Who are you? That might seem like an awfully odd way to start a movie review, but what is the answer to that question. To quote Tyler Durden, “you are not your job, you are not how much money you have in the bank.” I would never call you “the all singing all dancing crap of the world” though. That would probably be inaccurate and it would definitely be rude.
You are not your name, those are just words on a birth certificate, drivers license, concealed weapons license, etc.
Would you say that you are kind? Compassionate? Distinctive? Caring? Patient? Ruthless? Generous? Greedy? All these and more are mere personality traits. Traits that can shift around and change. Sometimes over a lifetime, sometimes at the drop of a hat. What most people define themselves as relies just as much as what they define themselves as against. Conflict is absolutely essential to the definition of differences.
Which brings me to the movie I will be reviewing today. Hilary’s America. The very first thing I wrote on this august web blog was a review of mr D’souza’s movie. 2016 Obama’s America. I like to think I have come a long way both as a writer and as a human being since writing that review.
I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the movie Hilary’s America until I heard it mentioned in an offhand comment on my favorite movie review podcast. We Hate Movies! The WHM crew, being self described New York liberals, are not fans of D’souza’s work. But the head cheese over at WHM described a scene in the trailer for Hilary’s America that piqued my interest, of a flaming horse jumping out of a wall.
A little later I heard Hilary’s America mentioned on Tom Gresham’s gun talk and the Alex Jones show in very favorable terms. Mr Jones spent some time talking about how D’souza used to be a mainline republican, having worked for Reagan himself. But following his incarceration. (Officially for a small violation of campaign finance laws. Unofficially for pissing off the powers that shouldn’t be.) He became radicalized. With that statement I simply had to see this movie.
After 20 minutes of trailers for movies I hope to never see, including one about some girl who died in the Columbine Massacre that looks unspeakably distasteful. The movie gets going in a way that is hard to describe. An orchestra, a puppet show, then a cartoon of various nasty bits of American history all mashed into one. I immediately got the impression that this film is the product of a somewhat dangerous mind. Someone who has been hurt by the establishment and wants revenge. Someone who has been subtly broken, and put back together different than they used to be.
The movie shares details of D’souza’s trial and rather Kafkaesque punishment. Then it goes into a history of both the Democratic Party and Hilary Clinton’s which I would describe as very interesting and decidedly unflattering. I was surprised how much of the story I already knew from other sources. The part talking about Saul Alinsky, for me at least. Dovetailed remarkably well with information gleaned from a biography of Alinsky written by a friend of his.
Then we come to the end, there were a few hiccups in the movie. In a scene that is supposed to be a meeting taking place in the 60s in LBJ’s White House one of the actors is clearly wearing a digital watch that wouldn’t have been around back then. There are also several brutal scenes involving the torture of slaves and sterilization of undesirables that I could have done without.
But what really threw me off of giving this movie a five out of five, or even a four was the ending. I do not consider myself a patriot, I definitely do not consider myself a republican. Although I may still be registered as such, following my caucusing for Ron Paul in 2008. The ending of this movie is a double barreled, full power blast of patriotic images and the most unsubtle message to go out there and vote republican that I have ever seen. Why do I use the term double barreled? Well, because as the movie ends you are treated to a montage of patriotic images done to a patriotic song. Then that song ends, and then the Star Spangled Banner starts playing. With a full orchestra, the biggest damn Pipe Organ I have ever seen and stock footage of fireworks and the Blue Angels doing their thing. I can only sum it up as a giant red white and blue cum stain.
So it gets a provisional 3/5. The provision being that if you are a super hardcore Republican Patriot you will probably rate it a perfect 5/5. Personally though, I would recommend seeing it for the information presented. Though not for the message.
Which brings me back to what I started this review with. Who are you? Many people define themselves as this, that or the other thing. D’souza clearly defines himself as a republican patriot. Someone who came to this country on the promise of a “fair deal.” What is this fair deal? Well, most republicans I have met define it as what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. I don’t have a right to steal from you, and you don’t have a right to steal from me. A system that promises to benefit all. But we must retain a “bottom up” control structure of civics, laws, checks and balances (whatever the fuck that means) and so on around our dangerous government. Seemingly contradictorily we must also pay a tribute to government to make sure that sewage is flushed away, roads do not crumble and Americas countless enemies, their children, relatives, neighbors, dogs, cats and so on will be skullfucked to death with the fire and steel of the most gloriously powerful military in the history of this planet. If they dare even think of threatening us.
The counter to this, in this film at least. Is the portrayed democratic system. Of cronyism, corruption, favors, lies, slavery, plantation economics, violent naked aggression and rigid top down control of the Democratic Party. Summed up as little more than a con game that benefits a few at the expense of the many. While promising the many that they will benefit at the expense of the rich few.
Now plenty of people much smarter than me have made some pretty good arguments about how both systems suck. Heck I could even go off on a tangent of saying that democrats are “better” because at least they are up front about worshiping government and aggression. As opposed to beating around the bush and playing silly little games like most republicans do.
But I think a movie like this, especially with the ending it has. Is a reminder that while you can see the blatant violations of the Non Aggression Principle, by both sides. Even if one side is guilty of more violations than the other. We must acknowledge that these things. The symbols, the leaders, and yes, even the aggressions of nations and political systems are what millions of people in this county define themselves by. Most of the audience at the screening I saw were uniformity old and had a distinctly conservative air to them. Especially their hats, if you know what I mean. The facts presented by D’souza about the Democratic Party are recorded history. As I said, I already knew much, (though not all) of what was brought up on the film. Yet, you could show this film to millions of Democrats and with a handful of exceptions this would not lead them to change their views. Even if it did that ending would probably sharpen their views of opposition.
So, as mr D’souza crafted his message to his audience and made an over the top statement. I will craft my message to my audience and hopefully make a less over the top statement. Acknowledge what you define yourself as and do not let your ego cloud your judgment in your life. At the same time acknowledge that practically everyone does and try to have patience with them. The Liberty Mission is long and suffers countless setbacks. The ending of it will probably be something that most people can’t even imagine. But we will never get there if we subject others to the same tyranny that they have subjected us to.