MONDAY MOVIE MEME
Molly looked around for a weekly meme about movies and did not have any luck. So therefore she decided to start her own! Andy will play along as well - hopefully you will too. Go to your blog and create your own post on the topic, linking back to us in your post, then come back and leave a link to your post here in our Comments section. If you don’t have a blog, just share your response in the Comments section.
This week's movie topic is all about Politics...
This week the Monday Movie Meme is in for a real treat because Susan from Bear Swamp Reflections saw our plea in the Bumble Town forum looking for guest directors and actually volunteered! We allow full creative freedom to our Guest Directors so we hope you enjoy her topic selection and the political "spin" she shares with her movie picks as much as we have. Share on your blog movies that rocked your vote and leave the link to your post in our Comments below so Susan and I know where to find you. Don't forget to visit your fellow participants. And if you are curious about The Bumbles' political movie picks, you'll have to head on over to Susan's blog to find them...
Political satire: There are so many examples of this type, but I have to go with the father of this genre, Charlie Chaplin. He wrote, produced, directed and starred in 'The Great Dictator', which was released in 1940. It was his first talking movie. Chaplin's thinly veiled (and hilarious) places and names fooled nobody, including Adolf Hitler himself, who is rumored to have watched it. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for best original screenplay. Chaplin stated in his autobiography that had he known the extent of the horrors being perpetrated on the Jewish people in the death camps, that he would not have been able to make this film. He was always curious what Hitler's reaction was on seeing it, but was never able to find out.
Political comedy: Whether you love former President Bill Clinton, or you hate him, I think you would have to agree that John Travolta's portrayal of Governor Jack Stanton in 'Primary Colors' was a spot-on impersonation of then-Governor Clinton. And the outstanding supporting cast made this a fun movie. Emma Thompson was flawless as his wife Susan. Adrian Lester and Kathy Bates gave perfect performances as Stanton's handlers. And one of my favorite actresses, Maura Tierney was great doing a Dee Dee Myers bit. Longtime collaborators Elaine May and Mike Nichols wrote and directed the film.
Political thriller: So many hunks, so little time...but my particularly favorite hunkster, George Clooney, was more chunky than hunky in the film, 'Syriana'. I think we can all agree that politics doesn't get any stinkier and messier and cutthroat than politics involving oil. This movie is loosely adapted from Robert Baer's memoir See No Evil. It gives us an inside glimpse of the shady dealings between oil companies, Arab emirates, the Department of Justice and the CIA, to name a few. Clooney won a best supporting actor Oscar and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Bob Barnes, the CIA agent who gets caught up in an assassination plot. The entire cast is stellar, but Christopher Plummer, Chris Cooper, Matt Damon and Jeffrey Wright give well-tuned performances.
Political drama: 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' could just as easily fit into the comedy category, but I chose it for this one because of Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of naive idealist Jefferson Smith. What does a governor do when his pocket senator up and dies on him right before a major vote on a huge pork barrel project? Why he gets the advice of his eight young children, of course, who wholeheartedly back Jeff Smith, the head of the very popular Boy Rangers. By the flip of a coin, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, where he promptly finds himself in over his head. In his lifetime, Jimmy Stewart perfected the character of the lovable bumbler, and this movie is no exception. Without the guidance of his cynically jaded chief of staff, Clarissa Saunders, deftly and cunningly played by Jean Arthur, he would have been run out of the city on a rail.
The thing that kept me from placing this film in the comedy slot was Senator Smith's impassioned filibuster speech to prevent the Senate body from expelling him after some shady and underhanded framing of him by corrupt political boss Jim Taylor. Frank Capra directed this, his last film for Columbia Pictures, and it has his touch all over it. You will recognize two of the actors who also starred with Mr. Stewart in Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Beulah Bondi, who once again plays Stewart's mother and Thomas Mitchell, who played his inept Uncle Billy, has a role as a newspaper reporter. If you haven't seen this movie, I urge you to watch it. There's a reason the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It's a wonderful film.
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