The 5 Movies All Politicians Should be Forced to Watch
Hidden amid all the sex toys, video games, and Doctor Who references that make up roughly 113 percent of my output here in Art Attack, you might have noticed some recurring notes of despair. That's to be expected from a pissy little goth, of course, but lately it's less theatrical malaise and more honest depression. The reason is politics.
The political environment in America is more toxic than Lemmy's urine. Every single second of coverage feels exactly like that argument that happens right before a member of your family flips over the Monopoly board and ensures that no one will ever find the little pewter dog again, wherever it flew. Nobody can get along, everyone is convinced they're right, and our leaders resist learning from each other so hard you'd think cooperation caused cancer in lab rats.
I never complain without offering a solution, though. My initial pitch of "Top 5 Ways to Dropkick Your Representative" was rejected by the editor as being "Grounds for terrorist charges." Plan B involves a movie night. These are the five films that should be necessary viewing for anyone seeking public office.
5. The Great White Hype
Plot: A dominating black heavyweight champion has run out of opponents and public interest in boxing plummets. His unscrupulous fight promoter decides to lure a retired white boxer the champ had lost to in their amateur days back into the ring to hype up a racially-charged contest. The boxing public works itself into a frenzy over a possible upset, only for the fight to end in an embarrassingly one-sided victory for the champ. The promoter gets richer as expected.
The Message: I think our current crop of Tea Party Republicans need to see this film the most, including our own Ted Cruz. The Great White Hype is a mediocre film with a brilliant message; don't start to believe your own bullshit or you will get knocked down. Do not confuse the cheering of the mob with actual statistics and facts, especially if what they are cheering for is mostly uniformed, racist bullshit.
Bonus Lesson: Always ask why someone is giving you money.
4. The Accused
Plot: Jodie Foster plays a woman who starts dancing seductively at a bar, only to end up gang raped on a pinball machine while others look on and encourage the crime. In spite of every single person telling her and the district attorney to just let the case go as far as the spectators are concerned, the two women pursue justice until not only are the rapists behind bars, but the people that sat back and cheered on the rape are as well for criminal solicitation.
The Message: If it seems like I'm picking on Republicans too much, hold on. I'll make my way over eventually. Rape came up a lot over the course of the past election, and rarely with any kind of logic or sense. Mostly we saw a bunch of people with woefully misguided opinions try to explain away something that is very real, and very damaging. The moral of this movie, at least for those in power who are making laws that apply to rape victims, is that encouraging a culture where it's a woman's job to not get raped, rather than a man's job to not rape, is freakin' evil.
Bonus Lesson: If you have to hold her down it's either rape, or she's having a seizure. Either way, you should stop.
3. Transformers: The Movie
Plot: Robots that disguise themselves as cars and planes are at constant war with one another, until suddenly a massive planet-eater named Unicron threatens the very existence of Cybertron. Oh, and Optimus Prime dies because fuck your childhood hopes and dreams, that's why.
The Message: The acme of every cartoon is that magical episode where the good guys and bad guys have to team up against an opponent bigger than both of them. We love that because team-ups are great, and it eliminates a lot of baggage for 90 minutes. The lesson our president and Congress can learn the most from this is that yes, we understand that you both want to be in charge and have very different visions for America, but every once in a while it's really important to make sure holding to those visions too stubbornly means that no one gets any cake at all. If it helps, imagine the next debt ceiling debate being voiced by the ghost of Orson Welles.
Bonus Lesson: Even when your opponent wants desperately to help you, he may be controlled by powers beyond his ability to resist. Sorry Galvatron.
2. Fight Club
Plot: A man who feels that his life has no meaning meets a mysterious stranger, and the two start an underground series of bare-knuckle boxing clubs. Eventually, the clubs become an anarchist movement designed to bring down the established consumerist culture.
The Message: Did you see Scott Prouty's interview -- he's the bartender who shot the infamous Mitt Romney 47 percent video -- on the Ed Show? If not, go watch it because it is bloody fascinating to see a man so normal have such a tremendous impact on a presidential election. It also proved why every politician needs to watch Fight Club. You may be surrounded at a dinner where your friends paid $50,000 to eat and watch you speak, but there are also waiters, bus boys, valets, security guards, etc. These people make your food, park your car, handle your coat, and they are always watching. Most of them also have cameras.
Bonus Lesson: "Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep.... Do not fuck with us" - Tyler Durden.
1. Grave of the Fireflies
The Plot: A young boy and girl in WWII Japan lose their mother in a horrific bombing. Despite a valiant effort to survive, the war torn country is in shambles. Eventually, the young girl starves to death, and her brother succumbs not long afterwards.
The Message: Dear Mr. President. I like you and voted for you. I even mostly approve of the drone program because I did the math and far fewer people die this way on either side than through traditional fighting methods. That said, when I read about Shakira, the young girl badly burned in an alleged strike that was brought to Houston for treatment? When I saw her tiny, scarred face? I remembered this film, and how unblinkingly it showed the horrors of war. The United States had a very good reason to bomb Japan, too, you know. I beg you to never forget the price of executing that reason.
Bonus Lesson: And for everyone else bitching about your fictitious welfare queens, enjoying watching two kids slowly die of malnutrition as a series of adults shrug that it's not their problem.
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