By: Paul Meekin
After the excellent feedback from the first installment of this list, it was time to dive a little deeper. While the first list contained movies you may not have considered Liberty minded, or were obscure or were more thought-provoking than in deliberate service of the agenda, this list is a little more on the nose.
There are a lot of movies that can speak to the libertarian heart. Movies ringing full of liberty or freedom or the failing of the government in the face of peril at the most crucial times.
Thus, this list features five more movies that will speak to the libertarian or the liberty minded. Most of them have explosions!
5. Captain America: Civil War
The first of three comic book movies on this list, “Captain America: Civil War” isn’t higher because its politics are akin to a standard Facebook commentator; a mile wide and about an inch deep. “Registration is bad” says Captain America and his friends. But we never know what registration entails, nor do we learn the details of how superheroes would be deployed in the event of a national emergency.
In a movie that pushes almost 2 and a half hours, there was absolutely time to have a very serious discussion about the nature of liberty, freedom and what elements of society require registration, and which don’t. Instead we get one conversation. And splosions. And Spider-man.
Whereas this movie’s prequel “The Winter Soldier” is very deliberately about the nature of prosecuting crimes before they happen. Why that is wrong and how it can be abused, “Civil War” just happens to be a little messier.
Regardless, hooray for quality arguments for liberty, freedom, and keeping the government out of our lives and wallets and sense of justice. However, there was a better case to be made on both sides. If you’re a walking tank that often engages in acts of destruction in the name of, well, liberty, perhaps some sort of check and balance is required, yeah?
4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
It probably happened something like the movie portrays. Despite the questionable historical accuracy of the movie or the events the point it makes is a compelling one.
When it comes to national security and military intervention – you either do it right, or don’t do it at all. Benghazi was a catastrophic failing of policy, government, and people. A situation where the right people couldn’t get on the phone. There weren’t enough people on the ground with guns to do the job they were hired to do, and ultimately a cacophony of systematic failures resulted in the death of multiple American citizens.
I would imagine not many people go to a Michael Bay movie to be politically outraged, but somehow, this flick does that. What could be considered an overblown scandal is exposed as a microcosm of a consistently failing American foreign policy that consists of meddling and half measures. That’s the power of cinema, isn’t it?
This movie is currently on Amazon Prime, and it’s exciting, poignant, and filled with simmering rage at a government that is designed to protect its citizens home and abroad, but somehow failed to do the latter.
Imagine if you couldn’t be with the love of your life during her final years or moments. Imagine if you were told you were unable to care for her, provide for her care, sleep in the same bed, and live with her during her most terrifying time.
Imagine if even her kids, and the local police, were against your desire to be with her. Hell, imagine if they refused to believe you were in love in the first place. What would you do?
Well, Stella of Cloudburst breaks her lover, Dotty, out of an old folks home, hops in her truck (of course she has a truck) and high tails it for Canada to get married and thus have power of attorney and the right to spend what little time they have left, together.
Stella is a ‘butch’ lesbian who checks all the boxes of the stereotype – flannel, foul mouthed, manual labor, and of course she’s into KD Lang. But that’s really just the archetype. The character is ribald and rowdy and grosser than your favorite uncle – and intensely likeable.
On Netflix there tends to be a lot of genre filmmaking that is not particularly excellent, especially as it pertains to the ‘LGBT’ genre. Do not be fooled. This is not a ‘gay movie’ with a ‘gay agenda’ or anything of the like. It’s a hilarious and heartbreaking dramedy that happens to be about gay people, not a movie ‘for’ gay people (though of course I’m sure they’d enjoy it too).
What it is for, is anyone who treasures freedom to live and love and bone whomever we want. And believe you me, Stella wants to bone. A hilarious scene in the first act details the intimacy of an older couple and actually serves as an inciting incident the story as a whole.
Based on an award-winning play – Cloudburst is actually currently on Netflix and champions the liberty of the individual, bemoans useless regulations that limit that liberty, and has a potty mouth to make you blush.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
“I thought the punishment usually came after the crime,” says Steve Rogers after learning of Shield’s plan to monitor thousands upon thousands of people – down to their DNA, in order to prevent terrorism. The retort? “We can’t afford to wait that long”.
“This isn’t freedom, it’s fear” is Captain’s response to the retort.
Keep in mind this movie came out within 16 months of Edward Snowden‘s NSA leak, making its release all the more poignant.
How far should the federal government go to protecting its citizens? Should liberty be compromised for security?
Captain America says no, and goes on the run to bring down the system, unveiling a conspiracy that dates back to World War II, all the while acquiring allies and fighting, literally, against the military industrial complex.
Ironically, the movie features Robert Redford (who looks a bit like the original Nick Fury) – who starred in the movie “Three Days of The Condor” – which is another excellent movie about a man on the run from the government he once trusted – and worked for.
The Winter Soldier isn’t a particularly ‘heady’ movie, but it presents a strong worldview and strong arguments for both sides of the liberty vs. security argument, ultimately (and correctly) siding on liberty’s side.
If you haven’t seen this one, do so immediately. It has some excellent action sequences, some really great ideas, and a hell of a lot of charm, too – and is one of the best Marvel movies.
1. V For Vendetta
Roger Ebert found it “…an audacious confusion of ideas in ‘V for Vendetta’ and enjoyed their manic disorganization.” And he ain’t wrong.
Upon a second viewing for this article you’ll notice something curious. Steve Bannon is in it. Okay not really Steve Bannon, but a man with a strong military background who transitioned to the private sector, before eventually becoming heavily involved in media, and then the government as the voice and influencer of an authoritarian regime. He also looks like Bannon if he shaved.
Beyond that shocking parallel, “V for Vendetta” is strong libertarian escapist fantasy – overthrowing the government, using mass media against said government, blowing up symbols of authoritarianism, and explosions (which to be fair, are bipartisan enjoyments).
But truth be told, the action scenes are the weakest part of the film, and instead the words of the film are the highlight – as he spouts ideology like “The people shouldn’t be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of its people” and similar thoughts that make protagonist a libertarian superhero if there ever was one.
The movie is currently on Netflix and is absolutely worth a watch, especially in today’s day and age. Stephen Rhea gives an incredible performance as a man who sides with the government…until he doesn’t, and his transition from company man to anything but is the heart and soul of the film, as he’s convinced not by yelling or shouting, but by evidence and critical thinking.
We could all be so lucky.