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Audiences Reject Robert Rodriguez’s Anti-American “Machete,” Film Critic Wonders Why

Posted on September 15 2010 3:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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If you’re anything like me, the time you devote to entertainment is an investment. You work a day job. Maybe you have one or two part-time gigs on the side. You have a family and a home to attend to, chores to do, errands to run. Maybe you’re involved in a community group, a sports team, a social club. What little time you have left over is valuable and, if you’re going to spend it entertaining yourself, your choice of how is made with care.

So, here’s a suggestion. After you’ve ground your way through a hard day’s work, ran to the store, picked up the kids here to drop them there, etc., how about going to to see a film where you and every institution and value you hold dear is mocked and demonized over the course of 105 minutes of gratuitous violence?

What’s that? You’ll pass? Why? What’s wrong with you?

[Robert] Rodriguez, the auteur who famously made his first film for only $7,000, needed $20 million to foist “Machete” on the masses.

But the film tanked in its second weekend, dropping 63 percent to come in fourth on the box office tally sheet.

The big question is – why?

Warning: Explicit Language and Graphic Imagery

Gee, I don’t know.

The film’s politics are as one-sided as any Michael Moore film, casting opponents of illegal immigration as monsters to be shunned, shot or both.  The film’s B-movie attitude made such platitudes easier to swallow than your standard one-sided documentary, but it still cast a good chunk of the country in an unflattering light.

That had to hurt on some level, something the film’s key players acknowledged through omission.

The film was clearly a labor of love by Rodriguez, an otherwise successful director whose filmography includes the family-friendly Spy Kids series. He had to know it would not be a hit with (legal) American audiences. This was something he wanted to do, perhaps to purge himself of some cathartic rage, or maybe just as a nod to Grindhouse fans.

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