Cinejabber: Sometimes Batman just really wants to catch the Joker
This is Cinejabber, your weekend space to cut loose about whatever is on your mind.
Today I'm thinking about politics in movies. Not surface politics, mind you, like, say, George Clooney's "The Ides of March" or Clint Eastwood's upcoming "J. Edgar." I'm talking about those movies that speak to the "zeitgeist," if you will, whether inherently or interpretively.
It hit me because I heard the strangest take on the finale of "Take Shelter" recently. I won't spoil it here, but someone called the ending of that film "too right wing." Upon reflection, I suppose I could understand how someone might see that. But it just reminds you that people will find politics anywhere.
Some are on about "Moneyball" speaking to things like "innovative problem-solving, and a moral ground that will benefit the team." Again, I can understand the dots and the connecting of them, but so often this kind of thing is perspective brought to the table rather than taken from it.
We saw this three years ago with "The Dark Knight" and supposed right-wing ideas of security. Some even went so far as to call the Caped Crusader and his hard-hitting "policies" to be a stand-in for George W. Bush.
If you want, you can see the end of "Melancholia" as a reflection of the Bush administration if you want to. (Okay, I stole that joke.) But I don't know. Sometimes Batman just really wants to catch the Joker.
Anyway, as Guy teased yesterday, it's worth mentioning that he will be writing up his top 10 films about politics list on Tuesday in advance of next week's release of "The Ides of March."
So, use all of that to springboard if you like. Otherwise, open thread. Have at it. The floor is yours.
(And I swear I didn't mean to have two Cinejabber threads in a row speak to Batman.)
1944 | Thriller | NRSummary: What more do you need for a film noir than a devious wife, an insurance agent who can’t stop thinking about her, and an unsuspecting husband?Director: Billy Wilder
Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
1984 | Documentary | NRSummary: The story of the life and influence of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay US politicians and a dedicated activist who worked to improve thousands of lives prior to his 1978 assassination.Director: Rob Epstein
Cast: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg
1961 | Drama | NRSummary: Paul Newman is astoundingly great as pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson, who hustles his way into a game with Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in the story of a gambler who risks everything to win.Director: Robert Rossen
Cast: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
2013 | Thriller | NRSummary: A seemingly homeless man insinuates himself into the daily routine of an upper-middle-class familiy in this unusual, unsettling, and darkly funny Dutch-language gem.Director: Alex van Warmerdam
Cast: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Action | RSummary: Odd comedy about a contract killer played by John Cusack who tries to balance completing a job with rekindling an old romance while home for his high school reunion.Director: George Armitage
Cast: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
1974 | Thriller | PGSummary: Gene Hackman delivers a masterful performance as a surveillance specialist who begins to realize that his latest job may not be as morally sound as he'd like it to be.Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield
2015 | Drama | NRSummary: Big and boisterous melodrama following a music mogul and the struggle between his three sons and ex-wife to dominate the next phase of his company’s future.Director: Lee Daniels, Danny Strong (creators)
Cast: Lizzy Leigh, Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard
2011 | Drama | NRSummary: The daughter of a ruined family moves back to the Hamptons where she charms her way into wealthy society even as she plots the downfall of all around her.Director: Mike Kelley (creator)
Cast: Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann
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