Kevin Farley insists that his new movie, “An American Carol,” is “not as controversial as people want to make it out to be.” Not controversial, he says, because the viewpoints exposed in the film — a right-wing polemic written and directed by spoof-comedy legend David Zucker, in which Farley stars as the Michael Moore-ish filmmaker Michael Malone — are more common and widespread than most people realize.
But what exactly are those viewpoints? To hear some dismissive reporters and early viewers tell it, it’s that dissent can be unpatriotic, that Moore and, really, by extension, Democrats, are sometimes bad Americans and that criticism of the government during wartime will only embolden our enemies.
As proof, most early reviews point to a scene in which the ghost of George Washington (played by Jon Voight) takes Malone to the ruins of the World Trade Center at Ground Zero to lecture him on the freedom of speech, “which you abuse,” Washington tells him. When Malone fires back that he’s just making movies, Washington wonders, “Is that what you plan to say on Judgment Day?”
Is the movie really saying that freedom of speech can be abused? That there’s some connection between that and the attacks of 9/11?
No, not at all — although kinda, Farley hedged.
“It’s a point in the movie where it’s like the end of ’A Christmas Story,’ where it always gets really serious with the angel of death. So we have Jon Voight, who says freedom of speech is something we should not abuse. We really try to drive the point home. It’s a pretty heavy-handed scene,” Farley said, explaining why they have the scene at the WTC site. “[That location was chosen] because basically it had the biggest impact. We wanted to have a big impact about the points of the movie.
“Before 9/11, [David Zucker] was a Democrat, and I think that he switched over after 9/11 because of how he felt they viewed it,” Farley continued. “Rather than saying, ’We caused 9/11,’ Republicans are saying, ’How can we prevent 9/11 from happening again?’ So I think [that scene] is about supporting the troops and supporting their mission. We make a clear point we are supporting [both]. We too often make a distinction between supporting the troops and supporting what they are doing. [The film says] that appeasement leads to more wars. We should celebrate our troops and their mission.
“There’s been a lot of movies that have come out of Hollywood that haven’t said that,” he said. “And we are the first ones that do.”
“An American Carol” opened Friday (October 3).
Check out everything we’ve got on “An American Carol.”
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