48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2014
As this movie postulates, the mentors from Obama's past include some very radical figures, including Frank Marshall Davis, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Edward Said, and Roberto Unger. I would add to this list the team of Cloward and Piven and Alynsky. Not one of these people have much good to say about the United States and its citizens. As I continue to watch what Obama does instead of listening to his oratory, it is clear that these figures have had a lasting effect on Obama's world view and true feelings toward the USA.
Many listen to Obama's words and believe that he has tempered his radical mentoring with love of country and a firm understanding and respect for the Constitution. I would argue that Obama and his attorney general Holder have used the government as a political and economic weapon to stifle investigations into corruption at the IRS, weapons smuggling by the BATFE, wiretapping of the press and botched foreign intelligence gathering and protection of diplomatic staff in Benghazi.
The film argues that Obama wants to reduce significantly the U.S.'s influence within the world while increasing the influence of nations that he believes have suffered or been held back economically or militarily due to U.S. and Western domination. This grand accomplishment of moral relativism would be a charming legacy for Obama and those who support him, which is over half of the US electorate. Perhaps, in their minds, it would right some of the wrongs from our nation's past treatment of Indians, Vietnamese, and Banana Republics.
What is unfortunate about this naivete is that where US leadership and moral courage falter (imperfect as it might be), the vacuum is filled by nations and powers with far worse intent than the US, and with no morals to be relativistic about. Unfortunately, this feckless paradigm seems to be growing among the political royalty in Washington, and on both sides of the aisle.
203 of 253 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2012
For those unfamiliar with the premise, 2016: Obama's America follows bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza's carefully chosen steps as he travels the world in an attempt to better understand Barack Obama. The journey takes him from the Hawaiian Islands to Indonesia; from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya to the seat of the world's largest superpower in Washington, D.C. Along the way he interviews relatives, scholars, and other sources of information on Obama's life.
This movie should not be mistaken for a conspiracy theorist's quest for truth on Obama. There are no baseless charges or accusations based on the place of Obama's birth, religion or college transcripts. In fact, about fifteen minutes into D'Souza's film he matter-of-factly states Obama was born in Hawaii, as was reported by two Hawaiian newspapers on the day of his birth. Even Slate's Dave Weigel begrudgingly acknowledges D'Souza stands on "mostly solid" ground, steering clear of conspiracy charges making rounds in conservative circles.
Instead, D'Souza intentionally traces the steps of Obama's upbringing, attempting to explain Obama's sometimes baffling decisions. Decisions like returning a bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain at the beginning of his presidency, delaying the construction of the Keystone pipeline while giving money to South American countries to drill for oil, cherry-picking where to intervene in the Middle East (e.g. using force in Libya but not Iran or Syria), reducing America's nuclear arsenal while making no moves to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons, and reducing NASA's mission to Muslim outreach are all examined. D'Souza's conclusion? Obama is an anti-colonialist.
Anti-colonialism, D'Souza explains, is the worldview that sees America's net effect in the world as bad, not good. It also is the belief that America and European countries got wealthy not through capitalism, entrepreneurship, and innovation, but by exploiting Third World countries and stealing their natural resources.
Through interviews with Obama's father's friends and colleagues, and a close examination of some of Barack Sr.'s written work, D'Souza shows that Obama's father espoused this very worldview. Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, though only married to Barack Sr. for a short time, always loved and respected him. By reading passages from Obama's book, Dreams from My Father, D'Souza shows that Ann passed many of Obama's father's beliefs to our president when they lived in Indonesia with her second husband during Obama's childhood.
As Obama grew older, he began associating himself only with leftwing radicals. A passage from Dreams reveals Obama picked his friends "carefully", choosing to associate himself only with those who shared his political and cultural beliefs.
Some of these associations are just scary. Frank Marshall Davis became a close mentor of Obama's during his formative years. In Dreams from My Father, Obama mentions Davis numerous times attesting to their close relationship. Davis was a Communist Party member who was under constant surveillance by the FBI, who had direct orders to pick him up immediately if war ever broke out between the Soviet Union and the United States. Of course, there are also the more well-known associations of Obama like Bill Ayers, the known leftwing terrorist, and Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of more than 20 years. The relationships between these men and Obama are all explored at length during the film.
Some of the interviews in the movie score major points. While in Kenya, D'Souza brings one of Obama's father's wives three goats for the right to talk to talk to her (even though her speaking fee was just one). She quickly turns cold, however, after a phone call and tells Dinesh he must leave. Many of Obama's father's friends and relatives who met Barack when he visited Kenya after his father's death, describe the father's and son's ideology as identical. This is especially chilling after D'Souza shows an article authored by Barack Sr. in which he states it would be theoretically okay to tax people with tax rates as high as 100% as long as they were compensated in return with commensurate government services.
D'Souza's coup de grace has to be his time spent with Obama's half-brother George Obama. George is also a scholar of sorts having authored a book a couple of years ago. Unfortunately for George, however, he deviates from the family's anti-colonialist beliefs; thus he is largely ostracized from his family and lives on a couple bucks a day in a small hut in Nairobi, Kenya.
George believes that white people, meaning Americans and Europeans, were good for the development of Third World countries. He even goes as far to say that white people were even a net positive in countries like South Africa, where the native population was oppressed and discriminated against for centuries by their colonialists. For proof, George points to the economic development of countries like South Korea, Singapore and South Africa which were once on economic par with Kenya but have now far surpassed the economic prowess of the central African country mired in poverty.
The end of the movie turns into a horror show as D'Souza speculates what Obama might wish to do in a second term. In short: You ain't seen nothin' yet. With good reason, D'Souza believes we will see higher taxes, more spending, more attempts to lower the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. and no resistance to our enemies building their arsenals. Most frighteningly, D'Souza fears a United States of Islam might emerge in the Middle East, isolating Israel even more from the rest of the world.
Credit is also due to Dinesh: He lets you see when he falls short. Throughout the course of the interview with George Obama, D'Souza tries to get George to say that Barack should help him more. Instead, George gently demurs and states that he is an adult and perfectly capable of taking care of himself. George says that Barack has enough on his plate without having to help his half-brother he only met once a long time ago. Instead of editing this bit out, however, D'Souza leaves it in, confident enough to let you in on his shortcomings.
This is where the similarities to Michael Moore end. While the documentary employs the same slick editing and fast pace of a Moore documentary, it employs none of the ambush/gotcha-style interview tactics commonly seen in Moore's films.
As I write this 2016 has surpassed the $20 million mark in ticket revenues, making it the fifth largest political documentary of all-time. To say that the low cost endeavor, with virtually no promotional backing but heavily-promoted by talk radio, has surpassed expectations would be an understatement. The NY Daily News goes as far to proclaim that the movie has "shocked" industry insiders. For comparison, Rocky Mountain Pictures, the studio behind 2016, had previously never produced a film that surpassed even $12 million.
All in all, D'Souza has given us a highly entertaining and informative feature-length documentary that is well worth the price of admission. Even for someone like me, who follows the news religiously through several mediums, I exited the theater feeling like a I learned a lot about our president, his worldview, and ultimately, where he wants to take the country.
41 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
Having read a variety of D'Souza's previous work and the President's own autobiographies, I found the movie very compelling. Politics aside, this is one man's THEORY of why the POTUS does the things he does and some background on the man himself based on the president's own words and actions, and some opinions of various people around him and from a lot of different places. You can agree with the theory or not, but the movie itself is well made and the subject matter keeps things interesting. Let's face it, most documentaries are prescriptions for a nap and I didn't find that to be the case with this one at all. As far as politics go, liberals will find this as inflammatory as conservatives did "Fahrenheit 911."
PS: I find it interesting that the mainstream media has rabidly gone after Mr. D'Souza for his theories but Michael Moore was lauded for his. Enough of that...vote however you like, just make sure you vote!!
85 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
Documentaries have never been a popular film genre in the U.S. On occasion a rare documentary will capture the attention of the film going public, it will get an increase in hype and the movie will take off at the box office. But for the most part it rarely happens which is sad.
More sad it the recent trend in documentaries to be so over the top one sided that most become more propaganda than actual films about the topic being discussed. Rather than take movies like this to task for some reason, they've been held as the standard for the genre. The most blatant example of these are the films made by Michael Moore. Having won an Oscar for one and having made the most financially successful documentary to date, Moore's films are more about himself and his beliefs than they are about an open minded discussion of ideas seeking a center of the road approach. In Moore's films, it's his way or the highway. The fact that numerous web sites have popped up to show the falsehoods in his films says a lot.
So into this genre comes a new picture. And just like Moore's film FARENHEIT 9/11 which was released only weeks before this country voted for a new President, so has this film been released, in theaters months before hand but now on DVD within a month of the national election for President. That film is 2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA.
I'll admit up front that I tend to lean conservative when it comes to politics but when I'm watching a film I try to judge it based on what it presents, how it presents it and just how misleading it can be. There have been propaganda pieces done by the right as much as by the left. The only difference is that in Hollywood to lean right means to be chastised as out of touch or a traitor so folks rarely have movies made with that political perspective. If you don't think that's true, try telling Stacy Dash.
So when I sat down to watch this film I wanted to see if it was no more than a film much like the ones Moore has made or was it more of a true documentary? I'm glad to say that while it doesn't present President Obama in the best light, it does seem well researched and even handed. Rather than insert insults and caustic comments, the film offers interviews with various participants and allows them to speak for themselves.
Co-writer/co-director/co-producer Dinesh D'Souza based most of the movie on his novel THE ROOTS OF OBAMA'S RAGE. He begins the film by discussing similarities to his life and that of Obama. Both had a foreign parent, both are men of color, both were born in the same year, both went to Ivy League schools and both graduated from those colleges. But their views on this country and how their views were shaped were vastly different. Where D'Souza saw this as a land of opportunity, Obama's views were of a country where America was trying to rule the world rather than present opportunity.
D'Souza focuses much of his research and opinions on the books that Obama wrote, especially DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. In the title alone he theorizes that Obama wasn't writing about dreams presented from his father to him but dreams that his father had. These greatly involved anti-colonialism and in so doing present an image of why he has followed up trying to do some of the things he has done while in office. One example is of his sending a bust of Winston Churchill back to England which many questioned. The reason presented here is that it represented the British Empire which had held his father's land in check for many years.
While the better part of the film is discussing the things that D'Souza researched, it doesn't just stick with his ideas but presents the facts through archived footage of the President as well as interviews with people who knew him and his father. The most talked about interview involves his half brother George, a man living in poverty who has never talked to his half brother nor asked him for anything. This man presents a much different picture of the President's father than we've heard before.
It also leads to a fearful prediction of where this country will go if President Obama is re-elected in 2012. This is the only section where rather than go with straight facts D'Souza theorizes as to what might happen. Granted, he uses the words of those interviewed as well as information well known about the President's past history and who he was shaped by while growing up, but it's still just theory. The good part is that D'Souza never presents it as anything more than that. It's his belief, something Moore never seems to state in his films.
While the movie is well made and well researched, it is sure to cause controversy, more so since the DVD release has been made so close to the election. It is a film that many should watch just to find out things that the major media failed to discover or at least reveal during the election of 2008.
Sadly the film will find supporters that will cheer portions of it blindly thinking of it as an attack film which it definitely is not. Those on the other side of the fence will condemn the film and talk about how it's filled with lies while never viewing it. Rather than allow the far ends of either right or left make the decision for you, I would suggest that people watch the film and make up their own minds. I would also suggest that rather than except anything seen as pure fact, do more research and find out the answers to the questions it raises. In any event, this is one film that should be seen.