Monday, October 8, 2012

Jimbo Goes to the Movies: “2016: Obama’s America” Movie Review

It might just be the spookiest movie you see all year; albeit, for none of the reasons the director intended…


"2016: Obama's America" (2012)
Director: Dinesh D'Souza

I recently caught “2016: Obama’s America” - the anti-Barack “documentary” that has become the fourth highest grossing doc in U.S. history - and, surprisingly, I didn’t like it. For many, Many, MANY reasons.

First of, let’s begin with the director of the film, a fellow named Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza is a guy that was born in India that got a chance to attend an Ivy League school based on some international scholar program, who ended up becoming a member of the Reagan Administration, despite the fact that he didn’t have legal U.S. citizenship at the time (and this, I might add, is a point he actually MAKES HIMSELF in the movie.) Early on in the film, he criticizes Obama for showing a fondness for welfare programs and placing a focus on foreign diplomacy - not at all an ironic statement, seeing as how the sole reason D’Souza even GOT into the U.S. to begin with is because of a massive welfare program that targeted non-U.S. benefactors. It’s an upfront dose of fatalistic hypocrisy that makes sitting through the rest of the film a laborious chore - and rest assured, there is a LOT to not like about this movie on top of that.

Obviously inspired by Michael Moore’s ego-centrical pop-documentary approach - which, peculiarly, has been (mal)adopted by dozens of conservative doc-makers, from Ben Stein to Sarah Palin’s utterly hopeless PAC - D’Souza narrates the film, serving as the great, omnipresent tour guide through the four year nightmare known as Obama’s first term as President of the United States of America. This is an ill-advised decision on D’Souza’s part, for several reasons.

First off, D’Souza is about as interesting as a piece of microwaved white bread, displaying the sort of on-screen charisma usually relegated to Kristen Stewart performances. D’Souza - who, strangely, sounds JUST LIKE Stephen Colbert - drifts around the world, staring at Barack Obama Sr.’s grave, pacing back and forth while pretending to talk on a cell-phone and reenacting his college conversations with boring white people. My girlfriend said that the dude is a dead ringer for the villain from “Lost,” while I mulled the consideration that he looks like cartoon mouse come to life. At any moment, I expected him to put on a pair red suspenders and eat a block of yellow cheddar while he droned on and on about American exceptionalism.

Even BEFORE you get into the politics of the movie, there’s no way around it; this is a flat-out terrible documentary, from a technical stance. I’m not kidding when I say that half of the damn movie is just stock footage of dirty people hanging out in Kenya and Indonesia - if you’re looking for a comprehensive critique of Obama Administration policies, you’ll probably be sorely disappointed, while if you’re a fan of scenes of brown people shambling through muddy streets and smoking cigarettes on the back of dinghies, then my friend, you have hit the mother lode.

The editing in the film is pretty poor, with a ton of jump cuts and clearly staged scenes spliced together with completely context-less audio bits, a majority of which is culled straight from Obama’s book-on-tape reading of "Dreams from My Father." At one point, D’Souza talks about violence erupting at “Occupy” rallies across America, and I’m almost 100 percent certain that the footage onscreen is actually video from the 2011 Vancouver riots when the Canucks choked in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

About halfway through the movie, I realized something: had Obama not titled his book "Dreams from My Father," there probably wouldn’t have been a documentary for D’Souza to film. In a nutshell, the director’s “grand statement” with the film is, well, just a little convoluted: since Obama, Jr. never really knew Obama, Sr., that father absenteeism has given him a psychological yen to carry out the anti-colonialist “dreams” of his daddy, which thus explains his foreign policy and “socialistic” aspirations as POTUS.

Despite the fact that D’Souza is clearly NOT a guy who has “Euro-centric colonialist” plasma in his platelets, he seems to be, well, a proponent of colonialism. As in, he comes out and SAYS that Kenya would have been in better shape had the white overseers just hung around like they did in South Africa, which if not for the mind-breaking HIV-infection levels and frequent executions by tire necklacing, is truly a developed, modernized country in ever sense of the word. In a later segment, D’Souza interviews a former “policy advisor” that said that the only thing standing between humanity and total civil collapse is a hegemonic American presence. D’Souza’s argument, to summarize, is that Obama is using his stature as President to relinquish American power AS that global hegemonic force, which means that any day now, the United States of Islam will nuclear annihilate us all while we burn $100 bills to stay warm in winter, because the Chinese will be using all of that Keystone oil that would’ve been ours to fuel modern industry for the next 100 years.

D’Souza, like many conservative analysts, predicts something REAL bad will happen if Iran develops nuclear weapons, and argues that our measly nuclear arsenal of 5,000 plus warheads isn’t enough to keep the rest of the world cowering in their boots every time they hear the letters “U,” “S,” and “A” strung together. He argues that Obama isn’t doing enough to fight Islamic extremists (I’m guessing that was a Doombot that got capped back in ‘11, then) or enough to support Israel.

And then there’s Obama’s economic policies…and yeah, it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old in D’Souza’s documentary.

The director of “2016” said that Obama was influenced by a quartet of socialistic thinkers, including Frank Marshall Davis and Bill Ayers. He concludes the film by saying that Obama’s “dream” for America - an anti-colonialist-fueled, quasi-communistic recipe for American decay - is something altogether different than the “dreams of Americans,” which D’Souza never explicitly spells out. And then, the credits roll, and you realize that you’ll never be able to get your 20 bucks back. By the time the lights flipped back on in the theater, a guy in front of me was dabbing away tears from his two glass eyeballs with both hands.

You’re probably curious about what all the hubbub is about. I was, too, and eventually, I just caved in to the pressure. No matter how crappy I tell you the movie is, you’re going to want to experience the pure fecal stench for yourself, so capping this review of with a declaration of its’ lousiness as a motion picture is sheer superfluity.

If you see “2016,” you’ll no doubt experience some chills and shivers, though. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the most frightening film of the fall, and a flick that will surely give you a case of the creeps and the willies.

Unfortunately for D’Souza, however,  it’s for all of the reasons he didn’t intend.

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