First, Hornaday recalled how Hollywood liberals paid tribute to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama:
If the fictional leader in question happened to chime with the actual person occupying the Oval Office, all the more delicious; when Michael Douglas swirled Annette Bening across the dance floor at a state dinner in 1995’s The American President, it was his Clintonesque character’s Democratic bona fides — not his romantic escapades — that audiences accepted as true to life. Primary Colors came out three years later, just months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, leading audiences to see John Travolta’s Jack Stanton as tacking more closely to Bill Clinton’s failings.
Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of the 16th president in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln couldn’t help but mirror Barack Obama’s presidency, as a historic milestone and a vivid portrait of the legislative wrangling Obama was facing during his contentious second term.
But Trump has ruined the whole thing, he’s even beyond satire. And despite her grand talk of democracy, she can’t stand actual voters when they disagree with her liberal hot takes:
How do filmmakers hope to attain a credible degree of realism when the actual American president has systematically dismantled the notion of reality itself? How do you appeal to a broad audience that has splintered into mutually exclusive spheres of belief? Several filmgoers have pointed to Mike Judge’s cult comedy Idiocracy as the most apt analog to the present-day president; it’s an apt comparison but a misdirected one. What Judge got so right in that 2006 movie wasn’t his characterization of wrestler-turned-president Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, but of the infantilized, selfish, fatally dumbed-down electorate that empowered him.
Trying to satirize Trump is even like “making fun of people with cancer.”
When deviance is continually defined downward, when there seems, finally, to be no moral floor, what was once deemed taboo is now simply Tuesday. “Showing this monstrous behavior in the White House as a satire is almost like making fun of people with cancer,” said Rod Lurie, who created [the TV show] Commander in Chief and directed The Contender, starring Jeff Bridges as the handsome, decent, exceptionally skilled knife fighter of our dreams. “We have seen the damage caused by this narcissism, this full abdication of norms. And it’s not funny. It stopped being entertaining a long time ago.”
There is no mention of how Hollywood might make the Lovable Biden-Clone movie in the next four years, but Lurie reassured his fellow liberal Hornaday that “square-jawed idealism” will have its place, if only as an antidote to our recent history. “Hollywood will give us all what we have always wanted to see — what we covet and what we need.”
After mentioning cartoon villain Snidely Whiplash, Hornaday brought in another Hollywood leftist:
As screenwriter Aaron Sorkin — creator of such confected presidential urtexts as The American President and The West Wing — observed in Vanity Fair last year, great drama needs either a memorable hero or a complicated anti-hero. In the current White House, he noted, “there just seems to be a lot of mustache twirling and cowardice.”
Naturally, the Washington Post employee had to conclude the article with the usual masturbatory reference to their Watergate heroism:
At least one classic movie provides a brilliant primer in exploring larger-than-life political corruption as well as the structural, genuinely democratic forces we need to fight it. And in All the President’s Men, with only the briefest exception, the title character remains thankfully off screen.