Monday, October 06, 2008
Natural Born Winners
The True Romance of a Power Couple
HOLLYWOOD. With the world eagerly awaiting "W," Oliver Stone's movie treatment of George and Laura Bush et al, it's probably not too early to start anticipating a docudrama about our next First Couple. These things take time to plan, fund, and produce, you know. So we thought we'd help out with a few development suggestions for the movie we're pretty sure should be called "O."
There's no question that it should be another Oliver Stone production. He has a real talent for a creative approach to historical subjects. But it will have to differ in scope from "W," which is timed to coincide with the end of the Bush administration and the election of a replacement president. "O" needs to be released in October 2012 when Obama is seeking his second term, which means that it will have to be devoted less than half to the first term and more than half to the incredible story of how Barack and Michelle -- against all odds -- stormed the gates of power to achieve domain over their racist nation.
That's why we're proposing that the first act of the screenplay should be drawn from the book about Michelle excerpted today in the Washington Post, which contains the most detailed account yet of the incredible love story between Michelle and Barack. That's also why we're convinced it's time for a reunion between Stone and Quentin Tarantino. Consider the following passage from the WAPO excerpt, which describes Michelle's ordeal at the first law firm she worked for after law school graduation. Unbelievably for such a talented social revolutionary, the firm plopped her into an assigment in its marketing department, where some of the brightest legal talent in the world was put to work fine-tuning advertising copy for corporate and public service organizations:
At big firms, much of the work that falls to young associates involves detail and tedium. There were all sorts of arcane but important rules about what could and could not be said or done in product advertisements, and in the marketing group, all the associates, not just the new ones, reviewed scripts for TV commercials to make sure they conformed. As far as associate work goes, it could have been worse — "Advertising is a little sexier than spending a full year reading depositions in an antitrust law suit or reviewing documents for a big merger," says White — but it was monotonous and relatively low-level.
Too monotonous for Michelle, who, White says, complained that the work he gave her was unsatisfactory. He says he gave her the Coors beer ads, which he considered one of the more glamorous assignments they had. Even then, he says, "she at one point went over my head and complained [to human resources] that I wasn't giving her enough interesting stuff, and the person came down to my office and said, 'Basically she's complaining that she's being treated like she's a second-year associate,' and we agreed that she was a second-year associate. I had eight or nine other associates, and I couldn't start treating one of them a lot better."
White says he talked to Michelle about her expectations, but the problem could not be resolved because the work was what it was. He is not sure any work he had would have satisfied her. "I couldn't give her something that would meet her sense of ambition to change the world."
Yes, it's a revolting and ludicrous misuse of world-saving vision, but rendering it dramatically is going to involve mostly a lot of talking. Only Quentin Tarantino has the chops to make all that talking a violent, bleeding edge kind of cinematic experience. What we're going to need is the crackling suspense of ten-to-fifteen minute stretches of unbroken dialogue that we can just feel are going to result in at least metaphorical acts of savagery against the stultifying status quo. We, the audience, have to feel in our bones the building power of Michelle and Barack coming together like Uma and John in Pulp Fiction for a breakthrough dance of self-actualization that will make the rest of the world tremble in terror and erotic surrender. You know. The Tarantino touch. Like when Uma cut off the top of Lucy Lius's head in Kill Bill. Not exactly like that, mind, since we're talking community organizing and political fundraising here, not Japanese samurai swords and mass murder, but something like, anyway. It's got to be world-changing even if nothing really happens for the first hour or so.
You can see that the casting will be critical. We know the picture up top suggests that the lead roles might be played by Whoopi Goldberg and Jaleel "Urkel" White, but this is the movies and it has to be much much better than that. We have some suggestions. There's only one good choice for the part of Michelle:
Vanessa Williams of "Ugly Betty" fame would rock as a kick-ass First Lady.
And forget Urkel. There's only one man with the cool and the ears to play Barack the Stud.
Come to think of it, a pair of diamond earrings would look good on the Pres.
During the pre-presidential romance part of the picture, casting of supporting roles is still important, but as long as we have the requisite corporate-looking types playing all the old white men who get in the Obamas' way, it doesn't much matter who plays who as long as some of them are played by Robert Duvall, Rip Torn, Brian Cox (1:14 in), and Donald Moffat (2:35 in). You know. The standard old evil capitalist pigs.
But the part of Jeremiah Wright is key. We have to be able to see that he is just so darn wacky no one would ever have taken him seriously except for all the devoted parishioners who made him a multi-millionaire. Which means, obviously, that it has to be Samuel L. Jackson.
And maybe Bill Ayers should make a token appearance too, just to show everyone that nobody ever took him seriously, either, because he was more like a character out of Stakeout (4:30 in) than any kind of nasty radical terrorist threat.
Isn't he really kind of adorable and cute and harmless if not actually sweet?
That's not to say, though, that there aren't real villains. When the presidential campaign begins, in the second act, we meet the first true incarnations of pure evil. These are roles that will require a marquee actor.
And then there's the super-villain of Act II. It's not even clear that John McCain is completely human. It's like he might be an evil cyborg or something.
Predictably, the scary old war dragon picks a rabid fox for his VP candidate (another Tarantino moment) and if it wasn't for Uncle Joe Biden's white guy gravitas, the whole revolution could have been sunk.
Happily, everybody in America thinks Bruce Dern is far sexier than Tina Fey.
All of which leads to the greatest new presidential administration in history. But victories bring sadness as well as joy to the manifestly enlightened ones. On their night of all nights -- in the movie anyway -- the Obamas will be sorrowful about the plight of the miserable Bush administration Oreos who failed to endorse them when they had the chance. (This is going to be a boffo scene, full of angst and pathos!)
George Clooney as Colin Powell and Stockard Channing as Condoleeza Rice.
The third act will be one of the greatest in all of filmic history, though. The Obama administration's brilliant new attorney general will put all the evil Republicans, including the Bushes, in prison for life.
Attorney General Eric Holder as played by Blair Underwood.
The new Treasury Secretary will also prove to be more like some gift from heaven than an ordinary bureaucrat. He'll heal the entire global economy with a bunch of new laws that will bury Adam Smith forever.
Treasury Secretary Franklin Raines as played by Morgan Freeman.
Best of all, the troops will be coming home from Iraq. Thanks to the miraculously effective offices of Secretary of Defense Cynthia McKinney.
Secretary of Defense McKinney as played by Halle Berry.
We're not saying the scriptwriting is going to be easy. We're just saying it can be done in plenty of time to usher in a great second term for the Obamessiah. Maybe some CGI would help.
Oh. Almost forgot. A picture of the liberal Pope who blessed this marriage and this divine right of rule.
Martin Sheen as Teddy Kennedy
There. That's better.
Look for it. Fall 2012 premiere. We can't wait.