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What are the best conservative movies of the past 25 years ?
HOTAIR.COM ^ | Jan 15,2009 | Ed Morrisey

Posted on 01/15/2009 6:53:12 PM PST by SeekAndFind

John J. Miller at The Corner asks the question:

What are the best conservative movies of the last 25 years? This cinema epoch begins roughly with the release of Red Dawn in 1984.

I might be happy if I could find 25 bona-fide conservative movies at all in the past 25 years. I’m afraid that most of what Miller will get in response will be of the Red Dawn variety, since the only place safe for conservative themes in Hollywood has been action films. Red Dawn itself had that in spades, but it was also a rather dreadful movie with more scenery-chewing than one might imagine without William Shatner. I watched it again recently and found it rather embarrassing, except for the brief appearance by Powers Booth. “AVENGE MEEEEEEEE!”

There have to be better examples of conservative movies that we can suggest to Miller. I have a few, and will add those suggested in the comments in updates, or at least the ones that make some sense. Here are my starters:

* The Great Raid (2005) - Based on a true story and managed to mostly stick to it, this film also committed the apparently unpardonable sin of telling the truth about the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines and their treatment of POWs. It exemplifies honor, courage, resistance to evil, and risking lives to save others.

* Saving Private Ryan (1998) - For many of the same reasons as The Great Raid, made even more clear by the highly realistic battle scenes, which make clear the sacrifice asked and made.

* Requiem for a Dream (2000) - Harrowing depiction of the destruction of lives from drug addiction, even from prescription drugs. Definitely not for everyone, but brilliant in every aspect of production. In the end, the main characters lose their souls, their freedom, and their minds. Perhaps Ellen Burstyn’s best performance.

* United 93 (2006) - Harrowing and heartrending depiction of the 9/11 flight that didn’t hit its intended target, thanks to the heroism of the passengers on the flight. Facing certain death, they fought back against the Islamist terrorists, becoming the first Americans to do so on that awful day.

* Glory (1989) - The true story of the Massachusetts 54th in the Civil War, which led an ill-starred assault on a fortified position for the Union and suffered massive casualties. The all-black regiment fought for freedom, dignity, and honor, and gave their lives gladly for those causes. Great performances by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman make this highly compelling.

* Shattered Glass (2003) - The story of the first round of fabrication at The New Republic, with an unexpectedly excellent performance from Hayden Christenson as Stephen Glass, the serial fabulist who succeeded by telling lies about the right people — conservatives. The film does a good job of pointing that fact out.

* Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) - The trilogy should occupy one spot, but it’s an important one. In the fantasy realm, it speaks to true evil and the need to fight it, even to the death. The final battle, in which Aragorn attempts to sacrifice his entire army so that Frodo can complete the quest, has one of the most stirring battle speeches in film history. No one in this film argues for moral equivalency or the idea that Sauron might just be misunderstood.

I know I’m missing a few, so let’s hear from Hot Air readers. Be sure to explain your suggestions in the comments.

Update: The best film you never saw: The Stoning of Soraya M (2008). Read my review here. Unfortunately, it’s never made it into wide release, but it should be required viewing for those interested in human freedom. Made even better by the surprisingly subtle performances of the entire cast.

Update II: The comments section has some great suggestions. Let me add a few that deserve mention:

* The Incredibles (2004) - Can’t believe I missed this one. It focuses on the strength of a family that works together as well as rips the notion that talented people somehow pose a threat to everyone else. And it’s also flat-out fun for all ages.

* Gettysburg (1993) - Excellent, fact-based depiction of the bravery and courage on both sides of this battle.

* 300 (2006) - I’m not normally a big fan of the graphic-novel approach to storytelling, but it works in the story of the Greeks at Thermopylae. Self-sacrifice for a greater good gets a boost from highly stylized filmmaking. Not for all tastes, but for its genre, excellent.

* Braveheart (1995) - Worthy, I think, for its emphasis on resistance to tyranny and defense of homeland against foreign rule. Historical inaccuracies mar this somewhat, especially the disappearance of the bridge from the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Still excellent, though, but The Patriot is hobbled badly by its anti-British smears.

* Juno (2007) - Interesting view of teen pregnancy and the choice to give birth rather than abort. Not really ideological, but it has much more authenticity than most teen dramedies, and really a beautiful little movie.

* Team America: World Police (2004) - A twisted satire of conservative values on defense that winds up being itself a defense of conservative values. Profane as it possibly can get and with one really disturbing scene that got it an NC-17 rating until it was cut, Team America winds up providing one of the best explanations of why we need people willing to fight terrorists and tyrants … which I can’t quote here.

* The Chronicles of Narnia (2005) - I’ve only seen the first movie, which made C. S. Lewis’ allegory on Christianity rather explicit. Good movie.

* Rudy (1993) - Hard work, not feeling sorry for yourself, faith, and love all make for one of the best movies ever — and another one I can’t believe I didn’t recall in the initial post.

* Cinderella Man (2005) - Definitely a worthy entry. James J. Braddock goes back to boxing to rescue his family from poverty, and winds up winning the championship.

* An American Carol (2008) - I thought it was OK, but many others in the comments think it was better.

I’ll keep checking back, but remember that we’re looking at 1984 forward. We’re getting some excellent suggestions for earlier movies, but we want to focus on this particular time period.

Update III: Definitely on the list: Serenity (2005), which attacks Utopianism as the excuse for totalitarianism that it is. Shockingly good sci-fi movie on its own, perhaps the best in the last 25 years, it’s even better as the follow-up to the doomed Firefly television series.

Update IV: I can see that I’ll not get much other work done today. Two more worthy of consideration, both true stories:

* Amistad (1997) - Recounts the true story of how John Quincy Adams defended captured Africans for their rebellion on board a slave ship, and how he won their freedom.

* Amazing Grace (2006) - A biography of William Wilberforce, who led the fight in Great Britain to end the slave trade.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: conservative; gettysburg; movies; ronmaxwell
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To: SeekAndFind

Harry Potter deals with good vs evil. HP also promotes the notion that the government & politicians don’t get it right & people need to take a stand.


101 posted on 01/15/2009 7:57:12 PM PST by pooh fan ("Strong, the pull of the Dark Side is". Yoda)
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To: SeekAndFind

Master and Commander?


102 posted on 01/15/2009 7:59:05 PM PST by PotatoHeadMick
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To: Born Conservative
Let me chime in with "The Aviator." Successful white male individualist succeeds all the white fighting arrogant politicians, a competitor (Juan Trippe) in bed with said politicians, while calling out the parlor pink hypocrisy of his own girlfriend.

I am sure "The Incredibles" has already been mentioned.

103 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:08 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: PotatoHeadMick

Great film. Not really a Conservative flick.


104 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:19 PM PST by Pelagius of Asturias
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To: SeekAndFind

Ground Hog Day. The underlying story of service bringing joy and happiness is found when you start thinking of other people’s well being really had spiritual undertones.


105 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:26 PM PST by ODDITHER
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To: SeekAndFind

LOTR is the most OVERRATED film saga ever made. A bunch of effeminate dwarves walking, and walking, and walking to find a stupid ring.


106 posted on 01/15/2009 8:02:31 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: stainlessbanner

Interesting list. A few of NR’s picks seem a bit odd, though.

I was only 12 when I saw Deer Hunter, so I may have missed a lot, but it didn’t strike me as a conservative film. Carnal Knowledge I only know by reputation, but I wouldn’t have thought of it as a conservative standard bearer, either. Maybe I need to add a couple of rentals to my Netflix queue in the near future, eh?

One I’d add to the NR list, even though it was done by and starred a die-hard liberal actor: Jeremiah Johnson. Living free and on one’s own terms to me goes to the very essence of conservatism.


107 posted on 01/15/2009 8:02:41 PM PST by DemforBush (Sarah Sarah Sarah!)
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To: Clemenza
The "Return of the King" vs "Return of the Jedi" scene in "Clerks 2" is so funny!
108 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:00 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: stainlessbanner

Yes, it’s the new Clint Eastwood movie. I went last weekend with my wife and 16 year old son, and we all loved it. Worth the ticket price (and I don’t say that too often).


109 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:08 PM PST by Born Conservative (Bohicaville: http://bohicaville.wordpress.com/)
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To: SeekAndFind

I liked Quigley Down Under. Honor and personal integrity. Family relationships and redemption. Perseverance and commitment. Personal growth and healing.


110 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:26 PM PST by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I would submit “Are We There Yet?” Not a great, great film. Cliched in many ways, but it features a guy who has to man up to be a father and husband figure, and there are some genuinely funny moments in it.


111 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:30 PM PST by swatbuznik
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To: SeekAndFind
Fireproof

Husband works to fall in love with his wife again, rather than divorce her (among other great values).

112 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:37 PM PST by zlala (Giving money to government is like giving drugs to addicts.)
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To: ODDITHER

Good choice!


113 posted on 01/15/2009 8:09:12 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: Question_Assumptions

I only saw it dubbed in japanese on a JAL flt. Looked like it had conservative themes but I cannot verify it:)


114 posted on 01/15/2009 8:10:42 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: 2banana

“Many Clint Eastwood movies”

Nothing he has directed recently. After a one-two punch from Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby I have entirely given up watching movies directed by Eastwood. I consider him a nihilist.


115 posted on 01/15/2009 8:12:49 PM PST by devere
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To: Straight Vermonter
I was definitely on Randall's side in that argument. I found it funny that he had many of the same thoughts as I did.

I sat through the entire LOTR trilogy in one night. Would have rather gone through a reverse circumcision.

116 posted on 01/15/2009 8:13:02 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Island. This was a sort of metaphor for anti-abortion. It centers around a multi-billion dollar cloning industry in which people are led to believe that the ‘donors’ are simply lumps of flesh, but the lie is exposed that these lumps of flesh are actually real, live human beings who are being killed for matters of convenience.


117 posted on 01/15/2009 8:14:00 PM PST by pjd
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To: chevydude26

I was actually surprised by the positive themes I saw in Dark Knight for such a mainstream hollywood production.


118 posted on 01/15/2009 8:16:54 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I liked “Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day Lewis. I thought it showed how “America” was formed early on from the blending of cultures. And it showed Indians—oops Native Americans—could be “bad guys.” It was out the same year as “Dances with Wolves” and I thought it was a much better movie but did not get any recognition from Hollywood at Oscar time so it must have had a conservative message! Terrific soundtrack too...


119 posted on 01/15/2009 8:17:43 PM PST by Fu-fu2
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To: devere

Flags of our Fathers was a tremendous film. I rate it Conservative.


120 posted on 01/15/2009 8:19:57 PM PST by Pelagius of Asturias
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To: Vince Ferrer

“Barbershop” was very good indeed, and refreshingly honest. I loved it when they admit the “three things every black man knows.” One was “OJ did it!”


121 posted on 01/15/2009 8:22:09 PM PST by Marie2 (Hunkered down until something better comes along)
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To: ODDITHER
I think Groundhog Day is one of the most underrated movies of all time.

The setting and the dialogue are kind of silly, but the underlying message is remarkable. This movie accomplished the difficult task of promoting a profoundly religious message with nary a mention of God -- or even anything religious at all.

122 posted on 01/15/2009 8:26:05 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: Question_Assumptions; SeekAndFind

“If you haven’t seen it, perhaps because it’s Disney or you think it’s for kids or you don’t like superheroes, I think you should give it a chance.”


Agree wholeheartedly. Also there was more than 2 kids. Talk about a rarity. Disney bought Pixar about a year ago. Give Disney another year and Pixar will be totally ruined.


123 posted on 01/15/2009 8:26:59 PM PST by GreyMountainReagan (Liberals really intend to increase the misery through their actions. Gives them power)
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To: stainlessbanner
Very interesting list.

I'm kind of surprised that a movie like Breaker Morant didn't make that list -- and doesn't get any mention as a great "conservative" movie.

The movie appears to have a pacifist message, but I've always been attracted to it because of the simple way it promotes an absolute distrust in government.

124 posted on 01/15/2009 8:28:50 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Anyone have thoughts on

“The Last Of The Mohicans?”

I recall it as a very patriotic, inspiring, romantic film.

Three cheers for “Braveheart,” the portraits of Longshanks and his son were so politically incorrect. And accurate.

“Blade Runner?” Was that conservative, or just a good movie?


125 posted on 01/15/2009 8:29:00 PM PST by Marie2 (Hunkered down until something better comes along)
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To: Question_Assumptions

Definitely.


126 posted on 01/15/2009 8:29:29 PM PST by GreyMountainReagan (Liberals really intend to increase the misery through their actions. Gives them power)
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To: Fu-fu2

The final scene in “Last of the Mohicans” is one of my favorites. The facial expressions of the actor playing Maqua are excellent as he watches the girl go over the cliff.

Some of Daniel Day Lewis’ dialogue (”I will find you no matter what the cost!”) was pretty bad. I thought it detracted from an otherwise well made film.


127 posted on 01/15/2009 8:30:45 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Alberta's Child

I like “Groundhog Day” as well but I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks.


128 posted on 01/15/2009 8:31:57 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Alberta's Child
The movie appears to have a pacifist message, but I've always been attracted to it because of the simple way it promotes an absolute distrust in government.

I had similar thoughts about "V for Vendetta". While it portrays religious people as the villains it is a profoundly anti-government movie.

129 posted on 01/15/2009 8:33:46 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Marie2

Which “Blade Runner”? There are currently 4 or 5 versions out there. Some of the versions are drastically different from others.


130 posted on 01/15/2009 8:34:57 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Fu-fu2
The thing I liked best about Last of the Mohican was the way it portrayed the rugged individualism of the protagonist in such a positive light.

In fact, the early scenes of that movie had one of the best 'American" movie quotes of all time:

British Officer (as a challenge to Nathaniel when he suggested that the settlers should be more concerned about protecting their farms from Indian raids than in forming a milita to help the British fight the French): "You call yourself a patriot -- and loyal subject to the Crown?!"

Nathaniel: "I don't call myself subject to much at all."

131 posted on 01/15/2009 8:35:03 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: Alberta's Child
"I'm kind of surprised that a movie like Breaker Morant didn't make that list -- and doesn't get any mention as a great "conservative" movie. . ---------------------------------------------------------- I love Breaker Morant but don't really think it too conservative. Great Movie though. Gallipoli is kind of in the same vein.
132 posted on 01/15/2009 8:35:31 PM PST by GreyMountainReagan (Liberals really intend to increase the misery through their actions. Gives them power)
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To: Fu-fu2
Also . . .

You're absolutely right about the soundtrack to that movie. Perhaps the best movie soundtrack I've ever heard.

133 posted on 01/15/2009 8:35:51 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: DemforBush

I’ve tried to watch Deer Hunter about 5 ties and can never get through it. Always seemed a bit slow and I lost interest


134 posted on 01/15/2009 8:37:48 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: SeekAndFind; HairOfTheDog; ecurbh

I agree about the LOTR trilogy being in there. Quintessential good vs evil... And the inescapable battle that *must* happen... WILL happen, like it or not.

Agree also about Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gates. Pure poetry as only a warrior poet can do.

“There may come a day when the strength of men fails, BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!”

[Snif]
:-)


135 posted on 01/15/2009 8:40:21 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Valpal1

Nice pics. If you have more, please email me the link(s). Thanks


136 posted on 01/15/2009 8:44:00 PM PST by matt1234
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To: stainlessbanner
Glory and Gettysburg were lacking. Gods and Generals....however.....excellent

I agree.

Martin Sheen's portrayal of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg was lame. Ted Turner might as well have used a cardboard cutout to duct-tape to the saddle of ol' Traveller. One who watches that movie can't help but think, every scene where he shows up, "that's not General Lee, that's Martin Sheen with a paste-on gray beard".

Turner did a much better casting job in Gods and Generals when he chose Robert Duvall to play Lee. Duvall was brilliant. Duvall WAS Lee. Sheen could take a lesson from that performance. Watching Gods And Generals, I actually had tears running down my cheeks when Gen. Jackson learned of the death of his "young friend"...and for me to get misty-eyed in a movie is very rare.

137 posted on 01/15/2009 8:44:14 PM PST by Zman516 (socialists & muslims -- satan's useful idiots.)
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To: Clemenza
LOTR is the most OVERRATED film saga ever made. A bunch of effeminate dwarves walking, and walking, and walking to find a stupid ring.

Piffle.

138 posted on 01/15/2009 8:44:53 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: SeekAndFind
I didn't see The Lives of Others on the list. Maybe that's because it's a German film, but Miller didn't say the movies had to be American. Lives brilliantly chronicles omnipresent eavesdropping that the STASI carried out in former Eastern Germany. If you want to have a taste of how weird life was behind the Iron Curtain on a day-to-day basis, see the film.
139 posted on 01/15/2009 8:46:18 PM PST by ishmac ("There are no permanent defeats in politics because there are no permanent victories." Lady Thatcher)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ghostbusters
Out of Africa
Ran
Babette’s Feast
Groundhog Day
Schindler’s List
Apollo 13
October Sky
Nowhere in Africa
Hotel Rwanda
Cinderella Man
The Painted Veil
The Dark Knight


140 posted on 01/15/2009 8:46:47 PM PST by devere
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To: SeekAndFind

Save for later.


141 posted on 01/15/2009 8:47:11 PM PST by wjcsux (White liberal elites are America's losers with money.)
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To: Ramius

I also liked the scene from the final movie where the riders of Rohan come to break the siege of Minas Tirith, are completely outnumbered with little hope of survival, and still charge headlong into the battle because it is what must be done.


142 posted on 01/15/2009 8:48:00 PM PST by tarawa
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To: SeekAndFind

Red Dawn.


143 posted on 01/15/2009 8:52:23 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (This election gave the drunks the keys to the liquor cabinet!)
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To: Alberta's Child

Good to hear others liked that movie too. I thought I was alone thinking it should have gotten recognition from Hollywood. I meant to mention the “rugged individualism” too. Again—much better than “Dances W/Wolves.”


144 posted on 01/15/2009 8:52:32 PM PST by Fu-fu2
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To: lilylangtree

Are you being sarcastic? Girl borrows money from her Dad so a friend can get an abortion?


145 posted on 01/15/2009 8:56:59 PM PST by sportutegrl
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To: SeekAndFind

No one mentioned “Independence’s Day”. I thought the July 4th speech was one of the best in any movie.


146 posted on 01/15/2009 8:57:11 PM PST by georgiabelle
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To: SeekAndFind

True Lies.


147 posted on 01/15/2009 8:57:20 PM PST by sportutegrl
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To: SeekAndFind
Apollo 13 was great. It showed humans at their problem-solving best. Not a political movie but showing brilliant people improvising and doing what is almost impossible surely goes against the typical leftist anti-achievement mentality.

I liked Hollywood Shuffle, which came out about 20 years ago. Again, not a political movie per se. It depicts a young black man trying to become an actor and finding that Hollywood will only cast him as a slave or a stereotypical gangster/pimp. The actor finally lands a movie role as a pimp character. He quickly becomes ashamed of himself and walks away from that job because it is demeaning and he wants to be a good role model for his young relatives. So Hollywood Shuffle has a good message about self-respect and family. It also makes fun of condescending white liberals.

148 posted on 01/15/2009 9:01:13 PM PST by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: Valpal1

I thought FIREFLY was really good, and the movie was outstanding.


149 posted on 01/15/2009 9:08:51 PM PST by odin2008 (EVIL TRUMPHS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING)
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To: georgiabelle
No one mentioned “Independence’s Day”.
I thought the July 4th speech was one of the best in any movie.


I agree.
Even though I'm a through-and-through Okie and "Flyover Country" person,
I worked in West Los Angeles during 1995-2005.

One of the more memorable experiences was going with a couple of
fellow lab-workers to see "Independence Day" at a UCLA-area
theater.
And realizing "this is a basically conservative American film"!

OK, I admit I reached this assessment after seeing a cinematic
explosion of The White House (during The Clinton Years) and
seeing the Brit in the Desert shouting that "The Yanks" are going
to fight!

Heck of a film. Even if it's escapist eye-candy.
150 posted on 01/15/2009 9:09:05 PM PST by VOA
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