My son is an auto tech and car enthusiast as well as a lover of speed (sufficiently to get him in trouble), so when he told me that I should see “Ford v Ferrari” and that he loved it, it was no surprise. I knew nothing about the film other than its title: no reviews, no background. My son said he would eagerly see it again, and was our guide as my wife and I attended a New Year’s Day afternoon showing (which was packed, incidentally.)
To get the basics out of the way up front, “Ford v Ferrari” is a wonderful movie. It immediately takes its place as one of the great sports movies of all time (with “Rocky,” The Natural,” “Hoosiers,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Sea Biscuit,” and a few others we could argue about), but it is also just a great movie. Christian Bale is astonishing, as usual, and the rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, as is the direction, film editing and screenplay. It is the best film I have see this year, easily leaving such critic’s favorites as “The Irishman” and “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” in the dust. That, however, is beside the point….
- I realized about half-way through that the film, though not overtly political in any way (it is the mostly true story of how Ford built a car that bested Ferrari at Le Mans in the Sixties) encapsulated perfectly why President Trump is likely to win next November.
I also realized that most, if not all, of the Democratic candidates wouldn’t understand the film at all, or its message to a vast number of Americans.
- Most of them would hate the film and what it stands for. The film extols automobiles, after all: you know, those fossil fuel-dependent monsters that are speeding the climate changes that will kill us, as Joe Biden so sagely says. It celebrates risk-taking, courage, determination, innovation, individualism and contempt for authority, all characteristics that arise from toxic masculinity.
Worse, perhaps, is that it highlights American exceptionalism in its truest form, showing a American company setting out to beat a foreign competitor at its own game on its own turf….and succeeding with some in-your-face audacity.
- Predictably, “woke” film reviewers didn’t like the movie.Bloomberg writer Hannah Elliott sniffed,“This is a film celebrating those nostalgic golden days when white men ruled. No fraction of the storyline is devoted to parsing the thoughts and feelings of any female who appears, even peripherally, on screen.”No “of color” characters either, because, you see, the story is about white guys. The Horror. Me, I don’t care what color, nationality or gender the characters in a story are, as long as the story moves, teaches and inspires me. People like Elliot, however, are so consumed with counting EEOC categories to develop a diversity index that they are incapable of feeling what any healthy member of this society and culture should feel.
Elliott also complains, for example, that “Ford v Ferrari” makes a hero out of legendary auto designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who apart from his achievements in his field, was a notorious womanizer, a gun-loving big game hunter, was once sued for sexual harassment. He should be “cancelled,” not lionized.
- The whole movie wears a metaphorical MAGA hat. No, not the “Make America Great Again” message of the “resistance” Big Lie purveyors, who who deliberately distort “great” into meaning something bigoted and shameful. The “G” in MAGA stands for American values and character, not race. It stands for pride, ambition, confidence, courage and success.
So does “Ford v. Ferrari.”
- Writes James Jay Carafano for the Heritage Foundation (I read this after seeing the film, but I knew someone would see the light),
The bottom line: Ford made American race cars great again. And the way he did it is an object lesson in the wonders of the free market capitalist system. An abundance of data shows that economic freedom delivers the best outcomes for human communities—better education, better healthcare, a better environment. But it also is an incredibly powerful vehicle for human expression, innovation, productivity and prosperity.
The free market gave us more than Ford Mustangs. From Apple watches to Alexa, the free market keeps delivering new and better goods and services.
Today, free markets are under assault from corrupt predatory economics, like those practiced by the Communist Chinese Party. They are bad-mouthed by Gen Z know-nothings who think socialism is cool. And they are dissed as “inefficient” by economic nationalists who promise government can run the economy better, if only we let them—rather than the market—pick economic winners and losers.
And that’s what makes a film like Ford v Ferrari so right for our times. It reminds us that when Americans unleash the constructive power of capitalism, we can accomplish great things.
And, okay, maybe it is time for boomers like me to give the next generations their turn. But as they grasp the wheel, they would do well to remember what previous generations achieved with the American model and to think hard before they discard the principles and tools that unleashed the best of human potential.
- We can say and think what we want about Donald Trump. Whatever his flaws and character pathologies, he would understand this movie, what it says about our nation, its history, its culture, and yes, its greatness. I believe that nobody should be President who doesn’t understand these these things. It should be a baseline requirement.
If the Democrats were smart and competently committed and connected to our culture as they should be, the party would require all of their candidates to see the movie, more than once if necessary, and attend a training session to explain it to them.
They won’t, of course. They don’t know what makes America and Americans great any more. “Ford v. Ferrari” could help them, if they only would open their eyes.
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