Last week, the reliably over-reactive Matt Drudge posted an urgent news flash for his legions of readers:
“RICH: ‘MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE’ MORE PARTISAN THAN ‘FAHRENHEIT 911’ Thu Jul 22 2004 20:56:59 ET”
THAT MORE OR LESS TURNED OUT (whoa, sorry, was momentarily stuck in all-caps/shouting mode) to be the news item in its entirety, in that Drudge’s pithy exclamation consisted solely of a handful of quotes from “Pop culture takes on the fear game,” an article by the New York Times’ Frank Rich (whom we absolutely adore, by the way) that appeared in Friday’s International Herald Tribune. Here’s the particular passage that got Drudge so worked up:
“[The act of turning the Bush-Cheney administration into an object of fear] can be seen at full throttle in Jonathan Demme’s remake of the classic cold war thriller ‘The Manchurian Candidate,’ which opens in the United States the morning after the Democratic convention ends. This movie could pass for the de facto fifth day of the convention itself.
I cannot recall when Hollywood last released a big-budget mainstream feature film as partisan as this one at the height of a presidential campaign. That it has slipped into action largely under the media’s radar, as discreetly as the sleeper agents in its plot, is an achievement in itself. Freed from any obligations to fact, ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ can play far dirtier than ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’ Not being a documentary, it can also open on far more screens – some 2,800, which is more than three times what Michael Moore could command on his opening weekend (or any weekend to date).
Aw, Frank, Matt…you guys needn’t get so riled up about the undercurrent of hostility towards this year’s race for the presidency that has apparently surfaced in Demme’s remake. In fact, there were already a slew of winks and nods to the current 2004 campaign running throughout John Frankenheimer’s original 1962 film. Prescient, indeed.
You’ve got Texas versus Massachusetts…
And the convention held at Madison Square Garden in New York…
Featuring a first-class imbecile on the presidential ticket…
And, finally, the minor-yet-significant role of Heinz ketchup in the race for the presidency.
Let’s hope the real convention ends better than the one in the film!