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STUDIO: The Disinformation Company
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes
- No, seriously. Stop reading, there’s nothing else on the disc.
A taste of what it’s like to get a red wine vinegar enema laced with politics!
John McCain, Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed, et al), Jim Dean (Democracy for America), James Rucker (Color of Change), Peter Granato (VoteVets), Baratunde Thurston (Huffington Post, Jack and Jill Politics), Dan Weiss (Center for American Progress), David Corn (Mother Jones), Melody Drnach (NOW), and Eli Pariser (MoveOn.org). And a partridge in a pear tree.
An absolutely stultifying rundown on what exactly is wrong with John McCain, other than “his eyes are too beady” and “his neck has a life of its own”.
To be entirely fair, there was a time where I would have happily voted for John McCain. I thought he was a solid, strong politician with a lot of credibility and gusto in spite of his previous connections with the Keating Five. However, the Bush years seemed to enact some bizarre sort of Manchurian Neo-Con Complex where he suddenly started kowtowing to the far-right end of the political spectrum, and I went from “Okay, this guy makes sense” to “Holy shit, what is he doing?”
So with that in mind, this was not an easy review. Amidst the fervor of an election year, I chose to review “The Real John McCain”.
And I chose wrong.
I chose wrong for a variety of reasons. Surprisingly, I didn’t choose wrong due to the fact that McCain’s presidency bid has recently been dwarfed by the likes of Sarah Palin and all of the baggage and subsequent scrutiny that such a nomination has brought upon her (including the lackluster interviews, general flubs, and unrelenting hand-wringing from a portion of Obama voters).
It’s just that the DVD itself kinda sucks.
I’m not trying to be partisan in the least – I’m so far left that my right arm is going numb, but this release seems to be no more than a series of YouTube clips cobbled together with snippets of insight from the gentlemen who brought us intel from Disinformation.com, Outfoxed, and the like. While it serves its purpose as an insight into a man who could possibly be the next president (please God no), the Power Point-esque presentation takes away from something that could be way more affecting if the project itself didn’t smack of opportunism or even just a reactionary effort to get some sort of dissenting information out as quickly as possible.
While the film itself more or less does what it says on the tin as far as presenting contradictions and bizarre statements/reactions from McCain himself, it does so in a rather sloppy, disjointed fashion. The argument could be made that this solely exists as a piece of information, a series of bulletpoints, something to be used as fast and hard evidence against McCain’s viability as a presidential candidate, but the message is drowned amidst a sea of mediocre.
Plus if I hear that goddamn transitional clip of McCain saying “Straight Talk” one more time, I’m going to dig up all the dead presidents and use their reanimated corpses to haunt McCain just based off of sheer principle.
Bristol Palin often took offense at McCain’s sense of humor.
While the interstitial bits featuring Robert Greenwald show that he clearly gets the appeal of YouTube and its usefulness in conveying a political message, the interviews are not enough to buoy such a scattershot effort. A handful of them could very well be effective calls to activism for your average John and Jane Doe, but even that message is completely lost in the fold as well.
All criticism aside, I absolutely have to give credit to VoteVets, Baratunde Thurston, the gang behind Mother Jones, and NOW for keeping me awake throughout the film. Each of them touched on issues– McCain’s opposition of the new G.I. Bill and that his bellicose warmongering, his recent power-dive into the pool of far-right evangelical Christianity, and his complete disregard for a woman’s right to choose are all very important issues that should absolutely be taken into account when courting him for a presidential candidate.
And while the DVD itself could prove an effective tool if shown as a series of brief clips, it honestly doesn’t really present anything new that can’t be found with a simple Google search. The commentary from various liberal pundits is definitely not enough to keep it afloat, and while I’d like to give the DVD credit based on the message that it’s aiming for, I really can’t vouch for it. The quality of many of the video clips/ads is pretty shoddy, complete with watermarks on the video clips, and the entire presentation seems to be more a pastiche of criticisms rather than a flowing work with any sense of narrative. It’s almost too long, even for a slim 42 minutes and change.
Extras? Pfft. We don’t need no steenking extras. The DVD insert features an “Action Guide” that contains pretty obvious advice – stay informed, network, get others involved, and…that’s basically the gist of it.