This never gets old, and happens about once a year with always hilarious results. At any rate, the resident wingnut at the Telegraph has compiled the “top ten conservative movies of the modern era.” It’s always fun to see them twist their world view into a movie plot just to call it conservative. And don’t worry, of course the Lord of the Rings made the cut!
Make sure to catch the runner-ups, too. Apparently, all you need to do to be a conservative film is make a war flick. I must sadly report that the Palin biopic, The Undefeated, did not make the list. Neither did Atlas Shrugged.
you think there’s only the one??! That place is like the British version of RedState, except several of them have this weird Catholic fetish thing going on. Oh, and there’s also a resident glibertarian, if you’re looking for a new front pager…
/spends to much of his time reading shit that’s not good for his blood pressure
Wow. His misunderstanding of The Deer Hunter is so complete that he can only be acting with intentional and deliberate ignorance.
Master and Commander? He must not know how to watch movies. That was a period piece about a larger than life leader that seemed to authentically care for the men under his command and who loved science and knowledge even while being a man of war. Peter Effing Weir made that film!
Does anyone ever bother to put together the “top liberal movies of the modern era”? Of course they pat answer would be, “They’re all liberal. It’s Hollywood.” Or something along those lines. But honestly, do liberals even care about making lists of movies that lean left? It smacks of desperation that people feel the need to complies lists of movies that support their politics.
Bunch of hooey, most of them. All the war flicks can be classed as anti war war flicks. Except for maybe Blackhawk Down, with the book of the name was written by a genuine neo con type, Mark Bowden.
My guess is with LoTR’s, they are melding with Gollum over violation of his property rights. Though I suspect Gollum’s sleezy deceitful nature also made a connection.
waaaaaaaaay off on the deer hunter.
i’d like to submit Nailin’ Palin as the bestest evar.
I just have to copy & paste the first comment there, which is snarkily brilliant:
@superluminar: There’s a reason they call it the Torygraph.
(I’ve actually worked there, but only consluting on IT.)
These are the same brilliant minds who think “Born in the USA” is a Toby Keith-like patriotic anthem.
A Bridge Too Far is honorable mention…holy effing god….seriously….omg… The whole point of that movie is the truly conservative stiff upper lip british officer ignores reality in favor of ideology. Note: he is NOT the hero of the film and he realizes that at the end. wow
Someone forgot to add 300
There are some pretty dubious inclusions on that list as well.
I think he only liked Zulu because of the mowing down wave after wave of blah people.
peeps, I wouldn’t even bother criticising the list itself. I mean, this dude is so routinely wrong about US politics that he makes Veritas’ predictions of VICTORY!!! seem almost realistic.
Looking forward to this one, though: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ayn_rand_in_her_own_words/trailers/
It’s not uncommonly and not inaccurately referred to as the Torygraph.
Can someone explain to me why Viva Zapata is considered a right-wing film?
shoot me — Field of Dreams is honorable mention. Holy christ. THEY WERE SELF AVOWED HIPPIES BEFRIENDED BY A JD SALLINGER FIGURE. Oh, because they loved the baseball of the past? there was sacrifice by the magical (truly) burt lancaster character (he is brilliant)….THEY FIGHT BOOK BURNING NAZI COWS ON THE SCHOOL BOARD….sorry for shouting…
Hotel Rwanda is honorable mention…someone help me with this one….please…..ah….all about tribal loyalty… THE UN WAS ONE OF THE EFFING HEROES ALONG WITH THE FRENCH..
Is it about war or feature battles? Then it is Conservative because fuck you that’s why.
Love that he included United 93. Love that he tries to co-opt that to conservatives. Same with the Dark Knight. WTF?
Has any of these conservative movie lists ever included “All quiet on the Western Front”? You’d think they would be unaware enough.
Did Reefer Madness make the list?
It’s in the honorable mentions, I’m sure making Victor Davis Hanson cry.
I enjoyed a number of the films in his top ten, but the honorable mention section is full of dreck.
The Moar You Know
“The Deer Hunter”?
You have to be shitting me.
The only rational explanation is that one of our resident trolls hacked their website and is now busy trolling the world.
@Tyro: Oh, but The Deer Hunter “cannot be described as an anti-war treatise”, so there you are.
This is just another example in a growing pile of data that supports the hypothesis that “modern conservatives” are the least self-aware humans on the planet today, and possibly ever. As near as I can tell, it’s a list of movies that the writer likes, and therefore they MUST be conservative, that are full of characters with attributes considered good, and therefore MUST be conservative.
Example: “Chariots of Fire exudes patriotism, tradition, faith, honour and sacrifice …”
Uh, liberals are never patriots? Don’t have faith? Honour? Don’t sacrifice?
Seriously, when was the last time you met a conservative who sacrifices ANYTHING? When was the last time a conservative even extolled the possible virtues of sacrifice FOR HIMSELF?
I honestly never have.
And as others have pointed out…Deer Hunter? Really?
List woefully incoplete. I know it says modern era but it lacks
Birth of a Nation. And triumph of the will
The list is so hilariously off base that I half expected to see “It’s a Wonderful Life” included.
The critic (Nile Gardiner) is seeing only what he wants to see in many of them. For example, he completely overlooks that the central premise of “Chariots of Fire” was how a mind-boggling stupid execution of a mind-boggling stupid WW1 military campaign wantonly destroyed the lives of some of Britain’s finest young men, with the first 60% of the film being focused on why one of those killed (British Olympic runner) was deservedly one of Britain’s finest young men. Instead, his focus for nominating the film was on the fact that: “Chariots of Fire exudes patriotism, tradition, faith, honour and sacrifice in a magnificently inspiring motion picture”. Yes, very true so far as it goes, but you’re missing the forest for a handful of the trees Nigel. As to his second nomination, “Zulu”, he can’t help noting that: “Zulu is one of the only films of the modern age that chose not to condemn or vilify Britain’s imperial heritage, but instead highlighted the extraordinary courage of the men who fought and died in defence of the largest and most benevolent Empire the world had ever seen.” Benevolent empire my ass; the Zulus had a similar opinion of British benevolence as the American colonists had in the American Revolution.
A similar pattern of astonishing blindness to any elements other than those selectively chosen to support stock conservative virtues appears throughout the list. I’m just glad he didn’t try to fit “Wizard of Oz” in there somewhere because of Dorothy’s Kansan virtues and family values.
Oops, I take it back 300 was on his list of “honorable” mentions. Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn were also inexplicably left off the list.
He PUBLISHED this list? Tsk Tsk Everyone knows movies like this are best discussed in quiet rooms. For shame, Nile!
Quickly! Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste: liberal or conservative? Go!
TL;DR version of the list:
“Timmy, do you like gladiator movies?”
Love the inclusion of the Deer Hunter too. That guy is writing some weapons-grade spoof.
What, no mention of Wall Street? Surely all good Tory children know that Gordon Gekko is a hero? Come to that The Godfather pretty sums up Romney capitalism. And of course we have the consummation of all that modern day conservatism holds dear: Debbie Does Dallas (The Jerry Jones Cut).
The only problem with this list is the title; it should have been, “Top ten movies conservatives like and don’t understand.”
Lord of the Rings is on the list because Republicans get all stirred up inside when Orcs do the things that Orcs do. Plus the idea of the Ring really gives them the shivers — of envy that Sauron had It and they don’t, and of contemplation of the horrors they’d use It to inflict if they had It (see “things that Orcs do”)
On a closely-related topic, I have heard that some Orcs are making a movie of their very own soon, to be entitled “24”.
Here’s one that should be on the list. It was produced by Newt’s pal:
The Moar You Know
I figured it out. The dumb Brit thinks that war movies are somehow “conservative” while completely missing the anti-war message in every film he cites. Hard to imagine anyone could be this stupid. Oh well.
@DCLaw1: I once had someone tell me they didn’t like Paul Simon’s My Little Town because it was too sappy and sentimental…
I’ve seen about half the movies on the list and don’t consider any of those to have a particularly conservative message.
What? No An American Carol??
I think Tolkien would request that his work be removed from the list. Someone has a definite lack of reading comprehension and higher order thinking skills.
You read my mind. How do you include Zulu and not Birth of a Nation. Might as well have included Mandango while he was at it.
I was going to make a joke about Romney being Saruman but then I realized if he truly had been, the orcs would have all been laid off after Saruman borrowed money from Sauron to hire Saruman as a management consultant who could explain how to cut down the trees in the forest. Thankfully for the orcs they all lived in the magical land of Taxachusetts and
had access towere forced to buy health insurance which comes in handy when the Live Free or Die Riders of Rohan are hacking you to bits.
The most puzzling thing on the list isn’t the gratuitous misviewing of films (which is to be expected) but why he included Saving Private Ryan without mentioning how the weeny liberal character stops them from executing a German prisoner who comes back at the end. That’s a legitimately conservative (and at the risk of being redundant, atrocious) message right there.
I can’t bring myself to look at the list. Are they still trying to claim The Dark Knight?
This guy’s an idiot, but I would like to say that Master and Commander actually has a pretty conservative worldview. It’s a very hierarchical, classist “tough world” ideology presented as the correct worldview. Remember that one of the characters we’re not supposed to like is the upper-class midshipman who futilely attempts to befriend the lower-class sailors. I guess you could defend all this by saying that’s a great way to run a boat, but a stupid way to run a government, but it’s a very conservative worldview nonetheless.
There’s also the seriously shockingly racist way the black sailors are portrayed in the film (even though they’re only in a couple of scenes). I’ll note in general that a common theme a lot of his choices is films that are pretty racist.
I really like Master and Commander, but I think he’s dead on as pegging it as “conservative” in its outlook.
Otoh, this is the guy who thinks “The Deer Hunter” is a pro-war patriotic film, so I’ll join the chorus in condemning him as a moron.
What the hell is a conservative movie any way? Why bring political ideology into everything?
hurt locker, an also-ran, is a conservative fillum ? how ?
I just clicked on the link for The Undefeated and I feel like John McClaine in Die Hard after he bit into the stale Twinkie.
Of course they are. It makes them tingly in their Batman Underoo-swathed nether regions.
Nice that this comes out the same day that edroso has a conservative/liberal humour thing up at his place too.
Theres a couple layers of cocksucking there, mainly
1) the LotR books were conservative, i.e., pro-white, pro-nobility, pro-feudalism, anti-capitalist, but conservatism dont come around here no more
2) the movies went ludicrously overboard in scrubbing all of this stuff out of the story
I suppose if they’d ever made a whole The Once and Future King movie, that would qualify, that’s where I direct people for a good conservative book, but again The Sword and the Stone scrubs it clean
It has people in the military who don’t say out loud that they want to rape uncle Sam and leave him bleeding in a ditch. Which means that obviously every character thinks invading Iraq was a good idea, which makes them “conservative”.
Oh GAH. Julian Sanchez issued the ultimate smackdown to this bullshit the last time some wingnut tried to claim a cherished piece of American pop culture espoused a conservative world view. I read it over and over again, even though it’s old: The Politics Of Ressentiment. Sanchez is, I believe, fairly conservative, or at least Libertarian, but he totally nails it when he writes:
No matter how much political power the cons grab, they will never have cultural power. They will never be “cool.” They will never EVER be able to compete with “Hollywood liberals” because the world of arts, music, film, comedy, etc. is one of rebellion. And they are the status quo.
Seriously, is it just me, or has the Republican party and the media shifted her into a Stalinesque unperson status lately?
These kind of things really get to me. Conservatives in my experience just like to apply broad qualities to themselves and their ideology. This is why we see them touting words like freedom without any actually definition or commitment to it (other than for themselves). They see something that is considered a good quality by the masses and just slap it on themselves. That’s why movies like the Lord of the Rings to them have some secret conservative message because it deals with bravery and people willing to sacrifice for the greater good. However in real life if one were to ask any of them to sacrifice for another they would call you a communist.
The same principle applies to negatives, they consider themselves all that is good, racists are bad, therefore they aren’t racists. Actions mean nothing, they don’t see themselves as racist, they just believe in the sound principles of getting those damn negroes to stop stealing from them.
Of course. Because the original Rambo was the sad story of a man returned from war and yet rejected by the country he served to protect. It was gritty and tortured and reflective of the disconnect between American veterans and their civilian neighbors in the wake of Vietnam.
Rambo II was a ridiculous jingoistic masturbatory monument to war porn which climaxed when the main character pulls a 4th explosive tipped arrow from god only knows where (he was only issued three – and who uses explosive tipped hunting arrows?!) to give him absurd “Blow up the Gooks!” trailer shot.
So it makes sense that they’d go with the latter.
My personal favorite is the Pursuit of Happyness… a great flick, but you can’t call it liberal/conservative. It was just a great flick. And the explanation kinda misses the point, it wasn’t just pure will and determination, it was the fact that he accidently ended up in a cab with the head of a brokerage and solved a rubix cube before they got out. In other words, he got a lucky break first…
What? No mention of “An American Carol”? David Zucker has a sad.
@schrodinger’s cat: because for some people there is nothing but politics. it is all and everything
This is after all a British list, so won’t be completely congruent with current Republican talking points – though as many have pointed out, lately that’s been a very fast-moving target. But it means there would be some obvious omissions simply because they don’t work in the British context (Red Dawn), or there is some better British equivalent (Zulu instead of Birth of a Nation).
I expect Lord of the Rings was included not for any economic message, but because of Return of the (Divine Right of the) King.
Beat me to the punch.
@AA+ Bonds: They are conservative books, but they’re also pro-environment and have strong female characters. The movies went out of their way to add in a suicide bomber which I don’t remember being in the book. Overall, I thought the movies were a pretty mixed bag in terms of ideology.
You evil sonafabitch! slut!
I always wondered what kind of IT arsehole would make sites like redstate.com, or who taught the clowns how to use computers in the first place. Thanks for clearing that up!
(This post submitted entirely in jest). =)
Honestly if anything, I admire your fortitude. I’d have to work in a place with a shower right inside my office, because I’d have to come in contact with my coworkers at some point. * shudders *
I mean, it was a story about Englishmen in the Middle Ages building a culture that rose above base feudalism. For the time period it was portraying, it seemed very progressive to me.
@Jeff Boatright: Beat me to it.
I think you can make a good case that almost anything involving Batman is right-wing until proven otherwise, and certainly The Dark Knight is about virtuous elites, from billionaires to cops to D.A.s (yes, even that last one for the most part, don’t forget who the love interest is),
about the relative virtue of those elites compare with the scoundrels raised up by democratic elections,
about the importance of social order even when obtained through illegal and violent means,
and finally about the unimpeachable integrity of monogamous romantic/sexual relationships.
And there is the standard street-level superhero issue where pretty much anyone suspected of any crime is not only guilty but inherently malevolent. Not to mention that Batman has to first use the ersatz Brother Eye to devastating effect before destroying it, which is a pretty problematic way to criticize the security state.
But Nolan does try his damndest at least to provide a consequentialist argument against torture with the interrogation scenes, which I very much appreciate
@Stillwater: 6. Team America
No shit. hah.
What the hell happened to the Red Dawn remake?
Go back and read:
1) the idyllic descriptions in the first book of Ector’s estate around harvest time, which move into an outright author’s defense of feudalism and people knowing their place,
2) the absolutely vicious Tory anti-Irish racism in the second, third, and fourth books,
3) the characterization of Mordred’s forces in the fourth book, where the discontented are mobilized to destroy Arthur’s kingdom (there is the standard Nazi-socialist false equivalence here)
I agree that the book is about building civilization out of savagery, but as far as “progressive”, at best the book can be read as a Churchillian defense of limited democracy steered by wise elites through traditional social structures
Phoenician in a time of Romans
This is just another example in a growing pile of data that supports the hypothesis that “modern conservatives” are the least self-aware humans on the planet today, and possibly ever.
Uh-huh. Try putting these two things together…
‘cos, you know, when Cambodian Communists slaughter massive amounts of people it is a Bad Thing because Communism is so bad, but when Brits go to Africa and slaughter massive amounts of Zulus, it’s a “heroic depiction of the British warrior ethos” because the British Empire is so “benevolent”, don’t you know…
Go back and read:
1) the idyllic descriptions in the first book of Ector’s estate around harvest time, which move into an outright author’s defense of feudalism and people knowing their place,
2) the absolutely vicious Tory anti-Irish racism in the second, third, and fourth books,
3) the characterization of Mordred’s forces in the fourth book, where the discontented are mobilized to destroy Arthur’s kingdom (there is the standard N*z* = s****list false equivalence here)
I agree that the book is about building civilization out of savagery, but as far as “progressive”, at best the book can be read as a Churchillian defense of limited democracy steered by wise elites through traditional social structures. It is incredibly fearful of democracy overall
I agree King of Bain should be on the list. After all, its based on an old song by the great British band, The Police!
@Phoenician in a time of Romans:
This is a pretty fucked up way to describe a movie that exemplifies the idea of a brown, yellow, red, etc. “horde”. At the very least Tolkien implied that the orcs were working-class Europeans and the brown people were merely naturally evil humans
@eric: Did you mean “Bridge Over the River Kwai” not “A Bridge Too Far”?
Anyone ever see the Guns of Batasi with Attenborough and Mia Farrow?
Is that the one where heroic penguins have a bake sale and defeat global warming?
** Every time I see Attenborough, I assume penguins are involved.
@AA+ Bonds: I get that the case could be made, as far as that goes, but I tend to agree with Violet @4 that there’s something pathological and desperate about the need to hoard lists of popular art that purportedly agree with one’s ideology.
I call shenanigans.
Master and Commander? OK. I actually like that movie, but anyone who puts that in a “top 10 x of the modern era” (for any value of x whatsoever) needs to get out more. It is a moderately entertaining, and somewhat disappointing adaptation of bits of a great series.
And then he goes on to say:
Dude. Get. A. Grip. It is fiction.
This article was obviously fished out of the trash over at the Onion.
I’d say they’re pro-conservation/anti-industry much more than pro-environment, and I’m not really certain about pro-female as female characters are largely in the background, perhaps you are thinking of the films
The best thing I can find in the books is Eowyn who kills the Witch King – that’s a nice rhetorical trick about the “hand of man” on Tolkien’s part I agree – but then she promptly falls in love and states that she is giving up fighting completely for the role of supportive wife and healer and tending things that grow etc.
@schrodinger’s cat: A conservative movie is a movie with good guys and bad guys. They are always the good guys. Liberals are always the bad guys. Even when that makes no sense in the context of the particular movie at all.
@Phoenician in a time of Romans: Excellent additional example, point very well made.
See “Atlas Shrugged”. Heard it did well.
You’d think he’d throw in one of the Transformers movies for the younger crowd.
Completely OT, but this bit of understated snark from Steve Benen was just hilarious:
Good lord, that British twit can pack more cliches into a paragraph than Michiko Kakutani.
I can’t believe that “When Harry Ate Sally” and “Eat Me in St. Louis” aren’t on this list.
Classics, with all the conservative values.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Chariots of Fire: the list maker is joking, right? What adult male watched that move?
Zulu “what we did, after our imperialist venture blew up in our face”
Saving Private Ryan “best thing about war is getting the hell out of it”
Master and Commander: er what? What does the Napoleonic war have to do with American Conservationism. Does this tard really think Napolian “meet my secret police” Bonaparte was a Liberal by even his own ignorant stands
Rocky: even a little person can make it good in America, if he is willing to take a near lethal beating.
Killing Fields “were we pretend Communists are liberals”
Black Hawk Down see Zulu
Lord of the Rings “I am a WWI vet, here is why war sucks,..”
The Pursuit of Happyness much like Zulu, recovering from your own destructive arrogance.
Yup. The only thing more hilarious than “conservative” arts lists are the periodic declarations that the coming generation of college kids are actually conservative, just you wait and see!
They should have gone all-in and claimed Citizen Kane as their own.
The only thing missing is “Dr. Strangelove.”
Lots of good comments, but I just have to add that I almost laughed about The Deer Hunter. Can’t wait for Roy Edroso to get a hold of this list.
No Red Dawn?
Fuck these Tory punks.
This is not a new phenomena, the first wingnut I ever met, a guy I worked with back when Bonzo beat Carter, spent half an hour explaining why Time Bandits was a conservative film.
Nice enough guy but totally delusional.
One of the finer conservative films of the current era. Shows a traditional love interest between young people of opposite sexes and undeviating gender purity, a young man raised by a still-married man and woman, a rock-ribbed love of American cars, the importance of superior military technology, and (through Optimus Prime), a tip of the hat to middle-American blue collar sensibilities.
Oh, and it’s gaudy and loud as fuck.
“masturbator and commander” did make it tho.
@AA+ Bonds: Eowyn’s what I’m supposed to just hang out here and die when i want to fight speech, her sneaking off the the battle and the character of Galadriel. I took it that pretty much all the main characters except the hobbits who return to the Shire to battle Saruman settled down to a life of tending things after the events of the books. I’m not saying LOTR was a feminist book, but it gave pretty prominent roles to women considering the genre and time it was written.
The Lord of the Rings:
• The good guys live in harmony with the land.
• The secondary bad guy clear cut forests and strip mined his land. This is presented as a very bad thing and the first step towards making his land like Mordor: a barren land where nature is laid waste in the pursuit of progress and equipping their military.
• Not to mention the blatant and wanton violation of Sauron’s property rights. Sauron should have sued that little bugger Frodo.
• And the weed smoking.
@AA+ Bonds: I think Eowyn’s decision was more about trying to find healing after her encounter with the Witch King by surrounding herself with wholesome things (nature, family, etc.) and trying to bring that same healing to the land that Mordor had recently occupied rather than settling into her expected place in society.
I always got the feeling that she and Merry, like Frodo, still bore the psychological scars from their wounds with them.
@Phoenician in a time of Romans: Killing the natives is always the Lord’s work when you’re trying to bring them civilization and enlightenment, so long as you happen to be white Anglo-Saxons.
White man’s burden and all that.
Amanda in the South Bay
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
Chariots of Fire, I think, appealed to the…kind of 80s conservative who liked to read Wodehouse and Waugh, I think. You know, like the people who have a fetish for Brideshead Revisited. Conservatives went through their 80s fetish for that era-though mostly in the UK, sometimes here.
My “favorite” conservative cultural commentary: http://conservapedia.com/Essay:Adulteress_Story
Short version: The story in John about Jesus telling the crowd that wants to stone an adulterous woman to death “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is something that got added later.
It will be interesting to see Dark Knight Rises as the previews imply a very “V” Catwoman, and if they retain the Bane story where he was imprisoned as a child in order to punish someone for the crimes of his dead, abusive father
does not come across as very feminist to me
These are what I mean about the book’s conservatism: it advances pastoralism and the status of nobility, yeomen, etc., and denigrates industrialism
Bear in mind that I do not think the Republicans are really any sort of conservatives and I question whether conservatism can exist in America at all anymore outside of the minds of delusional psychotics (the Republicans being merely run-of-the-mill psychopaths)
@Comrade Dread: Shhhh don’t interfere with his/her “Analysis”. We’ll also ignore the issue the concept that on the whole orcs were elves that had been tortured and twisted by Melkor and the statement by JRRT that the men of Rhûn and Harad were lied and mislead into war.
@Sad_Dem: Do they get that there are eternal consequences for messing with the scriptures? It’s rather clear on that.
How about this list of great conservative movies?
Shaft–John Shaft gets shot working for a rich guy, hires a doctor on his own, and finishes his assignment. No socialized medicine or time off for Shaft!
Hair–a hippie gets drafted. Nuff said.
Boys Don’t Cry–a queer gets shot dead. Nuff said.
Easy Rider–see above.
Nashville–If only some decent, law-abiding people had had guns at that concert…
Really I am thinking the left-wing Hollywood surprise of 2012 may be Scott’s Prometheus – we will see if he can capture that ol’ Alien spirit but Charlize Theron’s descriptions of her character sound very promising
Wow, I’d forgotten that, it very much supports my point, thanks for that
What, no V for Vendetta?
@AA+ Bonds: The talk page for that is a hoot.
Hahaha nice find, thanks
@AA+ Bonds: I recently saw a trailer for Prometheus and, being a lover of sci fi, found it really intriguing. Have you heard whether it will actually be good?
I dont know and I am probably the wrong person to ask because watching Alien, for me, evokes the sort of response that I imagine my parents wanted me to get out of the Catholic Mass
So I want to believe that Space Jockey Movie will be the Film of the Decade and if it turns out to be terrible I will walk out of the theater and scream wordlessly at the sky for five seconds
The aesthetic looks well preserved, down to the point sources for lights, what will really decide that aspect for me is whether the non-Giger parts work, because AFAIK Ron Cobb is not working on this one at all (he’s the guy responsible for a lot of the Nostromo design in the first one as well as the ‘Starbeast’ concept that Giger reinvented)
@AA+ Bonds: Total agreement.
Speaking of cultural artifacts — I’m watching the third season of Breaking Bad. In episode 2, Walter White gets in an argument with a police officer and gets pepper sprayed.
Seems like the pop culture is trying to normalize police brutality towards unarmed and non-violent protest of police actions.
What intrigues me is that they seem to be using the ground vehicles from Aliens which is a weird decision for Scott, who doesn’t loathe Cameron’s film or anything but seemed adamant throughout the entire development of this thing from prequel to whatever-it-is that it would relate to his film and not to Cameron’s or the other directors’. The spaceships also appear very much not like the Nostromo but instead like new Corvettes, almost like something out of A.I. or the new Star Trek
I am also wondering if we are going to get any serious chestburst-style surprises from the narrative because the trailer makes it look like, humans find out the Space Jockeys invented humans and etc., and then there is some act of corporate hubris or another involving proto-Alien-eggs and all the people start turning into Ur-people who can jump fifteen feet and tear the uninfected in half.
Scott doesn’t always go for surprise and it won’t make the movie good or bad necessarily but if I am actually able to predict the film from the trailer I will be a little disappointed, as Scott certainly has the clout to influence reveals in trailers by this point, ESPECIALLY given the reasons Alien was a financial success. Also because what I’ve seen looks like a very tame brand of body horror, along the lines of zombies (sweet God let’s hope not)
In one of the books Master and Commander was based on, it was an American frigate (during the war of 1812) they were chasing around South America into the Pacific…
Whoa. That was like getting sucked through a worm hole in the gamma quadrant only to find that my universal translator is not working. I have no idea in what reality these people are living. I did not know that Hitler was a left winger.
Curious that Peter O’Toole’s The Ruling Class was left off the list.
Wait, wait, I’m sorry, but are you arguing we should look at authorial intent? In 2012? How old-fashioned and gauche of you.
jake the snake
You mean you missed the doughy pantload’s
masterpiece “Liberal Fascism : Two Words Next to Each other”.
Sheesh, talk about the bigotry of low expectations: I was just thrilled that the list was made up of actual good movies, instead of just Dirty Harry, Red Dawn, whatever.
Also, missed Road House.
On the surface, Chariots of Fire is an inspiring story of religious conviction, but that story line is juxtaposed with the classist and antisemitic discrimination faced by the lead Jewish character trying to attend Cambridge in the 1920s. The whole point of the film was the triumph of higher virtues — perseverence, honor, faith (Jewish and Christian) — over the petty, antisemitic values of Edwardian society, particularly its aristocratic toffs.
So, not “conservative”, particularly in the traditional, Tory sense of the term.
@jake the snake:
Reminds me of this article in The Onions’ Our Dumb Century. Some McCarthyite thing about catching Reds in Hollywood. They start reading the names of the accused, which numbered in the 10s of thousands, and someone in the court/whatever realized it would be faster to read those not accused…there were eight of those, one of whom was Lassie.
@Amanda in the South Bay:
Sorry, I must strongly disagree, as I do with Enhanced Voting’s ludicrously asking if any “adult male” watched Chariots of Fire. Uh, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was a mass hit, as was Brideshead Revisited was, and as Downton Abbey is now. And believe me, “conservatives” were not the ones who made any of these hits.
As Jonas points out above, Chariots seems a strange inclusion on the Telegraph’s strange list, since it deals in part with the anti-Semitism on of the leads faced. But the other lead was the true story of Liddell, a devout Christian who refused to race on the Sabbath, later became a Christian missionary, and died under Japanese internment in China in 1944. That is why I suspect the Telegraph included the film, a man “standing up for his Christian beliefs” or somesuch. (That eventually got him killed, but whatever..)
Brideshead (and Downton now) were by no means made US hits by conservatives or conservatism. First they were hits because they’re quality dramas. It was your PBS-watching, NPR totebagging, arugala eating Latte-sippers, media urbanites and gays, who got the word out and made Brideshead a hit here. I’m sure Wm. F. Buckley watched it, but I very much doubt that say, Southern Republican conservatives were interested in a story/costume drama that begins with homoerotic schoolboy affection between fey, English Sebastian and Charles, in 1981. No, it was the decadent coastal enclaves of us fifth columnists who made it a hit, made Anglophilia a fashionable thing at the time, made gay men take teddy bears to bars (seriously, some did.) I can’t imagine a show that would appeal less to most conservatives, they would’ve thought it immensely effete, and foreign.
@Amanda in the South Bay:
What do you have against Wodehouse? Sure, Bertie Wooster is an idiot, but he knows how to tell off a right-winger:
@Arundel: I don’t know how well the movie hews to the novel, but I think it’s fair to say that Brideshead Revisited is, despite the lavish period setting and homoerotic themes, still a deeply “conservative” piece of literature in that it deals with both the corruption, and ultimate vindication, of privilege and traditional (Catholic) religion.
“Zulu is one of the only films of the modern age that chose not to condemn or vilify Britain’s imperial heritage”
Lt Bromhead: “ I’ll have my boy clean your kit for you”
Lt Chard: “Oh, don’t bother”
Lt Bromhead: “No bother, ole chap, I wasn’t offering to clean it myself”
The script writers turned Conville Bromhead into an upperclass twit straight out of a Monty Python skit
(The real life Lt Bromhead went deaf early in his career. The other officers in the regiment covered this up because if he was cashiered out of the army at half pay he’d be begging in the streets. This is why he was left behind in command of a small supply depot instead of dying at Isandlwana.
To me, this would have made a better movie plot, but foppish buffoons running the British empire is what the audience expects)
AA+ Bonds: No offense, but you’re out of your mind, at least as concerns LotR.
First off: When you talk about a pastoral, anti-industrialist, pro-social equity “conservatism,” you’re not talking about “conservatism” at all. Let’s be clear here:
Tolkien is anti-industrialist, anti-totalitarian, and actually not really all that pro-royalty. Does he support a kingship model? Well, yes… in the context of the Elves and Men, who aren’t really the default model of civilization on which he focuses. So yes, he likes the idea of having a king in his fantasy world. However, what’s the actual idealized environment that’s portrayed in his books? That would be the Shire. What does he like in the Shire? A Mayor, a bunch of comfortable middle-class self-governing landowners, and a self-sustaining community. BTW, “pro-white” doesn’t really cut it either. Tolkien’s analogies constantly promote racial equality; the resolution of hostilities between the men of Gondor and the Southrons are, for example, in sharp contrast to the painting of the latter as Sauron’s “slaves.”
(Actually, I could write an essay on this but I’ll stop. Suffice to say that if Tolkien is a conservative, we could use millions more like him. All I know is that anyone hearing Christopher Lee’s beginning voiceover in the Two Towers who doesn’t instantly think “Dick Cheney” is severely mentally-impaired.)
As to Once and Future King: The description of Ector’s serfs really doesn’t measure up to the chapters-long development of Arthur’s strategy of (a) targeting knights, as opposed to serfs, in combat and (b) extending the franchise, property rights, and protection against nobles’ depredations to the serfs (all of which occur in Book 2).
One wonders how liberal actors and directors could make conservative movies. It’s simple. They are works of fantasy and fiction. The end.
No ‘Gallipoli’ or ‘Breaker Morant’? What kind of imperialist is this guy?
They realized after shooting it that they couldn’t make the Chinese the bad guys b/c it has become too big a market. So they switched it to the North Koreans and are in the process of redubbing it and using CG to replace all the Chinese flags and emblems with NoKo ones.
Cuz we all know that North Korea could totally invade the USA…
patrick the pedantic literalist
Not to mention that in the book the enemy ship was American, not French.
Just like Nicaragua was so likely to invade through Central America into Colorado in the 80s. Geography and military logistics, among many other topics, are not their strong suit. And I’m betting that “Sharia law” will feature in the plot somehow.
What I found interesting was that one of the prime criteria for the list was to find movies “guaranteed to offend Left-wing sensibilities in one way or another.” When provoking a reaction from people you hate is your leading goal, it’s a sure sign of a healthy and fulfilling life philosophy.
Which is a fair point, Jonas, and largely true: Waugh was indeed a deeply conservative curmudgeon by the time he wrote it. I see your point about its “conservative” themes. But it’s also conservative through a British lens in 1950, something a bit far from contemporary American “conservatism”.
Brideshead Revisited wasn’t mentioned on the Telegraph list. My point was that I strongly disagreed with Amanda there, the idea that American conservatives were the one who made it a television success in 1981. Far, far from it, not their cup of tea at all (so to speak). For what it’s worth, the series hewed suprisingly close to the novel, with the luxury of over seven hours to do so.
Your points about its central conservatism are well taken though. Though I don’t think it’s as clear as all that. Charles Ryder looking back at his youth, where he had a taste of beauty, luxury, aestheticism, a frank affection for doomed Sebastian.. well they’re the best and most alluring parts of the book. Charles laments losing that, even as he accepts his adulthood, responsibilities in a changed world. It’s complex that way, and I suppose the conflict of it is what make it so memorable. Sorry for going on. :)
For a UK list, I’m surprised ‘The Wild Geese’ didn’t make the cut, given that it features a mostly-British team of mercenaries mowing down Africans by the thousands. On the non-conservative side, they are rescuing a Mandela-like statesman from a dictator’s clutches, and are betrayed by the mining magnate who financed the mission.
The movie Master and Commander was a sad dumbing down of the brilliant Patrick O’Brian novels. It seems like this dumbing down was exactly what appealed to the Telegraph writer.
The books have two flawed heroes, polar opposites who achieve things together that neither could achieve alone. The movie puffs one up into the perfect man of action and sidelines the other as a mumbling hand-wringer. Must have been in Russell Crowe’s contract.
The books’ subject matter is the mind vs. the heart, as well as warfare, espionage, philosophy, comedy, politics, law, love, courage, honor, music, 19th century naval technology and eating. There are no rhapsodies about benevolent empire. If you can handle a deliberately archaic narrative style and a hundredweight of naval jargon, I highly recommend all 20 novels.
Paul in KY
@Comrade Dread: Good analysis there.
Paul in KY
@AA+ Bonds: You don’t get the true picture in the movie, but she is (after Gandalf) the most powerful ‘good’ entity in Middle Earth.
"Fair and Balanced" Dave
Cris (without an H)
Well, here’s Niles’ explanation:
Emphases mine. Once we’ve asserted that something as universal as “love for country” is “guaranteed to offend Left-wing sensibilities,” we have already disconnected so far from reality, and so firmly embraced tribal “othering,” that the list is guaranteed to be nonsense.