WIP Political Film Night

Monday Night Political (& historical) Films

March 20: Thank You for Smoking "follows the efforts of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using heavy spin tactics while also trying to remain a role model for his 12-year-old son" (David).

March 27: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. This film is essential for understanding America's political culture, with insights into the popular image of the filibuster, political machines, the Press, and cynicism about "Washington politics": the swamp.  It was "loosely based on the life of Montana U.S. Senator Burton Wheeler, who underwent a similar experience when he was investigating the Warren Harding administration.... Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, the film was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the first 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1989, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." (Room 202)

April 3: National Treasure.  There some historically accurate elements to this film.  For example, the Declaration is stored in an Atomic bomb-proof vault when not in use.  By the way, did you know that American Independence Museum in Exeter also has an original copy of the Declaration, which it stores in a safe place when not on pubic view?  Here's a video about the AIM's  Dunlap Broadside.  Most of these facts fall into the category of interesting trivia and the film is more about entertainment than valuable political or historical insights. (Room 200)

April 10:  All the Way. Tells the story of how LBJ got the 1964 Civil Rights Act through Congress, past the Southern bloc and Sen. Richard Russell.  RT consensus (87%): "Anchored by Bryan Cranston's phenomenal performance as LBJ, All the Way is an engrossing portrayal of a complicated man during a pivotal moment in US history" (Room 202).

April 17: On the Basis of Sex. RT consensus: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's "extraordinary life makes a solid case for itself as an inspirational, well-acted biopic." (Room 205)

April 24: Sorry to Bother You. This film (rated R) asks ambitious people to answer the question from the old labor anthem: "Which Side are you On?" RT: 93% (Room 202). 

May 2 (Tuesday): TBA (Room 209).

May 8: Batman (a political film?)

The concept of superheroes is political because "we've learned to treat politics like a damned superhero movie: good versus evil, redemption arcs, the good ones always prevail. It's all black and white, with no room for nuances."

Since, according to room 210, everything is political, we can watch any film at all on political film night. Who needs politics when Batman will solve our problems for us? (Room 210)

We ended up watching The Dark Night.  The political message seems to be that people are generally good, though some are unbelievably bad.  Emphasis on "unbelievable."  Actually, it's wrong on both counts.

May 15: TBA (Room 211)

May 22: TBA (Room 202)

Suggestions: Just Mercy; 42; Loving; The Trial of the Chicago 7; On the Basis of Sex; Darkest Hour; All Quiet On the Western Front;  W; Charlie Wilson's War; Chappaquiddick; Pride.

Documentaries: Operation Varsity Blues; Get me Roger Stone; War Room; W; Charlie Wilson's War; Chappaquiddick; The Most Dangerous Man in America (Daniel Ellsberg).

Journalism: The Post; Spotlight; All the President's Men; Frost/Nixon; Broadcast News; Good Night and Good Luck; Network. More Ideas.