Thursday, August 23, 2012


Caught this flick because my fourteen-year-old and two of his friends wanted to see it. The first theater we went to was sold out, so the teenagers were hip to the audience's expectations I guess. The second and much cheaper theater in a nearby more working-class and working poor town we went to had plenty of seats.

The teens liked it initially. They found the typical (for contemporary Hollywood movies) gross out humor funny, while I found it obvious and forced and unhinged from any attempt at a story with a point that the moviemakers seemed to be making. Which was: politicians are controlled by big corporate money, in this plot's case, a corporation owned by two brothers seemingly based on or at least inferring the Koch brothers.

The only problem was it did what I see as the usual lazy thinking, or lazy political analyzing, and blamed both parties, and not even equally because the only decent and honest and mostly principled politician is the one Zach Galifianakis plays as an almost simpering Tea Party type idealist but without the ominous influence on our politics and government.

I remember reading an interview with Galifianakis and his co-star Will Ferrell (who plays the womanizing do-anything-to-win Democratic candidate as a combination of Anthony Weiner/John Edwards/and every childishly narcissistic idiot comic character Ferrell's played in previous films but with the usual saving grace of course that redeems the character(s) and the movie(s) at the end despite the previous almost entire movie's over-the-top self-centered immaturity) in which they said they didn't want to look like they were just bashing Republicans so they made Ferrell's Democrat look even worse at times.

It's true that both parties have politicians who behave badly and hypocritically, especially in their personal lives, but it is not true that a pair of gazillionaires like the Koch brothers back Democratic politicians just as easily as Republican ones as long as they do their corporate bidding. The Koch brothers have an ideology, as do many of the big money Republican Party backers, like Seth Adelson, an ideology that goes beyond just maximizing profits and into the realm of making it impossible for the government to ever threaten maximum profits no matter how many people suffer as a result.

As I've written and been writing since the election of 1968 in which I backed a third party candidate and watched Nixon get elected and cause more death and destruction, let alone damage to our politics and government, than any Democrat ever could (and the same happen when a third party candidate, Nader, helped Bush/Cheney steal the election in 2000 with the help of the rightwing members of a Supreme Court that stopped Florida's recount, a ruling that went against everything they previously professed to believe in unquestionably, namely states rights) it has been clear to me and to anyone who has read the internal documents of Republican Party leaders and tacticians that the right understands that its minority base can only win elections if enough people either don't bother to vote or vote for a third party candidate.

So it is to the right's advantage if it can convince most voters that both parties are equally to blame for whatever voters are disappointed about. Because then those voters will either sit out an election or vote for a third party candidate (as was the case in '68 and 2000—an exception being Ross Perot's third party candidacy from the right that helped get Bill Clinton elected).

But there are distinct differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. Yes they both are influenced by corporate money. But most Democrats much less so than most Republicans. Just read up on which gazzilionaires are supporting which party and why. The Koch brothers support the Republicans because they want their oil and other energy corporations to be free to pollute and exploit and etc. without government regulations interfering no matter what the cost to the environment and our health and welfare etc.

Not much of a movie review I know, but I found the movie terrible, though I did laugh at some of the comic bits and do admire Zach Galifianakis's acting and comic chops for the most part. But I must admit, this was the first time I found him to be inconsistent in his character development and portrayal (and not just him but the director: e.g. his brother and his father have accents from different places than each other as well as from his character).  In the end, it seemed to be a movie made to convince juvenile sensibilities that all politicians can be bought and sold except for the most naive and inexperienced, ala some of the Tea Partyers who, of course, are more responsible for the crisis in our politics and governing in the past two years and the impending greater crisis over the deficit and debt than any politician, even some of the Republicans owned by corporate greed!  


JenW said...

Thank you for the terrific reviews. Going to try to catch RUBY SPARKS and To Rome with Love this week while still on the big screen. Fortunately, we have a lovely little theater not too far away that shows the best movies- not a lot of blockblusters, but the finest in art, foreign and independent films. I wont run to see THE CAMPAIGN but at least you weren't just the chauffeur. That invite with the teens is a compliment!

Lally said...

And I took it as such Jen, very grateful.

Lally said...

PS Jen, let me know what you think of the movies.