Saturday, September 12, 2015
(March 1998, U.S.)
Despite the fact that the next Election Day is not for another two months, the Republican presidential hopefuls have been in the media quite a bit lately, with Donald Trump leading the way in the category of most significant loud mouth and Hillary Clinton leading the the way in the category of most significantly-suspicious emails. Whether or not a prospective voter chooses to take any of this crap seriously is up to them, but it's enough to make one actually forget or ignore any other potential candidates and what they're capable of, good or bad. Still, the timing seems mildly right for discussing a politically-motivated film like Mike Nichols' PRIMARY COLORS, based on an original book documenting Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and written (at the time) by one simply known as "Anonymous", though has since been revealed to be journalist Joe Klein who had been with Newsweek Magazine at the time.
Note the timing of the film's release, just less than two months after the real life Monica Lewinsky scandal broke the nation's headlines. However, it's important to note that the film's principal shooting was already completed before the scandal surfaced. Which leads us to ask ourselves the question if the allegations made by the film (and the book) on the fictitious Southern governor Jack Stanton (played by John Travolta who performs more than an adequate version of Bill Clinton) are meant to be taken as true or false? Did Bill Clinton really fuck around before and during his 1992 campaign or not? Did Hillary Clinton (played as Susan Stanton by Emma Thompson) really just take it all in and bear with it in order to see her husband reach the White House so she could take her place as First Lady? Well, let's examine the film's content and see how it compares to the real (or not so real) history that we may or may not recall...
Jack Stanton is a pure idealist who has the capacity to make others, voters and his own campaign staff included, truly believe in what he says, thinks and feels about our world and our future. Like John F. Kennedy decades before him, he makes us believe because we want to believe! We want to believe that tough times in our economy and in our lives can be made better by the efforts of one man! We want to believe in bullshit that is endlessly spewed about good old fashioned family values and ethics that come complete with harmonizing group songs of love and Thanksgiving turkeys that are shared with the homeless. We want to believe in love, honor and the possibility that all is well and we are safe on our own home front. Well, guess what, people...it ain't like that! Jack Stanton, as he demonstrates, believes in the power of saying "YES!" to all the good things in life that will assure us of peace and serenity, but like most people, cannot say "NO!" to all of life's ultimate temptations, whether they're mild issues like extra Krispy Kreme donuts or the more serious stuff like the dirty backstabbing of politics or indulging in underage sex with a teenage girl and falsifying the results of a pregnancy test that would ultimately determine that Jack is the father. It's delightful fiction that's fun to watch and listen to, but it's impossible along the way not to ask ourselves, "Did Bill Clinton really do all that?" As a general cynic of all politicians (Republicans and Democrats!), I have no reason to doubt that any of it is false, even if it is dressed up a bit for the benefit of Hollywood storytelling. But still, when one considers the fact that Bill Clinton did, in fact, confess to receiving multiple blowjobs from Monica Lewinsky while he was in the White House, it's more than plausible to believe that he managed to score some pussy outside of his marriage while he was running the big race.
True or false, believable or not, PRIMARY COLORS can be considered a more than fair and viable look inside the world of American politics and all the ugliness that goes with it and makes it work. Travolta and Thompson, in their portrayals of more than obvious real life figures (the Clintons) take their respective roles and have fun with them, particularly Travolta. Just look at that boyish smile on his face and tell me he's not indulging himself in the opportunity to lend his own creativity to the ultimate public figure, perhaps even a man he admired himself. And while our politicians and would-be presidential hopefuls are making spectacles of themselves in public and in private life, there are those who support their journey with all of their very naive innocence, only to be ultimately disappointed and let down in the end...always! That's just how the world of politics works!
Still, if we look back on the era when Bill Clinton was President of the United States, one can't help but consider that the only real life-changing event that occurred during those eight years was a series of blowjobs by an overweight White House intern and the cum stains that ultimately ended up on her dress. When we consider how the world has gone straight to Hell ever since George W. Bush took office, it seems that blowjobs and cum stains were not such a bad thing, after all. And hey, I suspect that being married to Hillary Clinton doesn't exactly mean a wide range of sexual excitement in the bedroom! Who could really blame ol' Billy for getting his knob polished by anyone of the female species who was willing to do it to him! Perhaps even a good blowjob or two produces a more relaxed President...and a more relaxed President can do a better job for the people. It's a theory, anyway!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Libby Holden: "You know what? I'm going to blow your nuts off! Yes, I am a lesbian! I do not mythologize the male organ! Now, you tiny scumbag, I know you did it! You' re on retainer to the Flash! And you, you stupid shit...the crap Jack actually did wasn't enough, you had to embellish it! Mister, you' re about to become Missus!"