The Kid (1921): The Muppets promotes Communism—or so you would think if you believed a recent Fox News piece lambasting the presence of a villain who’s wealthy, therefore allegedly brainwashing children into hating the rich. Nevermind that the message, if one is even intended, is against being heartlessly wealthy. The age of the Internet and the 24-Hour News Cycle demands constant fresh material, and one result is that some on the right have come to believe their manufactured outrage, and have thus become as humorless as the worst of the “PC police.” If this paradigm had existed in the past, Charlie Chaplin would’ve been enemy No. 1. An outspoken lefty, he would’ve been tarred as a Socialist—which he was—and The Little Tramp written off as a 99 percenter who would have a job if he wasn’t so lazy.
Bambi (1942): A cute deer proselytyzed kids into caring about both animals (who should be shot and eaten, or at least shot) and the environment. It wasn’t the first assault on “American values” by Walt Disney: Fantasia features a section depicting the earth’s genesis by non-Biblical means, when we all know the world is 6,000 years old and dinosaur fossils are fakes laid by God as a sort of joke.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): Poor, demonized Mr. Potter. Don’t viewers realize he’s a “job creator?” (See also: Ebenezer Scrooge.)
Pollyanna (1960): Foreigner telling country folk how to live their lives. And kind of a socialist, too.
The Muppet Movie (1979): Forget The Muppets—has the far right seen The Muppet Movie ? Charles Durning’s frog legs restaurateur is a successful businessman portrayed as a baddie. He’s also Southern—another bugaboo!
WarGames (1983): To some, to portray the military as anything less than saintly is to be against the troops. (That even includes depicting the real hardships encumbered by soldiers and veterans. Don’t get PTSD, apparently.) When they’re actually the villains, it’s whine time. It happened with Super 8, and it would have happened with this Cold War what-if, as well as Small Soldiers and The Iron Giant.
Six Long-Running Film Franchises