Speaking Of . . .

The great Leonard Cohen once remarked that he felt no urgency as far as his writing was concerned. It was his opinion that mankind would not be damaged if he never put out another record or wrote another book.

Now here was a dude whose works could talk gravity into another million years worth of bubbles. And he’s speaking as if he’s a high school newspaper editor. His point, however, is inviolable. The best part of us, as writers, is the part that can never be taken away.

Speaking of . . .

Urgency, there seems to be a little more of the stuff when it comes to Bryce Harper and the Phillies. And I’m rooting like hell for them to ink the slugger before Brian Cashman sweeps in with a drunken sailor offering that ties the Yankees to a .240 hitter through a third Trump term (Spoiler Alert!). These “Till Meth Do Us Part” unions in sports are onerous for the fans more than anyone. Because in eight years, the fans will be paying Fabulous Bryce Hair prices for Bald Bryce production. Simple as that.

Speaking of . . .

Bald men, the Oscars are tonight. And I’m sorta/kinda excited for the first time in a while. If only because of Queen.

Speaking of . . .

Queens, they’re making a biopic about Elton John. Which is a little strange seeing as how he’s still alive.

Speaking of . . .

Bad jokes (such as the one I just made), Trump and Kim Jong (Pizzeria)-Un will be holding their second summit this week to discuss UN sanctions, nuclear disarmament and Adam Sandler’s curious lack of Oscar hardware.

Speaking of . . .

Oscar, I only saw one Best Picture nominee (Bohemian Rhapsody) and I am only halfway interested in seeing A Star Is Born. I definitely will see Black Klansman when it comes out on video.

Speaking Of . . .

Movies? I tend to gravitate to the flicks that have no blessed chance of winning gold. Take yesterday for example, when I went to see Happy Death Day 2 U. Not as good as the original, but man . . Jessica Rothe is going to win an Oscar for something, some day. And I do not plan on being wrong about that. Girl’s got game.

Speaking of . . .

Game . . I am rocking the Casbah after a two month hiatus from my Fitbit. A week and a half in, and the results are sweetly plucked juiciness. Lost a few pounds already, and am up to three and a half miles. I truly enjoyed my vacation from the the wrist candy, but the reunion is Peaches and Herb righteous.

Speaking of . . .

Righteous deeds, big props to the Ole Miss basketball players for taking a knee during the National Anthem. They knelt together in response to a confederacy rally near their home arena in Oxford, Mississippi. It was the right thing to do.

Speaking of . . .

The right thing, I’m down with Terrance Howard’s support of his former co-star Jussie Smollett. Howard isn’t taking the easy road by staying in Smollett’s corner, but it’s where he started out and it’s what he’s sticking to. Howard isn’t interested in the optics, and that’s commendable in a profession where too many peeps run for higher ground when the shit hits the fan. Come what may, Smollett has a corner man. Emphasis on man.

Speaking of . . .

Yesterday, I was turned onto this cat with the cool threads and the space age folk songs. He’s got a voice that could skate on the icy rings of Saturn and come back hotter than Fortuna’s pocketbook after a Vegas jaunt. His musical roam fits the proverbs of a lazy Sunday afternoon just fine.

And the hat, that’s just bonus round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Value of Original Thought

Queen

From the time I was in grade school, I had come to understand the world around me in monochromatic equations. I borrowed on this hopelessness as a different way of learning the world; and in so doing, my jaded sensibilities would introduce me to books and girls and music.

Books were an escape to places the real world could not touch. I lost myself in the swashbuckling exploits of Monsieur d’Artagnan, who graduated from rags to the royal guard in The Three Musketeers. I learned the art of feminine wiles when fourth grade Tammy seduced third grade me with her Helen Reddy bob. And music bled all my anger away, replacing it with a sublime equanimity.

I’m thankful for having grown up in a time when books were tactile fascinations, girls were precocious junior members of the Steinem brigade and music was more vast and mysterious than the deep blue of outer space.

Music was a magical enterprise back in the day. New albums would happen out of thin air, without the need for reveals or months long chatter. A hit song would just show up, drop heat on a DJ’s turntable and then jailbreak to the record stores.

It seemed as if every group possessed license to its own unique way of doing business. Lyrics were the birthright and melody the sweet way home. As fans, we were hit and miss when it came to the words; swinging from the arches and striking matches to the pounding of that bass. Because the scratchy grooves didn’t matter a lick, and the right or wrong of it mattered even less than that. Music wasn’t pristine and logical, because we weren’t asking for it to show up in its Sunday best.

And really, thank God for Queen. Because theirs was a sound so original that it stood out even then, inside a world full of musical giants. Theirs was a gift so transcendent that its cosmic bloom challenged our expectations from the very first time.

So it was by the early eighties that my education had coalesced into ever more simple fixations. I loved the palace intrigue of girls who smoked and cussed and wore puffer jackets. I was fascinated at the idea that I could see Ted Williams swing simply by having read about it in so many books and magazines. And I wondered what in the blessed fuck Freddie Mercury was talking about, and the mystery of it all was blissful.

Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t so much a biopic as it is a gift, to those of us who grew up on transistor radios and record stores and turntables. Which is why my attempt at doing a movie review was never going to work. Because you can’t grade soul. You either got it, or you don’t.

For what it’s worth, I loved the film in spite of itself. Because truth be told, it comes off as erratic at times and it messes with the facts more than a politician at last call. And I don’t care, because Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury the way Sacha Baron Cohen never could have; with a graceful humility and a genuine awkwardness that belies the ultimate showman’s larger than life presence. And the music is a symphonic palette of genesis and mortality; an emphatic blend of quiet moments and glorious culminations.

Mercury wrote music for the people who didn’t belong to anything, anywhere or anyone. The band turned the monochrome into technicolor. Together, they changed the way we think about music. They spooked the words out of extravagant catastrophes and turned them into operas and anthems, ballads and rock songs.

It didn’t matter what you listened to, because Queen’s appeal struck a chord with everyone. From metal to disco to classic rock and hip hop. They simply belonged.

To all of us.

 

 

 

Sorryless Sunday Morning Movie Review

Michael vs Laurie

*Spoiler Alert: The following movie ‘review’ contains certain plot elements- such as the beginning, the middle and the end. 

I thought maybe this latest incarnation of Halloween was going to make me pine for the days of eight track tapes, boom shakalaka vans and reckless hair. But nope, that’s not where the Danny McBride and David Gordon Green’s sequel to the shape lives at all as it picks up forty years after the original movie. It’s a modern day slasher flick dressed in an old ghost story and it aspires to be both at the same time. Sometimes it works, and sometimes . . not so much.

McBride and Green are ambitiously dedicated to the franchise, and I dig that very much. Their decision to wipe the timeline clean and to pick up where the first movie left off was inspired. Their idea to frame Myers murder spree in the original movie as random in nature, and not an evil obsession to end the family bloodline was reminiscent of In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter. Because fratricide is something every sibling has contemplated, but a totally random killing is more chilling than a Shackleton Martini.

And hey . . don’t take my word for it. Watch this one take scene where Michael borrows a knife from a random victim. I should supply a word of warning that Michael doesn’t borrow things in the traditional sense of the word. It’s more like stealing . . with lots of mangled body parts. Fucking guy . . .

 

Bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis was a sublime stroke of genius. In reprising her role as Laurie Strode, Curtis is the most believable- and enjoyable part- of the film. She plays a gun hoarding hermit who has been preparing for Myers return for the last forty years. She lost her family in the process, but is ‘vindicated’ when Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to hunt her down. And inviting the original ‘Shape’- Nick Castle- to don the mask (even if only for a hot second) was a cool hat tip. So with all that, I was digging more than a private investigator working on commission.

Here is what I ain’t dig so much . . .

In trying to appeal to a new audience whilst catering to those of us who were around for the original release, the movie comes off as unfocused. We’re introduced to investigative journalists Dana Haines and Aaron Korey- whose only purpose, it seems, is to reunite Michael with his mask. And it kinda pisses me off that Rob Zombie was criticized for portraying Michael as a terminator-like slasher rather than a supernatural ninja whose dedication to his craft was subtle and spooky and altogether kooky. Because in the 2018 Halloween, Myers is . . . you guessed it, a terminator-like slasher. There ain’t no subtlety to him. His kill scenes are every bit as grotesque and demonically mechanized as Zombie’s. And I have no beef with that. I just think my man Rob was an easy target thanks to the pissing contest he engaged in with Carpenter back in the day, but whatever.

The creepy Dr. Ranbir Sartain (played by Haluk Bilginer) brings a story line I had the most trouble with. Sartain is the protege to the since deceased Dr. Loomis, and he is nuttier than a Twin Peaks convention. In the movie’s home stretch, we come to learn the depths of the bad doctor’s obsession with Michael Myers. He prevents the local Sheriff from putting a bullet through Michael’s head . . by murdering him. After which he gives Laurie’s granddaughter and Michael Myers a lift back to Laurie’s crib so they can, yanno . . resolve their differences. It’s in this scene that we come to realize the doctor was responsible for Myers escape, the Patriots sustained success and the selfie. Of course, the doctor is such a fucking whack that he never stops to consider what happens when you cozy up to a spring-loaded temperament under high duress. Until Myers turns him into spaghetti squash with his boot.

After which we get, the showdown. Michael versus Laurie. Because the more things change, the more this franchise will keep going back to the same bloody well. These two are so inextricably linked to the franchise that to kill one of them is to kill both of them. Which is what I was hoping for, all the while knowing it was never gonna happen. Because there’s sequels in them Hollywood Hills, and yanno . . .

So long story short . . Michael ends up at Laurie’s compound and he is majorly pissed at having been led all over town by Dr. Strangelove. So he takes out Laurie’s son in law first, and she’s like “Mikey , that doesn’t make up for all the shit you’ve put me through for the last forty years, but thanks for trying . .”. And then Laurie’s granddaughter shows up since all her friends are dead thanks to Michael, and now Laurie’s daughter has to draw on her fucked up survivalist upbringing to save the day because Mom is using a shotgun to kill Michael when a Bazooka would’ve been a much better idea.

So the three girls end up hiding in the basement as Michael searches the place for someone to dismember. Laurie decides to shoot into the floorboards and in so doing, officially becomes the worst participant in hide and seek . . . ever. So Michael disassembles the kitchen island and somehow . . the girls sneak past him. It’s not nearly as easy as I’m making it out to be, but ridiculous nonetheless.

As Michael climbs the steps, Laurie activates ginormous wooden spikes that sprout from the walls and it all becomes clear. Her compound was never meant to be a cage . . it was meant to be a trap, for Michael. The girls post a couple pics on Instagram before Laurie lights the place on fire and they skip the scene. As flames engulf the compound, Michael is nowhere to be seen and then . . after the credits start rolling, we hear that infamous heavy breathing once again.

Despite my snarky fucking manner, I did like the film and I’m giving this sequel a solid 3.5 out of 5. I loved the score, the kill scenes, the mask and the jump scares. And I love that it made me have to run back to the original, which is the gold standard for the genre.

I’ll leave you with a dedication made possible by those frugal geniuses at Blumhouse Productions who made this puppy on 10 million bucks and are killing it (pun intended) at the box office to the tune of 100 million and counting. I mean, it’s raining so hard that JLC is talking up a rematch with Myers.

So here’s the song I want them to play at the conclusion of the sequel to this sequel. As Laurie stands over Michael’s cold and lifeless body whilst swigging a bottle of whiskey, she looks down at the mask and spits the words we’ve been longing to hear.

Boogeyman my ass . . .

Sorryless Sunday Morning

Where does inspiration come from? I mean . . other than commercials and hallucinogens. Welp, I guess it depends on where you’re sitting. An idea is the composite of its metaphysical values swimming through a wilderness with no particular place to go until the feral seedlings plant themselves into a grip of ink that gives them shape.

So it was that AMC was running a Stephen King marathon yesterday morning as I searched for some inspiration for today’s post. There really was no good reason for me to tune in, seeing as how I’m not the biggest fan of King’s horror flicks. But it was The Dead Zone and Christopher Walken is in it, so that made it worth a look.

My “Very Unofficial Thespian Rules” read thusly:

  • I would listen to Morgan Freeman read a cereal box
  • I’d buy into anything a Tom Cruise character sets his mind to
  • A Julia Roberts entrance is worth the price of admission. Still.
  • Jeff Bridges owns his characters the way the tides own forever.
  • If Christopher Walken is in it, you should watch.

For thirty five years, I flouted that last one. And then yesterday morning happened and I found myself watching a movie I can’t believe I’d been missing out on for all this time. The cast is superb and the story makes you wonder why this was dropped into the horror genre, because outside of the fact that King wrote it, it ain’t got much of anything to do with horror.

But it did provide me some inspiration in the form of an idea that I thought was pretty clever . . . for about five minutes. I thought it might be fun to tuck a handful of characters from King’s horror flicks into a small town and write a short story about it.

The original idea was to use thirteen famous quotes and then build the story around it, but that wasn’t working. So I’ll try another tack, and should it work? I’ll have a Halloween “bundle” post for next weekend. If not? Well, I’ll still have my favorite Halloween song to fall back on.

Anyways . . .as pleasantly surprised as I was by The Dead Zone, I had to chase it with something more in keeping with my favorite month of the year. Rob Zombie’s Halloween did the trick. It’s been my October go-to since its release ten years ago. I tend to rummage through all of Zombie’s stuff this time of year. So far this month, I’ve digested House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, The Lords of Salem and of course, Halloween. 

The recently released Halloween is on pace to top eighty million this weekend after a record opening for October. That eighty million would topple Zombie’s total haul, so it would seem the people have spoken. And while I am down with checking out the Danny McBride sequel, which has the Pope’s (John Carpenter) blessing . . I’ve already been served up some buyer beware 411. My son went to see it on opening night and came away unmoved. “It’s a three star movie when it should be much better . .”.

Imma finish up with a classic song that has become synonymous with the Halloween franchise. It’s done up in the new old fashioned way by Nan Vernon, who did the closing credit music for both of Zombie’s Halloween films. The girl provides with Mr Sandman- a three and a half minute sugar pill that slows things down into a purring lullaby of a bad girl’s dream. With all due respect to Carpenter and the Chordettes . . this morning I’m riding shotgun with Zombie and Nan.

Go Dodgers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinema Parenthesio

Movie Theater

As with most things recreational, I tend to binge.

Books, tennis, pain pills and yes . . movies. It doesn’t matter as to the method,- Amazon Prime, HBO, Redbox or the theater- I tend to gorge myself in concentrated pockets.

My movie binging tends to take the place of regular bi’ness, since I can’t seem to do two things at once. When I ain’t gobbling up a half dozen books in no time flat, I’m a daily reader of blogs, magazine articles and news articles. When I ain’t losing at tennis, I’m going strong with my running and stationary bike regimen. When I make the prudent (foolish?) decision not to pop a happy pill, I’m luxuriating in a three finger salute to my favorite bourbon. And when I’ve had my fill of documentaries and TV series . . I go full length motion pictures.

This past week happened to be one of those movie weeks I speak of, in which I digested several flicks and nibbled on a whole bunch more. I was going to do a top five movies of my week, but the count went a tad bit higher than that. So instead, Imma give a short spill on the virgin entrees I sat down with, by arranging my fare in categories . . from the ridiculous to the sublime.

The Ridiculous:

The Snowman- I went in expecting a horror/psychological thriller and I got a trip to the DMV. In other words, a two hour wait in which I prayed for death (mine). A great cast- Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, Chloe Sevigny and J.K. Simmons coupled with Martin Scorcese as the executive producer? What could go wrong? Apparently, everything. The plot is shit for, the flashback scenes are confusing as fuck and the ending is completely predictable. And now I’ve wasted two hours and two and a half minutes on this flick so let’s move on.

Funny Snowman

The Sublime: (Note, not all of these flicks were perfect. But they were all worth it. Even if they can’t erase . . . yanno.)

The Disaster Artist- I’m usually not into movies about movies but this take on one of the worst movies ever made (The Room) had me from the get. James Franco doesn’t just play Tommy Wiseau- the enigmatic actor/director- he is the guy. The self deprecating theme gives this movie its charm. The idea that you should follow your dreams, even if it takes you right over a cliff, gives this movie its soul.

A Quiet Place- I was mesmerized/intrigued/disturbed by the hook to this movie. I went in expecting a zombie flick, and this wasn’t that. It was actually way better than that. If asked to give a two word description for this post-apocalyptic tale, I’d go with Words Matter. Solid if not spectacular, it’s a story that sticks to its guns instead of overreaching. Which is pretty damn refreshing in an age of cinematic superfluity (say that one time fast). I’m not crazy about the idea of a sequel, but this flick is a lean, mean dish of yes.

A Quiet Place Funny

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- I already knew Frances McDormand was top of her class, but Jeezusy Christmas! And I ain’t in agreement with the peeps who trashed this flick for its complicated characters. Their censure feels more like censorship, and I’m sorry, but when we start writing shit based solely on a person’s comfort level, we are all doomed. This flick doesn’t pander or pose, it hits you hard and it doesn’t stop hitting you. It ain’t a perfect film, but maybe for this scene . . which became an instant favorite of mine.

Mission Impossible- Fallout- Tom Cruise made me love this franchise. Because the fact that he’s actually bat shit crazy sells this dish at full retail, no matter the plot. Knowing he’s risking life and limb with each new installment is worth the price of admission. I wasn’t in Rotten Tomatoes love with MI-6, but it was still worth the buttered popcorn heartburn. All I ask of my action movie is that it actually gives me, yanno . . action. And that the good guys and the bad guys make the implausible scenarios worth buying into. Sold!

Tom Cruise

Crazy Rich Asians- Now we’re talking. I saved the best for last, because this is a flick I could watch several times over and laugh just as hard every single one of ’em. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a rom/com: Kleenex moments, passion, laughs, deliciously simple scenes dancing in harmony with the great big ones. And yeah, that love and romance stuff too. Constance Wu and Henry Golding shine as the leading couple. Awkwafina upstages the always hilarious Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan is simply stunning and Michelle Yeoh is at her badass best.

Crazy would have scored favorite movie of my week for the wedding scene alone, but it wins best summer flick for checking every box on my movie going list. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and, unlike that (every) visit to the DMV, you won’t want it to end.

That’s entertainment.

 

 

 

Three Days In Woodstock

Woodstock Night

Woodstock isn’t a destination, it’s a state of mind.

Every morning feels like Sunday, every afternoon like Saturday and every evening feels like church. There is a unique charm to the jagged little town built into the side of the Catskill Mountains. Its quirky architecture and funky colored Victorians tell stories without saying a word. You can lose the beaten path in a couple minutes time simply by taking a hard left or right; the side streets behave very much like channels of a forgotten sea. Woodstock is a snow globe variation of town and country as if penned by Thoreau.

After my run, Q and me made plans to see Oceans 8 in the late afternoon. We tucked in a quick jaunt to the grocery store to pick up some particulars for our evening menu. A craving for Bloody Mary grilled cheese sandwiches was prevailing, as was the need for some late night snacks to sate ourselves after cruising the four twenty. We ain’t tokers by any means, but when in Rome . . yanno?

Deer

The ride to the theater is much the same as a ride to anywhere else when it comes to this neck of the woods. It becomes a road trip, replete with rolling passages out of a Currier and Ives fever dream. The miles read like chapters in a book out of a time before progress birthed chain restaurants and every single person, place and thing became a brand.

As for the movie, welp . . here’s a quick shot review on it, because why not?

The best spin-off since I don’t remember when. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are a hot buttah get down of a dynamic duo, and their cast of characters . . I thought, were infinitely more interesting than the Oceans 11 gang. Sandra plays Debbie Ocean, little sister to Danny, and she’s keeping on with the family business by planning a rather artful heist. Cate Blanchett rides shotgun as Lou, her sister from another mister. They wrangle up a sexy as all get out posse and then, they pull off the ultimate cinematic heist. They make the Oceans franchise, theirs now.

Later on, back at the ranch, we played carnival with more Woodstock festival tunes whilst I broke the seal on some Woodford Reserve. We buddied them up with some frosty bottles of brew and immersed ourselves once more in the counter culture movement that culminated in those three days of peace and music.

Right

The provocative blueprint of those sammys did not disappoint. And then I broke out a Cuban cigar, which had been gifted me by my Canadian counterpart for this three day summit. And as we sipped our tumblers into a divine rhythm on the porch, a family of deer decided to crash our party by strolling across the backyard and reminding us who really owns this place. And then a little later on, we achieved the manifest destiny of all those who visit Woodstock proper. Needless to say, we arrived at the corner of peaceful and easy, and it was a magnificent trip.

We talked about the morning, and about our planned trip to Bethel- the site of a three day festival of music and peace that would change everything. And I think we wondered, silently, whether it would be everything we’d built it up to be over our two days together.

We had no idea.

 

 

Going 4th with my Oval Fixation

Warhol Nixon

In honor of Independence Day, I felt like jumping into the pool of patriotism and taking a swim. And then the feeling passed and I decided to compile a list of my favorite Presidents. Which is basically the same shit, really.

Before I get to this Presidential list ‘o mine, I’ve a couple thoughts about the 4th of July that have been running around inside ‘me noggin and so Imma clearinghouse their asses before they get my straggling voices all riled up.

Beautiful funny fourth of july memes 117 best 4th of July images on Pinterest

Independent (Day) Thinking: 

  • If John Adams had a blog, it would be called Shit Happens
  • Note to all those “Buy American” peeps out there. When y’all are blowing shit up to celebrate our independence . . just know that fireworks were first invented in medieval China.
  • The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were not meant to be subverted, retrofitted and reconfigured to contemporary whims and agendas. Just. Saying.
  • Fireworks wouldn’t work in space, which is really too bad . . .
  • You say “May the 4th be with you” and I say “Go 4th and prosper”.
  • Joey Chestnut’s win in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest reminds me that I have never actually watched the fucking thing. Because it’s grosser than a Senator’s secret Instagram page.
  • I’m still hoping there will be a Nas cover to Yankee Doodle Dandy 
  • Ben Franklin be like . . “Bitches be crazy!”
  • Is it wrong that of all the things I could have given thanks to yesterday, I chose Sam Adams? The beer, not the founding father.
  • Apologies to the Cowboys and Yankees, but the real America’s Team is the Tampa Bay Rays. Many of their fans have given up, they’re always shipping their best talent away and they’re broke.

As far as my Commander and Chief is concerned, the First Dude has to be bold and decisive. My President must love sports, beer and ’80’s music. My President is tough yet compassionate; he’s flexible as per the big picture and firm as to the details. My President understands that being fair and open minded isn’t a weakness but an impenetrable strength. So with all of those qualities in mind, my favorite President will in fact be a fictional character. Of course.

I’ve divvied up fictional Presidents of tube and silver screen into three categories. There is the Ridiculous . . those Presidential turns that rival November 2016. There is the I Can See That . . those slightly more feasible renditions. And then there is the Sublime . . those fictional characters I would really vote for (and maybe, just maybe . . did).

Special thank you to my Canadian counterpart, Dale “Q-ditty” Rogerson of A Dalectable Life for helping me compile this list. And to anyone who has a problem with this list? Please direct your complaints here.

The Ridiculous: 

Kevin James- Yes, Kevin James played President Will Cooper in the movie Pixels. Yes, it was an Adam Sandler flick. Duh!

Mark Cuban- He played President Marcus Robbins in Sharknado. I mean . . in a movie that is one long commercial, how in the hell did they whiff on the name? Baskin Robbins people . . it’s not that hard!

President Machete

Lynda Carter- Not because her President-Olivia Marsdin- was an alien or that she ruled the world in Supergirl  . . nah. What makes this turn utterly ridiculous is that Lynda Carter IS Wonder Woman!

Aaron Eckhardt- I’ve watched White House Down numerous times because I love B movies that think they’re A movies. That is all.

Jamie Foxx- If quoting Abraham Lincoln and wearing Nikes make you President, my neighbor would be running things. So .  . no.

Danny Glover- Of all the names they could’ve slapped on Glover for his turn as Prez in 2012, they go with Thomas Wilson? Impeached!

Bill Pullman- Thomas J. Whitmore is a very Presidential name. Being a former fighter pilot and Gulf War vet is great stuff. Too bad it all happened in Independence Day. 

Gene Hackman- I have very few rules to which I abide with no deviation, but one of them is that Gene Hackman will never be my President.

Kevin Klein- In the movie Dave, Klein basically played a stunt double.

Martin Sheen- Sorry West Wing fans, but all I know about this show and President Josiah Barlet is that Sheen really thought he could’ve been President. A television celebrity as President? How ridiculous is that?!

I Can See That: 

Cherry Jones- She played President Allison Taylor in 24; which just so happens to be one of my favorite shows ever. (The Kiefer Sutherland 24). She falls into the middle because her character was loosely based on Hilary Clinton. Which is sublime and ridiculous. It’s sublime for its idealistic nature and it’s ridiculous because Hilary won an election. Too soon?

Alfre Woodard- As Constance Payton in State of Affairs, there really is nothing not to like. She has the name, she rocks the look and she has the Presidential vibe. But I never watched the show, so there’s that.

99 Problems

Jeff Bridges- He’s my favorite actor, so it pains me NOT to put him in my imaginary Oval Office. Couple reasons why. Jackson Evans? Sounds like a furniture store that does taxes. And another . . The Contender was totally based on Monica-gate and it wasn’t very good, at all.

James Earl Jones- His President Douglas Dilman attains the office without being elected in the 1972 political thriller The Man. The plot was eerily prescient, as Gerald Ford would so just that less than two years later when he replaced Nixon. But I never saw the flick, so outside of his magnificent voice . . I ain’t solid enough on President Dilman to elect him to my highest office.

Harrison Ford- He shows his Chuck Norris side as President in Air Force One. And that’s about it.

And now for my Fantastic Four.

The Sublime: 

4. Michael Douglas- As President Andrew Shepherd, Douglas is quite fetching as Oval Office Boss. He rocks the look, talks the talk and knows all about the science of women’s shoes. But he’s bottom four because it’s a completely unbelievable role served by by Rob Reiner.

3. Geena Davis- Okay . . I never saw her play MacKenzie Allen in Commander in Chief. But this is Geena Fucking Davis we’re talking about. So she’s in, even if I have to stage a coup to make it happen.

2. Tom Kirkman- You may notice there is a Sutherland vibe to this Presidential post of mine. Because while the current administration consorts with the “Red Menace” , I prefer the red maple leaf. Much friendlier, and they know their beer.

Designated Survivor’s President Kirkman is an idealist of the very best kind. It’s why I do not hold it against him for story lines that have little reality to them. Here’s a President who’s willing to admit when he’s wrong. He listens, and then he goes with his gut. He relates to those he disagrees with. He trusts and verifies. He ain’t against bombing your ass if you fuck with his peeps, but he realizes this isn’t a paint ball contest so he will exhaust all other possibilities first.

I hope the show has one more season in it, somewhere. Because I want me some more President Kirkman.

David Palmer

1. Dennis Haysbert- There is no doubt that Hollywood takes itself way too seriously when it comes to politics. And the idea that Haysbert’s turn as President in 24 was the catalyst for Barack Obama’s ascent to the Oval Office is a tad bit simplistic, to put it nicely.

But there is little doubt that Haysbert owned the role. President David Palmer was a Boss who understood delegation on a doctorate level. And he was so damned efficient! I mean, why mobilize a couple hundred thousand troops to a danger zone when you can just dial up Jack Bauer and get shit done in less than a day?

Palmer was eloquent without being preachy. He made the tough decisions look simple. And he could speak an apple right out of a tree and hand you a glass of ice cold juice in double time. You could argue that giving his ex-wife a key role in his administration was crazy, but I say it shows how secure an individual he was. To navigate all the sharks inside his own administration and the Macbeth-like scenarios she was spinning? That there is power used to its best possible outcome.

And you can say that writing in David Palmer was a wasted vote. And you can say I’m a dreamer. But hey . . I’m not the only one.