Movie Review – The Candidate

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The Candidate (1972)
Written by Jeremy Larner
Directed by Michael Ritchie

the candidate

Marvin Lucas is an election specialist looking for a viable Democratic candidate to oppose incumbent California Republican Crocker Jarman. Lucas finds his candidate in Bill McKay, a lawyer, and advocate for some liberal causes (labor, desegregation, environmentalism). McKay is promised that Jarman will inevitably win and the young man can speak his mind. Lucas just wants an opposing voice in the race. However, McKay begins to find himself being tweaked and shaped by a political machine that is interested in appealing to an open center. This results in the lawyer speaking platitudes he fundamentally disagrees with. As the countdown nears to election day, McKay finds himself increasingly at odds with Lucas and his poll numbers rising.

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Movie Review – Seven Days in May

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Seven Days in May (1964)
Written by Rod Serling
Directed by John Frankenheimer

seven days in may

U.S. President Jordan Lyman has signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union which has led to the American public beginning to question if he should resign. Meanwhile, US Marine Colonel Casey works in the Pentagon and comes across evidence that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led by Air Force General Scott, are plotting a coup d’etat to remove Lyman. The overthrow of the government will be staged a military emergency exercise, but involve Scott commandeering the airwaves to announce Lyman being forced out of office. Casey has only a week to work with the President and find solid proof to show the American people. But at every turn, Scott and his people are there to stop them.

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Movie Review – The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Written by George Axelrod
Directed by John Frankenheimer

the manchurian candidate

A platoon of U.S. soldiers fighting in Korea is abducted by Soviets and taken across the border into China. Then months later they are returning to the States with Sgt. Raymond Shaw receiving the Medal of Honor for bravery under fire. However, the surviving members of his platoon are having strange nightmares of sitting among a ladies auxiliary meeting on flowers. The commanding officer, Captain Marco believes these dreams hide a secret about what really happened in Korea and truth behind Shaw’s heroism. Meanwhile, Shaw is pulled into the political ambitions of his mother, Eleanor and his stepfather, Senator Iselin. Shaw is also receiving strange phone calls that trigger weird behaviors. This rabbit hole will pull Marco and Shaw to ending neither of them can avoid.

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Movie Review – The Best Man

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The Best Man (1964)
Written by Gore Vidal
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

the best man

The political convention of an unspecified party is underway in Los Angeles, and the party’s next nominee for president of the United States will be decided in twenty-four hours. The frontrunners are Bill Russell, former Secretary of State and noted intellectual wit against Senator Joe Cantwell, a Midwesterner from poor beginnings that is ultimately ruthless when it comes to his opponents. Russell has been seeing other women behind his wife’s back yet she shows up at the convention not so much to support him but because she wants to be the first lady one day. Meanwhile, Cantwell’s team uncovers information that Russell had a nervous breakdown years ago and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. Cantwell plans to use these to torpedo Russell’s chances and secure the nomination. Between these two men is the current and ailing Commander-in-Chief Art Hockstader who appears an enigma, playing these two men against each other for own personal reasons.

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Never Again

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I don’t typically get overtly political on my pop culture centered blog, but this moment in time has woke something up in me. I just can’t be complacent and silent any longer.

Here’s the deal. This is not going away. Things have to change. And we have to stop using mental health as a diversion from talking about gun control. This issue encompasses both.

Gun control does not mean taking away everybody’s guns. It involves creating a system that prohibits weapons of war from being purchased by civilians and vetting people to determine who is mentally ill and/or unfit to own a gun. Banning the AR-15 is a great start, the first on a list of weapons of war that is sure to grow. There is no legitimate reason for a civilian to own and walk around with this gun. It serves no purpose in hunting unless you like your deer tenderized into oblivion. Regarding sports shooting, AR-15s could be kept under lock and key at target ranges and rented out under supervision on the premises, only to be locked back up once the rental had concluded.

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Movie Review – Advise & Consent

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Advise & Consent (1962)
Written by Wendell Mayes
Directed by Otto Preminger

Advise and Consent (1962)
Directed by Otto Preminger
Shown: Charles Laughton

One morning the United States Senate wakes up to find the President has nominated Robert Leffingwell for Secretary of State. This is met with divisiveness in the President’s party which holds the majority in the Senate. The Majority Leader, Bob Munson is ready to vote yes to tow the party line to aid the President who has kept a terminal illness secret from the public and his party. Leffingwell is intended to preserve the President’s foreign policy legacy, something he shows no confidence in his vice president to carry out. Opposing Leffingwell is South Carolina Senator Seabright Cooley who appears to have a personal grudge against the nominee. In the same party but on a pro-demagogic peace wing is Senator Fred Van Ackerman who sees a chance to use the publicity around the hearings to boost his spotlight in the media. In the middle and attempting to navigate this complicated and controversial process is Senator Brigham Anderson, a junior member from Utah and, as his name suggests, very Mormon. Secrets are revealed, and the truth behind personal grudges and threats are more shocking than anticipated.

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Movie Review – The Great McGinty

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The Great McGinty (1940)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges

the great mcginty

We begin at a bar in a banana republic where a forlorn and suicidal American banker is stopped from ending things by the bartender. The bartender is also an American, Dan McGinty, who tells his patron that he was once governor of a state in the U.S. From there we flashback to the story of McGinty’s rise and fall to power. During the Great Depression, he’s another jobless schmoe who is coerced into a voting fraud scheme for two bucks. He ends up showing an impressive level of moxie, and a local mob boss decides to use McGinty in his plans. He starts out as an alderman before moving to mayor and eventually governor of an unnamed state. But, as the film’s opening prologue tells us, one moment of good will topple McGinty back to the bottom.

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