Roger L. Simon

Blagojevich, Frost/Nixon and Poliwood postponed

I watched my Academy screener of Frost/Nixon tonight for the next episode of Poliwood, which alas will be postponed because I was empaneled on a jury today (see below). Lionel Chetwynd and I have worked out a temporary (we hope) schedule of night shooting, so we will have the show for next week and the week after – first Frost/Nixon and then Milk, a political cinema potpourri.

Not to let too much of the cat out of bag, I wasn’t as impressed with Frost/Nixon as others have been, finding it something of an elaborate television movie, but I have to admit viewing it in the midst of the Blagojevich scandal gave the film a certain je ne sais quoi or, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “deja vu all over again.” There’s a whole lot of what did he know and when did he know it going around as in the Watergate days of yore.  From the Chicago Trib: In an interview, Obama said, “it’s an ongoing investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that’s the fact that I didn’t discuss this issue with the governor at all.”

Sound familiar?  Maybe all politicians sound that same oily way – comes with the job description, as they say. It will be interesting to see what plays out here.  Perhaps we have all become inured to the general corruption of politics.  We just shrug.  That was my reaction to Frost/Nixon. I imagine I was supposed to root for Frost’s unmasking of Tricky Dick, but I didn’t care one way or the other.  I was just numb.  Like others, I admired Frank Langella’s Nixon and even more Toby Jones’ picture perfect impersonation of legendary Hollywood agent ‘Swifty’ Lazar, but in the end I didn’t have much of a reaction, in part because it’s a story I knew too well, at least writer Peter Morgan’s and director Ron Howard’s version of it. It needed an element of suprise, the new. How about the childhood of Nixon?  Now there’s a film worth contemplating… Richard Nixon, the Teen Years.