What’s your favorite movie?

“We now have a whole culture based on the assumption that people know nothing and so anything can be said to them.” Stephen Vizinczey
Thinking about the morphing rhetoric coming from “the one,” I would say that Mr. Vizinczey is correct.
In this culture of the stupid, Hollywood reigns supreme. No other medium compares as purveyor of information; think Michael Moore, think Oliver Stone, think The Motorcycle Diaries, the truth cannot compete with a successful big screen image. Films engage all our senses; at their best they validate our humanity, and inspire personal achievement. In an earlier era, good patriotic films helped unite and sustain Americans through war and depression, and did much to construct the national identity of those we now call the greatest generation. We all have a list of our favorites, the movies we love, and I believe that list reveals much about who we are.
William Kristol takes a look at the campaign, and brilliantly analysis the candidates choices for favorite film in last weeks edition of The Weekly Standard. Here’s an excerpt from “Viva McCain.”

Katie Couric asked each candidate recently what his favorite movie was. Obama gave an utterly conventional answer: “Oh, I think it would have to be The Godfather. One and two. Three not so much. Umm. So-so, but, but that–that saga–I love that movie.”
Couric asked him to explain a bit.
Obama: I mean there’s this combination of old world gentility and, you know, ritual with this savagery underneath. It’s all about family. So it’s a great movie. Lawrence of Arabia. Great film. One of my favorites–and then Casablanca. Who doesn’t like Casablanca?
Couric: I asked for one.
Obama: I’m a movie guy. I can rattle off a bunch of movies. But that Casablanca, you know.
That’s Obama. He’s glib, conventional, won’t make a real choice, shows nothing about himself, and says nothing offputting and says nothing impressive.
McCain’s answer was in no way conventional:
Viva Zapata! It’s a movie made by Elia Kazan. It was one of the trilogy of A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront and Viva Zapata! Marlon Brando stars in it. He plays Zapata. It’s a heroic tale of a person who sacrificed everything for what he believed in, and there’s some of the most moving scenes in that movie that I’ve ever seen. And one of them is he gets married–the night of his wedding night–he gets up and he and Jean Peters are in their hotel room–this little room and she says “What’s the matter?” And he says, “I gotta go to Mexico City tomorrow. I’ve gotta be with Pancho Villa and Modero and these people.” He says “I can’t read.” And she reaches over and takes the bible from the–table and opens it up and starts, “In the beginning.” You know, it’s a great scene. It’s great and there’s many others that are wonderful too, especially when he dies–when he gives everything for his country and what he believes in.
Which one of these two men do you want to be president in a time of crisis and difficulty? Viva McCain!

Disclaimer: I do not believe that McCain’s choice of “Viva Zapata” implies that he is sympathetic to communists, and in truth, although I’m not a Zapata scholar, I’m not sure that the communist label applied to him is accurate. I don’t believe that he was anti-American or anti-democracy.

5 thoughts on “What’s your favorite movie?”

  1. Why do you think the bolsheviks were film pioneers and the nazis television pioneers? They immediately understood the propaganda value of those media.

  2. Um, Ziva, it’s, you know, quite possible that McCain loves Viva Zapata! because it’s a good movie, regardless of its (muddled) politics.

  3. Ziva –
    Favorite movie is CHINATOWN. Most specifically the scene where Jack Nicholson asks John Houston the “What MORE Could You Want” question. La respuesta es “EL FUTURO.”

  4. Thinwhiteduke-did you read Kristol’s editorial? If so, then I think McCains reason for singling out this particular movie as his favorite should be clear.

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