Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oh, yeah! Watch this shot, buster!

The next time someone says movies are just movies and they don't try to influence public policy debate, remind me to mention Alec Baldwin's role in Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carey and Tea Leoni. It's the story of a guy who works for Globodyne (Enron, really), gets laid off, and loses all his savings while the CEO, played by Baldwin, gets away with millions.

One of the beginning scenes is the couple talking in their bedroom while President Bush is on their TV set talking about how well the economy is performing. Dick gets promoted to VP of communications and his first duty is to go on television to announce the quarterly earnings. He's unprepared to hear from the anchorman that the CEO of Globodyne has been unloading all of his stock for the last couple of weeks. There's a funny graph on the screen, which shows the value of Globodyne's stock plummeting during the interview.

Anyway, Baldwin's character is interviewed a couple of times later in the movie, once saying that he's hurting too--I have to sell my home in Jacson Ho--no, Martha's Vineyard, he says. He said that or something like it on a hunting trip when he then paused, aimed at a bird and said, "Now watch this shot."

You remember President Bush saying the same thing during a round of golf? He was asked a serious question--I believe it was about casualties in the Iraq War--and gave a serious answer. He then went back to his golf game, saying, "Now watch this shot."

That clip got sent around the internet as evidence of Bush's lack of sensitivity. I thought it was unfair and out of context.

Baldwin's an entertaining actor--in fact, I like him more now that I know his younger brother is a Republican, and he's fun to watch on Saturday Night Live, but sometimes I wish he'd made good on his promise to move to Canada when President Bush got elected. But then he wouldn't have been able to not influence political debate through movies because that never happens. Movies are just movies, you know.


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