Tag Archives: The American President

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

John Mahoney’s 10 Best Movies

John Mahoney

John Mahoney passed away this week from cancer at the age of 77. Originally born in the UK, Mahoney earned his US citizenship serving in the armed forces. A veteran of the stage his entire acting career, Mahoney was one of film’s best character actors in the 1980s and 1990s in films like Say Anything, In the Line of Fire, and The American President before transitioning to television. His career-defining role was in the most successful spin-off in television history, Frasier, playing the cranky father of fussy psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane for 11 seasons. Mahoney spent most of the rest of his career as a high-caliber addition to limited series and guest starring in shows while splitting time returning to his roots onstage. His legacy as one of television’s most beloved and memorable fathers is perhaps best summed up by the reaction to his death by actor Kelsey Grammer, who played his son for over a decade. “He was my father,” Grammer said. “I loved him.”

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