Republicans and the Movies:
HBO’s Palin Farce and Five Movies with Conservative Values
By Kevin J. Ryan
I recently watched HBO’s laughable Game Change, their hatchet job on Sarah Palin based on part of the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. I might have been annoyed if the movie wasn’t so poorly written and directed. As expected, it tells us that McCain was a great guy running a fantastic campaign that was going well until they chose lunatic Palin. Lefty actress Julianne Moore (who is very talented and almost as attractive as the real Palin) portrays her as stupid, arrogant and even mentally ill. The moment when McCain’s aids are talking about her and seriously wonder if she has mental problems is priceless, because it’s so comically absurd. In some ways, the wretched Lefty Tina Fey’s SNL skits were better. As much as Fey hates Palin, those skits made no pretense of fact.
I have never seen a politician attacked so quickly and so viciously, because they feared her so much. This movie, produced by Tom Hanks, must have been planned when they worried about a Palin 2012 presidential bid. Liberal women seem to have a deep resentment and hatred for Palin, perhaps because her life invalidates their outdated feminist opinions about independence and family. Palin has a husband, children and a successful career. Maybe fish do need bicycles.
McCain, played by Lefty actor Ed Harris, is treated much more kindly, but not because he’s a good candidate or a strong Republican. He shows reverence for Obama and almost seems happy that he lost to him, as if Obama was so brilliant that no one should defeat him. There’s a key moment in which he tells Palin to stay away from the “extremists“ in the GOP, like Rush Limbaugh. In this movie, McCain is ok only because he’s not conservative and shows reverence for Obama.
Watching this lousy movie got me thinking about entertaining films that have conservative and Republican messages at their core. We’re used to liberal agenda popping up in Hollywood entertainment. When you’re a watching an action movie and you see a pro-choice or anti-gun bumper sticker, it’s not an accident. But every once in a while, you find something in a movie that conservatives can support.
Leaving aside any overtly political or religious movies, here are five of them. Please comment and let me know about your favorites.
1) Red Dawn (1984)– In this seemingly simple action movie, the Soviet Union joins Cuba in an invasion of the United States. We see it from the point of view of a group of high school students, who escape and form a resistance force. The movie’s plot is predicated on what Republicans knew in reality: Soviets would attack us if given an opportunity. They were never content to peacefully coexist, as many liberals through the Cold War suggested.
The invasion itself is politically interesting. A large number of Russian and Cuban soldiers crossed our Canadian and Mexican borders in advance, taking advantage of our lack of immigration enforcement and began the operation by destroying key targets. Because of gun control laws, the Soviet invaders immediately find all the gun registration files, which tell them the names and addresses of the gun owners in the town. They take their guns and kill them before they can fight back. Our allies abandon us, except for England.
The teenage boys in the movie flee the town and take refuge in the mountains after Soviet troops start parachuting in (in a scene that frightened me a bit as a child). They survive and fight back because they know how to fire weapons, hunt and fish. Their fathers taught them how to shoot firearms at a young age, and they’re soon using Soviet troops’ weapons against them. Had gun-hating liberals raised them, what could they have done? It would be a short movie.
Writer/director John Milius (who wrote the screenplay for Apocalypse Now) reportedly could not find work for several years after making Red Dawn.
2) The Exorcist (1973)- How many movies have Catholic priests as the heroes? The priests in The Exorcist are not homosexuals, pedophiles, Marxists or selfish power mongers, as they often are in the media and, unfortunately, in reality. They are caring, dedicated servants who sacrifice themselves to save a young girl’s life.
But the political significance of The Exorcist is more than just its positive portrayal of heroic priests The story itself assumes the existence of objective good and evil, something contemporary liberal culture often denies in favor of dangerous moral relativism. If the viewer doesn’t believe in good and evil, William Friedkin’s masterpiece loses its power.
3) Rocky (1976)- Sylvester Stallone’s story of a poor, uneducated boxer who gets a shot at the title is one of the most enduring, inspiring expressions of the American Dream ever made. Rocky is the classic American underdog, which is dramatically appealing. More importantly, Rocky is a decent person, with moral values and a strong work ethic. We watch him try to give a teenage girl good advice about her reputation. She dismisses and insults him, as most people do. As he courts the shy girl who works in the pet shop, we root for him just as much as we do in the boxing ring. He treats people with respect and compassion, even while working for a loan shark. No one gives him anything, except an opportunity.
4) Brazil (1985)- One of the foundations of the Republican Party is limited government. Terry Gilliam’s science fiction/comedy satire is set in a dystopian future in which an intrusive state has taken control of people’s lives. The government’s constant planning and expansion have made the world a terrible place to live. People are stifled by an endless assault of rules, papers, forms, and procedures. The protagonist is an innocent dreamer who does his incompetent boss’ work for him and just wants to be left alone, until he gets caught up with a mysterious woman. The comic absurdity of the inefficient, all-powerful government bureaucracy leads inevitably to the totalitarian punishment of dissent.
5) Demolition Man (1993)– Another dystopian future is the setting for what appears to be a simple action movie with Sylvester Stallone starring as a 20th century cop unfrozen to stop a dangerous criminal. What makes the movie interesting is its vision of future society as an intolerant nanny state, in which anything deemed unhealthy or offensive by the ruling elite is illegal. Punishable offenses include smoking, eating redmeat and using foul language. Of course, the power-mad leader is a hypocrite with his own agenda.