The shades of US presidents, real and imagined, have always weaved in and out of Hollywood films. This year, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln might be the best film ever about a US president, and Argo depicts one of President Carter’s hidden secrets that might have rescued his presidency for a second term. And then there is Zero Dark Thirty about the raid on Bin Laden, which is the only film that is somewhat related to President Obama, other than HBO’s Game Change. I suspect there will be many more to come. It’s hard to imagine our attentions being anywhere but on these three films heading into the race, given the current political climate. But the news cycles pretty quickly. Who knows what awaits us in a few months.
Great presidents and terrible presidents inspire filmmakers. There are films about the electoral process, about the rise and fall of presidents – sinister takes on our government and idealistic ones.
The presidents with the most influential on Hollywood in recent history would be JFK, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Of those, there are two heroes and three villains, by Hollywood’s standards. This, because Hollywood is usually liberal. Republicans are villains, for the most part, which is why any major player in Hollywood with conservative beliefs is run out of town on a rail, unless their work is beyond reproach, like Clint Eastwood.
Why is Hollywood liberal? Because it is, despite its greed, corruption and lust for fame it is a compassionate bunch of misfits who made good. Misfits tend to grow up more compassionate, therefore they believe in looking out for the other guy. Republicans believe in individualism – which liberals think of as selfish and short-sighted.