UPDATE, AUGUST 28, 2012:
The Goddess opines on our “Movie Star” President over at the Temple! Check it out, she is always worth the time spent!!
UPDATE, AUGUST 25, 2012:
As of Friday 8/24/12, 2016 Obama’s America went into wider release around America today and is opening right now in first place at the domestic box office. That’s quite a feat since the Rocky Mountain Pictures political documentary is still playing in only 1,090 North American theaters – or about 1/3 as many theaters as actioner The Expendables 2 (3,355 theaters). Both online ticket-sellers Fandango and MovieTickets.com showed advance buying for 2016 Obama’s America were accounting for 35% to 28% respectively before this weekend. It’s the #2 biggest indie documenatry of the year behind only The Weinstein Company’s Bully ($3.2 million) and already the #12 political documentary of all time. It will rise a lot higher in the rankings after this weekend!
To read full article at Deadline Hollywood, go here.
Continue on for my review of 2012: OBAMA’S AMERICA, below:
Film Review: 2012: Obama’s America
Dinesh D’Souza is a very smart and accomplished man. President of The King’s College in New York City, the Mumbai-born and Dartmouth educated Phi Beta Kapa has authored 15 books; most recently “2012: Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream“.
Now he has added “filmmaker” to his resume, teaming-up with Gerald Molen (whose previous credits include “Schindler’s List”, “Jurassic Park” and “Rain Man”) to bring this book’s message to the screen.
2016: Obama’s America is a compelling and courageous film. It does what the mainstream press has been afraid or uninterested in doing: it vetts Obama; revealing the man behind the self-created myth.
I had a chance to screen the film last week. No fan of the President’s, I entered the theater expecting to agree with Mr. D’ Sousa’s underlying thesis. What I didn’t expect was to be impressed with the quality of this film; nor to be so fascinated as the film takes the audience around the world, tracing both the President’s and his father’s footsteps to interview people who knew both; and can help to explain the enigma that is this, our 44th President.
In 2016: Obama’s America the filmmaker attempts to illuminate just what it is that motivates Barack Obama. “Love him or hate him, you don’t really know him”; that is the underlying premise here, and it is Dinesh D’Sousa’s challenge and motivation in making this film to finally vett the President.
Obama is, arguably, the least examined figure to ever occupy the White House. Delighted to be able to vote for an apparently bright, likable and seemingly capable African-American candidate, the media (and the country in general) mostly gave Obama a pass in 2008. His past was glossed-over by most media outlets; and attempts to link the candidate to the truly unpalatable people or stated opinions in his past were summarily dismissed.
If, as Shakespear said, past is prologue, how much do we really know about Obama’s past? Who were the men who mentored and shaped him as he grew to manhood? What was he like in his youth and in college? What is his deeply held core beliefs? What are the influences that now drive him? Most Americans are ignorant as to the answers to these basic questions about our President.
D’Sousa attempts to remedy this; and what he reveals is deeply disturbing.
We see Obama as a young man who grew up worshipping the iconic image of an absentee father. This father was himself a tormented activist and intellectual; a man formed in the post-WWII ferment of colonial Africa. Who deeply despised the British Colonialists (something D’Sousa relates well to, having grown-up with an Indian grandfather who distrusted not just the British but “whites” in general!).
Obama’s mother was an odd-ball child of the 60s; whose left-of-center worldview complimented that of her Kenyan husband. Even after he deserted her and their son, she continued to revere the senior Barack Obama. She created for her son a mythic role model; the image of a champion fighting against the fundamental unfairness and oppression of the established, colonial order.
Growing-up, “Barry” was surrounded by anti-American/anti-Colonial influences. In his own words (all the more convincing coming from Obama’s reading from the audio version of his book, “Dreams From My Father“) he chose his friends carefully: all people of the “left”, all on the fringe of the American mainstream, many communists and/or downright anarchists!
One figure who looms large in Obama’s youth was his mentor, Frank Marshal Davis.
Davis was a member of the American Communist Party (yes, an actual card-carrying member!). He published various communist pamphlets and magazines; and, ultimately, the Chicago Star, a communist-front weekly. During the dark days of the Cold War, when America was engaged in a battle to the death with world-wide communism, Davis was considered so dangerous that the FBI had him on a list of suspected Soviet agents; who were to be arrested and taken into custody immediately should America go to war against the Soviet Union!
Seeking a mentor for his grandson, Obama’s grandfather introduced Davis to Barack. Understanding how controversial his connection with Davis might be, Obama never names him fully in his memoirs; only calling him “Frank”. Thus identified, Frank Marshal Davis is the mentor Obama mentions dozens of times in Dreams From My Father; far more than any other character from his formative years.
Davis is not the only person Obama was deeply associated with whose opinions are far outside the American mainstream. These are identified in the film and are numerous.
While in college, Obama’s Kenyan half-sister came to visit her brother. The father she knew in Kenya bore no resemblance to the hero of Obama’s imagination. Barack Obama Senior was an abusive, philandering alcoholic. Her revelation shook “Barry” to his core. His journey to Kenya in later years was an effort to reconcile the unpleasant truths about their father as his sister had recounted them with the portrait of the brave intellectual standing against colonial oppression painted by his mother. The epiphany he had while crying over his father’s grave was this: that he, Barack Obama Junior would become the man his mother had described his father as being, but never was. That he would adopt the “dreams from his father” and become the anti-colonial champion, an agent of change in a fundamentally unfair world.
That is what is at the heart of this movie and D’Souza’s thesis: That Barack Obama cannot be understood through the usual prism of left/right politics; nor that of Democrat party politics. He is unlike any politician to be elected to high office in America before, in this respect: he was not raised to see an America that is, as Reagan saw it, a “shining city on a hill”. Nor the last great hope for mankind, as Lincoln described it.
Barack Obama sees America as part of the system of colonial oppression that has looted the Third World of its wealth and resources. That has used this stolen wealth to build the prosperous lifestyles we enjoy in the Europe and America; leaving Africa and much of the rest of the world surviving off the crumbs from our table.
What comes across in the film is a man on a mission.
When Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally transform” America; to spread the wealth around (as he candidly told “Joe the Plumber”) he didn’t merely mean making America a more fair society for Americans. He meant to make the world a more fair place by redistributing some of America’s vast (and, to his mind, unfair) wealth to the rest of the world. To restore to the Third World some of the wealth and power colonialism stole from it. To “downsize” America; transforming it from neo-colonial “bully” to just one of many other nations sharing power more-or-less equally.
D’Sousa makes the case strongly.
How else, he asks, do we explain the inexplicable decisions made by this President? Such as closing down domestic oil production off of our shore; while encouraging and subsidizing (to the tune of $2 billion) oil drilling by Brazil and Peru off of their shores, and promising to be “their best customer”? Why else would he seek to cut over a trillion dollars from the defense budget; at a time when our ships, planes, and equipment are aging and in deep need of replacement and overhaul? (Our pilots are flying bombers as old or older than their grandfathers!) Why would he turn NASA’s prime mission from space exploration to one of Muslim “outreach”?!
What also comes across in the film is the distance Obama has maintained between himself and his own brother in Kenya.
George Obama lives in abject poverty. Despite being a compassionate “progressive”, who in speeches tells us “we are all our brother’s keeper”; the President has seemingly little compassion for his own brother.
D’Sousa interviews George Obama in the film. The President’s half-brother (their father had several wives) comes across as a man of dignity and reason.
Obama has only met his brother once. Despite spending weeks in Kenya before becoming President, Obama only spared a few brief minutes to meet George. Since then, he has done nothing to ameliorate his brother’s impoverished condition. (To his credit, George Obama doesn’t expect brother Barack to help him financially: “I am a grown man, not one of his children”.)
Embarrassingly for the President, the point was driven home recently when George Obama’s son was in need of medical care beyond his ability to pay. Did he reach out to the boy’s uncle, millionaire and President of the United States Barack?
George Obama reached out to the filmmaker, Dinesh D’Sousa! After verifying the truth behind George’s request, D’Sousa sent George $1,000 through Western Union.
For this, George was profusely grateful. When asked by Dinesh why he had reached out to him, George Obama replied, “I have no one else to ask.” Then he said something that astonished D’Sousa:
“Dinesh, you are like a brother to me.”
Apparently, in Obama’s world, we are only all our brother’s keeper when it comes to paying taxes; not when it comes to actual family!
The film’s title contains within a question: What is Obama’s plan for America?
D’Sousa asks why does Obama seem bent upon “downsizing” America and her role in the world; and what will America look like at the end of another Obama term?
The film addresses these questions in a logical, compelling and overall convincing fashion. They are questions worth asking, and in need of answering.
2016: Obama’s America does both. It deserves to be seen by every American, before they make up their minds about who to cast a ballot for in November.
Post Note: Lonely Conservative points out that 2016: Obama’s America has a higher per/theater earnings than either the latest Batman or Borne films!