' Cinema Romantico: Cinematically Selecting an Iowa Caucus Candidate

Monday, February 01, 2016

Cinematically Selecting an Iowa Caucus Candidate

Today thousands of my Iowa homeys (Iowa, if you did not know, is where I’m from) will sally forth to the Caucuses (i.e. An Introvert’s Nightmare) in an effort to springboard both a Democratic and Republican candidate toward the forthcoming November Presidential elections. And as Cinema Romantico does for each and every Caucus, we are here  dear Iowans, to examine all the candidates and endorse one based SOLELY on movies. I cannot stress that enough: this article is based SOLELY on the candidates’ favorite movies. I am in no way whatsoever endorsing anyone politically. I am endorsing him/her cinematically. That’s it, nothing more. Is that understood? Are we clear? No one’s going to throw a hissy fit, right, at the end of this post if I endorse a candidate whose politics they loathe when I just told you this article is based SOLELY on movies? You’re not? Good. Let’s pick the front-runners, cinema style!


Cinema Romantico went to the interwebs in a diligent effort to determine each candidate’s favorite film because, unlike past Presidential Election years, no newspaper or site sought to document this information in a single piece, almost as if they were actually focused on the real issues! (Ha ha ha!) Still, we were able to locate all required info for Favorite Movie Caucus Eligibility, except for one candidate we will address momentarily. Let’s lay out the basic information...

Hillary ClintonCasablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Out of Africa
Bernie SandersN/A
Martin O'MalleyLawrence of Arabia
Donald TrumpCitizen Kane
Ted CruzThe Princess Bride 
Marco RubioPulp Fiction, Wedding Crashers, The Godfather
Jeb BushTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Ben CarsonTrue Lies
Chris ChristieThe Godfather
Mike HuckabeeCasablanca, The Godfather 2
Carly FiorinaSecretariat 
Rand Paul – Enemy of the State
John KasichSchool of Rock

So let’s get started. Bernie Sanders. What’s up with that? Trying to find that dude’s favorite movie is an exercise in impossibility. Nothing on his web site or his Facebook page, and the Google was little to no help. All I could really find was that he endorsed “The Big Short”, which is less a commentary on the film’s quality and more on the subject matter. Feel the bern right out the door.

I am really impressed by Kasich’s answer of “School of Rock”, one of the best kids movies of all time, in my estimation, as well as passing with flying colors for adults. But. Kasich is the same dude who tried to get “Fargo” pulled from his local Blockbuster shelves because of its content. Attempting to suppress art? Fuck you, Kasich. Buh-bye.

Hillary’s answer of “Casablanca” is consummately Clintonian, as is “The Wizard of Oz”, which isn’t to suggest either are not good – nay, great – movies, mind you, but that they are catch-alls covering every single base. “Out of Africa” has a little more pep, but not enough. Later, skater.

Mike Huckabee. See above. ‘Cept even worse cuz Huck doesn’t even try to throw us off the scent with something else. I mean, you’d think a snake oil salesman would be more adept at covering his tracks.

Chris Christie: less Brando, more Madsen.
Chris Christie’s “Godfather” answer is as predictable as a Clinton trotting out “Casablanca.” But I think Mr. Christie likes to fancy himself a Vito Corleone when, in all honesty, he is more like Sonny Black, Michael Madsen in “Donnie Brasco”, low-end mafia straining to be big-time by throwing around a lotta bluster. Fughetaboutit.

O’Malley’s “Lawrence of Arabia”, meanwhile, is quintessentially O’Malley. So basic for this kind of format it puts me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Has Rand Paul not seen “The Conversation”?

“Pulp Fiction” is actually a pretty off the beaten path answer for a field like this, and I’d really like to know Rubio’s favorite line. (A case of beer says it’s “And Mr. 9mm here... he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness.”) But something about Rubio’s love for “Wedding Crashers” leaves me suspect. Like, I can’t help thinking that deep down he truly believes Sack Lodge got a raw deal.

Ben Carson probably likes “True Lies” for the same reason I love “Serendipity.” That is, Carson likes to imagine himself as some world-saving secret super-spy just how I enjoy imagining Kate Beckinsale leading me through a karmic obstacle course. And just like no one wants to imagine me starring opposite Kate Beckinsale, no one wants to see Ben Carson save the world, except for Ben Carson.

Fiorina’s beloved “Secretariat” is off the beaten path too, sure, but she's also said, several times, that she likes it because “it’s about both a woman and a horse that are underestimated and that surprise everyone” which means she's just choosing this movie in order to try and draw a parallel between it and her, and I find that dubious.


Trump’s answer is incredibly revealing and well-known. After all, he spoke to documentarian Errol Morris about it. “Citizen Kane,” Trump said, “was really about accumulation. And at the end of the accumulation, you see what happens, and it’s not necessarily all positive.” He repeats: “Not positive.” And this isn’t a groundbreaking assertion, granted, but for Trump, so typically incapable of self-reflection, he comes across genuinely contemplative. “I believe wealth does, in fact, isolate you from other people,” he observes. “It’s a protective mechanism. You have your guard up, much more so than if you didn’t have wealth.” And then that’s the line restoring the Trump-ishness. Like, he’s communicating to you that having his guard up on account of his wealth is an asset, and that he, unlike Charles Foster Kane, will not allow his wealth to cripple him. And that’s why I just can’t quite come around to the idea that Trump gets “Citizen Kane.” Like, I can see him getting vanquished in state after state on Super Tuesday and at some pep rally he looks at all the people in the audience and angrily declares with no irony whatsoever... “You can’t do this to me.”

Okay. So. Look, I didn’t want this thing to come down to Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush any more than you did, but that’s where we are and I will not apologize because I don’t apologize about good movies. And I don’t just like Jeb’s choice of the NASCAR comic extravaganza “Talladega Nights” because I think it’s really, really funny. And while I understand there is a possibility that Jeb enjoys it simply because, as my girlfriend said, “Jeb thinks he’s funny”, well, how am I know to know that Jeb doesn’t find Amy Adam’s laudatory turn as Ricky’s assistant as unfailingly hilarious as I? But it goes past all that, and while I might admittedly be wearing rose-colored glasses, part of me wonders if when Ricky Bobby finally sets aside his staunch, misguided principles to embrace and make out with another man in the name of good sportsmanship that Jeb maybe, just maybe, gets a little teary-eyed and, in the privacy of his own man cave momentarily turns his back on Dad and Bro, and feels a little liberal quiver in his heart.


And that brings me to Ted Cruz. His love of “The Princess Bride” is probably pretty well known, since he often trots out quotes at campaign stops and frequently mentions it interviews. We don’t have William Goldman’s reaction on file, but we do have Mandy Patinkin’s 1,300 word essay in response to Cruz’s peddling of the movie in which Patinkin played such a prominent part as Inigo Montoya. And I don’t begrudge Mr. Patinkin his thoughts. He might well be right that Cruz is using the film as a mere political tool, because I think Cruz would use anything as a political tool, and yet…

Ted and I wouldn’t get along at a party. Not just politically, mind you, because I think Ted would commandeer the space around the dip and ask me “What do you do?” and then use my answer as a launch pad to merely digress about his own views on anything (probably ISIS). But I think that in spite of the politicizing, that deep down “The Princess Bride” really is his favorite movie. And I think that if I said, apropos of nothing, “What I wouldn’t give for a Holocaust cloak” that Mr. Cruz would not, for the only time in his life, take that as his moment to espouse on the Holocaust; I think Mr. Cruz, without missing a beat, would reply “Will this do?” And for a split-second there would be harmony in the universe.

Cinema Romantico endorses Ted Cruz. (Please don’t take this out of context.)

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