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Customer Review

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film? You betcha..., March 25, 2012
This review is from: Game Change (DVD)
First of all, this is a review of the actual movie/film as originally broadcast on HBO. Second, it is not meant to be a comment on purchased DVD extras or such, or delivery problems and such, but finally, I will base this review solely on this film's worth as great cinema (IMHO), and despite my own general political views. Anyone who wishes to learn more of my own political and social views generally, should read my various reviews and Listmania list comments. Basically, I am left of "center," whatever that means, these days.

This is a review of the movie and content itself however, and I have watched it several times on HBO on-demand, which might say a bit about how much I liked, and love this. Regardless of one's political leanings, I think all on all sides, can learn a lot from this movie. It is very well done by director Jay Roach, with solid references and great performances all over the place. Special kudos to Julianne Moore, who is the whole show here, and boy, did/does she nail Sarah Palin or what? This is an obvious Emmy in her name. Despite the naysayers FoxNewz, radical right, etc., this truly portrays a quite "fair and balanced" view on Sarah Palin and the presidential race of 2008. Other cast putting in great performances include Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris.

This movie is one of the reasons why so many still pay for HBO. Once in awhile, they will produce and show, something as good as this. And sadly, for those without HBO or any "subscription" to such, this would proably go unknown. But I'd like to spread the word. This is a great film, and I hope both left-leaning and right-leaning, really get a chance to watch this, without any expectations or politically self serving motives. To anyone considering a buy here though, you should see this film at least once, uncut, before you buy. Conservatives and liberals will see what they want to here, but overall, I think it presents a pretty accurate and objective picture of Sarah Palin's VP run, and I will never understand some strong objections to what is presented here, either by Palin herself, or the Republican party, or the extreme right-wing phone it in, "born agains," and just about anyone given air time on Fox Newz. Not to say anything about the MSNBC wing-nuts. Overall, for myself, what's all the fuss? If anything, this actually creates a sympathy for Sarah. Bottom line is she was out of her league, and as much blame directed at her, is equaled by the persons shown who did a lousy job of vetting and presenting her.

If you see it and like it, buy, because I think this will go down as one of the most honest, comprehensive, "political" movies of all time. It compares for me with previous "political" films like "The Candidate," "Seven Days in May," "Advise and Consent," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and many others. I think as time goes by, more positive reviews will come this film's way than not. But all of this is just my own opinion.

The movie is, when all is said and done, actually kind of a positive take on Palin, and creates much sympathy for the woman, and for John McCain. It makes its main point however, without flaw. And that is, that Sarah Palin not only was never qualified for the office she ran for (one heartbeat away from the presidency), but also that she was surrounded from the beginning with too many "support staff" and DC insiders and image-makers, who only played a game with her and tried to make her into something she never was, nor is still to this day.

I find it strange that most Palin supporters (no matter what reality was and is), have put this film down so much, and in many cases, have completely shunned it all, just like Sarah Palin has done herself. This is so wonderfully well-done, from a film technique aspect alone, and truly so "fair and balanced" about Palin, that strong objections to this content ring hollow at best, among both the liberal and conservative elements in the two major parties, and the mass-media alike.

For those looking for a validation of their "liberal" views, they will find affirmation here, but it is a false one and doesn't dig deeper. I am no Sarah Palin fan, nor will I ever be, but even I felt a new kind of semi-respect for her after watching this many times. It is obvious she was the wrong choice for the office she ran for, but one can only wonder what she might've been, and who might've been president, had her "handlers" been anything approaching honest human beings. Sure, she was simply unready for all of this, but I am left with the feeling that if Sarah Palin had just gotten out of the way of her own shortcomings and ego, as well as those who chose her and pushed her onto the public without much regard for her as a person, things could've been a lot different.

Overall, regardless of one's personal political ideas and ideals, this is a first class political film as well as a continually absorbing and entertaining movie. I only wish it could've been expanded into a several hour mini-series, cause what IS shown, is absolutely, damn interesting, every moment of it. Another five-star original HBO effort, you betcha (wink)...
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 1, 2012 1:34:05 PM PDT
Well, although I would say I'm an ultraconservative on the political spectrum, unlike you and your commie pinko liberal associates, I still found this to be an excellent and enjoyable film. I agree that it shows Palin in an extremely sympathetic light, especially because, at the time, there were several politicians who had been jockeying for the VP spot with McCain, but to her credit, Palin was not one of them. In other words, they came to her, she didn't come after them. And when such an honor is laid at your feet, who could resist? Sure, she could have said, "oh I'm just a humble hockey mom and shouldn't be thrust on the national scene without some major seasoning," but on the other hand, Alaska is a BIG and unique state and to its credit, is really a lot like a separate country than most other states. So she didn't back off, and I can't blame her much for that. Such opportunities come around once, if at all, and ya gotta just grab 'em. But while the movie showed Palin in a sympathetic light, I really think it did not show McCain in an accurate light, meaning that the movie was too easy on him -- he seemed to be continually manipulated by his staff and did not seem very decisive at all, which is how I would expect the "real" John McCain to be, so I wonder if any of that is accurate. Which means that he should have been the FIRST one to object to Palin, and say that if "Country First" is going to be my campaign motto, I can't have an obviously, flat-out inexperienced person as my VP candidate -- period. That was the OPPOSITE of putting country first, and why McCain didn't realize this, and apparently still doesn't, is really beyond me. Anyway, I agree that the acting is tremendous, although I was more impressed with Woody Harrelson than anyone else, especially given the comments on various news shows from the real guy he is playing. Ed Harris is good, as always, but I really wanted him to come off as more than a vulgar "good old boy," which is how is portrayed. I wanted to see him get more angry at Harrelson and the others for convincing him to make what turned out to be a disastrous choice, or at least more angry at himself for allowing it to happen -- although his desire to have that weasel Lieberman on the ticket would probably have been a disaster too. Overall, I think it was a great movie, although I would probably give it four stars rather than five, since I would reserve the five-star rating for the truly superior productions, like Cormac McCarthy's HBO movie, "Sunset Limited," which was truly outstanding.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 4:27:14 PM PDT
M says:
David, what I see in your comments and review is personal wishes. You were hoping it would be done this way, portrayed that way, McCain doing this and not that... If the movie did stand by it's truth of the entire process and matter... Than that is the way McCain was being, not how you are anyone else wanted him to be. And if his persona were true to light, he would not have lasted long as a Pres. nor would it had been the right fit. So if McCain was not putting his foot down and finding out about a VP pick, that falls on him.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 12:36:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012 12:37:40 AM PDT
Thomas Glebe says:
As I recall in the movie, the McCain campaign did thorough vetting of many candidates, but vetting Sarah boiled down to a Google search for a "woman" running mate, and she was never fully vetted. I think this movie was very much the way things happened, and the producers did great research, not from one source but from many.

So it seemed that McCain truly was equally to blame for the choice. But he had many "handlers" as well. Yet even they are not fully to blame. What makes this movie great, imho, is that it spreads the blame pretty evenly around. In many ways, it was just the perfect storm of a just plain botched job of picking and presenting a VP candidate.

What remains a mystery to me is why the far right and Sarah (who McCain advised her in the end not to follow, i.e., Rush Limbaugh, etc. because they would just USE her and help destroy the Republican party), has been so upset about this. Just more meaningless partisan politics. If anything, it mostly presents a sympathetic view on Ms. Palin. Who could/can deny she's a great mom? And she did very well in the VP debates.

It's all a silly game in the end. As much as I don't get the FoxNewz wackos, the same can be said for the MSNBC and Current TV lot. All of whom make me want to get sick over.

I'll be fine though...
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