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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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The Lefty Hollywood Watch: Is 'Paul' really a Christian trashing film?

Simon_pegg The conservative right has its story and it's sticking to it: Any tax increase is a sign of Armageddon, teachers unions are out to destroy our educational system, Barack Obama is a Final Four-obsessed Socialist mandarin and, oh yeah, Hollywood is at war with conservative America's Christian values. That's the party line at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood website, which regularly sounds the alarm against every tiny perceived slight against the right in nearly every Hollywood movie.

It was Big Hollywood that led the charge against "Avatar," America's biggest box office hit,  claiming it was full of pro-environment and anti-military propaganda. John Nolte, the website's editor, even went after "The Blind Side," perhaps the most pro-conservative-values film to come out of Hollywood in years, focusing on one shot that coaxed a laugh out of a photo of George Bush on a post office wall.

Now Nolte is up in arms about "Paul," the zany new comedy from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the guys behind "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead," which he's calling a Christian-trashing film, saying he can't imagine why the "Hot Fuzz" crew "would choose to go out of their way to antagonize Christians with a $40 million investment on the line...I guess their bigotry just got the best of them." Even though he clearly hasn't seen the film himself, he pulls some quotes from a few reviews to support his claim that "Paul" is some kind of "left-wing, atheist polemic disguised as escapist comedy."

Actually, it's a comedy. And good comedy has to be allowed to take aim at anyone, from minorities and silly, self-important bozos to crass opportunists and blowhards of all shapes, colors, creeds and political stripes. With "Paul," Pegg and Frost decided to make fun of America's Comic-Con geekdom, so the film revolves around a pair of sci-fi nerds on an odyssey through our UFO heartland. They do have fun with a religious fundamentalist (played by the wonderful Kristin Wiig) living in a trailer park, but if you can't laugh at the sight of her wearing a T-shirt showing Jesus shooting Darwin, then you clearly have a humor deficiency.

Nolte has been crowing that "Paul" had a weak opening, since he believes that supports the party line at  Big Hollywood, which is convinced that Hollywood lefties are so eager to send ideological messages that they keep losing money on films that insult God-fearing Americans. Actually, Hollywood loses money on all sorts of movies all the time, but if Nolte really believes that Hollywood is driven by ideological, not profit, motives, someone should let him sit in on a couple of studio marketing meetings in which the marketing team is desperately trying to find ways to reach every sliver and slice of every demographic known to man.

In Hollywood, capitalism reigns supreme. They want the blue state audience and the red state audience and everyone in between. As for a comedy like "Paul," the Big Hollywood true believers should lighten up a little. Or take some advice from New York Post's Kyle Smith, a conservative who gave a big thumb's up to "Paul." Smith believes conservatives should try to be less paranoid about possible slights, saying, "Going to the movies with our offensiveness detectors set on hypersensitive is the liberal's favorite pastime, not mine." I couldn't agree more. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a nerdy sci-fi comedy is just a silly movie trying to make you laugh.    

-- Patrick Goldstein

Photo: "Paul" writer-actors Simon Pegg, left, and Nick Frost pose for a portrait earlier this month in New York City. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Comments () | Archives (28)

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Just goes to show the alien world Christians find themselves in, why they hate society so much, why they want so deeply to destroy our liberal freedoms, which pervade society so thoroughly, and since they can't convert it---where to start?!---can't wait for the world to end, either militaristically or rapturously, with poor perverted Jesus killing everyone who rejects his love (sounds like a great premise for another scifi flick drenched in blood).

They'll take either end, nukes gone wild or Jesus, in case the latter is bogus (faith can't be strong enough in this world so against it).

btw they've come up with another end-of-world date: May 23, 2011. The Raptcha! Can't WAIT for alla them to get off my planet. Praise the Tao!

The Jesus I know certainly doesn't need Breitbart's "help".

The so-called 'weak opening' of "Paul" doesn't mean a lot, since the film was made with an eye on foreign markets like England where the film opened ahead of the U.S. and did very well. The American release is more of an afterthought.

Hollywood takes great liberty in bashing any religion or culture - except the Jewish one. Has anyone ever seen a film ever --ever--bash, or even make light of Jews? Maybe its because Hollywood is run by Jews. Duh....

Note to the person calling himself "REASON."

You are a perfect example of someone who is educated and still can't write anything but gobbley gook. Look at your sentence structure. You don't even address my point, which is valid. All over pop culture, writers think they're being edgy and "with it" if they attack Christians. It's become a cliche. It's become cowardly. Being edgy means attacking a sacred cow and in our culture, it's not Christians. It's any other religion. When was the last movie that had Jewish caricatures, dude? How would you react, bro? You'd probably write some self-righteous goobly gook like you did here.

I don't have to know the individual writer's "beliefs" to spot a cliche.
Go back to school and learn something, "REASON."
Is that an ironic handle given your inability to write coherently?

I guess, Verbalocity, you never saw any film by Mel Brooks. Every one makes fun of Jews. Or Monty Python's Life of Brian. Ever see films by Woody Allen? How about TV? One of the first big hits, The Goldbergs, ran on TV for seven years after making fun of Jews on the radio for seventeen years. How about The Nanny? Cheers made fun of a Bris. And how about Seinfeld?

The list of Jews being made fun of and making fun of themselves is incredibly long. Sometimes anti-Semitism can cloud one's vision of reality.

Why is it that these films always make "fun" at Christians but never Jews?

Hey Donald Michael King,
There's a difference between laughing WITH Jews and laughing AT them. One is playful poking, the other is vicious, politically motivated "satire."
The culture today laughs at Christians, not with them.
Plus, all those people you mentioned were funny.

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