Though some might find it hard to believe, I usually try to keep my personal politics separate from my film reviews.
If there’s anything that truly bothers me about critics like Roger Ebert and his kind, it’s that they often seem to be more concerned with promoting their own personal political views than with actually reviewing the film that they’ve just seen. That’s why you find Ebert throwing a fit over a merely mediocre film like Atlas Shrugged while, at the same time, going out of his way to praise the ludicrous remake of Straw Dogs. That’s also why you find a website like Awards Daily devoting a month to posts attacking a “documentary” like 2016 while, at the same time, praising the latest piece of propaganda from Michael Moore (often times before either one of the documentaries has even been viewed).
I won’t claim to be totally unbiased in my reviews. I’ve always been open about the fact that 1) I’m a civil libertarian and 2) I view all politicians (including both our President and the majority of the people who ran against him in 2012) with a certain amount of disdain. That said, for the most part, I try to set aside my own political beliefs when it comes to talking about the movies. When I find that I can’t set those beliefs aside, I make it a point to be honest about my bias.
For instance, today’s scene that I love is a great scene from a great film. But I’d be lying if I said that this selection had nothing to do with Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster about why the President (and, by that, I mean any President) does not have the right to blow up American citizens on American soil. While I would hope that everyone understands that my opinion does not necessarily reflect that opinion of any other contributor to the TSL, I’m still not ashamed to admit that both me and my sister, the one and only Dazzling Erin, found the time to watch at least a few minutes of C-Span 2 yesterday and cheer Rand Paul on.
During Paul’s filibuster, a lot of people on twitter made the comparison between his filibuster and Jimmy Stewart’s filibuster in the classic 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
However, the genius of Frank Capra’s classic look at one idealist trying to survive in a cynical world is that you can enjoy the filibuster scene regardless of whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Whether you think that the comparison between Sen. Paul and Sen. Smith is fair or not, you can still appreciate the scene as an iconic moment in American cinema and as a reflection of the idealism that far too few of our current leaders seem to possess.
Without further ado, here’s the filibuster scene from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington…
Incidentally, just for the sake of humor, I also wanted to include the filibuster scene from Mr. Smith’s unnecessary 1977 remake, Billy Jack Goes To Washington. Unfortunately, the Billy Jack version has not been uploaded to YouTube. So, here’s the trailer for Billy Jack Goes To Washington.
(Billy Jack Goes To Washington, incidentally, proves just how important Jimmy Stewart was to the success of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. The Billy Jack version is an almost shot-for-shot remake but, without Stewart’s likable sincerity, the story comes across as being so heavy-handed and preachy that you actually find yourself rooting for the members of the corrupt political establishment.)