Friday, July 20, 2012

The Politics of Disillusionment


I was looking forward to a good political thriller, but found myself sadly disappointed with The Ides of March.  There were some good moments like when Philip Seymour Hoffman's character, Paul Zara, tells his young protegee how he stuck by a candidate even when he had no chance in winning, because he valued loyalty, but otherwise there aren't any memorable quotes.  Too bad, because it had a good cast and all the trappings of a good political thriller.

The film was supposedly based on the play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon.  Whereas Willimon dealt principally with the failed campaign of Howard Dean, Clooney decided to make his fictional political candidate a cross between Bill Clinton and John Edwards, more concerned with infidelity than the broken dreams of a presidential campaign.  Neither compares to Michael Ritchie's The Candidate, to read the NYT's review of the play.

11 comments:

  1. The last political thriller I saw was Inside Job. Every American should see this, and it's available here for free:

    http://vimeo.com/25491676

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  2. Missed that one. Will check it out.

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  3. Definitely watch! I think it won the Academy Award for best documentary -- it's powerful.

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  4. Thanks for the inside information, av. I enjoyed it. I wish the interviews had been longer. I would have liked to hear more from those involved . It came across a bit too much like a lecture.

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  5. It was interesting to me how many financial experts foresaw the looming crisis, but Paulsen, Bernanke and others refused to acknowledges these reports. It seems they thought they could just extend the bubble indefinitely.

    Larry Summers comes across as a very sinister figure in all this, which I guess is why so many persons were worried about Geithner becoming part of the Obama finance team. Seems that what we have today is really crisis management, not long term improvements to the financial system. We are still on very shaky ground.

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  6. So glad you watched it, Gintaras! Some of the interviews also struck me as a bit out of place -- like they should be in a Michael Moore movie (e.g., that professor of economics or whatever he was). But I still thought it got at the heart of what was going on at that time in a chilling way. I still remember some scenes vividly although should watch it again. I haven't seen it since it was at the theatre here.

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  7. Not sure if anyone else is watching Moyers these days (Marti maybe?) but Chris Hedges was on this week. I've always had mixed feelings about Hedges -- I'm never 100% sure where he is coming from -- but this was a powerful interview. I really came to better appreciate his activism.

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/chris-hedges-on-capitalism’s-‘sacrifice-zones’/

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  8. I read one book by Hedges, War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning, and was nonplussed. But, he has since become quite the celebrity of the talk show circuit, so I should probably take a closer look.

    It struck me that Craig Ferguson was trying to entrap a number of his subjects, a la Michael Moore, rather than simply letting them speak.

    I still regard Errol Morris' The Fog of War as one of the best documentaries of this kind. He gave McNamara room to talk and it was utterly fascinating to listen to him, as he tried to come to terms with the Vietnam War.

    I would love to see Morris take on a subject like Wall St.

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  9. I like Michael Moore, but he does have a particular style of movie making.

    On the other hand, their fingerprints were all over that collapse - and it was good to see them squirm a little bit when they figured out where the interviews were heading.

    Plus, I thought the visual treatment was excellent -- e.g., the soaring shots of Iceland and Wall Street. I was really taken by it. Obviously, since it has been years since I watched it.

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  10. That should be Charles. It is nice that it is available in HD on Vimeo. Those were stunning shots. I really liked the Iceland intro. It showed how this speculation craze was everywhere.

    Real estate prices went through the roof in Lithuania and throughout Eastern Europe. It was one wild ride. I listened to some developers brag at the peak of the boom that they were getting as much as a 1000% back on their investments, as they had bought the land for next to nothing, and weren't paying contractors and architects and engineers in full. There was little legal recourse, so Lithuania was particularly hard hit by the crisis, but like everywhere else hasn't done much to deal with the root causes, so it will probably happen all over again.

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  11. I have a friend who wants to move to Iceland. It did an amazing job rebounding and reasserting control of the country from the banks. He actually got involved with the rewriting of their constitution.

    I feel for people who bought into that crazy real estate hysteria in this country. I remember not being able to understand how you could buy a house with nothing down, and pay only interest. I couldn't figure out how it could work. Turns out it didn't.

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