Four Movies to Show at the Democratic National Convention

It turns out we’re going to be voting for President or mayor or something soon. Strap in as FSR takes you LIVE to the Democratic National Convention via my crappy apartment on Capitol Hill.
By  · Published on August 25th, 2008

Greetings from Denver, Rejects! I’ll be posting live from the Democratic National Convention all week to celebrate the glorious planned spontaneity of the giant spectacle that is our democratic system. Of course, by “all week,” I mean until tomorrow since Neil wouldn’t give me the money to stay all week. And by “until tomorrow,” I mean I’m actually sitting in my apartment in DC since Neil wouldn’t give me the money to go in the first place.

But a boy can dream, and not only am I dreaming about the flash bulbs, the generic speeches and people feigning friendship to win votes – I’m dreaming of the lavish entertainment. Since the convention can only have fourteen burlesque shows per day (as per section 3, paragraph 9 of the bylaws), they’ve got to have a movie in there to stir the pot.

Here’s what they should be showing.

Monday, August 25th – Opening Day – The Best Man

Before Chairman Howard Dean opens the ceremonies at 3pm, doleful Democrats will be treated to Gore Vidal’s The Best Man to get them in the convention mood. There’s nothing like a fictional recreation of the 1964 Democratic Convention with Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson fighting tooth and nail for the nomination to get everyone feeling the spirit of the Opening Night Theme, “One Nation.” It will also serve as a gentle reminder that everything is so pre-packaged and formulated that a meaningful convention where two candidates are actually still vying for votes is about as antiquated as a steam-powered time machine.

Tuesday, August 26th – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

As if the awkwardness wasn’t palpable enough on the night Hillary Clinton is set to be the prime-time speaker, the 108-minute-long recess before her speech will be filled with the 1967 classic about teeth-grinding, seat-shifting progress that comes when a younger generation throws out your ideals. Yes, and you thought I’d use this film for Obama’s closing night speech. But that would be racialist. Instead, it makes much more sense to watch Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn squirm with unease, just as thousands of Hillary-haters will be doing when she opens her speech with her trademarked cackle and then passes the hat to help assuage her $49 Billion debt.

And, yes. Fine. A film about a black man crashing a traditionally white establishment does kind of mildly echo in a tiny, indirect way the ascension of Barack Obama. Happy?

Wednesday, August 27th – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

I got a text from the Obama camp at 3am on Saturday morning announcing that he’d chosen Senator Joe Biden as his Veep. I didn’t answer the call – a clear sign that I wouldn’t be ready to lead on day one. Biden, though, will need to be ready to lead on day 2,921 since he’ll be poised to become President after Obama’s two terms are up in 2016. Unfortunately, his Presidential bid last summer – where his slogan was “The Third Guy from the Right” – never took hold. That’s why Butch Cassidy is a perfect fit. Is it because Biden is the most Hawkish Democrat of recent history and wants to shoot at everything? Is it because he hates that newfangled contraption, the bicycle, with wanton disregard? Probably. But it’s mostly because he’s proof that if you just keep pressing on in the face of failure, you’ll end up being chosen as Vice President. Or being gunned down in the middle of a town square in Bolivia.

Thursday, August 28th – Closing Night – See No Evil, Hear No Evil

The Democrats are moving the convention to the gigantic Mile High Club Stadium in order to accommodate the extra 300 million humans that are only going to see Barack Obama speak. That means that the classic Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy is going to be shown up on the Jumbotron before hand. As if there weren’t a more perfect closing night film – “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” is already the official slogan of the Democratic Party, the wacky antics of Team Pryor/Wilder are as laughable as Obama’s Economic Policy, and the film features a young Kevin Spacey who will probably also be at the Convention. Except he’ll be older.

The similarities continue: Just as Wilder didn’t do a blackface routine for See No Evil like he did in The Silver Streak, it’s assumed that Joe Biden will also not be doing a blackface routine during the convention. Plus, Wilder’s character Dave Lyons’s 30+ years of deafness mirrors Biden’s Senate career almost exactly. On the flip side, Obama’s closing night speech, much like the film, won’t have any memorable lines that don’t involve the F-Bomb. Even further, one can only hope that after Obama officially accepts the nomination, people will start calling him “Monsieur HotShit.” That would be a change I can believe in.

God, I miss Richard Pryor.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do a similar feature for the Republican National Convention because Moving Pictures upset and frighten Senator McCain. Plus, if we did it would probably all be old jokes (in both senses) like On Golden Pond or Cocoon, and how unfunny would that be?

In the mean time, you can dig deeper into the campaign and thank the Mainstream Media for covering the issues that really matter – like Joe Biden’s hair. Or you can do what I’m doing – drink yourself stupid at Rock and Roll Hotel, stumble across town to Ben’s Chili Bowl, and talk about the convention’s significance the next day as if you actually saw it.

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.