There is arguably a lack of good conservative film making.* I think we can all agree on this. Most films are at best apolitical and lack any kind of values, conservative or liberal, and thus leave you feeling hollow. And most of the values pushed by films are either liberal, or at best a bad mishmash of conservative and liberals values (trying to give everyone something but in the end pleasing no one). And then there are the “conservative” films that have all the subtly of an Ayn Rand speech and beat you over the head so ineptly with a trite and base understanding of conservatism you can’t possibly enjoy it (also these films tend to conflate “conservative” with Christianity, ignoring that faith from just about any sane religion works in perfect conjunction with conservative values.)
Now this can be easily solved.
Instead of seeking to make “conservative” movies, conservatives should seek to make good movies. When you make good movies, you inevitably have to follow the core conservative values. Maybe in the 3rd or 4th draft of the script or in the editing room you can seek to put a conservative spin where possible, but the core principle should be to create good movies (something Hollywood has clearly given up on) and the rest should fall from there.
However, since so many on our side can be so limited in ideas I will suggest the following 10 films be made by conservatives. They can easily be made to have a conservative leaning without becoming a preaching low budget films.
- The Legend of Zelda. Honestly how do we not have this movie already? You would have a line that would rival a Star Wars opening if you made this into a movie. And it’s not like there is a lack of plot to work with—so long as we avoid that Wind Waker silliness—the franchise is just ripe with any of these stories, which already have a cinematic quality, being made into a film. The conservative nature almost rights itself as good versus evil always lends itself to a conservative outlook on life—you know the one we actually choose to use our brains and judge things as right and wrong, good and bad, better or worse. It is also a conservative view that while such virtue as Courage and Wisdom are admirable it is only when they are kept in balance with things like Power that civilization prospers (a very conservative principle in looking for the balance of virtue rather than any extreme).
(yes this was a hoax…but I think it shows how much we all want this).
- A Wrinkle In Time (and sequels). You know with books for young adults being all the rage for
movies, maybe we could, oh I don’t know, go back to a time when young adult books weren’t written by hacks, when books had plots, and depth, and characters I don’t want to strangle. For those who don’t know A Wrinkle in Time is a sci-fi/fantasy series that pits a young woman against the forces of evil and instead of silly magic or overblown actions sequences it is merely her intelligence and faith that defeat the numerous villains that she faces…or we could have another movie about glitter powered vampires fighting an unbelievable totalitarian state headed by an evil wizard (am I mixing up movies? They’re all so forgettable at this point who could blame me). Wrinkle is one of these books conservatives should want young adults reading, and by now we should have learned that making a movie is the best way to introduce people to a book.
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. Now while I would also like to see some other Heinlein books made into a movie (Stranger in a Strange Land, or maybe a version of Starship Troopers where someone actually bothers to read the book), when it comes to tales of people rebelling against a corrupt government there are few tales as wonderful as The Moon is a Harsh Mistress…why because the story is more or less what would happen if the American Revolution were to happen again…but this time with settlers on the moon rebelling against the tyranny of governments on Earth and not just the mother country of England. The story is not too subtle in its call for limited government, liberty and right to rebel against oppressive, over intrusive government. But neither is it shallow and ignores the dangers and costs of fighting such a government. Intelligent, relevant and strikingly realistic the story would make an excellent film if it was followed faithfully.
- The Lost Symbol. Wait? This is a sequel to the Da Vinci Code, aren’t we getting this movie? Nope. They’re skipping straight to the 4th book in the series Inferno (note Inferno is without question the worst book Dan Brown has ever written. Ever. Think about what that says and how low a standard we’re starting from…the villain wins by the way, there I saved you the time of having to read it). So why is Hollywood skipping this book? Oh maybe because the book deals with the history of the nation, the Free Masons and a healthy dose of patriotism (yeah it’s kind of National Treasure, but everyone loved National Treasure)…and the book also deals with scientific proof of the soul. Patriotism and spirituality…can’t imagine why Hollywood skipped on this one; it almost would make you think they hate America and spiritual truths…
- Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. Granted it might seem odd that such a political idiotic man such as King would write a book conservatives should love…but when you put out as much work with so little effort as King does, the monkeys with typewriters theory applies and every so often something conservative pops out despite his best effort (besides he deals so much in good versus evil as a theme, which is a theme that has nothing to do with the relativist ideals of liberalism, that a lot of it will seem conservative by comparison). For those who don’t know, Eyes of the Dragon, is a high fantasy novel in the vein of Lord of the Rings. Kings, evil wizards, murder, conspiracy and revolt against a corrupt government. While the source material isn’t overtly political, the virtues of the heroes (honor, truth, justice, patriotism, ingenuity) and the vices of the villains (envy, class warfare, abuse of power) are more important that people learn than any specific political message.
- A Tale of Two Cities, okay we’ve already had this movie…but we’ve never had a good version done for the big screen (classic film buffs, I love old movies, probably more than you do, but you have to admit there is no good version of A Tale of Two Cities…there’s a bunch of melodramatic and overacted versions, but no good ones). People should be exposed to seeing what happens when liberals take control of a nation (because everyone seemed to miss that Dark Knight Rises was just A Tale of Two Cities, time to be a bit more blunt). There is something inherently familiar with the first lady of the revolution Madame DeFarge…vile, vindiction and clearly never proud of her nation until it turned to madness and evil.
- I, Claudius. You remember how fun HBO’s Rome was? Well let’s just continue the story when it gets really interesting with enough backstabbing and political machinations to make Game of Thrones look tame. And even better is that this story was originally not just about power grabs but about the conflict between the desire for tyranny and order versus republican government and liberty. Yes there was a good version done by the BBC in the 70’s …but it was done with a budget of a high school production and could be so much better with a believable setting.
- The Walking Drum, another great novel that has yet to ever to be made into a story. A sweeping historical fiction that shows the flaws of religious fanaticism and the need for individualism and free trade no matter what the century.
- Watership Down. A tale of heroic democratically-republican rabbits against evil Nazi bunnies. No seriously, that’s what the story is about. There’s a really bad cartoon from the 1970’s but with modern CGI the movie could actually be tolerable.
- Cyrano de Bergerac. Another great movie done badly. Jose Ferrer did an Academy Award winning version of this back in the day…and while I doubt anyone could out do his skill in the role, the fact is that the rest of his cast was terrible (sci-fi movie of the week terrible). So why do we need a remake of this film with a competent cast? Because this is the ideal
libertarian/conservative life. A man who pushes himself to excel in everything he does and who holds to principle and honor even when not doing so would benefit him greatly. Cyrano is the kind of hero more people need to hold as a personal model, a man who believes in things because he has reached his conclusions on his own, to hell with the crowd and the popular people who promise him things–he goes his own way no matter how tempting the handouts and entitlements
Oh, and as an added bonus, how about we make the following movies: Dune, Bourne Identity, The Stand, Atlas Shrugged…but you know, maybe actually reading the books first.
Now would making these 10 films boost the ranks and power of conservatism? Of course not. But they would make going to see movies a lot more enjoyable for most of us, and if it causes some people to seek these books that most of these are based on, great. And if those books cause people to think, even better. There is no downside to making these movies…Hollywood please. Give me something decent to watch.
And on a final note there are two nonfiction books I would like to see a very talented director use as a basis for a documentary…and I say very talented because neither lends itself well to the already difficult genre of the documentary…but the books Arthur Herman’s The Cave and Light which follows the battle between Plato and Aristotle throughout the ages (still being fought, hint we conservatives are fighting Aristotle’s cause) and Asquith’s Shawdowplay which shows that the works of Shakespeare were actually calls for liberty and religious freedom from an oppressive government (it would be nice to take Shakespeare back from the snobbish intellectuals who don’t fully understand his genius).
Runner up suggestions: Anthem, State of Fear, The Wave.
*there are good conservative films but they are certainly not the majority of films that come under that heading…and most of the ones that are good were never intended to be conservative films.