March 6th, 2008

The Associated Press ran a story this past week about Barack Obama’s favorite movies, to preview an episode of Entertainment Tonight.

Even if this was news (it’s not), this has been public information for some time now, thanks to Obama’s Facebook.com page.

In the last election, the question was “which candidate would you rather drink a beer with?” (to which Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist David Horsey correctly noted, and I’m paraphrasing here, “We’re electing a President, not a drinking buddy”). Now, I suppose it’s “who would you rather watch a movie with?”

Thanks to the inherent goofiness of the candidates’ Facebook pages, let’s find out!

But first, some guidelines:

We’ll stick to just to the facebook favorite movies categories, because they’re less generational-specific than music. My parents, for example, would be much more inclined to see “Juno” than to listen to Kimya Dawson or buy any album made after 1975. (I should note, however, that along with Miles Davis and Bach’s cello suites, Obama lists The Fugees among his favorites).

We’ll also have to assume, for a moment, that these are really the candidate’s favorite movies. Not movies their younger, more in-touch advisors plugged into facebook to humanize them, but the actual movies they love and would watch again and again. Let’s assume that Barack Obama’s actual idea of a good time is watching six hours of “The Godfather” movies and that Hilary Clinton can actually quote, at length, from “Casablanca.”

So, to the Facebook.

Obama lists “‘Casablanca,’ ‘Godfather I & II,’ ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.”

Hilary Clinton practically writes a book about her favorite movies:

“When I was much younger, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was my favorite movie. I just loved imagining myself being there with Dorothy and being part of that great adventure she had. Probably when I was in college and law school, ‘Casablanca.’ I watched it I don’t know how many times. It was always so much fun. By the time we watched it over and over again, we were actually reciting the dialogue. And I suppose in the last years, ‘Out of Africa.’ I love Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Those are my favorite movies.”

John McCain gets right to the point: “‘Viva Zapata’, ‘Letters From Iwo Jima,’ ‘Some Like it Hot’.”

Mike Huckabee’s pretty close to Obama, taste-wise: “‘The Godfather,’ ‘Casablanca,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Citizen Kane’.”

Actually, they’re all pretty much the same. All the candidates like older, critically lauded movies. But, let’s break it down further.

Barack Obama is the last guy I’d want at my house for a movie. Most of his movies are just too long. Look, I love “The Godfather” as much as the next guy, but I’d never list it as a favorite. A favorite movie is something I’d want to see again and again. “Casablanca,” fine, but the idea of watching “The Godfather” again in one sitting — or worse, “Lawrence of Arabia,” is pretty tedious. One long movie is fine, but three?

That guy must be either seriously patient or seriously boring.

I don’t know about Huckabee either.

All great, classic movies, sure, but this is a guy who used to play in a rock band. I’d be much more inclined to hang out with this guy if he’d be a little less classical, a little more rock ’n’ roll. I’d bet he’d love “This is Spinal Tap,” but nothing on that list indicates he’d give it a chance.

At first, the idea of watching a movie with Clinton quoting the whole thing seemed like an awful idea. That’s almost as bad as that clueless person who keeps asking, “What’s going on?” throughout the movie. But… this means that she’s really just enjoying the movie. I’d rather quote “Animal House” or “Blazing Saddles,” but with a love of movies that deep, I’m sure Clinton and I could find common ground.

Which brings me to McCain, my pick for the candidate I’d love to watch a movie with.

Right after two historical epics — a classic and a modern classic (which tells me he’s hip with new movies) — he lists “Some Like it Hot,” an extremely funny comedy about cross-dressing musicians on the run from mobsters.

Actually, it’s even simpler than that. Of the four candidates, he’s the only one who lists a comedy. Everyone else is too hung up on critically acclaimed epics just as out of touch with America as the Oscars. McCain, by virtue of his favorite movie, is the guy who knows how to have fun.

Which doesn’t surprise me given his pre-war hero days, when he nearly flunked out of the Naval Academy. I’d love to watch a movie with John McCain, age 72, but it’d be even better to get a time machine and watch a movie with John McCain, age 22.

I bet that guy would love “Borat.”

Staff writer Josh Eiserike can be reached at 703-878-8072 or jeiserike@potomacnews.com.


UPDATE: Ralph Nader lists “An Unreasonable Man” as his favorite flick. That’s a movie about Ralph Nader. Talk about ego…

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