February 2, 2012 3 Comments
Like many of us on the internet, the trailer for Game Change, the adaptation of the popular book about the 2008 election, did not go unnoticed over here. I must agree with everyone that Julianne Moore seems to do a fine Sarah Palin. Ed Harris is rightly commended for his John McCain. He is spot on at aping the nervous I’m-about-to-explode mannerisms of Arizona’s senior Senator.
But here’s my question: where’s the other, oh, uh much more interesting first half of the book that focused on Obama versus Hillary and Jon Edwards’ painful implosion? What I’m saying is, I don’t really care about Sarah Palin. We all know this story. We saw this story. The least surprising parts of Game Change were the parts about this story. It was pretty clear in the fall of 2008 that the McCain campaign strategists who scouted her eventually came to regret their choice of Palin. It was pretty clear then that she didn’t know much about policy, geography, world leaders, etc. It was pretty clear then that she quickly took to her celebrity. It’s no longer an even mildly interesting story, and yet it appears to be exactly what HBO’s Game Change is giving us. Are people really still that interested in Sarah Palin? Has she not worn herself out? Have we not worn out whatever joy we once took out of seeing how so totally in over her head she was? If this movie is only going to focus on the Palin story, there is nothing it will illuminate athat we don’t already know. The Edwards story on the other hand is driven by the compelling and yet still not quite answered question: how did a once fairly promising, down-to-earth politician make so many terrible decisions that alienated his loyal staff?
Sure, I’m going to at some point watch Game Change, but I am going to go in with no higher hopes than I had for another 2008 book-turned-movie called Too Big To Fail. An unmemorable HBO film, the only two things I can recall about Too Big To Fail are the strange but delightful choice of Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke and William Hurt as Hank Paulson walking around Times Square dizzily as the news tickers tell him that the world financial system is teetering on the brink.
Oh, and Game Change receives another demerit for the opening cliche — er line — to its trailer, from strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson): “We live in the age of YouTube and the 24-hour news cycle.”
Decide for yourself: