Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Short Rants on Game Change

"What do they think I am, dumb or something?" There's a surprisingly striking similarity between Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Game Change and silent screen star Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain. When each film begins, both characters are at the top of their game: Lamont is "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament" while Palin has risen from small-town mayor to governor of Alaska in just 18 months. As they are thrust upon a bigger stage with new challenges and raised stakes, they falter under the pressure of trying to fit their new image. Palin and Lamont are both walking punchlines no one in their respective films take seriously or, even worse, completely underestimate. Neither of them are book smart (one painful scene in Game Change shows Sarah Palin being taught Germany's role in World War I and II), but with the right tools, they are far more dangerous than any Ivy Leaguer. Game Change almost unfairly vilifies Palin as much as The Iron Lady did to Margaret Thatcher (I'm looking at you, unnecessary scene where someone "suggests" that Palin is mentally unstable). I don't agree with her, but Palin's polarizing politics and meteoric rise to the top makes her immensely fascinating. A better director might have been able to better capture this essence of Palin without relying on cheap, degrading name calling. Because, as someone once said, nice women don't make history. Moore is very good as Palin, but if this is the role that (finally) convinced you that she is one of our greatest living actresses, you clearly need to be paying better attention. Woody Harrelson, adding to a fine body of work in the past five years or so, is the best in show.

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