HIlary and “Casablanca”

Hilary Clinton‘s main problem is that she appears too cautious, too calculating and over-scripted. If you ask me she’s demonstrated this in an unmistakable way by having recently told CNN’s Bill Schneider and Douglas Hyde that her favorite all-time movie is Casablanca.


Anyone who says Casablanca is their all-time favorite film is deliberately trying to sound bland and unsophisticated

What a totally softball, timid-ass thing to say…Casablanca! A perfect film of its type (I still enjoy it from time to time), but way too sanctified and high-pedestal-ed. All you can say is, “That’s the best film she could think of?” Casablanca is on the level of The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and The Sound of Music, for God’s sake..

If I were Hilary and I wanted to choose a film that would reflect something a little about myself but also wouldn’t offend potential supporters, I’d go for Network or Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison or From Here to Eternity…something smart and tight but not so oppressively bronzed. Anything but Casablanca. This totally settles it — I’m voting for Barack Obama. Wait, I’ve already indicated that.

Sen. John McCain has lost his mind over supporting the Iraqi troop surges, but I totally respect his best-film choice — Elia Kazan‘s Viva Zapata (’52), about Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando) and his rebellion against the dictatorship of president Porfirio Diaz in the early 1900s. (Isn’t Zapata supposed to come out on DVD via Fox Home Video sometiime this year?)

  • Breedlove

    Understand your point, Jeff, it does seem like a typical Hilary, don’t offend anyone choice,but I gotta say, ‘Casablance’ is a damn-near perfect movie.

  • Breedlove

    ‘CasablancA’ is good too.

  • SHR

    Sure gotta love anyone who respects a film by the “rat” Kazan

  • jeffmcm

    You know, not everyone is a movie person. She probably hasn’t even _seen_ Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (like everyone else I know).

  • http://thelongshot.livejournal.com TheLongshot

    The only thing wrong with the selection is that it doesn’t really show your personality. Picking out of the group of the greatest films ever just puts you in a large group without it saying anything about you.

    Course, it could have been worse. She could have said, “Gone With The Wind”.

  • Rich S.

    Most of their choices are pretty lame/safe. McCain’s Viva Zapata and Edwards’ Dr. Strangelove are the only ones that comes out of left field. It would have been funny if Barack Obama had picked The Lord of the Rings.

  • Craig Kennedy

    The whole point of political campaigns these days is in not revealing your personality, especially this early when anything you say can just be used against you.

    She could’ve said Pluto Nash…

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com dre

    I’d like to see McCain and Edwards duke it out on a siskel&ebert type show.

    Rudy didn’t let me down by picking the godfather either.

  • Wrecktum

    The Clintons (specifically Bill) are famous for their love of film. The number of movies screened at the Clinton White House was enormous (the screening room there was constantly in use). Tellingly (in my opinion) once the Bushes took over, the requests to studios for film slowed to a trickle.

    During his presidency Bill Clinton was interviewed on the Siskel and Ebert show about his favorite movies and love for film. Clinton’s favorite movie, as he said time and again, was High Noon.

  • Craptastic

    This is completely off subject… but did anyone hear that story about Leelee Sobieski flashing the audience at the DGA Awards?

    Can’t seem to find any video footage…. anybody got a link?

  • sunny

    During his presidency Bill Clinton was interviewed on the Siskel and Ebert show about his favorite movies and love for film. Clinton’s favorite movie, as he said time and again, was High Noon.

    I remember that interview. He also, iirc, had some very insightful things to say about “Fight Club” and “Three Kings.”

  • http://www.nicepooch.com wayne76

    I shudder to think of what Dubya’s favorite is. Probably “The Marine”

  • adorian

    A lot of people pick “Casablanca,” so what’s the problem?

    You want her to pick “Primary Colors” or “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

  • chicbn872

    Wait…if Obama told us what his favorite movie was, we would actually find something out about him…why admit to a choice when just being Barack Obama & having the Cult Of Personality appears to be working out for him.

  • DavidF

    What a lying bitch. What are the odds that a 50-something woman would have Casablanca as her favourite film?

    If she had any brains she would have called up the HE braintrust and then said Miami Vice.

    That’s what an HONEST person would have done.

    cjkennedy already beat me to the “at least she didn’t say an Eddie Murphy movie…” thing. (But I was gonna say Beverly Hills Cop which is a GOOD Murphy movie that Wells would have had to slam.)

    p.s. Obama’s fave movies are Do The Right Thing, 8 1/2 and Fight Club.

    He also likes Blade Runner but only on a Criterion laserdisc that Ridley Scott personally edited, pressed and autographed for him.

    Giulliani has been working with Robert Harris to ensure that every film made during the 50s and 60s is properly restored and archived in both digital and film formats in a specially designed warehouse.

    DAMN – Even with Hillary’s stupid choice putting her out of her running, this makes voting for president a really tough call, don’t it?

  • mitch

    I’m standoffish towards the Clinton’s in general, but big deal that she chose Casablanca. It√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s sophisticated, exceptionally well written, well acted, and is gorgeous to look at. What’s not to like?

    Really, this blog is very quickly devolving into petty irrelevance.

  • FNG

    What’s the matter with “Casablanca?”

  • FNG

    I would have presumed Jeff’s personal favorite film would be “Birth of a Nation.”

  • FNG

    …or “Song of the South!”

  • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/discland Colin

    From another interview:

    “CLINTON: My favorite movie. I’ve had favorite movies at different stages in my life. When I was very much younger, The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie. I just loved imagining myself being there with Dorothy and being part of that great adventure that she had. Probably when I was in college and law school, Casablanca. I watched it I don’t know how many times. It always was so much fun. By the time we watched it over and over again, we were actually reciting the dialogue. And I suppose in the last years, Out of Africa. I love Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Those are three of my favorite movies. ”

  • Reedyb

    Personally, it would have been cool if she had chosen “The Carpetbaggers.”

    Who was the candidate who chose “National Lampoon’s Vacation” a few years back? Was it Dan Quayle?

    BTW, W. chose “Field of Dreams” as his favorite movie during the last election.

    Gore chose “Local Hero” (about bad oil industrialists trying to harm pristine Irish beaches).

    I think it’s very interesting that conservative Christian right wing candidate Mitt Romney went with “Raiders,” which has a strangely occult version of the Bible.

    I also think Casablanca is a good choice. I mean, at the end, Ingrid Bergman escapes the Middle East and leaves Humphrey Bogart to clean up the mess. Appropriate.

  • http://www.filmjerk.com/ Edward Havens

    Is this a “story” because Wells is part of the vast right-wing conspiracy out to get Hilary by any means necessary, or because he loves Hilary and is pissed that she acting exactly like what she is… a politician.

  • Wrecktum

    During the 2000 election Bush declared his favorite movie was Saving Private Ryan (released a little over a year before the election and still fresh on voters’ minds. How convenient).

    Alternately it’s been stated that Bush’s favorite movie is Field of Dreams and/or Black Hawk Down. As I mentioned before, the screening room at the Bush White House isn’t that busy.

    I think it can safely be said that the current president is not a cineaste.

  • Edward

    At least she didn’t choose, “Sound of Music” or the wretched “Big Chill.”

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com Josh Massey

    If I ran for president, I would freely and happily admit that Die Hard is my favorite film. Hells yeah.

    And I can’t believe it took a guy like Barack Obama to get Democrats to finally admit Hillary Clinton is an over-calculated liar.

  • jeffmcm

    Casablanca is located about a thousand miles west of the Middle East.

  • caslab

    “What a lying bitch. What are the odds that a 50-something woman would have Casablanca as her favourite film?”

    I’m 30, and I’m pretty sure that I’d list that as mine. There’s no shame in that. Even if it’s predictable. Even if it doesn’t reveal much of one’s personality. It’s a fucking great film.

    That said, I still agree with everything that Wells (and everyone else) feels this says about Hillary.

    But let’s face it – everyone’s choice is fairly predictable. These are generally agreed-upon mainstream classics. Only McCain’s is an out-of-the-box choice. You know, because he’s such a crazy maverick.

  • christian

    you know bush’s favorite film is BILLY MADISON.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “You know, not everyone is a movie person”

    Her husband is, though. One of his favorite things to do with guests was have a screening in the White House screening room. So she’s probably seen more than a few.

    No jokes about his other favorite thing to do with guests….

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    One of the movies Bush did request, though, was the Iranian film Kandahar, about life under the Taliban. I know it rocks your whole worldview to imagine that he could have actually seen a foreign film (Laura read the subtitles to him), but it’s true.

  • christian

    heh, all these tiny words. can’t see ‘em. how long is this thing? fast forward to the good stuff. i mean, bad stuff. heh.

  • Joshua Mooney

    HELLO! Have you all gone bat-shit insane? It’s fucking POLITICS. How many paid-in-full handlers went into deciding Hillary’s choice, or anyone else’s choice?

    Oh yeah— you know how Streep was supposed to be Hillary in the remake of “Manchurian Candidate”? Hillary is actually Angela Lansbury in the original “Manchurian Candidate.”

    I’m a Democrat. I hope I don’t have to vote for her. I have done already– for NY senator. It seems so innocent now…

  • T. S. Idiot

    Ilsa Lund sticks with Victor Laszlo even though she loves Rick. Is Hil making a subtle revelation?

  • CambridgeCat

    Color me bland and unsophisticated.

  • The Movie Man

    I don’t get the big CASABLANCA is one of the best movies ever thing. As any Bogart fan worth his salt can tell you, the majority of his collaborations with John Huston are better (they age MUCH better) with the cream of the crop being THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRE MADRE and THE AFRICAN QUEEN, two of the finest American films ever made. Oh, not to mention THE BIG SLEEP (makes no sense, and it doesn’t need to either.)

    I wasn’t going to say it, but fuck it, I actually think CASABLANCA kinda sucks, most of the famous lines are cringeworthy in the context of the film, I never bought Bergman and Bogie together, and the thing just moves like molasses as far as I’m concerned. Whew, that feels better.

  • cjKennedy

    The whole point of political campaigns these days is in not revealing your personality, especially this early when anything you say can just be used against you.

    She could’ve said Pluto Nash…

  • jeffmcm

    And you call yourself The Movie Man?!?!

  • Cadavra

    CASABLANCA is also Hugh Hefner’s favorite movie. He runs it every year on his birthday for his friends.

  • Mgmax

    “You know, not everyone is a movie person”

    Her husband is, though. One of his favorite things to do with guests was have a screening in the White House screening room. So she’s probably seen more than a few.

    No jokes about his other favorite thing to do with guests….

  • Mgmax

    One of the movies Bush did request, though, was the Iranian film Kandahar, about life under the Taliban. I know it rocks your whole worldview to imagine that he could have actually seen a foreign film (Laura read the subtitles to him), but it’s true.

  • MPNeeb

    >>I shudder to think of what Dubya’s favorite is. Probably “The Marine”

  • Craig Kennedy

    There is a naivete to pre-war American cinema that is appealing to some, but seems dated to others. I agree Treasure of the Sierra Madre is probably Bogart’s best performance but it came 6 years after Casablanca and there was a world war in between. The perception that Casablanca was made for a simpler time is exactly one of the things that’s so great about it to me, but I can see how someone might be turned off by that.

    Most of my favorite bits don’t directly involve Bogart or Bergman, but the supporting cast, especially Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet but also the large collection of character actors floating around.

    I don’t know, call me crazy but I could sit down and watch it beginning to end any time or any place. The early 40’s are one of my favorite eras of film.

  • cjKennedy

    There is a naivete to pre-war American cinema that is appealing to some, but seems dated to others. I agree Treasure of the Sierra Madre is probably Bogart’s best performance but it came 6 years after Casablanca and there was a world war in between. The perception that Casablanca was made for a simpler time is exactly one of the things that’s so great about it to me, but I can see how someone might be turned off by that.

    Most of my favorite bits don’t directly involve Bogart or Bergman, but the supporting cast, especially Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet but also the large collection of character actors floating around.

    I don’t know, call me crazy but I could sit down and watch it beginning to end any time or any place. The early 40’s are one of my favorite eras of film.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “War porn, essentially.”

    Ooh, that was classy.

    So the dummy watches harshly realistic movies about the kind of fighting we’re in and that makes him a dummy, while Hillary watches a glossy romantic fantasy in which the Germans can be beaten in a battle of the bands and that makes her better than him?

  • christian

    movie man…you jest…!

    CASABLANCA is great. it’s the height of a hollywood style that transcends itself. great dialogue and movie star god ambience; prophetic geo-politics of the coming war; and bogart is simply awesome. his first shot alone, playing chess signing a check…

    claude rains? “i’m shocked, shocked to find illegal gambling going on here.” “here are your winnings.” “oh, thank you very much.”

    i…can’t…go…on…

  • Craig Kennedy

    “I’ve often speculated why you don’t return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Run off with a senator’s wife? I like to think you killed a man. It’s the Romantic in me.”

  • The Movie Man

    I know, I know, you guys are being much kinder than I thought you would. (Though I don’t understand why jeffmcm would question my choice of moniker based solely on my not really liking a movie pre-determined by the masses to be wonderful.)

    We all have those movies everyone love that rub us the wrong way, and, for me, Casablanca, has always been one of them. I agree with CJ, in that the supporting characters are great and that’s the reason to see the movie, and I love 1940s cinema, as well, which was partially my point in that alot of the films from that era have aged much better (good point about the war though CJ.) My primary problem is that I don’t buy the love story, and I don’t really care for Bergman in this film (she was used to far greater effect by Hitchcock in a far greater film from the same decade, also with Claude Rains). To each his own as they say, but I was a little needlessly grouchy in that prior post. I think a little of my irritation stems from the fact that a lot of really great Bogart movies are rarely discussed while one that I view as merely adequate is celebrated as one of the best of all time.

  • Craig Kennedy

    I like to think the boat is big enough that reasonable people can disagree about something others take to be obvious and no one will get hurt. Frankly, I think it takes stones to politely admit you disagree with the consensus when you know you’re asking to be pummeled.

    Truth be told, I’m a little lukewarm on Bergman in general though I love the movies she’s in. I’m more of a Kate Hepburn or Bette Davis kind of guy.

    At this point, Casablanca is kind of like the familiar old song you love on the radio. It might be corny, but somehow it defies criticism.

  • christian

    to quote danny peary from his review in CULT MOVIES (and where is danny peary today? anybody know?):

    “The Casablanca-Humphrey Bogart cult really took root in the early sixties in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when the Battle Theatre started running the picture three weeks a year, year after year…. In truth and contrary to popular impression, Casablanca isn’t representative of what pictures were like “back then” but is maybe the only picture which succeeded in meeting those old-time studio heads’ requirements for what all ‘entertainment’ movies were supposed to be like.”

    to me, CASABLANCA is the perfect, ultimate HOLLYWOOD film, even moreso than GONE WITH THE WIND.

    have you watched it with an audience movie man? it plays like gangbusters. that’s your pennance.

  • Hopscotch

    W. has said on several occasions that his all-time favorite movie is “Field of Dreams”. And for a baseball fan like W., that’s not too surprising. He also said “Friday Night Lights” was a favorite of his.

    Frankly, for some people, picking they’re all-time favorite movie is not something they think about too much. Especially world leaders. So I doubt they put much thought into it.

    if she said “ELECTION”, now THAT would be news!!

  • Craig Kennedy

    ahhhh…Danny Peary. I wish I could find my tattered copy of Guide for the Film Fanatic complete with check marks next to the movies I’d seen. This book was instrumental to me in my growth as a lover of movies and especially my appreciation of all the movies that came before I’d begun to enjoy film as an art form.

  • christian

    i actually found a second copy of GFTFF at a bookstore on highland.

    i felt guilty about having two so i gave one to a friend who now swears by the book.

    peary is still one of the best, most engaging film essayists. where is he?

  • Craig Kennedy

    You’ve inspired me to go find a copy myself.

    According to http://www.filmfanatic.org, he’s writing more about sports these days than movies but he’s got a book coming about sci-fi movies. I don’t know how accurate or up to date that information is.

  • Mgmax

    “War porn, essentially.”

    Ooh, that was classy.

    So the dummy watches harshly realistic movies about the kind of fighting we’re in and that makes him a dummy, while Hillary watches a glossy romantic fantasy in which the Germans can be beaten in a battle of the bands and that makes her better than him?

  • cjKennedy

    “I’ve often speculated why you don’t return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Run off with a senator’s wife? I like to think you killed a man. It’s the Romantic in me.”

  • jeffmcm

    Mgmax: Yes, if Black Hawk Down was one of GWB’s favorite movies, he would be a dummy for loving it. Black Hawk Down is war porn. It doesn’t teach anything about the complicated problems of Somalia, it just puts you into a hellish situation and then after two hours of intensity, it’s over. If it teaches GWB anything about what it’s like to be in the military, that’s good – he should have learned that stuff thirty years ago when he was going AWOL from the Air National Guard.

    I can see the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan serving the same purpose, but the middle of the movie actually has moral/ethical drama to it, so it’s not quite the same thing.

  • cjKennedy

    I like to think the boat is big enough that reasonable people can disagree about something others take to be obvious and no one will get hurt. Frankly, I think it takes stones to politely admit you disagree with the consensus when you know you’re asking to be pummeled.

    Truth be told, I’m a little lukewarm on Bergman in general though I love the movies she’s in. I’m more of a Kate Hepburn or Bette Davis kind of guy.

    At this point, Casablanca is kind of like the familiar old song you love on the radio. It might be corny, but somehow it defies criticism.

  • cjKennedy

    ahhhh…Danny Peary. I wish I could find my tattered copy of Guide for the Film Fanatic complete with check marks next to the movies I’d seen. This book was instrumental to me in my growth as a lover of movies and especially my appreciation of all the movies that came before I’d begun to enjoy film as an art form.

  • The Movie Man

    CJ and Christian-I’m not familiar with Peary’s work, but I hope to soon remedy that, thanks.

  • cjKennedy

    You’ve inspired me to go find a copy myself.

    According to http://www.filmfanatic.org, he’s writing more about sports these days than movies but he’s got a book coming about sci-fi movies. I don’t know how accurate or up to date that information is.

  • christian

    you MUST OWN the “cult movies” series to be a true movie man.

    the first is the best, you may not agree with all the choices, but the reviews are immensely re-readable and have a unique pov.

  • Craig Kennedy

    Most if not all of his stuff is out of print, but if you’re lazy like me you can pick them up used on Amazon

  • MPNeeb

    >>”War porn, essentially.”

    Ooh, that was classy.

    So the dummy watches harshly realistic movies about the kind of fighting we’re in and that makes him a dummy, while Hillary watches a glossy romantic fantasy in which the Germans can be beaten in a battle of the bands and that makes her better than him?

  • MPNeeb

    Danny Peary is awesome. His Alternate Oscars book is possessed of love for film and a hip insight into the dingy motivations of AMPAS (who else would call Vincent Price a potential Oscar nominee? Gets better- his entry on the Conqueror Worm makes a good case for it).

    I am a proud owner of all three Cult Movies volumes and have been since 1995- I skipped a few meals in college to do it too.

    The world is a lesser place without his insight into movies.

  • jeffmcm

    Like I said before, I agree about Black Hawk Down, which is nonstop excitement and tension, but I disagree about Saving Private Ryan, which is actually a good narrative with pressing moral and ethical questions embedded within the action.

  • Craig Kennedy

    One of the things I like about Peary is that, as a budding film nerd, he turned me on to the idea that movies I already loved like Empire Strikes Back and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly were works of art.

  • cjKennedy

    Most if not all of his stuff is out of print, but if you’re lazy like me you can pick them up used on Amazon

  • cjKennedy

    One of the things I like about Peary is that, as a budding film nerd, he turned me on to the idea that movies I already loved like Empire Strikes Back and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly were works of art.

  • christian

    he also aptly noted in his CULT MOVIE review of ENTER THE DRAGON that bruce lee was the greatest action star in film history. true dat.

  • malibugigolo

    Mrs. Clinton if she had a sense of humor should have said Kazan’s A FACE IN THE CROWD is her favorite movie.

  • Sepeda Motor Bebek Injeksi Kencang Dan Irit Jupiter Z1

    “War porn, essentially.”

    Ooh, that was classy.

    So the dummy watches harshly realistic movies about the kind of fighting we’re in and that makes him a dummy, while Hillary watches a glossy romantic fantasy in which the Germans can be beaten in a battle of the bands and that makes her better than him?

  • Sepeda Motor Bebek Injeksi Kencang Dan Irit Jupiter Z1

    What’s the matter with “Casablanca?”

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