Thursday, October 2, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

I’ve heard there are basically two reasons to collect art. The first is that you like the piece of artwork, that you think it’s pretty or interesting. The second is that you appreciate something about the artist.

This same principle can be applied to film. We go see films because there is something about the film itself that we enjoy – comedy, romance or drama – or because someone we appreciate is involved in the making of the film, such as the director, writer or actor.

An American Carol comes out this weekend. If you don’t know the premise, here’s the trailer:

Recently, I was invited, as were other bloggers, to a live web interview of writer/director/producer David Zucker. He talked about the motivations for making this movie and what he’s trying to “do” with it.

Zucker talked about how his political conversion from liberalism to conservatism was an intellectual one, how he felt that the conservative school of thought gave a better direction for our country than a liberal one.

“Conservatives can accept that if you are liberal, it is because we have a difference of opinion about certain facts or events. Liberals think that you’re a conservative because you’re stupid or evil or rich. A dad of one of the kids in my son’s class, when he found out I was a conservative, said, ‘Well, of course you are, you’re rich!’”

Which, of course, explains other rich conservatives like Brad Henry and Drew Edmondson and John Kerry and John Edwards and Jimmy Carter and Al Gore and Barack Obama and all the Kennedys and Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Bill Gates and Ted Turner and Jane Fonda and George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell and Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn and Robert Redford and Whoopi Goldberg and Oliver Stone and Madonna and Bill Maher and David Letterman and Barbara Streisand and…oh wait….

Zucker continues: “I said, that’s ridiculous! I was just as rich when I was liberal!” He then tells how his son, a fifth-grader, went to school soon after, and was told by one of the kids in his class that they couldn’t be friends anymore “because you’re a Republican.”

All of this builds to why Zucker made American Carol. He says that Conservatives by and large do not make up the majority of the modern movie-going audience. Zucker points out, a liberal will see a trailer for a film and say, “That looks great! I’m going to go see that opening weekend!” A conservative will see a trailer and say, “That looks great! I’m going to rent that as soon as it comes out on DVD!”

Conservatives, Zucker argues, have gotten out of the habit of going to see movies in theaters. This is because they feel marginalized because most movies made today have liberal and/or negative views of America in them, whether subtle or obtuse (i.e. Rendition, Iron Man, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan) rather than positive or Conservative views. He wanted to make a movie that Conservatives would come out in droves to see to prove to Hollywood that Conservatives want to see movies made for them.

Zucker also said that films like The Passion of the Christ don’t contribute to proving that point, because Hollywood was able to dismiss that box office success by attributing it to churches and Sunday School classes who went en masse.

And here is the most important part. Zucker told a story about a construction worker who was on his lunch break. He opened his lunch box and said, “Aw, man! Peanut butter and jelly again? Ugh.” His buddy says, “If you don’t like peanut butter and jelly, why don’t you ask your wife to make you something different?” The man replies, “I’m not married. I make my own lunch.”

Conservatives cannot complain about the political tenor of films coming out of Hollywood if they won’t show up to support the ones they agree with. We are making our own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then complaining about it if we whine about how liberal Hollywood has become, and then don’t make the extra effort to show up when Conservative films like American Carol come out.

So, this is the call to action: tomorrow, An American Carol is being released. Go see it. Get some friends together and go enjoy a fun, conservative movie. And remember, it is rated PG-13, so leave the kiddos at home.

(Read the fine print on the poster below. It's an equal-opportunity offending film.)

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