Can The Political Movies Survive Without Comedy In 2018?
That’s a fair question I think. And the reason I’m asking is because Vice, one of the most anticipated movies of the year is being released next month. On Christmas to be exact.
And why am I asking this? Well because, the previous political biopic The Front Runner, flopped on the box office and with the critics for that matter.
Almost a month after its release, The Front Runner now has 57% of approval of Rotten Tomatoes. What was once considered a Jason Reitman’s comeback movie to the big league, and Hugh Jackman’s ticket to the Oscar nominations is now a failure.
So, the question remains. Can political movies (and especially political biopics) succeed without comedy? I’m also asking this because, Vice is being released soon and I frankly don’t want to see the same thing happen all over again. But between the two movies, I think there are a fair number of similarities and a bigger number of differences that I thin will be the key. Not just the comedy (or the lack of). But lets do that. Compare the two movies and find out.
First thing first. Yes, both of the movies cover the lives of American politicians from the past. The Front Runner chronicled the rise of American Senator Gary Hart, a Democratic presidential candidate in 1988, and his subsequent fall from grace when media reports surfaced of his extramarital affair. Vice on the other hand follows Dick Cheney in his political rise to become the most powerful Vice President in America’s history.
Secondly, while The Front Runner was a classic biopic tale, it focused on small part of Gary Hart’s life and career. Vice will cover a larger part of Dick Chaney’s life and career and will focus more on his tenure as VP of United States of America.
Third if you’re counting, is the mentioned comedic input that is lacking in The Front Runner and in abundance in Vice. Adam Mckay, the writer and director of Vice is known for his absurdest almost surreal style of comedy and it’s that exact style that he tries to emulate in his even more serious movies. The Big Short was a perfect example of his offbeat, but very poignant style of screen-writing, and I have a feeling that we’re going to see that once more in Vice.
Furthermore, there’s the casting conundrum. Yes, Hugh Jackman’s performance in The Front Runner was singled out as the high point of the movie, but that was pretty much it. However, there’s a Schmorgers board of excellent actors to choose from, and excellent performances to look forward to. Namely Christian Bale. The man is unbelievable. His weight gain and physical transformation will centrally attract much attention in the media, but trust me, his performance will be celebrated too. He’s already an Oscar favorite, and I don’t even want to forget Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell and Amy Adams’s contribution to this movie.
Oh and there’s the history problem that The Front Runner had. It portrayed an event that was basically unknown and trivial to the general public, not to mention that Gary Hart is not a figure that America remembers that well, today. He was not important political figure in the 80’s and he’s not that important more than 30 years after his scandal. Dick Chaney, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on the other hand are figures that pretty much every person on Earth knows and remembers, despite the fact that Bush’s administration had its finish a decade ago.
Trust me. No one can forget the events of Bush’s administration.
And lastly… it’s all coming back to the comedy. Adam McKay is the king of comedy. He’s very good ad telling the truth and exposing the human nature through comedy, and I have no doubt that he’ll do that again. In the era of Trump’s fucked up politics I think there’s no way any political movie can succeed without comedy.
The truth will be too much to bare without comedy, and I think Vice knows that.