Each time I come across another semi-literate screed by Matt Barber, the male who seems to be the loudest voice of Concerned Women for America, I’m tempted to write a post pointing out how hilariously wrongheaded it is. (And they’re all hilariously wrongheaded.) But I never do, partly because it’s not clear anyone’s paying attention to him anyway, but mostly because his columns are so bad that not only refutation but even simple mockery seem redundant. However. His most recent farrago, about a pro-life indie film called Bella, is stupid in a slightly more subtle way than usual, so perhaps in this case it’s worth pointing out exactly how ignorant of his topic Barber is.
Reviews are, if not uniformly enthusiastic, strong enough that I’m happy to assume the film itself is pretty good. But, of course, Barber’s point is not so much to flog a good movie as to take shots at baby-killing Hollywood elites:
Having won the People’s Choice Award at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, you’d think major Hollywood distribution companies would be crawling over one another for a crack at the film. But such is not the case. Bella’s central theme puts a premium on the value of human life – including life in the womb – and that is a value Hollywood just won’t tolerate.
Just as the Hollywood left scoffed at The Passion of the Christ, it has largely ignored the award winning Bella. The movie’s life-affirming message just doesn’t comport with Tinseltown’s narrow leftist agenda.
Leave aside such linguistic abortions as “central theme puts a premium.” Even someone with my cursory understanding of the film industry knows this is hopelessly, hopelessly confused. “Major Hollywood distribution companies” never pick up little thoughtful foreign films like Bella. Independent distributors like Lion’s Gate or quasi-autonomous niche distributors affiliated with one of the bigger companies do, as you can easily confirm by looking at the last dozen winners of that Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award. An award, incidentally, which is suggestive of box office potential, but hardly dispositive: There are plenty of hits (Life Is Beautiful, Whale Rider, Hotel Rwanda, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, American Beauty), but also a fair number of misses: Tsotsi grossed just under $3 million in the U.S.; Zatôichi less than $900,000; The Hanging Garden, under a million. Even the successful ones, though, aren’t getting distributed by Paramount.
Now, maybe Barberthinks these quasi-autonomous subsidiaries (Miramax, Focus) count as “major Hollywood distribution companies.” Let’s suppose. Were they shunning Bella? Well, it’s hard to say, since the movie did end up getting acquired by Lion’s Gate. Since they’re the biggest North American indie distributor, that outcome doesn’t tell us much about who else was interested: A deal with them would be attractive even if the other firms were “crawling over one another for a crack at” the flim. And way back in March, the film’s producer said explicitly in an interview that Lion’s Gate wasn’t the only interested distributor:
“Following our success at Toronto,” said Wolfington, “we already have three offers on the table. So landing a distribution deal is not our goal at [Miami International Film Festival] … “
But never mind, the point is that Lion’s Gate isn’t like those wretched Hollywood outfits, in thrall to lefty orthodoxy. Three cheers for Lion’s Gate, conservatives! Three cheers for… the company that distributed Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and co-produced the global warming disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow.
In short, and per usual, precisely no aspect of Barber’s narrative makes any sense. Perhaps it’s best to read it as an homage to David Lynch.