Let’s be honest with ourselves: We’re not going to see Stephen K. Bannon’s ridiculous-looking Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated. (In fact, maybe no one is going to see it.) For one thing, it’s Harry Potter weekend. And for another, well, considering that the word that comes up most often in reviews of the film is “hagiographic,” we’re pretty sure it’s not going to teach us much. More entertaining, as far as we can tell, are critics’ responses. So far, one reviewer has commented on Andrew Breitbart’s seeming familiarity with male anatomy, while another suggests that the videographer should have gone to the bathroom before the shoot. The five funniest reactions we could find are after the jump.
Andrew Breitbart: a man who knows his wieners: “As head cheerleader, Breitbart knows it’s less important to celebrate his heroine than emasculate her opponents, who in this case include the Republican establishment, those old white men who stand back while Palin is attacked. ‘Where is their sense of chivalry?’ sputters the knight who destroyed the career of Shirley Sherrod with a mendaciously edited video. ‘I see eunuchs,’ he sneers, repeating the word twice more to make certain it hits home. This is a man with an eye for wieners.” — David Edelstein, New York
Did the videographer have to pee or something? Faster than the speed of thought, The Undefeated is a history lesson designed for students with minimal attention spans. Bannon strives to give every scene an insistently propulsive pace, relying heavily on smash cuts, skittish pans and self-conscious switches between color and black-and-white. Helmer overhypes much of his archival footage and almost drowns out some of his interviewees with the sort of thunderous music one normally hears only in movies when astronauts are preparing to blow up meteors. The interviews are shot in a swervy, jerky manner that may be intended to come across as dynamic, but actually appear to indicate the videographer was barely suppressing nature’s call. — Joe Leydon, Variety
Psychedelic clip art: “The near-two-hour runtime is fleshed out with filler shots that are the video equivalent of clip art — discussions of the need for budget cuts come with a glimpse of money being set aflame, and talk of Palin being attacked in the press is accompanied by footage of an angry crowd shouting at the camera. These inserts get wilder and more dreamlike as the film goes along — lions hunting down and eating a zebra, a man with his head in a hedge, two businessmen smiling at each other while hiding weapons behind their backs, a knight getting shot with an arrow — until viewers are left to wonder if it’s all actually some sort of vehicle for subliminal messaging.” — Alison Willmore, A.V. Club
As long as knows how to love, we know she’ll stay alive: “As David Cebert’s ominous score sets the tone, Bannon unleashes a speedy montage of Palin hatred from across the media spectrum, from celebrity indictments (Matt Damon, famously calling Palin’s vice presidential nomination ‘a really bad Disney movie’) to equally annoyed Facebook posters. As if the polemics weren’t clear enough, Bannon then repeats them at an even faster pace before segueing into the serene credit sequence, which displays home video of a young Palin underscored by a soulful rendition of ‘The Minstrel Boy’ (an Irish folk song that contains the telling line, ‘no chain shall sully thee’). Bannon could have just as easily played ‘I Will Survive.'” — Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
This feels familiar… “There was a 1969 John Wayne movie which Rock Hudson led an exodus of unreconstructed Confederates as they fled south to Mexico rather than accept the government by Yankees in Washington at the end of the Civil War. Considering the audience this Undefeated is pandering to, that’s too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.” — Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel