Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies by Bill on April 5, 2012

I checked out Game Change, the HBO Sarah Palin movie. It wasn’t bad. Early on, it actually created an oddly sympathetic portrait of Palin. She believed in herself, which is a generally admirable trait, and she loved her family. That she wasn’t particularly qualified to be the Vice President didn’t seem to be her fault, it was McCain’s political people being too elated to find someone like her to actually press her on her knowledge of things like foreign policy. The media’s attacks on her kids* and having to spend so much time away from her home and her family took a lot out of her, and that she was freezing up in interviews seemed understandable.

But then they really unloaded on her. Not only did she become shockingly ignorant as the movie progressed (she had to be shown where Germany was on a map, have the basics of World War II explained to her, had no idea what the Fed was, believed we negotiated with the Queen to get the UK to aid us in Iraq, thought Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, and the campaign eventually gave up on trying to get her to understand issues, instead scripting responses for her to memorize that are vague enough to handle any question on a given topic), but she eventually became completely irrational and totally full of herself. She would intentionally lie to the public and the press, get upset when other people wouldn’t lie for her, ignore campaign directives, went back on her word about supporting McCain positions that disagreed with her own, nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Julianne Moore is creepily Palin-ish in this. She doesn’t have the voice quite right, it’s not quite as shrill as the real Palin, but you can barely tell she’s Julianne Moore. It’s not just the hair and makeup, she has a certain swagger, the sort of confused confidence like somebody’s mom trying to pretend like she knows stuff about current pop culture. The voice isn’t perfect, the real Sarah Palin’s voice is quite shrill, but I think trying to imitate that part would make the performance deviate into caricature, so I think she was basically perfect. Ed Harris’ John McCain is just Ed Harris with white hair. Which is fine. Woody Harrelson and Sarah Paulson are excellent as Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace (the political one, not the L&O:CI villain). Paulson doesn’t try to look or sound like Wallace at all, which is good because the story demands that she be one of the likable ones, and the real Nicole Wallace rarely seems warm or sympathetic (because they are the ones who are selling out their values to try to win an election… the movie has them keep McCain almost completely in the dark about Palin).

Unsurprisingly, McCain and Palin criticized the movie. But surprisingly, the two non-politician principals (Woody Harrelson and Sarah Paulson) said it was pretty much spot on.

* – the actress who played Bristol Palin, aka young Danielle Roussea, sometimes looked creepily like the real Bristol Palin (pre-nose job).

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