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Pro-American Movies a “Turn-Off”: Donny Deutsch

Posted on August 17 2009 7:31 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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You’d think that if he’s going to anchor on MSNBC, a network that was started as a joint venture with Microsoft, Donny Deutsch would learn how to email or at least use MSN’s search engine.

But it’s been 2 weeks since Donny called National Review’s John Miller “ignorant” and promised to email him the proof. So far, not a peep from Donny.

Actually, ignorance is not his excuse. He was caught in a lie, and used the dodge to get away.

Donny blasted out of the gate with non-sequiturs, mangled metaphors, factual misstatements and bloviating worthy of Keith Olbermann, reacting to Miller’s observation on National Review Online that G.I. Joe is no longer an American, and that “Joe and his friends look like heroes without a country.”

DEUTSCH: John, I want to kinda toss something out at you that might put a little salt on your fire there. There’s one reason they didn’t put him in red white and blue. Because they want to sell this movie internationally. It’s a business. They want to make money. You’ll never see a movie Captain America, they can’t sell it overseas. Got it? It’s not that it’s un-American, it’s a business decision. Have you not figured that out, sir?

MILLER: Well, I didn’t say it was un-American, but I was struck by the imagery here. The G.I. Joe remember growing up had a red white and blue logo, he wore green army duds, he looked like a guy who actually fought in World War II or Korea

gi joe

Miller then pointed out that billions of dollars have been made internationally selling G.I. Joe with the slogan “A Real American Hero,” and that while checking out trailers and promotions for the movie to see if it would be good for his kids, noted the difference.

Deustch then returned to his “un-American” canard (no word on what he thought of Nancy Pelosi and Stenny Hoyer’s USA Today Op-Ed last week using that term for town hall protesters.)

DEUTSCH: It’s strictly business, and to suggest it’s un-American is just naïve, sir.

MILLER: If I were an investor, what I would NOT do is make anti-war movies which have flopped time after time as we have seen Hollywood do. I would make a move about American heroes fighting in Fallujah, I would make a movie about Medal of Honor recipients fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq. I would make a movie about real American heroes…

DEUTSCH: Unfortunately sir—you know what sir…

MILLER: And by the way, “the Real American Hero” is the tagline that G.I Joe used to use

DEUTSCH: Unfortunately sir, they have made movies like that recently and unfortunately Americans turn it off

MILLER: I’m sorry, which movie were you referring to?

DEUTSCH: Real life fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’ve done documentaries…

MILLER: I’m sorry, I missed that movie, which is the movie Hollywood did about Marines in Fallujah?

DEUTSCH: A lot of movies in the last few years that hit on the very topical subjects and Americans turn it off right now, unfortunately and it is sad.

MILLER: I’m sorry, what’s the title though, I don’t recall the title.

DEUTSCH: I’ll email the titles, you’re ignorant sir, there have been several, okay?

Trying in vain to keep her ignorant co-host from digging any deeper, Deutsch’s co-anchor then stepped in and tried to discuss with Miller the actual topic of his original post — that G.I. Joe the film is trading in nostalgia for the brand name, while stripping him of his spirit.

Donny Deutsch and Hollywood execs who scrub G.I. Joe’s Americanism from him, or who refuse to make pro-American films, are not telling us very much about the audience. They are telling us about themselves. They are so uncomfortable with displays of patriotism, so deeply ashamed of their own country, that they can’t imagine anyone would pay money to see it on the big screen.

However, this flies in the face of the evidence. Pro-American heroes sell much better than anti-war cynics on the big and small screens.

die hard

Spiderman spends more time posing with flags than Nancy Pelosi, and is one of the most successful franchises of all time. Meanwhile, Superman Returns did pretty blah business after dropping “The American Way” from the things he’s fighting for and getting all introspective on us. Live Free Die Hard (Die Hard 4) was the most successful earth-bound action movie in the last few years. Bruce Willis’s John McClane is as American as John Wayne — and gives a “rah rah” speech to prove it. On cable’s biggest summer show, Burn Notice, framed spy Michael Weston is fighting to get his old job back because, as he speechified to his skeptical girlfriend recently, saving American lives and protecting his country is what he’s great at, and all he wants to do with his life.

gran torino

More subtly, last year’s biggest hit, The Dark Knight, featured a hero who temporarily engaged in an unprecedented level of surveillance and endured public scorn because of the collateral damage that occurred because he stood up to the bad guys. In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood had his biggest hit in years, for portraying a very old kind of Americanism in Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, who was imperfect yet ultimately heroic.

Over at Big Hollywood, in response to this topic, resident film critic John Nolte prepared the following list of “anti-rah rah” flops:

Lions for Lambs: $43 million
In the Valley of Elah: $22 million
Rendition: $17 million
Stop-Loss: $291 thousand
Body of Lies: $75 million
A Mighty Heart: $9 million
Grace is Gone: $887 thousand


Nolte forgot Brian DePalma’s execrable Redacted, which vanished without a trace at the box office, despite raves by the likes of Roger Ebert. It portrayed American troops in Iraq as rapists and murderers in the crudest possible terms.

Maybe that is what Donny Deutsch had in mind about “Real life fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


Oh, and Donny, they ARE making Captain America.  “Who is ignorant?”

Meanwhile, John Miller reports that he is “still waiting” for his email.

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