As America begins a new chapter this week with President Joe Biden, there are many shows and movies being held to mark the occasion.
Almost everything in American politics was covered in entertainment in one way or another. Everything from the Watergate scandal to civil rights legislation to the activities of the presidents prior to their entry into the White House has been the inspiration for films and television shows. Lots of crazy things happen in politics, so it’s no wonder it’s a gold mine for Hollywood.
When it comes to who is the best president this country has ever had, Abraham Lincoln is always among the best for good reason – he led the nation in a time of division and played a key role in passing the 13th Amendment that ended slavery. Of course, this man should have a movie in his honor in which none other than the great Daniel Day-Lewis plays the leading role.
“Lincoln” takes place in 1865 in the months leading up to the end of the Civil War, and when the President deemed it vital to pass the 13th Amendment. There was much opposition to the legislation, but Lincoln had to pass the change before the slave states returned to the union to rule out any possibility that freed slaves could be re-enslaved.
Throughout the film, Lincoln and his staff go to various officials to convince them to vote for the amendment, although many make their racism clear. In addition, we see Union and Confederate leaders meeting for peace talks and the unfortunate victims of the civil war.
It goes without saying that Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of our time. When given a role, he fully embraces that individual’s personality and becomes them. His role as the 16th President is one of the crowning achievements of his career. It feels like you’re really seeing the President in all his glory during the two and a half hour runtime of the film. You get a sense of the pressure, frustration and division this great man faced in 1865, all thanks to the amazing Day Lewis. No wonder that this role earned him his third best actor Oscar.
“Lincoln” can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
It is safe to say that during their term in office the presidents are mostly the focus, while vice-presidents are often ignored. Well, one particular fictional vice president never liked being second best, and her name is Selina Meyer.
The HBO satirical comedy “Veep” follows the political and personal life of Meyer (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as Vice President and later as she begins her presidential campaign. Except that Meyer doesn’t seem like a presidential type: she’s rude to everyone, constantly insults friends, family and colleagues, is very vulgar and always in the middle of a scandal. She’s clearly not the whole package, but I absolutely adore her nonetheless.
Over seven seasons, we see Meyer stand in the political spotlight by meeting with other world leaders trying not to offend them, do bad business, and win the votes of American citizens. It also needs to work with very disorganized, untrustworthy, and seriously incompetent advisors and staff. No wonder she is the way she is!
This is not your typical political show – it’s a million times more goofy and outrageous than The West Wing – but you still learn a lot about politics, like what happens when there is a tie in the electoral college.
This role was made for Louis-Dreyfus, a comedic genius with perfect timing and priceless facial expressions. The way she inflicts some of the most painful burns on her incompetent peers is truly incredible, and seriously, I wish I were as good at comebacks as she is. Your political party is never revealed which makes this character’s craziness even more enjoyable. There’s a lot to be criticized on both sides of the aisle, but this show really takes the cake with a ridiculous “Did you really just say that?” Moments.
During Biden’s vice presidency, he made some videos with Louis-Dreyfus’ Meyer that showed that veeps have to stick together. Meyer eventually works his way to the top – in a crazy Meyer way of course – and it’s fun to see Biden step into the presidency as well.
You can stream “Veep” on HBO Max or Hulu and Amazon Prime Video with an HBO subscription.
Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.