Monday, March 12, 2012

Roger's Screening Room: Game Change

I don't subscribe to HBO, but I happened to be in a hotel on Saturday night, and the client was passed out in the bathroom, so I tuned in to the film adaptation of the execrable Heilmann/Halperin book, Game Change. Given the hours of positive promotion that Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews had given to the film, I was certain the docudrama would suck harder than the A-Team movie which proceeded it.

I was not disappointed.

The film lost all credibility early on, when an scene of Steve Schmidt in a bucolic tree-filled park was labelled as taking place in "Sacramento." The filmmakers obviously have never been to Sacramento.

At least half the scenes were recreations of public events (or video clips thereof) and thus lacked the dramatic tension of a real-time reenactment of Super Bowl VIII. The scenes in which Julianne Moore chatted with stand-ins for the backs of the heads of Joe Biden, Katie Couric, et al. were the most riveting television since Patty and Cathy Lane dined alone. In contrast, the recreated private scenes were written by a team of libel lawyers who had never seen a film, play or real-life interaction between people.

Palin was portrayed as an idiot and an asshole, so HBO (like Heilprin) let her off easy. The rest of the Palins were non-entities, except for Track, who the movie claimed was serving in the vicinity of combat (is that true?) It was good to see Jamey Sheridan (who had to leave one of the Law and Order shows because he suffered from Bell's Palsy) in a featured role as Mark Salter, although he overplayed the role by depicting Salter as human. Wolf Blitzer was in the film for some unfathomable reason.

In the end, nothing was illuminated, no entertainment was had, and Howie Kurtz's pinchloaf criticisms of the film were without merit. Like everything Howie says.

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