Monday, September 20, 2010

Yes, he was a crook

It's kind of odd getting to the age where films are being made about events that I lived through and remember with crystal clear clarity.

I remember watching the David Frost Show when I was a kid in Detroit. I remember not getting all of the jokes but the ones I got made me laugh like crazy.

I remember the 1972 election, that was the first year I watched as much of the conventions as I could, it was also the last year that I could stomach watching the Republicans convene. I remember watching Watergate unfold and although I didn't fully understand what was happening, I remember knowing it was terribly important.

I remember vividly when Nixon resigned and left the White House in disgrace. And I remember thinking, "Good riddance," as he rode off to California. I knew even then that he was a small petty venal man with a persecution complex that was a mile wide. And everything I have read about him as I have gotten older has more than confirmed my youthful impressions of him. Yes, he was smart. Yes, he was a good international statesman, but the facts remain that he was a petty small venal man who did not hesitate to use his political power to lash out at his enemies, both real and perceived. The fear that he might strike out and arrest journalists, anti war demonstrators, or even ordinary citizens who disagreed with him was real and not unfounded.

I remember watching the interviews David Frost did with Nixon in 1977. It was fascinating to me to see Nixon desperately try to salvage himself from the scrap heap of history.

Last night we finally saw this film:
I had resisted seeing it because I didn't think the story was going to be compelling, I was wrong, it's very compelling. I also resisted it because I'm currently sick of Ron Howard and his schmaltzy movies, his brother Clint, and his uber pretentious daughter Bryce Howard. And really, you'd have to be a pretty bad director to fuck this story up and thankfully Howard didn't do that. But he did cast his creepy brother Clint and for that he deserves a bitch slap.

All the non interview stuff in the movie is fictional, so take it for what you will but they did a great job of recreating the interviews between Frost and Nixon.

Langella, who I had major reservations about, and Sheen are both very good in their roles. And this is probably the best work Sam Rockwell has done since his Chuck Barris bio of a few years back. Ron Howard did do one thing I find commendable and that's reigning in the usually bombastically over the top Oliver Platt.

Despite the presence of Clint Howard, the direction of Ron Howard, and the casting of Oliver Platt, I recommend this film because it shows you that Nixon was indeed a crook who deserved the disgrace and shame he brought on himself and his legacy. It's a shame that Gerald Ford pardoned him because he did commit crimes that were prosecution worthy. And when people say that all the Presidents are crooks but Nixon was the only one who got caught, punch them in the crotch for being stupid enough to say something so patently dumb.

1 comment:

kirby said...

Seriously, Clint Howard? I mean I know he has to throw his brother a bone, but come on. I would think that seeing him in this kind of movie would just stop it dead in its tracks.