The film is disarming in many ways, for it tackles great intellectual themes, usually the province of dense prose, and uses images and personality to tell the story in a highly accessible way. Readers of American Thinker will be familiar with such topics as the Cloward-Piven strategy, but in There’s No Place Like Utopia, it comes alive, leaping from the pages of The Nation magazine into cartoon characters bearing a certain resemblance to Lego figures. Political philosophy has never been handled quite this way.
It is also a road trip, guided by Joel himself, as he is swept up in a tornado, like Dorothy, and finds himself on a literal yellow brick road, which leads him to explore what happens when politics tries to create utopias. Along the way, he travels to Detroit, Newark, Miami, Washington, DC, Hollywood, Dearborn, Los Angeles Chicago’s South Side and Hyde Park, and Denver, as well as Joel’s hometown of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We visit the house where Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn live, talk to Michelle Obama’s mother through her closed door at the house where Michelle grew up, and attempt to walk down the street where the Obamas lived in Hyde Park. We speak with Jack Cashill, Jerome Corsi, David Horowitz, and former KGB agent Konstantin Preobrazhensky, who provide background and context. And we meet all kinds of ordinary and extraordinary Americans coping with what Obama has wrought.
Joel is an engaging traveling companion, with his goatee, shirt tail frequently hanging out, and his deadpan expression as he chats with denizens of the progressive version of Utopia in various languages (with subtitles), including French, Spanish, and Arabic. He’s the thinking man’s conservative Michael Moore when he questions a black Democrat politician on Chicago’s South Side, eventually getting himself prevented from any more filming at the community event.
As someone who uses words to tackle the very same subject matter Joel takes up, I was very impressed with the visual qualities of the film. Joel is an artist who has obviously thought long and hard about communicating to people’s subconscious minds directly, using the dreamlike state of mind that film can produce, and employing the metaphor of the Wizard of Oz that is such a prominent part of our collective consciousness. I cannot ever forget the image of Barack Obama speaking as Oz.
The Success of Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, America: Imagine the World Without Her, which has grossed almost ten million dollars at the box office (and counting) gives me some hope that There’s No Place Like Utopia may find national release. There is a conservative audience for movies, as Hollywood is beginning to recognize, however reluctantly.
Here is the film’s trailer:
[youtube 4YgPWK-rkZE nolink]
And here is Joel Gilbert speaking about the film’s subject matter: