'American Sniper' criticism makes for amusing theater

"American Sniper"

Sienna Miller, Clint Eastwood, center, and Bradley Cooper arrive at the "American Sniper" New York Premiere on Dec. 15, 2014. (Theo Wargo, Getty Images / December 15, 2014)

I've got to admit that it has been a barrel of fun watching the political left get its "Je suis Charlie" all tied up in knots over the movie "American Sniper."

They're tweeting and making angry faces, insisting that the movie is not appropriate history. And generally their antics have been quite amusing.

I'm trying to imagine them as they might have been eons ago, in prehistoric times. Hairier perhaps, shorter of bone, shouting aggressively at the shadow puppets flickering on the wall of the main cave after a feast because they didn't much like the story.

"American Sniper" is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who is said to have been the deadliest sniper in American military history.

It is a huge box office success, pulling in over $107 million in its first four days. I saw it just the other day and I liked it, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think.

Not only do conservatives like the movie, but people who aren't all that overtly political are paying good money to see it too. You might know the type.

President Barack Obama once dismissed them (rather tolerantly, he must have thought) by saying they're really simple folk who can't help but "cling to their guns and their religion."

And they're the ones the U.S. calls upon when it's time to kill the bad guys.

Yet as Americans flock to this movie, we should realize that some see it as a sign of aggression. Liberal American Internet organs pulsate with criticism, but it was the Guardian — a British paper of leftist politics yet unassailable soccer coverage — that led the pack.

"The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer," railed the Guardian. "Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?"

Why?

Because he killed the enemy and he didn't whine about it.

"My uncle killed by sniper in WW2," tweeted Michael Moore, the liberal filmmaker. "We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse."

Moore wasn't alone. Comedian Seth Rogen also ripped the film initially. They then backtracked their comments, and the backpedaling only added to the theater.

Others jumped in, insisting that Kyle wasn't a hero, arguing that he was a racist, or at least an unwitting totem of American jingoism.

Naturally, Republicans started calling the left a bunch of wusses, and Sarah Palin started swinging, rhetorically, and now they're all happily slugging the figurative guts out of each other in name of freedom of expression.

I don't want to spoil the film so I'll tread carefully here, but was Cooper's work Oscar worthy?

Yes.

But does the movie glorify Kyle as a hero?

No.

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