Top of the Ticket

By Beard, David | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), February 2, 2012 | Go to article overview

Top of the Ticket


Beard, David, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Hollywood can't stay away from films about the White House and the fight to get there. Here's a look at cinema's post-1960 presentations of the presidency.

"ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN" (1976)

What else would you expect us to put first? We had to lead with this mesmerizing look at two young journalists whose work helped bring down a presidency. Brad Pitt said he sought to replicate the pacing of the Alan Pakula-directed drama in his latest film, "Moneyball."

"THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT" (1995)

Aaron Sorkin warmed up for his "West Wing" TV work with this Rob Reiner-directed look at fictional President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) and the tough decisions he's faced with as an occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. borrowed" part of it.

"THIRTEEN DAYS" (2000)

More tough decisions. Cuba. Missiles. Commies. Khrushchev. And Kevin Costner. This serious film, from the point of view of Kennedy aide Kenneth O'Donnell (Mr. Costner), steers clear of the Marilyn Monroe-Mimi Alford stuff.

"BOB ROBERTS" (1992)

Enough about Democrats for a moment. Tim Robbins plays a proud member of the 1 percent who can sway clean-cut hippie offspring with his guitar and conservative spin on the Dylan canon, from a sendup of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to "The Times They Are a Changin'." Let's just say he had a super PAC before super PACs were cool.

"GAME CHANGE" (2012)

OK, this one isn't out yet, but we know how the story goes. Ed Harris and Julianne Moore (as John McCain and Sarah Palin) are in the cast of this cinematic version of the 2008 presidential campaign, from the bestseller by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

"HEAD OF STATE" (2003)

Chris Rock as the president. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more mordant (and direct) satire of Washington power and influence than "State," which features a bravura performance by Bernie Mac as Mr. Rock's street-smart, straight-talking brother.

"PRIMARY COLORS" (1998)

Well, this is pretty mordant. John Travolta and Emma Thompson work on their Clinton impersonations in this version of Joe Klein's not very camouflaged "novel" about a very charismatic, but unconventional, political couple.

"DAVE" (1993)

A presidential look-alike (Kevin Kline) finds himself thrust into power. With determination and common sense -- and the help of his accountant pal (Charles Grodin) -- he begins to figure it out.

"BEING THERE" (1979)

How's this for an ordinary guy thrust into power? …

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