I haven’t been able to laugh at the presidency in years. At least, not as the product of something other than a mixture of horror, anger, and embarrassment. Washington/the Federal Government lately hasn’t been a source of cynical guffaws. But things have changed and there’s room to be relieved and somewhat relaxed again. For the foreseeable future, we’re returning to, at worst, garden variety corruption and only casual imperialism.
This movie came to me in a presidential-themed movie collection that I found when looking for a disk-based replacement to an old VHS copy of Dave, a favorite I’m looking forward to returning to soon, and could get a Movies of My Yesterdays if “soon” is not all that soon.
Before watching the movie: When I ask someone new for a movie recommendation, there’s a high likelihood they’ll suggest something I’ve already seen. There’s a very slim chance they’ll recommend something I’ve never even heard of. Not every movie I’ve ever reviewed is obviously to my taste, but the ones that aren’t are pretty much the cinematic canon. And now there’s this. Possibly the first small drama I’ve seen outside of a film festival. I might have passed it by without the strong recommendation of a new friend. The closest reference point I have is something like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? for reasons that become less clear as I explore what they might be (for one thing, I remembered that one as a period story and it’s actually contemporary). This seems to essentially be a story about a housewife supporting her children by writing for prizes. So it’s more like October Sky (intellectual skills lifting people out of bad situations), only probably not at all. Continue reading →