Last Ounce of Courage is a 2012 movie about how the struggle of American Christians to celebrate Christmas is very much like -if not exactly- like, fighting in a war. I’m not trying to be cute. That’s exactly what this is, sincerely, and I need you to understand that before we talk about it. It was made by people who think you think Christmas, the popular thing everyone loves, is against the law to celebrate.
This terrible, embarrassing film was endorsed by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, which helped it lose more money than any movie has ever lost, but we’ll get into that later. More importantly, it was the first and only theatrical motion picture to receive the “Chuck Norris Seal of Approval,” something previously only awarded to flex-crotched Karate jeans. The point is, if you know anything about filmmaking or philosophy, you already know the “Chuck Norris Seal of Approval” is the same amount of prestige as a medal saying “Subway’s Jared Liked My Family Photo.”
Chuck Norris’ ancestors died for my freedom to experience a light-to-moderate amount of Christmas decorations, and in their honor I will place the “Chuck Norris Seal of Approval” on every Last Ounce of Courage screenshot I share, maybe on everything I ever make for the rest of my life. In fact, I just checked with the hospital and they don’t have a rule against renaming my daughter Chuck Norris Approved Karate Jeans Reiley. Plus, hospital administrators are not like lawyers– it’s totally free to ask as many questions as you want. It would have cost me $900 to get this much athlete’s foot advice from my lawy– hold on, it sounds like Chuck Norris Approved Karate Jeans just broke something important.
I’m back. It was just a DVD player, which I was going to retire anyway after it courageously faced down Last Ounce of Courage. Let’s talk about it!
The movie opens with a Ronald Reagan quote about the necessity and virtue of war, which is the tone this movie uses to handle celebrating Christmas. It is your blood duty to enjoy this sacred holiday, and your life could not be better spent than its defense. Does that sound crazy? That you might need to willingly die to protect Christmas? Then get the fuck out of here. This movie isn’t for you. As for the rest of you heroes, take now your Christmas pills and die knowing your sacrifice will be the bullet to finally kill Halloween.
If you followed instructions, you’re dead, but I’m going to keep going anyway. The first seven minutes of Last Ounce of Courage are a sledgehammer of tragedy. A family sends their son off to a distant war for reasons no one mentions or understands, he gets killed, they have a sad, expensive funeral, and their family is torn apart. It’s a lot of great examples of why war is actually bad, but this movie is about as self-aware as a… oh man, let me think of something ridiculous… as a movie about the struggle to experience Christmas.
I should mention that one of the film’s two directors cast himself as a mysterious cowboy haunting the background of every scene so far.
Despite many closeups of himself and his family crying, the main character, Bob Revere, explains how sad he is in a voiceover. He accidentally spells out the mindset of the target audience when he says all he wants is for everyone to stop what they’re doing and understand the pain he’s feeling. The filmmakers think “give me attention and pity me,” is how a hero processes grief. It’s how Ronald Reagan would watch his horse die. It’s how Meghan McCain would drink from a paper holiday cup without an image of the Christ child breaching the birth canal.
We cut to 14 years later, and we see Bob Revere working at a pharmacy when a group of bikers storm in. It’s his old motorcycle club, The Hellfighters, and they need to treat a gunshot wound. Their leader is a little person who they carry around like they just won him at the carnival.
Bob agrees not to report the gunshot wound to the police and they all hug. Both directors seem to have given the note “Hug like the manly love you feel for each other hurts. Hug like there is so much emotion inside you it might rupture from your virgin anus, like our Lord baby God on a real Christmas paper cup.” Every actor makes use of this note, and they all embrace with a grim combination of passion and confusion.
These men hug like men. Sometimes small men, but with the insecure masculinity of an emotionally neglected son twice their size.
If this was better art, you’d think these were desperate men in love, tormented by a secret the town of Mount Columbus is too small to understand. All these platonic embraces between powerful men on the edge of tears reminds Bob of what he used to do with his dead boy.
Bob Revere’s grandson, Christian, has moved back to town after many years. He greets his estranged grandpa with a 12-step high five like a teenager in a Christian movie, and Bob mistakes it for an LA gang handshake. With their characters fully developed the plot gets underway.
The family watches home videos taken of Christian’s father as a child, doing normal kid things like reading his favorite Gideon Bible and celebrating Christmas in full shepherd cosplay. Christian asks , “So why don’t people do Christmas like that anymore? With the shepherds and everything.” It’s not a bad question.
Bob Revere responds, “Well, for a long time, people were trying to pass laws trying to get rid of Christmas altogether.” Christian never gets a chance to follow up on how… theatrical nativity performances in private homes were stopped by… uncited, unpassed laws? Instead, the tape cuts to his dad leaving for war. So the mom filmed seven seconds of her son reading a Bible, four seconds of him in a wise man costume, and then nothing until he got on a bus to war fifteen years later. You know, like a normal Earth home movie.
Christian goes through his dead father’s footlocker and takes his treasured childhood Bible. Then the movie immediately cuts to him in the principal’s office where he’s in trouble for bringing some kind of contraband to school! Is it drugs? No, worse. This is going to shock you, but it was the Bible from earlier. His mother, grandfather, neighbor, and a policeman have all been called in to deal with this extremely serious matter. It would have been less subtle if each actor crawled out of the television to spit the black liquid form of these words into your open mouth: “THEY ARE COMING FOR YOUR BIBLE NEXT!”
Christian is let off with a warni– oh, “Christian.” I just got that. He’s let off with a warning, and he lingers outside the principal’s office to complain about his religious liberties, like a hero. “It’s a stupid rule,” he tells his family, and suddenly he is interrupted by every movie trope at the same time.
A magically wise black school janitor, Leonard, appears to tell them this ban on Bibles? It’s barely a policy, much less a rule. He adds, “They can have their Bibles here if they want to. They’re just a bunch of cowards.” This movie is amazing. This is the fourth time they’ve complained about their rights being taken away from them by people who didn’t and couldn’t take their rights away from them.
Bob Revere goes back into the principal’s office and whines, “Rusty, is there an actual rule that you can’t bring a Bible into school?”
Principal Rusty shrugs, “Well, no! But I don’t want any trouble. You can’t take any chances these days, Bob. Everybody’s looking for a reason to sue us!” He’s done thinking and talking about it. The scene just sort of ends with him taking a phone call while Bob gives him his toughest little frown, holding his dead baby boy’s Bible.
We cut to the family at home with the teenage neighbor girl, and they’re all enjoying FOX News together. They are glued to the screen while Bill O’Reilly reports on some coastal elite town cutting Christmas cheer by 4%. So this film is not set in a fictional world where Christmas is under attack. This is set in our world where “Christmas is under attack.” And so you’re clear on how I feel, this is insanity beneath anyone’s contempt. If you think the billion dollar industry with its own season, music genre, movie genre, TV genre, drug store aisle, and cuisine is “under attack” you’re as wrong as a person can be. You’re stupid as shit, on purpose, and anyone indulging your opinion on anything should be getting paid as a mental health care worker or beating you back through a portal to the backwards universe you came from. Fuck you.
Bill O’Reilly tells viewers, “We’re living in a time when some retail outlets will not say Merry Christmas. Insaaane?” A normal person would see that and say, “Ha ha ha what? Did he– ha ha I can’t believe my grandma had a stroke in front of that guy. Let’s definitely not put that crazy clip in our feature film.” The makers of Last Ounce of Courage went a different way. They used it as the cue for one of the main characters to switch off the TV and ask his grandpa, “WHAT DID MY DAD DIE FOR, BOB?“
Bob isn’t even offended. He tells his grandson, “He gave his life for his country.”
Christian doesn’t give a shit. He says, “So what are we doing. What are YOU doing!?” I’m not leaving out anything. This is what this family said to each other after a very questionable FOX News report riled them up. And the filmmakers, along with Chuck Norris, think this perfect example of why alarmist media is dangerous is actually wisdom. They think these are the good guys.
Christian’s grandmother tries to calm him down. “Your grandpa was in a very special unit. He rescued prisoners of war,” which is not really how the military is structured. What she’s describing is more exactly Rambo. Which I have no problem with! Rambo rules. I’m only pointing out how strange it is for a movie about the glory and virtue of the American armed services to be written by three civilians who know nothing about the military.
Knowing his grandfather was, again, precisely like Rambo has no effect on him. He screams, “What are you doing NOW!?” Like why isn’t he still rescuing Vietnam War POWs as an elderly man in Colorado? Why isn’t his KA-BAR dripping with the blood of Christmas’ enemies?
“It’s not that easy, kid. What are YOU doing?” counters Bob. Please believe me this is word-for-word what these characters say to each other.
“I’m just one kid.” It’s checkmate.
“Well, I’m just one grandpa.” It’s double fucking triple checkmate.
The neighbor girl breaks the tie by saying, “I think… Chris is right. We should all be doing something.”
And there it is. Nothing has happened to them, no one is after them, and they have to do something about it. Something very much like war. These people are irrationally angry and humiliating themselves in order to protect their happiness and pride, and there will never be a more perfect encapsulation of right wing politics. It’s stunning. It’s clearer than any art could hope to communicate. They set out to save Christmas and they accidentally explained white grievance.
Bob is listening to the radio at work and hears some town renamed their “Christmas Parade” to the “Santa Parade.” He reacts to the news with disbelief and sadness, like a chimpanzee watching an escape artist drown. The children are back home, digging through the attic for something, anything to use to express their heroic interest in Christmas. They find a few random, moldy reindeer toys, but nothi– wait, what’s this? A four foot sign that says “MERRY CHRISTMAS?” This might work.
They hang the sign in full defiance of the unspoken anti-Christmas agenda of their rural Colorado neighbors. In your goddamn faces, friends and neighbors! We went to the Christmas aisle in our local store, bought a product called “Christmas lights,” said “Merry CHRISTMAS” to a nice lady who said it back, and then used those CHRISTMAS lights for their ordinary, intended purpose! We say CHRISTMAS in our home we’d like to see you TRY TO STOP US!
Honestly, I’m just having fun at this point. The last two images perfectly sum up Last Ounce of Courage, and there’s no need for any of this. The movie is off the rails anyway. The next scene is Bob shooting out of bed shouting, “Christian’s right! What am I doing!?” Then he goes on the Internet to do hours of Christmas research, and heads to city hall on a full Christmas rampage. By the way, he’s also the town’s mayor. I’m not sure the movie mentioned that until now.
A military march plays. He takes the American flag off his motorcycle. He growls another voiceover. “I had been a coward. Passive. And even selfish.” It is as dramatic as these filmmakers could make it. This one mother fucking man is going to sacrifice everything to make a difference which ends up being going to the city hall storage closet to unpack the Christmas decorations they already had.
With madness in his eyes, he tells his subordinates everything he learned on the Internet last night. He smugly informs them Christmas is a national holiday, which they didn’t know. He tells them, “A public teacher is allowed to objectively teach about the origins of Christmas… in the classroom! They can. They don’t. But they can.” They can’t believe it each of the several times he explains to them how Christmas is, in fact, legal. You can have Christmas! What are we doing here!? As established by your lived experience, the society we all share, and this movie itself, all of this is for nothing. Every moment of this film and culture war is absolutely and pointlessly insane.
This scene goes on for a very long time.
It won’t fucking stop. He retells his entire seven hours of autoplayed YouTube, and it’s as just baaaaaarely not Nazi as it sounds.
By the end of the scene you will learn 400 ways Christmas isn’t against the law along with how unhealthy it is for a 70-year-old to stay up all night reading right wing conspiracy websites, another thing you already knew.
The scene finally ends, and Bob gets hold of a construction crane to hang the city’s tinsel. He asks his assistant how it looks who replies, “It looks illegal! Are you sure it’s not unconstitutional!?”
Oh Jesus. He said the wrong thing. Bob, as if he was waiting his whole life for this question, RECREATES THE PREVIOUS SCENE ALMOST VERBATIM.
The local media shows up to get a shot of the tinsel and guess what Bob tells the reporter? That’s right! “Christmas is not illegal!” The Vietnam veteran losing his mind from untreated PTSD and insomnia tells the reporter he loves Christmas and wants the town to be known as “The Christmas City!” She hears this and tells her viewers, “You heard right. The mayor’s bringing religion back to this little town.” This news is a bombshell. When it goes out over the air, the band at the local biker bar stops mid-set to hear the TV.
Bob’s not the only one in the family saving Christmas, though. The grandson and the neighbor girl are hatching a scheme to sabotage the junior high school “Winter Space Odyssey,” which is the story of the nativity adapted to be about space aliens. Hilarious, right? It’s exactly what those liberal schools would do! But this frantic stab at satire destroys the stakes of the film. It’s too silly even for a universe where you can be arrested for off-the-books Christmas crimes. And the last thing the messaging of this ridiculous movie needed was for the audience to think, “Wait, maybe they’re kidding?”
So, like teenagers do, the kids try out, learn, and rehearse a middle school play in order to sabotage it with a second play they write and choreograph themselves about Christ’s birth.
Every cast and crew member is in on the plan, and they get together in the attic to Christmas-up the script. For instance, the alien Zandor’s line of, “Not to worry Zindor, it’s been f” becomes…
… “Hello I am an angel.” Those parents hoping to watch a Christmas play won’t know what motherfucking goddamn hit them.
Meanwhile, news of the city-approved tinsel has reached the desk of “The Hammer” played by Fred “The Hammer” Williamson. He’s the leader of an ACLUish group dedicated to defeating Christmas. I’m guessing he was cast because the filmmakers wanted the most intimidating actor they could think of to make their hero look tough. Unfortunately, Bob Revere’s defiant Christmas hero face is the same one he makes when he hugs his son and cries.
You approved this, Chuck Norris? This little crybaby looks like he swallowed his dentures and isn’t going anywhere until he passes them. For what seems like three hours the movie is a series of city council meetings and town halls where Fred Williamson tells them they can’t have Christmas and Bob says “Yeah, huh we can!” I am legitimately astonished I am only 40 minutes into the movie when The Hammer tells Bob, “You are breaking the law,” and Bob says, “Show me the law,” and Fred says, “Well, then you are violating the Constitution,” and Bob says, “Mr. Hammerschmidt, that is a lie and you know it.” This life I have chosen for myself has me looking at the stupidest things Man has ever made all day, every day and I’ve never seen anything like this.
Fred and Bob are both making irrefutable arguments, so let’s check back in with the kids. They are having another secret meeting to go over their plan to adapt the sci-fi parody of Jesus’ birth back into a non-parody of Jesus’ birth for an audience of their parents and no one. One girl, this late in the plan, is just now learning Jesus was not really found by aliens. She adds, “Well, I didn’t know! I’ve never read the Bible!” Parents, educators, children… this is what is at stake. This is why school plays need to be about the gentile, virgin birth of the Christian God.
Bob is in another city council meeting where he rants about all the freedoms being taken away, and gives one example. He tells them how a couple of years ago his son mentioned the word “God” in his valedictorian speech and complains, “Well, today we would be sued by some lone humanist.” That’s his whole speech, which means for the 39th time, the thing that has him aggravated is a time nothing happened to him, but he would find outrageous if it had.
Bob leaves in a big rig to get a Christmas tree, ranting at the radio for playing “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer” which is not real Christmas music. If there’s a reindeer in your song and it isn’t in the barn trying to eat his newborn Lord’s afterbirth, Bob doesn’t count it as Christmas music.
Fred Williamson gets an emergency phone call to inform him about Bob’s plan to get a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree!? Not on his watch, turkey. He organizes a rally of hardcore separation of church and state fans who chant, “SEPARATE! CHURCH AND STATE!” And this is what I was talking about earlier when I said the movie shouldn’t have added the element of satire, because there’s no way these dumbshits are serious.
Hammerschmidt and Bob Revere confront each other at another town hall meeting in a scene where a white actor lectures Fred “The Hammer” Williamson on how a Christmas parade getting renamed is taking his freedoms as a Christian American away. So if you ever need to hurt Fred Williamson’s feelings any time during the rest of his life, remind him he let this happen, for probably about $9000 minus his agent’s fee.
Bob tells the town, again, that Christmas is a national holiday which you can’t change, and he gets a laugh by saying, “That’d be like calling Columbus Day… Great Explorer’s Day!” Then Bob uses the ultimate freedom card. He tells Fred, “As much as I hate what you’re doin’… you’re free to do it. Just like I’m free to celebrate Christmas.” It’s… I don’t know… ironic that the writers created this antagonistic monster and then point out there are similarities between what he’s doing and how we should celebrate Christmas.
Fred has an ultimate card of his own. It’s an envelope containing “a directive” which, if I’m understanding it correctly, takes away the town’s Christmas. Bob leaps to his feet and has to be gently held back from kicking Fred “The Hammer” Williamson’s ass. It’s another perfect digest of the film’s message– losing a make-believe fight and getting really cranky when no one takes your suffering seriously. The Hammer smirks and leaves completely unkicked. Hey, Chuck Norris, maybe you need to explain the process you go through when giving your endorsement. Because this sucks.
Fred Williamson is drunk on imaginary right-wing boogeyman power. He tears down the Christmas tree and crushes its angel topper under his foot. He convinces the “Health Department” to shut down the Mission at the Cross for violating religious iconography statut– oh, I should have mentioned Bob is a Rambo, pharmacist, biker, Facebook uncle, mayor, and also the owner of a religious charity mission, but the kind that isn’t allowed to display religious icons. It’s dumb, sure, but in a way it’s impressive for three writers, two directors, and 12 executive producers to know literally nothing about any of the subjects they’re so passionate about.
The children are busy rehearsing the official version of their play, which involves a sci-fi version of “Silent Night” with painfully secularized lyrics like “round yon SNOWMAN” because everyone involved in this stupid bullshit is just the fucking worst.
No one would have any reason to suspect them of wanting to sabotage this “Winter Space Odyssey.” They are giving it their all and their choreography is flawless. Which means they fully dedicated themselves to learning this play while they wrote and produced a second one to save Christmas*.
* Remind their own parents about the most famous story in American folklore.
They go back to their attic and work more on their theatrical ambush plans. The neighbor girl snarls, “Hopefully the audience will understand that Christmas is about peace! And joy and love!” The fuck it is, though. These are the most belligerent, unhappy people using misplaced hate to safeguard the power of their uncontested cultural supremacy, and with an entire universe designed to make them the heroes, they are still unlikeable pieces of trash.
They’re starting to realize this plan might get them in trouble, and one of them goes, “You know, guys, this could really jeopardize my station as stage tech!” He thinks he might keep his job as the middle school stage tech after he sabotages the middle school play and goes on to high school! It’s just good writing! Still, he reminds the others of how serious this is and they make a pledge, only wait, they need some kind of talisman to swear on! No one balks at this very real tradition, so they rummage through boxes hoping to find an object sacred enough to pledge a Christian theater prank upon.
I’m not sure the editor meant to leave in, but the kids are immediately distracted by a crate of Mardis Gras props.
While everyone else is draping themselves in feathers and beads, Christian finds his grandfather’s Medal of Honor. Oh my God, no. Oh my God, holy shit, these kids are going to swear to perform the wrong play on the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Last Ounce of Courage is non-stop incredible. If this movie was a person, he would be a racecar-driving cocaine addict named Larry “First Date Anal Fisting” Cocaine.
Things are going badly for Bob. Despite his super sane declarations of the legality of Christmas, he’s lost his veteran’s shelter, his Christmas tree, and now his job as mayor. Plus, nobody came to his family’s Christmas party. W-wait? Who’s this at the door?
Why it’s the local unhoused and mentally ill! Along with the substance abusers who lost their support system when Bob’s Mission at the Cross was closed! Yay, they’re here to party! In his home! This “happy holiday” is turning out to be a “Merry Christmas” after all. Now, let’s jam on the KORG!
Wait, hold on. Everyone reset Act 2. Things are bad again. There’s a front page story about how Bob, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his special rescue work, isn’t really a war hero.
Finding out his grandpa is a fraud is a pretty big blow to Christian. At least for a few seconds before the magical janitor appears to tell him it’s a lie. You see, he was on the secret Vietnam War rescue operation described by the front page of the 2012 local newspaper. Bob Revere was his sergeant. He says, in perfect military vernacular, “Every mission he performed was perfect. All but one.”
It’s a long, clumsy story, told by someone who did not know any military experts to run it by, but I can sum it up in one sentence: Bob stepped on a booby trap and everyone except him and the janitor exploded. Bob is with his wife telling her the same story. “I was pushing them too hard,” he cries, not quite understanding how words or explosives work.
If you told me 30 years ago, I’d be watching the bad guy from Road House weep for an entire film about failing to save Christmas, I’d have said, “W-what happens to movies in the future?”
The writing here is such a mess there’s no way to know for sure, but I think the reason the newspaper called Bob Revere “Not a War Hero” was because he stepped on a Viet Cong tripwire? I keep complaining about this, but it is fascinating how someone writing a military movie can know so little about the military that they think all of a soldier’s honor is stripped of them if the enemy lands a shot. He led the POW Rescue Squad! You can’t call him a fraud because he’s not immune to landmine. It’d be like Michael Jordan calling the wrong number and hearing, “Who? No, there’s no Scottie Pippen here. I’m sorry, you fraud, but I’m going to need you to throw away two MVP awards and all your championship rings.”
Things look bleak, but for the fifth time in the movie, everyone has had enough and they are going to save fucking Christmas. To the rousing drums of a military march, Bob pulls a “JESUS SAVES” cross into his truck! The theater kids get ready to surprise their parents with the story of baby Jesus! And the bikers pick up their little leader! It’s time to, as they say in the military marines: Army force ahead! For Christmas!
Bob is going to remount the cross on the Mission at the Cross, a Christian organization he owns. This is a big story, so a newscaster is there reminding viewers it was originally taken down “because a single citizen said the cross was offensive to him.” Wait, that’s how the town lost Christmas? Some fucking guy? Christianity, your one weakness was an email from Travis? Jesus Christ, you guys.
Bob is on the roof and the town cheers for him as he struggles to pull the cross up! Unfortunately, it looks like getting it in and out of his truck burned his arms out and he’s mostly just forming new hernias. His grandson hurries up the fire escape to help and Bob screams, “CHRISTIAN! YOU GOTTA GO BACK!! IT’S TOO DANGEROUS!” like he’s disarming a bomb, not lifting a decoration up one story with a rope.
There’s no nice way to put it. From mission objective to execution, this is the pussiest shit in the history of pussy shit. If Bob was up here trying to cry into a teddy bear to save Saturdays and accidentally peed his pants, it would be an identical amount of courage. I think Christmas will be okay, but it will have nothing to do with the wasted efforts of this toddler-dicked clown.
The crowd watches them lose a game of tug-of-war to gravity’s pull on 180 pounds for a while. Mercifully, the bikers steal a fire truck and send up the guy who got his gunshot wound treated at the Target pharmacy counter yesterday. With his help, they get it done! Their Christian charity organization called “Mission at the Cross” has a cross again! Congratulations, Christmas.
Bob starts a speech about he may no longer be the mayor, but he’ll always be a “freedom fighter.” Okay, Poop Crywalker. You didn’t exactly blow up the Death Star. You put a cross back on a building against the wishes of one Travis. This was more like bringing your own Pepsi into a restauran– wait, oh no, he’s still going.
He tells the crowd, “It’s time you stood up for what our brothers in arms, and my own son, died for.” He tells them this again and again using slightly different words. Maybe they shot 70 versions of this and accidentally left them all in? Oh, man. This speech is never going to stop.
The news is running this? Ranting Madman Recites Manifesto From Roof? They are broadcasting this mental breakdown live on the air!? I mean this guy is losing his fu– here, I’ll just transcribe some. This is maybe 5% of it:
“Our rights are being destroyed, perhaps forever. But don’t you see? We’re letting it happen. We’re asleep. We sleep and they come in like a thief in the night and they take what’s left! WAKE UP! We can’t sleep anymore! Wake up and look around you! Look what’s coming over the horizon! We can’t let the enemy take one more inch! NOT one more inch! We can’t be silent anymore! The silence has to stop! And it has to stop today!”
Ten minutes in and it’s not over. Like someone who’s never been allowed to talk this long before, Bob Revere is still going. I want to remind you again he’s talking about enjoying the most popular holiday from the most common religion, and he screams, “YOU CAN HEAR THE VOICES FROM THE GRAVES OF THOSE WHO DIED FOR THEIR FREEDOMS! They’re wondering if they died in vain! We fight for freedom! We fight for freedom! We fight for freedom!!!“
People are crying. They’re clapping. They seem to think this lunatic doing unlicensed construction without a permit in the middle of the night and squealing about the disappointed ghosts of our dead children finally saved Christmas. The film cuts to at least 70 different extras, bursting with tears. Still, the scene needs something else, right? Something to really drive home the magnitude of what this man has done, and inspired all of us to do. Can you guess what it is?
What if I told you that while Bob was getting arrested for his beliefs, his grandson told the cop to step back so he could present him with The Congressional Medal of Honor?
Christian tells him, “If you weren’t a hero before, you are now.” The cheering, weeping crowd has never seen anything like it. But fuck you, it’s still not enough.
The teenage boy chases down the cop car and pounds on it to get it to stop. He crouches down and gives his grandfather a salute, which Bob Revere, recipient of one Medal of Honor twice, returns with honor. The Rocky Mountains explode with ejaculate. The inspired crowd was long ago transformed into pure light and exploded against the evening sky. Tonight, all of Christian America is cumming… cumming all over Christmas’ tits.
And with that, the newscaster signs off with a reminder that the big middle school play is tonight. Fuck! That means all thirty minutes of that went out over the air? And it also means we still have the school play thing to do. FUCK. Poor Bob Revere is going to miss it since he’s in jail, but as luck would have it, the mysterious old cowboy from earlier is in the cell next to him and has a radio tuned to the… live broadcast of the junior high school play?
Bob doesn’t find this weird at all. It’s only a shadowy stranger listening to children put on a play from jail. And let’s talk about the “Winter Space Odyssey.” You already know it sucks. It’s supposed to. But the opening song has six kids dressed as aliens chanting a single lyric: “AHH!” These lazy fucks. The script needed a song, any song, here and the one they came up with has half a lyric and one note. It’s like a world record speedrun of the least amount of effort put into a song. And did this play start at 11pm? We were on that goddamn roof for hours when Christmas was already saved! A guy got the Medal of Honor for it! Why are you still doing this, kids?
The alien performers run backstage and do a quick change into their shepherd and angel costumes. They start in on their Jesus play and no one in the audience cares. Why would they even know? There are 12 people in the crowd and they are Christian parents at a holiday recital. Anyone paying attention is going to think, “Sure, right. Nativity stuff.” The principal and the director are pretty upset about it, though.
If you’re wondering how they handled these two, the magical janitor locks the director in a closet and physically threatens the principal.
I think both Christians and Others can agree kidnapping and coercion aren’t crimes if it’s for a good cause. And there is no cause more good than defiantly, some would say courageously, singing “Silent Night” but without space alien lyrics. Which these wild pranksters do, at least until Christian storms onto the stage and screws up their plans.
Christian commandeers their hijacking to announce they are no longer doing the Christ birth play, but instead they’re going to watch a video his dead dad sent his mom from war. Those are the stakes in this movie. A highly produced pro-Christian prank on a junior high school production of an alien-themed nativity spoof gets sabotaged by a second pro-Christian prank, only the second Christian is a narcissist, not a religion. It’s complicated, but very much not important.
A screen comes down and they show the video Christian’s dad recorded for his wife. It is very personal, and very horny.
He gives a speech about how he would gladly die for Christmas freedoms, almost like he’s daring the universe to kill him. We don’t know where he is, but he says “People here would be killed if they celebrated Christmas. But freedom’s worth it.” And then he dies! Along with every soldier sitting behind him! A bomb hits them and they die on camera!
This is the second interruption of the play and it’s a snuff film!
And none of this is implied by an abrupt cut! The still-working camera falls on his dead face!
It’s the worst thing I can imag– wait, the the crowd is clapping? Everyone starts singing “Silent Night!?” A seventy-year-old wounded soldier, in full camouflage, stands up and salutes!? I guess this guy came straight from Saigon to this middle school play. This is so fucked up.
They ruined a play two times to trick a group of Christians to learn about Jesus to trick that group again into watching a soldier die with extremely full balls. And the man sleeping with that dead soldier’s widow, who has never served in the military, also stands to give a salute.
Back in jail, Bob Revere is crying again, listening to the sweet sounds of people clapping for the video of his boy dying on the radio. The old cowboy teleports through the bars and into Bob’s cell. “Well done, Bob. Well done,” he says. Ha ha ha these assholes can’t be serious.
Bob knows something odd is happening, but still doesn’t quite get it.
When his wife arrives, Bob starts crying again. He heard everything over the radio, and he’s so proud of their grandson. She tells him, like no one should have to, “Bob? It wasn’t on the radio.” He still doesn’t quite get it.
Bob stammers about the gray haired guy who can pass through metal bars and listen to any school play on his radio, but a 90-year-old police officer tells him there was no one else in there with him. Bob is still kind of confused.
They leave jail and the whole town is there to cheer for Bob. They sing “Silent Night” again, the forbidden song those kids sacrificed everything to teach them. Fred Williamson walks up to the cop and insists he arrest everyone, and it’s a testament to my sanity that after 100 minutes of Last Ounce of Courage, I still find it ridiculous for this movie’s drama to hinge on Christmas being illegal while also reminding us many times how Christmas is not illegal.
Bob insolently tells the crowd, “Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to EVERYONE,” like he’s refusing an Obama executive command to have sex with a sheep dog. He says it like he’s on Joe Rogan’s podcast deadnaming a trans man who now goes by Mike Holidays. And at the back of the crowd, watching this hero become a legend, is the mysterious cowboy. With a tip of his hat, he magically vanishes.
Bob acknowledges the man only he can see with an open-palmed salute in another majestic and inadvertent encapsulation of the film’s core message–accidentally giving off fascist signals while losing a culture war against your imagination in order to stick it to an enemy which never existed.
The movie ends with another pro-war Ronald Reagan quote and Bob’s voiceover. “I love being free. But I now know freedom only comes at great sacrifice. From each and every one of us.” It’s breathtaking. It’s half a debate nerd’s talking point about why Christmas should start in September, adapted into a movie by the softest white supremacists. It’s worse than anything, but here’s what makes it even more special– it somehow lost more money than it cost.
I don’t mean it didn’t make its money back. It did, at least before advertising costs. You may not like it, but Christians will buy anything, and right-wing nutbags will watch a sheep dog fuck their wife if you tell them it’ll hurt the feelings of the educated. What happened was, Last Ounce of Courage broke so many laws during its marketing campaign, it lost $32.4 million in a settlement.
To spread the word about this monument to bitch fragility, they robocalled millions of homes with this recorded message from Governor Mike Huckabee:
You’re not allowed to do this for so many good reasons and the $32.4 million they were fined was the nice number. It would have been over a billion dollars in damages if the courts weren’t so afraid of losing Chuck Norris’ approval. Other movies have definitely lost more money than Last Ounce of Courage, but there’s a difference between failed art and this. This wasn’t even trying to be art. This was a shameless pandering to soft-brained idiots who told their grifters exactly what they wanted to buy, and it still lost twenty times more than it cost to produce, not counting the immeasurable damage done to the Chuck Norris Seal of Approval‘s integrity.