×
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

  • Inhabited

    ‘Inhabited,’ ‘Sisters,’ ‘Aracne’ Stand Out at Sanfic Industria Prize Gala

    Friday night saw Sanfic Industria close out a week of co-production meetings, screenings and tutoring with an awards ceremony where a handful of the 34 projects and six works in progress at this year’s 6th edition were recognized. In addition to the awards ceremony, Friday night’s festivities included a 10th anniversary party for the partnership between CinemaChile [...]

  • DSCF6823.RAF

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Heads for $20 Million Opening Weekend

    Lionsgate and Millennium’s “Angel Has Fallen” is performing above expectations, taking in $7.9 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales as it heads to a projected $20 million opening weekend. Early estimates originally placed the third installment of the “Fallen” series within the $12 million to $16 million range, but a solid 95% audience score on [...]

  • Juntos

    Juntos Films Production House Launches in Chile with Ambitious Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Francisco Hervé of Panchito Films, Moisés Sepúlveda from Madriguera Films and Daniela Raviola, three of Chile’s most exciting international-minded independent producers, have together launched a new indie production house, Juntos Films. Hervé has written, directed (“The Power of Speech,” “The Lost City”) and produced (María Paz González ‘s “Daughter”) several feature films, documentaries and TV [...]

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content