It seems as if these days everybody has something to say about the upcoming election. You overhear people talking about Sarah Palin at your local cafe. Your mother begins calling you to make sure you have registered to vote. Your professors even begin using Obama and McCain examples in a statistics lecture. Hollywood is no exception. The recently released Religulous with Bill Maher seems, if only indirectly, inextricably linked and relevant in the midst of the political hysteria. Another recent release, An American Carol, is a film response by the conservatives to politically driven films that have been recently released by the liberal-minded. Of course, we would like to think that there is a separation of church and state, but there has been constant emphases by the candidates about their Christianity, and they also gave speeches at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Another politically-based film is soon to be released, W., which is a humorous look at the life of President Bush, and the eight years he was in office.
One can honestly say that this unofficial merging of Hollywood and Washington is a very much recent phenomenon. I vaguely remember 2003, when the actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was elected as Governor of California. That was one of the first major instances in which I began to wonder what the hell was going on. There were surely under-workings prior to the election of Arnold that allowed this so called merging to occur, but they were not clear to the public eye. I also remember the time when Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu appeared on Total Request Live sporting “I wouldn’t vote for the son of a Bush” tee shirts. Of course, this was all fun and games and nobody really anticipated that the involvement of Hollywood in the issues of Washington would escalate.
Remember Al Gore? The guy who won the popular vote in the 2004 election but wasn’t elected. Sort of. Remember “An Inconvenient Truth?“ Of course you do. This documentary, created by Gore himself, brought him much overdue attention but in an unexpected way. When was the last time a candidate did more than write a book about himself? In this day and age, they can make films about their beliefs and passions.
This brings us to this election, and the films I mentioned above. One can easily say that this election seems like one of the most important in the past decade or so. So it is no surprise that these days, when it comes to politics, Hollywood cares. And they care a lot.