As is the case with many niche commentary and opinion editorials, movie criticism — by design and if done correctly — will provoke strong reactions both pro and con, no matter what the issue. Movie criticism isn’t plot summation but rather interpreting a work of art and analyzing it with nuance and depth. The major gripes most people have with movie critics: they are cultural snobs, don’t share the same tastes as the average movie lover, and far too often spoil the viewing experience by revealing plot twists. I am sad to report this is frequently true.
What the average movie patron doesn’t know and will soon be made keenly aware of is that the lion’s share of movie critics — like most of the media in general — lean far to the left. Those who fit this bill will watch a movie most people will despise and give gushing praise not generally based on its artistic merits but because they agree with the political content. Adversely they might see something else and decry it for the same reason.
A good example of this is "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson’s searing 2003 epic that is the highest grossing foreign language and “R” rated film ever produced ($611 million worldwide) and the level of political content contained in it matched if not exceeded the overwhelming spiritual message. I gave this film my highest (****) rating while on the aggregate movie critic website rottentomatoes.com [RT], it has a lowly rating of just 49 percent.
The majority of audiences — both left and right — prefer not to have politics included in their movies but the people who produce and market these films are going to give it to them anyway. While not every 2017 movie brought with it overt political content, many did and some may surprise you.
January saw the wide release of "20th Century Women" starring Annette Bening as a single mother living in a home she can’t afford who tries to make ends meet by renting out rooms. Unable but mostly unwilling to relate to and raise her teen child, she tries to persuade two of her tenants to do it for her while not working or trying to find employment (88 percent on RT). This scenario is similar to that in "The Florida Project" (96 percent on RT) where a drug and alcohol-addicted single mom (and eventual prostitute) allows her daughter to run wild in and around a seedy motel on the outskirts of Disneyworld.
Released in February, the horror/satire "Get Out" became an instant hit with both audiences and critics (99 percent on RT). A well-made and thought-provoking film, "Get Out" tried for as long as possible to remain politically neutral yet eventually caved and suggested without much doubt that wealthy white conservatives have invented a new form of slavery. Similar race-baiting issues were also raised with vague ambiguity by some commenting on "War for the Planet of the Apes" (93 percent on RT).
It wasn’t race but instead class issues that were at the heart of "Beatriz at Dinner" (74 percent on RT). Salma Hayek plays the title character, a new age massage therapist who, in a drunken stupor, dresses down a Trump doppelganger real estate developer (John Lithgow) named “Doug Strutt” (oh, the unimaginative irony). In the new Christian Bale vehicle "Hostiles" (74 percent on RT), writer/director Scott Cooper takes a post-Civil War western and injects both class and race commentary into the narrative.
Released in August, the documentary "Whose Streets?" (97 percent on RT) chronicles the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson acting in self-defense and later cleared of any wrong-doing. Slanted to such a degree it could qualify as fiction, "Whose Streets?" was designed for the sole purpose of legitimizing and the further ginning up of the (some say terrorist) “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Another documentary that towed the left line was "An Inconvenient Sequel" (79 percent on RT), the unintentionally funny yet apropos titled follow-up to "An Inconvenient Truth." In both, major carbon foot printer Al Gore used selective “sciencey” chart-and-graph optics to support his theory that the world will end next week if everybody won’t immediately stop the use of vehicles with gas-powered engines.
The final and most telling example of 2017 far-reaching liberal desperation takes place in director Steven Spielberg’s "The Post." Chronicling the story of the Pentagon Papers, this movie tries in vain to somehow connect President Richard Nixon’s attempted lawsuit against The New York Times and The Washington Post for “national security issues” to President Trump’s comments of these same outlets. He’s not infringing on the First Amendment. He’s not charging these outlets with a crime or even demanding they not publish this or that. President Trump is calling them out for presenting falsehoods. That’s it.
Spielberg, producer Amy Pascal, and fellow lefty leads Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are grasping at straws. They are trying to rearrange the deck chairs and polish the brass on the Titanic. Your lost cause is slowly sinking and whether you recognize it yet or not, the American people are the ones manning the metaphoric life boats. Save yourself and jump aboard while you still have the chance.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national media outlets and is currently the only newspaper-based film critic providing original content in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace and he recently co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle. Over the last two decades, Mr. Clark has written over 3,500 movie reviews and film related articles and is one of the scant few conservative-minded U.S. critics. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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