Saturday, October 04, 2008

"An American Carol"

For those who haven’t heard, writer/director David Zucker brainstormed “An American Carol” as an antidote to Hollywood’s left-leaning fare, and giving Conservatives a satire to call their own. While the film is fascinating purely as a political-filmmaking artifact, at this point in early October, it may well be the worst film of 2008. Imagine, if you will, filmmaking and screenwriting on the slovenly level of “Disaster Movie” and “Meet the Spartans,” but injected with downright dangerous concepts and ideology. That’s right, people getting hit in the balls and smacked in the face, amid jokes about suicide bombers, slaves named “Barack” and yuk yuks about Hitler’s death camps and scenes taking place on the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. The plot involves a portly, unshaven, baseball-cap-clad Michigan-born documentary filmmaker Michael Malone (Kevin Farley), who is visited by the ghosts of General Patton (Kelsey Grammer), George Washington (Jon Voight) and the Angel of Death (country star Trace Atkins) to make him see the error of his ways, and show him that America is in fact great, and not a cause for evil in the world.

Look, obviously I’m not going to be naturally inclined to like a conservative satire, but I like to think I can appreciate funny of any political stripe. There are plenty of targets, angles and avenues on the left that are ripe for potentially vicious mockery, but Zucker chooses the most destructive, inbred, backwards thinking arguments that not only aren’t funny, but make it seem he’s not that well-versed in the subjects he’s attempting to skewer. For example, I can think of a half-dozen ways to attack Michael Moore, arguing that he disingenuously plays up his folksy persona, has more interest in himself than the little guys he purports to champion, and manipulates facts and subjects to suit his self-supporting needs. But no, in Zucker’s vision, he actually hates America, wants to abolish the 4th of July, and bashes the troops. Um, what? Is Zucker even familiar with Michael Moore, or is he just getting his information from the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly (who makes a flattering cameo as a restrained, non-rabid, sane – if slapping-prone – version of himself)? Zucker wedges in endless lines of dialogue about our treasured rights and amendments as Americans, yet repeatedly attacks Moore and liberals’ free speech as literally hating America.

We get the arguments (and really, who better to make them than the filmmaker behind “BASEketball” and “My Boss’s Daughter”) that war is almost always the answer, affirmative action is ridiculous, mere mention of Lincoln being gay is worthy of assassination, Ivy League schools will brainwash your kids into being liberal, criticizing America is the equivalent of hating America, the ACLU is a pansy organization that destroys the political process, and peace negotiations are the equivalent of appeasement. If you’re muttering “sing it, sister,” then have at it and enjoy. I may not agree with virtually anything in the conservative ideology, but I acknowledge that there’s a whole lot of incredibly smart (if devious) people making up the Republican party, and I refuse to believe that this movie is going to appeal to anyone but the lowest rungs of the uninformed elite. The modest audience members in my theater were clearly McCain voters (three elderly couples, two separate guys wearing three piece suits and an Indian gentleman wearing an oversize baseball cap with ‘these colors don’t run’ written on it – I shit you not), and I’m sure there’s a conservative base that’s eager to see their viewpoints represented on screen, but even this group seemed none too pleased. The level of discourse rarely rises above “Liberals hate America” and “Michael Moore is fat,” and if I were a conservative, I’d be embarrassed by this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sing it sister! (you, not the movie)

1:13 PM  

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