August 12, 2004 4:01 AM   Subscribe

Hollywood Propaganda

The Manchurian Candidate remake has all the makings of a cunning piece of republican political propaganda. The most obvious theme of the movie warns a politician war hero is a danger to the country.

The movie has all the makings of a good thriller. However, the script and screen play are so heavily slanted the movie comes across as a commercial just like other movies geared towards one political ideal.
posted by lightweight (36 comments total)
Are you joking??? The whole Manchurian Candidate movie was about George W. Bush!!! If you missed that, you were blind. Watch it again and pay close attention, ESPECIALLY whenever a radio is playing in the background. Some examples:

1. "Manchurian Global wins another no-bid contract..." Manchurian Global = Carlyle Group or say... HALLIBURTON!
2. The politician in the movie happens to be the son of an even more prominent politician... hmm, just like Bush
3. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there even a scene in the movie where the main guy is out on his ranch? That was pretty blatant too.

Also, could be reading too hard into this last one... but the whole visiting the school scene couldn't help but remind me of the "My Pet Goat" debacle.

In any event, the whole movie was definitely about how George W. Bush is the first Manchurian Candidate... because his mind is controlled by the corporations like Halliburton... no chip needed.
posted by banished at 4:11 AM on August 12, 2004

Seems like a few people disagree with you.
posted by yerfatma at 4:12 AM on August 12, 2004

Wow, what a rubbish post.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:34 AM on August 12, 2004

I've heard it's a third-rate film.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:35 AM on August 12, 2004

Raymond is a Democrat in the remake but a Republican in the original.
posted by lightweight at 4:36 AM on August 12, 2004

The film sucked. But it was definitely taking some potshots at the Bush administration; listen to the snippets of news reportage in the background to scenes. There are items about voting machines, allusions to Iraq and Afghanistan ...

Of course, it was probably cunningly made with references to how evil both parties are. And that's probably the way it should be.
posted by bwerdmuller at 4:51 AM on August 12, 2004

Stephen Himes thinks it's anti-Kerry, too, but from the other direction (i.e. the work of a Dean democrat).
posted by blueshammer at 4:52 AM on August 12, 2004

Hear that sound? It's your axe grinding.
posted by mkultra at 4:52 AM on August 12, 2004

Am I missing something here? A link to a BBC story about Fahrenheit 9/11 and a link to IMDb... what the hell?

Thanks, blueshammer, for at least injecting some link worth discussing into this nonthread.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:06 AM on August 12, 2004

At the movie theater where my friend is manager, someone walked out the other day furious that he paid for this "democrat propaganda".
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:08 AM on August 12, 2004

The Manchurian Candidate remake has all the makings of a cunning piece of republican political propaganda.

Lightweight... You seem to be forgetting that director Jonathan Demme is known to lean toward the left -- not the right. And while the folks involved in making the movie are quite outspoken in their political views, the movie itself has been described in numerous reviews as being politically neutral. Remember, the "Manchurian" in this movie is now a company, not a nation. Demme's film can be accused of being anti-corporate. Right-wing? I don't think so.

Raymond is a Democrat in the remake but a Republican in the original.

Not to mention the fact that no political parties are ever actually stated in the movie.
posted by circe at 5:16 AM on August 12, 2004

propaganda relies on simple imagery -

Today's persuaders appeal to the masses "through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions"

The most pure element of the movie - even a war hero can be manipulated - remains. The pro war elements of the movie are just gravy.
posted by lightweight at 5:41 AM on August 12, 2004

The original is, yes, my favorite movie.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:44 AM on August 12, 2004

Um, spoilers.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:44 AM on August 12, 2004

Demme and the screenwriter are on record as saying that they made this movie with the specific goal of pointing up what they see as the dangers of the current administration. (There was a NYT article a couple of weeks ago where he discussed, but it's already moved into the "pay-for-access" section of the site.)

It's hard to take this as some kind of republican sleight-of-hand when a creative team with a clearly liberal past, and a stated liberal agenda for the movie, is in charge.
posted by LairBob at 6:14 AM on August 12, 2004

posted by matteo at 6:35 AM on August 12, 2004

lightweight: The war hero aspect is just one part of it. The anti-corporate, anti-bush side is the other. Basically, the movie is a critique of American politics. So it's no surprise it takes potshots at both major presidential candidates. But, go ahead and keep on thinking it's Republican biased, slick.

ps) The movie was pretty entertaining. Tons of plot holes, yes, but entertaining.
posted by Happydaz at 6:41 AM on August 12, 2004

In the new film, a sinister corporation, Manchurian Global, profits from America's wars and plots to put in power -- through an Election Night surprise -- a vice presidential candidate it controls. The filmmakers acknowledge that the company is a virtual stand-in for Halliburton, the multinational formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, though the script was written before Halliburton became a focus of criticism.
--New York Times
posted by punishinglemur at 6:42 AM on August 12, 2004

A Michael Moore link for no good reason, an IMDB link, and 2 paragraphs of personal opinion? This is an FPP?
posted by ChasFile at 6:45 AM on August 12, 2004

Lightweight, where did you pick up that the movie is a "cunning piece of [R]epublican propaganda"? I'm not attacking, just curious. It's not mentioned in either of the FPP links, which I figured would support the theory.
posted by emelenjr at 6:53 AM on August 12, 2004

Virtual stand-in for Halliburton, yes. But it's also a virtual stand-in for pretty much any other large corporate interest that regularly gets government contracts.

Cheney was involved in Halliburton, so it's a really obvious link, but a number of congress members can easily be seen as "involved" with a number of companies that always get government contracts and rely on the military-industrial complex to make their way. It's not something that follows party lines. If I were a little more cynical this morning, I'd say it follows the money.
posted by mikeh at 6:57 AM on August 12, 2004

Definitely a piece of propaganda. Hollywood is soooo conservative! Awesome too, how the plot was written forty years before Bush's presidency, but it still, like, managed to be about him!
posted by dhoyt at 7:19 AM on August 12, 2004

Near the start of the movie when the decision about which VP candidate to run, the list of states mentioned as being their party's strongholds are clearly Democrat states (at least today).

I think the party being displayed is actually the Democrats, and that would make sense; given that the Republicans are in power and the Manchurian Global folks are in the news all the time, wouldn't you want to have control of a high-up pol within "enemy ranks"? Also, it's mentioned that Manchurian Global are free with their money on both sides of the house, so it's not unreasonable to think that there are a number of Dems in their back pockets already.

Party lines are very blurred in the movie, but that scenario works for me. Just my two cents (and I'm certainly not an apologist for the current folks).
posted by lowlife at 7:43 AM on August 12, 2004

I would say they took enough pot shots at both parties to keep everybody happy/angry. Yes, of course there's the Manchurian/Halliburton parallel. But the fake war hero bit plays right into the hands of the "Swift Boat Veterans For Bush" thing, and Meryl Streep's character sure seemed like it was based on the Republican's version of the Hilldebeast.
posted by spilon at 7:50 AM on August 12, 2004

There seems to be a string of "remakes" that are not really remakes lately because the original was situated in a particular time and a particular place. For example, I had the good fortune to rent "The Itallian Job" which is a witty comedy about a group of British losers bankrolled by an aristocrat with a Queen Elizabeth fetish pulling one over on cartoonish mafia thugs. The whole thing just does not make sense translated from Europe in the 1960s to the 1990s in the United States.

Likewise, the Manchurian Candidate just seems like it misses the point. The original was a classic of cold-war paranoia mixed in with a shitload of discomfort about the implications of post-war psychology. While the popular view of Freudian psychology was of a mind dominated by uncontrolable drives, the popular view of behaviorist psychology and the emerging mind-as-computer paradigm opened the possibilities of human brainwashing and programming. The original Manchurian Candidate is perhaps the definitive mind-control conspiracy movie. Moved into the 2000s, there just isn't a point to it. Mind control has shifted from a fear that was central to McCarthyism to a tinfoil hat obsession. The old standbys of bribery, favors, and perhaps even blackmail are more believeable.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:57 AM on August 12, 2004

I just saw the movie, and I have to say it's scary. The country comes this close to having an bumbling president with a faked record of military service, who slavishly obeys the dictates of the country's business elite! Thank goodness we live in the real world.

On preview: what KirkJob says; the movie is pointless and fairly stupid.
posted by louigi at 7:59 AM on August 12, 2004

If the film's anti-Kerry, (not saying it is. haven't seen it) that's pure coincidence. You know how long it takes to get a movie made? I guarantee the screenplay was complete long before Kerry was even a player in the presidential race. The principle photography was most likely complete before the first Democratic primary. And yet, somehow, they set out to make an anti-Kerry movie? Doubtful.
posted by herc at 9:11 AM on August 12, 2004

and Meryl Streep's character sure seemed like it was based on the Republican's version of the Hilldebeast.

Meryl herself said she based it on Karen Hughes, Ann Coulter, Elizabeth Dole, and Peggy Noonan.
posted by amberglow at 9:19 AM on August 12, 2004

Someone involved with the movie has described it as a Rorschach test -- you interpret whether it's about Republicans or Democrats. (I've not seen it. Loved the original, though.)
posted by pmurray63 at 9:24 AM on August 12, 2004

I laughed my ass off throughout Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy right up until the partisan political 'joke' at the end. A very enjoyable movie was derailed by this out of place jab. At least in ManCan it is in context.

I'm just sayin'
posted by geekyguy at 9:39 AM on August 12, 2004

read the book. movies suck.
posted by quonsar at 9:46 AM on August 12, 2004

Think for yourself. Absolutes suck.
posted by yerfatma at 9:55 AM on August 12, 2004

[Denzel] Washington: "Yes, no, no, yes, no, no. Yes, no, no yes, yes. Alright. Let's get out of here."

god bless Denzel. and god bless each and every one of you who tried to save this godawful post.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:07 AM on August 12, 2004

"Absolutes suck."

Irony, though, rawks! I saw ManCan with my mom and dad as we all, us three, are fans of the original. Walking out, I (democrat) opined that the main party were democrats (mostly based on the blue states analysis in the film), and my republican mother said that she thought it was about republicans because of the business/money ties.

2 favorite parts of the flick: 1-the news broadcasts with their idiotic tickers that would instantly have a summary of what the talking head just said, reduced to sound-bite size. Nice touch, very much in the spirit of the original. 2-the kiss was cut down in terms of screen time, but with the added implication of a bj. Both more and less explicit.

I'd recommend to fans of the original ManCan another bit of Frankenheimer paranoia, Seconds from 1966. Like MC, it's a bit of tinfoil paranoia, but this one was shot by James Wong Howe and has Rock Hudson.
posted by CrazyJub at 1:10 PM on August 12, 2004

I haven't even seen the movie and this post in garbage. A link to the IMDB and a link to some three week old story about a different movie, all clobbered together with an opinion that isn't even backed up. Cripes. At least post a link to something that illustrates your side. All I ask is that you explain your side, even do a self-link if you have to.


I guarantee the screenplay was complete long before Kerry was even a player in the presidential race.

Well, Kerry has long been a 2004 presidential candidate and was on the VP short list in 2000. And, screenplays are constantly adjusted throughout the filming process, look at Spiderman 2 and Gladiator as recent high-profile examples of the writers working on the set. I still think any similiarities between Kerry and the Manchurian Candidate are coincidental.

I laughed my ass off throughout Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy right up until the partisan political 'joke' at the end.

What was the joke? Or do you think it is to spoiler-licious to post?
posted by graventy at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2004

Seconds rawks.

I think the whole point in the current ManCan of saying "these {Dem} states are our party's strongholds" is to create some ambiguity about which of the controlled-by-giant-international-cartels parties they're talking about.

To me, Meryl Streep's performance was as if Angela Lansbury's original had been tossed in a blender with a hearty helping of Martha Stewart, Leona Helmsley, and Nancy Reagan.

On an unrelated note, I'd love to see clips of Streep's ManCan performance and Glenn Close's performance in the new Stepford Wives back-to-back.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:39 PM on August 12, 2004

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