×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hating Breitbart

Not so much a probing examination as a fulsome celebration, "Hating Breitbart" belies its ironic title by painting an enthusiastically approving portrait of Andrew Breitbart, the aggressively outspoken conservative media critic and agent provocateur.

With:
With: Andrew Breitbart, Orson Bean, Susie Breitbart, James O'Keefe, Max Blumenthal, Andrew Klavan, Matthew Sheffield, Dick Armey, Steve King, Thaddeus McCotter.

Not so much a probing examination as a fulsome celebration, “Hating Breitbart” belies its ironic title by painting an enthusiastically approving portrait of Andrew Breitbart, the aggressively outspoken conservative media critic and agent provocateur. Documentarian Andrew Marcus obviously intended to provide a slickly packaged counterpoint to his subject’s many critics by depicting Breitbart as an admirable, even heroic figure. But Breitbart’s sudden death at age 43 earlier this year — only fleetingly acknowledged here during the closing credits — makes it difficult to perceive the pic as anything but a hagiographic eulogy. As such, only friends and admirers likely will take notice.

Breitbart comes across here as an unabashedly pugnacious, boisterous fellow who delights in challenging various “narratives” he claims are promulgated by an overwhelmingly liberal mainstream media. (That he frequently sprinkles F-bombs in his verbal salvos accounts for the pic’s arguably unjustified R rating.)

He seems especially incensed by accusations that Tea Party members and like-minded right-wingers are by their very nature racist in their thoughts, words and deeds. Time and again, he pushes back with video packages and passionately written screeds on his blog and other online outlets. And he’s not afraid of public in-your-face confrontations with journalists whose tactics he criticizes, or hecklers who can’t think on their feet as quickly as he can.

In terms of preaching to the converted, “Hating Breitbart” is practically a textbook example of a spirit-lifting, rabble-rousing cinematic sermon; its potential to attract crossover auds is, at best, minimal.

On the other hand, the docu conceivably could have a long shelf-life in college media studies courses as a teaching tool. One does not have to agree with Breitbart or his politics to acknowledge that the pic offers some morsels of food for thought as it presents Breitbart’s side of the story while cataloguing various controversies in which he has been involved, including his support of self-styled journalist James O’Keefe’s “expose” of Acorn. Arguments over what constitutes “selective editing,” and whether the lack of video documentation automatically disproves an accusation, are particularly thought-provoking, and could inspire spirited classroom debate.

Overall, “Hating Breitbart” is conspicuously parsimonious when it comes to providing biographical info about its subject. For all his on-camera bluster, Breitbart reveals relatively little about himself, other than repeatedly bragging that he enjoys good fights while pressing back against mainstream media, and limits himself to public displays of only two emotional extremes (jocularity and righteous indignation).

Two interviewees clearly sympathetic to Breitbart introduce provocative notions that, unfortunately, receive only cursory consideration.

Actor Orson Bean — Breitbart’s father-in-law and, evidently, philosophical mentor — suggests that he helped steer Breitbart away from “lefty” leanings by lending his future son-in-law an unnamed book by Rush Limbaugh. (This anecdote will be all the more amusing to anyone who recalls Bean’s own political transformation after being blacklisted during the 1950s.)

Elsewhere, writer Andrew Klavan praises Breitbart as “a Fred Astaire media pundit.” But he kinda-sorta undercuts the compliment by claiming that, had Astaire been born at another time, his talent would be underappreciated, and the dancer-actor himself “would be obscure.”

Klavan’s point: Just as Astaire was perfectly well suited to succeed during his heyday, Breitbart was the right man in the right place at the right time. But, perhaps inadvertently, Klavan raises a question that “Hating Breitbart” doesn’t adequately address: What, if any, lasting impact will be Andrew Breitbart’s legacy?

Popular on Variety

Hating Breitbart

Documentary

Production: A Rocky Mountain Pictures release of a Pixel & Verse production in association with Speakeasy Video and Filmcrest Entertainment. Produced by Andrew Marcus, Maura Flynn, Evan Coyne Maloney, T.H.S. Nolte. Executive producer, Beverly Zaslow. Directed by Andrew Marcus.

Crew: Camera (color), Joseph Farris; editor, Michael Kadela; music, Chris Loesch; art director, Sean Salter; sound, Adam Frick; associate producers, Jeffery M. Bella, Jim Hoft, Michael Kadela, Jay Schlossberg, Allan Sluis, Chad Swenson. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Oct. 31, 2012. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Andrew Breitbart, Orson Bean, Susie Breitbart, James O'Keefe, Max Blumenthal, Andrew Klavan, Matthew Sheffield, Dick Armey, Steve King, Thaddeus McCotter.

More Film

  • The Irishman

    Film News Roundup: 'The Irishman' Wins Capri Film Festival Screenplay Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Steven Zaillian’s script for “The Irishman” wins an award, MGM hires a trio of marketing execs, MTV Documentary Films sets three new projects; and “The Caretaker of Lorne Field” is becoming a movie. AWARDS Steven Zaillian’s screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will receive the best original screenplay award at [...]

  • Saturday Fiction

    'Saturday Fiction' Yanked From China's Golden Rooster Film Festival on Eve of Debut

    Just a day before its scheduled China debut, director Lou Ye’s latest film, “Saturday Fiction,” has been pulled from its slot as the opener of the mainland’s Golden Rooster Film Festival because of unspecified “internal production problems,” according to Chinese film website Mtime. Speculation has been spreading online that it will also be yanked from [...]

  • DeVon Franklin

    DeVon Franklin Signs First-Look Deal at Paramount Pictures

    DeVon Franklin has signed a first-look producing deal at Paramount Pictures. Under his Franklin Entertainment banner, Franklin previously produced inspirational and faith-based films, including this year’s “Breakthrough,” starring Chrissy Metz, as well as “Miracles From Heaven,” with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, and the animated film “The Star,” toplined by Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Oprah [...]

  • Harriet Movie BTS

    'Harriet' Costume Designer Paul Tazewell on How He Crafted Harriet Tubman's Look

    For many, Harriet Tubman’s journey is one we’re taught about in school. We know she’s a heroine, an abolitionist who led slaves to their freedom via the underground railroad. Unless you’ve read the books by Kate Clifford Larson or Beverly Lowry, “We didn’t receive the whole story,” says costume designer Paul Tazewell. Until now. Kasi [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    ViacomCBS Sets HR and Inclusion Chiefs

    ViacomCBS has named corporate heads of HR and inclusion as the companies prepare for the merger that is set to close early next month. The soon-to-combine Viacom and CBS have tapped Nielsen alum Nancy Phillips to serve as exec VP and chief people officer. Viacom alum Marva Smalls will serve as global head of inclusion, [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba to Star in 'The Harder They Fall' for Netflix

    Idris Elba will star alongside Jonathan Majors in “The Harder They Fall,” a Netflix movie that will be produced by Jay-Z. The film follows outlaw Nat Love (Majors), who discovers that the man (Elba) who killed his parents two decades ago is being released from prison and decides to reunite with his gang to track [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content