Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Constitutes A Conservative Film?

If politics is a highway, Hollywood is in danger of driving off the far left shoulder. Almost every new film oozes with far left thinking. Not only do they openly jam films full of left wing messages, but even the assumptions upon which most films are based lie deep within the leftist mind. But conservatives have begun to fight back. They are starting to make conservative films, and conservative critics are trying to identify conservative films that are worthy of support. Unfortunately, this effort is fraught with sloppy thinking that keeps it from becoming effective.

Is It Wrong To Want “Conservative” Films?
Many on the left like to talk about the conservative “obsession” with finding conservative films. They whine that it is somehow improper for conservatives to want films that fit conservative thinking, and they label any such films as propaganda. Are they right? Hardly.

First, there is nothing wrong with trying to find films that have a message you agree with. This is the same instinct that draws Christians to see movies about Christianity, Jews to see movies about Judaism, minorities to see movies about the countries of their ancestry, and deranged liberals to see movies about Nixon. Further, with Hollywood having moved so far left and politicized itself so thoroughly, it is natural for conservatives to want to find movies that aren’t left wing propaganda.

Moreover, it is disingenuous for liberals to act as if this were somehow a uniquely conservative idea. Liberals have been playing this game for years. If a movie doesn’t feature enough blacks, women, gays, handicapped, or other members of the victims du jour, the left turns out with protests and boycotts. Oh, you’re doing a movie about the five survivors of a Nazi U-boat and the whole thing takes place in a life boat? Well, you better find a way to cram some women and blacks into this movie or you’ll be sorry. Come to think of it, better make the first officer gay.

Liberal reviewers play this game as well. Many reviewers openly talk politics in their reviews. And even when they aren’t doing it openly, their bias is obvious: a soldier in a movie dies horribly and as he dies, he blames George Bush and Dick Cheney -- that’s an impartial movie with a powerful message that everyone needs to see (like anything by Michael Moore). But if that same soldier blames Obama -- well, that’s pure hate-filled propaganda and the filmmaker “browbeats” his audience with his political views: no one should see this film.

To understand this, understand that liberals live in a bubble. Everywhere they look they are being fed liberalism. Their college professors were liberals. The evening news gives them liberalism on tap, the nation’s biggest newspapers too. Their friends are liberals. They cluster into bubbles where only Democrats get elected and where all their friends squawk the same liberal garbage. . . like a gaggle of idiots. It’s so pervasive in their lives that they can’t even see it. They aren’t aware of the fact that liberal beliefs, as we’ve shown before, are the outlier in this country, because they don’t know anyone who disagrees with them. So when they go to a movie and they hear that familiar echo, they have no reason to think that this is anything unusual or controversial.

Thus, when a guy like Roger Ebert reflexively gives all liberal “message” films good ratings and describes them as unbiased or fair or without political message, he honestly just doesn’t “get it” because no one in his life has ever told him how far left he is. By the same token, his hypersensitivity to non-liberal films, and his reflexive downgrading of those efforts, just demonstrates how deeply unaware he is of how his political biases sway his thinking.
Supporting The Conservative Film
In any event, let us move on. The first question is, should conservatives support a film merely because it is conservative? The answer is no. To warrant support, a film should first and foremost be a good film. Conservatives should encourage the incorporation of conservative ideas and principles into movies, but should not support a film just because it is conservative -- that reeks of affirmative action. To support bad films merely because we agree with the message does nothing but open us up to the charge that conservatives are incapable of making quality entertainment. So the next time someone tells you that you need to like a crappy movie because it was “conservative,” ask them whether they think the crapfest in question does anything to advance the conservative cause or if it just reinforces negative stereotypes.
How To Spot A Conservative Film
Now we come to the heart of the issue. Right now there are a great number of conservative film critics who play the game of spotting conservative films. Even National Review came up with a list of their top 25 “conservative” films. The only problem was that almost none of the films they identified were conservative. The same is true of the critics; they don’t seem to be able to distinguish conservative and liberal films.

As anyone who has visited Big Hollywood knows, when the question comes up of naming conservative films, people start spitting out the wildest garbage. They mistake conservative messages for “liberal lies” because they fail to grasp the meaning of the film. They identify far left propaganda as conservative because they think they heard one line in the movie that struck them as conservative, like when the cross-dressing, serial-killing sheriff, who is sleeping with his gay cousin, spouts off that he doesn’t trust the federal government to fix the environment (as he eats a child-raping priest). Sure his next line tells us that we must rise up and demand that our government ban the use of fossil fuels, but he said he doesn’t trust the government. . . that makes him a conservative hero. WTF?!

Moreover, every good trait suddenly becomes conservative. Every bad trait becomes liberal. I’ve even heard claims that movies that “kick ass” are conservative. And any film about the military that doesn’t involve an American solider torturing a civilian is conservative? Give me a break.

Let’s get over the idea that a movie can be made into a conservative movie by an errant line of dialog or some strange twisted interpretation of some minor event. And let’s drop the idea that just because we like a movie or a character, there must be some trait that lets us call the character conservative. To be a conservative movie, that movie must have conservative values deeply ingrained within the film. Think of it this way, if you have to sum up the lessons the film taught, are those lessons consistent with conservative thinking or liberal thinking?

A film cannot be considered conservative if it pays lip service to conservative beliefs but falls back on typical liberalism to resolve the films crises -- the lesson of such a film is that liberal answers are the correct answers. Nor can we consider a film conservative if it reinforces the propagandized view of the world that the left espouses, or if it relies on stereotypical liberal boogeymanisms to provide a villain or conflict to be resolved. Nor can we consider a film conservative if it treats conservative values as evil or wrong.

At the same time, we should not consider a movie liberal just because it deals with an issue that conservatives consider unpleasant. You must look beyond the settings and consider the themes and lessons of the film. Take the issue of the pedophile priest. A film that treats the priest as typical of all priests and the church as uncaring likely could not be considered a conservative film, particularly if it further extends that message to say that all religious people are inherently perverted, corrupt or evil. But if the film shows that this priest is not typical of Christians, and that Christianity does not condone his behavior in any way, then the film might be conservative, depending on how the rest of it is handled.
So What Are Conservative Values
So what are conservative values? Sometimes it’s obvious. Some films are intended as a conservative or liberal message movie. Is the movie a direct criticism of certain politicians or policies? Is the point of the film to sway people to a particular set of beliefs? If so, then it is obvious what the film is. What you see is what you get, a political film that will generally be seen only by the true believers.

But more often than not, it is less obvious and we must divine the intent of the filmmakers. In this regard, we must first understand that many values like patriotism, bravery, caring about people, love of family, tolerance, or even religious faith, are not uniquely conservative or liberal ideas. Both sides of the political spectrum love to claim these values as their own and to assert that they are lacking in the other side. But such claims are mere propaganda (excluding, of course, certain fringe elements who specifically disavow certain values). This, coincidentally, is why both left and right see Orwell’s 1984 as a warning about the other.

If you look around the world, you will find that both left and right hold these values in high esteem -- they just tend to define them differently. And that is where you must look to determine the real nature of the film. What motivates their patriotism? How do they interpret their religious beliefs? Does the do-gooder want to teach people to fish or are they demanding that the government hand out fish?

Uniquely conservative values tend to be centered around the “traditional” ideas of (1) faith in the individual over the collective, (2) an acceptance of cause and effect, and a willingness to let people bear the consequences of their own actions, (3) an unwillingness to excuse misbehavior as something beyond the control of the individual, i.e. society made me do it, (4) the idea that respect and dignity are earned, not a right, and must be maintained through appropriate behavior, (5) a belief that truth is absolute, not relative, (6) an acceptance of human nature as it is and not as something that can be changed, (7) a distrust of government imposed solutions, and (8) support for rule of law. Liberal values tend to be the opposite of these.

These are the values that make a film conservative or liberal. So ask yourself when you hear about some new “conservative” film, do the positive characters (i.e. the protagonists and any other characters shown in a good light) share these beliefs and does the film function according to these beliefs? If not, you’re probably not dealing with a conservative film.

30 comments:

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Excellent guidelines. I've searched the list of current offerings, and find it hard to locate anything that is conservative in any meaningful way. Any suggestions? The most recent big-budget box office success I can think of is Independence Day. If you can get past the Will Smith as savior of mankind part, and ignore the President's dismissal of Independence Day as a uniquely American event, the message is quite conservative. An enemy we have never harmed shows up to destroy us. Brave people band together to fight a seemingly unstoppable enemy. A brave President puts his own life on the line to fight with the troops. An individual sacrifices his own life to save his children and guarantee victory (Randy Quaid), and at the same time redeems his failed life with one act of courage. And finally, those who believe in the sanctity of life defeat those who believe in domination and destruction, despite all the odds being against them. No liberal crap about continuing to try to make friends with the enemy once their true intentions are declared. Just kill 'em before they kill us. Even the swaggering but not too bright Smith and the politically-correct cerebral Jeff Goldblum work together and become friends while figuring out how to defeat the common enemy. And in the end, nobody worries about "triumphalism" as they celebrate the total destruction of the enemy.

ScottDS said...

I might be grasping at straws but I do think a distinction should be made between films that are inherently political (I guess war films would count too) and films that feature what Mr. Nolte refers to as the "sucker punch" line which has nothing to do with anything. A film that is inherently political (even if you disagree with the content) can still be good on its own... a great example being Oliver Stone's JFK or Dr. Strangelove.

I agree that the inclusion of a line like, "I hate paying taxes" doesn't necessarily make a film conservative; but wouldn't the inverse be true? If a non-political film features a line like, "He's as evil as Dick Cheney," that doesn't necessarily make the movie liberal.

People were complaining about the Sarah Jessica Parker movie trailer with her comparing a woman to Sarah Palin. Except: a.) the woman she was comparing was a rural-living, gun-toting, self-assured gal, and b.) a NYC resident like SJP's character probably would make that comparison. It doesn't make it a "liberal film."

"Almost every new film oozes with far left thinking." I don't go to the theater as often as I used to (why should I when I have a great Blu-Ray player and 42" LCD?) but this year I saw Star Trek and The Hangover, neither of which oozes anything offensive. I know they're just examples but I've also learned something from BH: if you look for political subtext, you'll find it regardless of whether it was intended or not.

And are some genres inherently more conservative or liberal? Take the teen sex comedy for example. One thing that confuses me is how Nolte can say I Love You, Beth Cooper is an irresponsible, offensive film, yet American Pie is seen as this sweet, lovable, little movie. (It probably helps that Pie is a good movie.)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I haven't seen much made lately that I would consider conservative, though I'm pretty sure there have been a few since Independence Day. As to whether or not ID is a conservative movie, I'm not sure.

It strikes me as a movie that is mostly about patriotism, while trying to avoid ideology all together, i.e. it is neither conservative nor liberal in its thinking, it is just patriotic.

I'd have to watch it again to take a closer look.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, the inherently political film and the message movie are two different things, as again is the sucker punch.

I would draw the distinction between the first two as (1) a film about politics, which can actually be apolitical, though it rarely is, and (2) a message movie, which need not appear political on the surface (though it can be), but is in fact intended to advocate a policy position.

For example, a bugs bunny cartoon that starts advocating gun control would fall into the second category, whereas the John Adams miniseries would fall into the first.

War movies used to be apolitical -- they were about history, patriotism, etc. It's only been since Vietnam that war movies really started to become political (i.e. partisan), and the box office figures show the results -- liberal war movie = failure.

The sucker punch rarely occurs in an apolitical film, but when it does it is basically a cheap shot that adds nothing to the film, but can ruin a movie for a big chunk of the audience.

Does a sucker punch make the film into a liberal/conservative film? Probably not if it's just a one time thing. But you have to look at how significant it is to the story. Does that suddenly become the basis for the story?

I don't think any particular genre is inherently liberal or conservative, it depends on what they do with it.

I rarely agree with Nolte, and this is another one of those instances. I feel that he often grasps for "conservative" straws in movies that he likes.

Finally, I think you might be confusing policy with principle. Look at the list of principles I set down. That's what makes a movie conservative v. liberal, not whether or not the movie takes a position on any particular matter of policy. There are conservatives who despise Bush, there are liberals who despise abortion and gay rights, etc.

Whether or not a movie is inherently conservative or liberal is about more than just advocating a particular policy, it's about the underlying philosophy of the film.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: You have a point. But I would also say that patriotism itself is a conservative value. Although patriotism exists among some deluded liberals, most self-styled liberals/progressives are terrified of even the least praise for America. After a leftist Chicago politician (who became President of the United States) has praised Islam, condemned America for its intolerance and racism, called American troops in Iraq "invaders" while calling fundamentalist jihadists in Palestine "freedom fighters," characterized American rescue of the West as jingoistic, authorized investigations into interrogations techniques which demonstrably saved American lives at home, placed his hands fimrly on his genitals during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance, appointed communists to his cabinet, called wearing an American flag lapel pin "divisive," played footsie with leftist dictators, and treated the Constitution as an impediment to good socialist practice, the liberals ask: "Are you questioning his patriotism?" The conservative answer is: "You're damned right I am!"

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry Lawhawk, I can't agree. Patriotism is not a left/right thing. Leftist and rightists world wide are all patriotic. The difference is the parts of their country that they view with favor. Or are you saying that the Soviets, the Cubans and today's Venezuelans aren't (weren't) patriotic?

Also, in Western Europe, neither side is particularly patriotic at the moment, left or right. So I see it as more of a culture thing than a political thing.

And even though it's not politically correct among the democratic leadership and many of their activists to be openly patriotic these days, they continue to adopt the trappings of patriotism. And the reason they do that is that the rank and file democrats do remain very patriotic. I know a lot of life-long Democrats who voted for Obama who are highly patriotic.

I would bet that if you asked a polling question about patriotism, you would find little difference left or right. The only outlier groups would be the political/journalist classes -- same thing with religion, which is exactly what Gallop found.

ScottDS said...

A few months ago, Evan Sayet (whose opinion I respect but whose conclusions I find... questionable at best) wrote an article on BH about leftist filmmakers, leftist professors, etc. I have no issue with the college professor argument but his thesis seemed to be that, if a film is leftist, it's because the filmmaker is leftist, which is because he/she was brainwashed by their leftist professors, etc.

I registered my disagreement, stating that I failed to see a direct correlation and that the truth is probably a little more nuanced than that. Munich had come up in the article but I didn't think that that film's problems should cast a shadow over Jaws, Raiders, etc. and that those films could hardly be called leftist (or liberal or whatever). Sayet asked me what I thought the theme of Raiders was. Then he said he knew the theme of ET was that "the government is evil."

That's when I slapped my forehead. "Really? That's all you got from that movie?" I won't deny there might be an anti-authority streak in the film (it's about kids, after all) but this seemed to be a case of: a.) seeing what you want to see, and b.) letting a filmmaker's current work influence your perception of his past work. (And "government is evil" doesn't necessarily equal anti-American.) Hell, some have called ET a Christ allegory of all things!

At the end of the day, I think many people simply have a problem, not with liberal movies per se, but with a Lack of Alternatives. A dozen anti-war bombs but not one pro-war movie? Just one? I can understand that argument. And while I have mixed feelings about the current conflict (or contingency operation or whatever it's called now)... I WILL make this into a movie one day:

http://www.amazon.com/Thieves-Baghdad-Matthew-Bogdanos/dp/1582346453/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251838285&sr=8-1

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: We're defining patriotism differently. Literally, it means "love of country (patria). Modern American liberals do not love their country. They love their idea of a country that never existed and hopefully never will. Their patriotism (which I would call "loyalty") is to a doctrine which calls for fundamental change in the country they are supposed to love.

I also made a point of saying "conservative" rather than Republican, and "liberal" rather than Democratic, since patriotism does indeed cross party lines. So, I'll go you one better by saying that I know Republicans who are not patriotic (our right wing fringe who want to destroy America to save it).

As for Venezuelans, Cubans and Soviets, the people may love their countries, but not enough to protect them from dictatorship. Western Europe's lack of patriotism will lead to their future membership in Greater Jihadistan. Patriotism, like any other way of thinking, can be perverted. Right now, the very unpatriotic Barack Obama is leading Americans, including those who love their country but don't know where he's taking them, into a country that will be unrecognizable as America. All good demagogues have that ability.

True leftists cannot be American patriots (and by the strictest definition, they cannot be patriots at all), since patriotism implicitly means love of country, and leftism, Marxism, one-worldism, or whatever else you may choose to call it, requires a belief in one world, one people, one ideology, and no countries.

And the "trappings" of patriotism is exactly what Samuel Johnson was talking about when he said "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." He wasn't criticizing patriotism, he was criticizing those who misuse it or claim it in order to cover up their nefarious activities.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm not sure I follow you.

1. You respect his opinions, but not his conclusions? Aren't they the same thing? Or am I reading you wrong?

2. I didn't read the article, so I don't know what his point was about leftists, but it makes sense to me that a leftist film would be made by a leftist filmmaker? The idea of being brainwashed is a little flippant (or stupid). Uncritical acceptance of bad ideas might make more sense, but not brainwashing.

3. Your E.T. example is a good example of someone who sees what they want to see. That's far too common in this debate and that's what I'm trying to get at in the article -- people need to stop knee-jerking their judgments. Too many conservatives are out there attacking things they shouldn't and supporting things they shouldn't, and just confusing the heck out of anyone who wants to bring Hollywood back to the center. Indeed, if you ran through the threads at BH, trying to figure out how to make a conservative film, you wouldn't have a clue what it means to be a conservative.

4. On the issue of alternatives, that's always been the conservative complaint. Unlike the left, our side does not freak out when people disagree. But we're pretty sick of everything we see being done from the liberal perspective and including liberal messages. Think of it this way, how happy would you be if almost every single film or television show produced these days came from a fundamentalist Christian perspective?

And where you see this taking root is the growth of (1) conservative talk radio, (2) FOX News, and (3) the creation of this alternate distribution network for religious films. All of that shows that conservatives are starting to opt out of the Hollywood offerings and looking for alternatives. In other words, if Hollywood won't do it, they'll find someone who will. And the size of that market could be up to 60% of the American population. So if Hollywood doesn't pay attention soon, they may find themselves fading away as other sources replace them.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, If you're going to tell me that leftists can't be patriotic because you think they don't love their country, then should I accept their claim that you, being a rightist, are both racist and can't care about poor people?

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: If they love their country, they can't be true leftists by definition. How can they be patriotic (love their country) and at the same time wish to see it absorbed into a world government with no national boundaries or national identity? Genuine liberals, however misguided, can love their country, but leftists, Marxists and one-worlders simply cannot. They can't be both fish and foul.

The far right does not have one clear overarching philosophy which automatically requires a belief which denies classic patriotism. Conservatives even less so. Leftist philosophy does have, as an inherent part of its doctrine, the denial of any loyalty to one nation.

The rightist fringe is just a mirror-image of the leftist fringe. When I was involved in the civil rights movement, I was patriotic while criticizing the government. But I never bought into the "hate America" part of the movement (which still lives, and calls America "Amerikkka"). As a conservative today, I have equal respect for Maoists and Ku Klux Klanners, which is to say none--with a healthy dose of contempt for both. And for that reason I can be a conservative, and yet join my liberal brethren in opposing racism and working to end poverty. That is a difference in method of reaching a common goal.

So I am sticking to my position that liberals can be patriotic, and leftists cannot.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I should also clarify that when I say "modern liberals," as opposed to simply "liberal" I am counting the "moderns" as leftists who have started to call themselves "progressive" to distance themselves from the label of "liberal." And I am certainly not confusing either of them with "classical" liberals such as Edmund Burke. Therefore, if someone calls himself a liberal or a progressive, but wants nothing to do with one-world government and the elimination of national identity, then I would not include him with the leftists.

Joel Farnham said...

Can we at least agree, that people who love the maximum amount of freedom and the least amount of outside control is more conservative than liberal. That movies that celebrate those freedoms as ideal are more conservative than liberal?

LawHawkSF said...

JoelFarnham: I agree.

ScottDS said...

"1. You respect his opinions, but not his conclusions? Aren't they the same thing? Or am I reading you wrong?"

Maybe I should've said I respect his intelligence but I don't always agree with his conclusions. :-)

"Indeed, if you ran through the threads at BH, trying to figure out how to make a conservative film, you wouldn't have a clue what it means to be a conservative."

Bingo! One of the reasons I started reading the Libertas film blog, which begat Dirty Harry's Place, which begat Big Hollywood was to see, as a moderate/independent, what conservatives were all about and what kind of movies they liked. For the most part, everyone likes the same movies (and I had no idea how many Star Trek nerds were out there!). However, as someone who'd maybe like to make a movie in the future, I am, as you say, more confused than ever. But like so many have said, all you can do is try to make the best one you can.

"Think of it this way, how happy would you be if almost every single film or television show produced these days came from a fundamentalist Christian perspective?"

As a secular Jew, all I can say is "Oy vey!!" :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think that is true. I see that inherent in several of the conservative principles enunciated above -- (1) faith in the individual over the collective, (2) an acceptance of cause and effect, and a willingness to let people bear the consequences of their own actions, (7) a distrust of government imposed solutions, and (8) support for rule of law.

Each of those represent a desire for greater freedom.

By comparison, I think that liberals have faith in government over the individual, believe that we need to be saved fom our mistakes, think the government often provides the best solutions, and prefer to give the government disrection (rather than controlling the government by law).

So, that's the long way of saying, I agree.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I am talking about conservatives v. liberals, not what most people would call leftists. Leftists really are a different animal.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I get you now.

On the confusion, keep in mind a couple things. First, you don't have any idea who you're really dealing with on line. Some of the people who were adding to the confusion could have been foaming at the mouth nuts or sympathy trolls, whose opinions only represent a few thousand people in the country.

Also, many people talk at blogs without stopping to think first. One of the great things about our readers is that we can tell that they think through their comments before they make them. That's not always true in a bigger forum.

As for the contributors who confuse you, all I can say is that just because someone is a contributor does not mean they know what they are talking about.

Finally, keep in mind that this issue is layered. Films can contain flat out political statements, use politicized plot points or characters or themes, use political metaphors or allegories or symbolism. And all of this together will need to be considered together when deciding how a film should be perceived (or misperceived).

And frankly, I think too many people jump into this debate without ever asking themselves first "what do I consider conservative values?" If they haven't asked that question, then they'll bounce around layer by layer like a pinball, happy at this upset at that, and never really able to come up with a consistent explanation for what they're thinking.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: OK, we're on the same page. My only concern is that too many genuinely patriotic liberals don't see that Obama is a leftist, not a liberal. John Kennedy was clearly not a leftist, and for all their foolishness and bad decision-making, Carter and Clinton were not leftists. None of them would have knowingly appointed an avowed communist and racial supremacist/separatist to his cabinet, let alone ignore the public outcry against the appointment.

Clinton realized his mistake with Johnetta Cole (and to a lesser extent with Lani Guinier), and dumped her when her earlier communist activities were revealed. Obama, with his facilitators in the MSM, are simply dancing around Van Jones's very recent and unrepentant communist and black radical connections. A liberal Carter, Clinton or Kennedy would have tossed Cole out like dirty laundry. The leftist Obama is determined to keep him.

And though I do agree with you, I would simply add that patriotism is a core value for conservatives. Many liberals may embrace it, but it is not a core value or basic part of their ideology.

Writer X said...

A few films that I've seen recently that I enjoyed and that I think would fit the criteria you've outlined include (1) BELLA (2) FIREPROOF and (3) JUNO.

All three of these films, particularly JUNO, were pretty successful.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I haven't seen Bella or Fireproof, and I've only seen part of Juno, so I can't really say.

StanH said...

My wife and I were obsessive movie goers, we’d see a movie a week just to do something. Slowly after the 2000 election we began to pare back to two a month, then one a month, now maybe a half dozen a year. If certain actors show up now we will not darken the door. But, that doesn’t mean necessarily we wont go to a move that has a liberal slant. We can handle it, our beliefs are unshakable, we love our country, and we come from the ‘60s and ‘70s and perhaps we understand the distinction. If the movie and the actors are not overtly anti-American, anti-Free Market, we’ll go see the movie on reputation. I guess the point is, we really don’t have a litmus test for the movie is liberal, or Conservative, but does it have a chance to be good. I know that rambled a bit but hey…

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, there's no requirement that conservatives only like conservative films and liberals only like liberal films.

The reason for the debate really is that many people want to see Hollywood move back toward the center. So they are seeking to actively support conservative films.

Writer X said...

Like Stan, I go to the movies so less often nowadays. There's not a lot made these days that I want to see, which probably goes off topic, Andrew. I'm not so sure if it's an overly liberal themed film industry vs. a film that's just not worth my time. Or maybe it's a little of both. I rent way more than I go to the movies. It used to be going to the movies was fun; now it's a hassle. And that truly is another topic completely.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I think we're in a low point again for movies.

We just came out of a high point at the tail end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, where we had a lot of really good movies, but now there's very little with any real merit. There's plenty of mindless diverson, but little that I think anyone will still be watching in 10-20 years.

I doubt that's related to liberalism so much as just low quality and a lack of ideas.

StanH said...

Hollywood needs to shed some stale producers and actors, sometimes it seems they just dial in a genre and …wam-bam-thank-you ma’am a movie, there are exceptions. You are so right for the most part, it’s like a default liberal point of view, and by the way in your face overt anti-American movies are flopping terribly. But, your point is well taken --move to the center, but not contrived people pick up phony in a second. As has been discussed over at BH it’s an enormous market if someone can exploit the opening honestly.

Tennessee Jed said...

I enjoyed reading this piece Andrew. All I can add is that a film can be entertaining and doesn't really have to be conservative or liberal in it's point of view and I am just fine with that. The only clearly movie I can think of off the top om head is Ayne Rand's "Fountainhead."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. There are many movies that are purely escapist. Unfortunately, though, right now Hollywood has a tendancy to cram liberalims into even escapist movies.

Stan, I think Hollywood needs to learn to take risks, which seems to be something they are incapable of doing anymore.

FB Hink said...

A lot of the debate I am reading is lost in semantics: What’s a liberal and what’s a conservative? Of my recollection from Civics 101 – which isn’t taught anymore – base conservative/liberal debate always began with a basic core belief in liberty, the belief in the individual’s right of self-determination. Classic liberals believe in free markets and everything goes so long as you don’t hurt anyone. Classic conservatives believe in self-limitations on behavior and a government with a little punch to it concerning markets but certainly non-invasive to the individual. The liberal tag has been hijacked by progressives, which I now call progressive-socialism. So in my mind – and this is echoed by what Andrew has said – neither conservative nor liberal can claim the patriotism label. What Lawhawk is saying that the current crops of leftists are not patriotic. Both are right.

A true liberal is Thomas Jefferson. A true conservative is George Washington. A true progressive-socialist is Barrack Obama. I know, my way of thought is a little overly simplistic but it makes my point.

Now, getting back to conservative films, I would look to the Bond flicks. The crisis that Bond faces in every story line is always solved through his reliance on his own strength of character and independent action. I point to the latest, Quantum of Solace. Bond is faced with dangers from both the bad guys and the government he serves. There is a message that governments cannot be trusted. Even the environmental message is a conservative one – current environmentalism is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.

I see our nation in crisis as a battle between good and evil, the battle between libertarian/conservative values versus that of an all-oppressive progressive-socialist cancer. Until the cancer is cured, true liberals and conservatives are going to have to band together to fight it before they can resume their own debate.

AndrewPrice said...

FB Hink, Good comment, well diagnosed!

I think you're right about the politics and the current situation. Liberals and conservatives share a lot of similarities and the differences can be handled in good faith.

But when you add in the progressives/socialists, that's when things get nasty because their view of the world is anti-freedom, which is something that both liberals and conservatives should oppose.

And unfortunately, while I don't think that rank and file Democrats, by and large, fall into the category of progressives, their leaders and their activists certainly do.

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