Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top Ten Liberal Moments in Film/Television

Well, I've wanted to revise this list--if for no other reason than that All in the Family is not included.  But these were the top moments that occurred to me at some point based on my own viewing experience, so here it is mostly unabridged.

(10) 3rd Rock from the Sun: A tv episode has the squinty alien channeling various radio stations after getting hit in the head with a frying pan. After a speech about it being dangerous to repeatedly bash the poor guy's brains in, he starts channeling in a Texarkana accent: "Liberals want you to think that big government is the answer to all your problems..." The high commander shuts him down with another potentially fatal blow because "I couldn't listen to THAT." Even an extraterrestrial knows nonsense when he hears it.

(9) Midnight in Paris: There's a couple that seem so rich and boorish that I instantly think "Ah, this is Woody's idea of Republicans." And Woody follows up with a Tea Party reference in case you missed his point. They are uncultured, they care about expensive things without any real sense of taste or beauty. Like all conservatives.

(8) Glee: We finally meet the pregnant cheerleader's parents. Again, an instant sense of vain, rich, pretentious people that are the one-dimensional Hollywood picture of conservatives. I see this instantly, although it is seconds later that they are making Glenn Beck references and, if I recall, religious references. You need this as the viewer to make sense of the fact that they are about to throw her out of the house when they find out she's pregnant. This show got a little preachy for me early on to keep watching it for the great music.

(7) With Honors: Joe Pesci plays a worldly wise bum, who's wisdom dramatically affects the lives of the young people that fall under his influence. In a very climactic scene with a professor (played by Gore Vidal), the Harvard bum waxes eloquent on the "genius of the Constitution." Some of the things he says almost border on conservatism. But he says nothing about checks and balances (which are pretty nifty), but has his main point that the Constitution can change. The most amazing thing about the Constitution is that we aren't stuck with it. Hmm. What borders on conservatism is that he says that the Framers trusted the wisdom of the people. That's ironic because most of the changes to our Constitutional government have come about not through the Framer's process of amendment but judicial reinterpretation. The genius of the Constitution was that, contrary to the arguments of the Federalist Papers, it was vulnerable to an oligarchy that played with the meanings of words. Gore Vidal has utter contempt for our vagrant friend, and insults him after an initial attempt at political correctness. Is he supposed to be one of the rare few conservative poli-sci professors in the Ivy League? Only The Shadow knows.

(6) Primary Colors: John Travolta plays an over-sexed governor whose entourage is a menagerie of misfits, but who has a heart of gold and only wants to help the people. Flawed but pure of heart. Certainly not an apologetic for any real-life character.

(5) Game Change: Progressives were so terrified at American women's interest in Sarah Palin that the momentum of their smear campaigns continues. I admit I haven't seen it and am not sure I could stomach it. One thing for sure: I'm not going to pay to watch what sounds like a poorly disguised hatchet job. Read Why Game Change Producer Tom Hanks Must Destroy Sarah Palin.

I hear Tom Hanks is taking a break from producing anti-conservative propaganda to narrate a "documentary" promoting Obama.

(4) W (or as I think of it, 'Dubya'): Josh Brolin, a truly talented actor who has come a long way since 'Goonies', does an interesting job with Dubya's mannerisms, but he's a method actor, you see, getting DEEP into the role, so he goes beyond the kind of naive, happy-go-lucky, childish yokel persona of Bush and brings out the subtext: a mentally retarded zealot. It's not all Brolin's fault. Oliver Stone must bear most of the blame here.

(3) Bulworth: Warren Beatty of 'Reds' plays a "donkey on the edge"--a Democratic Congressman who finds he can finally speak his mind now that he doesn't expect to live through the week. He starts to reformulate his policy based on the rants of minority drug pushers, and has some glorious moments when he can admit that his criticisms of Farakhan are insincere, he can mock "Jewish paranoia" (kind of like Hillary when she could admit as Secretary of State that she really DIDN'T think of Jerusalem as the "eternal, indivisable" capital as she told her NY electorate), and could freely admit that his economic policy is indeed "SOCIALISM!" Gosh, it just feels so good to be able to SAY it! YES!

(2) Ides of March: Once again, the savior of the free world is less than perfect. If only those rotten GOP guys ("the f***ing elephants!") weren't infecting the DNC with their dirty politics. (They used to be a party of integrity before.) George Clooney explains the progressive opinion on several issues (including a plan to require EVERYBODY to be drafted into service). The camera cuts away as somebody starts to raise an interesting challenge to his thoughts. This poor man that can't stop cornering interns simply has too much integrity to do what needs to be done to save America. Oh, and he knows EXACTLY how to save America.

(1) An American President: Annette Benning (also from 'Reds') plays a lobbyist who sees no conflict of interest in sleeping with the main guy (The President) with whom she's representing her clients. Michael Douglas plays the grieving widower President who is absolutely bonkers for the Constitution (I don't think he explains what its particular genius is). He loves it, loves it, loves it. Did I mention that he loves the Constitution? This movie sets a record for political strawman arguments, and stars Richard Dreyfuss as The Evil Republican (a role he subtly modified for Oliver Stone's 'W'). At the end, our all-American President declares "Yes, I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU--why aren't you?" After all, there's no ideological bent to the ACLU, so why isn't everyone? Well, some people (I won't say who) just don't like liberty. Mmm-hmm.

Wag the Dog should get some honorable mention, since it was based on a book in which George H.W. Bush was the President that has the scandalous interaction with a Girl Scout. Another year and Hollywood wouldn't have released the film. As Wikipedia puts it: "An ironic twist was the release of the film just prior to President Clinton's sex scandal and the subsequent bombing of terrorists strongholds in Africa." Now, has anything happened in the last three years in which a military action has been used to try to distract from problems at home? Hmmm?

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