"My Son Hunter": There's barely even a movie inside this deep-state right-wing grift

Who are the real targets of this shameless, slipshod right-wing propaganda farce? Anybody who pays to watch it

By Andrew O'Hehir

Executive Editor

Published September 8, 2022 6:00AM (EDT)

"My Son Hunter" (Unreported Story Society Production)
"My Son Hunter" (Unreported Story Society Production)

To a significant degree, I found the user comments on the third-rate Breitbart-affiliated social media site where I streamed the movie "My Son Hunter" more interesting — and definitely more illuminating — than the film itself. A lot of them, to be fair, were just complaints about the crappy user experience and nonexistent support that resulted from paying 22 American dollars to a right-wing website in order to watch a substandard "Succession" knockoff made in Serbia that nominally concerns the son of the current president of the United States.

Those comments could be classed under the rubric of "useful instruction" or perhaps "there's a sucker born every minute." As we say these days, it's not a bug of right-wing media that nothing works right and it's all stuck together with the digital equivalent of duct tape. It's a feature. That's because right-wing media is a shameless grift and pretty much proud of that fact, and members of the general public who feed money into right-wing media hoping to get something beneficial or informative or at least entertaining out of it (such as, in this case, me) are marks being taught a lesson in predatory economics

There were quite a few ... who complained that the portrayal of Hunter Biden ... was overly sympathetic, or who were disappointed that the movie was (in some technical sense) a comedy.

In structural terms, the supposed content of right-wing media — such as this boring and slipshod movie featuring actors playing Joe and Hunter Biden who do not resemble them in terms of physique, voice, demeanor, body language or anything else — is largely beside the point, and could even be said not to be the real content at all. Paying an extortionate price for a terrible movie that then cannot be "cast" from your phone or laptop to your big-screen TV because the apps that supposedly make that possible either don't exist or don't work — one user reported getting the app to function after tweaking the settings and discovering that what it sent to his TV was an actual image of his phone screen — delivers a mainline dose of the anger and frustration and unsatisfied grievance that is the true substance of right-wing media. 

The medium is the message, in other words, and in this instance they're both shameless ripoffs. But let's talk about the other site comments, the plaintive ones. Oh sure, there were some people who gamely posted about what a terrific movie it was and now all we had to do was get the corrupt Biden crime family out of office. Maybe I'm projecting by saying those people were trying to be team players but their heart didn't seem to be in it. But there were quite a few other folks who complained that the portrayal of Hunter Biden (as played by Laurence Fox, and we'll get to him) was overly sympathetic, or who were disappointed that the movie was (in some technical sense) a comedy. 

I kind of feel bad for those people because it seems they haven't gotten the memo: They may be Trump loyalists and conspiracy-theory believers and all that, but they still somehow aspire to live in a universe of facts and evidence, where a searing exposé that lays bare the Biden crime family's misdeeds will change everything. These are the people who doggedly tried to understand Mike Lindell's incomprehensible claims about election fraud, woven from fragments of pagan mysticism and stolen software. I exchanged quite a few messages last year with a relatively polite reader who truly, sincerely believed there existed a constitutional pathway to undoing the 2020 election and "reinstating" Donald Trump. He only became angry with me after I asked whether his imaginary recounts would allow the Democrats to win, say, Vermont and Hawaii, on the Putin model, or would find that Trump had won 90% of the vote everywhere, as in old-school totalitarianism.

We endure a lot of histrionics from English actor Laurence Fox, who is way too skinny and weaselly to play Hunter Biden.

For those people, the right-wing marks that other right-wing marks look down on, "My Son Hunter" is a letdown because it's just a stupid farce that recycles a bunch of familiar allegations about the Bidens that — setting aside any discussion of their veracity! — we've all heard a million times by now. Hunter Biden, a young gentleman with a prep-school background and a fondness for narcotics and the company of sex workers, used his dad's name to get paid big-time by shady companies in China and Ukraine (so far this is almost inarguably true) and his father delivered big U.S. government contracts to those companies and their official benefactors while taking kickbacks. 

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Yes, libs, that last part is almost certainly false, but in the movie all that material is delivered as blah-blah-blah exposition in between the not-very-lurid scenes involving drugs and babes, which fail to convince us that Hunter Biden's excesses were in any way unusual for a person of his temperament and background. The conspiracy-theory narration is either delivered by former MMA fighter turned "canceled" actress Gina Carano, playing a Secret Service agent (a free-form in-joke that never goes anywhere), or by Grace (Emma Gojkovic), the hooker who gets mildly red-pilled and redeems herself from a life of sin, first by trying to serve as Hunter's conscience and then by leaking salacious gossip to the New York Post. I mean, a girl's got to do, etc.

Early in the movie, Grace tells a non-Gina Carano Secret Service agent that she can't find anything negative or scandalous about the Bidens online. He laughs knowingly: "That's because you're using Google and the mainstream media. Here, let me show you." She responds that she thought those other sites were just used by "alt-right white supremacists" and then, too late, realizes her mistake: The guy is Black! With that the scales fall from her eyes, and she begins to question all the myths she has swallowed about the greatness of the Bidens and, correspondingly, the awfulness of "the orange man who tweets out of his ass," whose name is hardly mentioned until we reach the heart-rending conclusion.

"My Son Hunter" (Unreported Story Society Production)Along the way, we endure a lot of histrionics from English actor Laurence Fox, who is way too skinny and weaselly to play Hunter Biden. The president's wayward son, in real life, possesses a more bro-tastic and GQ-inflected grade of sliminess, and does not look as if the coke binges ever led him to miss an expensive meal or a session with his no-doubt-hot personal trainer. For nearly the entire film I couldn't figure out what disreputable real-life person Fox actually does look like, and then I nailed it: Lance Armstrong

For that matter, actor John James, who was a regular on multiple daytime soaps in the 2000s, looks even less like Joe Biden than Fox looks like Hunter. This is James' second recent appearance in a right-wing propaganda film, having played James Comey (!) in something called "The ObamaGate Movie." James looks a lot like Sen. Ron Johnson, the crazy-pants Wisconsin Republican, who would probably pretend to enjoy "My Son Hunter" if someone made him watch it. 

So if this were a movie about Lance Armstrong and Ron Johnson doing some crime, we'd be good. As things stand, it seems like they just hired two white guys who were roughly the right age and height and put suits on them, because who can tell the difference, right? I intended to make a joke here about how that was racist and I was triggered, but it's honestly not worth it.

"My Son Hunter" is available to stream now if you want to do that to yourself. Watch a trailer, via YouTube.

By Andrew O'Hehir

Andrew O'Hehir is executive editor of Salon.

MORE FROM Andrew O'Hehir

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