“Game Change,” the Sarah Palin horror flick produced by HBO, was both better and worse than I expected. Better: Julianne Moore’s performance, which was great. Worse: Her accent, which was terrible. Better: It really did humanize the woman we’ve been calling She-Who for so long, something I didn’t think possible. It illustrated — vividly — just how overwhelmed Palin was by the tsunami that hit her, how blithely she walked into it, trusting in “God’s will.”
Worse: It brought it all back. God, what a visceral dislike I had for that woman. It was the equal and opposite effect she had on all those folks on the rope line, that jus’-folks stuff she worked so well. (Amply portrayed in the film, by the way.) It started with her nomination speech, that triumph of self-flattery and sarcasm. I’m all for self-esteem, but that was ridiculous. Even considering the undercard in a national campaign isn’t required to do much during a run but play dirty if asked to and tour the B circuit without complaint, she was appallingly without substance. And so happy and proud to be so! That’s what was so galling: Hi, I’m real America! And I’m ignorant! But I’m doing the work of God!
But “Game Change,” though nominally Palin/Moore’s movie, is really Woody Harrelson’s story, playing Steve Schmidt, who opened the bottle and watched the genie quickly grant his wishes — changed the game, overshadowed Obama, rallied the base — and then flew free, with no intention of ever going back in. The game was changed so profoundly, in fact, that the maverick’s main man was left to do the final smackdown, during preparations for John McCain’s concession speech, when he had to all but wrestle Palin to the ground to get her to give up her idea of giving her own speech.
But here’s the thing: This isn’t the great She-Who movie. That won’t be made for quite a few more years. This was basically just a rehash, with the added titillation of watching what we all suspected was going on backstage at the time — mainly Palin prepping for debates by learning the difference between the British prime minister’s and Queen Elizabeth’s roles, or that Korea really is two countries, or why we’re in Iraq. Is it possible she really was that ignorant? Really? I’m worried about Real America.
The great Palin movie will come after enough time has passed that we can see not just Palin, but ourselves, with a little more perspective. It isn’t just that Palin happened. It’s that a lot of other things happened at the same time. We all went crazy, and we haven’t recovered.
In other movie news, I also watched “Hanna,” on my iPad, while cleaning closets and drawers. It was far better than I expected, in large part due to a great score by the Chemical Brothers. I’m not a score-noticer, and this is the second straight year I’ve done so. Is all the music in our house finally rubbing off on me, or is it the unexpected revelation of this decade?
Other than that, I took a semi-internet sabbath, so no links to share at the moment. Anyone have any to suggest?
Meanwhile, happy Monday. Enjoy the week, all.