Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Is Recycling Day

In honor of all the recent debate over the politics of The Dark Knight Rises.

"The Right Stuff" (Originally Published, 2.17.09)

Gotta thank Cesca for leading me to this little gem: the National Review Online's compilation of the supposed "25 Best Conservative Movies."

What exactly makes a movie "conservative" is apparently known only to the brain trust at NRO, which includes the decidedly un-brainy Rich Lowry -- editor of the National Review and the guy who essentially publicly admitted to masturbating during Sarah Palin's vice presidential debate performance (see column below). While the most interesting thing about the list in general is what it subtly says about the effort undertaken by the Review's conservative readers to avoid appearing stereotypically uncultured (obvious choices are avoided: Superman, Top Gun, Die Hard, Norris's The Octagon, the Rambo series, etc.), equally fascinating is what a few of the individual choices say about how conservatives view their role in relation to the U.S. power structure. Put simply, they still, even after the last eight years of oppressive abuses and astonishingly expansive spending by a Republican administration, see themselves as the rag-tag band of rebels fighting the evil empire of big government. How else to justify the appropriation of films like The Lives of Others, 300, or -- in the "also-rans" list and possibly most shocking -- my beloved Serenity.

While scanning the list, look for a couple of truly great "What the Fuck?" moments, like the fact that all three movies by hyper-WASP Whit Stillman are included, as well as The Dark Knight (still pitched as a paean to George W. Bush), United 93 (if you didn't see that one coming...) and, well, Team America (its inclusion proof that brilliant satire ultimately fools those it's targeting).

The National Review Online: The Best Conservative Movies/2.23.09 Issue

Now that I've perused NRO's choices a few times, I can't help but feel like there are quite a few movies that the magazine neglected to mention. Movies that I think should've made the list before, say, Ghostbusters.

How about:

Last Tango In Paris

Features a selfish white guy who delights in bending over complete strangers and screwing them in the ass.

Wall Street

A perfect movie right up until the last ten minutes.


A clever American outwits the Nazis and dumps his foreigner girlfriend.

The Transporter

A white guy in an expensive car lives by a strict code that includes doing what he's told while never asking questions and never bothering to look at what his job entails and whether it's hurting anyone.


The uplifting story of an unstoppable white object that sinks a boat full of poor people while most of the rich manage to save themselves -- a fine allegory for either the U.S. government or Wall Street, depending on your perspective.

The Big Chill

Its main character is a dead hippie.


Mel Gibson defeats illegal aliens.

American Psycho

A Wall Street investment banker murders hookers, homeless people, and other undesirables.

Thelma and Louise

Ends with Susan Sarandon driving off a cliff.

Any more suggestions? Have at it.


Drew said...

Lord of the Rings? Really? The heroes went to war because they had to not because they wanted to (during which they discovered the true horror of it all), the trees rose up against the metal and wheels of industry, and the eventual King was actually in the war getting bloody.

Hardly a synchronistic parallel with W.

(side note: JRRT was extremely anti-war and despised the voracious destruction of nature in favor of industry...not exactly today's modern conservative)

I suppose it's all prespective though.

Chez, nice additions to the list!

ZIRGAR said...

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: A good-hearted American kid helps a little brown illegal alien, with a funny accent, go back home--where he belongs!

Tabes Bridges said...

I really enjoy the assertion that "universal human equality" is a conservative value... Also the description of Juno MacGuff as excessively confident for a pregnant teenager is a delight.