October 13, 2006, - 4:52 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
If you’re planning to go to the movies, tonight, my best advice is to go see the movie I praised last week, “The Departed” (blood, violence & gruesomeness alert), one of the best movies of the year and one of the best mob flicks ever. It’s still the pick of the bunch. This week’s two biggest choices, neither of which are recommended, are:
* “Man of the Year“–Do you want Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Lou Dobbs, or Robin Williams to be Prez? Me neither. And it would never happen. Even with some of the dummies who go to the polls, thankfully most of the dummies stay home. And it didn’t happen in this movie either.
A late night comedian/talk show host, Tom Dobbs, runs for Prez and wins (and even has a fictional website). But, in fact, it’s a sinister glitch by a computer company that got a national contract to run America’s elections. He didn’t win. The woman who discovered it and tries to tell Dobbs about it is the target of a murder plot by her employer, the company that runs the elections.
So many flaws in this movie. First, the mechanics. This movie tried to be all things–a comedy, a mystery, a political statement, a riff on reality–and it ended up being too much, a mish-mash. While some of Robin Williams’ jokes were funny and his statements–about illegal aliens and false security at airports for lack of profiling–were much appreciated and unusual coming from a sympathetic, Hollywood-created protagonist, some of the jokes were dated and others just too corny. Much of the movie is Robin Williams’ ad-libbed monologues, without which this is a 25-minute storyline, max.
Also, why is there a movie whose most promoted line impresses the need for term limits now that the GOP is in control and were on the eve of an election that could change that? Where were these movies when Clinton and Tip O’Neill were running the show? It’s no mistake this movie came out now. It’s deliberate, as is the story line about the electronic program stealing the election for the wrong guy. That’s the line about Ohio the Kerry people are still harping on. As I asked before: Just a coincidence, right?
Then, the factual stuff. Secretaries of State and local municipality clerks decide the balloting methods. Congress doesn’t award a national blanket contract. And since when–under the federal HIPAA health privacy laws–can a company hold a press conference to announce an employee’s health record to defame her. Just doesn’t happen in the real world. Etc., etc., etc.
Comedian Louis Black and Jeff Goldblum don’t make the movie better or more interesting.
* “Infamous“–How many movies about the flamingly gay writer Truman Capote do we need? And how many big movies do we need in which we watch weird men make out with each other, Britney-and-Madonna style? Bleechhhh! This movie was sick, dark, and dreadful. Did we really need to see four farmers being murdered in cold blood, or men being hanged, and still not dead yet? Disturbing. Yet another movie that is high on fashions of the time and vintage sets, but low on substance.
Did Truman Capote, who went to middle America to write about the murder of a farm family by two thug robbers, really fall madly, deeply in love with one of the murderers (played by new James Bond, Daniel Craig, who seems to enjoy playing gays a lot)? That’s the kind of defamatory license this movie takes. And is it really true that he made up facts and quotes in his “reporting”? If so, no wonder Hollywood likes him enough to make two very similar movies. Exactly the kind of “journalist” they love to death.
Sandra Bullock gives a good, convincing performance as Harper Lee, on the edge of novelist stardom.
Tags: America, Bill Maher, Clinton, comedian, Comedian Louis Black, Congress, Daniel Craig, Debbie Schlussel, Did Truman Capote, flamingly gay writer, I, Infamous, James Bond, Jeff Goldblum, Jon Stewart, journalist, Lou Dobbs, Man of the Year, novelist, Ohio, Republican Party, Robin Williams, Sandra Bullock, show host, The Departed, Tom Dobbs, Truman Capote