Over the past couple of years, American moviegoers have been beset by such godawful crap as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Superhero Movie and the soon be released Disaster Movie.
Conservatives, leaping upon the almost miles per hour of inertia that this chain of shitty movies has left in its wake, found a guy who hasn't made a good movie since 1988 to write and direct An American Carol, which is basically a Michael Moore spoof starring Chris Farley's brother, features Jon Voight making political statements and includes a cameo by Bill O'Reilly.
Unfortunately, that's a far more appealing description than we're getting from people who have seen the movie.
I'm holding a palm card that was just given out at the Heritage Foundation to promote the new David Zucker film An American Carol. If I fill out the card, I can take one of four pledges, such as "Yes, I will send the trailer to my contacts" and "Yes, I want to be AN AMERICAN CAROLER or THEATER CAPTAIN." It's an induction to a movement, as the slogan on the card makes clear: "Finally, a movie for us."
By "us," of course, the filmmakers and promoters mean conservatives. Executive producer Myrna Sokoloff has put together a "pro-soldier, support our troops, pro-America" comedy, which Stephen Hayes previews in the new Weekly Standard. In it, filmmaker Michael Malone (Kevin "brother of Chris" Farley) and his organization MoveAlong.org are trying to repeal the Fourth of July when three angels—the Angel of Death, George S. Patton, and George Washington—come to him and convince him to change his ways.
No, wait. It gets worse.
The crowd at Heritage got to see a trailer and a few minutes of clips 24 hours before either of them will be generally released. I'm a huge fan of the Zucker-Leslie Nielsen canon, and not much of a fan of Zucker's ads for Republicans. The footage we saw floated somewhere in the middle of those two projects, quality-wise. Fat-assed Malone travels to Cuba, pledges to destroy America, and takes advantage of the invisibility granted by ghost status by grabbing a protestor's boobs. Bill O'Reilly appears out of nowhere to slap him. "I just like doing that," he says. Terrorists led by everybody's favorite pockmarked tough guy Robert Davi bitch that they're low on suicide bombers ("All the good ones are gone!") and all answer to the name Mohammed. In a scene that Sokoloff described, but didn't bring, Patton and his soldiers storm a courthouse that's about to remove the Ten Commandments and start opening fire on the people trying to stop them. "You can't shoot these people!" Malone says. "They're not people!" says Patton. "They're the ACLU!" At this point we see that the ACLU members are unkillable George Romero zombies.
This honestly sounds like someone making a parody of a conservative movie. That's got to be the point of this, right? I mean, portraying conservatives as bloodthirsty morons and reducing your critique of liberalism to fat jokes and zombie comparisons? Having Bill O'Reilly tell a joke rather than be a joke? This has to be someone making fun of conservative attempts at humor, please. Otherwise, this is just too sad to contemplate.
(Also, Romero zombies aren't unkillable. You just destroy the brain.)
Details about the movie were kept secret, on purpose, until this month. In February, it was reported that Kelsey Grammar would be Scrooge in the new movie. He's actually playing the ghost of George Patton, and Jon Voight is playing George Washington. In a clip we saw, Washington takes Malone to St. Paul's Cathedral to lecture him on freedom of religion and "freedom of speech, which you abuse." Malone is grossed out by dust in the priest's box, so the doors open onto the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. "This is the dust of 3000 innocent human beings!" bellows Washington. Malone whimpers that he's just making movies. Washington won't have it. "Is that what you plan to say on Judgment Day?"
What the fuck is this? I'm kind of speechless. It's hard to make fun of humor that flops miserably, it's even harder to make fun of humor that decides its target audience is three thousand smouldering corpses ready to be flayed so that Jon Voight can take the brave stand that Michael Moore is a fat bitch.
"That scene," said Sokoloff, "is hard to put in a comedy. But we had to do it."
That scene would be hard to put in scat porn. Don't sell yourself short.
The whole meeting had the tone of a FARC strategy session more than a fun publicity junket. This movie isn't just going to sell tickets (it'll open in 2000 theaters), it's going to liberate Hollywood's Republican untouchables and open the floodgates to more conservative films. "Last year you saw a bunch of anti-military movies like Redacted and In the Valley of Elah," Sokoloff said. "All of them had big stars, and, thank God, they bombed. America didn’t want to see that stuff on screen. We have to show up to a movie that has our values. If this succeeds, if could change everything."
It could! Finally, movie studios would be convinced of the merits of offering up cheaply produced schlock to make a quick buck off of a gullible audience with low standards. Finally, the era of highbrow "films" with credible performances and comprehensible scripts is over. That, and I can sell my parody version of Shawshank Redemption, called Shanked!. There's twenty minutes of buttsex jokes. That's three more than any other film ever - even the gay ones!
Sokoloff did worry about the last political comedy to hit theaters, Swing Vote. "People just didn't want to see something about the election," she mused. Is it a bad sign that both of the fictional politicians in that film, Dennis Hopper and Kelsey Grammar, are back in this? Probably not, actually. Swing Vote tried to tell a sappy Capra story divorced from real-world politics. This movie grabs the culture war by both horns and starts riding and hollering.
Expelled just called, it's looking forward to the company in the $2.99 bin at Best Buy.
How big will this movie be? Keep in mind that the movie was picked up for distribution in September...at the end of July. It has no posters. No trailers. It does, however, have pledge cards.
The impending failure is far funnier than anything in the movie at least. Thanks, Zucker!