Category Archives: Conservative Theater

Évocateur – The movie about the show that started it all

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

If you are a conservative that has paid any attention at all to the likes of Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, you may have thought that these men were trailblazers – something new under the sun, when it comes to conservative commentary. You would be partially right in that assessment, in that they each have set their own place in the conservative political world. However, before any of them, there was Morton Downey, Jr.

“The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” was an entertainment anomaly in its day, airing in the late eighties for just under a year nationwide. Mort had a cult-like following on college campuses, and can be credited with being the father of shock television. In the beginning, the show focused on political topics, and can be credited with introducing a national audience to the likes of Gloria Allred and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Conservatives today might be tempted to curse him for that, but it can be argued that the interaction between Mort and his guests in general lead to the current tenor of commentary we see everyday from Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity. Today, they are more polite, so if there’s any complaining to do, it probably shouldn’t be about Mort.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the man, and his meteoric rise to fame at the close of the Reagan years, you have the opportunity to learn. Évocateur – The Morton Downey, Jr. Movie is a documentary set for nationwide release on June 7 that explores the history of the show, and the man that made it possible. From the beginning, there was no question about whether or not Mort would attempt to get in the national spotlight – the only question was how he would do it. After failed attempts at following in his father’s footsteps in the music industry, Mort moved to radio. Once he discovered he could use his flamboyant personality to move people on political causes, after speaking on Pro-Life issues, it was only a matter of time before he would parlay that into some form of entertainment.

Based in part on the 1960’s talk show, “The Joe Pyne Show”, “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” in the New York region on WWOR in Seacaucus, NJ in 1987. Under a year later, the show went into national syndication. The show focused on politics from the beginning until shortly after the Reverend Al Sharpton’s pet cause – the case of Tawana Brawley – was found to be false by a grand jury investigation. The Brawley case was an integral part of Mort’s fame, and when it became clear that the girl had lied about being gang raped by white men, the show could no longer book legitimate guests. It became a freak show, with strippers, prostitutes, and Neo-Nazis as regular guests. Part of Brawley’s claims included racist epithets being written on her body by her attackers – something she apparently did to herself. So, when Mort claimed that he had been attacked by Neo-Nazis, and had swastikas drawn on him in an airport restroom, there was more than a little distrust in his claims. “The Morton Downey, Jr.” show was cancelled shortly after that.

“Évocateur” explores all of this, and is a walk down memory lane for anyone that remembers the man, and his show. As for current conservatives, it is important to understand the rise and fall of Mort. While even his close friend, Lloyd Schoonmaker, admits in the film that Mort’s political beliefs were whatever served him best at any given moment, one thing the man did understand was how to turn populism into real entertainment. If the show was aired today, it probably still would appeal to a large audience, because of its off-the-wall flavor, if nothing else. However, Mort would be branded as RINO, because of he would often switch stands on various issues. As shown in a very short clip in the film, it apparently was done to “see how the audience reacts” – he was a showman first, pundit second if at all. His goal was to entertain, then inform. Today, entertaining audiences has either been abandoned entirely, or takes second seat to informing the masses. Conservatives today have been debating for years about how to reach a larger audience, and if Mort can teach us anything, it is that we’re going about it backwards. First entertain the people, and then inform them.

If there is one must-see film out there now for conservatives, it is “Évocateur”. This should be the start point for anyone seeking to spread the conservative message to a larger audience, because it is about a man who did it right, before he got everything absolutely wrong. His failure was highly personal, in that he was obsessed with eclipsing his father’s fame. However, on the tactical end, his other failure was in putting so much faith in one story – the Tawana Brawley story. It is a bitter irony that story didn’t spell the end of Sharpton as well. But, none of it lessens the value of what can be learned from Morton Downey, Jr. – the man that defined the populist conservative movement in the waning days of the Reagan era.

Interview with “Évocateur” director Jeremy Newberger: Listen here

Review: Atlas Shrugged: Part II

Altas Shrugged Part II Atlas Shrugged: Part II opened in theaters today, and I was lucky enough to be in a market that had an early matinee this morning. Of course, I already had tickets, and was first in the theater… way too early.

Again, no spoilers but a few thoughts. Part II, “The Strike”, is anti-climactic. If you have read the book, you know this is the part of the story that builds a case for John Galt and his vision. If you haven’t read the book, and were confused by some of the things in Part I, your confusion will not much be helped by seeing Part II. Go see it anyway.

The cast included some surprising choices this time around (and it is an all-new cast). Actor Paul McCrane, of E.R. fame, was a surprisingly good choice for Mouch, but his character wasn’t developed enough. Mouch is the embodiment of crushing government, and they didn’t quite let Mr. MrCrane crush. I was, however, very happy with the casting of Esai Morales as Francisco d’Anconia this time around. The role of d’Anconia in this part of the story is far different from his role in Part I, and I think that Morales’ was probably the best acted in the entire film. Samantha Mathis was competent as Dagny, but her role was over-acted. I was conflicted through much of the movie in my opinion of Jason Beghe as Hank Rearden. I think he portrayed Rearden more accurately than Grant Bowler, but I do believe that Bowler was a more compelling Rearden. Patrick Fabian was a perfect choice as James Taggart, and acted it horribly. *sigh*.

Go see the movie. The implementation of Directive 10-289 is chilling, and eerily familiar in a very uncomfortable way. Expect that it will be overacted and the language a little stiff. Expect, if you have read the book, that there will be things left out that you wish had been left in, but know that Francisco gives his swoon-inducing money-speech (to an ineffective lead-up), and that was enough for me. More people need to hear those words.

Finally, there were some timely pop-culture references in the movie that I am not certain added to the story, but were fun to catch. There is a vague Titanic reference, some obvious Occupy Wall Street parallels, and TEA Party-style nuance (pay close attention to the protesters after Directive 10-289 is enacted!) It was fun to see some other familiar faces like Sean Hannity, Juan Williams, and Jonathan Hoenig, of Capitalist Pig Asset Management! And, to finally catch a glimpse of John Galt (D.B. Sweeney has the best line in the movie… “I am John Galt.” )

Courageous! The Movie

I am not one for going to the movie theater, preferring instead to watch movies from the comfort of my own couch. It just makes logical sense to me. It does not cost a drop in the bucket what the cost of going to a movie theater costs these days. I can have all the snacks I want at a mere fraction of the cost, and most importantly, I can actually pause the movie and go to the powder room when necessary!

I’m sure it came as quite a surprise to my husband when he received an email from me telling him that I wanted to go see this movie! I knew we had an upcoming trip out of town, away from the kids, and knowing how much he loves going to the movie theater, I thought this would be a great surprise for him to have me actually say I want to go to a movie theater.

I had seen the preview several times, but did not read any movie reviews. I have found that so often, the movies I like are given bad reviews by other reviewers. Knowing this movie is a wholesome movie made me stay away from reviews even more.

I have visited the main page of the website, but did not want to go any deeper until after I saw the movie. Needless to say, I was completely surprised by the entire plot.

This is just a blurb from the actual synopsis of the Courageous website:

From the writers of Fireproof and Facing the Giants comes a story about four law enforcement officers whose lives are deeply tested as they embrace their calling to serve and to protect. As crime fighters, they must face danger every day. Yet when tragedy hits close to home, they are left wrestling with their hopes, their faith, and their priorities as men. 

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God’s promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be … courageous!

Having seen all of the movies that have been produced by Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia, I thought I knew what to expect. A heart-felt movie that dealt with real life, but not with quite the same depth and reality as Hollywood. This movie provides very little distinction between the production quality of professionals and those who are called by God for the purpose of bringing Him glory in their movies. That is- with the major exception of the foul language that seems to be a "necessity" in every Hollywood movie.

Please do not get me wrong- unfortunately, I have grown accustomed to the harsh language that peppers our world today, and in fact, at times have been known to speak in a way not so becoming of a lady. Sadly, I’ve grown so accustomed to this reality that there are very few times I’m actually phased by foul language. However, in many movies that come out of Hollywood today, it’s as if they just stuck a four-letter word here and there to seem cool and acceptable to their audience. 

There were times in this movie that I was literally hanging on to the edge of my seat, anticipating what was coming next! There was a moment of actual fear, as I became so lost in the story that it was almost reality for me. There were times I laughed. And there were many times I cried. It hit home for me because of past experiences in my life.

I was not aware of the fact that the movie deals with the tragic death of a loved one. The raw emotion portrayed by the family members who lost their loved one struck a cord in me that cannot be explained. Only those who have lost a loved one in a horrible tragedy know that raw emotion. Only those who have clung to the hem of His garment in the aftermath of the tragic death can know exactly what I’m talking about.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie! Support a Christian movie that has a lot to offer- entertainment, wisdom, knowledge, strength, comfort, laughter, tears, action, romance, and challenges. I specifically challenge any man who is a father to go see this movie. It very well could change your life, and how you view the calling on your life.

While it is a very well made movie, technically, in my opinion, it is a movie made from the talents and gifts of many every day, ordinary people. It is not a movie made by the Hollywood stars and starlets who see millions of dollars per movie. The real-life quaintness was refreshing to me.

If you go to the movies to critique the camera angles, lighting and video technique, this may not be the movie for you. However, I still recommend it to you. I simply challenge you look through the eyes of your heart rather than the eyes of the technical critic in you. 

".. honor begins at home."

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  
Joshua 1:9

 

Remember the Troops

Memorial Day is not just backyard cookouts and family gatherings. Take some time this long weekend to remember those that have gone into service for their country. No one asked them to. No one made them do it. They wanted to.

Give a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to listen to the music, look at the pictures and remember – if they weren’t defending us.. who would?

God Bless all those that serve and all who have served.

 

The CDN staff is putting together a special presentation for Monday as a tribute to our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen.

Movie Review: “The Joneses”

Demi Moore & David Duchonvy Movie

My husband and I sat down for a lazy Sunday afternoon movie over pizza (for him) and sushi (for me). The kids were upstairs playing and it was wonderful to have some much needed snuggling time in front of the TV with him.

We decided to watch a Netflix movie. My husband chose the movie while I brought our lunch into the living room. We got settled and I asked him what we were going to watch, to which he responded, “An Indie movie with Demi Moore and David Duchovny called The Joneses”. If we don’t like it we can always find another one.”

An Indie movie sounded good to me. I get tired of the “same-ole” plot over and over that Hollywood puts out year after year. They cannot come up with an original idea to save their lives! These days it seems like almost every movie that comes out is nothing but a remake of a previous movie!  Though this movie, “The Joneses”, came out in 2009 I had never heard of it before today.

We could tell almost immediately that this was not the “same-old” kinda movie.

Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB)  gives the following synopsis for “The Joneses” : ”A seemingly perfect family moves into a suburban neighborhood, but when it comes to the truth as to why they’re living there, they don’t exactly come clean with their neighbors.”

At one point I was just about ready to turn it off because it seemed to be something very perverted. If you have not watched this movie, and decide to watch it after reading my review I challenge you to stick with the movie. What seems to be perversion turns out to be something else entirely.

As I am sure you have already surmised from the title, the movie is about the old cliché “keeping up with The Jones’”.  It’s interesting to see how things play out in the movie as “The Jones family” sets the standard for their friends and neighbors to keep up with. What’s even more interesting- and sad- is to see how their friends and neighbors hang on to The Jones’ every word. Every conversation consists of throwing out the latest name brand item to their friends. Their friends fall for it hook line… and sadly, sinker.

Another interesting point that plays out in the movie is that “The Jones family” does not come across as having a “better than you” attitude. Though there is a specific reason why it plays out this way, “The Jones family” has more of a “you can have it too” attitude. 

The character of Mr. Jones is played by David Duchovny. While his reasons are wrong for what he is doing, if we applied the “appearance” that Mr. Jones gives their family friends in how he treats his wife, our nation’s families would not be in the condition they are in. “Just because” is reason enough for a special dinner or gift. The dichotomy of the “appearance” versus the reality of the “family situation” can teach all of us a lesson if we take it to heart. 

The bad part about it is that just as in real life, “The Jones family” is not what they “appear” to be. There were several things that happened that I honestly was not expecting. Ironically, I should have expected some of these things to happen.  I see it as just another indication of how this country is. What I should have expected as an obvious outcome from their actions did not cross my mind, just as what our obvious outcome from our actions as a nation will be doesn’t seem to even cross the minds of most people.

I challenge every single person in America to watch “The Joneses”, all the while keeping their eyes wide open. After watching this movie, compare the characters in the movie to what has been going on in this country for decades. After decades of living on someone else’s dime we are facing dire circumstances that are very near impossible to get out of.

America, we are trying to “keep up with The Jones’ ” and we cannot afford it! We are on a collision course with reality and it is not pretty! The consequences of our irresponsible actions over the past several decades truly are deadly! If we do not face reality about our nation’s situation we are going to find ourselves in a place we cannot dig ourselves out of! In fact, we very well may be at that point right now! I would like to have faith that we have not reached the point of no return, but the facts are glaring us in the face and  yet we still refuse to face them and make the necessary changes.

We are committing suicide as a country. On second thought, we are committing murder-suicide as a country. Not only are we killing our own future by trying to “keep up with The Jones’” by refusing to face reality and make theses necessary changes, tough as they may be, we are killing the future of our children and grandchildren.

In the end it always catches up to us. Always!

UK Video Explains Redistributive Change

“When we spread the wealth around, it’s better for everybody”, said Barack Obama. A group of California college students found that young liberals have an interesting take on redistribution. Now, the British have put together video that is priceless. Winning is winning after all, right?  RIGHT?

Apparently not. While this political group is challenging a new proposal to allow minority groups to have more than one vote per person (atrocious in it’s own right), the idea that playing fields must be leveled for the less-capable are crippling our education system, our competitiveness in world markets and our sense of pride.

If you do the work, you get the prize. If you rest of your laurels, you lose. Without that principle, we will have only those willing to rest on their laurels and those willing to rule them.

You’re So Special – The Socialist Video

This release from the Howe crowd is well-done and emphasizes the disfranchisement many Americans are feeling as they realize that they really did elect .. the Socialist – President Obama.

Every age seeks visionaries to leave, in the wake of their genius, a changed world – but rarely are they found without a few strikeout also-rans getting a crack first. In 2008, millions of Americans thought they had found the real thing.