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January 26, 2005

Name A Conservative Movie. [Dave at Garfield Ridge]

I figure that as long as I have access to Ace’s wonderful, plentiful readership, I might as well ask you a question I'm sure you have an opinion on.

Before we delve too deeply into the subject, a few comments.

I love movies. I consider myself a conservative. However, I don’t see any aesthetic requirement for the movies I enjoy to be conservative.

First and foremost, movies-- and their snobby siblings, “films”-- are entertainment. Whatever politics they may contain, whatever positions they espouse, in the end, we go to movies to enjoy ourselves. While it's possible that you might learn something, a movie is not a documentary. While it's possible that you might have your political views challenged, a movie is not a peer-reviewed essay in Foreign Affairs.

I am a strong subscriber to the Jonah Goldberg School Of Conservatism, which stipulates that conservatism is only a partial philosophy of life. Like he, I believe that just because a conservative shops at Fresh Fields doesn’t make them a traitor to the One True Faith. In the end, it’s just food, not a way of life.

My politics are just a part of my life. Yes, it's an important part that certainly influences aspects of my life, but nevertheless, it’s only a part. Quite simply, I’m too busy living my life to bother being ideological in my choice of art, or fashion, or car. Besides, if I limited myself to only conservative art, I’d never savor the hotness of Cameron Diaz, envy the studliness of George Clooney, or enjoy the bitchin’ tunes of lesbian punk rockers Sleater-Kinney.

Bottom line: I find a painting pretty because it’s pretty. If the painter wears a Che t-shirt to the gallery opening I couldn't care less.

Even if you share my perspective we can all agree, however, that some movies embody conservative or liberal values more than others, either intentionally or incidentally. For instance, simply off the top of my head, here are some movies commonly identified as “conservative” films:

Red Dawn. One, it portrays the communists as Very Bad Men. Two, it’s an unapologetic defense of the 2nd Amendment. Three, it stars Powers “600 Million Screaming Chinamen” Boothe. I dunno his political affiliation, but he *ought* to be conservative.

Forrest Gump. Every person has a life of value, even the people we think little of. Live your life in loyalty to your family, friends and country, and you will prosper. Live your life like Jessica Cutler, and you will die an early & painful death, and be buried under a tree.

A Simple Plan. Both Jonah Goldberg and George Will called this Sam Raimi film one of the most conservative films ever made. Its lesson was simple: crime doesn’t pay, especially when you’re facing down Gary Cole.

Anyways, now I pose my question to you, the readers:

Which movies do you think are conservative, and why?

---
UPDATE: Over at The Perfect World, Aaron Burr, a.k.a. Jeff Larkin posted a discussion in August on this very same topic. Some enlightening context there.

Ghostbusters as a conservative film? Hmmm. . . I must ponder. . .

-- Dave at Garfield Ridge


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