As a college professor and political junkie I am a huge fan of campaign movies. Let me be specific: I like “Campaign movies” – not movies about politics, or insider shenanigans, but actual films about how campaigns work from the inside. Whether it’s a documentary or an actual fictional film I have either watched it or it’s in my queue on Netflix.
There are thousands of campaigns that have happened in this country over the last 30+ years that are worthy of films, documentaries and movies, but none of them is more deserving than the presidential campaign of 2008. So I must admit, I was a little excited to see the new trailer for the Book-turned-movie “Game Change” when it premiered on-line yesterday.
The fully titled book, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime came out in 2010 and was written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The book included over 300 interviews with campaign insiders and provided all sorts of juicy gossip about the campaigns that may or may not have actually happened. The movie version of parts of the book will premiere in March on HBO and you can see the Game Change trailer here.
The cast looks pretty good so far, you got Ed Harris as John McCain and Julianne Moore playing a much more subdued Sarah Palin (I was at the Republican convention in 2008 and she was a bit more lively than this clip indicates), but it doesn’t quite pull me in yet for a trailer, which is what it’s supposed to do. The 2008 campaign was a manic, must see TV experience and any movie that purports to capture that moment in time needs to blow you out of the water from scene one or trailer one.
I have long said that the 2008 presidential campaign, especially the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was the greatest reality show in American history. We all certainly watched it like it was the hottest show since E.R. and everybody – I mean everybody – was talking about that campaign.
True story: I remember being at the African American history museum in Detroit during the primary and overhearing two 50-something year old security guards discussing how the Super-delegates in that state might influence Obama’s chances. Of course, one of the reasons the campaign became water cooler talk wasn’t just because of the candidates involved but because of an often overlooked element of Hollywood. The Hollywood writer’s strike ran from November 2007 until February 12th of 2008, which meant that during the hottest times in the primary, the Iowa Caucuses, the early debates and even Super Tuesday there was NOTHING else on television. We got all of our drama, romance, adventure and action from the campaign in those early months because there was no Desperate Housewives, Nip/Tuck or Smallville to occupy our time. By the time new shows started coming back on the air, the nation was hooked.
I know you can’t read that much into a trailer, but I’m not picking up that energy so far from the little bit that has been shown. Maybe by the time everything hits post production and gets on the air by next March the movie will seem more exciting, but until then I’ll just have to get my campaign fix from re-watching Ides of March.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.