Entertainment behind the scenes
The conservative politics of “Forrest Gump”
Conservative magazine National Review Online has come out with a list of the best 25 movies with conservative themes. Hollywood has long been a target for the right wing, which accuses it of producing films with a liberal bent, and the magazine took up that line of argument in its opening sentence.
“Once in a blue moon, Hollywood releases a conservative movie, or at least a film that resonates with conservatives in a particular way,” the article said.
But given the many blockbuster movies on the magazine’s list, it appears that the themes in National Review’s top 25 could appeal to movie goers of all political persuasions.
Topping the list is 2007 German film “The Lives of Others,” which chronicles the harsh realities of life in Communist East Germany during the 1980s, when secret monitoring poisoned the relationships between the country’s citizens.
Hollywood is well represented on National Review’s list, which includes the 2004 animated movie “The Incredibles,” the 1994 Oscar-winner for best picture ”Forrest Gump,” the 2007 blockbuster action hit “300″ and the 2008 Batman movie “The Dark Knight.”
In the case of “The Incredibles,” a movie about a family of superheroes, the magazine mentioned the film’s celebration of “marriage, courage, responsibility and high achievement.”
What is conservative about “Forrest Gump”? Well, the magazine notes that the title character played by Tom Hanks is an “amiable dunce who is far too smart to embrace the lethal values of the 1960s.” As for his love interest, she embraces the ’60s and becomes “a drug-addled hippie, with disastrous results,” the magazine said.
The magazine singles out “300″ because the publication argues that Hollywood recently “neglected the heroism of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” but the film presents an allegory to that bravery in its depiction of greatly outnumbered Spartan fighters taking on Persian invaders. Incidentally, the film drew criticism from the Iranian government, an entity that is not popular with Western conservatives.
In “The Dark Knight,” the magazine said that Batman’s story resembles that of former President George Bush, because he keeps the city safe from a terrorist (The Joker) and must endure the animosity of the press and the public.
Other titles on the list include “Groundhog Day” (1993), “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Master and Commander” (2003), ”The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (early 2000s), “United 93″ (2006) and “Gran Torino” (2008).
National Review said it came up with the list by asking readers to submit nominations, and then sorting through the results. Also, the magazine said it makes no claims that any of the filmmakers involved in the titles are themselves politically conservative, which is probably a safe disclaimer.
For instance, aside from starring as Forrest Gump, Hanks has advocated for gay rights and he endorsed Barack Obama during the Democrat’s successful run for president.