The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Paging Obama supporters: What's your favorite liberal movie?

September 19, 2008 | 11:24 am

HaggisCall me crazy, call me irresponsible, call me just darned contrarian, but I'm a lefty who loves to read right-wing blogs. One of my favorites, Dirty Harry's Place, which is run by the screenwriter John Nolte, is the place to go if you want to read the strict conservative constructionist take on why Hollywood liberals are such dim bulbs and phonies. Hardly a week goes by without Dirty Harry taking a nasty shot at what he views as the American-hating excesses of Paul Haggis, Tim Robbins, Barack Obama, anyone involved with Steven Soderbergh's "Che" and -- did I already mention Paul Haggis? I rarely agree with DH's politics, but he writes with such verve and has such an unabashed love of movies that I'm willing to let most of his Sean Hannity-style rants pass.

But today Dirty Harry has something more fun going on. He's asking his readers to vote for their favorite liberal Hollywood film. When I visited the site this morning, "Dr. Strangelove" was winning, with 55 votes; "Apocalypse Now" was in 2nd place with 42 votes; "Planet of the Apes" (I'm assuming since DH is such a traditionalist that we're talking about the 1968 Charleton Heston version) was in 3rd place with 36 votes; "Full Metal Jacket" was 4th with 28 votes and "RoboCop" was 5th with 25 votes (I guess you have to be a real conservative to see "RoboCop" as a liberal movie).

But why should all of Dirty Harry's conservative readers have all the fun? Or unfairly ignore some worthy die-hard liberal entries? I think everyone should head over to Dirty Harry's Place and put some free-thinking cinematic energy into the voting. There are plenty of worthy candidates on his list, including (hint, hint) "MASH," "Three Days of the Condor" and "Thelma & Louise," a movie you'd never expect to see screened in the Alaska governor's mansion. There are also a host of liberal do-gooder films that are faring badly, with hardly any of Dirty Harry's fans voting for "Norma Rae" (no one likes a pushy union activist), "A Civil Action" (big corporations never knowingly poison the populace) and "Missing" (foreign dictators shouldn't be punished for any totalitarian excess). Needless to say, "Reds," Warren Beatty's admiring portrait of John Reed's involvement in the Russian Revolution, isn't faring so well either.

So get over there and vote. It's good practice for that "other" election coming up soon.   

Photo of Paul Haggis by Claudio Onorati/EPA.