Movies and Presidents

The President of the United States has named “Boyhood” as his favorite movie of 2014. He is not alone. ‘Critically acclaimed’ is an understatement for Richard Linklater’s epic coming of age film. “Boyhood” has been on countless top ten lists and nabbed the #1 spots on many of those lists, more than any other film last year. Barack Obama joins the likes of Peter Travers and Sight and Sound International Film Magazine in choosing “Boyhood” as the best movie of 2014. It is already raking in the award nominations with five considerations for the Golden Globe and will inevitably get some Oscar nods. This much critical acclaim eventually turns into classic status with time. Obama is a fan of the classics. He told Katie Couric that his favorite film is “Casablanca” with “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Godfather” also getting his high presidential praise. “Boyhood” is deserving of all the critical and presidential accolades. The film is the consummation of a 12 year endeavor that shows a boy and his sister growing up from childhood to adulthood. Shot piece by piece each year for 12 years with the same actors results in a surreal time lapse of the human condition. Exquisite direction, artful cinematography, and heartfelt performances combine to create a film grand in scope, but beautifully simple in story.

Roger Ebert made it a habit to ask presidents what their favorite films are, claiming that the answers reveal a lot about the individual. Westerns seem to be the genre that entertains most presidents. “High Noon” is said to be the favorite of Presidents Eisenhower and Clinton. JFK was a fan of the Bond films, Nixon favored “Patton,” and Lyndon Johnson stuck with westerns with “The Searchers” being his top choice. Both Clinton and George W. Bush liked silly comedies.  Clinton preferred “The Naked Gun” films and Bush enjoyed the “Austin Powers” series. I find it interesting information because it makes POTUS more human. I use movies to escape reality and to take a short break from the stress of everyday life. I can imagine the Commander in Chief could use some down time to escape the realities and stress that come with the job. It seems to be a common thread between all presidents no matter their political party. From film buff, Jimmy Carter, who holds the record of viewing 480 movies during his four year term, to Gerald Ford who seldom watched movies save for musicals here and there to relax, it’s one thing all presidents can agree on. God bless American cinema!


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