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Our condolences go out this morning to Paramount, whose sulky, twangy, denim-and-rippling-flesh marketing push for Stop-Loss couldn't trick weekend moviegoers into checking out yet another Iraq War message movie. At Defamer HQ, the search for answers behind the disappointing $4.5 million gross — too many muscle shirts? Ryan Phillippe/Abbie Cornish babymaking rumors peaked too soon? — extended to the conservative journal Men's News Daily, where crack industry analyst Greg Strange's devastating Monday-morning hindsight is sharper than ever:

When are these filmmakers going to connect the dots? Do they really think this is what American audiences want to see? It may well be that the majority of Americans wish we had never gotten into this war, but that doesn't mean they want to see the country's finest young people depicted as rapists, murderers or even just run-of-the-mill, psychologically damaged basket cases returning from combat. ...

It's all very noble in an artistic kind of way, but if they keep it up, some of them may soon be seen on the street holding signs that say "Will make antiwar films for food."

Indeed, this "artistic kind of way" of doing things is thoroughly played out, and we stand with Greg Strange in urging an end to creatively addressing social issues in movies. Still, with at least two distinguished auteurs already having hit the sidewalks with hat in hand and cow on corner (not to mention conservative firebrand Vincent Gallo establishing himself as a bona-fide eBay Gigolo&trade), we also endorse the burgeoning trend in garish, gawk-worthy sidewalk entrepreneurship. Our only hope for reconciling the two: Oliver Stone, whose forthcoming George W. Bush biopic has more cast members than investors, could surely use some right-wing influence to the tune of $30 million. Here's your sign, Ollie, and there's your corner.