A New Red Dawn

“We are the government and we are here to help.”  Truly one of the most horrifying concepts within the last two centuries has come to the silver screen as a modern take of John Milius’s Red Dawn.  Milius’s film about a Soviet and Latin invasion/occupation of the United States during the Cold War has been both inspirational and controversial for generations of moviegoers.  Rugged individuals fighting a guerilla war against overwhelming forces in your hometown is a universal theme.  Every zombie film uses the same premise.  What made Red Dawn and its remake different are their patriotic and historical overtones. For example; in the original film the character “Jeb” is named after a famous mountain man who hunted, trapped, and fought Indians off when America was still expanding west. Milius loves to write about when men lived by their own means without laws or government, just by their own word and the gun by their side.  The remake of Red Dawn brings the audience back to this rugged scenario with a combat veteran teaching survivors how live in this new world without the comforts of civil society.

Original Trailer

Conservatives, libertarians, historians, and veterans love movies that promote these ideals and give audiences a glimpse at why we resist things in this world that are forced upon us.  This is why criticisms of both the original Red Dawn and the remake are very scathing.  The majority of American film critics are very liberal both socially and politically.  The art they review is created by an industry that is very liberal.  This is more than just conjecture on my part, because there are just too many polls out there that state otherwise.  The original was criticized as being right-wing paranoia, as well as being called; Fascism and pro-gun nationalism insulting the Soviets.  The new version suffered the same fate from critics some saying the acting was terrible, which is a legitimate argument until you watch the actual film.  The remake of Red Dawn has some great veteran actors and actresses in it portraying the situation with great realism showing the immaturity of youth, desperation, coping with loss, and warrior’s spirit.  Other criticisms were made by rather pro-communist, pro North Korea reviewers stating how terrible the portrayal of the North Korean military occupation is in the film.  This should not be a surprise to anyone out there. When dealing with progressive communism, people only see government for the free stuff they get and forget about the trail of bodies their theories leave behind.  My example comes from Anthony Herbert’s book Soldier about his time fighting the Korean War.  He details in his book finding friends he came across on patrol that were nailed to doorways and their entrails leading out into the ice and snow. That is what progressivism offers us.

Remake Trailer

Regardless of the bad reviews the original Red Dawn became a staple for generations of American youth giving them a fictional glimpse of what real freedom fighters had to endure all over the world and throughout history.  Milius is a true torch-bearer preserving America’s individualism and self-reliance for future generations in hopes that they will never forget their birthright. The original Red Dawn is available on Blu-Ray and on Netflix.  The remake even though it lacks some of the desperation of the original film has some intense plot scenes of betrayal and loss which makes for a great version, with an ending that is truly motivating.  A great movie quote that sums up both films comes from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Quintus, “A people should know when they are conquered.”  Maximus, “Would you, Quintus? Would I? “

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From My Cold Dead Hands!


After enjoying all of the Halloween treats that the season has to offer, it is time to take stock in one of my favorite genres of film, the zombie/apocalypse.  Zombies, alien invasions, breakdown of society films all have a few things in common.  Each story is essentially a survival story where survivors have beaten the odds of disease, famine, occupation, genocide, nuclear annihilation and are trying to establish a new world in the ashes of the old.
This concept of building a new world out of the proverbial wilderness is something entirely unique to Americans.  Since the United States is a rather new to the world stage, it took over a century and a half for us to settle and establish American society.  It is due to our unique history and culture that we have created the modern zombie film.  Everyone knows that George A. Romero and John A. Russo created Night of the Living Dead propelling tales of a mysterious disease that animates the recently deceased back to life and craving human flesh, which in turn caused society and communication to break down.  That is until men and women pick up their weapons and band together fighting creatures and others who might transgress upon them.  This theme of guerrilla resistance saturates Romero’s blockbuster sequel Dawn of the Dead.  Another reason why this type of film is so popular and definitively American is that the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has written down in the Bill of Rights that the civilian population has a right to own military arms.  It is in our nation’s DNA to be the ”armed to the teeth” underdog, and our zombie films reflect that.  From Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series to Robert Kirkman’s very popular The Walking Dead the everyday use of firearms harkens back to pioneer days with musket, knife, and tomahawk strapped on every able-bodied person.


A great comparison is the remake of Dawn of the Dead and the British 28 Days Later.  In Dawn of the Dead a band of survivors shoot their way to a fortified position (the mall).  While in 28 Days Later, survivors barely make it to a military checkpoint in which they are subject to their abuse because in the real world the people with guns make the rules.
American survival not only permeates the horror genre, but sci-fi and action too.

TV shows such as Falling Skies and Revolution show America in two different circumstances.  One has us in a resistance against an alien occupation, Falling Skies, and the other tells the story of an America without electricity, which causes a breakdown in government.  Both shows display America’s will for armed resistance.  Even shows such as Jericho, Red DawnThe Terminator franchise, and Last Resort all display our romantic notion of defiance and our love for the rugged individual. Even with overwhelming odds and when all hope is lost there will always be that American who will cowboy up and give your enemies a little John Wayne.  To quote another apocalyptic movie Reign of Fire, “Envy the country that has heroes, I say pity the country that needs them.”

That’s the Truth! Truth!

If you are not sure where I got the title for this post. Here is the commercial that inspired me.

“Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.” Sir Winston Churchill. I fondly remember in my documentary film class having the discussion of truth in documentary film. What surprised my counterculture classmates was how the Dr. started this conversation. Our professor was a child of the 1960’s and he discussed how people violently attacked his anti-war friends in college. He had my classmates in awe of all his flower power days and rightly so, those were turbulent times and to be thought of a revolutionary is a romantic notion. Well as the saying goes, “Discretion is a better part of valor,” so I sunk a little lower in my seat preparing for a long course on liberalism. Then after a screening of Michael Moore’s Roger & Me our professor described how Moore rearranged some actual events in his film to fit the narrative that he was striving for. This was not a true documentary and all those sad hipster faces in the crowd felt a little betrayed by our professor and possibly by their own ideology. They had their Matrix moment where they wake up to reality. To this day this I have nothing but respect for this professor.
This backstory will help us discuss the state of documentary film today and as a genre of film, are we getting the truth? When Michael Moore accepts the Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, a film that did not meet the requirements to be considered by the Academy Awards, truth comes into question. One of the requirements this documentary did not meet was the specific number of actual theaters it was screened in. For the 75th Academy Awards I believe it was rule 12 for documentary film. This film should have never been considered for nomination, yet it wins the Oscar. Then in typical fashion with all of Mr. Moore’s films, once people who are in his films see the final product they tend to find a lawyer and file charges for libel. And with a little bit of cinematic fairy dust, Moore’s films easily change from being under the respected description of “documentary” to your basic “fictional” genre in order to save face and charges. Yet, when you read reviews about these films it is nothing but unbridled praise as being the greatest documentary work without anyone asking is what I am seeing true? To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” Our responsibility as the audience is to question what we are seeing.
Being a history buff I love watching The History Channel and they would have great shows such as Conquest where they would discuss and perform different military conquests throughout history. It had great historical value and small taste of reality thrown in. Today when you turn on The History Channel you get shows called Monster Quest and Swamp People programming that has nothing to do with history or documentary. I’m not saying these other shows are bad. I love Swamp People personally but it does not belong on this network. Even South Park used this as parody for one of their shows.

In the last five years or so, documentary films that try and uphold the pillars of truth do exist. If you don’t mind some profanity and a little nudity Penn & Teller’s Bullsh*t brings some truths to light. They are honest about who they are. Two atheist libertarians who strive to bring truths to social issues of the day. Another film which was inspired by the lack of truth in documentary film is Why Michael Moore Hates America. The filmmaker applied Michael Moore’s ambush style of interviewing to the man himself, Michael Moore.

Unfortunately, documentary films similar to Michael Moore Hates America, Indoctrinate U, and EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed, receive very little review or critical praise not because of their lack of truth, but because of the critics’ personal beliefs. Is this the protocol on how documentary films should be judged on?
I remember an independent documentary in college called Human Remains where the creator used stock footage of some of the most horrible dictators in history and used direct quotes as a voiceover for each one of the dictators. It was compelling and true. “Getting it from the horse’s mouth.” Always makes for the best cinema, which brings me to Dinesh D’Souza’s film 2016 the highest grossing political documentary to date. A film that has nothing bad poor reviews by most film critics and disdain throughout Hollywood.

Yet, the facts of this film hold up. Not only by using interviews and actual facts in the right order, but by using President Obama’s words verbatim. Uncut video of the president speaking is impossible to deny. Of course this film will never make it to the Academy Awards even though it will meet all of their requirements and they will not be praised by pop culture or mainstream media, but it will be a keystone holding together the genre of documentary film, Oh and the money too. “And that’s the Truth! Truth!

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