Thursday, October 23, 2008

An American Carol

David Zucker, the former master of parody whose last good film was 1988’s “The Naked Gun,” registered Republican a few years ago and decided that what America wanted was a film unafraid to offer a right-wing take in a leftist Hollywood. According to him, it’s high time the conservatives got a little payback for all the abuse they (and America) have suffered at the hands of liberal cinema. No one came name me a film that is actually anti-American (which is interchanged with conservative as if they are synonymous), but never mind it's true.

Even a parody needs some form of plot advancement, and Zucker gives it to us in the form of left-wing documentarian Michael Malone, who’s just released his third anti-American film, “Die You American Pigs.” Three bumbling terrorists, looking to strengthen their recruitment campaign, travel to America to hire Malone, who is a critical darling but financially unsuccessful, to shoot propaganda films for them. Meanwhile, he’s trying to organize a ban on July 4th, for no real reason other than it represents America and he thinks it’s bad (because he hates America, you see).

Before long, Malone is visited by the spirits of JFK and George S. Patton, who take him through both America’s and his own history to show him the error of his ways. As Patton guides Malone through time and space, they fade in and out of corporeal states and reality about as often as they need to for Malone to be slapped in a hi-larious fashion. Zucker uses the time jumps to make up his own history; he compares Malone to Leni Riefenstahl, whose many innovations in the field of documentaries are somewhat lessened by the fact that she used them for Nazi propaganda. The ACLU, who have had to defend some pretty foul conservatives in addition to liberals, are portrayed as zombies shuffling about protecting terrorists. Liberals like Malone abuse freedom of speech, which is impossible since it’s not a freedom if you can’t criticize.

Bill O’Reilly has a cameo where he interviews Malone and Rosie O’Connell (no points for figuring out who that one's supposed to be), who has a documentary of her own where she blames fundamentalist Christians for terrorist acts instead of Muslims. Because Christians are good and American, I suppose. I guess Zucker forgot about Eric Robert Rudolph and the Ku Klux Klan. It also ignores about 1000 years of Christian atrocities, but then this film can’t get events from 8 years ago right. O’Reilly notes that people only believe Malone’s messages because it’s what they want to hear. People in glass houses, Bill…

Zucker really gets offensive (which is saying something, given the ridiculous amount of racism in the film), when he goes after college. In a lame, stiff musical number, college professors go on about indoctrinating you children by filling their heads with that there learnin’ and giving extra credit if you’re “black, female, or gay.” That offends on a personal level, but Zucker wins the Classless Pig of the Year award when the spirit of George Washington (played inexplicably by Jon Voight) shows Malone Ground Zero and suggests that 9/11 is Malone’s and, by extension, liberals’ fault. Mr. Zucker, there’s little I can say to you that will make it to print, so I’ll just say that if there is a Hell, I’ll see you there.

Liberals are of course likened to Prime Minister Chamberlain, who infamously appeased Hitler by giving him the Sudetenland, equating diplomacy with appeasement. I’ve got a little tip for you Dave, from an indoctrinated college boy who’s read his share of Voltaire and Vonnegut: it isn’t a satirical caricature against liberals if that’s the stated position of your party’s leader. Satire must criticize everyone, or it is just propaganda, and Zucker can’t even make a good parody anymore. I never thought I’d see a film worse than “Fireproof,” and certainly not the very next week.

The ultimate irony of this film - and the only humor it offers - is that, in the end, the gun-toting, blindly patriotic, willfully ig’nant hick portrayal of the conservatives is far more insulting than the desperate attempts to cast liberals as evil terrorist/commie/enemy du jour sympathizers. The only way it could have been any more condescending to the people it praises is if they threw in some of Sarah Palin’s “doggone its” and “doncha knows.” Apparently the plot was so complex it must be occasionally explained to the audience, yet the occasional narrative exposition comes from children. That pretty much sums it up, really.

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