Yeah, yeah, I know. The new Russell Crowe movie, “Robin Hood”, opened to mixed reviews (most implied that it was mediocre, at best); therefore, like a lot of you, I was going to wait until it came out on video to see it. Then, I happened to stumble upon this column on Real Clear Politics written by Cathy Young. Ms. Young begins her column by writing the following–
“The new Ridley Scott film “Robin Hood”, which has opened to mixed reviews on its merits as entertainment, is also drawing some critics’ political ire. In New York’s leftist weekly, The Village Voice, Karina Longworth laments that “instead of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, this Robin Hood preaches about ‘liberty’ and the rights of the individual” and battles against “government greed”; the film, she scoffs, is “a rousing love letter to the tea party movement.” On a similar note, the New York Times’ A.O. Scott mocks “Robin Hood” as “one big medieval tea party”:
“You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is … a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles.”
Whatever one may think of Scott’s newest incarnation of the Robin Hood legend, it is more than a little troubling to see alleged liberals speak of liberty and individual rights in a tone of sarcastic dismissal. This is especially ironic since the Robin Hood of myth and folklore probably has much more in common with the “libertarian rebel” played by Russell Crowe than with the medieval socialist of “rob from the rich, give to the poor” cliché. At heart, the noble-outlaw legend that has captured the human imagination for centuries is about freedom, not wealth redistribution — and this is reflected in many previous screen versions of the Robin Hood story.”
So after reading Ms. Young’s column, my curiosity was piqued. I, then, went on YouTube and deliberately sought out the “Robin Hood” trailer to ascertain for myself if it looked to be any good (see the embed below).
My, that just looked terrible!! There were epic battle scenes, hot looking actors in beautiful costumes, and fiery special effects set to a rousing musical score. Why in the world would anyone want to subject themselves to that?! Besides, Robin Hood was spouting far-right wing, teabagger talking points about “liberty” and “individual rights”. Nasty, nasty, yuck yuck. (In case you haven’t noticed, my voice is reeking with sarcasm right now. Furthermore, that script was probably written over two years ago–long before anyone had ever heard of the Tea Party.)
Well, after watching that trailer and reading Ms. Young’s column, I decided that I would go see “Robin Hood” in the theaters after all, and judge the movie for myself. I mean, it had Ridley Scott directing it and Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett staring in it–seriously, how bad could it be? At the very worst, it might be “Gladiator” set in medieval England (which actually sounds OK to me).
Now, after going to see the movie a couple of nights ago, I remember walking out of the theater in a totally confused state, because I thought that the movie rocked. In other words, the reviews that I read of the movie didn’t at all square with what I had just watched on the big screen. However, when I stopped and thought for a moment, I realized that I had seen this movie before. And by “this movie”, I mean liberal film critics and pundits writing something about a film (that might express some conservative values) that didn’t at all square with reality when you actually saw the movie.
For instance, I remember when “Braveheart” first came out in the mid-nineties, the film critic for Time panned the movie and said that “Rob Roy” was a better film. I’m not kidding. At the time, I wasn’t aware that the MSM was biased and I didn’t really follow politics much. Therefore, it never occurred to me that Time’s film critic might be allowing his political opinions to get in the way of giving “Braveheart” an objective review–I just thought that he might be smoking something. Now, I couldn’t find the link to that review from Time (it is over fifteen years old);however, I did find a review of “Braveheart” from Time Out London that concurred with the reviewer from Time–he called the movie “pure hokum”. [By the way, if you want a good laugh, then read the eighth comment down in the movie review that I just linked to–that guy (who goes by Justin Vest) says it better than I ever could.]
However, the best example that I could recall of film critic dissociative disorder (that’s what I call it when a movie review seems to be totally disconnected from reality) was when “The Passion of the Christ” was released in 2004. I remember liberals, literally, losing their minds when that film came out. Franks Rich wrote a column railing about “The Passion” where he accused Mel Gibson of “Jew-baiting”, called the film “a joy-ride for sadomasochists”, and then wrote the that “the fracas over “The Passion” has made me feel less secure as a Jew in America than ever before. ” Oh, for crying out loud! Melodramatic much, Mr. Rich?
By the way, in his column, Frank Rich made, in my opinion, a slightly bigoted comment about a Muslim film distributor when he wrote the following–
“It can’t be coincidence that France, where Jacques Chirac has of late called for “zero tolerance” of anti-Semitism, was the only country where the film lacked a distributor until this week, when a Tunisian producer declared it was his “duty as a Muslim who believes in Jesus” to remedy that terrible lapse.”
Is it just me, or is Mr. Rich castling aspersions on this man’s character without any proof? I mean, it’s entirely possible that the Tunisian film producer was a rabble-rouser who wanted to incite people in France to kill the Jews; however, Mr. Rich provides no proof or examples that this was the case. (Furthermore, I never heard of any reports of Jews in France being brutalized or murdered due to screenings of “The Passion”.) Did it ever occur to Mr. Rich that maybe this Tunisian film distributor was a religious man who just wanted to “spread the good news” to others as he saw it? (Jesus is considered to be a great prophet by the Muslims and the Koran says that it is He who will come at the end of the world to judge people.) Or, maybe this film producer wanted to “remedy that terrible lapse”, because he wanted to make a terribly large amount of money? (Gasp! That would make him an evil teabagger who believes in “liberty” and “individual rights”–just like that Robin Hood!) Anyway, my point is that if a conservative columnist had written those exact same comments about a Muslim man, without providing any proof of his assertions, Mr. Rich would be screaming “RAAAAACIST!!” at the top of his lungs, but I digress.
Now, NYT film critic A. O. Scott (where have I heard that name before? oh yeah, he panned “Robin Hood”) disagreed with with Frank Rich about “The Passion” being anti-Semitic (that honestly surprised me), but still panned the movie anyway because he thought that it was too gory, and that it should have focused more on Jesus’ teachings, and less on his excruciating death.
Surprisingly, the only film critic who seemed to “get it” about “The Passion of the Christ” was Roger Ebert when he gave the film four stars. Ebert stated that it was “the most violent film that I had ever seen”, but then wrote the following about the picture–
“I prefer to evaluate a film on the basis of what it intends to do, not on what I think it should have done. It is clear that Mel Gibson wanted to make graphic and inescapable the price that Jesus paid (as Christians believe) when he died for our sins.”
Anyway, my point is that when I first went to see “The Passion of the Christ”, I was fully prepared to walk out half-way through the movie in protest because all of the supposed “antisemitism” in the film that I had read about in the NYT. (I was still a Democrat in 2004, so I trusted the NYT.) In fact, the only reason why I went to the movie was because all of my friends and everyone from my church was going, and I didn’t want to be “out of the loop”. So, you all can imagine my surprise when I went and didn’t see a lick of antisemitism. In fact, the most heroic characters in the movie that, literally, brought tears to my eyes were Jewish–like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry his cross, or Veronica who wiped his face. It was then, that my eyes started to open, and I began to realize that liberals tend to view everything through a partisan lens–and have little to no tolerance for apostasy as they see it (i.e., anyone slightly straying from their liberal talking points).
Now, since I started to notice a pattern here of liberal critics and columnists panning films that could potentially appeal to conservatives, I decided to do some research and look into past reviews from The New York Times of some other perceived right-leaning films that I happen to think kick ass.
So, what do you think that A.O. Scott thought of the movie “300″ (which is now officially a cult classic)? Guess what? He hated it. To be specific, Scott stated that, ““300” is about as violent as “Apocalypto” and twice as stupid”. Mr. Scott then goes onto imply that “300″ is a racist movie when he writes the following–
“The Persians, pioneers in the art of facial piercing, have vastly greater numbers — including ninjas, dervishes, elephants, a charging rhino and an angry bald giant — but the Spartans clearly have superior health clubs and electrolysis facilities. They also hew to a warrior ethic of valor and freedom that makes them, despite their gleeful appetite for killing, the good guys in this tale. (It may be worth pointing out that unlike their mostly black and brown foes, the Spartans and their fellow Greeks are white.)”
Again with “freedom” and “individual rights” being dirty words to the left. Are you staring to notice a pattern yet?
OK–since A.O. Scott mentioned “Apocalypto” in his review of “300″, I thought that I would look up his review of that movie as well. And, yes you are right–Scott also hated that movie. To be specific, Mr. Scott referred to this film as “The passion of the Maya”. However, I found this exert from Mr. Scott’s column to be particularly interesting–
“The setting is Central America before the arrival of the Spanish, when the Maya empire, in Mr. Gibson’s version, was already in the process of collapsing from within. The basic moral conflict — as it was in “Braveheart,” directed by and starring Mr. Gibson, and in “The Patriot,” a vehicle for him directed by Roland Emmerich — is between a small group of people trying to live simple, decent, traditional lives and a larger, more powerful political entity driven by bloodlust and greed. This kind of conservative anti-imperialism runs consistently through Mr. Gibson’s work; whether the empire in question is Roman, British or Mesoamerican, and whatever its political resonance might be, it allows the viewer to root for an unambiguously virtuous underdog. “
Seriously????!!!!! According to A.O. Scott, “Apocalypto” was about Norman Rockwell/ middle America, small town, red state values verses liberal, urban, blue state values. Silly me. All this time, I thought that “Apocalypto” was an awesome historical epic about the fall of the Mayan empire. However, I guess because the central character was willing to fight valiantly and risk his life to save his family, that made it a “conservative” movie. Keep on talking Mr. Scott, because you’re making it seem that if the characters in a movie have any redeeming qualities at all–like love of family, patriotism, valor, a love of liberty, etc.–then the film automatically becomes conservative propaganda. OK–I’ll happily go along with that line of thinking.
(And while we’re at it, I guess Mr. Scott thinks that “The Patriot” was a “Tea Party” movie as well. Oh, wait–it was.)
Next, I decided to see what A.O. Scott had to say about “Kingdom of Heaven”–another awesome Ridley Scott film that was about the Crusades. Do I even have to ask this time? Of course you all guessed that he hated it, right? (Furthermore, Mr. Scott even went so far as to state in this review that he didn’t like “Gladiator” either–which is another Ridley Scott film. This dude really doesn’t like Ridley Scott or Russell Crow, but I digress.) Now, Mr. Scott’s biggest beef with the film seemed to be that he felt that the Christians weren’t portrayed as evil enough for him. That, and the evil knight/bad guy had a French accent. To be specific, Mr. Scott wrote the following–
“Written by a newcomer, William Monahan, “Kingdom of Heaven” is an ostensibly fair-minded, even-handed account of one of the least fair-minded, even-handed chapters in human history, during which European Christians descended on the Middle East for more than 200 years.”
Yeah, you see, I guess A.O. Scott didn’t like the fact that “Kingdom of Heaven” portrayed some knights as good, some knights as bad, and some Muslims as good, some Muslims as bad–which is how the world actually works. (There are good and bad people in all cultures and walks of life. But, I guess that’s an inconvenient truth that liberals would rather not face.)
However, come to think of it, one could have easily deduced that A.O. Scott, the NYT and most liberal elites wouldn’t have liked “Kingdom of Heaven” as soon as they heard the oath that the knights had to take (which I, embarrassingly, have memorized).
“Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright so that God may love thee. Speak the truth always–even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. Now, rise a knight.”
“Oh nooos!! More intolerant teabagger talking points about bravery, valor and God! How stupid and small-minded.”
And, finally, out of sheer curiosity, I decided to look up A. O. Scott’s review of “The Dark Knight”. I figured that even he would love that movie, because that movie just oozed awesome all over the place. (I mean, after seeing “The Dark Knight”, I can’t even watch the original “Batman” with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson anymore–and I used to love that movie!) Well, I was wrong. Although he didn’t flat out pan it like he did the other movies that I previously discussed, Mr. Scott implied that that he found “The Dark Knight” tiresome when he wrote that “as soon as the main character is suited up and ready to do battle, the originality drains out of the picture, and the commercial imperatives — the big fight, the overscaled action extravaganza — take over.”
So, in a nutshell, I think that the only way that liberals (and the NYT) would have liked “Robin Hood” is if he stole from the people of Nottingham and gave their money to Prince John so that he could institute socialized medicine. And, I think that the only way that liberals would have liked “Braveheart” is if he screamed “Sooooocialism!!” instead of “Freeeeedom!!”. Not to mention, I think that the only way that liberals would have liked “The Passion of the Christ” is if Jesus had been crucified by “radical Christians” for preaching atheism and telling people that he wanted to “spread the wealth around”. And, I think that the only way that liberals would have liked “The Dark Knight” would have been if, instead of beating the snot out of the Joker to get him to confess where he hid the bomb, Batman would have tried to understand the Joker better by starting a diversity outreach program to people with green hair and white skin. And, I think that the only way that liberals would have liked “Gladiator”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Apocalypto” and “300″ would have been…..oh, screw it. There would be absolutely NO WAY to get liberals to like those movies, because they just aren’t wussified enough for them. (Yes, “wussified” is indeed a word–look it up.)
OK–now, I know what question you all are asking yourselves–”What movies does A.O. Scott (and the NYT) actually like?” Well, I Googled “Movies that A. O. Scott likes”, and this column from Rotten Tomatoes came up–it lists A.O. Scott’s top five favorite movies. Now, if you click on the link and look at that list, “The Godfather” was the only one that I had even heard of–and it was the only movie that Scott named that was made after 1971 (“The Godfather” was made in 1972).
Oh, but I almost forgot the best part. When I Googled “Movies that A. O. Scott likes”, I found out that A.O. Scott had given a positive review to “Harold & Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay”. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. To be specific, Mr. Scott opened his column by writing the following with regard to this movie–
“If you think the last seven years have been one long, dumb, dirty joke — or maybe if, sometimes, you just wish you could believe as much — then “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, just might be the perfect movie for you.”
Then, in the latter part of his column–after writing that “Paranoia is no longer an occasional, bong-induced side effect, but rather standard operating procedure at the highest levels of government”–Mr. Scott gives us this brilliant insight–
“But precisely because their attitudes are so bluntly hedonistic and apolitical, Harold and Kumar manage to be fairly persuasive when they get around to criticizing the status quo, which the movie has the wit to acknowledge itself as part of. “
Apolitical?Really????!!!!! First of all, this movie was nothing but one great, big political tirade–and, A. O. Scott acknowledges as much when he writes that the last seven years have been “one long, dumb, dirty joke”. I mean, the entire plot of this movie revolves around the idea that the Department of Homeland Security is racist, stupid and will throw innocent people into Guantanamo for smoking a bong on an airplane–and, will assume that anyone with brown skin is a terrorist until proven otherwise.
Second of all, “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” is probably one of the top five WORST movies that I’ve ever seen. Besides the fact that the plot is totally ridiculous and asks the audience to have a willing suspension of disbelief, this movie is unfunny, highly offensive and anti-American as well. I could only get through the first half of it because it is, literally, unwatchable. “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” glorifies drug use, implies that America is a racist country that will throw any brown person in Gitmo for no reason at all, and mocks southerners as incestuous hicks who have sex with their siblings and have inbred, one-eyed cyclops children that they hide in their basements–which is probably why A.O. Scott likes this movie so much. In other words, “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” echoes every left wing talking point about the Bush Administration, America, and the south perfectly. Furthermore, what’s so tragic about this movie is that “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” (the first movie in this series) was probably one of the funniest movies that I’ve ever seen. Sure it also glorified drug use, but unlike “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay”, it was actually funny, unoffensive and truly apolitical.
So, in a nutshell, if you ask A.O. Scott, The New York Times, and most film critics and liberals in general to recommend a movie to you, they will tell you “Robin Hood” no, “Braveheart” no, “The Passion of the Christ” no, “300″ no, “Apocalypto” no, “Kingdom of Heaven” no, “Gladiator” no, “The Dark Knight” no–but, “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” and any movie made before 1972, yes. Oh, and I’m sure that they will all love any movie with a title like, “A Room With a View and a Staircase and a Window and a Bunch of Polite British People Staring at Each Other”, but I digress.
Alright, I think that I know what you all are asking right now–”Susannah, why do liberals always feel the need to indoctrinate people and proselytize about their political views to captive audiences?” In other words, why don’t they just shut up and report the news, or shut up and teach the kids, or shut up sing/act, or shut up and objectively review a film without injecting politics into the mix? Well, the answer is really quit simple. It’s because they are out-numbered. There are a lot more of us than there are of them–and by “us”, I don’t even mean liberals vs. conservatives (although there are more conservatives in America than liberals). I mean, people who value liberty, family, honor, religion, and individual rights, and don’t think that they are dirty words to be scoffed at.
For instance, I can enjoy a left-leaning film like “Frost/Nixon” or “Michael Clayton” (I thought that both were excellent), because I’m not so insecure that I need a movie to validate my world view. As long as it’s entertaining and not offensive, I’m there. However, liberals aren’t like that. To quote “Glengarry Glen Ross”, they must “always be closing”. I think this is because they know that they are out-numbered by traditional Americans; however, they are also aware that they have the bigger megaphone (i.e., the MSM, academia, Hollywood, entertainment, etc.). Therefore, I think they must feel like they have to always be shouting into that megaphone–otherwise they fear that they are leaving loose threads hanging off of their clothes. And, then, all we traditional Americans have to do is yank on those threads, and then the whole facade of liberalism unravels and they are left standing there naked and unmasked for all to see.
So, in conclusion, I think that if you like action movies with manly men, lots of battle scenes and sword fighting, then you will love “Robin Hood”, because it is extremely well made and well directed. The opening battle scene where the English were storming a French castle was so realistic, that when they blew the gate off of the castle, I actually crouched down in my seat to avoid the falling debris and fiery rubble. Furthermore, the acting was very good–Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett were great as usual, and the guy who played Prince John (Oscar Issac) was such a cutie. (I love it when a movie villain is a bit complex and has some redeeming qualities–and, Oscar Issac played Prince John as a charming rogue who was indifferent to his people’s suffering, but did love his wife.) The only criticism that I have is that I feel that I would have liked to have seen more of Matthew Macfadyen, who played the Sheriff of Nottingham, because I’ve been a big fan of his ever since he played Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice” (and I loved him in “Frost/Nixon” as well). (Yes, it is possible to love “Pride and Prejudice” and “300″.)
Now, if you don’t like action packed historical epics like”Braveheart”, “Gladiator” or “Kingdom of Heaven”, then you probably won’t like “Robin Hood”–no matter how well-made it is. This is not an exact science–there is some subjectivity involved. All I’m saying is that, if the “Robin Hood” trailer initially appealed to you and you thought that it looked like a good movie, then don’t be scared away from seeing it by A.O. Scott or The Village Voice. I mean, we don’t let these people tell us how to vote, what to think, or even how to educate our children anymore. So, I ask you, why in the world should we let them tell us what movies to see? Just a thought.
But hey–what do I know. I’m no professional film critic. However, I do share your values a lot more than than A.O. Scott or The New York Times does. So, the way I see it, you can take my advice and see this movie–
….or this movie–
….or this movie (don’t worry, it’s the PG preview)–
….or this movie–
….or this movie–
….or this movie–
….or this movie–
….or this movie–
….or you can take A.O. Scott’s advice and see this movie–
The choice is yours.
PS–A lot of the people who would scoff at most of the movies that I embedded above, also want your children to do this in school–
PPS–Just because I love you guys and because I KNOW that you aren’t wussies, I embedded a video called “Epic War” below. It is a compilation of battle scenes from “Braveheart”, “Gladiator”, “Kingdom of Heaven” and “King Author”. It is teh awesome!!
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