Saturday, October 04, 2008

An American Carol

I went to see An American Carol. It has some novelty value as a right-wing movie made by Hollywood. As Dr. Johnson said of a dog walking on two legs, the wonder is not that he does it well, but that he does it at all. Aside from the interest of watching a right-wing movie, which gets old pretty fast, the film has little of worth. Like most movies, it is idiotic and tedious.

I was the only patron in the theater at a 10:15pm screening on Friday night. I got up during the second half and stood for awhile to keep myself awake. I don't expect this movie to do much at the box office. (BTW, the ticket, a bottle of water, small popcorn and candy cost me $22. For a family of five we're talking $100. I would guess that's why they make DVD stores.)

Hollywood can make stupid left-wing movies, and now it has proved it can make stupid right-wing movies. Mostly it makes just stupid movies that don't aspire to any ideology. When Hollywood makes good, intelligent movies, I'll be impressed.

On the way home I heard "Since I've Been Loving You," by Led Zeppelin on the radio. What a great song. Both Page and Plant are at the top of their game on that recording. Page's guitar work is amazing.


Dismuke said...

As someone who hasn't watched TV besides election returns or local weather coverage when the tornado sirens go off for years and as someone who hasn't been to a movie theater in years and rarely watches movies newer than 1940 at home, the closest exposure I get these days to pop culture is right wing radio talk shows I listen to when I happen to be in the car. Even that is far more than I can stomach at times.

As a result, unless it happens to get significant mention on the websites I regularly visit or by people I know, I rarely even recognize the mere titles of movies that have come out in recent years.

But as a listener to talk radio, I could not but help be aware of An American Carol. They have been running ads over and over again emphasizing two points: the movie is right wing and it is allegedly funny. Listening to the ads I was somewhat suspicious that the movie was nothing more than an attempt by Hollywood Leftists to, in a very backhanded way, smear and ridicule anyone who is not an outright Stalinist.

I can understand why the makers of the movie might want to appeal to and advertise to an audience that might contain a lot of people like me who have little stomach for pop culture and who rarely go to movies as a result of it. But listening to the ads, my first thought is that the movie probably had to be pretty bad if the primary reason for getting people to see it is that it is right-wing. If I were to make a non-Leftists movie, I would not advertise it as such - I would want as many people to see it on the basis of its artistic merits and hope that any ideological message that might go with it would have an impact on those who do not already share my ideology.

Last night I heard an ad for the movie stating that this weekend there are two Leftist movies, one by Michael Moore and one by some other fellow, in theaters. The ad urged people to cast their vote for right wing values by going to see the movie. That is supposed to motivate me to spend time and money at a theater?

My guess is this movie is nothing more than a the product of a focus group driven attempt to reach and get money from an under-served demographic. Nothing wrong with doing that if you are selling widgets and such. But that is NOT a way to make a good movie. The answer to Leftist propaganda in movies is NOT Right Wing propaganda. The answer is to simply make GREAT MOVIES with any ideological aspect being secondary.

I am not holding my breath for that to happen on any regular basis. If an occasional great movie does come along, my guess is I will eventually hear about it from people I know and websites I visit who have the stomach to screen out the horrible ones themselves. I no longer have the stomach to do that like I once did. I will just continue to take happy refuge as much as I can in my little cocoon that is deliberately preserved in a 1900 - 1935 time warp. The Internet makes it much, much easier to have and build such a cocoon than it once was.

The various events that have been in the news over the past few weeks, while profoundly discouraging and depressing have emboldened me with a certain resolve: even if the rest of the world goes to hell, I am going to do everything I can to still have a happy life. If that means withdrawing from pop culture and even the world at large with the exception of my job, so be it.

Mike said...

I went to see it also. It was a knee-slapper at times, but yes, even with its 83-minute running time, I found myself looking at my watch. Subtlety was not in this film's vocabulary.

I just wish I had thought, at the very beginning when Leslie Nielsen enters the scene, to stand up and yell "Look! It's Enrico Pallazzo!"

Myrhaf said...

It would have made a great skit on SNL, but to sustain a feature-length movie, you need an interesting plot.

Mike said...

Oh, and per your Led Zeppelin reference, agreed. I would absolutely love to play some Zep on Rock Band 2, and I know I am not alone. Harmonix and Activision have already tried driving a dump truck full of money to Chateau Page, but he and Plant turned it down because they are the music industry's flagship Luddites and they think it would "degrade the integrity of their work." In so choosing, they fail at capitalism twice. Once, by failing to actually compete in the market by virtue of their lack of preparation and information, and twice, by listening to dismuke's lefties and thinking it would be shameful for them to "sell out to The Man" by actually accepting licensing dollars, freely offered, for the use of their intellectual property. As people respecting individual rights, we have to respect their decision to be idiots on both counts, because private property is private property, even when its owner is failing to exploit it optimally. And with that, I believe I will go play some Rush, The Who, and Jimmy Buffett on RB2, because those artists had no such difficulties grasping the obvious.

Myrhaf said...

If Page and Plant have been investing in the stock market since the early '70s, you have to figure they're both billionaires. They have enough money that they can afford to be eccentric. They allowed Cadillac to use "Rock'n'Roll" because they love old Cadillacs. RB2 should put a picture of Alistair Crowley on their web site to get in Page's good graces (or bad graces?).

SimonSez said...

Do what you want then you may do what you like!

Billy Beck said...

"I'm about to lose
My worried mind..."

Wotta blues song. My band jams that fairly regularly but nobody's had the nerve to step up to a vocal-mic yet. It's a very stiff stylistic challenge, because no one in their right would even consider trying to cop Plant through that thing. It has to be quite original.