Oscar-caliber movies are flatlining at the box office, making us wonder why American citizens are no longer interested in thought-provoking films. And, the United States has dropped an average of 46 bombs per day around the globe in the last 20 years. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Oscar caliber movies are flatlining in the box office, making us wonder why American citizens are no longer really interested in thought-provoking films. You know, you found this, I mean, this story to me, I, I don’t, I didn’t know with, whether we were gonna do this story. I, I like this story because it, it, it’s raising some real issues. Okay. One is, the biggest issue that I, as I’m reading all this and there’s several stories about this, but the, the issue that surfaces again and again is the Amer, the American public is tired of being preached to. They want to go to a movie. They want to be entertained. I don’t want to know what your social and cultural issues are. I’m coming here to be entertained. Don’t put ’em on me. If you do, I’m gonna leave. They’re leaving now. Pick it up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. I, I think a lot of this, because this is actually from New York Times magazine.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: So this is very, I know it’s a little off the beaten path for us, but it is interesting because yeah, you do have all of these, I guess what they would call the Oscar bait movies. The very artistic ones. They’re well-written, you know, they’re well produced.

Mike Papantonio: Good stuff, frankly. They’re, it’s good stuff.

Farron Cousins: Good budgets, but nobody cares anymore. Nobody wants to go to the movies or, or rent it at home and.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Have to actually think about anything. They don’t want to have to follow a story. They want to see, okay, is this gonna explode? You know, I, if not, I’m, I’m tuning out of it. My attention span can’t handle it.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Anymore.

Mike Papantonio: What, gimme your take. You, you and I talked about something similar. What is your take on what’s happening out there, culturally?

Farron Cousins: I, I do have a theory and I think it’s all psychological and I think it goes in cycles here. You know, right now everything is kind of bad in this country. You know, the economy’s bad. The job market is bad. Wages are bad. Politics is terrible. So what do people want? They want a hero.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: They want a larger than life figure that they can root for, the good guy, good girl, whoever it is, to come out on screen and show them that by God, we can overcome anything.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Because that’s what’s popular right now.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all we’re getting is superhero shows where the, you know, the impossible takes place right in front of your eyes.

Farron Cousins:It gives people hope. You know, you look at that and you say, look, this is somebody I can stand up with. So.

Mike Papantonio: How, how many of ’em can you watch? How, how many times? It’s the same, it’s the same script. How, how many can you watch?

Farron Cousins: It, it is very formulated.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But, so it goes a little further back too. During the Iraq war time, everybody was terrified. Right. We’re told terrorists are right around every single corner.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: So people were afraid. The world was a scary place. And that was a time when you did have these huge cinematic, thought-provoking films that people got immersed in.

Mike Papantonio: Mm.

Farron Cousins: And and it’s because we wanted to see something beautiful. In a world that scared us.

Mike Papantonio: Mm.

Farron Cousins: We wanted that beauty. And then you go back even further, the nineties. Nineties were a good time. The economy was doing great. You know, everything seemed fine. People were happy. So what was super popular at that time? That’s when you had your Jim Carreys, your Adam Sanders and Chris Farley.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, everybody’s laughing.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. The goofball comedies were so popular.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And it does kind of resonate with the atmosphere in the country at that time. So I think where we’re at right now is people don’t wanna think. We think all the time, we think about how bad our finances are, how bad the political atmosphere is, how bad the environment is.

Mike Papantonio: And so they don’t want to go in and watch Nightmare Alley, that I thought was a pretty good movie, you know. And, but here’s the numbers. Here’s how bad they’re losing. She Said, I haven’t seen, She Said.

Farron Cousins: I haven’t heard of it until I read this.

Mike Papantonio: I, I don’t, I haven’t seen it. Cost $55 million and it made $5 million. Devotion, that’s another one. I haven’t seen it, but it cost a hundred million dollars and it made $14 million. And when you read this article, they’re very clear. They’re saying the arrogance of Hollywood, the bubble of Hollywood, is they believe that the rest of the world thinks like they do. They don’t. And Hollywood comes up with these excuses. Well, there’s, there’s simply too many dramas. One of their excuses, streaming is killing us. I think it probably is. One excuse is that we’re still hearing the coronavirus is killing us. The other, I mean, these, the, these excuses go on and on. But they won’t admit that what they’re thinking about in their bubble, their gated communities, where they don’t worry about what the typical American worries about, in their gated communities they’re so disconnected with what the American public is thinking about.

Farron Cousins: Well, and a bunch of hypocrites too. I mean, they do like to get preachy about everything, and then we turn around and find out that, oh, we’ve got water restrictions in California but you overshot those restrictions by a couple thousand gallons.

Mike Papantonio: Yes.

Farron Cousins: You’re a bunch of hypocrites.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You know, if, if you wanna make your artsy movie, make your artsy movie, it’s great. People will find it if they want to.

Mike Papantonio: But don’t be surprised when they don’t go, people don’t go see it.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Lose your money. But if that’s what you want to do, great. This is a big thing that they’ve gotta deal with, frankly. And the unfortunate thing is there’s some really good movies being made. I mean, I, I thought Nightmare Alley was a great movie. I didn’t know these, some of these other ones, but it was really well done. But it was a financial disaster.

Mike Papantonio: The United States has dropped an average of 46 bombs every day for the last 20 years. Now, I, I don’t know. This, this, this story showed up in salon.com. Again, no mention of it in corporate media. Why? Because if you turn on MSNBC or you turn on CNN or Fox News, they’re gonna be having you, you’ll see advertisements by Raytheon, advertisements by the big weapons industry. Are you gonna go out and buy a missile? No. Why are they advertising? Why are they going to MSNBC and running all those ads? For access. So nobody will talk about the kind of thing we’re gonna gonna talk about right now. Pick this story up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This, this is truly terrifying to think about, but as you said, 46 bombs per day over the last 20 years. And of course a lot of that happened, you know, in the Iraq war and Afghanistan. But it hasn’t ended. Right. We’re not at the point where we’re not dropping any bombs per day now.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: Bombs get dropped by the United States every single day, not just on average, but every day we’re bombing somebody somewhere for whatever reason they’ve come up with that day.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Well, what I think is important about this is this report that is supposed to come out regularly. This is supposed to be a regular report, has been stifled what, for 21 months?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Now, who’s been in charge for the last 12 months, at least? Who is in charge? It’s the, it’s the Democrats and it’s the Republicans. They know how important this report is because it gives us an insight into how big our weapons industry has become. Weapons industry in the United States probably is the number one most profitable industry in the United States besides pharmaceuticals. And so right now we start seeing, it’s important that we know that 337,000 bombs and missiles have been released in everywhere from Syria to Yemen, you name it, we’ve dropped them. Nobody’s paid attention to it. We’ve dropped ’em outta drones. But the point, the point to this story, where I landed with this story is it’s, it’s been a big secret. And it wasn’t just the Republicans, it was the Democrats that kept it a big secret. We’re under a siege warfare mentality, and we’re doing it not for national security all the time, but because the weapons industry has such a huge impact on what our politicians do.

Farron Cousins: And, and this this chart here, which I love that came with this story, you know, as I mentioned, obviously we had Iraq. We have Syria, we have Afghanistan and Yemen, which, you know, totally unjustifiable for what we’re doing over there. But there’s also this number right here at the bottom.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: 28,217 bombs dropped in other countries.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: So not a Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, or Yemen. The wars.

Mike Papantonio: What are the other countries?

Farron Cousins: Exactly. Where are these bombs being dropped?

Mike Papantonio: This is America’s, we are now the premier weapons maker in the world. And it is be, it’s our economy.

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: This is, this is Boeing economy. This is Raytheon economy. And to hell with how many people we, how many bombs we drop. To hell with, with whether or not it creates new Cold Wars with places like Russia and China. This is, we have an, we have a weapons industry completely unregulated. There’s no, there, there’s nobody controlling that throttle. This air power, it’s called the Airpower Summaries. That’s the report. That’s the report that all this is taken from. That’s the report that was been suppressed by two administrations.

Farron Cousins: And it’s supposed to come out every month, we’re supposed to see how many bombs are being dropped. But look, this, you know, you point out this, this should be the national symbol of the United States. It’s not a bald eagle. It’s this missile right here.

Mike Papantonio: It’s a missile, yeah.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.