Review: With His New Film 'America, America,' Nick Searcy Seeks out Faith ... and Finds It

Nick Searcy, "America, America! God Shed His Grace on Thee" Film and the Western Conservative Summit

 

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading RedState, you’re probably familiar with our sometime-colleague and Hollywood movie star and director Nick Searcy stopping by to regale readers about life as a Conservative in Hollywood, or whatever subject has him banging his head against the wall that week. (And here’s a little secret: that’s how many of us come up with story ideas — except for the “Hollywood movie star” part, of course.)

Now, Nick’s starring a new documentary film he produced on faith, how the nation was founded, and what we can do to secure our freedoms today, “America, America, God Shed His Grace On Thee.” The film was directed by Chris Burgard.

And guess what? It has its world premiere Saturday (that’s today!) at the annual Western Conservative Summit. Though, this year, it’s all taking place online. (Thanks a lot, China!)

But, seriously, it’s not all bad news. Stay tuned… At the end of my review, you’ll find a link to learn how you can virtually attend the conference and watch the movie for free (or a goodwill donation, if it moves you, to help defray costs).

For the record, “America, America…” weaves its story with the help of a constellation of voices, not just Nick Searcy’s. The film does that with many conservative stars, including Pres. Trump’s Housing and Urban Development secretary and former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), former Breitbart News editor-at-large and Daily Wire founder and editor in chief Ben Shapiro, former New Left activist and author David Horowitz, Rush Limbaugh’s radio show wingman, Bo Snerdley, Salem Media Group radio host Dennis Prager, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Alveda King, actor and documentary director Dean Cain, and — on a somewhat bittersweet note — contains the final interview given by the late, great Herman Cain.

It gets its message of intertwined American history and freedom and Christianity across with a big dose of humor and humanity — and does so at a good clip, clocking in at just over an hour.

The film begins with a pair of quotations most readers will recognize — one from the Bible and the other from political philosopher Edmund Burke — splashed across the screen:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Which gives you a foundation for the twin underpinnings of the movie: the notion that, from the beginning, America was built by men guided by their belief in Providence — whether they professed to be Christians or not.

As Ben Carson explains, at one point during the Revolutionary War,

“…the British were about to finish us off, [General George Washington] was surrounded, land and sea, it looks like there’s no escape. And then, the meteorological records demonstrate that a very thick, mysterious fog descended and covered the whole area — long enough for him and his troops to be able to escape. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, and I don’t think a lot of the other things were coincidences. It was because this country paid homage to God Almighty.”

The opening bit of the film assures viewers, though, that this isn’t going to be some dry recital of American history and religious principles, with Searcy jetting off from L.A.’s Burbank airport to the nation’s capital, seeking out faith and answers from our leaders, after he’s been inundated, through a dose of watching cable TV, by the violent clashes and riots in America’s streets — and the mainstream media practically laughing in Conservatives’ faces over it. His travails of trying to get any elected official of either party on the phone are hilarious, and lead him to seek answers outside the Capitol, too.

Later, in part of a conversation about how society has devolved to this point, David Horowitz shares a hopeful fact: that “people often forget that the greatest scientists, the ones that created the Enlightenment – the Newton’s and the Descartes’ – were all very religious. And their scientific discoveries were made possible in part because, as a religious person [sic], they believed that there was a design to the universe.”

You’ll need to watch the film’s segments with Herman Cain yourself, but one bit of trivia I didn’t know about the man I briefly volunteered for in 2012 is that Searcy starred in one of the late businessman and GOP presidential candidate’s campaign commercials (included in the documentary). Nick quips during his chat with Cain that it “made [his acting] schedule much more manageable,” after Hollywood producers saw the ad over the airwaves.

In another part, Bo Snerdley reveals that he’s related to one of the Founding Fathers, and recounts the moment he told his boss, Rush Limbaugh, about it:

“My sister ran a DNA check for the family [recently,] and we found out that we’re related to Thomas Jefferson. And, by the way, I don’t think it’s from the Sally Hemmings crowd…from what I understand.’ he joked, then added, ‘I mentioned that to Rush the other day. I said, ‘Rush, did you know this?’ He said no. And he asked me, ‘How do you feel about that?’ I said, ‘I’m proud of it! We ought to be proud of every single one of our Founding Fathers.'”

He continues in a later segment, as he and Searcy visit and marvel at the words inscribed at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.:

“Here we are, 200-plus years past our founding, and we’re still arguing about our founders. They were imperfect men….Some of them were men of their time, who continued the institution of slavery. Some of them were men of their time who argued against it.

[…]

These men understood that, even though they could not get past the political challenge of the day [e.g. slavery], that what this institution was — that was still allowed to flourish at the founding of our country — was wrong, was immoral. And they put the mechanism inside our Constitution to end it. For that, they deserve to be praised and not scorned.”

Amen to that, Bo.

Though the documentary was made in the midst of the Wuhan coronavirus, it feels ripped from the headlines, with current topics like the shutdowns keeping Americans from their places of worship, President Donald Trump standing in solidarity with St. John’s Church after it was set on fire by rioters, and the Masterpiece Cakeshop discrimination lawsuit factoring into the doc’s immersive, compelling narrative.

You need to see this powerful prayer for America Nick Searcy has made.

Lastly, as Nick told Fox News in the lead up to “America, America’s” release, they initially had a “rocky” start in promoting the film, when YouTube flagged the trailer as containing “inappropriate content.”

“They flagged the trailer we put out, a four-minute trailer, saying that it had disturbing graphic content or something about sensitive issues,” he explained. “Basically, the only thing we could possibly figure out that might have been sensitive or graphic is, there are about four seconds of actual riots that are happening in America — and the rest of the time it’s just people talking about the Bible. So I don’t know which of those two things they found so offensive but it was one of the two. It couldn’t have been anything else.”

Indeed. So, anything you can do to get the word out about it and help to strengthen Conservative voices — in Hollywood and across our great nation, including here at RedState — is encouraged.

Okay, as I mentioned up top, the Western Conservative Summit (& “America, America, God Shed His Grace On Thee”!) are free this year. And as the Washington Times notes, it’s a rare opportunity, since this is happening “[f]or the first time in its 30-year history.” But you’ll need to register ASAP to take part today. You can do that right here.

You can also watch the trailer for “America, America, God Shed His Grace On Thee” below, via Centennial Institute:

So, what did you think of the trailer? Leave your thoughts in the comments area below!

Update [10/10/20, 8:00 pm EDT]: Since the Western Conservative Summit has already premiered the film, here it is for viewing on the Centennial Institute’s YouTube channel. Enjoy!

Editor’s note [10/10/20, 8:33pm EDT]: this article was corrected after publication: the director of the film was incorrectly cited as Nick Searcy; the director is Chris Burgard.