April 29, 2016

"I saw... that you intend to portray my father in the throes of Alzheimer’s for a comedy that you are also producing."

"Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous. Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love. I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes — this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, 'I don’t know where I am.' I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away. For ten long years he drifted — past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.... Perhaps you would like to explain... how this disease is suitable material for a comedy."

Patti Davis writes an open letter to Will Ferrell.

There are many movies — many plot lines — that involve a character with memory loss. Usually, it's more abstract than Alzheimer's — the sort of hit-on-the-head amnesia we've never seen in family or friends. Alzheimer's seems to belong in drama, and the movie business makes things like "Away From Her," "Iris," etc. etc. But why not comedy? Some of the saddest, darkest, most sensitive matters make great comedy. There's no better comic movie than "Dr. Strangelove," which is about all of humanity dying in a nuclear holocaust.

Is there something unforgivably cruel about the comic portrayal of a particular human being who really did suffer through Alzheimer's? But this man was President of the United States. Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy. To be President of the United States is to be President of a place that speaks freely and disrespectfully about anyone who takes on a position of political authority and especially about the President of the United States.

Now, the script had better be good. It can't just be laughing at a person suffering from a disease. Here's a little insight into what it is:
[Beginning at] the start of Reagan’s second term... [t]he movie follows a dementia-addled Reagan as a White House intern tries to convince him that he is an actor playing the president in a movie....

The script was first debuted on the Black List, an annual catalog of top un-produced Hollywood scripts, and it was so popular that a table reading was scheduled last month with actress Lena Dunham, who played Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, along with “Star Trek” actor John Cho.

But, according to YAF program director Amy Lutz, who attended the reading... “Although I was impressed with the talent of the actors participating in the table read and the occasional wit of the script... the entire screenplay is detached from reality.... [The movie portrays Reagan] as a caricature that college professors often paint of him... a bumbling, forgetful man, wrestling in the throes of Alzheimer’s and beholden to ‘devious’ advisors. The screenplay, though written to be a humorous satire, rather makes light of Alzheimer’s and undercuts President Reagan’s accomplishments in his second term."
Some people might prefer a respectful presentation of the grand old President, but surely there is room for a comic exploration of the hypothesis that President Reagan, while still in office, had lost his mental faculties and the people around him were covering for him in terrifyingly absurd ways. Do it well, and it's a great comedy. They'd better believe they are doing it well. The stakes are high because they're appropriating the character of an American hero. We'll see what they do with it.

UPDATE: Will Ferrell has backed out of the project.
A source told us of the Reagan movie, “It wasn’t a complete project because there was no financing, and no director attached. Will considered the movie, but ultimately decided not to do it.”

Reps for Ferrell would not confirm if his decision not to proceed with the “Reagan” movie was a direct result of the outcry from the Reagan family.

164 comments:

The Bergall said...

Here's an idea, a movie about Chappaquiddick...............

damikesc said...

Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.

You KNOW that is false. Do you think we'll ever see a film portraying the Clintons as a crime syndicate who run for political office on the side? Did we ever see a film where a poorly educated woman pretended to be President for an invalid who was incoherent most of the time? How about a President high on a large cocktail of drugs who tried, desperately, to portray youthful vigor while being one of the sickliest people ever in office?

We did not and we will not. Because they will not attack Democrat idols. I'm not in the mood to give these people benefit of the doubt. I've done it before and they've proven themselves to be dishonest.

Now, the script had better be good. It can't just be laughing at a person suffering from a disease.

They claimed the Reagans miniseries a few years back was "Respectful". We saw how that turned out.

The script was first debuted on the Black List, an annual catalog of top un-produced Hollywood scripts, and it was so popular that a table reading was scheduled last month with actress Lena Dunham, who played Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, along with “Star Trek” actor John Cho.

You're not selling me on this here.

Some people might prefer a respectful presentation of the grand old President, but surely there is room for a comic exploration of the hypothesis that President Reagan, while still in office, had lost his mental faculties and the people around him were covering for him in terrifyingly absurd ways. Do it well, and it's a great comedy.

It's Will Ferrell, who does little well and utterly hates the Right. Why should anybody expect anything but a non-stop slam of Reagan? They've been trying to slam him for years now. Fool me once, fool we twice, you know.

The stakes are high because they're appropriating the character of an American hero. We'll see what they do with it.

The "stakes are high" because, as usual, they wish to portray anybody to the Right of them as either being an imbecile or evil. There is no middle ground. There is no nuance. You're either Satan or a retard.

Can you provide a single reason why a conservative should give this film a chance? The plot seems dreadful. The talent who are either attached or think this is brilliant are the worst. Why should I keep an open mind here?

AReasonableMan said...

My mother is losing her memory. As much as I support the freedom of comics to mock the powerful, I also understand where Patti Davis is coming from emotionally.

Rusty said...

" But this man was President of the United States. Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy. To be President of the United States is to be President of a place that speaks freely and disrespectfully about anyone who takes on a position of political authority and especially about the President of the United States."

He's dead. He can't be hurt. But his memory can. My liberal friends think this is a great idea. Apparently they still view Reagan as their arch enemy. I think I'd like to make a comedy about FDR and his disabilities. The in poor taste jokes just write themselves.

AllenS said...

My mom died of this. None of us laughed while we watched her waste away.

But, if you hate Republicans or in particular, Reagan, well...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

They'd better believe they are doing it well.

I have no doubt they believe that.

Renee said...

Could it be pulled off as a comedy? Yes, but NOT by this actor.

damikesc said...

But, if you hate Republicans or in particular, Reagan, well...

They could always do a Wilson comedy. He had severe mental issues after his strokes. That'd be HILARIOUS, I bet.

Unknown said...

"surely there is room for a comic exploration of the hypothesis that President Reagan, while still in office, had lost his mental faculties and the people around him were covering for him in terrifyingly absurd ways."

Coming to a White House near you soon - just change the name from Reagan to Clinton, Hillary. But it really won't be funny.

Todd said...

First off "Lena Dunham", nuf said.

Second, it is always, ALWAYS fun to attack "right wing" power which basically means every and anything conservative no matter how high or low. Will we ever see a movie on Clinton getting BJs in the oval office? Will we ever see a "shrill" Hillary going off on the travel staff or standing over coffins while blaming a video? We will ever see JFK in a three-way with M.M.? Will we ever see Obama puttering around the golf course "happy Gilmore" style while the ME burns? Me doubts it. Cause any of those things would be "hate speech" and we can't have any of that. But "those others" so deserve to be mocked and ridiculed because they are just plain evil and they should be lucky all the left does is make fun of them instead of putting a bullet in their heads. Am I right?

Darcy said...

I love dark humor. I doubt, with Alzheimer's touching so many lives nowadays so painfully, that very many will find this easy to laugh at. Even if potential viewers despised Reagan and even if it is well done.

Which means Lena Dunham will heart it so much.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.

I think you're right about that. After almost eight years without comedy disrespectful to authority, our democracy is in chaos. However, I doubt a comedy about Reagan will help.

Darcy said...

@AllenS: My mom, too. Hugs.

Jake said...

It's nothing but a hit job. I guarantee it. Poor taste, period.

I don't think there is a place for Alzheimer's in comedy. Nuclear Holocaust where we all die? Big deal. Watching someone you love deteriorate in arguably the saddest possible way? How is that ever funny. What, the kid remembers the time Dad wandered off and was found in his underwear huddled under an overpass crying and near death? Dad forgot to turn off the stove and the house burned down killing the dog no one liked anyway?

FFS Althouse. If they make this movie, how perfect it would be if everyone involved ends up with Alzheimers. Then someone will be having the last laugh anyway.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Unfortunately, with the way the media and academia are drastically pro-liberal and anti-Reagan, this will likely be presented by many as being 100% truthful. And a lot of people will believe that.

sean said...

That's pretty hypocritical. Imagine the outcry that would arise among the professoriate if someone wrote a movie portraying Obama as a buffoon, or disrespecting him in any way. Any student who tried that sort of thing would be disciplined, any movie along those lines would be banned from campuses. Why is Prof. Althouse always hectoring people like Pattie Davis, but she never has the courage to say boo to her own colleagues?

CStanley said...

Dark humor relies on the ability to convey to the audience that we're in an absurd situation together, and that the writers and performers are laughing with us and not at us. Highly doubtful that the people involved in this film can achieve that under the circumstances, and it is sad that they will provoke a lot of pain for people suffering from the effects of family members of dementia as well as people who hold Reagan in high regard.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

In general, humor playing into stereotypes is trite. Playing against stereotype is the path to great humor.

Can't link it right now, but google SNL Phil Hartman Reagan Mastermind.

TCom said...

It'd 2016 and Althouse thinks a comedy mocking Reagan, written and staffed by progs, might be thought provoking and tasteful?

I think you might want to get yourself checked for memory, professor. I swear it seems sometimes like every post comes out of a void where the rest of the world and the past don't exist. It's like you're always rooting for the rare exception to become the rule. You'll be waiting a very, very long time.

Pete said...

Althouse may know much about many things but what she knows of movies, fictional narratives, and comedy is slim. I don't trust her judgement on these things and she's tone-deaf on this matter in particular.

Larry J said...

The Bergall said...
Here's an idea, a movie about Chappaquiddick...............


Or about Wilson after his strokes, or FDR being a cripple in a wheelchair, or JFK's addiction to pain killers.

Nah. They're Democrats.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.

I don't see how disrespecting an administration that has been out of office for over a quarter century is central to the life of a democracy. Especially when the current president gets Southside with You.

Ann Althouse said...

"'Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.' You KNOW that is false. o you think we'll ever see a film portraying the Clintons as a crime syndicate who run for political office on the side? Did we ever see a film where a poorly educated woman pretended to be President for an invalid who was incoherent most of the time?..."

I knew when I wrote the post that it was inevitable that this argument would be made: They wouldn't do the same to Democrats. Sure, Hollywood has a left bias. But anyone's free to make a movie. If those who think liberals are more ridiculous than conservatives haven't figured out how to express that in a good movie, who's to blame. I'm tired of this conservative whine. Make your own movie if you can. If you can't, what's your problem?

But more importantly, my statement is not rendered false because of the dearth of mocking of liberal power-holders. I said: "Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy." Our democratic life is impoverished. There should be far more vitality. Squelching mockery of Reagan diminishes our vitality.

As Justice Brandeis once said: More speech.

Ann Althouse said...

The Reagan movie that's now being made came to attention from that list of best unproduced movies that have been making the rounds. So it's not like that thing just got snapped up.

And another one of the movies from that list IS about Chappaquiddick. And it IS being made.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

But anyone's free to make a movie.

At least until the Democrats get another Supreme Court Justice confirmed. Then, not so much.

Caroline Walker said...

Remember that movie, The Iron Lady? About the diminished and addled twilight years of Margaret Thatcher? Meryl Streep? Nobody saw that movie. A most unflattering portrait and a pure fiction. Maybe we should give The Masses a little more credit for their ability to see through things.

robother said...

I dunno, Ann may have a point. The part where they trick Reagan into signing the Illegal Immigration Amnesty bill, telling him its actually a border enforcement measure could resonate today.

Seriously, a well-written comedy could make a broader point about how utterly modern Presidents are reliant on advisors and heads of bureaucratic fiefdoms (who have their own agendas) to tell them what's going on and what we need to do about it. Does anyone imagine that either Obama or W Bush had any ability to independently assess the "Wall Street is melting down/we need to bail them out now!" narrative Bernanke et al were pushing?

SGT Ted said...

They are doing it because they are lefty assholes. Calling it "art" is the pretense.

Mark said...

I don't see a lot of success for it, the internet outrage culture is too strong the days. Someone's safe space will be violated with hurtful words and we cannot have that.

This time it is the Republicans who want to police what people say, who have already judged this as hurtful and are taking offense ahead of finding out what is said.

Great topic.

Todd said...

And another one of the movies from that list IS about Chappaquiddick. And it IS being made.

Does it show that Kennedy was completely innocent, that he was setup? Does it insinuate that Mary really was committing suicide and Kennedy tried, TRIED to save her but she fought him off? That Kennedy had NO choice but to finally leave her to drown in order to save himself and then he spend the next 30+ years agonizing over it which is why he tried [so hard] to work for the common man while in congress?

Not knowing anything about the movie, I strongly suspect it will be as in-depth, detailed, hard hitting, and truthful as "Truth" was about Rather. By which I mean another whitewash of liberal history to set "the record" [as they wished it to be] straight.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Mark said...

This time it is the Republicans who want to police what people say, who have already judged this as hurtful and are taking offense ahead of finding out what is said.

Republicans are responding with more speech. I don't see anyone saying the police, or a campus administration, or the Federal Election Commission, should punish those involved.

Todd said...

Yes, I know I am somewhat cynical. I think that anyone that has been paying attention would be...

NoMook said...

Nice troll job, AA. Getting exactly what you wanted and expected.

sean said...

More hypocrisy. Anyone is free to make a movie, but "American Sniper" can't even be shown on university campuses. Everyone knows the universities are quasi-totalitarian camps where the administrators use surveillance cameras to identify Trump supporters, and yet professors keep telling the conservatives to stop whining.

Karen of Texas said...

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages."

Having quoted that, sure, make your movie. I'll play the part of the non-attending, not interested, ever, woman who walked the path with her mom. It isn't funny. Do "funny" things happen while walking that path? Yes. But as that path gets darker and darker, that laughter turns to tears.

Make your movie. I choose not to view.

Todd said...

This time it is the Republicans who want to police what people say, who have already judged this as hurtful and are taking offense ahead of finding out what is said.

Right cause conservatives discussing something and saying that it should not be done and pointing out how it would not be done to liberal icons is JUST LIKE trying to pass laws restricting speech, enforcing speech codes, rioting and looting, swatting people, calling for muscle, arresting video producers, pepper spraying protesters, filing false charges, and attacking people. You are right, they are exactly the same. The right is JUST like the left when it comes to free speech.

CStanley said...

"Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy."

The problem is that this is a fig leaf (and that's why the bias is relevant.) If they were about disrespecting authority they would lampoon both sides.

Gahrie said...

And another one of the movies from that list IS about Chappaquiddick. And it IS being made.

Want to bet it portrays Kennedy as the hero, or at worst a victim?

MadisonMan said...

You can find humor, sometimes black, in just about anything. The Onion had a hilarious and brilliant issue right after 9/11. Why should a lingering fatal disease get a pass?

When you poke fun at a particular person, though, the humor has to be good-natured, not nasty, or people will see it for what it is: A Hit Job that isn't funny. (Unless, in this case, the person is a politician from a different party and the person viewing the "humor" is inclined to think against the politician in the first place. Still, that's not humor, that's playing to a favorable echo chamber.)

Bill Peschel said...

They're about to release a movie about LBJ. Let's see, a comedy about a hick president who harasses women, talks to aides on the s***ter, displays his appendix scar to the press, and otherwise act like Will Ferrell?

Here's the plot accd to Wikipedia:

"The story centers around the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin’s bullet in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson struggles to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act."

Roy Jacobsen said...

I've found it to be an illuminating exercise to take a situation and turn the tables to gauge whether my response to it is based on principles or on whether "my side" is winning or losing.

Imagine a movie that portrays Obama as a complete empty suit, someone with only a mediocre mind but who has been convinced that he is, like Wile E. Coyote, a sooper geenius by a lifetime of being told how clever, how smart he is. That this empty suit, zero real accomplishment Obama is seized upon by the party machine and manipulated like a puppet to put them in power.

Wouldn't that script have tremendous potential?

Big Mike said...

And in a few years maybe we'll see a comedy about a black stoner in the White House, laughing about people who believe that his healthcare initiative will save them $2500 when what it will really do is bankrupt them. Hilarity ensues. (Or is it Hillary who ensues?)

Levi Starks said...

It's an honor, and a testament to the man of his enduring legacy as a great conservative president that those who wish to destroy the memory of him would create such a movie.

dreams said...

Its ok because Reagan was a Republican, FDR, JFK are off-limits because...

Levi Starks said...

Or to put it another way, no one will waste time or energy trying to destroy the legacy of Reagans predecessor in the oval office.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Squelching mockery of Reagan diminishes our vitality"

Squelching mockery of one side of the political aisle is what has diminished our vitality.

holdfast said...

In ten years liberals will be quoting this movie as the actual history. The same way they "know" that Palin said all the dumb stuff that Tina Fey actually said. Culture eats tactics for lunch. Fuck these guys. Kill it with fire.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Here you go, IiB:

SNL: President Reagan - Mastermind

Sebastian said...

"Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy" Just to pile on: next we'll see the biopic on LBJ as the lying SOB he was.

In a media landscape dominated by the Left, oh-so-reasonable, look-at-me-floating-above-the-foolishly-contending-parties cruel neutrality has the reasonably foreseeable disparate impact of aiding and abetting our Prog overlords. That is central to the life of the democracy we actually have.

holdfast said...

Should Snoop Dogg play Barak and Lil Kim play Moochelle? That would be some funny shizzle.

clint said...

Is it possible to write a touching and respectful comedy about a serious mental impairment like Alzheimers? Of course. (I'm not a big Adam Sandler fan, but Fifty First Dates manages all of that.)

But it's really hard to get there when you start with a real-life figure who you and everyone you've ever met despise.

Michael McClain said...

Well, maybe there should be a movie starring Dana Carvey as Ted Kennedy and Lena Dunham as Mary Jo Kopechne. Consider the slapstick potential.

TosaGuy said...

Since we have a whole generation now who got their news from Comedy Central, they undoubtedly think that this comedy will be a documentary.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... But anyone's free to make a movie.

Are they, Professor? Citizens United made a movie...and the Dem. party's frontrunner has said she'll appoint Justices who will overturn the Supreme Court case kicked off by that movie's potential suppression.

So is it true that "anyone is free to make a movie?" Doesn't seem like it...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Bergall said...Here's an idea, a movie about Chappaquiddic

You'd think that'd be a joke, Bergall, but no: Hollywood Reporter - Fifty Shades of Grey Director on "Chappaquiddic" thriller. The movie will show what Kennedy "had to go through." So yeah, the Media is literally beyond parody.

Oh, don't forget Brian Cranston as LBJ on the new HBO movie.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

damikesc said...AA: Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.

You KNOW that is false. Do you think we'll ever see a film portraying the Clintons as a crime syndicate who run for political office on the side?


What would happen if the Clintons were portrayed in a negative light--would the Media let that stand? Again, this is not a hypothetical: Politico: Who was blocking the Path to 9/11 Miniseries?

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...the sort of hit-on-the-head amnesia we've never seen in family or friends.

I have. Happened to my wife after a concussion in a basketball game. She wasn't storing new information, and was on a one-minute loop of:

Where are we?
The hospital.
What happened
You hit your head during a basketball game.
Was I fouled?
Yes, but it wasn't called.
Did we at least win the game?
I don't know, we left during the first half.
Where are we?
...

It was quite funny once the doctors assured us that she would make a full recovery.

damikesc said...

But anyone's free to make a movie. If those who think liberals are more ridiculous than conservatives haven't figured out how to express that in a good movie, who's to blame. I'm tired of this conservative whine. Make your own movie if you can. If you can't, what's your problem?

Ironically, it's whining when conservatives do it. When, say, blacks complain that there are insufficient minorities in academia as professors, academia sits up and takes notice. When they whine that not enough minorities win Oscars, pop culture sits up and takes notice.

Only when a group systematically barred from both fields that speaks up happens to be conservative that it tends to be "whining".

Impressive, I must admit.

I guess Hollywood and academia are just some of the jobs that conservatives do not want to do.

And Dems are actively trying to forbid movies that are critical of them. Citizens United was about an anti-Hillary film. The Dems want films like that to be banned...but not THIS.

This time it is the Republicans who want to police what people say, who have already judged this as hurtful and are taking offense ahead of finding out what is said.

I don't care if a movie gets made. Not calling for it to be banned. But to expect me to just say "Hey, GREAT idea" is insanity. The people involved tend to make bad movies with the depth of a Frisbee. But, hey, maybe THIS time it'll be different.

Does it show that Kennedy was completely innocent, that he was setup?

The one I'm aware of does try to justify Teddy's actions.

Is it possible to write a touching and respectful comedy about a serious mental impairment like Alzheimers? Of course. (I'm not a big Adam Sandler fan, but Fifty First Dates manages all of that.)

I'm actually shockingly fond of that movie, which is really sweet. But the humor is never at the expense of her condition. It is always based on the extremes Sandler's character goes to by trying to re-win her love every day. It's a movie about the need to show your significant other how much they mean to you daily moreso than a comedy about her having no short-term memory. I don't like Sandler films at all, but I did like this one.

Jay Vogt said...

Ann said: I'm tired of this conservative whine. Make your own movie if you can. If you can't, what's your problem?

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula could not be reached for comment. Is he still in prison for making his movie?

damikesc said...

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

But it's conservatives who need a sense of humor about movies criticizing conservatives.

damikesc said...

It's beyond sad that one of the most sympathetic movies about Nixon came from Oliver Stone.

Unknown said...

Funny, I expected Ferrell to do something more relevant like tour the country as G.W.Bush again. Instead he needs to go back 25 year for another "hot of the presses" parody. This will tank just like his Bush schtick. No one cares, Will.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

...and the Dem. party's frontrunner has said she'll appoint Justices who will overturn the Supreme Court case kicked off by that movie's potential suppression.

So is it true that "anyone is free to make a movie?" Doesn't seem like it...


The current president has already appointed a nominee who would overturn it. So the only reason the right is still operative is due to the "obstructionists" in the Senate.

Michael said...

I think it will be hilarious.
Or better yet Teddy K and that knee slapping incident out there on the Cape. Think of that one!! Do you think there were some pratfalls that Teddy took walking back to town? Ha. Think of the sound of that bay water slopping around in his shoes!! It could be part of the soundtrack!! Or fat Teddy having to drop into a ditch when a car drove past! Ha, just as he was drying off.

Now I know Teddy never became president but it would still be funny because in a way laughing at a senator is even more wholesome than laughing at a president. Or maybe not. But in any event I can see Teddy, fat old Teddy, seeing the girls face pressed on the car glass at the bottom of the water there and the look on her face would probably be as funny as it could be with fat Teddy floating to the top and paddling to shore and truding to town with his shoes squishsquishsquishing the whole way. And when he checked into his hotel the squising would be loud enough to wake people. Har.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

nn Althouse said... But anyone's free to make a movie.

Dinesh D'Souza made a movie (2016: Obama's America) and coincidentally he was investigated by federal authorities and charged with campaign finance law violations. He pleaded guilty so his lawbreaking is on him, but given law enforcement & prosecutorial discretion one has to imagine that being an outspoken critic (and, you know, making a movie) put him on the radar of people who were happy to use their official capacities to go after an Admin critic.

But yeah, "anyone can make a movie."

Johnathan Birks said...

Still waiting for the JFK biopic depicting him as the sex fiend drug addict we now know he was...

Laslo Spatula said...

Barney Frank: The Movie.

Hilarious hi-jinks ensue when staunch heterosexual politician pretends to be gay to pander to constituents and avoid criticism of actions.

By pretending to be gay I mean he sucks cocks.

Not many things funnier than a straight man sucking cocks.

And there would be a LOT of cocks.

And Barney Frank is a straight man, sucking cock after cock after cock.

And all the while he is actually straight.

You can see the hilarity to come.

I am Laslo.



HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...But anyone's free to make a movie.

Innocence of Muslims was more of a short film I guess, but sure, anyone's free to make a movie.

JSD said...

Alzheimer is not entertaining. The person you loved is dead, but still living. For the family, it’s far worse than any imagined zombie horror. No book or movie even approaches that awful reality. Each day is worse than the previous. There are never any good days, or life affirming moments. Even a sympathetic film, like Glen Campbell’s “Goodbye Tour”, was horrible.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If those who think liberals are more ridiculous than conservatives haven't figured out how to express that in a good movie, who's to blame. I'm tired of this conservative whine.

I know, we're all pathetic whiners and you're sick of our whining. One might expect your famous empathy to extend to members of society who feel they're constantly and continually disrespected by the Media and culture at large, but no--it's whining and you're sick of it. Very well.

Speaking of movies, for some reason I'm reminded of Rorschach's "and I'll whisper: no" response in that character's Watchmen monologue. Can't imagine why.

Mike Sylwester said...

Remember that movie, The Iron Lady? About the diminished and addled twilight years of Margaret Thatcher?

I saw that movie. Meryl Streep acted the role well, but the movie was pointless.

Some of the movie was about the beginning of Thatcher's political career, and that was very interesting. The young Thatcher was played well by actress Alexandra Roach.

ussmidway said...

"But anyone's free to make a movie. If those who think liberals are more ridiculous than conservatives haven't figured out how to express that in a good movie, who's to blame. I'm tired of this conservative whine. Make your own movie if you can. If you can't, what's your problem? " -- AA

Ann: -- with all due respect...

What avenue exists for production or distribution of such movies? Bill Clinton got ABC to pull the "Path to 9/11" out of circulation after one network broadcast -- and this was after forcing changes to the final edited version that diminished his role in blocking the CIA from taking out OBL in the late 1990s. It has been hidden from view and remains unavailable on the web to this day. Those who worked on the film have had to disavow their work and pretend it never happened. We are talking Soviet-style disinformation here.

Dinesh D'Souza made a movie critical of Obama, which had very limited distribution and was ignored by Hollywood, that was successful as an independent movie, but was effectively buried by the media in criticism and a diversion into a campaign cash investigation. More people know him for that than for the movie he made.

And how can we forget the movie about Hillary that led to the SCOTUS case you now teach, the one she tried to block during her prior run for office? How many people ever had the chance to see that one? Better yet, there was that amateurish movie that was initially blamed for the demonstrations in Libya that led to the death of Amb. Stevens. The poor guy who made it was thrown in jail and is still there for all we know. As a Constitutional Law Professor, these cases should be memorable to you.

For you to imply that making a movie with a conservative narrative that opposes the ruling Dem elite is, well, just a matter of having time & energy to do so, seems very naive. The entire channel for producing US entertainment is owned by the Left.

Yeah, you can make a move like that, if you can find a funding source willing to be vilified, audited and investigated like Koch Industries now endures, with producers, actors and writers who are willing to sacrifice the rest of their careers, then sure, this is easy.

What world do you live in that this is not apparent to you?

Owen said...

"...More speech." OK. I rather think my "speech" on this movie will be the silence of the marketplace. Not buying a ticket, not renting the video, changing the channel if it goes on TV.

Just send it down the same memory hole as the disease that it so ineptly mocks.

For anybody wanting to see a GOOD movie on Alzheimer's, I can recommend "Still Alice."

traditionalguy said...

The Pantheon of Conservative Heroes must be trashed as stupid at any cost. But they don't seem to understand this applies equally to the Goddess Hillary over at the Liberal Pantheon.

Nobody will bother to see it outside a few Liberal towns like Madison and Berkeley.

Darrell said...

Fuck the Left. End the careers of everyone associated with the project.

holdfast said...

Ron Reagan and Patti Davis are both noted liberals - they just don't want their Dad's memory slandered. Michael Reagan (the adopted son) is of course a conservative.

I had forgotten about Path to 9/11 - I actually bought a bootleg copy of eBay some years ago - I figured if I was ever busted for that I'd have to argue Necessity, since distribution of the film was suppressed by the Clinton Machine.

As noted by others, in 2016 there is no freedom to "just go make a movie" - if you aren't arrested on some spurious charge, you'll never be able to get it distributed. So f*ck Will Ferrel who hasn't been funny in years anyway.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Media leans heavily Left. People have trouble getting non-Left entertainment produced. Prof. A's response is "hey, it's a free market, it's up to you to get the job, get your product out there, etc." Ok.

Some professions skew male (or white, or whatever). Non-male people have trouble getting C-level jobs (arguendo). Prof. A's response is "hey, this is bias and discrimination and there should be laws to prevent this kind of outcome (because fairness and equality are important)." Some people might say "hey, it's a free market," but those people lack compassion and empathy.

Anyway it's fine, we get it. The Right is full of no-talent whiners and Media bias isn't really a problem. Lena will be in the movie and it'll be hilarious, sure. The Right isn't allowed to have anything considered sacred or off limits or even out of bounds (in the sense of being in poor taste) but an ever-increasing number of things (topics, people, ideas) are sacred to the Left (meaning they can't be criticized or even discussed w/o the proper POV) and the Professor doesn't seem to think that's a problem worth pointing out. That's fine, no whining here, not from me.

Michael said...

If it is being done in good faith, fine. But what are the chances of that? More likely it is just another example of "fundamental transformation" - rotting the culture from the inside in order to reassure smug leftists that the most consequential President of the last 50 years could not possibly have been a man of the Right.

Tom said...

So Reagan was a little spaced out in his second term due to Alzheimer's disease. WTF is Obama's excuse? He can't even perform as president with a full brain. In fact, Reagan was a better president with a half a brain that 90% of the other presidents.

holdfast said...

As mad as all this makes me, I am comforted by the fact that modern movie-making can now be broken down into 3 main categories:

1) Foreign films which nobody watches.

2) Weird vanity projects, usually made by leftists and/or perverts, which nobody watches but which tend to win lots of awards. But who cares?

3) Tent-pole movies based on recycled IP, usually from Marvel, DC or Tolkein. These movies are utterly commercial products, but they have good, and sometimes great (ScarJo (down Laslo), Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons, JLaw, etc.) casts, and are usually well written and directed (Batman v. Superman aside). They aren't revolutionary, they generally play off old and established themes, and they often have a surprising number of libertarian or conservative messages (if Captain America: Winter Soldier was almost a perfect treatise about distrust of Big Government). For the most part, they are also a lot of fun and parents can enjoy them with their kids. In many ways, these are today's Shakespeare plays, remembering that in his day the Bard was not considered particularly high-brow.

So Hollywood will continue to make it's Trumbos and LBJ hagiographies, but very few people are actually watching - it's just a circle-jerk of lefty elitists.

aritai said...

The technology driven decline in costs of good to great video production is going to change the focus back to direct regulation of speech. Simply requiring an author to sign their work so they can suffer direct recrimination will continue to discourage speech, which is what the FEC is all about, keeping the money in politics. what used to cost $100M in the 80s, costs $10M in the 90s, now it's down to Millions minus the Talent which don't want to take, and arguably don't need take the salary cut. But too will change as computer generated moving images get to the point where they match reality and the value will move up the artistic ladder to writing, editing and directing. As the MSM loses power, they'll look to K-Street to protect their ricebowl, and the political class to the FEC to damp down competition in their sphere. Still there will be more acts of g@d, where the skies part and an Andrew Jackson falls on more than Mr. Cruz' head. I time of no more secrets, no closable curtains, only regulation of data use since it will all be available. Panama papers being just the first glimpse of what's coming. Oh my.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Memory loss sucks. When I was a lot stupider (and younger, hmm, ever wonder how often that goes together), I used to kick box (amateur only. I got hit one day, and lost about 36 hours. My sister told me the things we did, and I remember nothing. It is really, really scary to have no recollection of a period of time. Particualarly, when be my friend's and sister's account, I was acting normally.

Oh, and this was not remembering things after the sparring match. It's like something stopped working for a bit, the memory wasn't being persisted. But I wasn't acting confused.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was a movie where some entertainer/professional asshole suffered what passed for a sustained attack of conscience after he ranted on the radio about the virtues of killing yuppie scum and then someone went and shot up a fashionable restaurant.

Maybe it was The Fisher King.

It was one of those movies that asked more questions than it answered, IIRC.

Maybe mean-spirited humor, rather than being justified in terms of glittering generalities such as free speech and Democracy, is better understood as externalizing the costs of one's emotional immaturity.

boycat said...

Althouse is just so avant garde and edgy, isn't she?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I don't think this movie will ever be made. Sane heads will realize just how bad this movie will make the people involved look to anyone who is not a partisan hack.

Seriously, this movie would be a bigger career killer than Showgirls.

Nearly everyone has a relative or knows someone who has Alzheimers. What's next? A wacky comedy about MS. A light hearted look at dying from AIDS?

They might get Ferrell and Dunham, but no actor who hopes to have a career will appear in this movie. I think an actor could successfully sue his agent for destroying his career if the agent advised him to take a role in the movie.

William said...

The premise of that movie was acted out in real life. Our first female President was Edith Wilson. She was the one who made all the decisions when Woodrow was incapacitated by his stroke. Here's the comic kicker: He was a college president, and she was a high school drop out, but no one noticed any radical change in Woody's thought processes as evidenced by his decisions. Here's some more comedy gold: Wilson had mental changes prior to the actual stroke. When in Paris for the Versailles conference, he kept endlessly ad compulsively rearranging the furniture at the American Embassy. You see the joke: a man who can't decide where to put the couch, decides where to set the boundaries of Central Europe.

Basil said...

Are they going to do the Woodrow Wilson comedy movie, you know, the one where he has a stoke but still manages to re-segregate the US government and impose racial segregation throughout the land?

Have not seen this one, even proposed.

It's nice to be a Democrat - the only way you get to be a racist and still be honored.

Basil said...

The Professsor says: "And another one of the movies from that list IS about Chappaquiddick. And it IS being made."

Begging the questions - "as a comedy?" "With Kennedy as a buffoon and a drunkard????"

More likely blaming poor Mary Jo for causing the wreck and getting what she deserved.

eric said...

Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy.

Is disrespecting the past authority central to the current life of a Democracy?

This is insidious. Mocking past authority gives you the feeling your current authority is being mocked and therefore gives you comfort. Imagine how this could be used by dictators and totalitarians to provide comfort to the populace and lull them into believing authority is being mocked, when really it's the political party out of power that is being mocked.

I would suggest what w would see with such a movie is the opposite of mocking authority under a Democracy. Instead, what we are seeing is the current authority mocking the opposition.

It's behaviour that is central to push forward an agenda that is anything but Democratic but because it doesn't have an argument, propaganda need be relied upon.

William said...

During FDR's last year, he was pretty much out of it. According to Doris Goodwn, he sometimes didn't recognize associates he had worked with for years. But that's not where I would direct my comedic gifts.....Joseph Chamberlain, who's nobody's favorite British Prime Minister, welcomed fifty thousand German Jewish refugees to England prior to WWII. During that same period, FDR accepted less than a thousand. Here's the comic part: FDR claimed that he didn't want to accept any more because some of them might be Nazi spies. The jokes just write themselves.

BrianE said...

The premise of "50 First Dates" was nothing similar to Alzheimer's, more like "Groundhog Day".

As to Teddy, that could be a movie about memory loss-- Ted can't remember where he parked the car and wanders aimlessly around for 12 hours before remembering where he put it.

How about White House hijinks-- you know the one where the president sneaks famous movie stars into the White House while his family is asleep upstairs.

Or just sneaks bimbos into the oval office. Was that Kennedy or Clinton? How about a movie where Clinton is transported back into time and teams up with Kennedy for some massive Presidential hijinks.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If they made this movie a large number of people would refuse to go to a movie just because one of the cast was in a movie that made fun of someone with Alzheimer's.

"I was going to go to the 151st Marvel Movie, the one about the Squirrel Girl, but my sister told me that Chap Quiddick was in it and he was in that awful movie that made fun of Alzheimer's. I couldn't go because I knew every time I saw him I would start thinking about my Grandmother and how awful it was during her decline. Man, the people who made that movie are scum and I hope they go to hell when they die."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"After that awful movie came out I canceled my HBO subscription. They kept playing it and putting on commercials advertising when it was going to play. My mother-in-law died of Alzheimer's and every time my wife saw those promos she would cry."

Bruce Hayden said...

Given who is involved, and how it is being produced, I think that it is highly probable that the primary purpose here is to destroy the legacy of one of the biggest heroes on the right. Probably the greatest President since FDR (ignoring that FDR probably prolonged the Great Depression by 7 or so years by his feckless economic policies). Maybe this is in retaliation for the tight taking out progressive hero Wilson as an overt racist. And maybe part of this is in response to their current hero, Obama, likely ending up as one of the worst Presidents of the last century, due to his horrible economic policies and foreign policy, along with the level of corruption, seemingly worse than anything since Grant (and even Clinton), despite the Nobel Prize. Carter is looking better and better as the other modern Dem Presidents look worse and worse.

But I think that this plot to diminish Reagan will backfire. Too many of us remember his greatness, as well as his goodbye. One of the more moving things many of us have seen. And that brings up the question - if Reagan was aware enough of his illness several years after leaving office to say goodbye, and lived for several with the disease after it, how likely is it that he spent much of his second term with serious dementia? Given the normal progression of the disease, isn't this movie predicated on a much slower progression than we normally see? Which has to be assumed to make the main plot work? I am not saying that Reagan didn't have some disentangle his second term, but rather, that the movie will very likely greatly exaggerate it to make their point (and make it funny, which it isn't).

My problem with the movie is that Reagan faced and addressed his advancing Alzheimer's heroically, as evidenced by that good bye speech. The left appears to be trying to convert this heroism into farce for political advantage. And making things worse, Reagan is dead, and it probably wasn't an easy way to die. He can't defend himself. We all know people who have died this way, or are on their way (my partner recently lost her father from it, and I probably easily know another half dozen from my parents' generation). Can Will Ferill do a sensitive enough performance that this doesn't come across as a ham handed attempt to belittle what Reagan and his family went through as he slid towards death? Very likely not - subtle and sensitive are not really in his repertoire. Ham handed and over the top though are, being almost the hallmark of his acting.

Fernandinande said...

My Dad died of Alzheimer's. The rest of his body was so tough and healthy that he lived - survived - well over 10 years after essentially having no mind. If I had had any choice in the matter he would've been "put down", which is what I'd wish for myself if I were in that situation, and I think he would've agreed.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"Alzheimer's runs in families, so people whose relatives get it often worry about getting it themselves. So I'm not surprised that awful movie tanked. I'm just amazed it ever got made. Those leftist in Hollywood are scum and I hope the die and go to hell."

n.n said...

First, they drowned Christ in urine. And now they are poaching Reagan.

Plan another baby, this civilization is done.

buwaya puti said...

True re different skills having different politics. The problem though comes down to the skills that give one power over other people.
People who do, say, precision aluminum casting, are right wing. Their skills are valuable and necessary. But they can't aquire power through the exercise of their skills, like writers, actors or lawyers can, because making things well does not persuade or affect public policy.
When power goes disproportionately to the rhetorical professions, who then proceed to oppress the rest, those non-rhetorical professions are left with only the common human skill of violence.
What we have today isn't a political civil war so much as a war between castes, between personality types, between self selected affinity groups. There is really no acceptable compromise resolution here, this is a totalizing struggle.
Precision aluminum casting is, these days, very useful in producing weapons.

Howard said...

You returdlickins make such sympathetic victims. Hollywood is sooooooooo unfair because the public is unwilling pay to see conservative comics or conservative movies.

Static Ping said...

Previously on this very blog, I argued that anything can be funny. I stand by that statement. Alzheimer's can be funny. If they want to make a comedy about Reagan's Alzheimer's, sure, why not? That said, I provide two caveats.

First, whenever dealing with a very touchy subject like the tragedy that is Alzheimer's, it is a very fine line between funny and cruel. The audience gets to decide that, not the producer, director, screenwriter, actors, or critics. I could see the South Park or Robot Chicken guys getting away with this because they are always over the top, so the situation gets too ridiculous to take seriously and take offense. I could see a very sweet and touching treatment of the subject work well. Nothing I have read so far indicates anything beyond "we don't like Reagan, therefore it is funny." Partisan humor is one of the lowest forms of humor, thriving on hate. It is less sophisticated than fart jokes. It rarely works except with audiences that share that hatred.

Second, I have a strong distaste for any media that spreads lies about factual matters. It is understood that movies have to fudge things to make workable movies: streamlined timelines, composite characters, omission of some events so the film does not go on for twelve hours, etc. It is also understood that movies take liberties with all sorts of things: exploding cars, transforming alien robots, etc. However, the film should never directly lie to the audience about anything important that it is taking at least somewhat seriously. (For an example of something that is not taken seriously, try Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter.) While there have been rumors to the effect that Alzheimer's already had Reagan in its grip in his second term, there is no evidence of such that I am aware and certainly nothing like this movie is proposing. This is very low and distasteful propaganda. It's not Birth of a Nation bad, but it is in the same category.

I'd also like to correct our host here. Dr. Strangelove did not result in the extinction of mankind. It resulted in the death of only about 99.5% of the population, the rest surviving in caves until the radiation subsided with 10 girls for every boy. My guess is half the surviving male population looked like Peter Sellers.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"I used to like Will Ferrell but then he made that awful movie about Alzheimer's. I went to see it, but had to leave about 1/3rd of the way through. I kept thinking about visiting my Grandmother in the nursing home and how she kept forgetting things like my name or even who I was. That shit isn't funny and I hope Will Ferrell and Lisa Dunham and everyone else involved in that movie die and go to hell."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"My Dad died of Alzheimer's, and that is why I will never cast someone who was in that Will Ferrell movie in any production I am involved with. Hell, I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. Might look around for some gasoline though."

Roughcoat said...


Nice troll job, AA. Getting exactly what you wanted and expected.

Yep. Fairly despicable.

But I'm biased. My dad died of complications of Alzheimers. It took seven years for him to die, each year more painful and excruciating than the last. The experience nearly broke our family and nearly broke me as well. My faith as Catholic took a big hit and I still haven't recovered.

But, sure, Althouse, by all means, let's ... oh, hell, why even say it.

buwaya puti said...

Howard,
The public however likes their food, water, electricity, buildings, roads, cars, and etc ad infinitum. Every material need of existence is produced by "right wing" population subsets, the more so the higher in the skillsets you go.
So, to put it plainly, please drop dead.

dreams said...

Republicans, especially conservatives are not in the business of making movies but I think they should follow this advice.

"Even the New York Times, whose treatment of McDonnell during his ordeal hasn’t been especially friendly, reported that based on the oral arguments in the case on Wednesday he’s likely to prevail.

And if he does, he’ll be able to recite the famous question asked by former Reagan Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan, who after being acquitted on charges of fraud and larceny in 1987 asked, “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”

McDonnell might not deserve such redemption. But it’s high time we recognized the atrocious injustice of this administration and the abuse of power it has inflicted on the American people.

And should fortune smile on us and deliver the Democrats out of power next year, we should insist on a reckoning for that abuse of power."

http://spectator.org/articles/66150/bob-mcdonnell%E2%80%99s-revenge

cubanbob said...

The next Republican President ought to take advise from Glenn Reynolds and reinstate the Hollywood Tax and get Congress to substantially curb the copyright laws. Revenge is a dish best served cold. oh, I almost forgot, with the Lois Lerner example the next Administration (Republican) needs to have the IRS administer corrective audits on the "entertainment" industry and on the "news" industry and the "non-profits" industry and other lefty perks like all of the personal services the law and tech sectors provide their staff as imputed income.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"And in further news, a coalition of Alzheimer's support groups are calling for a boycott of the new Will Ferrell movie portraying Reagan's suffering from Alzheimer's for comedic effect. In fact, people have began picketing theaters."

Thinking she is off air.

"Man what were those assholes thinking?!"

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So anyway, that script and the reading, just Ferrell and Dunham trolling.

wholelottasplainin' said...

If "Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy", then why haven't we seen a whole slew of movies and TV mini-series mocking the utterly feckless and incompetent Barack Hussein Obama and the FLATUS?

We all know why.

But it's easy to see why Reagan needs to be mocked and taken down.

The Left never got over the HUNDRED THOUSAND people who lined up to see Reagan lying in state under the Capitol Dome, and have been raising tiny little Fists of Fury about it ever since. That thousands waited to view Nancy Reagan's coffin just made matters worse.

Myself, I hope the day Obama rides down Pennsylvania Avenue to give up his grip on the Presidency he has so thoroughly dishonored, he will be MOONED by the crowd waiting to see Trump take the Oath.

Now THAT would be "central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy."

Kate said...

"Primary Colors" was the Clinton movie, yet nobody remembers it now. Probably because it was honest, and after Lewinsky it wasn't funny anymore.

AReasonableMan said...

I couldn't sleep last night, damn cats, so I starting watching Sharknado on Netflix. Anyone who believes Hollywood is about anything other than making a quick buck should probably watch that movie before they draw any deeper conclusions about their motivations.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I'm tired of this conservative whine.

Feminist complaint/shriek of the day: not tired of it, not a whine.
BLM-style racial or gender or sexuality-based complaints & protests: not tired of it, not whines.

What was your line when people told you they were "tired" of the constant pro-gay (or, I think pro-gay marriage) items? Something about how that dismissive attitude showed something about that those people, something not altogether praiseworthy, wasn't it?

Oh well, it's fine. It's ok to get tired of things, to get tired of whining. I mean, whining about SOME things anyway. To other things, you know, attention must be paid, and expressing the opinion that one's tired of whining about those topics...well, that'd be ugly.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM: How Did this Get Made Podcast: Sharknado

Also (short): YouTube HDGTM Science of Sharknado

Also note Sharknado #4 is filming this year...

AJ Lynch said...

Does dumbass Will Ferrell realize that about half of the population was not born yet [in 1988 when Reagan left office] and another 10-15% of the population was less than 12 years old so they probably don't even remember Reagan?

Yet he thinks this will be a commercial success? Though I bet that does not really matter to hateful libruls like him.

bbkingfish said...

I always thought that Republicans made a mistake choosing Reagan to be their party's exemplar, when they had Eisenhower available as an alternative. I guess those remarks about the military-industrial complex on his way out the door made Ike anathema to the GOP of thirty years later.

Anyway, if you can forget for a moment that you wear deep red Republican bloomers, surely you can admit that we're long overdue for a comic treatment of, so far, our only actor/President. A President who, as an actor, was a great pal of Hollywood perverts and communists, shared top billing with a chimp, and sold light bulbs and detergent booster with the same wide-eyed, unbridled gusto that he later brought to selling the GOP.

Reagan's reputation has benefited from 30 years of purposeful hagiography by his political heirs; now it is going to be subjected to the treatment that JFK got, starting around 1980.

We live in a time that is allergic to the notion of public heroes. I don't understand how anyone could have failed to notice.

Clayton Hennesey said...

One can forgive someone who believes it would be informative and entertaining for others to watch her ride a trail bike for becoming enchanted with this project.

Will Ferrell has always been funny in the manner that watching a monkey beat someone with a banana might be considered funny.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

bbkingfish said...I guess those remarks about the military-industrial complex on his way out the door made Ike anathema to the GOP of thirty years later.

The problem is that one one reads the whole farewell address--they only read those 3 paragraphs. If you look up "Eisenhower Farewell Address" in a HS or college history book I'd bet that's all it talk about.

I rather like these 2:
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in the newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research – these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@bbkingfish

Yes, please. Make a movie poking fun at Alzheimer's sufferers. Its a sure fire commercial success.

I know when my wife and I visit her mother its a non-stop laugh fest. And I'll never forget how much fun it was when she was found wandering at night and her son had to put her in a nursing home for her own safety, even though she was cussing him out for it.

And I remember all the laughing as people came up to her son after church let out that first Sunday after putting her in the nursing home to congratulate him on all the fun he was having.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Will Ferrell is so over. The movie will stink and nobody will pay to see it. Thus the Gipper will be avenged.

Roy Lofquist said...

Maybe John Cleese could pull it off. Farell? I have my doubts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfl6Lu3xQW0

BrianE said...

One of the great things about Alzheimer's is you get to meet so many new people.

Is that funny? Probably not to anyone who has experienced Alzheimer's up close.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The thing is, it is actually impossible to make a successful comedy about someone suffering from Alzheimer's. It would be possible to make a movie about someone suffering from Alzheimer's that had some light-hearted moments. But that is not what is being proposed.

Any decent person seeing this movie will think the people involved are despicable. People who rely on the good will of the public to make their living, such as actors, will not wish to be seen as despicable because that would be the end of their career.

This movie will not be made, and if it is everyone involved with it will wish they weren't.

damikesc said...

He was a college president, and she was a high school drop out, but no one noticed any radical change in Woody's thought processes as evidenced by his decisions.

I wouldn't go THAT far. The VP didn't want to be President and people had difficulty in not noticing how terribly her notes were. But they could get a few minutes of semi-lucidity out of Wilson once in a while and used it to "disprove" critics.

He was similar to Hindenberg at the end before Hitler took over.

You returdlickins make such sympathetic victims. Hollywood is sooooooooo unfair because the public is unwilling pay to see conservative comics or conservative movies.

I forgot that Trumbo was a box office hit. Truth did HUGE business.

Oh wait, they bombed. Yet the movies got made, even though nobody thought they'd do anything but bomb. And Trumbo prevented a qualified black actor from being nominated for an Oscar.

Can you name major "Progressive" movies people have actually paid to see? It seems if it isn't a comic book or really mainstream book, nobody wants what Hollywood is selling now.

Administration (Republican) needs to have the IRS administer corrective audits on the "entertainment" industry and on the "news" industry and the "non-profits" industry and other lefty perks like all of the personal services the law and tech sectors provide their staff as imputed income.

Didn't Hollywood accounting, somehow, make the original Star Wars trilogy unprofitable?

Roughcoat said...


The sorrow of living with someone who has Alzheimer's is the deepest sorrow one is likely to experience, ever.

dbp said...

Althouse said:

"Do it well, and it's a great comedy."

No, it can never be more than masturbatory. It would amount to exaggeration of something which at the time was already exaggerated. What was pretty funny at the time were SNL skits of Reagan where he was bumbling around visitors to the White House, but as soon as they left, he would make a call to Gorbachev and converse with him in Russian and act fully informed on the smallest and most technical things.

SteveR said...

I have not read many of the comments here on this post, or in other places on this subject, but I would join those who don't find it "funny". Beyond the personal destruction of the person with the disease is the countless ways it affects those who go through this with friends and family members. Just because you can do it, great script, great actors, great production, doesn't make it a good idea.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

http://pagesix.com/2016/04/29/will-ferrell-pulls-out-of-reagan-alzheimers-comedy/

That didn't take long.

Deb said...

I don't see any humor in dementia in any form. I watched my mother suffer and - eventually - die from Alzheimer's disease - overcome by anxiety, fear, and depression. I wouldn't wish Alzheimers or any form of dementia on my worst enemy and that even includes Will Ferrell. There are lots of things to make movies about. Use that brain of yours before it turns to mush, Mr. Ferrell.

Kristian Holvoet said...

I'll be honest, there are a lot of actors whose movies/shows I will not watch because of how they behave/communicate IRL. Similarly with authors and directors. Of course, I am sure I go to see / read outputs from people that have even more abhorrent views, but they have the sense to keep it to themselves. While I wouldn't go see this movie, I will remember who was involved (if it ever gets made).

mikee said...

A comedy about Jimmy Carter in North Korea, being diplomatic with Dear Leader, now that would be a killer at the box office! And Carter didn't even have the excuse of any dementia other than his political beliefs.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Heat St. - Ferrel Pulls out of Reagan Alzheimers Movie

Look what you bunch of whiners did! Shameful.

Ann Althouse said...

The National Review's Jim Geraghty wrote: "Bring On the Chappaquiddick Movie!"

"A lot of conservatives will look at this news and howl, “Once again, Hollywood is whitewashing history, glorifying a liberal Democratic politician!” But how do you tell the story of Chappaquiddick and not make Ted Kennedy look like the world’s biggest jerk, a man who should have done jail time? How on earth do you make the audience sympathize with Kennedy? He drives, she dies. You can make up a shady GOP conspiracy out to get Kennedy, and cast Stanley Tucci and Christopher Walken and Willem DeFoe and Robert Davi — and Danny Trejo as the virulently anti-Castro Cuban-American – and it still ends with, he drives, she dies. You can cast… I don’t know, Hugh Jackman as Kennedy — you scoff, but remember, Cate Blanchett played Mary Mapes! — and it still ends with, he drives, she dies. If you want to make a Ted Kennedy hagiography, you just ignore Chappaquiddick. Whether or not the director and creative team intend it, this movie will do a lot to tarnish — or in our eyes, correct — Kennedy’s reputation."

Ann Althouse said...

"I'd also like to correct our host here. Dr. Strangelove did not result in the extinction of mankind. It resulted in the death of only about 99.5% of the population, the rest surviving in caves until the radiation subsided with 10 girls for every boy. My guess is half the surviving male population looked like Peter Sellers."

I think they were still talking about doing that when the world ended.

mockturtle said...

There is really little funny about dementia. My husband of 40 years, a brilliant research scientist, died a few years ago from Lewy Body Dementia. It was a horrific ten years for both of us.

I doubt the film will succeed because most of us who remember Reagan remember him fondly and those who don't remember him don't care.

mtrobertslaw said...

"Disrespecting authority is central to comedy and central to the life of a democracy." Let's test this bit of wisdom.

Suppose there is a beloved and well-respected law professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School who contracts Alzheimer's. After teaching with this disease for 5 or 6 years, the professor finally retires. Based on anecdotal stories from this professor's students, ranging from his ridiculous and absurd explanations of Supreme Court cases to his belief that he was King Arthur addressing his Knights of the Round Table, a student from the UW film school makes a comedy based on these anecdotes and this professor's his decent into full-blown dementia. If our young film maker were to request our host to allow him to show his film to her constitutional law class, would she agree? I bet she would not. But why not? After all, "Disrespecting authority...is central to the life of a democracy".

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But how do you tell the story of Chappaquiddick and not make Ted Kennedy look like the world’s biggest jerk, a man who should have done jail time?

How do you make a monster like Che into a celebrated icon? I take Geraghty's point but he's showing too much faith that truth will shine through and overcome (magna est veritas et praevalebit and all that)...but I'm not sure the evidence of our current culture supports his belief.

Unknown said...

Wow, I guess liberals do have a sense of shame after all. That didn't take long to collapse under its own weight. Would love to know who green lit this project to the point they were searching around for a director to attach to it after securing Ferrel. And please, don't embarrass yourselves pretending this wasn't a developed project that had no chance of being made.

Deb said...

But a spokesperson for Ferrell told the New York Post: “The REAGAN script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means a ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”

Uh-huh.

William said...

Napoleon sent an army to bring the citizens of Haiti back under the yoke of slavery. It never occurred to him to emancipate the slaves of Egypt or the serfs of Russia when he invaded those countries. Both Pitt the Younger and the Duke of Wellington were abolitionists. It was Wellington who freed the slaves on th Empress Josephine's sugar plantations.......How did it come to pass that the artists and intellectuals of the 19th and 20th centuries missed these damning facts about their hero, and the preeminent moral issue of their time. But they did. Beethoven, Goethe, Kant, Victor Hugo, Stendhal, even English writers like Byron and Carlyle were admirers of Napoleon........I sometimes get discouraged when I learn that most of the singers, writers, and movie stars that I like the most are critical of my political choices, but, on further reflection, it is wise to note that these people are self indulgent assholes and have been for centuries.

FullMoon said...

AReasonableMan said... [hush]​[hide comment]

I couldn't sleep last night, damn cats, so I starting watching Sharknado on Netflix. Anyone who believes Hollywood is about anything other than making a quick buck should probably watch that movie before they draw any deeper conclusions about their motivations.


For me, any middle of the night snippit seems worth recording for later viewing.. In the light of day, they usually get deleted. I did intentionally watch Sharkanado, due to hundreds of positive reviews.

FullMoon said...

Reagan is most popular with people who lived as adults through Carter, Iran hostages, odd/even gas lines, 20% loan interest, 13% inflation, malaise. Not to mention Carter just plain looked like a weakling. Here comes Regan, good looking, gives a heck of a good speech, hostages released,everything getting better, whether due to his competence, or just luck, doesn't matter. As a blue collar, average intelligence man with limited exposure to alternative news, and not enough curiosity or desire to educate myself as to the whys and wherefores, the Regan years were a dramatic improvement/
The feeling cannot be explained to those who did not live through it.
A lot of people are feeling the same about the Obama years.Especially the young ones, and the unemployed.

Unknown said...

Good for you, Will! Way to be a human being, and act like a man.

Static Ping said...

Ann, they were still talking about it at the end of the movie, but the doomsday device would take 2 months to take full effect. They had some time, assuming that both sides decided against a full nuclear exchange for the heck of it. If anything could cut through the red tape of government institutions and make the mine shaft thing happen, it would be "not dying" combined with "ten bikini models to service each" scenario. There's a reason why the living on a deserted isle with nothing but a supermodel fantasy exists, despite the fact its nothing but coconuts all the way down.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Apparently someone with some sense got to Ferrell and told him that making the movie would most likely make him one of the most despised people in the United States. That people with friends and relatives that had suffered through Alzheimer's would spit on the sidewalk at the mention of his name.

A spokesperson for Will said, “The REAGAN script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means a ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Imagine all the fun he would have had on the obligatory publicity tour. People from Alzheimer's support groups protesting in front of his hotel. Holding up protest signs with pictures of their love ones suffering from Alzheimer's with "IS THIS FUNNY TO YOU?" printed on them.

I would have thought you would need to have Asperger's to be this insensitive and unemphatic.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Not that any theater would have shown it. We are talking a couple of screenings at film festivals (perhaps Cannes, certainly Sundance) maybe a limited blue-ray run with a couple of extras (commentary on how Reagan didn't have anything to do with the approved economy and the fall of the Soviet Union of course along with extended discussion of Iran-Contra) and eventually being made available on Netflix.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

make that insensitive and umempathic.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

lacking empathy

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So anyway, I doubt that anyone is reading this thread any longer, but I want to answer the Professor's question:

Is there something unforgivably cruel about the comic portrayal of a particular human being who really did suffer through Alzheimer's?

The answer is yes if the comic portrayal utilizes the suffering for comedic effect.

It is beyond the pale.

Joe said...

I suspect Will Farrell mostly backed out because the script was shit. Considering how low his bar is (though definitely higher than Adam Sandler) it must have been pretty bad.

Deb said...

Ron Winkleheimer, I'm reading and I agree completely.

Ken Mitchell said...

I've got a GREAT idea! How about a documentary mocking polio victims, depicting FDR as a bumbling cripple who had to be propped up to give speeches?

befinne said...

Hey, how about a comedy dealing with flesh-eating bacteria? Hilarious!

mockturtle said...

I've got a GREAT idea! How about a documentary mocking polio victims, depicting FDR as a bumbling cripple who had to be propped up to give speeches?

Good one! Oh, but wait! FDR was a Democrat.

FullMoon said...

oe said... [hush]​[hide comment]

I suspect Will Farrell mostly backed out because the script was shit. Considering how low his bar is (though definitely higher than Adam Sandler) it must have been pretty bad.


Nope, he chickened out because of backlash. No guts to follow through.

Mick said...

Just another attempt by the Left to destroy and diminish the accomplishments of all American white male heroes and historical figures, from Thomas Jefferson to John Wayne. It's pathological.

Rusty said...

Joe. Adam Sandler makes Pualy Shore look good.

Brad said...

I await the epics which make light of the current occupant.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think everybody (except some very prejudiced or ignorant = and unthinking) people know this is not what actually happened.

So this movie is a fantasy dealing with what would have happened had Reagan come down with Alzheimer's about 8 years before he did. At least according to some politically prejudiced people.

As such it can really be looked at as simply a movie that tries to make comedy out of Alzheimer's disease.

Reagan had actually taken precaution against that, because I think his grandmother had it, or what would not be called that, and the 25th amendment would have been invoked. And of course the disability is probably not like that as portrayed in the script. It's an unreal version of Alzheimer's, and that's waht Patty Davis really didn't like.

Sammy Finkelman said...

befinne said... 4/29/16, 5:38 PM

Hey, how about a comedy dealing with flesh-eating bacteria? Hilarious!

That killed Jim Henson's of the Muppets in 1990, I believe.


Sammy Finkelman said...

damikesc said...

Do you think we'll ever see a film portraying the Clintons as a crime syndicate who run for political office on the side?

I think that's very possible, but only after that is no longer a controversial position to take. That could be maybe one or two years away. And maybe a little bit more.

But I wouldn't say politics was on the side. That was his main focus. Orrganized crime was what was on the side.

But he got his start in politics from a Hot Springs, Arkansas, political machine of which his step-uncle, Raymond Clinton, was an important member, and that was an organized crime family with politics on the side.

You know that film of him with President Kennedy? I don't think that was obtained legitimately.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Hot Springs, Arkansas political machine [where blacks could vote - the machine paid their poll taxes for them, and rounded them up to the polls] was run, and had been run since about 1935, by Owen Vincent (Owney the Killer) Madden (1891-1965) one of the main founders, if not the "THE" founder of organized crime in America. The Mafia, for instance, used to be limited to Sicilians, not all people of Italian ancestry. All this was put togetgher in the 1928-1931 period.

Supposedly, he was retired. Owney Madden's obituary in the New York Times on Saturday April 24, 1965 claims that he had retired.

In there, it states:

In his later years, he was a big contributor to charities, particularly for young people.

Pair this with:

Clinton's career began while he was still a student at Hot Springs High School, where he was president of his junior class, the Beta Club (for academic achievers) and the Kiwanis Key Club. By his late teens, Clinton was already a semi-professional politician, so greatly in demand as a civics club speaker and leader of charitable fund drives that his high-school principal had to limit his engagements in order to protect his schooling.

- Article by Michael Kelly in the New York Times Magazine of July 31, 1994, page 25.

Bill Clinton was a leader of charitable fund drives

Putting two and two together, and connecting the dots, what does this mean?

It means that Bill Clinton was raising money from Vincent Owen (Owney the Killer) Madden.

Now one reason this is not so well known is that:

When Joseph Valachi, the first important Mafia informer, testified before Congress in September, 1963. . .

. . .Senator McClellan visited him privately in the D.C, jail, just before the hearings began. According to Valachi, he requested that he please skip any mention of Hot Springs, in McClellan's home state, and the Senate testimony contains no reference to that then-notorious city.

- The Valachi Papers by Peter Maas, (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1968) page 20.

** I didn't put that in that book. It's ALWAYS been there. **

Madden raised pigeons. He probably communicated by carrier pigeon to avoid wiretaps.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The machine lost power in 1948, because of the "GI Revolt" and most of its members had to move to Hope, Arkansas, but it came back by around 1954. Orval Faubus was supported by this machine. I have this from:

- The Bookmaker's Daughter:A Memory Unbound by Shirley Abbott (Ticknor
and Fields, 1991)

Here's a nice quotation from the book:

Owen Vincent Madden, Prohibition whiskey baron, nightspot owner,
killer, and gray eminence in our community for many years, was laid to
rest in a handsome casket, as his obituary noted, amid a profusion of
flowers. The local politician who spoke the eulogy recalled that "this
community's prosperity and welfare were uppermost in the heart of this
man, who for thirty years gave his all to Hot Springs. We know not and
care not what they said about him in New York, Chicago, or Washington."
Mourners in snappy clothes appeared from all over the nation, and his
pallbearers, as was only fitting, included such respected local citizens
as the chief of police.


- The Bookmaker's Daughter by Shirley Abbott (Ticknor and Fields, 1991)

Sometime in the 1990 she wrote a false letter to the editor of New York Times claiming that the machine was long gone by the time Bill Clinton was growing up. That is contradicted by her own book.

There were illegal casinos and slot machines in Hot Springs in the late 1950s's and early 1960s and later. The city, in fact, was nicknamed "Little Vegas"

And there are otehr sources. All published before Bill Clinton became president.

"Just through talk, every person in town knew what was going on," said
Clay White, who for 23 years was an FBI agent based in Hot Springs and
is now the town's sheriff. "The violations of the law were more or less
accepted,"White said, adding that even Clinton's uncle Raymond, who
owned the local Buick dealership "ran some slot machines that he had
scattered throughout town."


- July 20, 1992 Macleans Magazine.

Even Clinton's uncle?

This is spin. Buick dealer Raymond Clinton was one of the big people in the machine They used to have meetings by him.

BTW, Clay White, who told Macleans magazine that even Clinton's uncle (or the reporter interpreted it as even had some slot machines in Hot Springs, is the *same* person who told Robert Lacey, biographer of Meyer Lansky, details about the FBI surveillance there in 1963.

They were getting close. But then - I don't know. But the whole pursuit of organized crime by Bobby Kennedy did come to an end.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Now it was traditional in Arkansas for a Governor to not get really challenged for re-election, but not to run for a 3rd 2-year term, and so the whole Little Rock school crisis was cooked up in 1957 so as to enable Orval faubus to get re-elected.

Once re-elected, he was re-elected again in 1960 and 1962, and, in a somewhat close election in 1964, against Winthrop Rockefeller, but in 1966 Winthrop Rockefeller won.

Bill Clinton (or erstwhile - but maybe really not so erstwhile) supporters of Bill Clinton brought Orval Faubus back to run in 1984 as a candidate for the Democratic nomination whom he could beat.