seven movies changed political views (huh?)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.

I JUST STUMLED over an ar­ticle ti­tled “7 Movies That Changed Your Po­lit­ical Views Ac­cording To Sci­ence.” It was written by Asawin Sueb­sang and Chris Mooney for the Mother Jones web­site (Jan­uary 7, 2014). It be­gins hu­mor­ously by stating that “Rush Lim­baugh was right all along. Sort of.” Then the au­thors continue: 

“Ac­cording to a study re­cently pub­lished in So­cial Sci­ence Quar­terly, Hol­ly­wood is making you more lib­eral. The study, ti­tled Moving Pic­tures? Ex­per­i­mental Ev­i­dence of Cin­e­matic In­flu­ence on Po­lit­ical At­ti­tudes, was coau­thored by Todd Ad­kins and Je­re­miah Castle of the Uni­ver­sity of Notre Dame.

It found that viewers who watched a movie with a mes­sage on health care gen­er­ally saw their sup­port for the Af­ford­able Care Act or sim­ilar poli­cies increase.”

So­cial Sci­ence Quar­terly nots two movies that af­fected health care—they are the first two listed below. The ar­ti­cle’s au­thors then list five more films that, “ac­cording to sci­ence, pos­sibly re­shaped your po­lit­ical views without you even knowing it.”

The movies are listed below with their rea­sons for being there (in italics). Each is fol­lowed by an ob­ser­va­tion. These re­flect my pro­gres­sive, pop­ulist point of view that sup­ports a gov­ern­ment “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

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The Rainmaker

This movie saw sup­port for the Af­ford­able Care Act or sim­ilar poli­cies increase.

No real af­fect on me!

I orig­i­nally sup­ported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 De­mo­c­ratic pri­maries be­cause she seemed the most likely to ac­tively pursue some­thing re­sem­bling uni­versal health care for me and my fellow Americans.

Didn’t see the movie, which is odd as I like Francis Cop­pola and Matt Damon.

As Good As It Gets

This movie saw sup­port for the Af­ford­able Care Act or sim­ilar poli­cies increase.

No real af­fect on me!

I won’t re­peat my­self: see above.

Loved this movie! Jack Nicholson was per­fect as the se­nior cit­izen playboy and Diane Keaton was al­most as good as she was in Annie Hall.

And, as au­thor Tom Rob­bins ob­served back in 1987, “The bonus of this beau­teous and be­atific bozo is that the older [Diane Keaton] gets, the sexier she gets. By the time she’s fifty, she may have to wear a squid mask for self-protection.”


This movie de­stroyed your faith in the Amer­ican po­lit­ical system.

No real af­fect on me!

My faith was tot­tering when Nixon beat Humphrey in ’68. My faith in De­moc­rats was shat­tered when they al­lowed McGovern—the first man I had the honor of voting for—to be hu­mil­i­ated by Nixon in ’72. So, Stone’s film had little af­fect on me.

And stop quib­bling with his con­clu­sions: JFK is filled with facts that stand up to any in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Plus I am a BIG Kevin Costner fan!

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The Day After Tomorrow

This movie made you care more about global warming.

No real af­fect on me!

I be­came aware of global warming/climate change in the early 1970s, when I en­tered col­lege and hung out with the anti-war folk and other in­di­vid­uals con­sid­ered un-American by the jin­go­heads that made up the ma­jority of students.

These people were a trea­sure trove of in­for­ma­tion, some of which went un­re­ported by the cor­po­rate media and there­fore un­known by most people.

This movie was a lot of fun, de­spite its fac­tual draw­backs. It seems based on a 1978 novel ti­tled Ice by the al­most un­known Arnold Feder­bush. Need­less to say, the book is a hel­luva lot better than the movie and well worth tracking down for a good read.

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The Cider House Rules

This movie turned you pro-choice.

No real af­fect on me!

I have been pro-choice since I un­der­stood what it meant. Un­for­tu­nately. In a better world, ed­u­ca­tion and birth con­trol would elim­i­nate the need for the procedure.

This was cer­tainly not a re­sponse that I foresaw when I watched the movie. What ef­fect did Mil­lion Dollar Baby have on the same people.

Malcolm X

This movie in­spired you to be more con­cerned about racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and race relations.

Oh yeah, this one af­fected me!

Like too many white folk, I had dis­missed Mal­colm X as an ex­tremist of the worst sort, bad for his people and their plight. Like most white people with an opinion about the black sit­u­a­tion in this country, I was clueless.

Good movie—Denzel Wash­ington turned in his usual amazing per­for­mance, both high­lighting the man’s in­human de­ter­mi­na­tion and ex­posing his humanity.

All The President’s Men

This movie caused Re­pub­li­cans to favor more re­stric­tions on the press.

No real af­fect on me!

See JFK above. Ahem, so much for the much bal­ly­hooed re­spect for law and order that Re­pub­li­can’s are al­ways crowing about!

Ex­cel­lent movie that viewed by a young au­di­ence today might as­tound them that there were ac­tu­ally jour­nal­ists in the US who did real in­ves­tiga­tive work. Of course, the book was better and two years earlier.

To end this on an op­ti­mistic note, as I quoted Pres­i­dent Lin­coln above re­garding the lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties for our form of gov­ern­ment, I quote Agent Fox Mulder: “I want to be­lieve” be­cause I do be­lieve that we are all in this to­gether but do I be­lieve that these seven movies changed po­lit­ical views . . .

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FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is the view from space of the mon­strous storm that brings a mas­sive and quick cli­mate change that brings the ice and glac­iers of the Arctic to the United States.

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