AN AMERICAN CAROL
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Kevin Farley,
Kelsey Grammer, Leslie Nielsen, Trace Adkins, Dennis Hopper, Robert Davi,
Geoffrey Arend, David Alan Grier, John Voight
Director: David Zucker
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
Features: See Review
Length: 83 Minute
Release Date: December 30, 2008
“No one wants to see Americans screwed by foreigners. Except in porn.”
I’ve never been much into conspiracy theories, but even my wheels were turning over the fate of An American Carol. Here was the latest comedy from David Zucker, a comedic filmmaker with decades of proven track record including Airplane, the film that topped the American Film Institute’s list of greatest comedies of all time…yet it could get no distribution. It never played in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve been trying for over a month to buy it, but I've never seen it in a store. I couldn’t even find it in stock at Amazon.
Zucker made many enemies in Hollywood by turning conservative, and it didn’t help that he decided to turn his latest project into a spoof of everything liberals hold dear. It was funny, filled with top named movie stars, and brimming with all the hijinks and hilarity Zucker is known for…but man, did the finished product ever get suppressed.
It stars Kevin Farley as Michael Malone, a documentary filmmaker who…looks and sounds awfully familiar. He uses his films and his faux celebrity in a crusade against America and everything she stands for, and his latest idea is to ban the Fourth of July. His nephew, who volunteered in the war on terror, is a bit of an embarrassment, but not as much as his career of late…people just aren’t listening the way they once did.
His hero is John F. Kennedy, but one night, Kennedy comes right out of old news footage to confront Malone and his every misguided ideal. And soon, Malone will be visited by three spirits, who will try and show him the error of his ways before jihadists use him to attack American soldiers in a thank-you country concert at Madison Square Garden!
General George S. Patton (Grammer) tries to explain that war, while never pleasant, sometimes is necessary…without it, slavery wouldn’t have ended, and the Nazis would have seized the world. George Washington (Voight) has a few sobering words about our country persevering in the face of the greatest threat she’s ever known. And the Angel of Death? Well, he never brings good news, does he?
This is a deliciously appropriate satire that holds a mirror up to higher education, Hollywood protesters, the peace movement, and of course, one particular ‘filmmaker’ who has become the embodiment of the Blame-America-First crowd. If he could ever learn the error of his ways, maybe there’s hope for all of us. Michael Malone gets his eyes opened, but I wouldn’t count on the other guy embracing the truth any time soon…there’s too much money to be made with concoctions of misguided fantasy.
Over the last eight years, there have been more anti-war, anti-troops and anti-American movies than any time in our history. They’ve all gotten big names behind them and big pushes by critics and studios, and they’ve all bombed. Sadly, so did An American Carol, but unlike the others, this one never got a fair shake. It was far too radical for the far left, and couldn’t be allowed to succeed.
I read some of the critics’ venom-drenched responses to the film, and now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m convinced that most of them never saw it at all, and simply wrote their reviews on the day they first heard of the movie and what it was about. When you have a bag of easily available and overused adjectives like “fascist” and “hatemongering”, it can protect you from ever having a rational, original or logical thought.
This is an extremely funny comedy that pulls no punches. No one ever said the left didn’t have the right to belittle our country, traditional values, religion and even our fighting men and women. All conservatives have ever asked is a chance to laugh right back at them. We’ve proven for years that we could take it...we had no choice. But it’s nice to dish it out every once in a while.
For a modestly budgeted movie, I was very pleased with the high definition transfer. From hot desert scenes to giant crowds in the streets, from the dust and smoke of battle to the concert stage, this Blu-ray renders scenes with plenty of detail and integrity, with good colors and only a smidgeon of grain here and there.
Much of the punch in the audio comes from the slapstick comedy, but there are crowd scenes and battle scenes as mentioned, and they add extra dynamic range to the proceedings. Not a lot of rear channel usage, but a few good country songs give it some punch. And you have to love a movie that starts with “Sweet Home Alabama”.
There is an entertaining commentary track from David Zucker along with co-writer Lewis Friedman and star Kevin Farley, 13 deleted or extended scenes (Gary Coleman’s are hysterical), and four trailers.
An American Carol is a fast, funny breath of fresh air. Conservatives will never have the last laugh. But we can get the best ones.