But whereas Oh, God was charmingly irreverent—a religiously themed movie even an atheist could love—Evan Almighty bears the stamp of the Bush era. Its politics may be nominally green (the Lord’s ultimate goal is to stop environmentally harmful legislation), but its approach to revelation is strictly constructionist. ~Dana Stevens
Question: is there any movie that has been released in the last year that Dana Stevens did not think bore the “stamp of the Bush era” (and in a bad way) or possessed some other sinister conservative message? Knocked Up is a product of focus groups and pro-life political correctness, and 300 was “a mythic ode of righteous bellicosity” that prompted her to write:
But Leonidas is not above playing the tyrant himself. When a messenger from Xerxes arrives bearing news Leonidas doesn’t like, he hurls the man, against all protocol, down a convenient bottomless well in the center of town. “This is blasphemy! This is madness!” says the messenger, pleading for his life. “This is Sparta,” Leonidas replies. So, if Spartan law is defined by “whatever Leonidas wants,” what are the 300 fighting for, anyway? And why does that sound depressingly familiar?
So, as far as these recent movies are concerned, the answer to my question would seem to be no.
Judging from her assessment of the movie, the problem with the story and all its Biblical literalism isn’t so much the nature of the story or even the Biblical literalism as such, but that the movie isn’t funny. It sets up what could be a terrific farce, but then fails to deliver.
What really seems to bother Ms. Stevens about the politics of the movie is that, according to her description, it isn’t so much drearily Bushian as it is idiotically saccharine because “[t]rees will be hugged, parks saved, unscrupulous legislators vanquished—and one man will learn to spend more time with his family.” It sounds like a cross between an old Captain Planet episode and Spanglish. Admittedly, that sounds pretty horrible (Spanglish being the movie that managed to make Adam Sandler entirely unamusing), but it sounds nothing like a movie that “bears the stamp of the Bush era.” On the contrary, from what she says about its banality, conventional wisdom and triteness, it has the feel of an Obama speech, complete with the “quiet laughter” it provokes.
There seems to be a pattern in her movie reviews where Ms. Stevens manages to find something politically perverse about movies she regards as terrible, rather than simply acknowledging them as films that are superficial or fail in their execution. The rest of the time, she feels obliged to find some political flaw in movies that she enjoyed in spite of herself.
On a different subject, speaking of George Bush, movies starring Morgan Freeman as God and Oh, God, I was reminded of this.