Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Face in the Crowd

We watched the Elia Kazan/Budd Schulberg movie, A Face in the Crowd last night. I had seen it once, many years ago. The wife had never seen it. If you have never seen it, you should get your hands on it and see it. Now.

First of all, if you've never seen this movie, you probably don't know that Andy Griffith can do a hell of a lot more than be folksy. In this movie, he's a scenery-chewing, demonic whirlwind.

Second of all, it's just a great movie. Brilliantly written, brilliantly acted all around, brilliantly directed.

But most importantly, and most depressingly, there is almost nothing hideous about our current politics or media that this movie, in 1957, didn't predict. Style over substance? Image over message? The rise of the soundbite? They saw it. The setting of country over city to drive conservative politics? They saw it. The use of country folksiness to mask political demagoguery? They saw it.

In fact, as the movie progressed from merely witty to truly unpleasant, The Wife turned to me and said, "this is nauseating." Because they saw it all--all of it--in television's infancy. Even the use of pop culture and rock music to sell shitty products.

Okay, so it's nauseating. So we should have known better. Don't let that stop you from renting the movie, if you've never seen it. Because it's witty, and biting, and savage, and worth seeing.

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