Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean speculated about what has motivated people to flock to movie theaters in droves to see “American Sniper,” the movie about the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
“There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry,” Dean said on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday.
“This guy basically says, ‘I’m going to fight on your side,'” Dean said of Kyle, who was the most prolific sniper in U.S. military history. The legendary sniper was murdered at a Texas gun range in 2013.
“I bet you if you looked at the cross-section of the tea party and people who see this movie there’s a lot of intersection,” the former governor of Vermont continued.
The Clint Eastwood-directed film, which is nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, has earned nearly $200 million at the box office since its release last week, making it one of the highest-grossing films ever released during the month of January.
The movie, in which Kyle is played by Bradley Cooper, has generated outrage from many on the left who see it as pro-war. Filmmaker Michael Moore criticized the movie, calling snipers “cowards.”
Maher described the movie as: “American hero, he’s a psychopath patriot and we love him.”
Like Dean, Maher saw the film as merely a one-dimensional imperialistic portrait of life during war time.
But another panelist, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, had a different takeaway from the movie.
“I can’t believe you came away with that impression of the film,” said Stephens. “What I saw was a movie that treats what veterans and soldiers go through in a way that was subtle. It was not just about war, it was about PTSD, it was about what the wives of soldiers go through.”