Saturday, June 28, 2008
The Best Man
Henry Fonda (who sure played a lot of thoughtful liberals) and Cliff Robertson's Joe McCarthy are somehow vying for the same party's nomination. The film pretends to be cynical but then has Barack Obama beating Hillary Clinton by giving his electoral votes to Dennis Kucinich. A good reminder that people (in this case, Gore Vidal) were writing melodramatic political exposes about the media's love of scandal and lowest common denominators well before Aaron Sorkin.
Trite biopic juiced by celebrity cameos. As in the Prestige, David Bowie pulls off a cartoon of a cultural icon by making their emotional distance oddly cuddly; it's a neat trick he could probably win an Oscar for if he did it more often. Director Julian Schnabel keeps stealing star Jeffrey Wright's moments for himself (why let the actor express loss when you can have his inner child run past him and dissolve?). Despite all the drugs, sex, racial conflict and art, the only real edge comes from a spacey, vicious interview of Wright by Christopher Walken, who always seems to give his most surprising performances in otherwise weak Oscar bait, i.e. Catch Me If You Can.