You may have heard a thing or two about a documentary that’s suddenly making box office waves. The film is doing so surprisingly well that the film, which had little marketing support raked, managed a weekend gross of only a few million bucks less than the modest debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bike adventure Premium Rush and it's already the number two documentary of 2012. I’m talking about 2016: Obama’s America, the film that purports to uncover the truth behind President Barack Obama’s policies and project his real plan for the U.S.’s future.
Of course, the movie is bolstered by its timing. For those living under a rock, we’re in the thick of a heated presidential campaign. Something this pointed and incendiary is sure to rile audiences up. Especially when the man behind the film, conservative author and political commentator Dinesh D’Souza, is well-known for sustaining accusations of factual inaccuracies after the publication of his buzzworthy Forbes article “How Obama Thinks.” The backlash was so loud, we even witnessed Vice President Joe Biden calling D’Souza’s article, the precursor to his book Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream and this film, “Science Fiction” in an MSNBC interview.
Now that the film is making waves, Hollywood.com took to a New York City movie theater to see the film and gauge the audience's reaction. What is it about this particular movie that's bringing flocks and flocks of movie-goers to the theater?
As you might expect, the reaction from the audience — comprised largely of elderly viewers and younger, student-aged viewers — was polarized. While some voices literally rang out with support of the film’s ideas, just as many vocalized their outrage and disagreement. And with such heavy claims throughout the film, it’s no wonder audience members from both sides of the debate responded so vocally.
To help you get an idea of what all the buzz is about, we’ve catalogued the moments that elicited the loudest, most boisterous reactions from audience members. Claim: Obama’s Mother “Denied” White Culture
D’Souza cites an instance in which Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, hears of her then-husband's wealthy co-workers, which was a predominantly white population in Indonesia. Dunham responds to her then-husband’s idea that “they’re her people” with the notion that they “aren’t her people.” Audience reactions
: Oohs, ahhs, gasps, and “Oh, really?” Claim: Obama “Mentor” Frank Marshall Davis Listed as a Communist by FBI
D’Souza and his sources go on to say that the “Obama media” is refusing to cover this fact. Audience reactions
: “Bulls**t!” Moment: D’Souza Interviews Obama’s Half Brother
The documentarian interviews Obama’s half-brother, George Obama, and asks him numerous questions in an attempt to get the subject to condemn his brother for leaving him to live in the Nairobi “slums.” The man won’t speak ill of the President, but he does eventually cry when he speaks about not being able to finish his education. Audience reactions
: “Bulls**t” and on the reverse, “Oohs” and “ahhs.” Claim: People Only Voted For Obama "So They Didn’t Appear Racist"
One expert in the film claims that Obama’s victory is simply an “expression of Civil Rights” and that people simply voted for Obama because they didn’t want to be racist and didn’t know “when the chance would come again” to prove that they aren't racist. Audience reaction
: “Bulls**t!” Moment: Illustrated Representation of Obama’s Former Social Circle
An artistic rendering of Obama’s friends and mentors, including Bill Ayers and Robert Unger, includes such highlights as a cartoon Capital Building and a cartoon Pentagon Building being blown to smithereens when the narrator discusses Ayers’ past in protest culture and Unger “fitting right in” at Harvard. Audience reaction
: Guffaws, laughter. Moment: Rare Clip of Obama Stumbling Over His Words
The clip shows Obama speaking at a Town Hall meeting, in which an audience member is inaudibly heckling him, causing him to lose his train of thought while explaining the proposals and plans for universal healthcare. It’s certainly not one of his shining moments, however rare.
“Bulls**t!” amid “Ha!” and heavy laughter. Moment: Graph Projecting U.S. Debt in 2016 Shows Infinite Debt With a Question Mark
Above Obama’s head and the year 2016 is a bar that depicts the “projected” debt we’ll see if Obama is reelected. That projection happens to be a bar shooting to infinity with a flashing question mark as the number value. Audience reaction
: Laughter Moment: Imagined History Book Lists 2016 as the End of the U.S. “Empire” and Narrator Wonders if Obama Will Provide “Solutions or Slogans”
After making the case that Obama’s supposedly anti-colonialist beliefs (as established by the film) will drive him to “strip” America of its wealth and make its citizens as poor as the rest of the world, the film makes the case that the American “Empire” will be over by the time Obama is done with his presidency. Audience reaction
: Mix of gasps and commentary in agreement and laughter.
Will you see the film to see where you fall in the spectrum of viewers? Why do you think the film elicits such a variance of reactions? Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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