Plus, The 50 best books of the 20th century, the case to bring back single-sex spaces, and Wordsworth on the power of habit
7 Must-See Politically Incorrect Films
So your local googolplex is showing only Ice Age XXII and Jackass in 5D. Time to invite over those friends with whom you do nothing but culture war for some streaming over Huluflix. Make sure your choice of film guarantees some “interesting” discussions after the credits. A few suggestions:
Starship Troopers (1997)
In the future, Earth is an imperial war machine colonizing planets throughout the galaxy. To make matters more interesting, citizenship is not a right but a privilege earned—most often in battle, by men and women. The more scars, the more opportunities for advancement. Perfect for that friend who thought Fahrenheit 9/11 was a documentary.
On the surface, this live-action comic book depicts with great solemnity the birth of a superhero and his archnemesis. But scratch that surface and you will find a surprising tale about the superhuman lengths to which a father must go to save the American family. For a first date with that special someone convinced fathers are disposable.
Gran Torino (2008)
A gruff Korean vet whose idea of diversity is limited to which gun he will use to keep foreigners off his lawn takes under his wing a young Hmong boy tormented by gang-bangers. Every lefty’s picture of a “hater” makes the ultimate Christ-like sacrifice. Perfect for those Randians looking for a more textured rendering of the virtue of selfishness.
I’m All Right, Jack (1959)
An Oxford-educated upper-cruster defies his class and takes a job at a munitions factory. Through hard work and a Prince Myshkin–like idiocy, he manages to alienate both his shiftless fellow workers and his greedy, scheming bosses. Peter Sellers plays to perfection a labor leader who fantasizes about Soviet Russia and strives to ensure that his men never break a sweat. Raid your contacts for Occupy enthusiasts.
On the Waterfront (1954)
An ex-boxer turned longshoreman joins forces with an activist priest to fight a corrupt labor union with mob ties. Seen as director Elia Kazan’s apologia for testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the film features Marlon Brando standing up to the forces of corruption that rob good men of their dignity and hope. Screen for that Marxist professor you love so much.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Pick a demographic and this film plays up in uproarious fashion every stereotype imaginable: blacks, Native Americans, gays, politicians, preachers, gunslingers, southerners, the Klan, alcoholics, even animal lovers (watch a horse get punched in the face!)—all are subjected to unspeakable buffoonery. Will make you wistful for the days when you could tell a joke without having to go into the witness protection program. This is the perfect film for anyone who thinks the First Amendment is a conservative plot.
The Exorcist (1973)
An adolescent girl begins exhibiting strange behavior that calls for not a family therapist but an exorcist. Two Roman Catholic priests do battle with a literal Satan. Evil has a name—and it isn’t Richard Nixon. Invite fans of Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Anthony Sacramone is managing editor of ISI Books and Modern Age. His work can be found at anthonysacramone.com. Follow him on Twitter @amsacramone.
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