The Best and Worst Political Movies of 2012

Can you imagine Hollywood making a full-length feature film project with huge stars and a giant budget … about the evils of Planned Parenthood? Of course not. But ask for a budget of $15 million to do a film about a corporation buying land for fracking – a new and exciting form of oil drilling – and you can count Hollywood in. The new film Promised Land stars megastar Matt Damon, John Krasinski (Jim from The Office), and Oscar winner Frances McDormand. And it’s insanely boring.

It’s also propaganda. The film centers around a small town poisoned by the fracking. The townspeople whose town actually starred in the film are enraged at the filmmakers; they were told that the film would treat drilling fairly. Who’s funding this masterwork? Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE, unsurprisingly, relies on the failure of fracking to continue milking their traditional drilling market share.

But Promised Land isn’t the only – or even the most egregious – Hollywood leftist misfire of the year. Killing Them Softly, the Brad Pitt-starring gritty crime drama that imploded at the box office, featured characters uttering lines like, “America isn’t a country – it’s a business.” Pitt, in pitching the film at Cannes, said it was “criminal that there still haven’t been any criminal repercussions” for the 2008 financial collapse. If a movie about hit men that’s really about how much the free market sucks works for you, make sure to hit this one up.

Or how about The Campaign, the utter dud starring dud actors Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis? That film sought to attack the importance of political spending – and, of course, the Citizens United case, which established that corporations could spend cash on campaigns. The movie also singled out the Koch brothers for special consideration – they’re played as the Motch brothers by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow.

Not your style? Try Bully, Harvey Weinstein’s tour de force about how bullying is bad. For an entire movie. Pushed by the Obama administration. Even though bullying is at an all-time low across the country.

Or maybe you’re in the mood for a retelling of the Biblical story of Noah. Only it’s not about mankind’s libertine sins anymore – it’s about environmentalism. Sure, that film doesn’t come out until 2013. But we can get excited, can’t we? According to an exclusive report on the film from Breitbart News, Noah actually has a crisis of conscience about whether to stamp out the future of humanity in order to save the trees. Or some other such nonsense. That film has a budget of over $100 million and stars Russell Crowe.

But there was a shocking amount of good news from Hollywood, too. It began with perhaps the most conservative big budget epic of all time: The Dark Knight Rises. That film featured a communist revolution in Gotham, corporatists going along with it to get along, an Occupy-style fifth column, and a rich person sacrificing himself and his fortune to save the populace. There are even Stalinist show trials starring demented psychopaths. The movie features a scene in which Catwoman, who had once been a socialist revolutionary type, sees a completely ruined mansion. “This used to be someone’s home,” she says, upset at the destruction. “Now it’s everybody’s house,” her friend replies.

The Hunger Games featured a tyrannical government keeping down a subject population. Who clearly need an assault weapons ban to protect them from themselves. Red Dawn featured a fight for American freedom – although the United States wasn’t fighting China, thanks to the Chinese influence on the American movie market, but North Korea.

Then there’s the much-anticipated Zero Dark Thirty, which conservatives suspected would be a paean to President Obama. The Obama administration reportedly gave special access to the filmmakers, with the unspoken proviso that the film show the Obama administration in the most pleasant possible light. Instead, the film takes an accurate look at the impact of enhanced interrogation techniques under the Bush administration, with dramatic credit given to such techniques for crucial information in finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. The Obama CIA has condemned the film’s portrayal of waterboarding – but that’s the Obama CIA.

Hollywood movies still spilled out the typical liberal tropes – evil corporations (Looper), nasty Wall Street types (Arbitrage), nihilism (The Grey), loveable Democratic presidents (Hyde Park on the Hudson), and the like. But overall, Hollywood moved away from as much open propaganda – hell, even Spielberg and radical Tony Kushner couldn’t push their politics into Lincoln to any great extent. That’s a win for Americans.

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  • davarino

    Matt Damon is a pretentious little lefty. He would probably make it mandatory for every one to see these films if he had the power. I have no idea why he is such a "mega star", it must be his political leanings. When you go left in Hollywood and can really sell the BS, then you are promoted.

    Thanks god we dont have Pravda like in the USSR

    • Rostislav

      Do not be so sure! I had to read Pravda during half a century, and the first thing I did after the collapse of the USSR was to subscribe the long-forbidden NYT. Just to be dead astonished: both editions were nearly similar in their bias, pseudo-intellectual progressive trends and sheer dishonesty. Must I say "Thanks God, we do not have NYT like in the USA? I think, it's wiser to thank God for our ability to support the free anti-Communist media both in your country and in mine! Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

    • Questions

      Matt Damon is a gifted natural actor and he doesn't give a good rat's patootie whether or not you see his films. He's doing something he enjoys, whether playing Jason Bourne or whoever. At least enjoy Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty." She won the Oscar for Best Director in "The Hurt Locker" (2009), and deservedly so. The trailer for the new one looks every bit as good.

  • LibertarianToo

    Haven't seen Promised Land. Have seen Gasland. If your drinking water -right out of the tap -can be set on fire with a cigarette lighter, something's wrong. I don't doubt PL is propaganda given who funded it, but fracking needs a bit of work shall we say.

    • Bill Batte

      The first source for petroleum was ponds in Pennsylvania. They collected oil with burlap sacks and wrung out the oil. Oil wells came later. The water well in "Gasland" movie went through five layer of coal to reach the surface. The Colorado water board did the investigation and stated the oil products were pre-existing to any oil well drilling.

    • Patscholar

      There has been absolutely no evidence whatsoever for years of Fracking damaging ground water. the EPA has tried to make up situations where this has happened but the empirical facts are absolutely against it. Fracking is safe and efficient – it could make the US a leading exporter of energy supplies and solve all our debt crisis. Don't buy into the hardcore Marxist left (hollywood) when they allege without facts that fracking is an environmental threat

    • IronMike

      The water in that town in Gasland has been flammable for years. Before any fracking was done.

  • poetcomic1

    Abu Dhabi setting America's oil agenda via propaganda – that is as absurd as Mexico controlling America's immigration debate. (Irony intended).

    • Mike Giles

      Indeed. The fact the the movie – attacking a drilling technique that threatens to end the power of the Middle Eastern oil sheiks – was financed by those very same Middle Eastern oil sheiks; should make any thinking human being suspicious of anything said in it. Have we become so blind that we don't recognize propaganda and the motives for it?

    • JayB

      Ever wonder why Los Angeles, Colorado, and the rest of the Southwest all has Spanish names?

      If you're concerned about Mexican immigration, maybe you should realize that stealing half of Mexico kind of makes that inevitable.

      White supremacy is ugly. You guys really should get the message.

      • Patscholar

        You obviously don't know the history of Mexico, the US and the southwest. Go back and study it before you comment on this site. Your ignorance is appalling.

      • Mik

        Hey jayB give the Boroughs back to Holland! Give Dorchester, Worcester, Manchester and Plymouth back to England. Give Maryland back to the Swedes. Lake Champlain back to France? I think you get the idea.

  • clarespark

    I would have mentioned the HBO movie Hemingway and Gellhorn that is circling the globe and garnering mostly rave reviews from young left-leaning critics. Nicole Kidman's pornographic portrayal of Martha Gellhorn is probably the reason, though the real Martha was not a sexpot. But the worst part of the movie is the Communist-inflected view of the Spanish Civil War and Chou En-lai's China. I wrote a lot about the real politics of Hemingway and Gellhorn here: http://clarespark.com/2012/12/26/martha-gellhorn-…. "Martha Gellhorn blogs."

    • JayB

      So, supporting democracy in Spain is "communist inflected"?

      If you really want a Hitler-loving Fascist dictatorship, why don't you come out and say it you traitor.

      • clarespark

        Since when was the Soviet Union in any of its strategies, in favor of democracy? In the case of the Spanish Civil War, who murdered Jose Robles, who killed Andres Nin, POUM, and the Spanish Anarchists? Was it Franco's Nationalists or the Soviet Union? The aim of the SU in Spain was to stop a democratic revolution. I do fault the West for its neutrality, for FDR, England and France did help pave the way for WW2, at least that is what the better historians claim. I suppose you don't like Orwell either, or his book Homage to Catalonia?

  • EthanP

    Hollywood propaganda is of course nothing new. From "Birth of a Nation" on, causes have found homes on screen. I couldn't begin to name the movies that have attacked capitalism. The bad guys in almost every movie on Sy-Fi is either a corupt "evil" corperation or the US government.Then there is the anti gun treatment on TV. You could be excused for thinking that machine gun crime is common if you watch episodic prime time TV. NCIS-LA is a prime offender. And promotion of "SEX"! Nuff said. Gay Rights. I can hardly watch BBC America.

  • William

    For years I've been waiting for a film exposing how attorneys representing personal injury plaintiffs, the doctors–especially chiropractors–who "treat" them and the runners who recruit the "victims" commit fraud each and every day. They stage accidents, fake injuries, run up medical expenses–often charging obscene amounts for treatment that doesn't actually happen–and make claims against insurance companies that lead to settlements for significant sums because it is cheaper to pay than to fight in a court system in which the cards are stacked against insurance company defendants. Of course, the cost of paying for such shenanigans gets passed on to all those who purchase any sort of insurance in the form of higher premiums.

    Such a film will never be made, of course, because the Trial Lawyer Association is an even more powerful lobby than is the NRA and they are the darlings of liberals because they supposedly spend their days "heroically" representing the poor and disadvantaged. At 40% of whatever they recover plus all of whatever they spend in order to recover, they often actually take more from the settlements than do their "poor, disadvantaged" clients. John Edwards is typical of the lot.

    There are some who love to describe cases of actual catastrophic injuries as "great" cases. That's because all they can see is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for themselves when they settle the matter. Their client's injuries are of secondary importance at best.

    The Mississippi plaintiff attorneys who used to drive buses into paper mill towns with large neon signs advertising free chest x-rays and screenings for asbestos related conditions with the suggestion that "You May Have Million Dollar Lungs" is another typical example of the "high mindedness" of these darlings of the liberal elite.

    As noted above, there is ample material for a film exposing plaintiff attorneys and their cohort to ridicule and scorn, but it will never be made by today's Hollywood crowd.

  • patron

    Klitschko, although a documentary, was very good.

    I liked the Campaign. It was funny, and the leftist propaganda can be ignored.

    Dark Knight Rises was slow and they just tried copying Heath Ledger. They needed more of Batman beating people up.

  • "gunner"

    the last three movies i paid to watch were the "lord of the rings" trilogy, the next, if i live long enough, will be the "hobbit" films. everything else i've seen coming out of hollywood is a waste of time and money i do not have to spare at my age.

  • EarlyBird

    How is concern about bullying a liberal stand? What an indictment of conservatism to see it as such.

    And rather than criticizing "The Campaign" for its supposedly liberal message that powerful people manipulate our politics (really?!) conservatives should be offended by its coarseness and ugliness.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'll be honest here. I haven't seen ANY of those movies. And I don't want to,either.

  • Thomas Wells

    This year, I re-watched: It's a Wonderful Life. Nothing from the post-modern "Hellywood" crowd.

    • JayB

      Bad guy in It's A Wonderful Life?

      Oh, another greedy capitalist.

      Guess what: everyone hates you reactionary cretins.

      • Mike

        Everyone hates you too, BJ.

  • Jess

    I don't think it's that much about the political views of the funding parties… Movies that typically get funding are those which promise good returns and in recent times movies that support the left parties' views have had the best results in the box office.
    2010: http://best-movies.top5.com/highest-grossing-movi
    2011: http://best-movies.top5.com/highest-grossing-movi

    As for JayB, not sure what crawled up your *** but you should see a doctor to take it out!

  • jake5

    although i understand some of the blogger's point but to blame left for promoting the movie 'bully' is stupid, even if its all time low doesn't mean we should stop talking about it, what about polio its in all time low, but yet kids still gets vaccine for it, people are still reminded the dangers of drink and driving, that doesn't mean we shouldn't take about it.