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VIDEO: Tea Party film creator says it is half Sopranos, half Capra

“The justice of man is rot,” which is why the Tea Party has swerved clear of traditional left-wing Hollywood and made its own contribution to the pop-culture U.S. history canon.

Dexter Cooke
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 25, 2011

“The justice of man is rot,” which is why the Tea Party has swerved clear of traditional left-wing Hollywood and made its own contribution to the pop-culture U.S. history canon. Courage, New Hampshire, is a one-hour drama made by Tea Partiers for Tea Partiers that shines out with Christian faith and American exceptionalism and the unfettered right to bear muskets. After debuting Sunday in Monrovia, California, it heads straight to DVD.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the makers of the film, James Patrick Riley and Jonathan Wilson, are pitching Courage as a TV pilot to conservative online outlets such as Glenn Beck’s GBTV and Kelsey Grammer’s Right Network.

The genesis of the project reads like satire: Riley and Wilson reportedly met through the Pasadena Tea Party chapter. Wilson founded the group and recruited Riley to perform as Patrick Henry at one of the group’s events. Apparently, fired with Tea Party patriotism, the two men decided to take the experience to the screen.

Riley said he’s looking to mix the “narrative tension of The Sopranos and the redemptive, heroic American exceptionalism of Frank Capra.”

Wilson said that although many of the actors are Tea Partiers, some are not, so he pledged there would be no politics on the set.

That kind of pledge might look something like the Tea Party 2010 congressional campaign season in Colorado’s hotly contested CD4, where Tea Parters kept inviting Democratic incumbent Betsy Markey to Tea Party candidate forums. “We’re not Republican or Democrat,” they made sure to say at the opening to each event, but Markey politely and wisely declined to show.

Hollywood Reporter on the Tea Party movie:

“I was surprised to learn how many Tea Partiers there are in Hollywood,” Riley said. “Most won’t talk about it, though.”

Riley and Wilson will likely pluck the writers and directors of future Courage episodes from those ranks of Hollywood Tea Partiers, though Riley adds: “We’ll hire anyone who can get the job done. We have cast members who are raging leftists.”

The first episode of Courage is subtitled “The Travail of Sarah Pine” and stars Alexandra Oliver as a colonial woman who accuses a British soldier of the crime of “bastardy.”

And he figures Hollywood is probably against him, given its antagonism to Tea Partiers. He even debated the topic with Mitchell Hurwitz when the creator of Arrested Development visited his farm once.

“The Tea Party came up and he was a little dismissive and I told him I was a part of it,” Riley said. “He thought it was all about guarding our pocket books at all costs.”

Riley said he didn’t even bother pitching the show to traditional TV outlets.

“They wouldn’t get it, or trust us. We know we’re new, and we’d like to prove ourselves on our own, without focus groups or leftist-orthodoxies telling us which stories to tell,” Riley said.

“Most TV sitcoms and dramas tend to depict conservatives and traditionalists and people of faith as halfwits. That tactic lost its edge about four decades ago and we think it’s time to turn the tables,” he said.

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Dexter Cooke | He is an orthopedic surgeon who insists that a physician's first priority should be patient care. He specializes in minimally invasive complete knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures that reduce pain and recovery time. He graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a medical degree and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine.


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