Skip to comments.Doc ‘Poliwood’ spins out of control
Posted on 11/02/2009 11:49:35 AM PST by raccoonradio
Tonight at 7:30 on Showtime.
Director Barry Levinsons 90-minute Poliwood is billed as a film essay.
Thats like calling the back of a cereal box a novel.
Say what you will about Michael Moore, but at least he knows how to spin a story.
Levinson (Rain Man) aims to explore the crash of politics, celebrity and media. Hes fascinated as to why performers are greeted with hostility when they become politically active.
He trails famous members of the Creative Coalition, Hollywoods nonprofit, nonpartisan lobbying group for arts funding, through the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential conventions.
The coalitions trip to the Obama convention is practically a party, drawing Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Burstyn and Spike Lee, among others.
As Poliwood demonstrates, movie and TV stars have unprecedented access to DCs elite. A pair of congressmen are only too happy to answer Sarandons questions about Fannie Maes collapse. Tim Daly (who also served as co-producer here) banters with a politician who wants a movie career.
But when a communications specialist reminds the lefty celebs that they must tone down the vitriol when addressing Republicans, stars such as Josh Lucas and Gloria Rueben react as if he spat on their designer shoes.
Thin-skinned, these superstars.
As you might expect, the wattage dims for the Republican convention. Suddenly all these nonpartisan activists are busy. Coalition co-founder and actor Ron Silver, looking wan (he died from cancer in March), speaks about the lefts intolerance. Levinson appears to shut down.
A handful of performers, including Daly and Rachael Leigh Cook, meet with average voters. The stars are unprepared for the fury directed at them by working folks sick of the elite telling them how to vote.
Levinsons most trenchant observations come as he covers the pageantry of the two conventions and notes how every event is orchestrated to play to the network cameras.
So, being telegenic is important to being president of the United States, Levinson says. Where would that leave Lincoln? Thats not a telegenic face.
Levinson declares TV to be the single most addictive, destructive force in society today, destroying families and our democracy. (Theres no mention of that little thing known as the Internet, which played such a large part in the election.)
Late in the film, MSNBCs Tucker Carlson seems to settle the question of whether celebrities have a right to become politically involved. He argues that most people should own their ignorance.
No person could understand how modern America works. And I dont care how smart you are, its too complex.
Lets add documentary filmmaking to that list.
Shut up and sing, shut up and act (or if you are going to give your opinions, at least don't be pushy about them--hopefully some entertainers on the right aren't pushy.) The elites. (Remember the first line in one of Ingraham's books? "They think you're stupid.")
Have enjoyed some of Levinson's movies (Avalon, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man) but won't see this--esp. since I don't have Showtime. Anyway, Boston Herald TV reviewer grades it a D.
What a dolt. Obama's not telegenic either. He just happens to have a corp of fawning sycophants in the press who won't shut up about how telegenic, eloquent, intelligent etc he is.
Barack Obama is a Warholian "15 minutes of fame" president. He was marketed with a popart poster by a propagandist named Shepard Fairey.
The entertainment establishment circled the wagons and kept "on message" to hype The One.
Other media snipes were taken at McCain and Palin.
If you want to talk about being "telegenic", this image of a man who had his arms BROKEN while held as a prisoner of war (GENUINE torture) should not have been used as a "laughing stock".
Like I said before,I’m glad that Powers Boothe does not discuss politics!
I was such a big fan of Ron Silver and was heartbroken when he died.Hell,I still am. I saw photos of him before he died,and it brought tears to my eyes.I know that he’s in a better place.