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||IMDB Rating: 7.4/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 10 March 2012 (USA) /
||Genre: Biography, Drama, History
||Director: Danny Strong,
||Stars: Brian Howe, Bruce Altman, Colby French, David Barry Gray, Ed Harris, Jamey Sheridan, John Rothman, Julianne Moore, Larry Sullivan, Mikal Evans, Peter MacNicol, Ron Livingston, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Garrett, Woody Harrelson
||Synopsis: Summer, 2008: John McCain secures the nomination, but polls behind Barack Obama. Strategist Steve Schmidt suggests a game changer: picking a conservative female with media savvy, unknown Alaska governor Sarah Palin, as vice president. She's an immediate hit and a quick study - the gap closes. Then, Tina Fey's impersonation, a raft of criticism, and missing her family send Palin into a near-catatonic state: she doesn't prepare for her Katie Couric interview and bombs. Schmidt searches for an answer: don't expect her to learn the issues, but give her a script. Palin does well in the debate with Biden; she finds her voice, goes off script, and goes rogue. A mistake? Written by <[email protected]>
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Watch Game Change - Alternative Versions.
There will be a lot of people who see "Game Change" and will absolutely
hate it. No doubt, Sarah Palin, if she chooses to watch it, will
probably be one of those people. I can't imagine a Democrat hating the
movie. Either way, you can't talk about "Game Change" without feeling
the bottoms of your shoes slightly thump against a soap box.
I personally don't know how accurate "Game Change" is. The film is
based upon one-third of the 2010 bestseller of the same name by John
Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Their book, detailing the entire 2008
Presidential election and allegations thereof in both parties, had been
criticized for relying on too many anonymous sources and lacking
This movie, written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, takes
the most intriguing segment of the 2008 election, namely the nomination
and introduction of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin,
and lets the ridiculousness of the events surrounding her expose
Like "Recount" (2008), the previous collaboration between Roach and
Strong, what is most astounding about this movie is not the events in
it, but that we actually lived through them not too long ago. To
paraphrase Hannibal Lector, anyone labeling this movie as exploitation
only needs to see the barrage of CNN and Fox News footage in this film
to remind themselves that the past is real.
"Recount" told the story of the chaotic 2000 election returns, and how
little Al Gore and George W. Bush actually had to do with the
transpired events, contrary to popular opinion. "Game Change" shows the
interactions between those in and out of the spotlight, and how
candidates in an election can be the cause of their own undoing.
The film centers around Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson), Senator John
McCain's chief political adviser during his 2008 campaign for
President. After winning the Republican nomination despite being last
in the polls in 2007, McCain (Ed Harris) finds himself relying on
Schmidt and other political advisers to find a V.P. candidate. Behind
in the polls against Senator Barack Obama, he agrees to choose a female
running mate to put him at an advantage against the first
African-American nominee for President.
National Campaign Manager Rick Davis (Peter MacNicol) does his homework
on a viable female candidate via a YouTube search in the only really
inconsistent part of the film. You see him watch videos of female
Republican politicians ranging from then-Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle
to Maine Senator Susan Collins. What you don't see clearly is Davis'
rationale behind not choosing one of these women. Why would Senator
Collins not be a better choice than Sarah Palin? Of course, being
originally from Maine, I am biased.
What you learn from this movie is that while the Republican strategists
did some homework on the then-Alaska Governor, they should have done
more. This fact becomes apparent when Governor Palin (Julianne Moore)
does not know, among other things, that the British Prime Minister is
the head of government in Great Britain, not the Queen of England.
In what could have been a farcical portrayal of a politician of whom
it's easy to make fun, Julianne Moore is astonishingly great as Sarah
Palin. Like Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in "You Don't Know Jack"
(2010), Moore is so believable as Palin that you would swear Palin was
More than having the "You betcha!" accent down pat, Moore never has one
wavering moment where you think you're watching the same actress from
"Boogie Nights" (1997) or "The Kids Are All Right" (2010). She nails
every aspect about Palin from her firm belief in her politics, her
reactions to the press, her ill preparation for the notorious Katie
Couric interview, and her butting heads with political advisers. It's
all completely believable.
While there was less pressure on Harrelson to play a public figure, he
also did a great job as an adviser whose recommendation to nominate
Palin truly seemed like a good idea at the time. Harrelson's Schmidt
more or less regrets his decision to convince McCain, only to try to
make the best of it later on.
Also equally effective is Sarah Paulson, who plays senior adviser
Nicholle Wallace. In the scenes where she tries in vain to help Palin
properly prepare for the Katie Couric interview, it's like watching an
A-student try to get a D-student to study for a final exam. Considering
how the real Palin bombed that interview, that scene could not have
been far from the truth. Paulson really reflects Wallace's frustration
well, and is believably too tired in the end to say she told her so.
Ed Harris, while not doing a dead-on imitation of John McCain,
effectively reflects the frustration and regret McCain must have felt
after choosing Palin as a running mate. McCain may have been capable of
dealing with the failing economy and foreign relations, but Palin
clearly was not.
While Palin may not have been the sole contributor to McCain's defeat,
she undoubtedly threw an anchor off the side of the Straight Talk
Express. In the end, Harrelson, as Schmidt, probably would not answer
"no" to Anderson Cooper's question of whether he regretted putting
Palin on the ticket. His actions and reactions throughout the movie
answer that question already.
Tags for Game Change Full Movie
, Bruce Altman
, Colby French
, David Barry Gray
, Ed Harris
, Jamey Sheridan
, John Rothman
, Julianne Moore
, Larry Sullivan
, Mikal Evans
, Peter MacNicol
, Ron Livingston
, Sarah Paulson
, Spencer Garrett
, Woody Harrelson
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