Personally, I am opposed to the brand of liberal politics espoused by Harvey Milk, but I also recognize that his career (and tragic assassination) marked an important milestone in American history. Mr. Milk's biography is a compelling story, so he was indeed a legitimate subject for a feature film.
In truth, despite Hollywood's liberal bent, conservative messages do manage to occasionally get out. For example, both "Juno" and "Knocked Up" subtly advanced a Pro-Life message. "Team America: World Police" was a solid example of a mainstream movie which advanced some libertarian/conservative messages (though certainly not socially conservative values). Other recent films worthy of conservative praise were "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Chronicles of Narnia". Of course, none of these movies seek to turn a modern conservative activist or politician into a hero.
... My theory is that overt political movies and documentaries are much less influential than movies that are presented as pure "entertainment", and while Hollywood lionizes liberals like Milk -- and makes a 1st Amendment crusader out of pornographer Larry Flynt -- conservatives are typically portrayed in a negative light.
One exception to this rule is the wonderful movie "Amazing Grace" about the life of William Wilberforce. I am also optimistic about the prospects of Angelina Jolie starring in an Atlas Shrugged film. There are some other bight spots (I should also mention that my friend Andrew Breitbart is dong terrific work over at Big Hollywood regarding this very subject.)
Still, the problem exists and the proper response, of course, is not simply to condemn movies that lionize liberals, but to start fighting fire with fire. Simply put, conservatives need our own Milk. Following are my suggestions for conservatives who are worthy of a movie:
The autobiography of Whitaker Chambers is widely regarded as one of the greatest conservative books of all time, and it helped inspire a young actor named Ronald Reagan. It would be a harrowing tale of political intrigue, chronicling Chambers descent into communism, his recruitment as a Soviet spy, his change of heart, and finally key role in exposing Alger Hiss -- a Soviet mole in the State Department. This would be especially relevant as Chambers was ridiculed in his day, but his claims have largely been vindicated by history. It would return the term, "Pumpkin papers" back into the lexicon.
... And the Oscar goes to...libertarian activist/comedian Drew Carey, who makes a surprising dramatic turn as Whittaker Chambers, then shocks the world by winning the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
"God and Man: The William F. Buckley Story"
William F. Buckley, one of the fathers of modern conservatism, is often seen as a somewhat aloof character. But he was a very interesting person when you start to peel back the various layers of his personality. Even for a non-conservative filmmaker, his life would be an intriguing study. When he published God and Man at Yale in 1951, Buckley was something of a lone voice in the wilderness, but his founding of National Review made him a leader in a movement that redefined American politics. Plus, his prolific television career provides many great moments that could be re-enacted. Specifically, his penchant for threatening to punch his TV debate partners (such as Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky) in the face could provide a few laughs.
And the Oscar goes to ... Jon Voight (yes the Jon Voight) who wins Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Buckley in his later years.
"It's Not About The Truth"
The Duke Lacrosse scandal was sobering look at the politics of race, gender, and class in the 21st Century - not to mention one of the most egregious abuses of prosecutorial power in recent history. And if you really want to know just how bad things were, then you have to read "It's Not About the Truth" by sportswriter Don Yeager and former Duke Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler. If the case had not been such a blow to the leftist worldview, the screen rights to this hard-hitting account of the scandal could have been sold for millions. Either way, it still has blockbuster potential.
And the Oscar goes to ... Kelsey Grammar, whose portrayal of corrupt D.A. Mike Nifong earns him the award for Best Supporting Actor.
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