In my opinion, there are two reasons to celebrate this Monday's President's Day holiday. One, of course, is that it's a three-day weekend, and the other is that there are so many great movies whose stories revolve around U.S. presidents. Hence, I'm devoting this week's themed Movie Night to some of my favorite presidential movies.
The American President
Michael Douglas makes for a solid, dependable, and intelligent U.S. President in this film about romance, Oval Office-style. Douglas plays President Andrew Shepherd, the most powerful man in the world. When he asks the smart, lovely lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Benning) out on a date, tongues start wagging, and the President's approval ratings plummet. It's situations like these that test a President, and the choices made can turn a good President into... a great one. (Cheesiness fully intended).
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Wag The Dog
The extremely awesome combination of Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro in this film is enough to make it a favorite. But tack on a crazy plot that highlights the sordid relationship between politics and the media, and my mind is officially blown. DeNiro plays Conrad Brean, White House spin-doctor who joins forces with Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) in creating a fake war to cover up a Presidential sex scandal. There is something deeply unsettling about the film — despite it's dark humor — which is, I think, the point.
All The President's Men
The President is merely a takedown target in this high-minded and high-tension political thriller, which traces the breaking of the Watergate scandal. Once again, Dustin Hoffman plays one-half of a dynamic duo — this time as Carl Bernstein to Robert Redford's Bob Woodward. Though the movie is pretty much required viewing for every journalism-school grad, it's also an intensely riveting and even instructive movie than any film buff will find irresistible.