Coming to theaters this Fall, moviegoers get to choose between two radically different, yet equally psychotic views of the United States. Culturally and artistically speaking, all I can say is that catering to the lowest common denominator has never cost quite so much.
For the completely illiterate, there’s the remake of Red Dawn, a film even dumber in 2012 than it was in 1984.
The premise: A foreign army invades the United States, and it falls to a handful of heavily armed and extraordinarily attractive American teenagers to protect the homeland.
The stupid: The invaders are the North Koreans, a nation that lacks adequate food, fuel, ammunition, money, allies, or military experience to launch an effective assault on a small troop of nearsighted Cub Scouts.
The amazingly stupid: When filmed, the invaders were actually the Chinese, but someone in marketing figured out that insulting millions of potential movie viewers was a faux pas. So the entire film was digitally altered to change flags, insignia, etc. to North Korean. I really wish I knew which Asian shop did the digital fixing.
The prediction: Not only will this film stoke a lot of jingoistic chest-thumping and be quoted by chicken-hawk conservatives, it will also send hundreds of unqualified slouches to military recruiters who have to explain why they can’t be in Special Forces without an education.
Atlas Shrugged II
For the semi-literate, there’s Part II of the never-before-produced-and-for-good-reason adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.
The premise: Communist-ish ideas invade the United States, and it is up to a handful of very talented and extraordinarily attractive middle-aged Americans to protect what belongs to them.
The stupid: This sexless commercial for libertarianism isn’t even a true-to-spirit adaptation of the tedious comic book on which it is based.
The really stupid: The film’s producers want to run its trailers ahead of a new Clint Eastwood movie in order to court every single one of 327 people who thought his performance at the RNC wasn’t a cringing embarrassment.
The prediction: General audiences will be at least as wowed by Atlas Shrugged Part II as they were by Atlas Shrugged Part I.