The Real ‘Resistance’ Emerges as the Hollywood Left Founders

Four pillars of the American Left together explain its stranglehold on our culture: the Democratic Party, academia, the media, and Hollywood.

The Democrats are a mess. Failing the dramatic upset they predict in the November midterms, their fate will be sealed—for another cycle, anyway.

The media, too, is suffering. Americans do not trust what they read or hear from the mainstream press. The alternative media soldiers on, despite the mainstream’s best efforts to mock and dismiss it. And while academia remains a stubborn and formidable beast, Hollywood demonstrates again and again that it will be the last pillar of the Left to fall.

Although the first big blow to the influence of left-wing celebrities was Trump’s decisive victory over the NFL protests, Hollywood remained resilient. The onset of “#MeToo” led to a sort of distracting Hollywood cannibalism. Critics on the rightward end of the spectrum felt no compelling need to mount an attack on institutions that were already consuming themselves. Yet Hollywood was banking on appeasing the critics of industry-wide hypocrisy with sacrificial tokens meant to show now they really meant business when it came to equality and justice.

Hey, Funnyman! Be Funny! 
The crown jewel on the garbage pile of Hollywood leftism is Jimmy Kimmel, whose banal commentary on events continues to prove ever more tedious and affected. Whether he’s 
threatening Fox News hosts, shedding fake tears as he is pretending to be an expert on gun control, or declaring that his son having a heart condition makes him more of a medical expert than actual doctors, ordinary people saw sheer stupidity rather than the heroics that his fellow leftists reported after each of these displays.

So, naturally, Kimmel was invited to serve as the host of the Academy Awards for the second consecutive year. His rants supporting gun control, praising “diversity,” and leveling baseless criticism at President Trump were about as shocking a plot twist as the unmasking of the villain in an episode of “Scooby-Doo.”

As Hollywood’s denizens took a break from the hard work of raping each other to lecture middle America about how to behave, their hypocrisy finally met with the reception it deserved: silence. Nobody cared. Just as with the NFL, the American people responded by hitting these phony concern trolls where it hurts the most: the ratings. The 90th Oscar ceremony was the least-viewed in history, racking up just 26.5 million total viewers—a 16 percent drop over the previous year’s show.

Perhaps that was the true catalyst for a slow rise in a real “Resistance” and pushback against the status quo in Hollywood that we see coming now from both the average moviegoer and producers within the industry.

Life and Death at the Box Office
The remake of the 1974 cult classic “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis, may be one example of the kind of resistance we need. The film was subject to the baseless charge of “bad timing” in the wake of the Parkland shooting (as if the director, Eli Roth, could have anticipated the massacre). Other critics said they didn’t like the film because 
it wasn’t political enough, and because it didn’t preach why guns are bad. The first charge is absurd—the film is political. It’s just that the reviewer didn’t like the political message. The film is dedicated to socio-political themes, and the climax even serves as an argument in favor of owning guns. Politics only count, in the eyes of Hollywood, when the point they are advancing is one that the Left supports.

Audiences were oblivious to the critics and their Rotten Tomatoes rating of 17 percent. The audience approval rating was 81 percent. Is there a better example of the disconnect between the groupthink of Hollywood and the attitudes of most Americans?

But an action film remake, holding all the usual appeal for a wide audience, was not the only film to defy the Left’s hatred and perform well. Faith-based films, the Left’s absolute favorite target for scorn and ridicule, have exceeded expectations in the last few weeks, with the biographical dramas “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” and “I Can Only Imagine” outperforming their competition and smashing box office expectations. “I Can Only Imagine,” based on the best-selling song of the same name by the band MercyMe, performed exceptionally well; it grossed over $42 million on a $7 million budget, and earned a rare perfect score of A+ from CinemaScore, becoming one of fewer than 80 films in history to receive such a grade from the nearly 40-year-old publication.

Parker and Stone’s Apostasy
But if the revolt by audiences wasn’t enough, then the slow but sure shift of some of Hollywood’s own producers has definitely sent up alarm bells through their gated communities. First, it was the “
coming out” of Republicans Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the long-running animated series “South Park.” The show has garnered a reputation as extremely politically incorrect, making fun of conservatives and liberals alike; but when the object is humor, the creators acknowledged, tired jokes about President Trump had quickly become “boring” as they were overdone. Though the creators fess up to being politically right of center, they bow first to comedy. Trump jokes were axed because they were stale; not because they assaulted a sacred cow.

But Parker and Stone also one-upped the monolithic entertainment Left by showing them how performance art is really done. Their bold “coming out” as Republicans happened as they both received an award from the left-wing organization “People for the American Way Foundation.”

After being handed the “Freedom Award” by an organization whose mission is to “Defeat Trump and the Right Wing in 2018,” Parker and Stone took to the stage and declared, twice: “We’re Republicans . . . no, seriously, we’re Republicans.” This just goes to show that true masters of the comedic art are funny no matter what their politics are and, moreover, their politics are not evident in their art. There is no way People for the American Way would have awarded those guys a “Freedom Award” had they known their political leanings, but that there was sufficient ambiguity about their leanings to garner them this award is instructive.

As radio host Larry Elder described it, their revelation was met with “nervous laughter” from the progressive audience. It ought to have come as no surprise. Tedious leftists are no more funny than tedious conservatives are, but it’s difficult to be anything other than tedious if one is a leftist today.

Roseanne’s Return—With More to Come?
Given this, what could be funnier than trolling an entire audience of tedious leftists? The revival of the sitcom “Roseanne,” aims to find out. Starring comedian Roseanne Barr, the politically-charged nature of the premiere and the overwhelmingly positive response of audiences garnered “Roseanne” widespread attention. The show promised to avoid clichés and to confront familial divisions over politics with honesty.

Barr’s own political leanings have been hard left for a long while. She even ran for the presidential nomination of the Green Party in 2012. When she lost that nomination to ultra-leftist Jill Stein, Barr then ran as the nominee of the equally left-wing Peace and Freedom Party, with notorious leftist and anti-Bush activist Cindy Sheehan as her running mate. She received 67,000 votes overall, roughly 0.05 percent of the national tally.

Despite this, Barr has also tired of tedious leftism and argued for a need to move the needle away from the predictable and polarized responses of exhausted partisan debate. She supported Trump in the 2016 election because he was the outsider. She then took her support for Trump a few miles further with the revival of her sitcom. In the premiere of the reboot, there was absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever as to the political leanings of the main character, Roseanne Conner: She is now a firm Trump supporter, who frequently makes fun of liberals, feminists, fake news, and other easy targets.

The only thing left was to sit back and wait for the ratings to come in, and they did not disappoint. The season premiere was viewed by a stunning 18.2 million, exceeding all expectations. It performed almost as well as the Stormy Daniels interview on “60 Minutes,” which greatly underperformed its own expectations. The show’s resounding success had echoes of the ratings success of another sitcom that defied liberal norms before it was canceled for its political beliefs, Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing.” Now, Fox is reportedly considering reviving that show.

A beast as large, as powerful, and as well-funded as Hollywood will not be defeated easily. But in these episodic victories for the common sense opinions of ordinary Americans, we can begin to see what America might look like if Hollywood would concern itself with actual entertainment again as opposed to sermonizing. It’s a much funnier and happier place. Here’s hoping they might recall it.

Photo credit: Gotham/GC Images

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.