Column: What would Bush watch?

By Eric Naing

With all those gay cowboys running around with George Clooney, conservatives have been even more shrill (if that’s possible) about the liberal oasis that is Hollywood. Admittedly, Hollywood is very friendly to Leonardo DiCaprio and his hybrid cars, but is there room for a conservative voice somewhere between Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn?

Enter Don Feder, who makes it his duty to show that the GOP shouldn’t be afraid of the movies. In an article for the right-wing FrontPageMagazine.com, Feder lists the best conservative films of 2005. His definition of “conservative cinema” is any movie “about honesty, loyalty, courage and patriotism,” and “conservatism’s cardinal values – faith, family and freedom” (think “700 Club” on the big screen).

Number one on the list is boxing flick “Cinderella Man,” starring Russell Crowe as a man who hits people a lot, and no, the movie isn’t autobiographical (ba-zing). Conservative critics ate up the movie’s black and white portrayal of morality and the depression-era gender roles it enforced.

Ironically, conservatives shunned the similarly themed “Million Dollar Baby,” probably because “genre-bending” and “thought-provoking” aren’t among “conservatism’s cardinal values.”

Number two on the list is Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” because (and I’m being totally serious here) “its characters exemplify feminine virtue, masculine heroism and romantic love.” Someone better warn Sen. Rick Santorum because the movie I saw was about a giant monkey falling for a human woman (pun regrettably intended). Though I wasn’t surprised that conservatives think “feminine virtue” and “masculine heroism” mean screaming white women being carried around by big, hairy apes.

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    Other movies on the list include “Batman Begins” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” mostly because they supposedly highlight the amorphous concept of “conservative values.”

    Seeing as how I’m such a nice guy, I wanted to help Feder and throw out a few suggestions for his list.

    “Cheaper by the Dozen 2”: What honors the institution of marriage better than a family-friendly movie about Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt hooking up and popping out 12 kids?

    George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead”: Think of it as a parable of what the neoconservative have turned Iraq into.

    Disney’s “Ice Princess”: I never saw this, but the title makes me think of First Lady Laura Bush with her creepy, pale skin and cold, dead eyes.

    “White Noise”: I know you think this was a bad horror flick starring Michael Keaton, but it was really about the conservative uproar over the Bush-bashing at Coretta Scott King’s funeral.

    Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride”: Okay, I’ll stop with the Laura Bush jokes.

    Over at right-wing NationalReview.com, Warren Bell laments the “disturbing absence of Hollywood movies and TV shows depicting the heroism of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He also goes on to suggest a biopic about football star Pat Tillman who died after enlisting in the army.

    First of all, mainstream movies like “Jarhead” and “Annapolis,” and television shows like “Over There,” seem to dismiss Bells’ first criticism. Secondly, I agree that there should be a Pat Tillman movie.

    For those out of the loop, Tillman heroically left behind an NFL career to enlist in the army in 2002, and was tragically killed in 2004. His story was of great importance to President Bush who used Tillman as a propaganda tool. It was later revealed that the Pentagon covered up the fact that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. His friends and family say Tillman opposed the president and blamed him for the “illegal” war in Iraq.

    The conservative uproar over the politics of show business is empty hypocrisy. The cult of Arnold Schwarzenegger proves that the GOP is more than willing to embrace Hollywood as long as it plays by their rules. Values like patriotism and faith do not belong to any one ideology. And despite what Don Feder thinks, movies should be judged on things like story and character development, not politics.

    Eric Naing is a senior in LAS. He thinks “Get Rich or Die Trying” should have starred Dick Cheney. His column appears on Tuesdays. He can be reached at [email protected].