Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Listing: Oh, You Betcha!

After the State Of The Union address last night, it occurred to me that the news cycle isn't the only source that is politically driven these days.

Several popular TV shows and many Oscar contenders, like Zero Dark Thirty or Lincoln, are either based on historical fact or focused around the ins and outs of the current U.S. government.

Traditionally, religion, money, and politics are three topics avoided in everyday small talk. Except, of course, anyone looking to stir up the pot to add a tad of drama at a family gathering - we've all been there.

The fact that mainstream entertainment is heavily focused on these supposed "taboo" topics makes it feel like this year they are each more open for discussion. This is something to appreciate.

I understand that heated or cool conversations about current events aren't for everyone, but anyone can appreciate watching them dramatically unfold all while in the comfort of a squishy couch. Yelling at crazy people on TV is better than at real people anyway.

Here are a few standouts that I have been attached to this week:

If the politics in D.C. seemed fishy before, just wait, the world of this Netflix Original series will leave you wanting to question everything. What kind of business is really happening behind the walls of the White House?

Currently the most popular selection on Netlifx, stars Kevin Spacey as Congressman Underwood, who's role as the Majority Whip (ironically the role that designates party discipline) has made him one of the most influential men in the national government. He is dynamic, sneaky, power hungry, and accordingly, people follow whatever he says.

Underwood could pull one of his many card's out from underneath at any moment and the house would crumble. Man, that title just works on so many levels!

Spacey has had quite the film and theater career, but he was made for this kind of dramatic television. He has never been better.

Kid President

Not exactly political, but he's wearing a suit and calling himself the President. What if Michael Jordan had never made Space Jam! There would be no Space Jam Soundtrack!

The internet finds the coolest kids.

In 2009, the country was transfixed with Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin. Even my parents who hadn't watched SNL in years stayed up late to tune in weekly for those SNL broadcasts.

Fey gets top marks for the comedic styling, but we all knew the renditions wouldn't stop there.

Cue last years HBO movie, Game Change, and this time around ace actress Julianne Moore tackled the hockey mom from Alaska. From the voice, to the wink, and the bun, Moore truly became Palin. This all works, because Moore completely commits to playing every moment, both the comical side and the tragic.

Moore's performance is the highlight of the movie, as expected, even though there are no scenes with Todd and Sarah cruising through Alaska on a snowmobile.

The movie does a fantastic job of capturing the wackiness of the whole 2009 election, but the story leans a little too satirical at times, which I don't think was intended. All of this makes for quality entertainment, and I'm sure there are some facts in there, but it left me wondering too much about what actually happened between Palin and her staff. 

The Oscar's are a week away and Argo is looking prime for a Best Picture win.

Anyone who was alive during the harrowing crisis that began in 1979, or has read their history books, will go in knowing how the story ends. Nonetheless, arriving at the resolution is still frightening, as every moment we watch the hostages on the screen is agonizing. We know they get out, but how and when!

That is the true test of a well-thought out, acted, and written film - the audience is riveted and stays along for the ride no matter what they thought they already knew walking into the theater.

There are many more options to check out focusing on similar topics, but flip on the tube, Netflix, or head out the cinema to check these few out today!

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