Thursday 2 April 2009

Presidents and Movies

It's almost a third into his first year and still Barrack Obama is still making waves and headlines. His moves has (and will be) under more scrutiny than almost any other leader in the western world for the next four years and it's not just because he's the U.S president.

There's so many opinions on this guy it's unbelievable. I've heard white people say he's not black. I've heard blacks telling other blacks not to vote for him because he's Kenyan and my girlfriend fancies him (I think it's a power thing) But my opinion about Mr President?

I kinda hope his term (or terms) don't go perfectly.

Don't get me wrong, Bush wasn't a great president and the world needs change, however I'm a media man and a selfish one at that and unfortunately due to all the art intimating life rubbish I spend too much time looking into when I watch a film I believe that the more pressure that is bestowed on Mr Obama, then the more (dare I say this) entertaining the cinematic landscape may become.

In the 50's under Truman and Eisenhower we had Cold War paranoia and McCarthyism and classic films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, Robert Wise) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Sigel) while the 60's brought about the birth of the modern horror movie in Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A Romero) which came about right in the middle of the the civil rights movement which of course had a little bit of help from one JFK and if you can't see why those two go the end of Romero's debut. in fact Romero was place a black man as the lead of a horror film and was one of the first to do that (if not THE first).

The 70's, Nixon and Vietnam brought about more paranoia with The Conversation (1974, Francis Ford Coppola), Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese), All the Presidents Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula) as well as bringing a new type of horror to people with films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, Tobe Hooper), Halloween (1978, John Carpenter) in which suddenly Americans realized that if it wasn't The Government after you then it could well be your next door neighbor or even your family just check out The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin) for instance.

The 70's also brought about the Hollywood new wave as well as the birth of the blockbuster......these things all melded together and their power truly came to prominence in Regan's 80's which propelled the me era and we were battered with the birth of the franchises. To add to this many considered that some of the films they were watching were pushing the Regan agenda subliminally with films such as Friday the 13th (1980, Sean Cunningham) having serial killers killing the promiscuous and the drug addled. There's more about the nineties but you could go on and on about it really. Just type in Regan era films and a slew of websites will explain better than I could.

Bush Snr hasn't had too much said about it in terms of cinema while the Clinton era has mentioned alot about futurism but neither have found there cinema foothold as strongly as George W Bush jr. With the war on terror in high gear The second Bush era has brought about a new age of paranoia with many of the previous decades films being remake with a slant on the Iraq war. While many have rued the amount of remakes that have come through few should be surprised that films such as The Manchurian Candidate (2004, Johnathon Demme), and The Invasion (2007, Oliver Hirschbiegel) made their way on the green lighted list. With this said even original films started making their way to the forefront with titles such as Right at your door (2006, Chris Gorak) playing on peoples post 9/11 fears. This is also the era in which the documentary become popular with Micheal Moore bring forth the two highest grossing documentaries of all time in Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Horror got in on the game (as it always does) with Eli Roth ripping into images of Guantanamo and America aboard with Hostel (2005). Hostel and it's "torture porn" followers also help bring home invasion back to audiences...Ok I'll stop.

So what about Obama? Will more racially themed films start to crop up? Not likely, even if Will Smith is the only star that can open a bankable movie at the moment. However it's very interesting that Slumdog millionaire won this years Academy Awards over the blatant Oscar bait that was Benjamin Button. I can't see Hollywood climbing over themselves to make a film about the economy, so what next? Personally with Obama being used as an icon for change I can see film heading towards the future once more much like the Clinton era. However the horrible selfish side of me is want the pressure to reach boiling point because unfortunately that's when filmmakers seem to be their most creative.