Saturday, October 06, 2012

Some Conversations We Could Have About Presidential Movies

Here's what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a table of every movie about an American president and make a graph that counted number of movies per president.

I expected that Lincoln, Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Nixon would come out ahead.

I expected that there would expect a number of president's with limited hits (say James Monroe, Millard Fillmore, and Benjamin Harrison) to show us as under appreciated by Hollywood.

Alas, I couldn't come up with a criteria that qualified which movies would be counted and project became to daunting (amount of screen time for the president, whether only wide releases would count, etc.)

If I made this chart (which I didn't) the related conversations would be:

1. This year two biopics come out this fall that potentially pits Franklin Roosevelt (Bill Murray) against Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) in the award races.

2. What makes a president a bio-pic star. I imagine that part of it is historical time/context (i.e. we love WWII movies and stories, so Roosevelt get's a boost from that alone). It's not just this though - there's also the highly embraced presidents (Lincoln), and the caricature president (Nixon).

3. Increased interest in contemporary political stories...and here I might even digress into TV, just think of the award success of the Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) TV movie Game Change. There is an incredible interest in contemporary stories. Similar George W. Bush wasn't even out of office when Oliver Stone's film W. came out.

4. Whether Obama would be a frequent film character of the future - and if he had his own major biopic decades from now, what story will the biopic tell.

5. Danny Strong scripted Emmy success TV movies Game Change and Recount - how will his The Butler be perceived. The film is not about a specific president, but rather Eugene Allen - white house butler for 8 presidents (with some interesting casting decisions, such as John Cusack as Richard Nixon).

6. Which presidents would be worth revisiting in a biopic, since they're untold stories are truly film worthy.

1 comment:

Grete said...

Looks like someone made that chart you'd thought about: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/11/08/presidents_in_movies_which_american_president_appears_in_the_most_films.html

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