Inspired by Danny Fisher's post and selections, I will follow in the kind reverand's wake and choose five films that I would like Barack Obama to see before he becomes our 44th president.
As Danny tells us, a UK Guardian film blogger, Xan Brooks, started this meme, posting the following challenge to his readers: "If there were five films that [Obama] needed to see before settling into the job, which ones would they be? What are the ones that should stand as his touchstones as he prepares for the biggest task of all?"
Here are my selections:
1. First, I will kipe The Corporation from Danny's List for mine. It is definitely a movie I would want Barack to see and think about. This documentary may or may not be fair and even-handed, but it does reveal a lot about the psychotic nature of corporations which have become the dominate force in our country and have become most adult individuals' masters.
2. Both Danny Fisher and Xan Brooks chose Robert Alman's political farce Nashville for their lists. I'll pass on that one since it doesn't touch much on the administration component of being president. On his list, Danny included Warren Beatty's political film Bulworth. I'll pass on that one, too, since I don't remember it that well. Instead I'll choose a political film that focuses a lot [but not exclusively] on administration. My choice is a Preston Sturges's gem about a Chicago mayor faced with a corrupt system and the dangers of being honest: The Great McGinty.
3. Since Brooks already chose The Grapes of Wrath as a message to Obama to keep the suffering of others in mind during these Hard Times we've entered, and since I already recommended Sullivan's Travels to readers of this blog, my "Hard Times" recommendation to Obama is The 400 Blows, François Truffaut’s delightful story of the tribulations and trials of a boy who stumbles into trouble in post-WWII France.
4. Since Obama will be Top Dog over one of the world's most awesome and troubling beaurocracies, I would want him to see Akira Kurosawa's quasi-comedy Ikiru. This 1952 Japanese movie was the inspiration for another, more recent, better-known great beaurocracy-out-of-control film, Monty Python Terry Gillam's 1980 farce Brazil. But of those two movies, Ikiru is the masterpiece. I believe that Ikiru is Kurosawa's response to Capra's film It's a Wonderful Life, but instead of the protagonist almost committing suicide, Ikiru's protagonist is definitely dying of stomach cancer at the beginning of the movie. And, instead of being Christian-themed, it's Buddhism-themed. Yowza!
and 5. Because I worry about justice in America and rendition and Gitmo and plea bargaining and more, I would like Barack to see my favorite Al Pacino film, ...And Justice for All. Madness, madness, reality, madness. "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!"