“‘Cause you’re just like Hillary”

Game ChangeLet’s suppose that I didn’t have HBO, but really wanted to see Game Change. I know I can’t get an online subscription to HBO, because I’ve tried. And I don’t have a TV. That would leave me with two options: find an illegal copy online or go visit a friend who has HBO. Let’s just assume I went to visit a friend.

The film is really good; in its way as good as Primary Colors. But unlike Primary Colors, I will never watch Game Change again; it’s just too painful. The first half of the film made me really sympathetic toward Sarah Palin. I had forgotten that before running for Vice-President, she had only just started as governor of a small state, whose only real experience was as mayor of a place too small to comfortably call a town. And she isn’t that smart. The film does an excellent job of showing just how out of her depth she was. After about an hour, it really does look as though she is going to have a nervous break down. But she rallies and turns herself into something much worse.

The first we see of this is after Palin’s catastrophic interview with Katie Couric. She is on her cellphone, raging at her advisor, Nicolle Wallace, saying, “Now I understand what Hillary meant when she said she had to find her own voice.” Wallace pauses. “Yeah,” she says. “‘Cause you’re just like Hillary.”

It is only after the debate that Palin completes her metamorphosis into the rogue who ate the campaign. It is hard to say for sure, but the film indicates that she believed that she had done so well in the debate[1] because she had done things her way and not by listening to her advisors. From then on, she is uncontrollable. The high point of the movie comes on election night when Palin wants to give a concession speech. Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist, has been itching for a fight with Palin ever since Nicolle Wallace bailed on her after the “Hillary” speech. He tells her angrily:

Governor, this country has just elected the first African American President in the history of its existence. And it is the concession speech that will legitimize his secession as Commander in Chief. It is a serious and solemn occasion, and John McCain, and only John McCain, will be giving this sacred speech. This is how it has been done in every Presidential election since the dawn of the Republic. And you, Sarah Palin, will not change the importance of this proud American tradition.

From a technical standpoint, the film is professionally done. Everyone involved helped to create a really well told story. Talk of Emmy Awards seem a little much, even though the film will doubtless garner some. The one thing that stood out to me was the special effects that allowed Julianne Moore[2] as Sarah Palin to debate the real Joe Biden.

If you have a “friend” with HBO, I highly recommend watching this film.


[1] My recollection is that she did not do well at the debate. Expectations for Palin were by that point so low that all she had to do was show up and not drool. The main thing I remember is that she refused to answer the questions and just said things from her speeches. And no one countered her, because, you know: she wasn’t drooling.

[2] Here is Julianne Moore in Neil Jordan’s filmed version of Not I in Beckett on Film:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

1 thought on ““‘Cause you’re just like Hillary”

  1. The same writer (Danny Strong) also did “Recount.” He did “The Butler,” which was a theatrical release the filmmakers tried to make too much of a statement film. I hope HBO hires Strong again for good, non-ambitions political movies.

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