Hollywood B.O.: Conservatives Turn Out for D'Souza Horror Film
The big news at the box office this weekend isn't that “Expendables 2” won its second weekend with a tepid $13 mil, followed by tepid turns from the new Bourne and Norman and The Campaign and Dark Knight and Timmy Green; nor that the highest-grossing new movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's “Premium Rush,” grossed only $6.3 mil for seventh place. The big news is the movie that wound up in eighth place.
I hadn't heard of “2016: Obama's America” until it wound up in eighth place. It was written and directed by John Sullivan (“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” which is Ben Stein's doc on how great Intelligent Design is), and co-directed right-wing ideologue Dinesh D'Souza, who stars, and whose books include the following:
- 1995: The End of Racism
- 1997: Ronald Reagan: How An Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader
- 2000: The Virtue of Prosperity
- 2007: The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11
- 2010: The Roots of Obama's Rage
- 2012: Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream
The documentary, such as it is, is based on the second-to-last book.
Meanwhile, the movie was released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, which tends to distribute little-seen movies with right-wing and/or Christian themes.
The doc, which examines the question “If Barack Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?,” opened in Houston in July, and has gone wider each week. It began August in 10 theaters, then 61, then 169, now 1,091.
What's the movie about? Obama bad. He's been bad from the get go. As per his father's dream, he's the anti-colonialist returned to inflict punishment on the colonizers. (Psst. That's us.) Yes, it hasn't happened yet, yes, Obama's first term has been remarkable for its centricity; but there's no arguing with the paranoid. There's too much of a thrill there. According to the Washington Post review, here's how D'Souza foresees a second Obama term:
...if the president is reelected, the world four years from now will be darkened by the clouds of economic collapse, World War III (thanks to the wholesale renunciation of our nuclear superiority) and a terrifyingly ascendant new “United States of Islam” in the Middle East. These assertions are accompanied by footage of actual dark clouds and horror-movie music.
I find the paranoia of the far right both amusing and sad. It's amusing because it's so preposterous and it's sad because it never goes away. They were paranoid in the early '60s, they were paranoid in the mid-80s, and they're paranoid now. It's as sure as the turning of the earth. The right-wing folks who want to be scared plunked down $6.2 million this weekend and got their scare.
I might have to get into that racket. Seems like easy money.
Among other claims, D'Souza asserted that the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was due to the “sexual immodesty of liberal America” and that Abu Ghraib reflected “the values of a debauched liberalism run amok.”