Sunday, March 11, 2012

Game Change

Last night was the premiere of the HBO drama, Game Change, based on the 2008 McCain/Palin presidential campaign.  I watched it and thought they did a fine job; the acting was top-notch.  Julianne Moore and Ed Harris were spot-on as Sarah Palin and John McCain.  The rest of the cast were good too, although I can’t say as to how accurately they portray characters with whom I’m not familiar.  I can tell you that they were believable.

Let me talk about the movie in 2 parts: Production and Story. 

As you may recall, I posted about the movie production that took place here in Baltimore last May.  On my way into work, I saw the movie production trucks lining the streets on which I make my daily walk from the subway station to my office building.  When I went to lunch that day, I brought my camera and snapped a few pictures.  As it turned out, that route that I walked was used for an important scene in the movie.

The scene is where Palin’s prep person/former White House press secretary is arguing with Palin on her cell and then telling Woody Harrelson’s campaign manager character that he can blame the Couric interview debacle on her if he wants, but she will not work another day with Sarah Palin.

The route she walks is the exact route I took when coming back from my lunch at Burger King that day.

She starts by walking down this sidewalk, (above, across from the buses) toward the camera, right where that red brick building is (which is a Walgreen's). 

Then she makes a left at the corner and walks up this street, past the fountain on the left.  Again, she walks toward the camera, and you can see Walgreen's directly behind her.

At this point, I was babbling excitedly to Pinky, “That’s my Walgreen's! That’s my Walgreen's!  I shop there all the time.”

When she’s by the fountain, the perspective changes and they show her with the street behind her and you can see the Baltimore City courthouse, which is where I served my last 2 stints of jury duty.

(“There’s the courthouse!  There’s the courthouse!”)

What can I say, I’m easily amused.  It’s cool to see a place that you go all the time show up on national television.  We were also able to spot a local restaurant out in the ‘burbs that served as a campaign bus stop.  And because I know that they were filming inside the hotel right beside my office building, I’m pretty sure they were using one of the conference rooms there to film a campaign strategy-meeting scene.

They also filmed another hotel scene that I’m pretty sure they shot at the Hilton by Camden Yards.  It wasn’t that I recognized any signage; there was no mistaking this hallway.
AKA: “The Shining” hallway.  This is from when Pinky and I stayed at the Hilton for New Years Eve, 2010.

Then again, maybe all Hiltons have this ugly-assed carpeting, so I could be wrong.  It could be a Hilton in L.A., for all I know. 

The Story
Like I said earlier, the movie itself was quite enjoyable, albeit frightening.  I think the only one that comes across as sympathetic is McCain.  He appeared to be a good man trying to run a decent, positive campaign.

I know that the Palin camp has been trying to paint the production as untruthful and biased, (before actually seeing the whole movie), even though it’s based on a book that was sourced by people inside the campaign.  They claim that the sources are just disgruntled former employees with an ax to grind.

The thing with that is, just because a person has an ax to grind, that doesn’t make them wrong.  They just get more pleasure out of telling the truth.

I believe what I saw from the movie.  I believe that they have sources for most everything that is shown, and have made good-faith efforts to deduce the things to which there were no witnesses.

That said, we should thank our lucky stars that Sarah Palin is nowhere near the White House.  Her shaky temperament and complete lack of awareness of the world outside our country’s borders (or Alaska’s borders, for that matter) is appalling.  She has a world-view that is a mile wide and an inch deep.  The fact is, she’s just not very bright.  One might be able to get elected on charisma, but if there’s nothing underneath, it will make for a very trying time.

They made it clear that the only reason she was on the ticket is because they didn’t have enough time to vet her properly.  In the brief time they had to check her out, all they saw was an attractive, staunchly pro-life governor that gave an engaging speech.  They never got around to asking her any questions about what she knew.  The Republicans were going for a high-risk, high-reward stunt nomination to combat the charismatic Democratic nominee and they got burned.

I’m sure HBO will be running the movie throughout the next month, so if you missed it last night, you will have many chances to catch it and make up your own mind.  (If you have HBO, that is.  Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the DVD or Netflix.)  It was definitely worth the two hours.


Anonymous said...

People from LA or NY don't understand how cool it is for us 'regular' folk to recognize our neighborhoods in a movie or TV show. I know there's this one establishing scene in the remake of "Look Who's Coming To Dinner" that shows a bridge I've walked under a hundred times. When the movie comes on TV I'll watch it for a few minutes, just to see that bridge. It would probably be quicker to walk out to Cranford and see it myself, but whatever.

As for "Game Change" I don't get HBO but I'll probably check it out on Netflix at some point. I'm always happy to remind myself what a psycho Palin (and others of her ilk) are, and why they're terrible for this country.
"just because a person has an ax to grind, that doesn’t make them wrong. They just get more pleasure out of telling the truth."

Amen, brother. (or the heathen equivalent, lol)

bluzdude said...

I love seeing places on TV or in the movies, that I've been before. It's especially cool when it's somewhere you go a LOT (like my path to work). If I lived in LA, it would probably be different, I agree.

In the meantime, Baltimore gets a lot of work, doubling as DC, because of the similarity of architecture. They filmed here for 3 months last year also, to film the HBO show VEEP, with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. (Elaine was here! Elaine was here!) I'll have to see what shows up on screen.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...

I can't believe that's Julianne Moore! She looks EXACTLY like Sarah Palin! Only more attractive, now that I think of it.

I will always be thankful to John McCain for helping me survive childbirth.

Judie said...

It is only 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, and I am half wasted on chardonney, trying to kill the pain, but I did read your comment on my post. Thanks, Tone!! We are having a birthday dinner for me tonight at a local restaurant, so I had better get in the shower and try to sober up enough to walk in Amarsi without falling into the arms of my favorite waiter, Thomas. Or not.


Your Hot(and very old) Arizona Auntie

bluzdude said...

She did such a good job, without resorting to parody. And she is hot stuff in any role. Of course, you know I have a soft spot for the redheads.

It would be so cool if John McCain knew how he managed to help you in your time of need. Those Viet Nam POWs were total badasses.

bluzdude said...

Well, happy birthday, me finely aged friend. Hope you have a great night out and a safe ride back home. Maybe Thomas will let you give him a birthday kiss...

Facie said...

The day McCain introduced Palin as a running mate, I thought she was great. Articulate, pretty, charismatic. I actually said and thought that Obama was done. But eventually/ultimately, the bloom fell off. I will leave it at that. I had a similar experience with Bobby Jindal. I had heard him once or twice on Fox News, and thought he would be a contender. But the day he gave the Republican response to Obama's speech, my opinion of him went way south. Hearing him talk was practically painful. I realize this has little to do with your post, but I feel better having said all of this.

I do want to see the movie, and I guess I better before our free HBO goes away!

Jessica R. said...

I know what you mean about the thrill of seeing your hometown in the movies! Louisiana give huge tax breaks to the movie companies when they film here, so good ole' Shreveport has been in a lot of movies. I stumbled into a scene they were filming of Mr. Brooks and got to watch them film Demi Moore. It was so neat!

Also, I've heard good things about the movie. I'll have to check it out.

bluzdude said...

When I first heard about her nomination, I thought, "They're trying to get their own Hillary." Seemed like a tit-for-tat kind of thing, like the Dems were running a black guy and woman so the Republican's had to show some ground-breaker cred too.

If you have On Demand, you might want to try seeing it there, as long as you still have the HBO demo.

bluzdude said...

Coolest thing I got to see was looking out our office window and seeing all the helicopters flying around, when they were filming Die Hard 4 in Baltimore. On my way back to the subway, I tried to mosey down to where they were filming on the next block, but some production assistant was shooing everybody away. I wasn't in the mood to quibble about my rights to a public sidewalk, so I just went home.

Mary Ann said...

"CHARM CITY" Do you think filming in Baltimore was intentional or arbitrary choice of a photgenic city?
I give thanks that this shrill, self involved small spirited shrew never succeeded in her sorryass campaign.

Cher Duncombe said...

Bluz, we watched the film too, and in spite of the Republican hoopla against it, we thought it was very well done. The actors were phenomenal! You are so right in that if Palin/McCain had won, this country would have been in deep doo-doo.

Cassie said...

Wow. She looks just like Palin. I have gotten so used to Tina Fey playing Palin, that it's just fun seeing someone else nail it. I am a fan of Moore. She's pretty hot.

This movie looks good. I don't get HBO, but I have my ways of getting any movie I want.

bluzdude said...

They use Baltimore because they have the same architecture as DC but it's vastly cheaper to film here. Also, there is a great pool of film technical people from which they can draw.

bluzdude said...

Of course the Republicans were against it (sight unseen). The last thing they want is the curtain pulled back on their dysfunction.

bluzdude said...

It was weird watching the scene where Julianne Moore playing Palin was watching SNL and Tina Fey playing Palin.

I think a more correct version of what you wrote would be: "I have ways of getting anyTHING I want."

Gina said...

I'd like to see this, but I don't have HBO. I won't pay for more than one premium channel and I can't give up my showtime shows.

bluzdude said...

It ought to be available on DVD in 6-8 months.

I do the same with only having one movie channel, obviously mine's HBO. That kills me when Dexter's on. I have to rely on ducking all the press while it's on and then watching the DVDs.

Anonymous said...

Count me in for waiting on the DVD, just as I am doing for Homeland. After Tina Fey, it's hard to watch someone play Palin and not see it as a comical impersonation.

I also like to ogle at things when movies are filmed where I live. We did that for Love and Other Drugs, which was filmed here in Lawrenceville. We'll do it this summer for Batman.

bluzdude said...

Someone's going to have to see Batman and then post about what Pittsburgh locales can be spotted. Anyone? Anyone?

Unapologetically Mundane said...

It's one thing to see movies here and get excited about recognizing NYC, but I remember seeing a movie about NYC while in Ohio for Christmas one year and pointing out eeeeeeeeeverything to my friends who had never been here. It's just impossible to keep your mouth shut.

Also, no, Julianne, no!

bluzdude said...

No? What did Julianne do, other than perform a spot-on portrayal?

red pen mama said...

"One might be able to get elected on charisma, but if there’s nothing underneath, it will make for a very trying time." Didn't we try this for, oh, 8 years with Dubya? Maybe more "likability" than "charisma", but yeah.

Don't have that problem with the GOP candidates this time around!

I love to see movies filmed in the 'burgh. Have you seen "She's Out of My League" yet? Love letter to the city, plus a pretty entertaining movie.

bluzdude said...

I am so sick of that crap about wanting to vote for the guy you'd like to have a beer with. We already tried the amiable goober and look where that got us. I want my President to be the smartest guy in the room. If I wanted a sociable beer buddy, I've vote for Norm from Cheers.

Cristy said...

That's awesome that they were filming your usual path. Neat! I've only seen the clips on shows where JM was a guest (Jon Stewart, I think?), and it looked interesting. I think it would have to be a great actress to not turn to the comedy of the situation. The hubs & I were just talking about looking for it on our OnDemand channel in the next few months. We'll see. I'd like to watch it.

I *love* Die Hard 4. I'm such a weird person to be a big Bruce Willis fan, but I am. One of my fav movies of all time is "The Last Boy Scout." The hubs doesn't understand my obsession. :)

I'm with you - I want my President to be smarter than me (& anyone I know, frankly). The thing Tom & I kept saying about Palin (& Bachmann & Ms. I'm-Not-A-Witch & Herman Cain, etc.) was that the things they were saying were not any dumber than something *we'd* respond to tough questions, but WE aren't trying to get the most powerful job in the country/world. I don't WANT someone in the White House that's similar to me; I want someone MUCH, much better.

bluzdude said...

You're exactly right. WE don't have the training to take the toughest job in the world. We need someone with a lot on the ball, to be able to juggle so many issues at the same time. It is NOT the job for some amiable bumblefuck that people want to drink with.

injaynesworld said...

Re: Production. That's kind of how I felt when I finally saw "Sideways," which was filmed where I live. Except I thought the movie sucked and all it did was bring craploads of drunk tourists to my fair valley. Story: Yeah. Loved it. Thought everyone was great. Holy shit. Talk about dodging a damn bullet. McCain took a huge credibility hit on that one. He's the perfect example of someone who stays at the party too long, so to speak. He should have retired while people still had respect for him.

bluzdude said...

Yeah, McCain was in there a bit too far past his freshness date. Maybe if he hadn't been ratfucked so hard by the Bush campaign, he might have been in there instead of the Shrub.