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September 12, 2008


Election Analysis From Roger Ebert

Casablanca and Viva Zapata

Roger Ebert evaluates the candidates for president and vice president through the lens that matters most to him: What are their favorite movies?

Examining their Facebook pages, he comes up with the following responses:

John McCain: Viva Zapata!, Letters From Iwo Jima, and Some Like It Hot.

Barack Obama: Casablanca, Godfather I and II, Lawrence of Arabia, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Joe Biden: no response.

Sarah Palin: no response.

Well! Ebert is very disappointed by the VP candidates' failure to appreciate the importance of sharing their taste in movies with voters. He also believes that no campaign aides selected these movies for the candidates, but that they reflect the true views of the candidates themselves: "Something as important as choosing your favorite movie, you don't delegate that to underlings." He might be giving them too much credit on that, but let's hope he's right.

Obama's choices strike me as very safe and impersonal (come on, The Godfather?) but One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is pretty interesting. He clearly likes movies about one man standing up to an oppressive regime or bureaucracy.

McCain has some easy choices too, though I was glad to see he had the guts to include a comedy. But he blows it out of the water in a recent EW interview, which Ebert references, in which he more fully explains his Viva Zapata! choice. McCain's a bit of a film buff:

"Elia Kazan made three movies with Marlon Brando. One was A Streetcar Named Desire, one was On the Waterfront, and the third was Viva Zapata! Many people think Brando's performances in Streetcar and Waterfront were his best. I think Zapata! was his best. I'm in the minority about this. But go back and watch the scene of his wedding night, with [Brando] and Jean Peters - the actress who later married Howard Hughes, who made her give up acting - when she teaches him to read by taking out the Bible and reading it with him. That's a poignant scene."

But Ebert says that Bill Clinton has them both beat, based on an interview he did with him in 1999. It's a pretty incredible conversation: Clinton can really talk movies.

Today's Ebert column offers another look at Sarah Palin, who he calls The American Idol candidate. People like her because they think she's just like them, he says, which is exactly why Ebert doesn't like her: "I don't want a vice president who is darned near good enough. I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq."

categories: Movies, Politics
posted by amy at 4:51 PM | #

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I wonder if Vince Chase's makeup in "Medellin" was copied from Marlon Brando's in "Viva Zapata." The curly hair makes you think.

Posted by: T-Rock at September 17, 2008 10:04 AM

Ha, yeah, good point. There are many stylistic similarities between movie revolutionaries and movie kingpins, I guess.

I've never watched Entourage (I know), but I just found the website for Medellin:

Pretty great.

A real movie, Killing Pablo, looks like it's in production: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284236/

Posted by: amy at September 17, 2008 10:26 AM

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