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Conservative movies. - The Ex-Communicator

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February 15th, 2009


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09:24 am - Conservative movies.
25 best conservative movies of the past 25 years (from National Review Online) is an interesting list. Of course I would say this, but for the most part, the ones that are good aren't conservative, and the ones that are conservative aren't good. But, no, that's too glib, and there are some good films here with interesting political messages.

1: Das Leben Der Anderen. This is a truly great film, and it arguably has an anti-communist message, so it is a very good choice for #1. Of course people like me argue that the similarities in the establishment of communist and capitalist regimes are significant, and that we can learn lessons about the importance of things that money can't buy. I do recommend everyone to watch this film.

2: The Incredibles. Another clever choice for this list, which everyone should watch. Like Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron, conservatives are able to take a message from this about the destructive futility of trying to achieve equality. I personally find something different in it, but that's an indication of the interesting complexity of the film.

3: Metropolitan. I'm afraid I don't know it.

4: Forrest Gump
5: 300

Ah, now I am happy again: after two worryingly good choices the list makers toss an easy ball or two. Two films which are depressing crap, and are arguably depressing crap in so far as they embody conservative principles: the sentimental and the fascist respectively. The overwhelming emotion is one of smothering claustrophobia.

6: Groundhog Day The what? This is not a conservative film by any stretch of the imagination. Hello? If anything this is a Buddhist movie (maybe Gnostic).

7: The Pursuit of Happyness The trailers did make it look like a very conservative film, so I didn't go see it.

8:Juno Included because it is seen as anti-abortion. I would argue that it is pro-choice, because choice includes choosing to have a baby, and having social provision to enable that choice. Blah blah, I'm boring myself now.

9: Blast from the past Haven't seen it, vaguely know what it's about.

10: Ghostbusters You've lost me now. Is there someone in conservative land who is a massive fan of Bill Murray or something? Is he a Republican icon?

11: Lord of the Rings Yes, this is a good choice, it is both a good film (series) and conservative.

12: The Dark Knight No, no, no. The degree of 'no' will be seen from this comment from the person choosing the film.

In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president — whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war — don’t mention it to the mainstream media.


You silly arse.

13: Braveheart Whatever.

14: A simple plan A jolly good film. I didn't see it as particularly conservative I must say. People find loot belonging to gangsters, things go badly wrong. See a hundred other films for more details.

15: Red Dawn Sigh. These are the barrel-scrapings of conservatism now.

16: Master and Commander This is about people living in a conservative society. It's no more 'conservative' than any other intelligent historical fiction.

17: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe If these are your top 25 you are in trouble.

18: The Edge
19: We were soldiers

Haven't seen these. Pretty sure they are conservative.

20: Gattacca What the fuck? This is an anti-conservative film. The reviewer comments 'Biotechnology is a force for good, but without adherence to the ideal of universal human equality, it opens the door to... dystopian nightmare.' So hand back your membership card of young fascist international then, you twit.

21: Heartbreak Ridge The US army takes on the might of Grenada and wins. Big whoop.

22: Brazil See Gattacca. This is the comment given by the conservative who picked it.

Terrorist bombings, national-security scares, universal police surveillance, bureaucratic arrogance, a callous elite, perversion of science, and government use of torture...


Yeah, sound familiar does it?

23: United 93 I thought this was a good film, which gave a more rounded view of the incident than is implied here, but I can see that a conservative would enjoy it and fair enough.

24: Team America, World Police I am happy to let them have this as a representation of their world view. I wouldn't want to live there.

25: Gran Torino I haven't seen this yet, but I took it to be one of Clint's revisionist films. I mean, Clint is a Republican, but he's a thoughtful guy, so this one will be worth watching I expect.

ETA - Crooked Timber discussion here

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:hafren
Date:February 15th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
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As far as I could see, the message of Forrest Gump was "isn't it wonderful to be a nitwit", which made it my all-time unfavourite film ever of any persuasion.

If one really wants a good "conservative" film, I'd nominate Carry On Up The Khyber. I'm surprised in fact that there aren't more comedies in there, because though there is of course the subversive kind of comedy film, comedy is often basically conservative, seeing anything innovatory as a target for mockery (Aristophanes did). Some of the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn films are pretty conservative at heart, notably Woman of the Year, but still funny.
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From:communicator
Date:February 15th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
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Not sure all comedy is conservative, but I'm happy to give 'em the Carry On films. However - more than 25 years old. I nearly wrote 265 years.
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From:julesjones
Date:February 15th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
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I suppose CS Lewis is conservative (often deeply conservative) from some perspectives. But he was British small-c conservative, and his broad church Anglican take on religion would horrify and disgust your typical theocon if they noticed what he was actually saying.
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From:communicator
Date:February 15th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
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In that political spectrum test there were two axes of conservatism, one I thought was British (law and order and suspicious of Europe) and one was American (market economics and war). I think CS Lewis was more conservative on the British axis. I don't think anyone was very enthusiastic for war in his generation, and who can blame them.
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From:snowking
Date:February 15th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
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10: Ghostbusters You've lost me now. Is there someone in conservative land who is a massive fan of Bill Murray or something? Is he a Republican icon?

Threee individuals are forced out of academia, start a small business and triumph over govt interference!
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 15th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
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Yes, OK, I do see the logic, kind of.
(Deleted comment)
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From:azdak
Date:February 15th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
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I think if you want an anti-communist movie, you can make it work

I think it's significant that the people I know (and know of) who didn't like Das Leben der Anderen were all people with GDR connections, who wanted it to be a film about the awfulness of life under communism. There's a strong streak of opinion that the film is too uncritical of communism in that it's not a realistic portrayal of the grimness of life in a Spitzelstaat.

In fact, I think the film is actually a fairy story, and that it never set out to be a searing expose of life under the Stasi. It's about the power of art, and art's capacity to redeem our humanity even under a ghastly totalitarian system. The realistic details of GDR life are there to provide a context in which someone could plausibly lose his soul, not to slam communism as a political system, or point fingers at the collaborators. In that sense, I don't think it's at all a political film (and let's face it, you don't have to be politically conservative to think that a state that monitors its citizens for subversive activities, and encourages neighbours to tell on them, is a Bad Thing).
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:azdak
Date:February 15th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
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Do you know if it was that there was an expectation for this to be the "life was miserable" film or if the feeling was that it was unrealistic?

As far as I remember from discussions, I think there was an expectation that the film ought to encapsulate "the" GDR dissident experience, and hence there was disappointment that it didn't go far enough. On the other hand, Wolf Bierman write an article saying that, precisely because the film hadn't been made by people who had been through that system and those experiences, they had done what he thought was impossible and put a human face onto his tormentors.
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From:pennski
Date:February 15th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
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Oh thank-you for this.

Yes, that is a mind-boggling collection of films and justifications.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 17th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
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They did a 25 top conservative rock tracks too. Hang on, I found it.
[User Picture]
From:pennski
Date:February 18th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure my tiny liberal brain can take it!

*Reads and Boggles*
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From:sallymn
Date:February 15th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
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There's some pretty desperate special pleading there...
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From:communicator
Date:February 17th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Yes. They also put Serenity in the 25 also-rans, which is really pushing it.
[User Picture]
From:the_wild_iris
Date:February 16th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
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In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president — whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war — don’t mention it to the mainstream media.

No, 'cos the 'mainstream media' might point out the difference between a government and a vigilante.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 17th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, 'Push the limits of the law' says it all. You can't be an outsider and the head of state.

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