Films and literary works have a profound importance in the day-to-day activities of humans. Social, cultural, literary and historical issues may be raised by a given literacy work or film by creating awareness of the issue at hand. Hollywood films are global leaders in the number of films watched in the whole world. These artworks have been used for decades to reach a larger audience and stand the test of time due to the tools used in preserving such artworks. Hollywood films are not only meant for local consumption in the United States but also for the wider world. This research study will explore the impacts and importance of the film industry in Los Angeles. In this study, emphasis will be majorly on the social aspects and impacts of Hollywood films. It will examine all aspects of films in relation to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles’ Hollywood Films
Cultural and social aspects in society are well portrayed in Hollywood films which is a neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the film Rush Hour, characters in the film are coded in a way that brings out ethnicity and stereotype implications to its massive audience. These implications are in some way generalized to help the audience identify to the agenda or theme of the film. The film is a comical action that employs the use of dialogue and humor in reaching its audience. The film involves an Asian detective and a black police officer who get along easily in spite of their varied race. Despite the film having two biracial personas, it sells out in box office success and leads to the realization of Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3 after becoming popular among people.
In Rush Hour 1, both the detective, Yan Naing Lee (Jackie Chan) and his counterpart detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) experience a hard time getting along but soon sort their differences to become partners and work together, the detective is given orders by his superiors to babysit Yan by shielding him from being investigated by the Chinese consulate over a missing daughter. Later in Rush Hour 2, these two martial arts buddies are able to reunite while in Hong Kong for a vacation (Lee 5). After the duo finishes exploring the city the meet up with a gang called Fu-Cang-Long that deal with the smuggling of counterfeit and fake money to the U.S. They make the decision of moving back to Los Angeles so as to work towards solving the crime committed by the gang. They also collaborate in protecting the daughter of the Chinese consulate who had been lucky to avoid an attempted assassination on her.
In this film, detective Carter makes jokes about Chinatown located in Los Angeles saying that it looks like China but has never been there. He even tells detective Lee that he might get to see one of his cousins’ walk around the streets. The assumption is stereotype in nature but based on historical validity but is humorous and cannot cause a misunderstanding of a negative perception when in the public domain. In Rush Hour 2, behaviors help in realizing an instance where stereotyping is present.
Detective Lee manages to make a quick run towards a truck in avoiding being hit while Detective Carter makes rolls down the truck since he lacks the right kung-fu expertise as Lee. From such behaviors, Lee’s skilled kung-fu abilities are evident while Carter keeps acting like a loudmouth who does not know much. Despite Carter not having the ability to make skilled runs and other actions, Lee does not alienate or become hostile to him for that and keeps being friends. It is clear that they both understand each other and respect each other’s culture and personality. Carter seems to like Lee’s culture and heritage and even makes a vocational visit to Hong Kong.
Social Impacts of Hollywood Films
People identify themselves as belonging to a certain categorization which could point to how an individual perceives himself or herself is based on personalities, occupation and social class. Through these identifications, an individual is able to what a certain group means to his or her own self-image. This will subsequently lead to the tendency of individuals judging others in relation to the group they think fits them. From this, a certain group could be placed higher than the other simply out of the perception of an individual. This self-identification will lead to the realization of social classes that sees others as external intruders and not befitting a certain group. Prejudices and discriminations can be borne out of such identifications.
This kind of social prejudice and discrimination holds true in Rush Hour 1 when both detective Carter and Detective Lee meet for the first time. Initially, Detective Carter is full of prejudice when he assumes that Detective Lee will experience a difficult time learning English simply because he is Asian. Later Detective Carter realizes that he was naïve in thinking that detective Lee didn’t understand when he speaks it fluently and mocks him for stereotyping him. Simply in the film, Carter explains the social identity theory by having a self-belief that Detective Lee will not speak English just because he feels that he does not identify with it. Detective Carter sees himself as an individual that can speak fluent English and identifies himself as such while anyone he thinks is different from him must, therefore, experience difficulties in speaking the language.
How individuals identify themselves socially will lead to the stereotyping of others. In the film Rush Hour, the issue of culture is addressed where the perception of both black and Asian races to be inferior was disapproved (Zhu and Cai 37). Many African American flocked to the martial arts films to watch the movie bringing together two races. Regardless of what the perception was from the whites who stereotyped these two races, Chan and Tucker were able to bridge the gap of cultural indifference and reach out to each other.
Minorities in the society felt included in what the film portrayed and changed people’s perception of racial politics to the more productive multiculturalism. The film did have some stereotyping of its own but the ability to put up together an African American and Asian in a much positive image ruled out any sign of racial stereotyping in the film. The film did an exceptional job in ensuring that there was humor even when there was stereotyping about race in the film.
Stereotyping started a long time in Hollywood films mostly during the 1930s. In that time, many characters from Chinese descendants were portrayed negatively mostly during the time of the rising of Fu Manchu who is a character out of fiction that was invented by an author from Britain. Fu Manchu was a vengeful, cruel and frightening wicked character with an ugly appearance that looked witchy. This character was seen to inspire other evil tyrants such as Emperor Ming who is featured in Flash Gordon.
Another Chinese character Chan was created after the end of world war two (Lee 7). This character was created as a hero for the Chinese since they fought against the Japanese in the war and regarded them as enemies. Chan was given positive traits since the Chinese were assumed to be benevolent simply by fighting alongside the Americans against the Japanese in World War II.
Bruce Lee, who was also Chinese received an audience in Hollywood in the 1960s due to his character. He starred in Hollywood films such as Enter the Dragon. In the films, he was seen to incorporate both the characters of Fu Manchu and Chan by portraying himself as vicious and heroic in his acts. His type of portraying martial arts promoting the notion that Asians people are generally trained at Kung Fu (Wazen 7). Jackie Chan joined Hollywood as the latest Chinese character acting like a stereotype for others.
In his films, he creates the notion that the Chinese are funny, heroic and unthreatening in society while that, in fact, might not be the case. As time changed, Hollywood films as well evolved from portraying the Chinese people in a negative way to positive one through the use of characters in various films. Chan is portrayed as a nice, responsible and honorable person with warm relations with Americans as compared to previous years. This is portrayed in his later film Rush Hour helped envision him as a warm and responsible person. Chinese perception in America has improved positively due to how characters representing them have been portrayed in modern Hollywood films.
The representation of the black people in Hollywood films have in most parts not been positive. Since the birth of America as a nation, Hollywood films directors have depicted black African Americans in bad taste. In early 1915, when appearing in shows and films, the whites used to paint their faces black so as to depict the representation of a black man. In most of these films, black people were simply portrayed as lazy, unintelligent as well as aggressive sexually to white women. A film such as The Negro Cycle was created during the 1950s in which only the white could star but was all about humanizing the character of a black man.
Roles in which black people played when starring in a film was less focused on than that of a white actor (Suhling 3-5). White actors seemed to get all appropriate attention and audience due to the simple fact of perception among the audience and people running the film industry. Whenever a black person had a role to play in a given movie he or she would receive less screen time and a reduced pay compared to white actors.
The movie Lethal Weapon is a good example of stereotyping in Hollywood film industry where Mel Gibson received more payments and screen time than his black counterpart, Danny Glover. However, things improved in later years when black people started receiving more screen time and more payments for their jobs. Nonetheless, stereotyping was still evident when Eddie Murphy and Bruce Willis received racial insults from the white audience.
Importance of the Research Study
The study is meant to give insights into what Hollywood films portray and how that affects or helps the society. The provision of guidance on how the film industry in Hollywood will be the main aim of this research study. The study will help in the creation of remedies and solutions to key societal problems that can be eliminated through the creation of awareness among the masses through Hollywood films. Recommendations on how to deal with be examined for efficient implementation.
Through watching films, the mass audience is able to relate with what the film stars portray. Hollywood films, therefore, to achieve their goal of bringing across an idea or notion to the mass audience without difficult struggles. With such easily available audience, what is portrayed should be scrutinized thoroughly to adhere to moral standards of diverse interest groups and cultures. Without proper mechanisms of dealing with how the airing of shows is done then Hollywood films would be at the forefront in promoting dissents, hatred and alienations among people in the wider world. For instance, a Hollywood film creating hate and hostility to a single or group of Muslims in the U.S could receive a large audience in the Middle East which may bring about uprisings against the actors and management of the film at hand. It might also lead to dissents to other minorities in most Middle Eastern countries.
The preservation of culture is very important among different people and races. Hollywood films play a major role in the facilitation of that aspect in terms of how it can be influenced and changed. From the above, it is true to say that the issue of social heritage is common in most films. What is portrayed in such films provide insights into how the society deals with real-life events and situations. From watching Hollywood films, it would be difficult to change the idea of an individual or kid that has been vested in a specific film. Racism is one key area of social aspects that are brought about by Hollywood (Marini 1-3). When a given character is given the opportunity to mock another in a film it means that there would be a greater audience to receive the gesture and could prove fatal as seen throughout history.
Racism has reduced over the years but there are still some traces of the same vice in Hollywood. Racial stereotyping is a vice that is greatly made possible by watching films that cast doubts on their true intentions. Encourage people from other cultures, gender and races to star in Hollywood films will be a stepping stone in the right direction for ensuring that the industry is all inclusive and no one feels let out. In this regard, the creation of partnership and collaborations will help a great deal in the elimination of racism, stereotyping and discrimination as social vices.
When all film actors and all casts really pay attention to conserving human values then it would be easier for film outlets to just air and provide only what is necessary for its audience. To avoid bias when taking part in the action of films will greatly help in the achievement of social virtues in society. Just like in the film starred by Chan and Tucker, portraying a good image about others cultures and beliefs would reduce the level of suffering in society through reaching out to each other without discriminating on gender, race or any other vice.
Recommendations of what should be done in order to have efficient services in Hollywood films can vary with the question at hand. Having the right people with sound ethics and morals could mean the key in avoiding being biased when it comes to what is shown in films and other literary works. A good code of conduct at a higher level in Hollywood films will be ideal in ensuring that these codes are also ensured at the grassroots. There should be disciplinary actions for persons who violate ethical and moral obligation when in the film industry. A suitable punishment will be the revoking of working licenses and the seizure of ongoing commercial entities of the films. The ability to balance between what is produced and what is consumed is important in realizing which area needs more attention and resources for curbing social vices.
Family entertainment is an element in Hollywood films that dictate how future generations will perceive issues and social virtues. For instance, if a kid watches films that he or she is not eligible to watch the one could state that cultural barriers have been violated and the kid might grow up having a deep-rooted perception regarding a given topic. This can be tackled using the appropriate ratings of the age limits a certain film should go for. The creation of an R-rated division for films within Hollywood would be ideal in tackling how well films are rated in terms of their age limits.
Hollywood films have been used to depict what the film stars and actors want the audience to perceive a certain idea or issue in society. It can be used as a vessel for outlaying a certain societal dilemma. With the right intentions, films can be used in raising positive awareness regarding a certain issue. Social societal problems can be addressed through Hollywood films by avoiding bias when tackling a specific topic and agenda. Racism and discrimination are some major problem areas that can be addressed by films as seen in the case of Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour. From that Hollywood film, it is evident that progress can be made in changing old perceptions and stereotypes among people. Change is easily accepted when a film is used in that context as it brings about how that can be practically implemented.