Culture Wars: The Phenomenoming

I haven’t been over to BigHo in some time now and I see that Editor in Chief (No. Really. They have an editor. An ‘in Chief ‘ one too. Awesome.) John Nolte has a bone to pick with that Sasha Borat Bruno-Cohen guy:

 One of the great Hollywood con jobs of the last five years was in convincing a mostly indifferent American public that a film with fewer domestic ticket sales than “Click,” “Mission Impossible III,” “Over the Hedge” and “Superman Returns” was some sort of cultural phenomenon. Wildly profitable? Sure. But any reasonable analysis of a modest $127 million haul shouldn’t be described as anything nearing a “phenomenon.” Luckily for “Borat” (2006) the right people were on board to hype up this nonsense-machine.

Actually, Borat which stayed in release for twenty-one weeks, generated a total of $260,000,000 worldwide against a production budget of $18 million was a bit of a phenomenon since it lacked the requisite explosions and computer-generated smart-ass critters that dominate the multiplexes. But what is even more phenomenal is Nolte’s uncanny ability to  pick box-office winners. Take  An American Carol for example.

Here’s Nolte writing as Dirty Harry reviewing AAC:

For the record, the cut I saw of An American Carol was not the finished cut. As a matter of fact, I was told it was the first cut. So you can safely assume that the film has improved since. 

Political satire is a tough genre requiring a wire walker at the helm with the talent and maturity to avoid the dual pitfalls of sanctimony and pretension. John Cusack couldn’t do it. War, Inc. was an embarrassment that wallowed in both of those pitfalls and could be a case-study in what not to do. David Zucker, however, not only pulls it off with An American Carol, he does so rather brilliantly.

Yes, I said “brilliant,” and I mean it. Anyone who’s seen Airplane! (1980) or The Naked Gun (1988) knows that Zucker has genius in him, but to transfer that genius so successfully into the Making A Statement department caught me completely by surprise. But first and foremost, An American Carol is absolutely, laugh-out-loud hilarious.


I do not believe that it is up to conservative audiences to make conservative films and filmmakers successful. What I believe is that it’s up to conservative filmmakers to make films we want to see. Just being “conservative” isn’t enough. We’re not cattle. We expect quality for our buck. Whether liberal or conservative, a film cynically produced is still a film cynically produced regardless of which side of the political aisle it emanates from.  Deliver the goods and we’ll come. Otherwise…

Zucker delivers … and then some. You’ll love this film. This one’s for us and damn if it doesn’t feel good for a change to be delivering punches instead of sitting there taking them. At 83 mintues(sic) (79 without end credits) the film will fly by…

An American Carol, with a production budget of $20 million (!), pulled in a whopping $7,013,191 (or $2 million less than Borat did opening day) before it was mercifully euthanized after six weeks.

John Nolte appears to be a film critic  ("Deliver the goods and we’ll come") for people who don’t go to movies.

Nice work if you can get it…

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....