Movie Musings,  Movie Talk

Presidential – Movie Musings

“Hail to the Chief, he’s the one we all say hail to.
We all say hail ’cause he keeps himself so clean.
He’s got the power, that’s why he’s in the shower….”

-Dave Kovic, Dave

This is one of those things my brain automatically starts singing whenever I hear “Hail to the Chief” start up, but that’s a whole different post! Lots of movies feature at least brief appearances by a fictitious president, and a few even cover real presidents. Here are some of my favorites.

Dave – That would be where the “lyrics” above come from. I really love this movie. Overall, it’s a rom-com and could easily have gone in that category a couple of weeks ago, but I also knew this topic was coming up, so I saved it for now. This is my most favorite role for Kevin Kline, and it’s probably my favorite comedic role for Sigourney Weaver. It’s also the first thing I really remember Ving Rhames in. I still can’t believe that the final shot of him in the movie doesn’t feature him in a sweater vest. Such a missed opportunity!

The American President – A two hour movie that was basically a “backdoor pilot” for The West Wing, for all intents and purposes. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I didn’t start watching The West Wing when it started, because I don’t like politics. Then a friend heard me saying how much I like The American President even though it was somewhat political. “I thought you said you wouldn’t watch The West Wing because of politics.” Well, yeah. “The West Wing and The American President were written by the same person.” Well why didn’t you say so?! I didn’t know about Sorkin-ese at the time, but I do now, and I love it. The man just has a way with dialog!

Independence Day – The President of the United States saves the world on 4th of July? Along with Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith? And aliens?! Yes, please! But seriously, I love the President’s speech near the end. It is both well written and well performed. Plus there’s always “plausible deniability.” [wink]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets – What can I say, we like the two National Treasure movies. Yes, both of them. I particularly like the introduction of Helen Mirren as Ben’s mom. (Heck, I just plain like Helen Mirren! I want to be her when I grow up.) And the Book of Secrets referenced in the title is actually the President’s Book. I won’t go into more detail here, but I’ve heard the legend before, and this is a fun play on it. Bruce Greenwood makes an excellent fake president, and his “big scene” with Ben at the party is really fun.

Lincoln – How about a movie about a real president? I only watched this recently, but the movie is impressive. It’s a bit long, IMO, but wow, that cast! I don’t know how factual the movie is or isn’t, but the performances are all excellent, Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader especially.

The Conspirator – Not directly about a president, but it is about the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination and those who were accused of conspiring to carry it out along with Booth. An exceptional movie well worth seeing. Both James McAvoy and Robin Wright were outstanding! And I literally just found out that it was directed by Robert Redford! Yes, just now while I was looking it up to make sure I spelled McAvoy correctly. The things you learn!

Contact – Speaking of real presidents, can we talk about Contact‘s use of actual news footage of President Clinton? Not just actual news footage, actual CNN-branded news footage, and they filmed additional footage just for the movie using real CNN anchors. And because of what they did with the actual news footage of the president, CNN banned any future use of the CNN logo in future films from that point on. In my opinion, they didn’t actually do anything underhanded with the footage, but I think it spooked them how easy it was to incorporate real footage almost seamlessly into something fake. Little did they know how easy it would really be 25 years later….

All the Presidents Men – Another case of “not directly about the president,” but it sort-of is, in a way. This is probably my favorite political thriller movie, made all the more thrilling by the fact that it is based on the true story of how the Watergate scandal broke. Between the era and the topic, I really didn’t think I would like this movie, but it was excellent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *