Last week, I wrote about how the professional left was attacking Clint Eastwood's new biopic about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. American Sniper is almost exclusively about the struggles and heroism of one remarkable man who fought in the Iraq war, but the film's critics can't seem to forgive the fact a film was made about the war on terror that mostly eschewed politics and didn't go out of its way to attack Bush-Cheney and/or denounce American imperialism. The film is now a bona fide phenomenon. After having the largest opening weekend for a January film ever, "[the film's second weekend] $64.6 million tally is off just 28 percent from the movie's opening frame, which is the best second weekend hold ever for a movie that opened above $80 million," according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
As such, the attacks on the film just keep coming. Over the weekend, Bill Maher called Kyle a "psychopath" on his HBO show, which prompted this response from Howard Dean: "There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry,” Dean said. “... I bet you if you looked at a cross-section of the Tea Party and the people who go to see this movie, there’s a lot of intersection.” Actor Gary Sinise posted this public response to Dean:
To Howard Dean,
I saw American Sniper and would not consider myself to be an angry person. You certainly have a right to make stupid blanket statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how is that helpful sir? Do you also suggest that everyone at Warner Brothers is angry because they released the film? That Clint Eastwood, Jason Hall, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and the rest of the cast and crew are angry because they made the film? Chris Kyle's story deserved to be told. It tells a story of the stress that multiple deployments have on one military family, a family representative of thousands of military families. It helps to communicate the toll that the war on terror has taken on our defenders. Defenders and families who need our support. I will admit that perhaps somewhere among the masses of people who are going to see the film there may be a few that might have some anger or have been angry at some point in their lives, but, with all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?
And of course, Noam Chomsky denounced the film even as he admitted he hadn't seen it. "Now, that [American Sniper] mentality helps explain why it’s so easy to ignore what is most clearly the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern history, if not ever—Obama’s global assassination campaign," Chomsky said. This is a drearily predictable response coming from Chomsky -- left-wing stenographers who dutifully recording his hatred of America are the equivalent of transportation reporters who cover every plane that lands safely. However, it's notable considering that a lot of the criticism centers on director Clint Eastwood's supposed reputation as a Hollywood right-winger. While Eastwood did speak at the 2012 GOP convention, he's something of an unscrutable libertarian and, ironically enough, has described his personal politics as a "fusion of Milton Friedman and Noam Chomsky."
If American Sniper has a long healthy run at the box office, and it appears it will, the attacks on the American Sniper are unlikely to abate and may even continue to pique interest in the film. So far, American Sniper is proving to be the rare culture war skirmish that the left on the losing side of.