James Hirsen devoted his Oct. 10 Newsmax column to slagging the new George Clooney-Ryan Gosling movie "The Ides of March," under the headline "Clooney's Leftist Movie Flops at Box Office":
George Clooney’s latest movie, “The Ides of March,” debuted over the weekend and left Sony studio execs scratching their heads over the less-than-expected box-office take of $10.4 million.
Audiences weren't exactly raving about the film either, but they still liked it enough to grant it a "B" at CinemaScore. By comparison, “Real Steal,” the weekend's No. 1 box-office movie, hauled in $27.3 million and scored an "A."
After decent reviews from critics and a warm reception at the Venice and Toronto film fests, Sony executives were expecting a lot more from “Ides.” But now future hopes of profitability rest with the awards that the film may potentially garner.
Hirsen doesn't b ack up his claim that studio executives expected a bigger opening weekend from the movie. In fact, it appears tohave performed close to industry expectations. Entertainment Weekly's John Young, for instance, predicted it would earn $12 million.
Hirsen goes on to discredit his own depiction, noting that "the movie’s production budget after rebates came in at about $12.5 million." That means it will recover its production costs and much of its marketing costs through the theatrical run alone; the DVD release and cable and streaming rights will mean that it turns a solid profit.Only in Hirsen's world, apparently, is a film that makes money considered a "flop."
Hirsen's real reason for attacking the movie, though, is because it allegedly advances a political agenda he opposes:
The movie, which is based on Beau Willimon's 2008 play titled “Farragut North,” is a left-of-center dream sequence. The truth is that Clooney’s character would only be able to obtain a nomination from a major political party or be elected to high office in a make-believe world.
The character's No. 1 issue is greener energy, which he claims is the pat solution to end warfare in the world. He also wants to outlaw the internal combustion engine and is proud of not being religious minded, even going as far as to belittle opponents who talk about their faith.
A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the movie "an image of the liberal heart's desire," and the Los Angeles Times described Clooney's character as "a hardcore liberal's dream candidate."
“Ides” portrays members of the GOP and centrist Democrats as dastardly villains, which should strike the fancy of many of the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who may just toss some nominations at the film.
Casting false aspersions simply because you oppose its message may make Hirsen a loyal conservative, but it also makes him a highly irresponsible and unethical journalist.