Eric D. Snider

An American Carol

Movie Review

An American Carol

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: B-

Released: October 3, 2008

 

Directed by:

Cast:

"An American Carol" isn't very funny, which I realize may be a deal-breaker, considering it's a comedy. But it's a fascinating artifact, an experiment in something that you don't see very often: satire from a right-wing point of view, aimed at the left.

The filmmaker is David Zucker, who directed and co-wrote the classic spoofs "Airplane!," "Top Secret!," and "The Naked Gun," among others. He's co-written "An American Carol" with Myrna Sokoloff (her first film credit) and Lewis Friedman (one of Zucker's "BASEketball" cohorts), and it's his first film to really have an agenda. In the past, his targets have been frivolous things -- movies, pop culture, and so forth -- and often his humor has simply been absurd, with no satiric target at all.

That just-for-laughs brand of silliness is in scarce supply in "An American Carol," and the issues are much weightier. The film's theme is that wimpy, effete liberalism, represented by Michael Moore and his ilk, is anti-American and endangers the country. Radical Islam is a serious, imminent threat, and this "let's negotiate with our enemies" attitude will be the death of us.

Zucker frames his argument in a take-off of "A Christmas Carol": instead of Scrooge hating Christmas, it's Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) hating the Fourth of July. Yes, Michael Malone, a corpulent documentarian who makes films with titles like "America Sucks the Big One." (Kevin Farley, who is the late Chris Farley's brother, looks more than a little like Michael Moore.) He's gained great success in the documentary field, but he knows the real fame and fortune is in features. To that end, he's written a screenplay, "Fascist America," which he says is "anti-everything-America-stands-for without technically being anti-American."

A couple of terrorists are willing to bankroll the production -- to Michael's credit, he doesn't know they're terrorists -- but in the meantime, Michael is visited by the ghost of his idol, John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), who reminds him that his inauguration speech made it pretty clear he wasn't a namby-pamby pacifist like Michael is. The movie uses JFK's real words: "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Thereafter, Michael is visited by the ghost of George S. Patton (Kelsey Grammer), who takes him through some alternate history. What if the war protesters in 1940 had successfully convinced America not to fight Hitler? What if Lincoln had opted not to fight the South in the Civil War?

Equating those wars with the much more nebulous "war on terror" is a drastic oversimplification, but satire is often based on exaggerations and black-and-white ideologies. There's often no room for gray areas when you're making a satiric point. Likewise, the film's basic premise -- that criticizing America's actions is the same thing as "hating America" -- is ludicrously flawed. You can go along with it, though, for the sake of the movie. Or if you can't, maybe you don't watch the movie in the first place.

Zucker's humor is wildly hit-or-miss. Jokes about Michael's weight and eating habits get old pretty fast. Then again, I like that Zucker isn't above making jokes about Patton, too, and even about the car accident that killed him. (Wow.) A scene with zombies from the ACLU clogging courtrooms is weirdly amusing, and the ineffectual terrorist-training video (with Goofus-and-Gallant-style do's and don'ts), plus another one purporting that Christian terrorists are equally dangerous, are broadly funny.

A sequence on a college campus is perhaps the most astute. A student "demonstration" is defined as "when students show what they don't know by repeating it loudly," and then there's a musical number in which the professors harmonize on how they're the same America-hatin' liberal hippies they were in 1968, and how useless universities are now ("You'll get extra credit if you're poor, black, or gay!" they sing).

Where Zucker goes almost unforgivably off the tracks is when the ghost of George Washington (Jon Voight) takes Michael to the church he used to worship at in Manhattan -- St. Paul's Chapel, which also happens to be next to the World Trade Center. Washington opens the chapel doors and shows Michael the wreckage of Sept. 11, 2001, driving home the point that America is in dire straits and must fight against the enemy.

Using images of an annihilated, still dusty Ground Zero in a comedy would be one thing if the intention were to be as taboo and offensive as possible -- if the filmmaker KNEW he was crossing the line and was doing it on purpose, in other words. But Zucker doesn't seem to have that attitude. He seems to think it's OK because, underneath the comedy, he has such a Serious Point to make. He's dead wrong, though, and this scene is uncomfortable (not in the funny way) and appalling (not in the intentional way). Surely this gross misappropriation of 9/11 is as self-serving and inexcusable as any of the "anti-American" behavior he accuses Michael Moore of.

The film is a lackluster effort, with Zucker's considerable talents having been narrowly focused onto one topic. I'm giving it a just-barely-recommended grade not because it's terribly funny (which it isn't), but because I found its point of view so interesting. Consider it a curio representing a philosophy that's mostly overlooked in Hollywood. Many spoofs these days are completely worthless; at least this one has some ideas in its head, ill-conceived though some of them may be.

Grade: B-

Rated PG-13, some moderate profanity, some vulgar humor

1 hr., 23 min.

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This item has 79 comments

  1. Eugene, OR says:

    This movie sounded inept and pointless before, but after reading this review, I'm genuinely angry.

    We were attacked by the nation of Japan on December 7, 1941 (Not a few rogue terrorists, mind you.) We declared war on them, Germany declares war on us, and we're in World War II. The southern states secede from the Union, Lincoln is determined to hold it together, and the Civil War starts. 9/11 happens and our genius administration responds by...invading a nation that had nothing to do with it while Bin Laden gets away. Holding Bush's Blunder up alongside necessary and just conflicts is just borderline evil in my hyperbolic opinion. We'll probably be debating for ages over whether we're really "fighting terror" over there, but it's pretty indisputable that we were lead into Iraq under false pretense.

    That Michael Moore guy sure is is fat, though! And he hates America!

    In spite of how I sound, I actually think that conservatism and the Republican party play an essential part in our national landscape. It's pathetic to see them reduced to this.

  2. Dan says:

    "We were attacked by the nation of Japan on December 7, 1941 (Not a few rogue terrorists, mind you.) " - Eugene, OR

    More people were killed by these "few rogue terrorists" on 9/11 (2,752) than at Pearl Harbor (2,117). A 'few rougue terrorists' is indicative of how some have minimized this event. Al Qaeda is a world wide network containing more than a 'few' members. What's sad is while this movie is clearly from a conservative perspective, it has become almost necessary to combat the distortions above.

    The 'false pretenses' on Iraq is also disingenous. The fact is, there *were* WMD in Iraq. (Sadaam gassed Kurds, etc.) That is why governments (not just the US) initally believed the intelligence reports that Sadaam possessed WMDs were accurate. Hindsight certainly proved the reports wrong and there have been many mistakes in the handling of the war since then, but I love how people start to conclude it is 'pretty indisputable' we got into the war in Iraq 'under false pretenses.'

    Lastly, It sounds like (from your comments) you have never *actually seen* the movie?

  3. Tim says:

    I saw it yesterday and laughed for the first five minutes with the suicide bombing- this was pure comedy at it's best.

    The rest of the movie had some good moments, and it was great to finally have a movie that actually showed America in a positive light- these left wing movies are so bias and help make the rest of the world dislike America- I had a big laugh when Moore - in the movie was in Cuba , and when he tried to leave on his boat, everyone from Cuba tried to hop on.

    I was surprised that Maltin did not mention the same parody that Moore went after with his 911 movie- if he thought that this portion of the movie was inappropriate, I would asume he would have said the same thing about Moore's movie- Moore really has got a crappy attitude about America, and the only thing that I did not like about this movie is that he is wearing a Spartan cap- whixh ticks me off since I am an MSU alum- which by the way he is not- go wear a UM hat- please..

    Otherwise a solid B . The movie was sold out.

  4. Steve Pennsylvania says:

    Do you see this movie or just take a guess? I saw it last night and everyone was laughing uncontrollably nearly the entire time. I thought it may beat "History of the World" by Mel Brookes. If you don't laugh at this movie, you can't enjoy anything.

  5. JAMES says:

    The argument that Iraq "had nothing to do with it" misses the point. Iraq was a money and support source for middle east terrorists. That would be like saying since Bugs Moran's gang was the group responsible for the Saint Valentine's Day massacre law enforcement was wrong to go after all the Chicago gangs. I found the movie good fun.

  6. Bob says:

    How refreshing! This movie was one of he best comedies I have ever seen. It takes a point of view that is representative of how most real Americans see the world and gives it life. We need more of this type of movie to counteract the lies and distortions of the extreme left.

    What more could ask for! A funny movie that includes plenty of belly laughs and a point of view that most in Hollywood would not dare to present.

  7. smith says:

    @Eugene

    Bush didnt invade Iraq after 9/11. He invaded Afghanistan. The rest of the story, you so conveniently ignore, is all the UN resolutions, the whole world being convinced he had WMD and Saddam's giving money, resources and grounds for terrorism.

    But whatever.... Bush bad, Zucker evil.

    You guys are the same people who applaud jars of piss with a cross in it so I wont take anything you say seriously.

  8. Bubba says:

    Just one second (index finger waging) ... the middle east landscape was crafted by former President Carter who bungled Iran leading to radical Islam which begat attacks during the 1990's on the Great Satan in which President Clinton protected the nation with legal briefs and law suits ... or was that over Monica?

    Eugene ... this is parody man ... get a life!

  9. Eric Valencia says:

    I think it was a great movie, its good for directors to make movies of stupid people on the left,this movie shows all sick they really are.

  10. Another Eric says:

    So, Eugene, Afghanistan's Taliban government was supporting bin Laden's al-Quaeda organization, and you think we'll believe the lie that such a nation "had nothing to do with it?" Iraq was a known terrorist-supporting state as well, though everyone seems to have forgotten that we didn't invade them until 18 months later--hardly a rush to war. It's galling that so many people will construe and believe any lie they can make up about our country's actions in the Middle East just because they hate Bush so much. Hate him all you want, but please keep your facts straight.

  11. Rob Johnson says:

    The strong possibility of WMD in Iraq was endorsed by all leading democrats throught the Clinton administration and the early years of the Bush administration.

    The WMD was only one of 12 reasons given in the Congressional authorization for war powers, endorsed by leading democrats.

    General George Sada, former head of Saddam's air force, stated in his book, "Saddam's Secrets" that there WERE WMD, they were flown to Syria in strpped down passenger jets a month or so before the war under guise of humanitarian aid after an earthquake.

    We didn't "Invade" Iraq to "get" Bin Laden, it was liberated because of the mistaken idea that freedom and democracy would bring an end to terrorism. Many Americans are too historically ignorant to know this worked brilliantly in Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany after WW2.

    Unfortunately, it's not poverty that causes violence in the middle east, it's thugs wanting to bring back a version of Islam from the 7th. Century so they can be the new world rulers, just like Hitler and Tojo and Stalin believed.

    It's the American Left Media who are the real Liars in the whole Iraq mess. Thank God for movies like "An American Carol" that help stem the tide of Lefist Lies.

  12. Mnemosyne says:

    What if the war protesters in 1940 had successfully convinced America not to fight Hitler?

    Does Zucker not know that the people who opposed WWII were isolationist Republicans? How embarrassing.

  13. Clumpy says:

    Well, the parties have changed significantly since that time. . .

    If there was any movie calculated to make me hate it, this is it. The attitude that criticism of the bad actions of your country is anything but a labor of love is wrong and probably one of the few things that could destroy us. Terrorists killed - what? - 3,000 Americans? And we killed 100,000 Iraqis and lost thousands more troops as a result. We'll drive our car off a cliff to kill a bee on the windshield.

    9/11 has led to more than a few thousand dead and economic chaos. It's led to the rise of Blackwater in our modern society, the unqualified idolization of soldiers (who if we really supported we would only put in danger when necessary), hatred of foreigners, customs panic, presidential decrees that violate the Bill of Rights and complete utter bats*** insanity. If God blesses America, it'll be in spite of our actions, not because of them.

    My blood pressure can't handle the release of this and Religulous the same weekend. Oy vey. . .

  14. Curtis G. Mohler says:

    Mr. Snider, I respect your review, but do not agree. Of course you wouldn't like the movie..you are liberal. Just like when they tried oh so hard to down the Passion of the Christ, and people still went to see the movie, despite Hollywood beat writers, journalists, movie critics, and numerous protests. F-911 was not good either, as it totally missed on facts and satire. Remember, Michael Moore had several lawsuits brought against him due to "misleading facts". The reason that it was successful, is the liberal media backed the movie, both financially, as well as using their own internal money machine to promote it, full tilt. So, your review is without merit. You do not represent mainstream America. Please, get out of your bubble, and grab some objectivity. Then see the movie, again, this time...absent pre-conditioned glasses.

  15. Ampersand says:

    On the other hand, Clumpy, since Eric's hit on both religion and politics in his movie reviews this week, that means we're going to get a lot of amusing angry comments.

  16. Randy Tayler says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It sounds like the movie is conservative vs. liberal, not Republican vs. Democrat. They're close, but not the same, agreed? Isolationism, in my opinion, is not a conservative ideology.

  17. Robert says:

    funny movie, well done, good cast. Political light humor. I woudl recommend to friends.

  18. Eugene, OR says:

    Random Points:

    1) I apologize for not clarifying this before, but yes, I'm well aware that the Taliban in Afghanistan was supporting Al-Queda and I feel that our military actions against them were justified, but Bush couldn't even get that part right. Is Bin Laden still free? Yes. Are we an effective presence in that country? No, it's been steadily getting worse ever since we "won" there. If we put half as much effort into getting the people who actually attacked us as we did into "liberating" Iraq, Bin Laden would have been in custody long ago. One of the things I like about Barack Obama is his pledge to focus our attention back on stabilizing Afghanistan and bringing the people behind 9/11 to justice (Bush, meanwhile, has said that he "doesn't really think much about him [Osama Bin Laden] anymore.")

    2) I realize that plenty of Democrats were leading the charge against Iraq, but they were wrong for doing that. There's plenty of evidence (See the film "No End In Sight" for a solid summary) that Iraq was without WMDs and not a current threat and that the Bush administration bent over backwards to find a link between Iraq and 9/11 and to make it stick. The war was ill-prepared for, fought on false hopes ("We'll be greeted as liberators!", "Oil revenues will pay for it!"), is bankrupting our economy, and is actually creating more hatred for America. Even the administration in Iraq now wants us to start getting out. It's sad that so many people in authority fell for this (Oh, and plenty of people didn't believe the government reports saying that Iraq was a threat. Remember the protests around the world before the U.S. invasion?)

    3) No, I haven't seen it and don't intend to. I was just going off what Eric wrote in his review.

  19. DeeDee Peters says:

    I am from the People's Republic of Occupied Oregon.

    My entire family is going to the movie tonight, as are lots of our neighbors.

    We want to support conservatives in Hollywood; we are SICK of anti-America liberals spewing out anti-Christian, anti-Bush & otherwise gross movies.

  20. George Fisher says:

    If you are a sour, hard-core, politically correct liberal, you will hate this movie. The rest of us love it!

  21. Blank Frank says:

    @15: I predict reading the comment threads on all comment-enabled sites (and on RottenTomatoes) will be funnier than both the movies combined.

  22. Ms. Sims says:

    We will be seeing this movie tonight. Cannot wait...sounds GREAT. This is the first time in 8 years I've gone to see a movie. I'm so sick of, all the so called "Stars" ramming there views down our throats. Every time I see one of these people telling me how to think, I cross them off my list of movies to watch. I mean it, I will NEVER give one dime to the movie "stars". They really need to get over there self. THEY MAKE ME SICK, I hope the whole industry crashes. One day it will, as long as they eliminate half the people in the nation. 50/50 last election, I guess the same thing this year. People are passionate about there polictics, best they stay out of mine.

  23. Roger LeGrand says:

    To Eugene, OR:

    Two comments on your random points:
    1. In regards to catching Bin Laden: if we filled every square inch of Afghanistan with soldiers, how exactly would that help catch Bin Laden, IF HE IS IN PAKISTAN!!!
    If you're referring to Tora Bora, how exactly (details, please) was Bush responsible for Bin Laden getting away?
    2. If there was "plenty of evidence" that Iraq was without WMD's, then why didn't some of the vocal, antiwar senators (e.g., Charlie Rangel, Ted Kennedy) bring up this evidence before the war? "Well, gee whiz, they should have" is not a valid answer.

  24. Rosie C says:

    Sounds like a great movie to me.

    BTW, I have an uncle currently in Iraq, and they are finding WMD all the time. The media just doesn't care. It's way more fun to keep that quiet and continue acting as though there was absolutely no reason to go in there.

  25. Marian J. says:

    I went to American Carol last night and again today to hear more of the jokes. As with Airplane, there is a lot more to Zucker's movies if you watch them repeatedly. I loved it! So did the audience. It was witty and at times hilarious, but I also left with an American lump in my throat. God Bless th USA and those who have fought to keep us free. I only hope movies like this will always be made even if our socialist candidates end up replacing battered Bush in the next election. OReilly states that no American film company would produce this film. It took a company in France to even have it made. It is only in two theaters here in Baton Rouge. Welcome to the ideals of Hollywood. That "Liberal Land" sure isn't Holy-wood. Maybe Deadwood is more appropriate? If anyone hears how to get the soundtrack from An American Carol, let me know. I loved the music!

  26. Roger LeGrand says:

    "Likewise, the film's basic premise -- that criticizing America's actions is the same thing as "hating America" -- is ludicrously flawed."

    Classic anti-war red herring. Michael Moore's "criticism" of America goes beyond simple criticism of America's actions. If you haven't seen Bowling for Columbine, for instance, here's a clip showing Moore's view of American history:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l_hNrkmpyc

    Seems like he's criticizing America's essence, rather than just its actions.

  27. Davey Boy says:

    "Seems like he's criticizing America's essence, rather than just its actions."

    Funny, I watched it and thought exactly the oppposite .... that America has done some bad things in the past , like killing the Indians and engaging in slavery, and the racism that accompanied it, all of which is true, but not that America itself is automatically bad. Is it only patriotic if you pretend those things never happened? Are slavery and racism "America's essence?" Or are they just some of America's unfortunate actions?

  28. Fast Frank says:

    Some good laughs in this movie. Liberals won't like it. Most of them I've heard from were so upset they could almost crush a grape.

  29. ACS says:

    More people were killed by these "few rogue terrorists" on 9/11 (2,752) than at Pearl Harbor (2,117). A 'few rougue terrorists' is indicative of how some have minimized this event. Al Qaeda is a world wide network containing more than a 'few' members. What's sad is while this movie is clearly from a conservative perspective, it has become almost necessary to combat the distortions above.

    More Americans have been killed by bee stings and lightning strikes than terrorists since 9/11. Get over it.

  30. JohnSM says:

    For centuries people have been trying to figure out what's funny and what's not. What "humor" means. Conservatives know exactly what's funny. Say mean things about people I don't like, or just agree with me and I'll laugh my butt off. Anything else, I just don't get - intellectual "jokes" aren't nearly as funny as just plain tar 'n feathering some liberal commie or towelhead.

    Fact is, you're either with us or you're against us. The terrorists are against us. So the day's going to come when you get what the terrorists are getting now. Either accept it, or get out of line.

  31. Stephiedoo says:

    My husband and I just came back from watching this film - we haven't laughed so hard in ages. It is the quick-witted "Airplane" type of humor although not appropriate for children or America-hating liberals (they don't recognize humor). But the rest of you middle-class Americans, who would die defending this country and the freedoms we cherish (like the one about free speech), will laugh your (Michael Moore fat) butt off.

  32. MHarmon says:

    Nice summation of what every liberal believes every conservative thinks. Way to display your tolerance and openmindedness.

  33. MHarmon says:

    "Fact is, you're either with us or you're against us. The terrorists are against us. So the day's going to come when you get what the terrorists are getting now. Either accept it, or get out of line."

    Excellent summation of what every liberal seems to believe every conservative thinks. A wonderful display of logic and sound reasoning--well done.

  34. globug says:

    Great movie. Packed house. When they were shooting the so called Walking Dead" ACLU It was great!!!

  35. LSnider says:

    I plan to see this movie on Sunday.. I came here to see what Eric thought of it. I was really hoping he would like it, and I guess a B- isn't too bad.. Yes, I am related to Eric, but don't think we have ever met, and I hope he really isn't a left coast liberal... I can't wait to see this movie..

  36. Mike Resnick says:

    I saw it Saturday night. The audience laughed uproariously throughout. Then

    I read some reviews Sunday morning. Critics from New York, Boston and

    Los Angeles hated it. Big surprise.

  37. Strad says:

    I went to see this movie with my 18 year old daughter and we both thought it was fantastic! i think it is a sign of just how good it is that the generally Left-leaning press has grudgingly given it relatively passable reviews. I have no doubt that they were hoping to be able to savage it mercilessly. After all, Liberals generally tend to be extraordinarily humorless people and they are particularly incapable of laughing at themselves. This is a hilarious, laugh-out-loud film and everyone should see it. Unfortunately, I saw it at a theater in Los Angeles which is a lost cause as far as Conservative values are concerned. Consequently, there weren't a lot of people in the theater for the 7:30 Saturday night show. Everyone there laughed uproariously throughout, and when it ended bust into prolonged applause and cheers. Go see this movie! It's a real hoot as well as an important lesson in freedom of speech and old-fashioned American values!

  38. KO says:

    I live in Hawaii, and was very pleasantly surprised to see how filled the theatre was at a 3:00pm showing. It was almost sold out. I wanted to be sure to support this movie during it's opening weekend. I just may go and see it again today, and take my friend's teen daughter, who is always up against the liberal bias in her school,. At the end of the movie, everyone clapped. It was truly refreshing to have experienced that support, especially in Hawaii.

  39. Sharon Thayer says:

    My husband, 16 year old daughter and I saw this Friday night and we laughed so hard. In fact the theatre was packed and everyone was laughing so hard you missed some of what they were saying. I can't imagine why it has only a B rating, oh, yes, that's right, they are getting that from the Liberal media. In fact on our theatre's website it only listed 4 reviews and they were all negative. I don't know where those reviews came from because I can't find a place to put my review. I find it hard to believe that a room full of roaring people would give it only 4 neg. reviews. I believe the liberal media is trying to convince the American people that The American Carol isn't worth seeing. IT IS!

  40. Blank Frank says:

    Okay, this is starting to get stupid.

    "Leftist leaning Hollywood wah wah wah." If people "hate" these "left-wing Hollywood" movies, then why do they do a killing at the box-office? Obviously, people must want to spend their money on them, since going to the movies is voluntary and most people go to a movie they've either heard about or seen the trailer of. (And if you say "because left wing critics like them", I will laugh: judging by things like "Pearl Harbor," "Norbit," and "Wild Hogs," critical savaging seems to have no effect on box office.)

  41. Kevin says:

    By the way @Eugene,

    In 1941, Pearl Harbor was (as it still is today) a military installation, so unless the Bush Administration had a secret bunker in the World Trade Center or had stashed munitions there, as Churchill did on the Lusitania to provoke a German U-Boat attack, the attackers on 9/11 attacked a civilian population.

    No one in the Bush Administration had ever said that there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11, and on conservative that has his head screwed on straight (but then again, if he didn't, he wouldn't be conservative in the first place would he?) would make that connection either. In his 2003 State of the Union speech, Bush said that Iraq was a "growing threat" (Read the transcript or find a recording of his speech). He never ever used the word "imminent". Now I am sure that there were many Democrats, possibly Daschle, Schumer, Biden and many others, that used the word "imminent threat"and used it repeatedly. The purpose was to get the word out there and then accuse the president of saying it later, because no one, especially no one that would vote for a Democrat, would be able to sort out exactly who said what, only that they heard the words "imminent threat" SOMEWHERE, and if the liberal media or some elected Democratic official said that it was Bush, then they would have to assume that it was Bush.

    Liberal pinheads want us to believe that U.S. military action creates more terrorists, and the media and other Kool-Aid drinkers like you just lap it up. No,anyone with half a brain understands that the single greatest thing that encourages people to be terrorists is a successful attack against the United States, such as the attack on the World Trade Centers. Terrorists are, amazingly, even bigger cowards than liberals and they wait to see which side is going to win before joining up.

    No one ever said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. However, Saddam Hussein had been known to be a sponsor of terrorist, including giving bounties to families of suicide bombers who have killed Jews in Israel. The successful attacks on 9/11 surely (not Shirley) caught his attention.
    If an independent filmmaker shoots a low-budget movie and it grosses $400 million at the box office, I can assure you, that the next time that he goes looking for funding for his next movie, people like Steven Spielberg are going to take notice. Secular or not, eventually, if not removed from power, he would be in tandem with Bin Laden or whoever else would be in charge of Al Qaeda by that time.

    And as far as WMDs. There is no doubt in my mind that he had them, and that Russia spirited them away to Syria or wherever. But you know what? Not only does he not have WMDs now, neither does Qaddafi (who refers to Obama as "our Muslem brother") any more.


    As far as the 1940's protesters being Isolationist Republicans, that is not the point, The point is that there have been pacifists that have been protesting every war, The Anti-war protesters of today (recycled 60's rejects) are not as avant-garde, cutting edge, as they think they are. What Zucker is saying is that just because there is someone opposed to war, does not make it wrong.

    And as for Afghanistan? Afghanistan is a NATO operation, and you liberal socialist European friends (you know, the ones that were getting their palms greased by the laughable "Oil for Fraud" program) have not met THEIR commitments as the NATO treaty requires for Afghanistan. They are soooooo jealous of this country, because they KNOW they cannot match up.


    And for Davey boy:
    " America has done some bad things in the past , like killing the Indians and engaging in slavery"

    If slavery is a result of bad things America has done, then why is it that there are black people in Jamaica? Why are there black people in the Bahamas? Why are there black people in Martinique or in Guadeloupe? Why are there black people in Trinidad? Why is that when Hall-of-Famer Tony Perez was in the minor leagues, that he would have to stay on the bus because he couldn't go into the white-only restaurants, when he is from Cuba?

    America did not invent slavery, Slavery was brought to the Colonies by the British, (and many of the slaves, at least at the beginning had been slaves in Africa to African masters) just as the British brought slavery to Jamaica, the British Honduras and other locations. It was the British that instilled an economic system that was based on slavery (The State of New York did not abolish slavery in New York until 1827, so it was not just a practice of ignorant or backward Southerners) and such an economic system changes slowly. George Washington owned slaves, which he bequeathed to be set free upon his wife's death, and Thomas Jefferson freed as least some of his as well.

  42. Eric D. Snider says:

    Kevin: "No one in the Bush Administration had ever said that there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11, and [no] conservative that has his head screwed on straight (but then again, if he didn't, he wouldn't be conservative in the first place would he?) would make that connection either."

    It is true that Bush and Co. never said explicitly that Iraq was connected to 9/11. Instead, they consistently mentioned Iraq and 9/11 in the same breath, in the same sentences, in the same speeches, to give the impression that they were related without coming out and saying it. This article compiles several examples. My favorite: When asked whether Iraq was connected to 9/11, Dick Cheney said, "We don't know." In fact, we DID know (and the answer was no), but this way he leaves the possibility open.

    As for no intelligent person believing Iraq and 9/11 were connected, you have a very short memory. In September 2003 -- right around the time Cheney is saying "we don't know," and when the Iraq war has been going on for six months -- there's a national poll showing 70% of Americans believing there's a strong possibility that Saddam Hussein was personally involved with the 9/11 attacks. Six months earlier, at the start of the war, only 45% of Americans believed it. The article I just linked says that immediately after 9/11, hardly anyone thought Iraq was connected. It wasn't until Bush and Co. kept implying it over and over again that people believed Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 -- and it's highly doubtful that it was only liberals who believed it.

  43. angela n says:

    "Connected to" is a rather nebulous term. There is evidence that high-ranking al Qaeda people were meeting with high-ranking Iraqi government people. I think the comments Dick Cheney made that were listed by that article were fairly misleading, but the things that the President said looked to me more like, "Look, we had this happen once, we're trying to prevent this douche from launching something similar." Seemed like the Administration was more trying to prevent the inevitable bully one-upsmanship that would have followed had we done nothing. Al Qaeda had scored a major blow against the American people on American soil -- you think Hamas or Hezbollah or any of those guys would have just sat back and let al Qaeda be the Big Bad? The invasion of Afghanistan was rooting out the guys that hurt us in the first place. The invasion of Iraq was our way of saying we weren't going to take it from anyone else, either. Whether or not it was the right place to be doing that is still up for debate. But to say that it had nothing to do with national security or terrorism is a bit naive.

    Also, to the guy who said something about the Iraqi government wanting us out of there: We have been in Iraq under the invitation of their government ever since they were elected. The Iraqi forces are now strong enough, and the majority of the people are behind them now (thanks in no small part to the surge), so, yeah, both sides agree that the US presence there doesn't have to be as strong as it has been. But to imply that we've been nothing but a thorn in their side and a pain in their arse is very ignorant. Had we not gone in in the first place, they would still be suffering under Saddam. Had we left when the war got unpopular, they would now be under the boot of al Qaeda. I don't think either could be considered an improvement over their current situation.

    Finally, the thing that irritates me the most when people talk about terrorism is how someone inevitably compares it to accidental deaths. There's an enormous difference between someone getting stung by a bee and not having an epi-pen handy and an act of deliberate, pre-concieved, meticulously planned mass murder. That anyone could attempt to put them in the same category boggles my mind.

  44. George says:

    You know, some or you loser radical leftists need to lighten up a little bit! If you can repeatedly mock conservatives, have the courage to allow them the same privileges. Oh, I fogot, only radical leftists should have the right to censor and mock others...

    Get a life, people!!!

  45. Sunny says:

    This is a great comedy. I found it to be very funny and right on point. Michael Moore deserves it. It is much easier to educate the young mind this way so they can counteract the liberal indoctrination from Holly wood and liberal colleges. I don't understand why liberals dominate every where. Please make more.

  46. Vicki Webb says:

    Having previously been a big fan of David Zucker's films, I must say I was not disappointed!

    A truly fun romp through history with rib hugging lines at every turn!

  47. Aaron Chree says:

    -Leftists can't take a joke
    -Hollywood is biased
    -You didn't like this movie because you're a liberal.
    -You're being PREDICTABLE

    Seriously, can you people please stop being so predictable yourselves. But talking to " pinhead Kool-Aid drinkers" is not language designed for an audience that isn't preaching to the choir.

    If I'm going to be one of these people that "lighten up and take a joke", then simply provide a good joke. This movie is hit and miss. Do's and don't's for suicide bombers... that's funny! A song against education..... gimme a brake. You brake down higher, you'll be twice as effective at eliminating freedom as an Al Queada that drives a 747 into every office tower, church, and nursery school in the country.

    Ok go ahead and defend the gag now.... I know you're just going to anyways. Let me give you a head start..... liberals run the media / colleges / hollywood / stonecutters....

  48. D. says:

    THIS MOVIE IS EXTREMELY FUNNY! I'm not a left or right winger but I REALLY LOVED THIS MOVIE! This is one of those movies you'll be kicking yourself for missing in the theaters! It was a great experience watching it with a crowd! RUN TO SEE THIS MODERN CLASSIC!

  49. stephkitten says:

    I rarely comment on this site, although I'm a regular reader, but I thought I'd throw my two cents into this fury.

    It is so sad to me that the political discourse in this country seems to consist more of a shouting match between "Darn you liberal commies" and "Darn you conservative rednecks" points of view than anything else. Where is the discussion of what we need to do together to raise this country out of the low point we are in now?

    Also, I refuse to believe that ranting, illogical, horrendously misspelled comments on the Internet from those who cannot even consider an opposing point of view represent the "average American." I believe the "average American" is better than that. Perhaps my faith is unfounded.

  50. Tom says:

    For a minute there I wasn't sure if this was a movie review or political discussion.

    I went to the movie on Friday night and enjoyed it very much. I was afraid it would be too political, but it concentrated more on the comedy, using Michael Moore's beliefs as portrayed in his films as a base. Lots of laughs throughout the film and it flowed nicely. The theater was a little over half full and people laughed a lot.

  51. Stinger503 says:

    @Kevin
    First off, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Pentagon the HEADQUARTERS for the United States Military? Did that happen on 9/11? Okay moving on...

    "No one ever said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11."
    That is the point. Why on Earth would you invade another country that had nothing to do with 9/11 when the man who did the 9/11 attacks is still on the loose! How does that make any sense?

    "And as far as WMDs. There is no doubt in my mind that he had them, and that Russia spirited them away to Syria or wherever."
    That is literally the most insane thing I have ever heard. You sound like Miss South Carolina: "The Iraqs had wmds with the russias and syria and such as" Seriously are you just throwing out random 'evil' countries and that proves there's wmds and justifies Iraq?

  52. Timothy says:

    Though Stinger's quote is pretty fantastic, and though this thread is absolutely filled to the brim with inanity and hilarity, I have to say that the absolute pinnacle of the idiotically hilarious lot has been this zinger:

    "BTW, I have an uncle currently in Iraq, and they are finding WMD all the time. The media just doesn't care. It's way more fun to keep that quiet and continue acting as though there was absolutely no reason to go in there."

    The image of the soldiers finding WMDs "all the time" - but the damned liberal media being too afraid to report it - is absolutely hilarious to me. Because, at the very least, there's absolutely no way Fox News or Sean Hannity wouldn't love to have that sort of information to share with the world and to rub in the face of all of us damned liberal anti-war anti-American terrorist-loving coward traitors. No way.

  53. Anita Allen says:

    American Carol is worth going to, just for the American history lesson that it taught. I thought if was pretty over line in Satire, but I'm glad I went. I enjoyed the Guy humor and it got the message accross very well. I'm glad I went.

  54. Seripa says:

    to #14:

    I fail to see how "they tried oh so hard to down the Passion of the Christ, and people still went to see the movie, despite Hollywood beat writers, journalists, movie critics, and numerous protests." could possibly give any weight to your statement that Eric D. Snider is a liberal, especially since, you know, he thought Passion of the Christ was a good movie. A grade. check it out: http://www.ericdsnider.com/movies/the-passion-of-the-christ/

  55. Jay Perry says:

    Fantastic, hilarious movie. An American Carol is a new conservative American classic. Go see it! Rational people realize that those who aren't amused simply can't stand to see their leftist, liberal perspectives blasted to bits. They insist on being "right" even though they're wrong. The fact that so many mainstream reviewers are shredding this film should be all the endorsement everyday Americans need to know it's going to be a runaway hit!

  56. Eric D. Snider says:

    "Rational people realize that those who aren't amused simply can't stand to see their leftist, liberal perspectives blasted to bits."

    If that's the rational point of view, I'd hate to see the irrational one.

  57. Cody says:

    @ DAN
    "The fact is, there *were* WMD in Iraq. (Sadaam gassed Kurds, etc.) That is why governments (not just the US) initally believed the intelligence reports that Sadaam possessed WMDs were accurate. Hindsight certainly proved the reports wrong. . ."

    550 tonnes of yellowcake were discovered in Iraq last year, too late to be relevent perhaps (Mon Jul 7, 2008), but nonetheless showing that the initial intellegence reports were correct. It was the final remains, it is believed, of what had not been rushed under Russian escort into Syria at the onset of the engagement.
    My apologies if someone already corrected this statement, but I felt compelled to address it shortly after reading the comment.

    http://www.msnbc. msn.com/id/ 25546334/

  58. John Foglor says:

    Agreed. Spotty as a comedy; lapses into bald, unfunny propaganda far too often. But I find it interesting for exactly the reasons you cite, am glad it was made, and glad I saw it. Not a bad time at the movies, as such things go these days. And I thought Kevin Farley was quite good.

    (Some of the comments you're gathering here are astonishingly hot under the collar, considering how even-handed your review is.)

  59. Ian Cook says:

    You guys are so right. Right wingers are so humor deprived. You'll never find a single laugh from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or SNL. That crap is not funny, no one even watches it. The funniest thing I've ever seen is form Bill O'reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Now they know how to laugh it up. Heck Yeah!

  60. Ian Cook says:

    I meant to say Left wingers, not Right wingers.

  61. Ami says:

    @stephkitten: "Also, I refuse to believe that ranting, illogical, horrendously misspelled comments on the Internet from those who cannot even consider an opposing point of view represent the 'average American.'"

    I completely agree. Reading this thread, I was incredibly upset by the fact that they keep referring to people who find this movie as something to be liked by the "average American." It's almost like they're calling all "average Americans" unintelligent. An "average American" is too stupid to like anything other than toilet humor and "making fun of people they don't like"? An "average American" likes making fun of people for being who they are, just because they disagree with them? An “average American” doesn’t understand “intelligent humor”? What exactly is an "average American," exactly?

    I think some of the people in this thread really need to take a quick look outside the box they hold themselves in, surrounded only by the people who agree with them. Because as far as I know, the "average American" isn't just some liberal-hating redneck jerk that blindly follows everything his or her country does--good or bad. To me, the "average American" is smart, hard-working, interested in and open to the opinions of others, and hanging on for dear life while our poor country goes down the toilet.

    But I guess I, like stephkitten, was just being too hopeful. Maybe the "average American" really isn't as smart and tolerant as I'd originally hoped.

  62. Mott deWitt says:

    First, to Bubba. The Middle East landscape was created at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, not by Jimmy Carter. If you would stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity long enough to read a book every ten years or so you would have a better understanding of history. Last, the Bush administration lied in order to invade Iraq. Case closed. They lied. Somebody, anybody, read "The Prospect for a New American Century," a paper written by most of the prominent neo-cons in the Bush administration, including, but not limited to, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Cristol, and Rice, a report that laid out the road to an invasion of Iraq before Bush was even elected. They simply used 9/11 as a pretense to wage the war that they'd already decided to wage.

    Read people. Read.

  63. SocialistMan says:

    Although a small sample so far, I think the rating of this movie at Rotten Tomatoes (currently 14%) speaks volumes (but I guess it is somehow the 'liberal' media's fault). The movie is neither insightful nor funny.

    As for most of the comments above, I don't see how making disparaging comments about people you disagree with politically adds to the discourse. I lean left on most major issues but am libertarian with respect to civil liberties (yeah!), gun control (don't need it), and others. Conflicted, yes... but I believe to a similar degree as most average americans. We are generally turned off by name calling and smear tactics and want honest discussions about issues that respect differing positions and want leaders that work to represent us all despite our differences. Satire and other related devices are essential to helping us see our own hypocrises and limitations. Criticism of our country and its leaders is a necessary, and yes, patriotic endeavour. The fact that we can do this is a testament to our country given that so many people around the world lack this fundamental right. Arguing with those you don't agree with is a necessity for an informed electorate... simply attacking people who are trying to bring more information into your world view might make you feel good, but it does nothing for your development as a person. The point is not to consume information that already adds to your pre-conceived view of the world and say how wonderful it is, but just the opposite. Engage in activities that challenge your beliefs... if can articulate a LOGICAL rationale for rebuttal, good for you. If you can't, then the idea deserves your consideration for further examination. Rejecting ideas out of hand and resorting to name calling belies your inability or unwillingness to continue your development as a human - which is disgusting. I respectfully consider conservative ideals and if I disagree I rationalize my position. I have adopted some over the years, and I have rejected liberal ideals in the same fashion. Using 'liberal' as a derogatory epithet is the consumate betrayal of one's close-minded view of the world (I usually say 'thank you' when called one... it is a pretty nice compliment given the actual meaning of the word). Notice how the word 'conservative' does not carry the same negative connotation. Think about why that is - most liberals don't hate conservatives (it doesn't fit with our way of thinking... it is mostly uninformed Democrats that engage in such low-brow rebuttals), we just think that they are wrong (more so recently, with the willingness to elect people like Bush, than in the past where thoughtful, articulate people like Barry Goldwater ran the movement and rejected the extremism of the current culture wars and its demonization of so many Americans (i.e. homosexuals, intellectuals, and others)).

    Michael Moore isn't trying to convert anybody as much as he is trying to bring issues to light to foster a discussion. Does he go to extremes? Yes, that is his art. Nobody would get involved in arguing for or against his positions if he made typical milquetoast documentaries. I actually prefer more objective presentations a la 'Fog of War' but that is just me. But seriously, fat jokes? Nice. I'm fat, I like food, and that seems to be a pretty pro-American position these days. And by the way (on a lighter note), MM is from Flint, Michigan which is MSU Spartan county - he is most definitely a Spartan fan.

    OK - civics lesson over. No go out there and be smart! And if you don't vote (I don't care who for) I hope someone punches you in the face.

  64. Stinger503 says:

    @Cody
    "550 tonnes of yellowcake were discovered in Iraq last year, too late to be relevent perhaps (Mon Jul 7, 2008), but nonetheless showing that the initial intellegence reports were correct. "
    http://www.msnbc. msn.com/id/ 25546334/

    The article itself says that the yellowcake isn't potent enough for even a dirty bomb, and can only be turned into a bomb with high-end tech. which is pretty easy to assume Iraq didn't have.

  65. Tom Rossi says:

    The movie was funny. How sensitive the Liberals are when they are on the receiving end of the jokes.

  66. matt says:

    Eric, I suggest you close these comments. Tom Rossi has won the argument.

  67. Karen Stout says:

    Man. I read all the way through the first 60 comments and was feeling a bit disappointed in all the vacuous, nasty comments from both sides of the political spectrum.

    THEN... I read #61...62...(my spirits were beginning to lift) and then 63 (at which point I developed a crush on SocialistMan, whoever he may be). Comment #64 was the icing on the [yellow]cake, and then I was brought crashing back down to Grim Reality by #65.

    Since nobody is really discussing the film review anymore, except for Tom Rossi, and matt (#66) says he won the argument anyhow, I'm all for closing the comments. Well, after MINE is posted, I mean. {insert Palinesque wink}

  68. L Willard says:

    I found this comedy totally funny but disturbing at the same time. The depiction of the ACLU was really too close to being factual, zombies after the destruction of American values. Funny is only really funny unless there is too much truth in it. I will support any film that makes fun of the far left. I am sick and tired of Hollywood's constant far left Agenda. During the previews they showed snippets of the movie "W", many in the theater booed. Time to wake up Hollywood, us conservatives are tired of being mocked and distorted. Please do more movies like the American Carol. My family and many others will go and many of us have started boycotting the typical movies that Hollywood has been putting out. None of my friends will go to "W".

  69. Jeni says:

    I can't wait to see this movie! Clearly, it has the lefties all riled up. Excellent notion, in my book. Must be a great flick if it's got so many reviewers' shorts in a wad. We'll be paying full-price for the tickets, too. Have a nice weekend, and know that the more you spout off about how "bad" a self-described right-sided movie is, the more we want to make sure for ourselves.

    Oh, if you'd like to get back to this review (were we supposed to evaluate the review or the reviewer?) Not sure... but anyway, the review was way too long. It was joyless and lacked clarity and made me want to skip to the end and add my comment. Just like the nightly news on any channel but Fox.

    Better luck next time, though. Really. You have pretty good writing skills.

  70. Sarah says:

    I've actually gotten quite a lot of joy out of this review and the vast majority of all you good people's hilariously dumb comments. A tip of my hat to you!

  71. Rob D. says:

    I'm a conservative and I finally got around to seeing this movie. I basically agree with Eric. I was slightly letdown because it started out very funny and had potential. I agree about the training videos being great. I also loved the opening scene in Afghanistan with the bicycle. The terrorist not originally recognizing the main terrorist because of his beard was laugh out loud funny. There were other funny parts scattered throughout but not enough. Most of the jokes that had to do with Michael Moore and his 3 ghosts weren't that funny. We needed the terrorists to be in more of the scenes. They provided the greatest laughs. Plus, the talent of Leslie Nielsen was wasted as the narrator. He's great in spoofs- that's a talent that only a few people can pull off. He had no funny material to work with.

  72. Jen says:

    I'm with #71, Rob D. Actually, I think Eric's B- is generous. As much as I wanted to like this movie (I love Airplane, I mean, the old lady talking jive is classic), I just didn't. I tried. I think the idea was a very good one, but some subtlety, even in a spoof, isn't a bad thing, and this movie had almost none. Although there were some truly funny parts, overall it just felt heavy handed and disjointed. The part w/ Neville Chamberlain made a great point (loved how he couldn't spell Czechoslovakia so crossed it out and put in Poland), but the whole scene was so frantic that I wonder how anyone who doesn't know WWII history would understand what that point was. My favorite part- the soldiers in the crowd at the Trace Adkins (aka the angel of freaking death-another funny spot) going from now to the Revolutionary War. (Great subtlety there). George Washington was another good one. Bottom line...again, no matter what side you are on, Hollywood tries to represent the average American and just doesn't quite get it.

  73. Peter Skouson says:

    "Likewise, the film's basic premise -- that criticizing America's actions is the same thing as "hating America" -- is ludicrously flawed."

    “I have a friend who says he hates his wife. He says it all the time, and I always laugh, because I know he doesn’t mean it. They’ve been together for 30 years. He has 3 daughters and they’re just like her, and he loves them. So one day we’re eating breakfast in a restaurant and he says it again: ‘I hate my wife.’ I chuckle again, and I turn and look out the window, and I see his wife, and she’s being beaten up. So I stand up and grab my friend by his arm, and I say, ‘Come on, there’s your wife! Let’s help your wife!’ He says, ‘Nah. She deserves it.’ That’s when I realize he really does hate his wife.”

    I didn’t make that up, it’s from Evan Sayet. I guess I’m trying to say that I don’t know if Michael Moore hates America, but the idea is not “ludicrously flawed.” The idea that criticism = hatred might be, but this what Moore does is something different than mere criticism.

  74. Glenda Burgeson says:

    I live in Minnesota and I can't believe it's not in any theater's here. If I'd know it was going to be banned, I would have seen it earlier. Anybody know why it's not showing anymore??

  75. Vernus Blank says:

    Wow...so all I have to do is slap a bunch of tripe together, label it "conservative" and half the people making comments here will come a'running to give me their money! Reminds me of another director, who makes gobs of money putting out sub-par movies and gets by on his "liberal" reputation. Hmmm. Who could that be?

    There will always be those who see things because Hannity or Moore or O'Reilly or Jesse Jackson told them to. And no matter what side of the political fence you're on, it just makes you a follower. Followers aren't what make this country great. It just makes you a sucker for marketing.

    I saw this movie and it was awful. It's not being banned. It's just a lemon, and studios will pull movies faster than you can blink if they do badly on their opening weekends. And this one laid a golden egg.

    Zucker just hasn't been funny in a long time. It's sad. This movie did nothing to change my opinion of it.

  76. Russ says:

    @22:

    Are you that much of a sheeple?

    "Every time I see one of these people telling me how to think, I cross them off my list of movies to watch."

    Please tell me in what way this movie is NOT telling you how to think in the EXACT SAME WAY that "Liberal" movies tell you how to think?

    Just because the conclusions are different doesn't mean they're not both spinning their side of the story to you in order to convince you to agree with them.

  77. Brad says:

    I'm from overseas. Does "conservative" mean you're a barely educated religious fundamentalist whose political opinions are fed to them via talkback radio waves?

    Republicans are a lot like Scientologists; a clever pyramid scheme funnelling money to those at the top. Both groups leave their victims happy about it; the scientologists by a bizarre science fiction, and the Republicans by scouring the world for new enemies to fear and hate. Lying is the key, and it's simple really; just open your mouth and tell a falsehood.

    At least your masters have read a book. It's called "1984", and I recommend you getting someone to read it to you.

    Invest. More. Money. In. SCHOOLS.

  78. B.BarNavi says:

    Is this astroturf, or truly have the denizens of Moron-upon-Avon come to praise this movie simply cause it bashes hippies?

    REAL satire works with TRUTH, not strawmen.

  79. shamsky24 says:

    "If you are a sour, hard-core, politically correct liberal, you will hate this movie. The rest of us love it!"

    "The rest of you" apparently loved it so much that it bombed at the box office (it grossed a dismal $7 million, a loss of $13 million for its filmmakers), disappeared from theaters within a month of its release, and has generated virtually nothing in terms of DVD sales or rentals. Which begs the question, if y'all were so crazy about this damned movie, then how come virtually no one actually paid to see the freaking thing?

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