top 10 conservative films? what does that mean?
Nile Gardiner, writing for the Telegraph, has compiled a list of the Top 10 Conservative Movies of the Modern Era. The story struck me most of all because great movies are not conservative or liberal, they are works of art that speak to viewers regardless of such concerns as political ideology. A great film is a great film, and a liberal or a conservative will understand that. You can be sure that if one sets out to make a “great liberal movie“, or a “great conservative movie,” it is going to be terrible.
So what does Gardiner’s list represent?
These are all brilliant movies that conservatives can be inspired by, and which are guaranteed to offend Left-wing sensibilities in one way or another.…Films that conservatives can be taken to heart in both the United States and Great Britain, movies that celebrate conservative values, the defence of the free world, deep-seated patriotism and individual liberty.
Aside: I still find it adorable that Conservatives can so easily consider “deep-seated patriotism” a conservative value. It is so insulting (as a very patriotic, country-loving liberal progressive) that such a comment can almost make me stop reading a piece.
TRC wondered if this list would be great movies, allowing anyone to include it on (almost) any list because great art defies such things, or mediocre movies that uphold “conservative” values as Gardiner declared in his intro (you know, like the Patriot). Turns out, it is a mixture of both.
No surprise, Chariots of Fire is number 1. It is every Republicans favorite movie, and an excellent movie worthy of such a place on such a list.
From there, it gets dicey. According to Gardiner, apparently any movie that takes a frank, bold, honest look at war or military conflict is “conservative.” Number 2 is Zulu, number 3 is Saving Private Ryan (which, sorry Gardiner, is not Spielberg’s best), number 6 is Deer Hunter, number 8 is Black Hawk Down. I like all these movies. Some of them are in fact great movies, and any one of them could be very easily held up as an example of progressive values–a sign that they are indeed, excellent films.
But Gardiner does include a few duds to build his conservative credentials as a film critic. Take Master and Commander. A fine film, but nothing to write home about (again, not even close to Peter Weir’s best film, Gardiner, not even CLOSE!), but I can think of no top 10 list this belongs on, with the exception of possibly the Top 10 Seafaring films.
Rocky is glorious. And I get that one, though only by a hair.
Killing Fields, too, is a masterpiece. And seeing how it is about the failings of tyranny and Marxism, I guess it can be included, since today’s conservatives think all liberals are Marxists and want a tyrannical government. (I think I’m joking).
The Lord of the Rings fits Gardiners’ profile. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love these films. Tolkien was Tolkien, and any attempt to argue against these as “conservative” is beyond the point. LOTR doesn’t give a shit about politics. But I also worry that casting the movies as ” perfectly fitting a post 9/11 world where the forces of freedom found themselves pitted against a barbaric enemy” damages the true greatness of story. Oh well.
And finally, number 10: The Pursuit of Happyness. Gardiner, you ruined any cred you thought had. That movie is terrible (though to be fair, Will Smith is fantastic in the role. It’s what surrounds him that gives me the jeebies). It may be a “heart-felt tribute to the free market and the value of individual responsibility,” but it is also so hackneyed and so absolutely and jarringly manipulative in its demand that you know exactly what it is about (the poor have only themselves to blame) and how you are to go about interpreting it (work harder!) that any move to ignore or deny its tremendously obvious lessons for life means you are just plain stupid.
Oh wait, maybe it is conservative.