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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As I read the reviews here of the film, I see many comments of the type
"I think like that..." which is further evidence of certain aspects of
the hard-right mindset than it is about problems with liberals. One can
debate about whether something is "funny" or not, I found this film
funny for about 5 minutes, the rest was boring and some of it downright
offensive. First, as full disclosure, I am a liberal but am NOT a fan
of Michael Moore. I agree with much of what he has to say but I think
he loses the power of some of his arguments by being overly provocative
I also find him unpleasant as a personality. But when we look at this
film, we see the basic problems of the conservative mindset, everything
is a caricature, everything is so simple good guys vs. bad guys. One
could argue that these could be a caricature of the movement itself,
but from the reactions here, it would seem that those who liked the
movie see it as "socking it to those liberals..."
First let's look at the basic premise of the movie: Mike Malone wants the 4th of July Holiday banned because he, in his heart of hearts, hates America. Um, again, I don't particularly like Moore, but should a caricature not have some remote basis in fact? Watch Sicko, watch Fahrenheit 911, watch Roger and Me. Where exactly is a hatred for America and patriotism? Exactly in which scene does this occur? What does he say to suggest this? In fact, this is the typical reductio ad absurdum strawman that conservatives love to build - so-in-so is bad! He is fat! He hates America, he loves terrorists. Don't listen to him or respect him. Take Moore's last film, Sicko. Moore discusses the millions of Americans who are not give adequate help by the health care system. He touches on cases of people who have none. He compares and contrasts France and Cuba. Now instead of having a substantive discussion, where conservatives say 1) I disagree with Moore BECAUSE.. 2) Moore's point on X is wrong BECAUSE... 3) The facts he presents on health care in Cuba are not true BECAUSE... instead we can engage in these childish stereotypes and name calling INSTEAD of addressing the fact that 46 million people, including children, have no health care in the US. Yeah, let's laugh at the fat man who hates America..it's easier than addressing the issue at hand, some people are literally dying because they got laid off or because their insurance company won't cover them. Thus, the whole premise of the film is so flimsy and ridiculous. To the conservative mind, saying it is bad that millions of hard-working Americans have no health care means you hate America. Objecting to a disastrous military policy in Iraq means you hate America.
And the stereotypes abound from there. Michael Malone is taken through history a la Christmas Carol and shown that it is wrong to hate America...One of my favorite examples is how he is shown by the example of the Civil War that not all war is bad. Now let's dissect this a bit: stereotype: all liberals are against all war no matter what. As stupid as the stereotype that conservatives want war all the time. Fact is, this is not true, many liberals SUPPORTED the war in Afghanistan because the Taliban was housing bin Laden, who was directly associated with the murder of our citizens. But just because you object to the Iraq war, you are against every war in all cases. Yeah, right. The civil war...let's think for a nano-second about that: that war was fought by people opposed to slavery in the Northern States against the conservative South. I won't go into the complex argument here about what each party Republican and others were very different then but I will point of that those "red" states that went Bush in 2004 almost exactly matched the "slave states" during the Civil War. Sure, we are supposed to believe that those very conservative states where they sill want to fly the confederate flag today were the ones who were anti-slavery? Yeah, sure.
And then of course, we have the portrayals of Muslims and Mexicans in the film. To the conservative mindset, all Muslims, be they from Morocco to Iran to Afghanistan to Indonesia, to Sudan, to America and Europe and Turkey are all the same...they all dress the same, all talk the same...all are potential terrorists who hate America.
And everything else is a silly stereotype too. Rosie O'Donnell is a fat lesbian with strong opinions. So therefore, she should be laughed at and ridiculed, not worthy of having an opinion.
And for those who say, "It's a comedy, lighten up"... um, I just found it not funny, from scenes at Ground Zero (real classy) to cheap physical humor (look at that fat pig Moore eat all in sight...) it is light on the humor and heavy on the conservative fantasy
And for those eager to say it is like Airplane, um, no. Airplane was funny because it was completely absurd. There were silly jokes, many groups were parodied in a gentle way. Here it is all about building the strawmen and then trying to build a parody around that. Kind of like making a "liberal" film where George Bush is out on some hunting range, shooting down Muslims for sport....Conservatives would not find that amusing and it would be as absurd as the "Michael Moore hates all of America" premise..
And for those ready to proclaim "typical liberal response", you should know I expect to also pan Oliver Stone's film "W" when it comes out. Although I loathe Bush, it is also a series of silly stereotypes which does not bring the dialogue forward...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, before anyone levels accusations, I have seen the movie and I'm
writing this on behalf of myself, not some organization on either side
of the political spectrum. Now, that said, here's my opinion...
Is this the funniest movie ever made? No, it's not. Is it your civic duty to see or avoid this movie at all costs? No, it isn't.
I will say, though, that I thought the movie was very funny. In some parts (like the "documentary" about "radical Christian terrorists"), it's both funny and sharply satirical. And, in other parts (like Malone getting constantly knocked around), it's more garden variety slapstick comedy. Either way, I laughed and so did the other people in the audience. And, as noted, there are a couple of scenes that actually try, and do, provoke some thought, mainly the scene at St. Paul's. Finally, when you get right down to it, Malone (the pseudo Michael Moore) doesn't come across as all that awful a guy, even if he is a self-absorbed jerk.
I know that this movie has inspired a considerable amount of controversy and has resulted in heated exchanges. All I'll say, though, is that I thought it was OK and I enjoyed it. And if it does inspire some kind of dialogue about conservatism (or the lack thereof) in Hollywood, so be it.
I will admit, though, it was nice to see a movie that at least tries to show the U.S.A. in a favorable light. That's become somewhat rare.
I loved Airplane! I think it's a staple on the American comedy scene.
In fact, I love several of David Zucker's movies, but he seems to have
lost his understanding of the American psyche in his last few attempts.
An American Carol, for instance, could just as well have been a
pro-Nixon movie, released soon after Watergate. I'm sure there will be
a few who will find Zucker's portrayal of Michael Moore funny and they
would likely find a Zucker portrayal of Martha Mitchell to be humorous,
as well. The irony comes in Zucker's failure to realize that most
people side with Michael Moore on his opinions, as well as the facts
that support his opinions, which Zucker pokes fun at by treating them
as if they were untrue.
As a Liberal, I didn't expect to agree with Zucker's political views, and yet, I felt compelled to watch it and give it a fair shake, believing that my difference in politics might not prevent me from finding it funny. Unfortunately, An American Carol ended up being as disconnected from reality as I'd feared beforehand and I can't help wondering what Hollywood genius figured it would be a good idea to make fun of a controversial American political icon, just as the vast majority of Americans were figuring out that his serious accusations were justified. If Zucker were around for the Boston Tea Party, he most surely would have had a blast ridiculing Samuel Adams, and those throwing tea overboard, and I'm sure he wouldn't have spared American revolutionaries for wanting independence, either, because Zucker seems all about protecting the establishment, no matter who it is and what faults it may have.
I may sound motivated by politics, but that's really not the impetus for my harsh review at all. We've all seen funny political humor that was driven by views that we didn't share, but this is different because Zucker is trying to force humor that just isn't there. Michael Moore offers a plethora of opportunities for humor, but there is nothing funny about portraying people as wrong, when in fact, they were right. And if I am wrong on this, then I have a great idea for a satire about Abraham Lincoln foolishly trying to end slavery, which I'm certain will have it's fans as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because of the controversial subject of this film, I will start off by
saying that I am not a liberal. I am a constitutional conservative and
also an Iraq War veteran. That being said, "An American Carol is an
absolutely horrible film. Besides the type of low-brow, kindergarten
humor that it shares with such films as "Scary Movie", "Meet the
Spartans", "Date Movie", and every other modern spoof, "An American
Carol" also fails in its attempt to rebut left-wing rhetoric.
I read one user review that said "if you're a Republican you will find this funny." Republicans should find this comment very offensive, as it suggests that a film filled with ignorant and inaccurate information would appeal to them. Any educated Republican should avoid this film, because what it implies about them is almost as bad as the filmmakers are trying to say about the left.
The film presents poorly thought out arguments to debunk supposed left-wing myths. An example of this is when the character of Michael Malone comments that President Kennedy would never have gone to Vietnam. In the scene, Kennedy appears before him and suggests that he would have indeed gone to Vietnam, and as evidence the film quotes a line from his Innaugural Address where he mentions that America will "pay any price, bear any burden". The speech itself makes no mention of the on-coming war in Vietnam, and to use this quote as evidence for his position on that war is laughable. Although Kennedy alludes to being willing to fight a necessary war, there is no evidence to suggest that he would have fought the war in question.
Another example is when Bill O'Reilly and Rosie O'Connel are arguing about the terrorist threat. One of the arguments made by Rosie, which is a common argument made by many liberals, is that Christian terrorism is as big a threat as Islamic terrorism. Any student of international and domestic terrorism will tell you that this is simply not true. And a good way to refute that claim is to show the number of terrorist attacks and subsequent death tolls from both Christian extremist and Islamic extremist and compare them. The numbers will clearly show that in the present time Islamic extremists have engaged in far more destructive acts that Christian extremists. However, that is a point that the filmmakers failed to address. Rather than approach the topic intelligently and in a manner that would educate the ignorant, the film dismisses the argument and responds by pointing out the Christian terrorists don't commit their crimes with the same modus operandi that Islamic terrorists do, and the film attempts to make its point in very juvenile fashion.
The film carries on like this for its entire run time. Its extremely disappointing that a film that is supposed to represent the opinions of the right comes across as a Larry the Cable Guy skit. Any one looking for an intelligent argument about right versus left politics should simply avoid this film. I recommend reading "The Revolution" by Ron Paul instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this at the AFR Film Festival in DC this evening. I wasn't
expecting much having read a lukewarm online review from someone who
saw it when it was screened at the Republican Convention. I was,
however, very pleasantly surprised. I doubt this modern day
conservative retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol will ever find an
audience, as it will be ignored/roundly dismissed by the MSM critics,
but it is a solidly funny satire and delivered more than its share of
laughs (at the expense of Michael Moore, the ACLU, Fidel's Cuba,
today's college professors, Rosie O'Donnell, Jimmy Carter, and anyone
who frets about the treatment of those incarcerated at Gitmo.) As the
"Michael Malone"/Michael Moore character, Kevin Farley not only looks
the part but gives a credible and easy-to-watch performance. He
actually makes the character likable, even when he's saying or doing
something obnoxious. The characterization could have been much "meaner"
but Farley walks the fine line between hard edge satire and keeping
Malone open to his big screen redemption.
The film even had moments that were unexpectedly moving, especially the segment when Mr. Malone receives some somber "feedback" from the father of his country and when Malone sees "ghosts" in the audience at the end-of-the-film Trace Adkins concert.
Favorite bits: the trailer of Rosie's Radical Christianity documentary and the chorus of college profs singing about the glories of 1968.
If you're an unreconstructed conservative you're going to love this film. Left of center libs (the five or six who actually go to the movie) will walk out of it after about five minutes sputtering obscenities. You'll have to judge whether or not you want to spend your time and money depending upon where you fall between those two extremes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Is this supposed to make fun of liberals or republicans? When a few of
us sat down to watch it we honestly couldn't agree. We then resorted to
what Google had to say on the subject, and apparently the director and
the lead actors are all republicans wanting to make a statement. But we
still couldn't agree - some of us claimed they had to have been fooled
by the writers.
The two biggest laughs from us was when Little Timmy hadn't had his leg fixed because Bad Uncle Michael wouldn't pay for it (yeah, socialized medicine is only for commies, we yanks think every child should have the liberty to stay crippled if they fail to choose the right parents) and when Frasier asked whether the "thou shalt not kill" had been shot away from the wall in the court room and proceeding with "never mind, I'll just fire away" (Who are pro-capital punishment again? That's right, right-wing Christians!)
And those were just the most glaring anti-republican jokes. Mostly, the script was more subtle, with the anti-liberal jokes, the racism and the homophobia so clumsily presented they were, in our opinion, most likely meant to make fun of republican propaganda.
Are we overestimating both the filmmakers and their intended audience? Or have we truly understood the deeper meaning of An American Carol? I'm so confused, I don't know whether to grade it one or ten. I'll have to go with five.
On the July 4th, a group of children listens to the story of the
documentary filmmaker Michael Malone (Kevin P. Farley) told by their
grandfather (Leslie Nielsen) at a family barbecue. Michael wants to
abolish the July 4th and does not celebrate the date and refuses to
visit his family. Three clumsy Afghan terrorists consider that Michael
Malone hates the United States of America and posing of producers, they
invite him to make a feature with the intention of helping them to
recruit new terrorists. During the night, Michael is visited by JFK
that advises that he will be visited by three spirits. Soon General
Patton, George Washington and the Angel of Death visit him trying to
show him what would happen to the United States if pacifism prevails
"An American Carol" is a parody of "A Christmas Carol" where a Michael Malone is a parody of Michael Moore in the role of the Scrooge. There are funny, but also moronic gags and after a promising beginning, the plot concludes with a terrible boastful nationalism that spoils the plot and the character. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "Corra que Tem Loucos por Aí!" ("Run Since There Are Madmen Around")
Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) is an American documentary maker out to
abolish Fourth of July celebrations, perceiving it as the ultimate
representation of what is wrong in America. However, he is visited by
three ghosts who intend to change the way he views his country.
Firstly, David Zucker appears to have fallen a long way since the heights of Airplane and Police Squad although too many Scary Movie sequels and "spoof" movies on the resume show the path to these new depths of garbage. Unfortunately, we live in a world where bowing to the lowest common denominator in taste and quality still makes money.
As somebody outside of the USA, perhaps this is not a movie targeted at me but it feels like the worst kind of low brow comedy, which takes easy and cheap shots at "anti-American" film-makers. Although the target is clear (Kevin Farley's characterisation is in no doubt), if questioning the way things work automatically marks you as an anarchist (or "anti- American", in this case) then what is a democracy? I may not always agree with your point but would not deny you the right to say it. "Freedom of Speech" still exists, right?
Leslie Neilson appears as a grandfather, telling the story we see play out. Although always good to see Neilson, he has little to do in this movie besides one "action" scene. Trace Adkins appears as both The Angel of Death and himself. As himself, he is apparently the ultimate representation of America and what it means to be a true American. The role is fairly small, which is probably best, as even if you enjoy his musical output, I'm not sure feature films are his future. Kelsey Grammar as General Patton has an overly long yet mildly amusing role but is ultimately wasted in it. His feature film output will not garner awards Down Periscope any one? but he may be the highlight in an otherwise dull production with few redeeming features.
Bad acting, cheap shots at those willing to question the norm and "jokes" that will make many wince we should be allowed to charge the film-makers for our time spent watching this rubbish.
Overall, if you are a fan of the spoof movies of recent years, give this a try. If you are a Michael Moore hater, give this a try. If you don't fall in to either of those camps, don't waste your time or money.
How unusual it is to see a movie wherein the best parts are not in the trailer. But that is not what makes this a non-traditional Hollywood movie. It is that the movie is unabashedly anti-liberal, anti-media-establishment, pro-military, and pro-American. This movie has more than its share of stupid, slapstick scenes. What else do you expect from a movie with Leslie Nielsen? All Three Stooges similarities aside, no minority group is safe from being a punchline here. The humor is bold and edgy at times. The point of the movie would seem to be that Michael Moore is a left-wing pinhead, a bloated, self-indulgent fool whose lies are shameful and hurtful to America. But there is a greater message here. Average Americans will bust a gut laughing at the silliness of the slapstick comedy. The more perceptive viewers will enjoy the unique experience of a mainstream movie that is firmly rooted in mainstream American principles that are lacking in most Hollywood movies and broadcast television networks.
I had accidentally watched this film in Dubrovnik, Croatia in an open
Jadran film theater. Film theater was nicer place then the film itself.
Also, viewing audience did not really understood what is really in the
Conservatives lashing back at Michael Moore! Some of us understood that. Well, I think they have it right from their point of view. He worked tirelessly to take the White House away from the Republicans. and he finally did. It was not a miracle that someone would make a film trying to bash Michael.
Well, I think plot should be looked as a continuous struggle between the Republicans and Democrats for power in the USA.
Acting is OK, but nothing spectacular.
All in all, if you want to watch Republicans bashing at Democrats this is a film for you, otherwise, you might skip it, nothing special in it.
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