Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

In these weeks of political focus, two conventions deciding our presidential candidates, I have been thinking about those movies that dip into that realm.

Perhaps it is me but I see politics and societal commentary everywhere from the recent kid movie Zooptopia to blatant political satire of Our Brand is Crisis.

Our Brand is CrisisThis latest movie starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock is about a broken political consultant who prefers to work on pottery in a backwoods home. But she is pulled back into the game to help a South American politician win the presidency of his country.

She is not only battling the personality of a politician she doesn’t like but also a competitor helping the other (and perhaps) better candidate. This is the story of a woman battling depression, addiction issues, and altitude sickness to help a candidate she is being paid to help. What she does for her employer is not always pretty and in the end, she has to decide if she can live with her actions.

It is a good solid movie that is not meant for young children with its swearing and violence. Then again, children might be bored with the adult context of the movie.

wag the dogAnother movie that might bore them to pieces is Wag The Dog starring Robert DeNiro as a political operative who needs to create a distraction for his boss, the POTUS, who may or may not have been inappropriate with a girl scout-like group. So he brings in movie producer Dustin Hoffman to create that distraction involving a potential war in Albania.

It is a big boondoggle of a set up that could give a movie producer bragging rights for years or at least a really great story if only he could tell the story. Which he can’t because it is all top secret. Is this scenario possible? I don’t know but sometimes when I watch the latest scandal, in the back of my mind I am always wondering if this is the tail of the story or the real meat of it all.

Again, not a great movie for kids with it’s low key action and some bad words. Even adults who prefer a lot of action will probably be bored by this movie. But I love it for every actor, including musician Willie Nelson, who moved out of their comfort zone to give great performances making fun of a process that needs to be ridiculed.

mr smith does to washingtonFinally, if you have not seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Jimmy Stewart, perhaps you should. This 1939 Frank Capra is a classic about a politically naive man who is appointed to the Senate and wages a war against corruption. He even runs a filibuster to make sure right is the law of the land and not big money.

For me it is how politicians go to Washington, how they leave depends on the evil they do to others. With great speeches and tremendous acting Stewart and Claude Rains put together a movie that searches for the true meaning of political action that is meant to help the rest of the citizens, not harm them.,

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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