In an extensive interview with “Game Change” director Jay Roach, The Los Angeles Times made one last-ditch effort to save the film from criticism that it’s just a hit piece against Sarah Palin.
In doing so, Roach made an odd connection between the film with a previous project he made, one detailing the work of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. According to LA Times blogger/reporter Patrick Goldstein, “Game Change” isn’t really about Palin. It’s just another Hollywood tale focusing on politics and the power players behind the scenes.
Goldstein opens his article by contrasting how “Game Change’s” filmmakers describe the movie as a “scrupulously well-sourced account of Palin’s ascendancy to the national stage” while quoting Palin as having recently said, “Hollywood lies are lies. The movie is based on a false narrative.”
Goldstein challenges Palin’s summary, saying that the movie does not have a false narrative. He argues it’s not specifically about Palin’s selection being problematic for John McCain’s 2008 presidential run, but rather a movie presenting an age-old Hollywood narrative.
Palin is the wide-eyed young starlet plucked from small-town obscurity and thrust into the spotlight, forced to rely on her innate self-confidence to survive in a shark tank full of jaded performers, I mean politicos. McCain is portrayed as the aging leading man, an ex-war hero hoping for one last hurrah, forced to choose between his flinty integrity and the opportunistic demands of a new media age.
The entire Palin-McCain relationship has an uncanny similarity to the story arc of ‘A Star is Born,’except that the twosome are a couple thrown together by political expediency, not starry-eyed romance.
It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that no story line has deeper roots in Hollywood’s family tree. The earliest days of talkies were populated with dozens of backstage melodramas, from 1929’s ‘Broadway Melody,’ to 1933’s ’42nd Street,’ to 1934’s ‘Twentieth Century’ and 1936’s ‘The Great Zigfield.’ The early 1950s were also crammed with similar stories, notably films such as ‘All About Eve,’ ‘The Bad and the Beautiful,’ ‘Singing in the Rain’ and ‘The Band Wagon.
Goldstein that backs up his assertion by interviewing “Game Change” director Jay Roach – whom, as Big Hollywood has evidenced in past articles – has made significant campaign contributions to the Democratic Party and various liberal candidates, including $2,300 to President Barack Obama in 2008.
Roach readily accepted Goldstein’s comparative analysis. He reportedly broke into a big grin when Goldstein proposed that “Game Change” was age-old tale about the perils of politics and Hollywood.
Frankly, that’s all I was interested in when we started working on the film,” he explained. “That’s what makes politics so compelling today. The audience sees all of the show and presentation that comes across in the debates and speeches and TV ads. But what we don’t get to see is the influence of the strategists and campaign managers who are always there, behind the scenes.
Goldstein and Roach then jump a quick reference about a “little seen 1996 speculative drama about Adolf Hitler coming to terms with his infamy.”
Even then, I was more interested in Goebbels than Hitler. He was the idea guy who made the horrible ideas sound like they were good ones. He was the spinmeister.
The very next paragraph of the Times article immediately flashes back from Roach’s film about Nazi propaganda to the Palin-oriented “Game Change,” saying:
The backstage aspect of campaign image making – first openly captured on film the 1993 documentary “War Room” – clearly fueled Roach’s interest in making “Game Change.” “The people in the backrooms are a lot like screenwriters, in the sense that they come up with the right narrative pitch to the public.
Goldstein’s column does quote one anonymous McCain operative, however, that leaves the article complimenting Palin, perhaps even inadvertently. Goldstein quotes the source as saying, “Near the end of ‘Game Change’ … the ones who don’t pathologically need to be loved – they don’t get elected.”
We all know who got elected and who did not in 2008 – so that must say a lot for Palin after all.