filmmaking & patriotism

Bunker wrote a post this morning linking to this NY Times article about Sony Pictures buying the rights to make a movie out of Richard Clarke’s controversial book Against All Enemies. Bunker states that:

This might be the major Democratic effort to unseat Bush in November.

I was fascinated by where this whole development could lead, and wrote a long reply. As so often happens, I spotted some typos immediately after posting it, so I’ve cleaned it up and reprinted it below, with a couple of minor additions and clarifications as well:

Even if they get this movie made and ready to market in time (not likely anyway), the GOP will find a way to tie the studio up in court to block the film’s release.

It’s a big ol’ can of worms to open up, isn’t it? Can a major corporation get away with a blatant attempt to influence an election like that, under the guise of art and mass entertainment? Is this a first amendment crisis waiting to happen? Some will argue that it’s unpatriotic or unethical to use a film, a very emotionally manipulative medium, to influence history as it’s being made. And some will contend that the is the precise purpose of the medium. (So far, I kind of think they’re both right&#8211a dangerously wishy-washy point of view, I know.)

But anyway, our politicos are practical folk, and they’ll know that the long-term implications take a back seat to the immediate need to keep that film out of theaters before November.

Unless Bunker is thinking, of course, that the studio is counting on the legal effort to block the movie, unseating the president not by making him look like he ignored a threat but by making him look like that Orwellian “older-male-sibling” character… Interesting possibility.

As an aside, I believe one of the TV networks has already (or soon will) put out a made-for-TV movie on a similar topic—insider political stuff leading up to 9/11—which I believe plays out more or less as a campaign commercial for the administration. So, it cuts both ways.

Looking forward to watching this whole mess play out.

folks before you had this to say:

  1. Rob

    Since you mentioned it, I can’t resist: one of the interesting things about "The West Wing" is that while it takes place inside a Democratic administration, they have to present the opposing points of view in a pretty clearly stated way in order to have actual conflicts on the show. One could certainly argue that they favor the Democratic slant because they’re the main characters of the show and it’s expected that viewers will root for them, but the producers really have no problem depicting the faults of any of their main characters, and those faults so often include blinding arrogance and closed-mindedness. The show’s best moments come from showing conflict inside the administration and the times when the characters have to reconsider their stances.

  2. Bunker

    I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that either party might try to influence the election in such a way. I’ve never watched "The West Wing", but understand it takes a fairly liberal/Democratic stance on current issues. With the Campaign Finance laws being what they are, a theater film would bypass all spending restrictions, regardless of who paid for and produced it.

    As you say, any lawsuit filed attempting to stop such an action could have an even greater effect, and may be exactly what’s wanted. Falls in line with Patriot Act hysteria, don’t you think?

got something to say about that?

Tags allowed in comments: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>