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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Sly Stallone's 'The Expendables': Why has the movie split the conservative movement?

Sly_stallone I guess if conservatives can't agree on really important things in life, like whether Israel should bomb Iran or not, then it should come as no surprise that they can't agree on whether "The Expendables" is a good movie, much less whether it's actually devoutly patriotic or anti-American. Film critics, for example, have pretty much all decided that the Sly Stallone over-the-hill gang action picture was a lousy movie with a great marketing campaign. But in the conservative blogosphere, a heated debate has arisen over the film's relative merits. As a liberal, I think this is a good thing, since liberals can never agree on anything, so it's reassuring to see our conservative brethren in a similar situation. 

New York Post blogger-critic Kyle Smith, who is unusually pragmatic about most ideological matters, is in the lousy movie camp, writing that while "The Expendables" is clearly a hit, "let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it’s a good movie, shall we? I wanted it to be good too. I have no problem with manly derring-do.  And no, it’s not 'so bad it’s good.' It’s just bad."

But Big Hollywood's John Nolte, who sees pretty much everything in strictly black and white terms, seems to think "The Expendables" might be the most stirring, patriotic film to come out of Hollywood since John Wayne's "The Green Berets." Nolte went to great lengths to bash my colleague Steven Zeitchik, whom he called a "cultural enforcer" for gently making fun of the film's old-school take-no-prisoners patriotism. For Nolte, the film "is a much more impressive achievement than the likes of the flood of 'Syrianas' that have bombing one after another at the box office over the past few years."

But over at Libertas Film Magazine, my pal Jason Apuzzo has a completely different point of view, finding "The Expendables" entirely wanting, especially when compared with Angelina Jolie's "Salt." As he put it, "The Expendables" features "a nasty, anti-CIA plotline featuring Eric Roberts as an ex-CIA drugrunner who waterboards women; Jolie's film paints a much more flattering picture of the CIA and our intelligence services in general, besides being completely pro-American." 

I guess the tie-breaker here would be knowing what Bill O'Reilly thought of the film, but so far I can't find any evidence of him weighing in on the subject. Until Papa Bear makes his views known, let's just say that it's reassuring to know that when it comes to Sly Stallone movies, conservatives are displaying a healthy diversity of opinion,

Photo: Sylvester Stallone at a screening of "The Expendables" last week in Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (14)

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You are a retard, Salt was crap and Expendables is perfect, I went and saw it twice today. And not just conservatives like it. Everybody does.

But Sly has ALWAYS been a 'take-no-prisoners' kinda guy in his films. That's what makes him so.....SLY! So why is this movie a surprise in the plot-line?!?

I think the problem with the movie is that people actually view it as a political commentary.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with a man when he can't enjoy an insane action movie?

Be careful with your insults about intelligence, Will. The article clearly quoted the writer Jason Apuzzo suggesting "Expendables" was lacking compared to "Salt". The author himself offered no opinion of his own.

Perhaps if your reading skills were better you might have picked up on that.

I sense a homoerotic motive in Will's defense of "The Expendables" - muscular men being physical with each other.

I also sense that Will hates himself for having certain desires. Perhaps once Prop 8 is overturned, he will be free to love as he wishes.

Good luck, Will.

What you pencil neck film critics forget is that this movie teaches us all the most important lesson in life: settle your differences by blowing up, stabbing, burning and riddling with bullets those that disagree with you. Oh, and the other lesson, which is if you see any large vehicle filled with stuff and people, blow it up with a missile. You critics should take this to heart and work out your differences over a huge cache of weapons, stinger missiles, flame throwers and C-4 at lunch. The last man standing is right.

Why in the name of God does this have to be a Conservative or Liberal thing? It's an escape from the bad economy and from the reality of our lives. That's what movies are, they aren't political statements, they're entertainment. Let idiots like michael moore make movies that are supposed to make a statement.

Just let the rest of us enjoy our movies without ridiculous political undertones, because it's nothing more than an action movie with tons of explosions and that's all I'm interested in.

I seriously can't believe the comments I've been reading, they're worse than youtube comments. Seriously, since when is someone being a homosexual an insult? It's 2010 so stop being a redneck punching the keyboard buttons with your fists. If this movie has any political motives it is to speak out against the United States's motives and actions during the Cold War where there really were many puppet states that the U.S. just backed because it was favorable to the Socialism that would've developed if the other leader was allowed to be in power.

What's up with the conservative versus liberal commentary? Let me tell you, conservatives think independently more than liberals do. Your post is so trite.

As a conservative, "The Expendables" isn't worth my dime, nor is "Salt". These movies are throwaways. This movie is supposed to attract the young male demographic, not touchie-feelie females. The fact that males are largely conservatives is besides the point.

If you like action movies it was great. If you don't then obviously it wasn't. Could have been longer and wasn't perfect but overall it was awesome. Who cares what critics say, that is why they are critics, they sit on a couch and critique they don't go to the gym. Gy Sly can't wait to see another, please don't retire until then!!!!

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