Hollywood Still Hasn’t Learned
Critics made a fuss over the 2017 indie film “Beatriz at Dinner” for a simple reason.
The film’s villain, played by John Lithgow, vaguely resembled President Donald Trump. Had Hollywood finally responded in cinematic form to the Age of Trump?
The film didn’t make much of a splash, for starters. Its $7 million domestic haul is solid for an indie feature but hardly a cultural earthquake. The Trumpian flourishes were easy to spot in Lithgow’s character, but the story didn’t go overboard making him a doppelganger for the “Apprentice” alum.
That isn’t the case with three new films coming our way before the mid-term elections. Trump is the main attraction in each project, although they take wildly different approaches.
The first is the easiest to define, sight unseen. Michael Moore returns with “Fahrenheit 11/9” (Sept. 21), a clever spin on the title of his massively successful 2004 assault on then-President George W. Bush.
This time, President Trump is in the far-left director’s crosshairs. And, judging by the trailer, Moore’s shtick hasn’t aged a minute. We see selectively edited clips, peeks at Democratic “rock star” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Moore pulling his usual pranks.
Gosh, he’s spraying Flint water on the Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s property. He’s incorrigible.
It all a bit pathetic. Ocasio-Cortez quickly emerged as a gaffe machine, a figure conservatives paint with the broadest, most unflattering, of brushes.
The Flint water crisis? A New York Times op-ed by two prominent researchers showed the poisoning charges are severely inflated.
“…the C.D.C. recommends medical treatment only for blood lead levels at or above 45 micrograms per deciliter. Not a single child in Flint tested this high.”
And do progressives still need Moore’s shtick when they have late night comedians assaulting Trump five nights a week?
Besides, Moore’s persona took a sizable hit when we learned how many homes he had during his divorce proceedings. That, on top of the tales he’s spun in recent years about serial death threats, make him a less than credible figure for even true-blue progressives.
“The Oath” (Oct. 12) could be the most interesting Trump film heading our way. Liberal comic actor Ike Barinholtz (“Blockers”) wrote and directed this broad comedy about political opposites gathering for Thanksgiving dinner. Long story short? It doesn’t end well.
The match that lights the flame? The government institutes a loyalty oath for all citizens. It’s exactly the kind of fascism liberals think Trump will uncork next.
It begs the question: will Barinholtz embrace his personal politics and tilt the humor to the Left? Or will he craft a slapstick farce reminding us how much we have in common at the end of the day? Stay tuned.
The third film won’t get a fraction of the press the first features will enjoy. “American Chaos” (Sept. 14) finds self-described political junkie James Stern meeting the men and woman who made Donald Trump the most unlikely president in American history.
How did Stern misread the nation? Only what he finds disturbs him to the core. The trailer strongly hints at a not so happy resolution to Stern’s story.
Can any of the three impact the political landscape? Moore’s movie cred is strictly for true believers, and his pop culture cache has dimmed in recent years. Few will likely see “American Chaos” to even have an impact.
“The Oath,” however, offers the most potential for change. Humor breaks down our defenses when applied with a delicate, and fair, touch.
Either way, it’ll take more than the current scandals to dislodge President Trump from the Oval Office.
Christian Toto is the editor of the right-leaning entertainment site HollywoodInToto.comDONATE
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