Media Watchdog: Hollywood's View on Guns Is "Hypocritical"

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Julianne Moore in 2001's "Hannibal."

While Julianne Moore, Judd Apatow and other celebrities call for more gun laws in the wake of the latest mass murder at a school, a conservative group counts 121 acts of gun violence in the top 10 films. Julianne Moore responds.

Hollywood's latest plea for more gun laws after a shooter killed nine people at an Oregon college last week is being labeled "hypocritical" by a media watchdog group that accuses filmmakers of glorifying violence.

The group, MRC Culture, studied the top 10 movies in theaters over the weekend, the first since a gunman killed nine people Thursday at Umpqua Community College, and counted 334 acts of violence in those films, 121 of which involved guns.

"Before anyone had time to digest the horror of the latest mass shooting, the left started finger-pointing and demanding more gun control," said MRC Culture managing editor Matt Philbin.

"Entertainment industry liberals were among the most vocal — that also made them among the most hypocritical," said Philbin. "TV, movies and music videos thrive portraying and often glamorizing violence."

MRC Culture is a division of the Media Research Center, a watchdog group founded by conservative pundit and columnist Brent Bozell.

According to the MRC's math, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the Fox movie that largely targets teenagers, was the most violent, with at least 78 separate incidences that mostly involved teens.

Sicario, about Mexican drug lords, and Black Mass, about mobster Whitey Bulger, featured just a tad less violence than did Scorch Trials, according to MRC Culture.

The Perfect Guy, about a woman being stalked, had 46 violent scenes while horror film The Visit featured 24 acts of violence perpetrated on the elderly.

Even the family film Hotel Transylvania 2 had violent scenes, "but at least it contained no gun violence, which Hollywood is allegedly against," said Philbin.

The War Room, a Christian film from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, had six violent acts, according to MRC Culture.

The group said the body count from the top 10 films was 39 people killed, but it would have been much higher if they counted images of murdered people who weren't actually killed onscreen. In Sicario, for example, one gruesome scene takes place in a home that has dead bodies inside its walls. 

MRC Culture specifically calls out Judd Apatow, Alyssa Milano, Minnie Driver, Patton Oswalt, Rose McGowan and Mia Farrow for tweeting their desires for more gun laws.

But the group heaps most of its scorn on Julianne Moore, and it intends on distributing a photo of the actress pointing a gun in the 2001 movie Hannibal alongside her Twitter exchange with Valerie Jarrett, an advisor to President Barack Obama.

"Thank you @vj33 for amplifying conversation on gun violence. We all must do more & creative community is committed," Moore tweeted to Jarrett.

"Thanks @_juliannemoore for lending your voice to this effort to #StopGunViolence. Please encourage others to join us," Jarrett tweeted to Moore.

MRC Culture also criticizes Quentin Tarantino and Liam Neeson, who have previously spoken about the need for more gun control, but not since last week's shooting — at least not publicly.

"Neeson's personal onscreen body count now runs to the hundreds," said Philbin. "Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is due out soon. It will be interesting if it tops the 69 victims of violence crammed into his last flick, Django Unchained."

Update, Oct. 7, 2015, 10 p.m. EST: Julianne Moore objects to the assertion she is a proponent of more "gun control" and agreed to clarify her position by answering a few questions from The Hollywood Reporter.

Second Amendment advocates say you are calling for more gun control. Are they correct?

I am an American citizen and a believer in the Constitution. But I believe that with the rights that the Constitution gives us, we also have responsibilities. I am committed to improving gun safety in the U.S. and reducing gun violence by advocating for background checks, gun licenses and safe gun storage, and by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Are these Second Amendment advocates against what you call "gun safety?"

I actually think that a belief in the Second Amendment and a belief in gun safety are not mutually exclusive.

Do critics who accuse Hollywood of glorifying gunplay have a valid point?

It is impossible to be killed by watching a violent movie, but unfortunately, it is all too possible to be shot and killed while sitting in a theater and watching any kind of movie.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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