Fred Thompson and Dinesh D’Souza light up CPAC with some holy Hollywood-bashing
We’ve been fans of alicublog writer Roy Edroso for years. Is there anyone who understands the angst of conservatives better than Roy? He’s our man on the ground at CPAC — Ed.
At CPAC John Sullivan, a producer on troubled politico Dinesh D’Souza’s breakout anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America, moderated some conservative Hollywood types to promote a new movie called Persecuted and to talk about why no one wants conservative movies and TV shows.
Promoting the movie was job one. “I just had this vision of a man running through the wood with this deeply held conviction,” said Persecuted‘s auteur, Daniel Lusko. The movie is about “censoring religious speech,” but it’s also “a great political thriller.” “Some people would call it a Christian movie,” agreed producer/actor/cardiologist James Higgins, who plays an “evil president” in the movie, “but it’s also a political thriller.”
They showed a trailer for the film, which had a lot of yelling, a double-cross, a honey trap, and lines like “I cannot water down the gospel to support any political agenda!”
Oddly, Fred Thompson, who had the most Hollywood success among the panelists, leaned heaviest on the politics, saying the theme of “the government trying to dictate what Christian ministers can say” is “not so far fetched today,” because, you know, evil president. (Thompson was Arthur Branch on Law & Order, and was asked about it; he said it was hard work but he was pleased that “they let me every once in a while massage my character and do things like take down a copy of the Constitution and say ‘show me where there’s a right to privacy in this.'” (Unlike the libertarian types we’ve been hearing so much from at CPAC, Thompson is the old-fashioned kind of conservative.)
Everyone seemed to agree that liberals were a problem. It was in the 1980s, said Gerald Molen, producer of D’Souza’s new jeremiad America, “when you started seeing more films that were rated R… from there it was almost like a slide downhill.”
Bad as the 1980s were for Hollywood, Molen went on, things really got bad in 2008: “We used to be able to have discussions about our different opinions, but that stopped in 2008, because if you disagreed with some issues, you could be called a racist or a bigot.” So that’s where it started!
The panelists admitted that filmmakers respond well to the stimulus of success and money, and “pro-America” movies like Act of Valor, Lone Survivor and Son of God were “bright spots.” Sullivan also brought up reality shows that “lean to the right,” including Pawn Stars, which he didn’t explain — maybe because it reflects conservative economic policy.
So why weren’t all movies like the movies CPAC attendees cheered the names of?
“Movers and shakers are like the media in DC,” explained Thompson. “They operate and do their jobs for the praise and benefit of each other more than anybody else,” unlike people in heating and cooling, say, or longshoremen. “There’s a bottom line, but there’s also a cocktail currency,” agreed Sullivan. “You can’t be the person who made that movie. He then told the story of a big Hollywood producer he could not name, but whom he claimed “leaned to the right” yet wouldn’t let his underlings know.
The only solution, it seemed, was to keep on making movies like Persecuted and America and taking them to places where they will be appreciated. Dinesh D’Souza got his own podium speech at the end of the session. “If Barack Obama was upset about my last film,” he cried, “wait till he sees the new one!” The audience gave it four stars.