Dave

If you know me personally, you know that A. I am like most of my friends and family in mourning over the election and B. I’m a bastion of worthless pop culture knowledge. Some people have athletic talent, others have crazy IQs or even EQs, and I have the ability to remember and notice way too much in movies.

Here’s a breakdown of the film Dave—the perfect panacea of escapism. None of my friends have even heard of it, so I’m glad to spread the good word.

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  • WHAT: Dave
  • WHEN: 1993
  • WHO: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Ving Rhames, Sir Ben Kinglsey, Charles Grodin
  • SUMMARY: Philandering jerk president has a stroke and local nice guy Dave is suddenly president thanks to shady machinations of chief of staff.
  • WHY: Rose-colored glasses. In light of the recent election, I think we could all use some ’90s escapism. Think of this as a rom-com where the characters are in love with democracy.
  • DID YOU CATCH: Laura Linney, Bonnie Hunt, pre-Governator Arnold Schwartzenagger, any nearly a dozen politicians, pundits, and personalities including former speaker Tip O’Neill, former senator Alan Simpson, Ben Stein, Larry King, Jay Leno, and a Chris Matthews so baby-faced that even I missed him.

I am honestly shocked that so few people my age are familiar with Dave. Even as a kid I enjoyed it, and I was not one of those brainy children watching intellectual films at 8. Like any time, the 1990s were far from perfect in terms of politics and in fact the premise of this one is pretty untenable. Even before the days of cellphones and social media it’s hard to believe that Dave Kovic could disappear for months and that the entire country could fall for a double. Still, the dream world of Dave, where the presidency comes down to balancing the budget in one afternoon to save a children’s shelter, is just the kind of saccharine and yes, hopeful, message I need right now.

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DETAILS

  • Frank Langella looks so much younger! And so very pissed off the entire movie. Is this proto-Dick Cheney?**
  • Sigourney Weaver’s FLOTUS wardrobe: Slips and white hosiery reign supreme.
  • The chief of staff and press secretary staging a clandestine coup? Inconceivable and amazing. This could be a movie unto itself. I’m thinking Rahm Emanuel and Dana Perino falling for each other in an Oceans 11-style executive branch heist.
  • Dave was biking around DC before it was cool. Or safe probably.
  • Where are these underground tunnels? Do they lead to Metro Center?
  • Speaking of underground, that secret hospital cell where they kept the real Bill Mitchell was downright scary. I nominate it for the next season of “American Horror Story.”

** I would still take angry Frank Langella over Donald Trump**

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