2000 Mules Waiting For Its Audience: Movie Review

The night after I saw “2000 Mules,” I didn’t sleep.

I went on Monday, May 2, opening night. I wanted to be part of the first wave if the film had the paradigm-shifting power I thought it might. I also prefer to see a movie before I read any reviews, so that I can experience my genuine reactions, free of any subconscious prejudices I may have picked up from others.

When I emerged from the theater, my mind was staggered with all the provocative issues the movie raised… and then, when I turned my phone back on, it was all blown up with messages about the Supreme Court leak. It really felt like the world had indeed shifted in the course of one evening, and that is not conducive to sleep.

Since Monday night, only one paradigm has taken over the national conversation, leaving “2000 Mules” in its dust. But like every other manufactured crisis (draft written months ago, final decision pending, the leak intentional and timed), the public’s attention will not stay focused for long. And when people realize that Roe is still not overturned, there will be “2000 Mules,” patiently waiting for you to notice.

For anyone who thinks that election fraud is not in the same universe of importance as Roe v Wade, I maintain that our best chance to restore a culture that values life is to have fair elections, in which decent people actually have a chance of being heard.

A week before the release of Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, an internet pundit predicted that soon, everyone would know what geo-fencing was. And if you see the film, you will want to know much more about the technology that True the Vote used to isolate the most egregious mules, in the most contested states, in arguably the most important US presidential election in history.

The term “mules” comes from drug cartel culture, where a mule is someone who illegally traffics substances for profit. The term was popularized by the 2018 Clint Eastwood movie, “The Mule,” in which the lead character begins to courier illegal drugs across the border to make enough money to save his broken existence. Votes are the drug in “2000 Mules,” and since it is incontrovertibly illegal to traffic ballots, the analogy holds.

Showing in an almost abandoned, echoingly empty mall, the theatre was packed. The only empty seats were in the neck-strain section of the very front row. The audience was like a noisy Pentecostal church congregation, shouting and cheers for the white hats, hissing and boos for the criminals. No one seemed to mind the noise.

As movies go, it was not great cinema. You could clearly see that Dinesh and Debbie were re-creating the setup scenes, like when they’re in their kitchen chatting and the phone chimes, and whaddaya know, it’s Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote, calling to tell him that there are some things he’s going to want to see. Then you see Dinesh’s car pulling up to a mysterious warehouse-looking place for the Great Reveal. Yes, it’s a little hokey, but it was a humanizing device to add a bit of normalcy to a straight documentary format.

(It was especially amusing how Debbie could not stop smiling during the presentation of the evidence, which was as serious as myocarditis. She’s just so darn proud of her husband, she couldn’t keep it off her face.)

The inclusion of Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas was another humanizing device. They were the Geiger counters. Dinesh solicited their opinions before and after they saw the evidence so you could see what effect it had. Before, several of them were unwilling to state categorically that the 2020 election was fraudulent, though they were suspicious. Afterward… well, you’ll see.

True the Vote is the real star of the movie, represented by founder Catherine Engelbrecht and data analyst Gregg Phillips. They say that the movie is just the beginning of a marathon effort and that they will not quit. Thank God for them! Gregg is the data specialist, and I would like to have heard much more from him, but the movie kept the premise simple enough to reach the majority.

Mules are identified as illegal couriers who picked up harvested ballots at central organizing points, and then visited multiple dropboxes to deliver them, often in the middle of the night. The team selected only those mules who visited at least 10 dropboxes and at least 5 non-profit organizations, where they presumably picked up batches of illegally obtained ballots.

The story of the electronic data used to identify these worst of offenders will surprise you. Did you know that vendors of phone apps collect your location data and sell it, through brokers, to anyone willing to pay? Analysts are able to build a “pattern of life” from the signals our cell phones emit. That explains why, when I get in my car, without ever opening an app, there is a notification with directions to my next destination. And it’s usually correct. It “knows” where I go on a regular basis.

In any case, True the Vote obtained two petabytes (a pedabyte is a million gigabytes) of data, ten trillion cell phone pings, and four million minutes of government surveillance video for their research. Curiously (wink) many of the cameras dedicated to surveilling the dropboxes had been disabled, but there’s plenty enough to carry the point. Video after video shows mules dropping off big handfuls of ballots. Anyone attempting to explain these videos away as rational behavior needs to answer the questions: who has access to so many ballots? who wears nitrile gloves to drop off ballots? who votes in the middle of the night? who takes photos of the ballots before dropping them in? who goes to dozens of different dropboxes on a Pac-man sort of a route through the city?

True the Vote only looked at certain counties within five swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Using the criteria of 10 dropboxes and 5 stash houses, they identified only the worse of the offenders. The fraud is potentially much, much bigger.

We learn that it is always and everywhere indisputably illegal to pay anyone for a ballot. Whistleblowers described how traffickers in nursing facilities appropriated or forged the ballots for people who were legally incompetent to vote. Did you know that a mail-in ballot probably went to your old addresses, as the Democrat party agitated for universal mail-in balloting in 2020? I had to wonder if COVID was created for just this purpose. Ballot harvesters target places like college dorms, apartment complexes and nursing facilities, places where people establish an address for only a short time. That leaves large numbers of ballots undeliverable to the proper person.

I guess I thought there was a mechanism in place to purge me from the voter rolls of my former addresses, but apparently not. This is a solid steel reason to go back to in-person voting. There could still be cheating, but it would be much more difficult.

One caveat to the overwhelming conclusion that Trump won the election is that legal proof was not shown that all the fraudulent ballots were marked for Biden. Anyone with a lick of sense knows they were, but it’s not provable by the movie. I would think that identification and investigation of the non-profit stash houses where the ballots were distributed to the mules would provide that evidence, but perhaps that is part of the marathon effort that True The Vote has pledged. 

“2000 Mules” presents the mere tip of the iceberg, and makes any thinking person want to know more about that electronic evidence. Then we all have the task of motivating law enforcement to take action on it.

The movie was set to detonate on Monday night, but suddenly, thanks to the Roe leak, no one was listening. Strange, that. But the evidence is there nevertheless. The criminals only got a reprieve, not a pardon. Go watch the movie and be a part of justice unfolding. 

Watch movie online as it goes public Friday, May 6, at 7:00 pm Eastern: https://2000mules.com/

Excellent textual background (in six parts): https://kanekoa.substack.com/p/2000-mules-exposing-the-ballot-traffickers?s=w

Movie Review – Father Stu

I didn’t hate “Father Stu.” That’s a low bar for a movie, but there it is. Though it personally left me a little cold, I have to acknowledge the good intentions of the movie, and the genuinely good real-life story of Fr. Stuart Long’s conversion and priesthood.

I just wish the movie had told that story. Perhaps to make the story more relate-able to “average” movie-goers, at least as Hollywood sees us, (ignorant of faith, entertained by vulgarity and with a certain bloodlust,) general ugliness was elevated over the real story. Details of the real lives of the Long family that would have mitigated the tawdriness of the movie were left out. Bill, the father played by Mel Gibson, was not the brutal drunk of the movie. Stu had a college education, and an intellectual life long before he entered seminary.

The movie portrays Stu as ape-ish, led around by anything but common sense, with the facial expression of someone who’s been hit too many times in the boxing ring. There’s not a whiff of his interior life. Even when he begins RCIA, he is depicted as simple; and I don’t mean endearingly simple like a child, but dull and unwitting like an orangutan (that fell out of a tree on its head.)

The constant level of vulgar speech in particular is noted in most reviews. It was not just the use of vulgar words, though; it was also vulgar concepts. I worked for a man once who did that: put together two ugly words to create an ugly concept that you just couldn’t scrub from your mind. Like a mashup of cussing. I’ll refrain from using an example here.

I’d been warned about the language, and was prepared. That’s the guarantee of a good story, right? If the language is way over the top, it must mean that the story is so good, it justifies the language. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. But that overshadowing of ugliness with beauty was not fully achieved in “Father Stu.” The movie was not so good as to make the language worth it.

Part of the problem was numerical: two-thirds of the movie stayed on the dark side, leaving only a third to explore Stu’s conversion and life in Christ. Truth to tell, they never really got to his life in Christ. Oh, they showed lines of people waiting to go to Confession with him, but the movie never gave up the goods on exactly why he was so compelling as a priest. They left it at the implication that any priest who could cuss at a professional level would be enough to draw crowds. But it takes more than just a deep knowledge of the seamy side of life to make a good confessor. Why didn’t they explore that? A lost opportunity of great magnitude.

Comedy is what happens when you juxtapose two radically different things, so there was some comic relief when Stu goes into a prison to minister, alongside a seminary classmate who is painfully proper. The prig bombs like a plane dropping out of the sky, and Stu steps in (so to speak; he’s crippled by disease at that point) with some crudity, immediately gaining the trust of the men. It’s an easy laugh to show a Catholic priest saying seriously vulgar things, and the director took advantage of it. I wondered later if the real Father Stu actually taunted imprisoned men with the idea of their wives in bed with other men. That goes beyond crude, all the way to cruel.

The sermons Stu preached in the movie lacked depth, which was perhaps part of the strategy to draw in a worldly audience who couldn’t comprehend anything more. But doesn’t that imply that genuine Christianity is too much for the average person? I think that was a poor decision. Christ never dumbed down anything.

I particularly noted a facile bumper-sticker slogan that Stu repeated in a conversation, “We’re not bodies having a spiritual experience; we are spirits having a bodily experience.” That is not Catholic theology: we are not two separate essences, body and spirit, one dominating the other. We are one essence, an inseparable unity. Granted this is a little profound for a Hollywood film, but since it is at the heart of damaging gender ideology, it’s an especially inappropriate time to throw that confusion at an audience.

I didn’t like Stu as a person for most of the movie. I didn’t like his father or his mother either. Carmen, his love interest, was the shining light of the movie, a rose of pristine virtue… and then he beds her. This detail was true to life, but it broke my heart. Did it advance the movie to include this detail? I suppose it did make his decision to enter seminary particularly poignant, set against the weeping betrayal that Carmen felt.

So the language, the violence, the bedding, was the first two-thirds of the movie. By the time Stu actually became likeable, the movie was almost over. His change of heart, his deepening, his development as a priest, were all glibly portrayed in about ten minutes, with easy devices, like the line snaking out the building for confession.

I have friends who found the movie perfectly excellent, who appreciated the long road that Stu traveled to get to the Faith and the priesthood. The road beyond that conversion point, though, was the real interest for me, and that road was very lightly trod by the movie. I would have switched the proportions, and given more time to the amazing priest that Stu became.

The movie certainly has people talking, and articles are appearing about the “real” Father Stu, who was quite a bit more inspiring than the movie character. For touching those who explore his life outside of the movie itself, “Father Stu” may have scored an indirect win.

6 out of 10, mostly for the good intentions and unintended consequences.

Links to find the “real” Father Stu:

Fr. Stuart Long’s testimony

Fr. Stuart, Montana priest

Full interview with Bill Long, Stu’s father

Interviews with Father Stu

Is the movie based on a true story?