Bill Maher blasted Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper during the Real Time panel discussion on Friday, comparing it unfavorably to Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker.
“Hurt Locker made $17 million, because it was a little ambiguous. And thoughtful,” Maher said. “And this one is just ‘American hero, he’s a psychopath patriot and we love him.'”
Maher also criticized the subject of Eastwood’s movie, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and his statements in his autobiography regarding killing Iraqi “savages.”
“I dunno, [President Dwight] Eisenhower once said, ‘I hate wars as only a soldier who has lived it can.’ I just don’t see this guy in the same league as Eisenhower, I’m sorry,” Maher said. “And if you’re a Christian — I know this is a Christian country — ‘I hate the damn savages, I don’t give a f*ck what happens to them’ doesn’t seem like a Christian thing to say.”
Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens pushed back against Maher, saying he could not believe that was the host’s impression of the film.
“What I saw was a movie that treats what veterans and soldiers go through in a way that was subtle,” Stephens said. “It was not just about war — it was about PTSD, it was about what the wives of soldiers go through.”
Maher’s fellow comedian, Bill Burr, also took issue with his viewpoint on Kyle.
“You can’t sum up a man by one quote taken out of context,” Burr said. “You don’t know how he said that. I think if you’re fighting a war, you say a lot of f*cked up sh*t in the middle of it.”
“That was after the war,” Maher countered, adding, “I’m just saying, the idea that Americans can not see any ambiguity, that somebody has to be either ‘pure hero’ or ‘pure traitor,’ is ridiculous.”
Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson said that one reason American Sniper has grossed more than $90 million at the box office was that it fell in line with a tradition of Americans searching for the next “totemic war hero,” with Kyle fitting in alongside the likes of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.
“At some point, Americans want to do some sort of patriotic act,” Henderson said. “I think at some point, for people who went to go see this movie, it was sort of a patriotic act. People wanted to feel good about this war. You look at the polls, most Americans think this war wasn’t worth fighting.”
Former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, however, argued that there was a political element to the film’s success.
“I bet you if you look at a cross-section of the Tea Party and people who go see this movie, there’s a lot of intersection,” Dean argued.
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.
Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns
Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.
In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.
The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.
"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."
Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview
In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.
Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.
"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.
But what Trump said was the unusual point.
"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."
Trump spokesperson goes down in flames up against progressive reporter: ‘All you do is lie!’
President Donald Trump's spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany went down in flames up against Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks during a CNN panel Wednesday.
McEnany went on to try and spin the president as some sort of great leader for Black Americans. She said that the campaign is very "proud" of the president's record on issues involving people of color.
"He also just said he wouldn't change his position on the Central Park Five," cut in Cuomo.
McEnany tried to cut in, but Cuomo cut in. "Now, he said we'll leave it at that. Come on."
"Chris, you come — come on, you," McEnany shot back. "We've been talking about the Central Park Five and racism and all of these things going back to the 2016 election, problem -- American people didn't believe it."