Thursday, April 28, 2016

YOU CAN LOATHE REAGANISM AND STILL BE OFFENDED BY THIS

(UPDATE: Will Ferrell now says he won't be involved in this project.)

I'm still angry at what Ronald Reagan did to this country, but I'm not amused by this:
Sources tell Variety [that Will] Ferrell is attached to star as President Reagan in ... “Reagan.”

Penned by Mike Rosolio, the story begins at the start of the then-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander-in-chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie....

Ferrell is no stranger to political humor having portrayed former President Bush several times over the years on “Saturday Night Live.” ...
Reagan has the first signs of Alzheimer's, and that's supposed to be funny? In my twenties, sure, I joked about Reagan being a simpleton -- but real dementia isn't amusing. It's miserable and it impossible awful burdens on caregivers -- and the fact that Ronnie's principal caregiver was Nancy Reagan, a woman I didn't think much of either, doesn't change how I feel.

If you're having trouble understanding why I've gone softhearted on this, imagine a film in which the source of humor is the mental impairment of Gabby Giffords after she's been shot in the head. I'd be outraged at that. I'd be outraged at people who treated it as light entertainment.

And Hot Air's Allahpundit has a point:
Frankly, if they’re going to milk it for laughs, I hope they’re savage about it. No mercy. The worst would be if they spend 100 minutes having Reagan drooling on himself and then give Ferrell some poignant humanizing Oscar-bait-ish scene in the final 10 about struggling with memories so that critics will walk out pulling their chins about the “surprising empathy” the film showed.
Really, just don't do this.

****

On the other hand, I think Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon misses the point with these "Four Political Comedy Pitches to Help Hollywood Prove Conservatives Wrong" ("wrong" referring to the belief that Hollywood is always reverent toward liberals and Democrats and contemptuous of conservatives and Republicans):
Our nation’s horniest ex-president and his billionaire buddy, Jeffrey Epstein, hop on board the famed Lolita Express in order to settle a bet: who can seduce a supermodel on every inhabited continent first? Whacky hijinks ensue....

Long before he became president, Barack Obama was a member of the most powerful teen troop in all Hawaii: THE CHOOM GANG. After a night of ‘sweet-sticky Hawaiian buds’ and ‘green bottle beer,’ Obama and his pals can’t remember where they left the future president’s grandma’s sweet-ass El Camino. Turns out they didn’t lose it: It was stolen by a rival gang, one that will stop at nothing to discover the source of the Choom Gang’s powerful weed! ...

After eight long years of Gen. Squares McDork in the White House, the Kennedy Bros are finally going to Make The White House Fun Again. Unfortunately, all is not well between Jack, Bobby, and Teddy: They’re fighting over women again! ...

A president beset by crises at home and abroad comes face to face with a truly unstoppable foe: a rabbit that can swim. And he’s out for blood! ...
Hasn't Hollywood already gone there with Clinton, in Primary Colors? And haven't there been a thousand books and miniseries that portrayed the Kennedy brothers as sex addicts? As for Obama, well, there's this:



A Choom Gang feature film? I say bring it on. Maybe Kal Penn should do it.

Hollywood may not make a lot of feature films poking fun at Democrats, but high-level Democrats have never been spared by liberal comics. Prior to the current GOP civil war, I don't think that was ever true about right-wing comics and Republican politicians. We my not be nice to the opposition, but we're not reverent toward our own.

9 comments:

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

The tail end of the Reagan years weren't funny at the time either, everyone cringed in real life too. I still recall the sublede caption under Reagan's photo in our big cty paper the day after his final State of the Union address -- because it was so stark: "Much of the time, especially at the outset, Reagan appeared disengaged."

The disorientation was unmistakable during Reagan's head-shaky televised public not-pology for (getting caught for) the Arms for Hostages scandal. At the time we thought, his head knows it was wrong but his heart doesn't believe it, wtf does that even mean?

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

For those too young, I should clarify that part of what made these signs of dementia scary was the unsettling feeling that consequential decisions might be more easily influenced by shadowy, behind the scenes players. We couldn't actually have foreseen that his VP, who happened to be a former DCIA, going on to become President, and then in turn his VP, another former DCIA, doing the same.

Feud Turgidson said...

Chair, there was also the voice of Gorbichev, in English, telling reporters, anyone who asked actually, that every time the two were together, Reagan told the same story like he'd never told it before, including multiple times a day, before any audience. Despising the powers that brought us Reagan and the man himself for when he knew better, I took that also to be dementia.

One of my parents went thru dementia. It was awful, and the number of times something happened that was either highly dangerous or deeply sad or truly mortifying was a lot. A few days would go by, then something would happen that was just nuts. The last months were spent in hospital, so safer at least; but still awful, and soul-destroyingly sad. The last day was the saddest and worst of all.

Jim Sweeney said...

I spent a decade taking care of my Alzheimer's-addled mother (which included going to church for three years, though Unitarian-Universalists aren't that hard to take, and I already knew everybody). Her mother and her sister had it and I'm at risk; it's so common that we ought to take it seriously, by which I mean we ought to joke about it.

We ought to rename it Reagan's disease. Maybe those who treasure his memory would be thus induced to support research into a cure or provide funding for the care of those so afflicted. Or, more plausibly, future generations might be more inclined to pity him or excuse his policies.

Dark Avenger said...

I think anything that exposes St. Ronnie to ridicule is a worthy project. For over 20 years he has been the gold standard of Conservstism, so anything that brings rack and ruin to that image is fine with me.

Lucia said...

Alzheimer's is a horrible, evil, cruel disease, proof if any were needed that there is no benevolent deity. I watched my MIL go through it, and I watched her family's hearts break.

And now I'm watching the GOP fight tooth and nail to leave patients and caregivers twisting in the wind in the name of freedom. So let's have a serious film about Reagan's decline during his presidency. While we're at it, let's have a serious campaign to compensate home health workers fairly -- including people who now have to impoverish themselves by leaving paid jobs to care for family members. And rather than ridiculing Reagan, let's ridicule the soulless plutocrats who profit from the existing system.

Michael Wells said...

This post ignores the fact that Reagan was President when the signs of dementia were obvious. There is also some evidence (from his son) that he was showing signs of it in the first term. Gabby Giffords was a representative from Arizona when shot and then she left her seat. The two circumstances are not remotely alike. Reagan held the lives of all of us in his hands when President. He should not have been President when suffering from dementia. Those who covered for him were risking our country's safety and future. Those who have sanctified him since need a heavy dose of reality. Maybe Farrell and his movie may provide it.

Lawrence said...

I thought the killer rabbit was a Jimmy Carter thing. And I would like to thank Liberal Hollywood for 30+ years of movies and television programming valorizing the police, vigilante violence, war, the drug war, the criminal justice system, etc. Bonus for their diversity hiring in making the bad guys black, brown, or yellow so often. Chung Chung.

Kathy said...

I'm glad Will Ferrell decided not to do this. I'm caring for my mother, who's dealing with dementia, and watching a dear friend deal with her husband's early Alzheimer's, and there's nothing funny about either of those.