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Hollywood’s Obvious Liberal Overtones Result in Box Office Flops, Rob Reiner Edition

Hollywood’s Obvious Liberal Overtones Result in Box Office Flops, Rob Reiner Edition

We may be stuck with more second-rate Hollywood fare from artists eager to bring down a sitting president above all else.

Once upon a time, the director of “The Princess Bride” could do no wrong. 

Rob Reiner retired his Meathead character from “All in the Family” to become an A-list director. “This Is Spinal Tap.” “The Sure Thing” (if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat). “Stand By Me.” “A Few Good Men.” “The American President.” “Misery.” “When Harry Met Sally.” 

But that was then.

Reiner’s last six films completely flopped, including his latest, “Shock and Awe.”  

 “Shock and Awe” earned a measly $45,856 at select movie theaters over the weekend along with withering reviews. 

Liberal film critics blamed his heavy hand for the movie’s woes. Here’s’s brutal assessment: “Shock and Awe” is “a plodding film with ill-placed, klutzy exposition and credibility-defying and/or colorless characters that are spokespersons for various predictable viewpoints.” 


Rolling Stone tried so darn hard to like this clunker the critic nearly pulled a muscle in the process. 

Oh god, you want to love it. You really, really want to love it, or at least, y’know, like it a lot, to stand up and cheer with it. I mean, a movie about journalists, real ones, doing what they do best, pounding the pavement and searching for the truth? 

Spoiler alert: The critic hated it, too. 

Where did it go wrong for Reiner? He’s allowed his partisan views to taint his filmmaking. They swamped the production, and most critics couldn’t help but notice the incongruous ideological overlay even though on paper, they agreed with Reiner’s worldview. 

Something similar occurred to comic turned oddball auteur Bobcat Goldthwait. The former “Police Academy” star uncorked several impressive films including “World’s Greatest Dad” with Robin Williams. His latest project, truTV’s “Misfits & Monsters” anthology series, attempted to take down President Donald Trump with a “Face in the Crowd” satire. 

It didn’t work either. Goldthwait’s targets are too obvious, his script too on the nose. In short, he let his partisan politics get the best of him, resulting in one of his weaker efforts. 

The upcoming “BlacKkKlansman” is a welcome return to form for Spike Lee, whose recent resume is filled with questionable features. Only “BlackKkKlansman” stops cold three times for sequences meant to send a message. It’s the equivalent of Cher Tweeting in ALL CAPS. We can read. We get it. Now tell us a story. 

The Age of Trump is driving many Hollywood denizens off the rational cliff at a time when his critics would be advised to let the president wallow in his unforced errors. It’s reminiscent of the 2000s when Hollywood cranked out one anti-war movie after another. The purpose? To hurt President George W. Bush’s Iraq War effort in any way possible. 

The movies all bombed, some worse than others. “Redacted” may have “won” the prize for biggest dud with a $65,388 U.S. box office haul. The films featured talented stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, John Cusack, Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon… and they generally received weak to poor reviews. Even the legendary Robert Redford couldn’t muster more than a dismal 27 percent “rotten” rating from major film critics for his 2007 drama “Lions for Lambs.” 

Filmmakers may have let their partisan emotions swamp their storytelling talents in a rush to smite Bush’s war effort. 

Compare that to the excellent Vietnam War movies released during the 1980s, a decade following that war’s completion. “Platoon.” “Full Metal Jacket.” “Hamburger Hill. “The Hanoi Hilton.” 

Trump’s presidency will be over in 2 or maybe 6 years. Then, perhaps artists can assess why the country chose such an unconventional candidate. Until that time, we may be stuck with more second-rate Hollywood fare from artists eager to bring down a sitting president above all else. 

Christian Toto is editor of the conservative entertainment site


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There’s a reason that Preachers never become successful filmmakers. It hasn’t been for lack of trying.

Halcyon Daze | July 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm

This event has been rewarding to watch unfold.

I’ve thought Hollywood has been B-list a lot longer than others.

    CountMontyC in reply to Halcyon Daze. | July 21, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    In all probability they write off the losses on their taxes. Yes they lose a lot of money but are in part compensated by the American taxpayer

casualobserver | July 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Weren’t most of the anti-Bush films a decade+ ago mostly clunkers too? Makes one wonder how these are financed. I guess to those who pony up the bucks it’s a matter of choosing to make smaller Dem party donations or financing films expecting to get some good results from flooding the market with your viewpoint. And certainly there is no threat to any crew or actors working on such films. They may not pocket much money in pay or proceeds, but they are secure in getting the next job in the industry. So it’s a no loss proposition.

Bucky Barkingham | July 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

It’s not like these partisans are using their own money to finance these flops. Perhaps they were meant to flop as in the plot of “The Producers”?

Spike Lee has to be the worse director still making films. He has never made a film worth seeing.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to puhiawa. | July 21, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    The ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Lee’s films is because he’s black. No critic or commentatorr can afford the “racisrt” tar brush, and others just want to Praise The Negro because he made the effort. Something like participation trophies for clumsy children.

    Neo in reply to puhiawa. | July 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I thought “X” was pretty good, except the ending.

    Just when Spike Lee could send a useful message, he did the predictable, the South African meme.
    I was really hoping he would push education.

“a plodding film with ill-placed, klutzy exposition and credibility-defying and/or colorless characters that are spokespersons for various predictable viewpoints.”

Interesting. This is exactly what the Hollywood moguls—Louis Mayer, Jack Warner, et al—were trying to avoid with the notorious Blacklist. When they became aware that the Communist Party of the US was not only infiltrating the Screen Writers Guild, but supplying very specific guidelines for turning movies—their movies—into plodding pro-Soviet propaganda, they reacted by simply refusing to hire any scriptwriters suspected of being part of the conspiracy. A simple solution, of no great cost; there were plenty of other screenwriters in Hollywood. The Screen Actors Guild was also suffering from Communist attack, but they weren’t so worried about the actors. The problem wasn’t Communism per se, but the fear that propaganda would be boring, and that paying audiences would stay away in droves.

The Blacklist was basically successful. The biggest movie the Commies managed to turn into nonstop propaganda was 1944’s Song of Russia, starring a definitely non-Communist Robert Taylor. And I suppose that one could be forgiven, what with the war and all. But the Moguls were right—it’s pretty dreadful wading.

    Tom Servo in reply to tom_swift. | July 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    You’re right about the Communists. Other than that, I think the most bizarrely political movie ever put out by Hollywood was 1933’s “Gabriel over the White House”, which is so blatantly pro-fascist that it is absolutely cringe-worthy to watch today.

    Mighty_WHrIGHTY in reply to tom_swift. | July 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    The proof of this is that even when these commies managed to work under a pseudonym the work they produced stunk.

    Obummer was terrible when he tried to be an entertainer.

    Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | July 23, 2018 at 4:35 am

    The Soviets’ orders to Trumbo, et al, were not to make pro-communist movies but to prevent anti-communist movies from being made. That was a lot easier, and pretty much a success even after the “Hollywood Ten” were exposed. Throughout the Cold War the number of anti-communist movies made can be counted on the fingers of one hand, even if you’re a toon. For a sense of how many ought to have been made without this interference, consider how many anti-nazi movies were made over the same period.

Three of my top-five all-time favorite movies were Reiner films – The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap and A Few Good Men. There was so much unvarnished joy in the first two films. And Princess Bride spawned all those great Christopher Guest films in the same joyful vein. You just knew that everyone involved in making them was having a blast, the time of their lives, with great entertainment the result. I consider A Few Good Men his best dramatic film, just really well-done & thoroughly enjoyable.

I have to conclude that Rob simply got too impressed with himself, not all that rare in Hollywood, mistaking his movie-making skills as evidence of political wisdom. He’s now just boiling with hateful anger and effing crazy and can’t make a decent movie no matter how hard he tries. Which is too bad, because when he was good he was really good.

    G. de La Hoya in reply to Daiwa. | July 21, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I didn’t realize until recently that Meathead was involved with “A Few Good Men”. I rank Jack Nicholson’s “You want me on that wall” scene as one of my favorites. Still blown away that Meathead had anything to do with it 🙂

      hrhdhd in reply to G. de La Hoya. | July 21, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Remember: Colonel Jessup was the villain.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to G. de La Hoya. | July 21, 2018 at 11:46 pm

      The screenplay was actually written by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the original Broadway play “A Few Good Men”. Sorkin also did the adaptation of the stage version for the screen. From what I gleaned from the Wikipedia item on it, Jessup was the villain from the very start. [I probably had you going for a minute there, thinking I actually knew something about movies, plays and that shit.]

      Not looking to defend Reiner but there appears to be little one can do with Sorkin’s character but let him be the villain. And if there was, I would expect Reiner to be the last person on earth to make the effort to make Jessup a hero.

      A friend of mine saw the play on stage and gave it a “must see” rating. None of those in his circle of friends at the time did so, but when the movie came out we saw it. My friend said the movie was very true to the story of the play.

      Reiner has lost his mojo. Good.

It’s akin to students in college who study journalism so they can “change the world.” Journalism isn’t, or shouldn’t be, about “changing the world.” Done properly, journalism is about reporting what happened, when, where, why, and by whom, as accurately and dispassionately as possible. Let those chips fall where they may. Do that, and you may help change the world.

Movie-making should be about depicting and otherwise telling good and entertaining stories that people of all ilk will line up pay to see. Putting anything else ahead of that is a recipe for failure.

Meathead, humbled by The Peter Principle.

Its last victim: hillary clinton.

Its next victim: that crazy-eyed cortez dummy out of NY.

boattailinjection | July 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm

So demented , the look on his face! The truth is no longer capable of setting him FREE. My heart celebrates his pain! Soon to be shared “liberally”by Progressive psychopaths the world over!

Liberal… You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Comanche Voter | July 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm

Meathead is the name of a role that Reiner played. It’s also descriptive of Reiner himself.

This is not merely an attempt to bring down Trump (and us) – it is an attempt to impose tyranny on all of us.

We’re dead if we let them succeed. Literally.

    Mighty_WHrIGHTY in reply to | July 21, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    You always have the most cogent comments. I know the people are paying attention and taking heed. Literally!

    “”We’re dead if we let them succeed. Literally.””

    There’s no way to stop them. They have the advantage of being able to get away with ignoring laws. We have the disadvantage of being inclined to obey them. The result is the Oath Keepers demonstration that wasn’t and the leftist counter-demonstration that was.

Look at the Star Wars controversy. SJW took the biggest money making franchise and put it into the dustbin of history.

LukeHandCool | July 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

The apolitical Japanese wife movie ranking test.

Just to show you how horribly and tediously predictable these types of films are:

Some time ago my Japanese wife was watching a movie on TV. She wasn’t that far in to the movie when I walked into the room and asked her how it was so far.

She said, “I can already tell the bad guys are either going to be the American military or American oil companies. But not the terrorists.”

I can’t remember which one it turned out to be, but she was right. And she didn’t like the movie. “Too predictable.”

But her best movie quote of all time:

We were watching Snow White with our daughter one day and she loved it.

When I told her it was made in 1934, before WWII, she was shocked, and said …

“No wonder we lost the war.”

Producers of a 5th rate piece of trash Liberal movie scored a rare coup by getting the hottest female star in Hollywood to sign on for the lead role in a Liberal Leftist film called something like Tug and Rub about a transitioning transvestite or something. The even more Leftist SJW’s shamed Scarlett Johansson into backing out because she’s not a transsexual (or whatever). The box office potential just went from $20,000,000 to about $50,000. Without the star power of Johansson, nobody will ever see this POS in the making which is exactly what should happen anyway.

It’s become entirely too easy to avoid crap like Reiner is putting out. I stopped going to theaters when my kids reached driving age and wanted to go with friends. Since 2010, when they begged me to take the whole family to Toy Story Three (which they had grown up on), I’ve seen four movies at a theater. Each time it was because of a sentimental attachment on of my now grown children had with the movie or director. Of the four, I enjoyed one, The Gunslinger (my childhood attachment to Stephen King books). After the last one, The of Water, I gave my son that likes the director a hard time about how limp the plot was. Then he got to laugh at me when it won ‘best picture.’ I smiled and told him I was really glad I didn’t see any of the ‘losers.’

“a movie about journalists, real ones, doing what they do best, pounding the pavement and searching for the truth?”

There’s the problem with poor Rob’s movie right there. You’re asking people to suspend way too much disbelief. Fantasy is one thing, but complete craziness is something else entirely.

    Max17 in reply to irv. | July 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Meathead should have had Dan Rather do a cameo. Just to remind everyone that ‘searching for the truth’ means ‘fake but accurate’ in today’s Democrat activist media.

G. de La Hoya | July 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Archie Bunker say: “ You are are a Meathead, dead from the neck, up!”. Amazing how truly Reiner is “Michael Stivic” in real life 🙂

I caught the beginning of a Kennedy Center honors show which showed a scene from “All in the Family” of the Meathead telling Archie that he was only tolerant of people who agreed with him.
Well, Meathead, you grew up to be Archie.

Anybody, ANYBODY, could have played “Meathead” and been successful with that cast.

    Daiwa in reply to MrE. | July 21, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    He was certainly the fourth fiddle in AITF, talent-wise. But he was stellar as Marty DiBergi.

Children, children, children … Sorry, the Princess Bride blew chunks. It’s hard to imagine a more insultingly superficial treatment of Goldman’s book; like pretending that Moby Dick is just some yarn about fishing, or Gulliver’s Travels is a kid’s story about midgets. No, Reiner’s a meathead; a meathead then, a meathead now, and a meathead he’ll stay.

    Daiwa in reply to tom_swift. | July 22, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Relax, Tom. Take the film at face value; a thoroughly enjoyable bit of entertainment, very well executed by (a then kinder, gentler) Meathead.

    The only film treatment of a book that wasn’t ‘insultingly superficial’ was the Masterpiece Theatre production of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Nothing else has ever come close; virtually nothing was left out. They did quite well with Smiley’s People, too.

      MajorWood in reply to Daiwa. | July 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Best adaptation ever was “Being There.” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was pretty close, but Benicio needed to be about 100 lbs heavier to really do the role justice. Depp was stellar!

      I strongly suggest any and all movies by John Sayles. One might not agree with them, but they are all extremely authentic. Matewan is a top-5 all-time for me.

      tom_swift in reply to Daiwa. | July 26, 2018 at 1:45 am

      But LeCarre has no depth at all, certainly nothing approaching Melville, Swift, or even Goldman. It’s all superficial (as in, lying on the surface, not as in negligible, which is more a matter of taste). His entire oeuvre, like Ian Fleming’s, consists of movie scripts thinly disguised as novels. Not that there’s anything wrong with that … but there’s more depth in Edwin Abbott’s Flatland.

    DaveGinOly in reply to tom_swift. | July 22, 2018 at 1:42 am

    I have friends who rave about “The Princess Bride.” I watched it and thought it only mildly entertaining. I wouldn’t consider it a great movie by any means. The only thing I remember from it are a line or two, and only because one hears them quoted now and then.

    n.n – loved your post with the take on “I don’t think it means what you think it means”!

I have a deal for Kim Jong Un. Before he gives up his nuclear program, he gets one free shot – he can nuke Hollywood.


By the way, why watch any movie or TV program at all if you are to the right of Che Guevara? Why pay money to those who want to exterminate you? It would be like someone who is black paying money to a film industry run by the KKK.

It sucks to have no popular culture of your own – I can’t even watch the cop-killing pieces of sh*t in the NFL anymore – but you learn to live without it.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 22, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Keep it up Meatheads.

This is how you get Millions More Trumps!

“A movie about real journalists telling the truth…”

Sorry Rolling Stone, you’re a few decades too late for that..