It’s so rare to see a movie, a true box-office smash, so relevant, so timely, that we can literally see life mimicking art outside the multiplex.
Such is the timeliness of "Lincoln."
How could Steven Spielberg have known that when his Civil War biopic came out, talk of secession would be following the Election Day victory of a once-embattled president?
Or is this secession stuff just one more publicity stunt for Twentieth Century Fox?
The parallels? Oh, my. Abe Lincoln risks his presidency freeing the slaves. Barack Obama does the same for working-poor Americans by addressing an accepted byproduct of economic slavery: life without health insurance. And what happens? To hear scattered red-state barkers who wish for it: civil war.
Well, that’s not going to happen, in part because even the reddest states aren’t that deranged. Their governors, lawmakers and attorneys general will hold their breaths (careful not to turn blue, guys) in protest of the Affordable Care Act. But like a certain rebel army that ultimately swapped swords for plowshares, they are on history’s losing side.
Thinking of the spooky timeliness of Spielberg’s masterpiece causes me to think this as well:
What in Beelzebub’s name possessed anyone to bring to theaters this week a 21st Century remake of 1984’s iconic Commie-baiting "Red Dawn"?
This economy couldn’t be too horrific if a studio will throw good money after such a bad idea.
I have to point out that the name of the studio is Contrafilm. If you were cognizant of U.S. affairs in 1984, you appreciate the irony.
You see, it was the Soviet-suckled Commies in Nicaragua we were supposed to fear back then, just an economy flight from our southern reaches, they were. The freedom-loving Contra rebels we were supposed to support, even illegally, under Team Reagan.
Today? The Soviet empire is deader than Gen. Augusto Pinochet. So — the just-released "Red Dawn" conjures an invasion by North Korea.
I don’t know about you, but the mere thought sends me up into the attic to fish out that ’80s model Stinger missile I thought I’d never need again. I’ll also have to take my camo jump suit to the tailor to let the waistline out a few inches.
If the makers of this movie were really attentive to today’s headlines they could come up with something that, like "Lincoln," rings true to what’s happening across the land. Contrafilm blew it. But I have a screen concept. All I need is a similarly hard-up-for-a-holiday-hit studio to produce the remake of the 1984 hyper-Republican farce (I know they meant it as a drama).
And so, drum roll, trumpets . . .
“Flotsam Films (in cooperation with Fox News) presents:
“The year: 2013 — morning in New Real America. The people, having headed to the fields after state-sponsored group devotionals, scan the skies. Having seceded from the United States after an oppressive regime refused to relinquish the presidency, they have struck out on their own to reconstruct paradise.
“Suddenly the skies are filled with airplanes, parachutes, and men in suits.
” ‘Actuaries incoming,’ echoes the battle cry, ‘Get your handguns.’
“New Real Americans’ worst nightmare unfolds right before their eyes. Washington has sent in insurance experts to set up a means of chaining God-fearing freedom lovers to what they want least: affordable health coverage that allows them to choose their own providers.
“Word has circulated for weeks that the feds will invade to set up health insurance exchanges and begin brainwashing uninsured New Real Americans with crazy ideas about preventive health care, well-child checkups, inoculations, and more.
“But, well-armed, and with God on their side, the New Real Americans have just begun to fight . . .”
Like I said, I’ve scanned the movie listings and today’s headlines, and this can’t miss. If not direct to DVD, at least it will make it big in regional distribution.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.