Hollywood's Own October Surprises
Both conservative and liberal leaning Hollywood filmmakers are hoping to sway the November election with a couple of films that they hope will become their own "October Surprise". However, it is highly unlikely that either film will pack theatres and both will likely be quick to end up on DVDs that will make better Frisbees than anything. Unfortunately both a film by Oliver Stone about George Bush entitled "W" and an antiMichael Moore film, AN AMERICAN CAROL, really seem to miss their mark by miles.
Both films attempt to use some sense of larger than life parody, exaggeration and comedy, especially the conservative leaning antiMichael Moore film, which falls into the shallow one note attacks of many conservatives who accuse others of not being patriotic or use shallow one inch deep personal attacks rather than intellectualize the arguments of their political rivals.
Where the antiMichael Moore film goes horribly wrong is the absurd assumption that Michael Moore is antiAmerican and not patriotic. The real Michael Moore may be left leaning politically, but that hardly means that he would support doing away with the 4th of July like the outrageous character in the film. The real Michael Moore is mainly a consumer advocate concerned with the public abuses by some large corporations or some lawmakers who are pawns of these corporate swindlers. And the cast of AN AMERICAN CAROL which includes some like Bill O'Reilly are hardly widely considered as masters of comedy by any means. And the Michael Moorelike character in the film is played by Kevin Farley, the younger and far less talented brother of the late comic, Chris Farley. Other than bringing in gross obesity to the role, Farley really brings in little to the film.
Producer/Director David Zucker used to be known for some pretty good comedy gems like AIRPLANE! or the Leslie Nielsen NAKED GUN films. And the aging Leslie Neilsen does play some small role in this film. But it hardly holds a stick to these past achievements by an means. And with a cast of fellow conservative leaning actors like Kelsey Grammer, Trace Adkins, Jon Voight and Dennis Hopper, the Republican leaning Zucker has really tipped his hand from making films for all viewers, producing a biased right leaning personal attack on Moore and a pointless political propaganda film that absolutely misses the moral calling that draws the real life Moore to produce films attacking corporate corruption and naked greed.
It's almost like 1950's type redbaiting to continue to attack the patriotism of many liberals or even leftists, yet this is also part of this film's shallow attack on Moore. The real Michael Moore was brought up in a good Irish Catholic family where he once considered becoming a Catholic priest. It is this moral background deeply embedded in his early Catholic faith that has most encouraged Moore's battle at what he most likely considers to be corporate immorality and sin that has most likely inspired his moral crusades against corporate sins in the health care industry and other areas. Zucker's mindless film never digs this deep by any means, instead showcases the grossly overweight and talentless Farley as a complete boob who hates America. Simply outrageous trash can material at it's very best.
Liberal leaning, conspiracy theorist filmmaker, Oliver Stone's W film has some faults of it's own as well. Oliver Stone is indeed a top flight filmmaker compared to Zucker who mainly uses endless sight gags in many of his films thinly glued together with a lightweight premise. Zucker uses a premise, any premise in fact, just to hang a few jokes and sight gags on. But Oliver Stone is by contrast a real and true and complete filmmaker who is certainly capable of making a great film if the subject is right.
The main problem with W is that this film is way too late to do any good. Oliver Stone really needed to make this film way back in 2000 to do any real good for the country. But even at it's best, Stone's film goes way over the top highlighting the drunken and reckless cowboy personality of George Bush that the American voters really needed to consider before voting in the 2000 election. Now at it's best, the film about W only hopes to bring down John McCain with some hope of guilt by association with Bush and his reckless and failed presidency. Certainly there was little to expect from some former drunk who was also a cocaine abuser to be a great leader. But really what's the point now? The public is sick of Bush for the most part, and he's a largely an irrelevant personality except for the fact that McCain belongs to the same party and stupidly supported most of Bush's nonsense agenda. But if voters haven't made this connection as of yet after 8 years of near nonstop Three Stoogery, then it is highly unlikely that Stone's film will suddenly make that impression now. Stone's film will only reconfirm what those who dislike the Bush policies already believe and probably not bring in any new converts this late in the game. Why make this film now?
The Iraq War, the declining economy, attacks on civil liberties, all of the problems brought on by the grossly failed Bush presidency is about to be as to be expected. There was never any hope or potential for Bush considering what was there. His feet just never reached the pedals as a friend of mine liked to say. And John McCain supported a good 90% of this nonsense. But likely too few voters will view this W film, and it is slightly far fetched for Stone to hope to tar up McCain with this film which is probably not Stone's finest work by any means.
Likely both W and AN AMERICAN CAROL will be also-ran films at the movie box offices. Neither will probably stand the test of time as great films by any means, with both films seeming more like seasonal election year garbage almost like the gut of poor grade horror films that hit the box offices around Halloween season or some poor attempts to exploit the Christmas season with one lousy Santa Claus film after another stinking up the box office.
If anything, about the only significant meaning of these two films may be lousy election year propaganda films becoming a new box office marketing phenomenon from now on. And that's not saying too much. For a fact, neither W or AN AMERICAL CAROL are CITIZEN KANE. Both are far closer to PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE.