do with the general culture of gun ownership. The core reason why most of the things above are mentioned is that they go so strongly against what most gun owners stand for. We are a lot more concerned with safety than people who do not own guns, we want to enjoy a day at the range without anyone getting hurt, and if the shit hits the fan big time we want to be able to protect those we love and not be the ones who cause them or anyone else harm. Safety is drilled into us, and rightly so, until it becomes second nature.

So to “advertise” gun ownership the way these characters do, as reckless, unsafe, and uncaring already portrays us in a bad light. For the person who brings that character to life and makes millions of Dollars in the process to then turn around and tell us we’re the threat is a double betrayal.

Movie and TV studios in general don’t care how they portray gun use, gun ownership or gun owners. They care about making money from things that look flashy and exciting. It seems unlikely that guns will disappear from popular culture anytime soon, and equally unlikely that Hollywood & Co. will suddenly decide to portray the use and handling of these guns in a realistic and responsible manner. So I guess it’s up to the real life gun owners to show the public that we do not behave like the irresponsible sociopaths Hollywood sells to them as heroes.

Anti-Gun Actors/Directors/Writers/Producers Who Have Used Guns On Screen

(Source : NRA/2A Check, verified on IMFDB)

Jessica Alba – Actor
Krista Allen – Actor
Richard Dean Anderson – Actor
David Arquette – Actor
Ed Asner – Actor
Alec Baldwin – Actor
Drew Barrymore – Actor
Kevin Bacon – Actor
Lauren Bacall – Actor*
William Baldwin – Actor
Candice Bergen – Actor
Richard Belzer – Actor
Beau Bridges – Actor
Benjamin Bratt – Actor
James Brolin – Actor
Mel Brooks – Actor/Director
Steve Buscemi – Actor
George Clooney – Actor
Kevin Costner – Actor
Sean Connery – Actor
Billy Crystal – Actor
Matt Damon – Actor
Danny DeVito – Actor
Michael Douglas – Actor
Richard Donner – Director
David Duchovny – Actor
Mia Farrow – Actor
Carrie Fisher – Actor
Sally Field – Actor
Jane Fonda – Actor
Jodie Foster – Actor
Richard Gere – Actor
Louis Gossett, Jr. – Actor
Ethan Hawke – Actor
Mark Harmon – Actor
Dustin Hoffman – Actor
Helen Hunt – Actor
Diane Keaton – Actor
Stephen King – Author
Kevin Kline – Actor
Lisa Kudrow – Actor
John Leguizamo – Actor
Spike Lee – Director
Rob Lowe – Actor
Mike Myers – Actor
Jack Nicholson – Actor
Leonard Nimoy – Actor
Julia Ormond – Actor
Sarah Jessica Parker – Actor
Rhea Perlman – Actor
Michelle Pfieffer – Actor
Aidan Quinn – Actor
Dennis Quaid – Actor
Debbie Reynolds – Actor
Paul Reiser – Actor
Robert Redford – Actor/Director
Julia Roberts – Actor
Tim Robbins – Actor
Tim Roth – Actor
Renee Russo – Actor
Meg Ryan – Actor
Susan Sarandon – Actor
Martin Sheen – Actor
Mira Sorvino – Actor
Sylvester Stallone – Actor
Meryl Streep – Actor
Patrick Stewart – Actor
Sharon Stone – Actor
Uma Thurman – Actor
Steve Tisch – Producer
Eli Wallach – Actor
Harvey Weinstein – Producer
Sigourney Weaver – Actor
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Actor
Jennifer Aniston – Actor
Jason Bateman – Actor
Kristen Bell – Actor
Steve Carrell – Actor
Courtney Cox – Actor
Zooey Deschanel – Actor
Cameron Diaz – Actor
Will Ferrell – Actor
Jennifer Garner – Actor
Debra Messing – Actor
Julianne Moore – Actor
Gwyneth Paltrow – Actor
Jeremy Renner – Actor
Chris Rock – Actor
Paul Rudd – Actor
Mark Ruffalo – Actor
Brooke Shields – Actor
Reese Witherspoon – Actor
Quentin Tarrantino – Writer/Director/Producer/Actor

 

7 thoughts on “Guns ‘n Hollywood

  1. Good points. I read an study made in USA on gun violence in movies. They even included the Star War light sabers as guns as the light came ” shooting out to front”. So sabers are guns and well not.. sabers . ??

    I new movie was made in SA called Hunter. Saw a snippet on TV. I will try to go see it. I had a part act in a war movie once here is SA. And I was also ” shot” by a criminal in another movie. A lot of scenes are shot more than once from different angles. And green screens place the bystanders in when they merge footage. So movies are not always shot as seen either. They use much more than smoke and mirrors. Like in super slow motion when the bullets are flying straight towards the camera. Not really. Computer animation makes many things look real.

    My problem is that so many of the actors making a very good living in ” acting” (good or bad) as good or bad cops, or criminals, do not have a safety when they start triggering their mouths off against guns. They spray a veritable barrage of vile when they start. The only armor that I have against them is to boycott their films. Even if perchance they should act in a film that has no guns.

    Sorry man, no money no fun, then the actors can go clean prisons for a living.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I very much agree with you Ludwig. I refuse to pay to watch anti-gun actors in movies (specifically gun movies), and I wish every gun owner would to the same.

      Like

      • Thanks. At least they cannot force us at gun point (satire) to go watch their films. So we can rob them (satire) of income by not buying into their politics or movie tickets.

        Liked by 1 person

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