Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

Four Great Political Scandal Movies

John Travolta and Adrian Lester in Primary Colors.

Full disclosure…

I’m a political movie fanatic so this article caught my eye and I wanted to share it with any fellow political movie devotees out there.

Granted, this list consists of political scandal movies but that’s ok as long as politics is a part of the main storyline.

Slate

Since word broke on Friday that CIA director David Petraeus was resigning his post because of an affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, the news cycle has whiplashed from one theory to another, trying to figure out what exactly this scandal is about: Is it about classified information? A scheming professional climber? Proof that the FBI is abusing its power to investigate the private lives of public figures? An example of military culture gone awry? As the who, what, where, and whys continue to unravel and we all sweat to keep up, here are four movies that go a long way toward explaining the sexual culture of Washington and the powerful men who live it.

1. The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979): A must-see, if only for the sight of Alan Alda and Meryl Streep in bed together, The Seduction of Joe Tynan shows just how sexy shared interests can be. Alda plays Joe Tynan, a senator who’s been tapped to lead the campaign against a conservative Supreme Court nominee, raising his political career prospects. But he risks everything for an affair with Karen Traynor (Streep), a smart lobbyist, that begins when they’re out on the road together, inspecting wetlands. What’s sticks with you isn’t just Tynan’s stupidity—though there’s that too—but also how much fun he’s having with Traynor. We tend to think of affairs as furtive, desperate things. But despite how sordid they can seem when exposed, The Seduction of Joe Tynan is a reminder of why people, particularly those with lots of power but little in the way of amusement, fall into affairs in the first place.

2. Primary Colors (1998): Based on Joe Klein’s novel of the same name, Primary Colors follows the peccadillo-plagued campaign for president of a southern governor named Jack Stanton (John Travolta, in one of the best performances of his career), otherwise known as Bill Clinton. Rather than trying to understand the appetites of powerful men, the movie is more interested in how people enable those men and those appetites, whether they are aides lying to themselves about their candidate’s transgressions, or actively covering them up in service of some perceived greatness. When Libby Holden, the long-time friend of Jack Stanton played by Kathy Bates, mourns that “No one ever calls you on it. Because you’re so completely fucking special … Me too. Me the worst,” she’s articulating what it’s like to believe in someone so deeply, and to have that faith betrayed.

3. Heartburn (1986): Not strictly a political scandal movie, Heartburn is the movie adaptation of Nora Ephron’s novelization of her marriage to Carl Bernstein—a marriage that was broken up by his perpetual philandering. But if you’ve been watching l’affair Petraeus-Broadwell unfold and marveling at how small the world of the scandal seems—Broadwell’s emails were investigated after she harassed a friend of Petraeus, Tampa hostess Jill Kelley, who was herself exchanging flirty emails with Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan—this is the movie for you. As Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep again) navigates life in Washington with her journalist husband Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), the city starts to feel more and more claustrophobic with every encounter Rachel has at a Georgetown supermarket or at the beauty salon, where she bolts out mid-perm. I can only imagine that the social bubble of the military elite feels equally incestuous, and is equally capable of driving everyone a little crazy.

4. Dick (1999): Particularly if you’re of the view that the FBI, which has its own problems with an agent who sent shirtless photos of himself to Jill Kelley, dramatically overstepped its bounds in investigating Broadwell and Petraeus, watch Dick. It’s both one of the great, underrated Washington movies, and a brilliantly mean portrait of powerful men working themselves into a flop sweat. After two teenaged girls (Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst) accidentally witness the Watergate break-in, the Nixon administration goes to great lengths to placate them, even making them Checkers’ official dog walkers. But when the two turn out to be good for more than worshipping the president and hooking up the Secret Service with magic brownies, the administration turns on them. The lesson? The less time important men spend on teenage girls and middle-aged mistresses, the better for the nation.

 

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Filed under Political Cinema, Politics

The week in one-liners: Newt, Clinton, Perry

Politico

The top quotes in politics …

“I love life.” — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich feeling good.

“He acted like an idiot, he’s an idiot.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie  not apologizing for insulting an ex-Navy SEAL.

“Work on some debate skills and always remember the third thing.” —Texas Gov. Rick Perry  on what he’d do before running again.

“We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest.” House Speaker John Boehner  talking about Congress.

“That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.” — President Barack Obama dissing former President Rutherford B. Hayes.

“I asked him if I could have a spliff.” — Mogul Richard Branson on his chat with Obama at the state dinner.

“He’s too humble.” — Filmmaker Harvey Weinstein expressing his admiration for President Obama.

“I’m just glad she didn’t do a movie called ‘The Devil Wears Pantsuits’.” — Secretary of StateHillary Clinton talking about actress Meryl Streep.

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Streep as Clinton? Tribute gets people talking

It’s funny, when I saw Meryl Streep’s tribute to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the first thing I thought of was how Ms. Streep should actually play Hillary Clinton on the big screen.  Apparently I was not alone in my thinking…

The Associated Press

Meryl Streep is fresh off her Oscar win for playing Margaret Thatcher. But she had an entire theater at Lincoln Center wondering if an even better role for her would be a political icon closer to home: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The question arose as Streep paid a glowing and affectionate tribute to the secretary of state at the Women in the World summit, an annual gathering of prominent women leaders and unsung heroines from across the globe that closed over the weekend.

“This is what you get when you play a world leader,” Streep said Saturday, hoisting up her best-actress Oscar for “The Iron Lady.”

“But if you want a real world leader,” Streep continued, “THIS is what you get!” Clinton strolled onstage at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ David H. Koch Theater, and Streep enveloped her in a hug.

The three-day summit, now in its third year, is organized by Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Besides Streep and Clinton, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Brown harnessed the star power of Angelina Jolie, who came to read the words of Dr. Hawa Abdi, a Somali humanitarian facing danger from Islamist rebels there.

Also given star treatment was International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who delighted the delegates at dinner Thursday when she suggested that the financial crisis might have been averted, or at least been much less serious, if more women had been at the helm of financial institutions.

“If Lehman Brothers had been a bit more Lehman Sisters … we would not have had the degree of tragedy that we had as a result of what happened,” Lagarde said.

She added that recent studies have shown “what the level of testosterone in a given room can produce when you do trading.”

Many global problems were addressed by the dozens of panels attended by some 2,000 delegates each day. But a constant undercurrent was an issue at home: the debate in Washington over women’s reproductive health care.

Clinton and other speakers referred, obliquely and not, to conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh’s insulting remarks about law student Sandra Fluke, who came under attack after she testified to congressional Democrats in support of their national health care policy that would compel her Catholic college’s health insurance plan to cover birth control.

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, of Liberia, was the most blunt, saying women had been too passive: “Where are the angry American women?” she asked.

From Liberia to Egypt: Panelists discussed whether the Arab Spring risked becoming an Arab Winter for women, who were central to the popular uprising but now fear being marginalized.

“Tell people there is no spring without flowers and there is no Arab Spring without women,” said Dalia Ziada, Egypt director of the American Islamic Congress.

Other popular lines of the weekend included the definition of “glass ceiling,” from Jane Harman, the former California Democratic congresswoman: “It’s actually a thick layer of men.”

How do you puncture that layer? Kah Walla, a political leader from Cameroon, spoke of empowering women across Africa but added that in the United States, too, the level of female representation in politics was a serious issue.

“Every woman here needs to be involved with getting a woman elected,” she said.

The opposition leader in Israel, Tzipi Livni, of the Kadima Party, spoke about the nuclear threat from Iran. But she said she would not engage in what she called “megaphone diplomacy.”

“Maybe that’s something men do,” she quipped.

And Steinem had a good line — speaking on a panel about women leaders, moderated by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, she speculated on why some men feel uncomfortable with females in power.

“The last time a lot of powerful guys saw a powerful woman, they were 8,” Steinem said. “They feel regressed to childhood by a powerful woman.”

Yet men played a role in the summit, too, perhaps none more eloquently than Imam Demba Diawara, a village chief from Senegal. In a powerful discussion of the practice of genital cutting, Diawara, whose own family members had endured the procedure, spoke of how he had gradually come to understand that cutting was dangerous and sometimes fatal. He said he had since visited 378 communities to convince leaders of his view.

“By 2015, we will see the end of genital cutting in Senegal,” he predicted.

The conference came to a more lighthearted end with Streep, who spoke humorously of the similarities she shared with Clinton.

They’re roughly the same age, she said. They both have two brothers. They both had spirited, big-hearted mothers. They both went to women’s colleges and then to graduate school at Yale.

“But there our two paths diverged in the wood,” Streep noted, concluding that “I’m an actress, and she’s the real deal.”

Clinton arrived to deliver a call to arms for women around the world to get involved in effecting change. But not before expressing relief that there was one movie Streep had never made.

“I’m just glad she didn’t do a movie called ‘The Devil Wears Pantsuits,’” quipped Clinton, mixing the title of a Streep film with her favored style of clothing.

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Filed under Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

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