Tag Archives: Politics

My Favorite Scene: The American President (1995) “Ordering Flowers”

I’m so glad Aaron Sorkin wrote The American President and its intellectual sequel, The West Wing, at the time he did.  It’s hard to imagine either working today.  If you’re a fan of The West Wing and have never seen The American President, you absolutely should.  It’s a wonderful film, and you can clearly see Sorkin working out ideas that he would later expand on in much more detail in The West Wing.  A number of cast members, led by Martin Sheen who plays White House Chief of Staff in The American President and President Bartlet in The West Wing, star in both the film and the TV series.  Both Sorkin projects are unabashed love letters to the American system of democracy and the ideal of public service.  Those concepts have been so tarnished in the decade since The West Wing left the air that I can’t give any serious credence to the rumors of the show’s revival.

The Presidency and The White House are as much a part of the cast of The American President as Michael Douglas or Annette Bening (both of whom turn in some of the best performances of their careers).  There have been hundreds of film Presidents, but The American President takes a uniquely human look at the President.  Andrew Shepard (Douglas) is looked at as a father and a man in love as much as he is the President.  The film captures the last era before the Internet would change how everyone, including POTUS, would interact forever.  All in all (and I realize I’m publishing this on a blog, the irony does not escape me) it was a more civilized age.  It’s nice to be able to go back to media time capsules like this and unplug from the current political paradigm.  Sorkin is my favorite writer in any medium, and I can’t wait to see what does next.

Michael Douglas and Annette Bening in The American President

Jon Stewart is Leaving The Daily Show


The same year we have to say good-bye to David Letterman, the last of the great talk show hosts, we’ll also be losing Jon Stewart.  Last night on The Daily Show, Stewart announced that he would be stepping down from the position he’s held for 17 years.

jon stewart, The Daily Show

Taking over for Craig Kilborn (whatever happened to him?), Stewart turned The Daily Show into one of the most powerful political and social debate platforms in the world.  Using his impressive political knowledge and acumen, Stewart would routinely stir the pot and create controversy through humor.  That sparks dialogue and as an ironic result, The Daily Show, to me, has been the most reliable source of news for over a decade (this announcement coming on the same day that NBC announced it would be suspending Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams for fabricating a story about is time in Iraq).

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

I knew it couldn’t last forever, but I hate to see it go.  It’s been such a staple of reliable, relevant and hilarious lampooning since I was in high school.  Stewart didn’t announce a retirement date and said the details were still being worked out.  His contract with Comedy Central is up in September.  Stewart took a sabbitical from the show last year to direct a feature film, so perhaps he’s headed that way, or maybe, like he said in his announcement he just wants to eat dinner with his family.  As far as a successor, I would say Stephen Colbert if he wasn’t already set to take over for Letterman.  Jon Oliver hosted the show during Stewart’s break in 2014, so I’d consider him a strong possibility.

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

At any rate, one of the comedic giants is ending a spectacular run.  When he took over, The Daily Show was a fun little show that had a small, cult following.  Now Presidential candidates know they have to appear on the show to make their case.  Stewart, his writers, his “reporters” (many of which have gone on to fame themselves, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell went from Daily Show correspondents to superstardom) had the his guts to consistently highlight the absurdity that advertises itself as news or government.

The Daily Show, Jon Stewart

The show will go on, but Jon Stewart’s run on it will never be equaled.  Comedy Central needs to put out some “Best of the Daily Show” Blu Rays so we can revisit the best bits that have made us laugh over the years.  Jon’s made me smile on many a day when I thought that was impossible and for that I have to thank him and I wish him all the luck in the world with whatever direction he decides to take.

Top 5 Films or Shows That Make You Proud to Be An American

Top 5
It’s not easy to be proud to be an American these days.  Not as easy as easy as it once was.  This generation, unlike ones that came before, has been faced with so much gray in a previous starkly dark or light world, that it’s polarized good people from other good people.  We don’t feel like the UNITED States these days.  Who are the American people?  Who are they in 2014?  When we look around at our circumstances, our recent history, our representatives (blue and red alike)….it’s a lot more difficult to feel the patriotism and the pride I once took in being a citizen of the country of my birth.  Are movies and television shows trivial in the light of that bleak reality?  Not the best of them.  The best of them serve as reminders of qualities, people, places, and events that NEED to be remembered.  Here are five examples: Continue reading Top 5 Films or Shows That Make You Proud to Be An American

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