Whoa, dude! Ease back on the aggressiveness! I know, sorry about that. But I did just see Game Change... I guess that means we're going to lose our HBO pretty soon. Not often we get all excited about the world premiere of an HBO movie. I think we might have done the same thing with Roach's 2008's Recount. For those of you who don't know my politics, I found the ending of that one bittersweet. I found the ending of Game Change a little more hopeful.
It's probably too soon for objectivity, of course. Depending on who you ask, there's varying degrees of whitewashing here for the sake of efficiency in storytelling. For example, John McCain comes across as very white-glove, idealistic and cordial, which at the very least goes against his public image, or his image on the floor of the Senate. (The actress playing Cindy McCain looks too normal! Oh, snap!) And frankly, I'm starting to question the whole thesis of the piece that the staffpersons working with Sarah Palin and prepping her for her public appearances really had such high standards. After eight years of George Bush? Why should a president have to know anything, let alone a vice president? But there was one thing we could all agree on, at least in my household: award time for Julianne Moore. You may remember her as Maude Lebowski, or for that one scene in Short Cuts... just me? I thought so... but she really nails Palin here... okay, another bad choice of words. An Emmy, a Golden Globe, she's well overdue for a statue or two. But who knows how her peers feel. Was she too desperately making the talk show rounds leading up to the HBO premiere, outlining her method? Do they just not like her husband, or his body of work? She should at least get Charlize's and Jennifer Jason Leigh's vote. While I hesitate to give Sarah Palin credit for anything, I thought Julianne channeled her spirit quite well. I even felt sorry for her during the rough parts of the campaign. Ed Harris also does a similar excellent channeling job, although he didn't say "my friends" or was whiny enough. Nor did they show him walking around the debate floor like a crazy person. So many parts left out. A close friend of mine wanted to know if they had the part where Sarah got a prank call from that dude pretending to be the president of France... That detail escaped my mind, but it didn't detract from the film as a whole, I felt.
What else? Oh, the Bristol Palin actress, wow... was that really her? Damn, Sarah's kids have strange names. I feel sorry for Trig; I'm assuming the family is anti-math... oh, I get it. Trig as in "trigger," right? Oh, that's a giveaway right there, innit? I thought it was for trigonometry. God, I'm such a dork.
So the film focused mainly on the human dimensions of the story, that McCain wanted a star for a V.P. instead of picking from the stable of boring old young white men. Although, the part where Julianne says "In what respect, Charlie?" out of the context we all know and love, I hope that was based on the book, because it seemed like a blatant greatest hits line, much like this part in Casino Jack where Scanlon says his thing about rolling people up into a rug... well, I thought that was in an email to a bunch of Republicans, that's the main thing. Tom Hanks was one of the producers of Game Change, and people made similar complaints about Charlie Wilson's War, that it wasn't enough of an indictment of the Bush Administration. But then again, what is? Transformers 1? Eagle Eye? Brokeback Mountain? The 2000s are going to keep film historians busy for a long, long time. As for me, I didn't have high expectations from Game Change, but I thought it was a very well-made film. A governor plucked from absolute obscurity, gets a taste of the national stage and wants more... despite her powerful lack of knowledge. Did you notice she was the only one watching Fox News? Was that accidental?
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan