Monday, March 12, 2012

GAME CHANGE

Watched this made for cable movie about how Sarah Palin was picked to run with McCain as his vice-presidential candidate tonight.

It's gotten a lot of criticism from the right because they feel it deliberately tries to make Palin look "dumb." And it does in some scenes. It also tries to make her look a little out of it at times and selfish at times. All of which I think you could already deduce from watching her in interviews when she was running for v.p.

What it misses for my money, and by a long shot, is Palin's star charisma. Ed Harris plays McCain and as usually happens in movies about real people Harris's movie star charisma shines much brighter than McCain's politician charisma. And Woody Harrelson as McCain's man in charge, to a degree, of Palin also displays his movie star charisma that outshines the real life person he's portraying. And in both instances Harris and Harrelson also give great performances.

But Julianne Moore as Palin approximates some of her looks and style and speaking voice, but also misses a lot of those things, and totally fails to recreate what made and makes Palin such a successful crowd pleaser and media star no matter what you think of her politics or character, that incredible movie star charisma. Moore comes across dowdier, nowhere near as sexy or physically attractive, and less foxy in both senses of that word. She seems almost doltish.

I hate it when people in the center or on the left denigrate the smarts of people like Palin and Bush Junior. They both may not be very intellectual, or even well informed, that seems obvious, but they are both very bright or they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did even with the help of daddy's contacts and money and power etc. in the case of Bush and physical attractiveness and a feel for what the kind of people who adore her want her to express in the case of Palin.

She is far from someone I want anywhere near any position in government, let alone the v.p. position or God forbid the White House. But there is no denying her capacity to move her followers and to capture the fascination of the entire nation—for positive and negative reasons, but nonetheless to accomplish that.

She blew it with her quitting the governorship of Alaska and her reality show phony bits and her attempts to influence the electorate after she helped blow McCain's chances (though GAME CHANGE does not depict how McCain blew it by really dropping the ball when the economic collapse occurred and in other ways).

All in all it was a pretty obvious flick that seemed to be written by people who were preaching to the choir and assumed their audience would have the same post-traumatic distress as Palin's McCain handlers obviously did. But the movie didn't really show why, except that she was extremely lame when it came to knowing some basic facts about our government and anything much outside of Alaska.

But if Palin had really looked and acted and been like the movie shows her, she never would have captured so many hearts and souls on the right nor made the rest of us take notice, even in anger. The way Julianne Moore played her, or was directed to play her, and the way her character was written in GAME CHANGE was as a pretty ineffectual spoiled brat overwhelmed with fear and ignorance, when Palin came across most of the time, even when fumbling answers and not having a clue about basic worldly facts, as determined, confidant (except maybe for a few moments in the Katie Couric interview) and certainly charismatic and aware that she was. She understood her power and wielded it and I suspect the McCain folks were surprised and outmaneuvered by her and that added to their resentment toward her and their own guilt for foisting her on the rest of us.

11 comments:

JIm said...

That was suprising review form you.

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lally said...

Let me not be misunderstood. I don't like Sarah Palin, not her lies, her ill-informed opinions, her lack of any real knowledge of real world facts etc. I think she is a destructive force in "American" politics. My point in the post above was that her star charisma, her physical attractiveness (not to all, obviously but to enough to have marked her as a standout character in "American" politics) her instinctual understanding of rightwing crowd pleasing rhetoric, her ability to come across as unpretentious and disarming to her constituency, etc. etc. made her a much more formidable player in the campaign of 2008 then the TV film seems to me to give her credit for.

JIm said...

I see Mark Levin has offered $50m to Obama's PAC in exchange for a debate with him. I suspect either Sarah or Levin would take Obama down in a debate. Of course many of us conservatives would love to see Newt debate Obama. However it seems not too many think he can beat Obama in the election, thus he will not likely get the chance.

TimesTimes3 said...

I agree that Palin exhibited star charisma on her first few appearances after McCains press conference announcing the selection of a running mate. In my view her charisma disintegrated right alongside her display of naked ambition. The perception she created that she was somehow smart is merely at the Beauty Queen Pagent level. Good enough for a charm contest but that's it. Similarly, George W. Bush is not smart but rather an ambitious cheerleader (his Yale contribution) who pushed along by an incredibly intelligent and gifted handler, Karl Rove. I hate Rove's politics but admire his cunning. As for Bush himself, America found out how dumb he really was after 8 years of the most disastrous Presidency in history.

As for Katie Couric, I will always have a huge respect for her as the Palin Slayer that she was.

Lally said...

I agree with everything TimesTimes3 wrote above. My contention is that Julianne Moore as an actress, and whoever cast her and/or directed her and wrote the part, failed to eveb come close to approximating the incredible star charisma Palin exhibited when she first hit the national stage and continued to exhibit at least among her supporters throughout the campaign and beyond. As I made clear at least in a comment above and tried to in the post, I don't like her or her politics or her lies etc. etc. But that doesn't mean the TV movie couldn't have better shown the power of her initial appeal for many and continuing appeal for awhile after the campaign (and I agree it has diminished in light of her quitting he governorship and failing as a star anywhere other than Fox News. But nonetheless, beauty queens don't become governors and end up running in a presidential campaign as the running mate to one of the ruling parties, nor make millions by pretending to be everyday moms etc. etc. etc. The woman has, as I said in the post, a foxlike kind of guile and capacity for not just survival but a kind of success, whether you admire it or not. And the same is true for Bush junior, that he ruined the country I obviously agree, but that he was just plain dumb and it was only Rove and Cheney that got him elected is naive. He leveraged his name and father's legacy and the image of the bad boy turned good and fighter pilot and lots of other spin or outright lies (like owning " a texas ranch" that had no cattle etc. and was bought just before starting running for president). I believe that part of the reason these people succeed so much is exactly, or at least partly, maybe mostly, because others underestimate them and fall for the dumb act and dismiss them until they find themselves trapped or defeated or taken advantage of or outfoxed by them. Which is exactly what happened with Bush junior and could have with Palin.

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JIm said...

libersls do not have the courage to debate Sarah.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

I am not a liberal, I am a compassionate, conscious being who understands the nature of existence and real reality. I will debate Sarah Palin or any of the Romtorums anywhere, any time. The moment they actually have to think as opposed to spouting pre-recorded catch phrases and buzz words, they will start stuttering like they always to and, like the Lost in Space robot of yore, they'll flail their arms and intone "Does not compute!"

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

And speaking of courage, a true debator shows his/her face. One who hurls epithets without showing his face has no business speaking of courage.