Since he created “Beavis & Butthead” and made “Idiocracy,” Mike Judge is pretty much one of my favorite people around. But he is also an unlikely conservative hero, something I wasn’t aware of until “The Goode Family” dropped. It was then that my personal favorite insane right-wing site Big Hollywood started championing Judge as a True Conservative Artist, something that wasn’t so clear during the “Beavis & Butthead” era. Big Hollywood’s basic tenets are simple: Hollywood is run by stupid liberals enforcing a strict blacklist on conservatives. Barack Obama is a Marxist who may not have been born in this country. “The Hurt Locker” is a piece of anti-Army propaganda. And so on.
“The Goode Family” — the only Mike Judge product ever not to have its staunch defenders — was an ABC show that ran from May 27th to August 7th, mostly on the Friday night dead zone. The reason Big Hollywood loved it was because it was supposed to puncture liberal holy grails — a granola-munching family so obtuse they’d sport a bumper sticker reading “Support The Troops…And Their Opponents,” etc. Even the movement’s own fanbase wasn’t thrilled by the show — apparently, it’s kind of lame — but that retroactively transformed Judge into some kind of conservative trailblazer, sparking the bright light of truth in the darkness of liberal dogma.
So Big Hollywood is pumped for “Extract,” not least because Judge has been giving interviews in which he talks about how, after “Beavis & Butthead” hit, “I suddenly had 50 people working for me, and I started to sympathize with bosses I’d had and realized, ‘This is not easy.'” This probably doesn’t mean Judge is a union-busting zealot, but hey, whatever makes for ideological consistency. If anything, I suspect Judge — like, say, John Carpenter — is a cranky libertarian with a healthy non-political pessimism about human nature.
But it doesn’t matter if Judge is really (in the creepy blog phrase that unconsciously quotes 1932’s “Freaks”) “one of us.” Because Big Hollywood has seen “Extract” — the Judge comedy opening Friday — and it approves. This isn’t very surprising: aside from BH’s editor-in-chief John Nolte — who’s ideologically driven, but fair enough to concede he found “Che” repugnant, but riveting — the site’s reviews tend to toe a straight party line. But I find this review curious for one reason: writer Carl Kozlowski saw it in advance of release. This means he presumably got invited to an advance screening, quite possibly by either a friend in publicity (he’s a working comedian) or by someone promoting the film. Which quite possibly means someone at Miramax picked up on the fact that Judge has an ideologically-based conservative following, and reached out to quietly play up the film to that crowd. Which is niche marketing of a surprisingly sharp degree. If so, well played, Miramax.