Archive for mark halpern

Game Change: A True Story

Posted in Cultural Matters, Film Criticism, Movie Reviews, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on March 14, 2012 by playthell
       
Ed Harris and Julianne Moore as McCain and Palin

How The Grand Obstructionist Party Created a Monster

To make a great movie requires an excellent script, creative and imaginative direction, great sets and costumes, background music that enhance the moving images on the screen, and splendid actors in virtuoso performances.  Game Change, the HBO movie about the John McCain/Sarah Palin 2008 presidential campaign, has all of this and more.

This impressive film converts a great work of reportage by two crack reporters, Mark Halpern and John Heileman, into a movie that captures the essential details of a complex historical event that changed the character of American politics.

The poll results from Mississippi which show 52% of Republicans believe the President is a Muslim, and Sean Hannity’s chatter about Barack’s relationship with Derrick Bell, a black Harvard law professor, is a replay of what Sarah Palin did with Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers. This is a continuing legacy of the Alaskan barbarian’s incendiary rhetoric.

What Republican election strategist demonstrated with the Palin con was that it is possible to convince large groups of people to vote against their own interest if you tell them lies over and over again through media outlets that they trust. And that has become the modus operandi of all the Republican candidates for President.

With great performances from veteran actors Ed Harris as John McCain, Julianne Moor as Sarah Palin and Woody Harreleson as senior campaign advisor John Schmidt, this movie provides an inside view of how a modern Presidential campaign is put together.

It becomes obvious early on that what they are about is the merger of art and political science that few in the electorate understand.  Yet they are so skillfully persuaded to make specific political choices they are even convinced that the choices they are making is a result of conclusions they have arrived at on their own.  Hidden persuaders indeed.

We see how the pollsters act as weathervanes constantly briefing the candidates on which way the   political winds are blowing; the experts who brief candidates on the wide array of facts that they have to convince the voters they are on top of; the coaches who prepare the candidates for televised debates; the wardrobe and make-up people who prepare them to face the camera’s on the campaign trail; the ad-men  and women who generate the slogans and political commercials, and the grand strategists who advise the candidate on the overall design of the campaign.

The most amazing revelation of this film however, is the way Sarah Palin was selected based on a laundry list of characteristics designed to appeal to a far right, racist, scandalously ignorant Republican base that John McCain – a filthy rich son and grandson of Navy Admirals who couldn’t remember how many mansions he owned – just couldn’t appeal to.

The teleplay goes on to show how they cynically continued to groom and promote her as someone who was capable of being President long after they knew she was a dunce with no clue about how the world works….and quite possibly an instable mental case!

It was one of the most scandalous and rekless acts in American political history.   This choice exposed John McCain as a wishy-washy power hungry opportunist who was willing to risk the fate on this nation for a chance to become Commander-In-Chief and one up his father and grandfather in the chain of command.  He knew that Tim Pawlenty or Joe Lieberman – a Jewish Democrat – would be better choices because they were capable of being President; which is a fundamental requirement for a Vice President.

It was the classic Faustian Bargain.  They created a monster whose sole contribution to American political culture is to make ignorance and bigotry fashionable, and the malicious folly Palin unleashed may well devour the Republican Party’s soul and insure defeat in the coming elections.

While McCain and Palin says they refuse to see the movie, yet hasten to denounce it as a biased trumped up account; some of those who made it happen like McCain’s Senior Advisor Steve Schmidt, played by Harreleson, and Nichole Wallace who was tasked with preparing Sarah before she bombed with Katie Couric, played by Sarah Paulson, have come forth and said the movie is not only accurate in all important details but they now regret their role in this dangerous farce.

They both are now ashamed of the role they played in creating the out of control political monster that is Sarah Palin,  and  they cringe at the memory that they tried to place her a heartbeat from the most powerful office in the world!  As we see in this film, come election day, Nichole Wallace couldn’t bring herself to vote for the ticket she had worked so hard to elect.

Finally her sense of patriotism got the best of her and she couldn’t pull the lever and help inflict the Alaskan Barbarian on the country she loves.  And the hard nose shark, Steve Schmidt, who began the campaign convinced that winning was everything….has confessed in an interiew on MSNBC that sometimes it is in the national interests that your candidate lose!  This is movie making at its best.

Woody Harrelson and Julianne Moore
 Prepping Dumb Dora

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Playthell G, Benjamin

Harlem, New York

March 14, 2012

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