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Miss me, Ricochet? I’ve been busy trying to place my reflections on American-prestige-at-the-movies in various venues, trying to tell conservative America: Pay attention, at least a little attention, at least during awards season! The ugly truth is, it’s really hard to get people to care, but very easy to get them angry and contemptuous at Hollywood out-of-touch-elitism, so I’m busy trying to avoid all the dark passions. But while people still make lovely movies worth the praise, I will try to show you what they’re about and how to navigate through the sophisticated concerns that give poetry its great dignity.
So here’s my list of Awards movies conservatives should support, nay cherish. They’re all but one featured at the Oscars. I picked three all-American stories, two of which are true stories such that the movies actually understate the miracles they depict. They’ve all been remarkably successful at European art-movie festivals, even at the highest level. They’ve not been too successful in America, but they’re doing ok mostly, and getting another chance at prestige in awards season. This is the sort of stuff conservatives should support, both because it is poetry worth supporting and because it supports the conservative case for American goodness and greatness.
- Hacksaw Ridge. The best show of Christian America at war I can think of — so naturally, the conservative press ignores it altogether. A war picture, a remarkable technical achievement, independently financed and produced with great savvy — and then it gets lots of Oscar nominations, including the first for Mr. Mel Gibson in perhaps 20 years. Shock after shock. I think we should be bipartisan about this and do at least as much as Hollywood liberals have done, so I’m doing my part!
- Kubo and the Two Strings. This is the most beautiful surprise of 2016. A film almost entirely free of the sordid, which tells a broken-family story Americans should love, while at the same time doing the sophisticate poetic work of analyzing grief in terms of the grief song, threnody, and trying to show where poetry stands in-between the city and the moon.
- Hell or High Water. This was the anguished manliness movie of the year. I’ve written about it at length on my website, but those are notes for a very limited audience. I’ve also produced a popular essay, but I’ve not found someone willing to publish it yet…
- Loving. This is the most surprising sort of civil rights picture you’re going to see. It’s a respectful and very American portrayal of the moral virtues that make private life a joy, a shelter, and a benefit to the country as a whole at the same time. It’s one those true stories that makes so many of us wonder at the ways in which Americans are blessed and innocent.
Then there are movies really worth the attention of conservatives who care about the culture, but they are not really lovable and I cannot recommend them. I suppose I don’t need to, either, as they’ve been plenty successful:
- Deadpool. This is the most striking success of the year and heralds a new departure in individualism. If you wanted to make filthy stuff a thing of pride for middle-class Americans who shudder to think of themselves as middle-aged, this is it.
- Arrival. This is a super-feminist story, in ways I’ve not seen anyone even talk about, so I’ve done it myself.
I’ve not found homes for my essays on the other three movies, so no link, sorry. I’m still trying, so I’ll update this post if I find conservative editors interested in telling America at least as much about good movies as liberal America is doing.