Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On Notice

Man of the Year continues to occupy my mind. I remain fascinated by how badly it fails at what it purports to be. To clarify, and to add briefly to my comment, it's not that I want Robin Williams' character or the movie to advocate a specific partisan agenda. As Tom points out, that would be disastrous in its own way and also completely wrong for this version of the Straight Talk Politician Comedy. But he could at least have a coherent underlying point of view (like the Daily Show itself) that would elevate the jokes from pointless schtick to something that one might plausibly build a platform on.

Recall that in Jon Stewart's big Crossfire moment, which no doubt inspired this movie, Stewart refused to engage in any jokery at all, save for some pointed name-calling with Tucker Carlson. What is so potentially interesting about the premise in the first place is that satirists have something real to say, and increasingly have the public's ear, so what would happen if one actually got involved? Would that bring real change or would the process corrupt him and turn things into politics as usual? That would be an interesting movie, and it is what this this one, in touting its association with the zeitgeist-capturing Wag the Dog, seems to promise. But based on the trailer itself, the idea appears to be wasted. The way Williams' character avoids saying anything at all is transparently disingenuous, which is exactly the sort of thing the Daily Show (or Colbert Report) would skewer.


Tommaso Sciortino said...

I think the problem is that Man of the Year doesn't understand that the Daily show is ballsy not for pointing out the problems with our politicians but with our media. That's the real sacred cow. You *could* actually write a movie that works on that premis but it would require work and that doesn't seem to be in the cards for any Robin Williams film. To be fair, Robin Williams was never into social commentary. This film puts him out of his element.

Steve said...

I never got why people were so excited about the Tucker Carlson thing. Tucker Carlson was specifically hired to be such an incredibly twit that he makes Paul Begala look good. He's a professional punching bag. It's not especially impressive for Jon Stewart to make him Tucker Carlson look like a douche, because Tucker Carlson does such a good job of it already.

It's kind of like that Brokeback Top Gun video. Congratulations, you made Top Gun look like it had homoerotic overtones. For an encore, why don't you make a steak look like it's made of meat.

Although I agree with everything else you said.

Tommaso Sciortino said...

BTW, nice use of the notice board generator.