I'll admit, we're probably sick of hearing about Clint Eastwood's Harvey act at the Republican convention. And none of us probably have much of a desire to see Dinesh D'Souza's insane Obama-smearing "documentary" 2016: Obama's America. But Salon film critic Andrew O'Hehir has this piece out today that uses both of these embarassing moments to ask a very good question: Why does the GOP and, indeed, conservatives in general have such a problem with popular culture? And why does that lead them to do so many massively humiliating pop culture moments?
It makes for a fun read and this paragraph in particular is very entertaining, depicting just how out of place Republicans are in Hollywood, especially when they try to fundraise there:
Last weekend Mitt Romney's campaign held just such an event in Beverly Hills and most of the names on the guest list were downright depressing: A few aging prodcers like action-movie impresario Jerry Bruckheimer and 1970s game show pioneer Burt Sugarman; a few showbiz relics like Pat Boone and Connie Stevens. Almost the only contemporary and recognizable figures were Patricia Heaton (you know! Debra from "Everybody Loves Raymond"!) and "CSI:NY" star Gary Sinise, quite likely the only Republican who ever directed a Sam Shepard play. Indeed, Sinise is so beloved by the lonely cadre of culturally savvy right-wingers - they do exist! - that former George W. Bush and John McCain aide Nicolle Wallace floated a rumor in 2009 that he might run for president. (Give the way things look for Romney right now, I bet a lot of Republicans would love to go back in time and work a little harder on that.)Honestly, I did not know that. And it's a good thing it never materialized, because the last thing we need is the GOP fawning over another conservative Hollywood type who decides to run for public office (even though Hollywood is the center of all things evil and wrong about America). The embarassing history of that, from Ronald Reagan to Fred Dalton Thompson, could fill a volume the size of a phone book.
But the most enjoyable part of this piece is when O'Hehir recaps what may be the most humiliating of all recent conservative pop culture disasters. The ongoing Atlas Shrugged cinematic adaptation, you ask? Afraid not, even though the fact that despite the film's tank job at the box office someone actually threw away more money to make an upcoming sequel is pretty humiliating enough. (Hell, the reviews for the first fim were bad enough, like Roger Ebert calling it "the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone's vault.") No, the event he discusses is An American Carol, the Michael Moore-bashing "comedy" that seemed to features appearances from every conservative in Hollywood and seemed less like a movie then some massive group therapy for the isolated righties of the film industry. I'll let O'Hehir describe it:
If you haven't heard about this movie, you should - it's the one in which anti-American filmmaker Michael Malone (Kevin Farley), after accepting the Leni Riefenstahl Award from Paris Hilton for his documentary "Die, You American Pigs," receives "Christmas Carol"-style visits from George Patton, George Washington and country music star Trace Adkins, who shows him a future in which Los Angeles is occupied by Islamists and Michigan has been nuked by al-Qaida. And it's every bit as good as it sounds! Despite a highly professional cast and director (comedy veteran David Zucker), "An American Carol" is simultaneously amateurish, ugly and profoundly unhinged, with an angry, paranoid edge that virtually oozes off the screen. Compared to that movie, the mawkish, in-your-face earnestness of "October Baby" feels like a restrained masterwork of the early French New Wave.I've only seen part of An American Carol and that was enough. It is a spectacuarly bad and unfunny movie and seeing it tank at the box office was quite satisfying. I tend to hold it up as proof that conservatives don't know how to do satire.
"An American Carol" was one of the biggest conservative efforts to engage mainsteam moviegoers directly, relentlessly pumped on the air by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. It was also a massive flop, earning back only about one-third of its $20 million budget.
Go check out the entire article. It's a good enlightenment to why conservatives continue on their path of pop culture blunders with the likes of Eastwood's imaginary friend and Distort D'Newsa's attempt at aping Leni Riefenstahl. Because they don't get it and perhaps they never will.