The American people spent a record-breaking $90.2 million seeing Clint Eastwood's Iraq War biopic "American Sniper" this weekend, and at least some of those people have taken to Twitter to fire back at the film's dissenters. And by dissenters, we mainly mean the liberal documentarian Michael Moore, but also a little bit Seth Rogen.
The controversy started on Sunday (January 18), when Moore sent out a series of Tweets about his own family's experience with a sniper, which he later claimed was not directly connected to "American Sniper" itself:
On Monday Moore clarified his statements in a longer Facebook post, saying that many outlets twisted his words, but still reiterating his family belief that "snipers are cowards." He also praised the film's acting and marketing campaign, but said it's "too bad Clint gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling. And that he has his characters calling Iraqis 'savages' throughout the film."
He ended with a doozy of a closer about Martin Luther King, Jr., saying "I think most Americans don't think snipers are heroes. Hopefully not on this weekend when we remember that man in Memphis, Tennessee, who was killed by a sniper's bullet."
Well, if Twitter can be used as an indicator, then Moore was dead wrong -- the American people definitely think that the subject of "American Sniper," Chris Kyle, was a hero. Some users (see here, here and here) jumped to Moore's defense, but the "Michael Moore" hashtag that trended throughout the day on Monday mostly leads to accusations of cowardice and, depressingly, fat jokes.
Heck, even Newt Gingrich joined in on the fun:
All jabs at snipers and overweight people aside, Rogen's tweet about "Sniper" seemed to better encapsulate what many of the film's less extreme dissenters have said about the film -- that it serves as a propaganda piece for the War on Terror:
Rogen is referring to "Nation's Pride," the jingoistic Nazi film-within-a-film from Quentin Tarantino's "Basterds." And indeed, some Twitter users have taken "Sniper" as a call-to-arms, posting disturbing Islamophobic sentiment against the people referred to as "savages" in the notoriously right wing Eastwood's film:
Additionally, "Sniper" has been criticized for leaving out the startling lies that Kyle, who suffered from PTSD, told in the memoir that inspired the movie. In addition to writing that he hated the "damn savages" and "couldn’t give a flying f--- about the Iraqis," he also bragged about killing Hurricane Katrina looters, and included anecdotes about killing two carjackers in Texas and punching Jesse Ventura in the face.
All of these anecdotes were later proven to be untrue, which is why the film's dissenters do have a leg to stand on when they criticize Eastwood's work. However, the $90 million and counting at the box office proves that "Sniper" and other, biographical war pics just like it aren't going out of favor anytime soon -- even if some of their subject matter proves to be controversial. Let's just hope that the conversation surrounding these films evolves past blanket statements about soldiers and donut jokes about fat people.