Movie Review: Advise and Consent (1962)

High-level fictional, US national politics intrigue
based on the book by Allen Drury

AdviseThis movie, though a worthy dramatic statement, will hit you mainly on levels of culture shock. It’s about the advise and consent of the US Senate to the appointment of a Secretary of State. The candidate is played by Henry Fonda, and despite the movie jacket suggesting his pivotal role, the actual candidate in the story is truly a secondary or tertiary character.

What I’m suggesting at the cultural level is how politics in Washington DC has changed between the early 1960s and the present day. Most striking to me is the relative power US senators carry between then and now. And I can express that difference in a single opening sequence of scenes: the majority leader of the Senate takes a taxi (hailed by the doorman) from his apartment complex to get to his office near the Capitol… and then rides to the chambers on what look like old Cushman electric golf carts.

They may still have some sort of shuttle carts, but I bet they sure don’t look like something a coolie would haul around town. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Powerful humanitarian film in a challenging time

GrapesMa Joad: You’re not aimin’ to kill nobody.
Tom Joad: No, Ma, not that. That ain’t it. It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma. I can’t. I don’t know enough.
Ma Joad: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I’d never know.
Tom Joad: Well, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then…
Ma Joad: Then what, Tom?
Tom Joad: Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark—I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look—wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build—I’ll be there, too. Continue reading