Straw Polls, Straw Men at Box Office
Ken McIntyre /
Sarah Palin maybe forgot to mention this in the debate, but we’re sort of having a pop culture election a month before the presidential one.
This weekend, movie lovers have one of those rare opportunities to tell Hollywood they want to see more films that honor America’s traditional values and founding principles — the stuff Governor Palin talks about so well. Even better, those who trust in God — be they conservative or not — also can vote at the box office by staying away in droves from a movie that mocks their faith.
The flick to go see: “An American Carol,” a timely comedy from David Zucker, self-styled Master of Questionable Taste and creator of the zany “Airplane!” and “Naked Gun” franchises. The must to avoid: “Religulous,” Bill Maher’s smirking, self-righteous slam of faithful Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Writer-director Zucker’s “An American Carol” is a barbed, funny and flat-out-brave send-up of America-bashing liberals, the ones who view Islamic terrorists primarily as misunderstood victims of U.S. abuse. And, hey, it’s Zucker — so it’s also occasionally vulgar, in poor taste and mildly profane. Mostly, though, he directs his irreverence at politically correct liberal orthodoxy.
“The basic point here is: The left doesn’t think we’re in a war, and we do,” executive producer and screenwriter Myrna Sokoloff said in an Aug. 12 visit to The Heritage Foundation to discuss “Carol” and screen clips.
In “Carol,” Kevin Farley plays buffoonish, anti-military filmmaker Michael Malone (a caricature of buffoonish, anti-military filmmaker Michael Moore), who sets out to ban the Fourth of July via the agitation of his group, moovealong.org. Like Dickens’ Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Malone must undergo a heart change through the visitations of three spirits. One, George Washington (Jon Voight), appears amid the ashes of ground zero after September 11.
Robert Davi, who plays an exasperated terror chief looking for a few more good suicide bombers (“All of the good ones are gone,” a flunky tells him), came to Washington yesterday to underline the serious themes behind the laughs: America is a force for good in the world. Appeasement of evil men doesn’t work. Americans should honor those who serve in the military. The nation was founded by men and women of faith.
“There’s danger in this film not doing well, because the left will shove that down our throats,” Davi told guests after a breakfast screening of the first 20 minutes of “Carol” held — appropriately enough – at Ebenezers coffee house on Capitol Hill.
Also in the film are Kelsey Grammer as Gen. George S. Patton and country singer Trace Adkins as the Angel of Death, plus James Woods, Dennis Hopper and, yes, Leslie Nielsen — the only non-conservative in the starring cast.
Davi is less known for his narration of Republican Party films than for his signature tough-guy roles on TVs “Profiler” and in such movies as “Die Hard” and “Licence to Kill.” Next month, he makes his debut as a writer-director with “The Dukes,” a dark comedy about an aging doo-wop act in which he co-stars with Chazz Palminteri and Peter Bogdanovich.
Davi, who says he is one of the few openly conservative members of Hollywood’s New York-based Creative Coalition, sits on the board of the California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, previously the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
Sokoloff and Zucker gave “Carol” a premiere of sorts at the Republican National Convention, where some in the audience confessed to being disappointed by Zucker’s unfortunate lapses in taste.
“An American Carol” is no “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but it wasn’t intended to be. Like America herself, “Carol” is flawed but idealistic, graced despite common faults. It’s worthy of conservatives’ support, especially with Maher’s anti-religion rant as the competition.
Social and religious conservatives who can’t bring themselves to bullet-vote for “Carol” to ward off Maher’s “Religulous” may decide to risk splitting conservatives’ ticket stubs by going instead to see “Fireproof,” a low-budget, pro-marriage drama that previewed at Heritage last month and has spun off a popular book called “The Love Dare.”
“Fireproof” shocked the Hollywood elites last weekend with a $6.5 million opening that made it the No. 4 movie in America. Kirk Cameron stars as a firefighter who turns to Jesus while trying to rescue his failing marriage. The rest of the cast are unknowns, all members of the Georgia church that produced the surprise 2006 hit “Facing the Giants.”
Best bet this weekend: Hold your nose during “Carol’s” cheesier spots, then clean up by taking your spouse or squeeze to “Fireproof.” Hollywood just might notice.