Catsoulis also assailed Ben Stein's anti-Darwinist documentary "Expelled" as an "unprincipled propaganda piece" that was "one of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time." But in 2005, Catsoulis adored a documentary on America's failure to uplift the poor, cribbing from socialist author Barbara Ehrenreich, finding it "eye-opening, often heartbreaking ... neither hectoring nor sanctimonious ... brisk and unexploitative." This woman is a fervent activist disguised as a film critic.
Another recent surprise at the cineplex was "Act of Valor," a war movie made with active-duty Navy SEALs that's made $66 million at the box office. It actually won the box-office crown on its opening weekend at the end of February. Again, newspaper film critics hated it.
On the front page of the Washington Post on Feb. 24, there was film critic Ann Hornaday reporting the movie was in "the crosshairs of critics who question whether the movie crosses the line between entertainment and propaganda, and whether the military should be in the movie business at all." She wanted a congressional investigation.
The Navy didn't fund the movie, but Hornaday wrote "it could be argued that the Navy heavily subsidized it in the form of access to its assets and personnel that would have cost millions to reproduce." The Navy also didn't have creative control, but Hornaday insisted "the filmmakers admit that there was little chance the Navy would be dissatisfied with their portrayal in the film, which depicts a group of strong, brave, unassuming men who pursue their missions, not with hot-dog swagger but cool teamwork and quiet professionalism."
My God, the hate-America crowd is alive and well.
Here's the rub: Hornaday had no problem with propaganda when it shredded the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. When it came to the 2010 movie "Fair Game," which glorified Bush-hater Valerie Plame Wilson, Hornaday complained that people would fact check this propaganda, and what "audiences often fail to take into account is that a too-literal allegiance to the facts can sometimes obscure a larger truth."
In that article, Hornaday even touted Oliver Stone's ridiculous fact mangling. Stone "favors bright lines and (often wholly imagined) emblematic scenes over messier shades of gray." Stone's imagination of "history" is somehow more truthful than "Act of Valor"? Obviously not, it's just more politically satisfying.
Critics slam politically incorrect movies with lines such as "this would have been better off as a bumper sticker." But when movies conform to Hollywood's long-standing libertine and anti-military prejudices, they qualify as "resonant" and "emblematic" pieces of art.