' ' Cinema Romantico: 2020 Cinematic Endorsement Straw Poll

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2020 Cinematic Endorsement Straw Poll

Loyal frustrated followers might recall that in early 2016, this blog, as it does every quadrennial, combed through the various Presidential candidates ahead of the Iowa Caucus to determine which one we cinematically endorsed. We stress that again: cinematically endorse, not politically endorse. As in, we reviewed each candidate’s favorite movie(s) and decided which one, based upon non-existent and generally ludicrous criteria, you should support simply on the grounds of the film de cinema. After careful consideration, our endorsement went to Texas Senator Ted Cruz who cited Rob Reiner’s beloved 1987 fairytale “The Princess Bride” as his favorite movie. After all, as we said at the time, Mr. Cruz and Cinema Romantico agree on pretty much nothing, but we liked to think that even if we argued at a cocktail party over his blatant cherry-picking of scientific results to suit his climate change denying needs, there might still be a moment when we could wistfully find some common ground on the absurdity of going in against a Sicilian when death was on the line. In some quarters, our endorsement caused controversy (note: that’s not true), but this blog stood firmly behind it. Movies are movies.

Alas, a few months later, at an event in Indiana, Senator Cruz, in attempting to both claim “Hoosiers” as another favorite movie and employ said movie in service of a political metaphor, called a basketball hoop a basketball ring. As Cinema Romantico wrote at the time:

I’m beginning to suspect that Ted Cruz lies about his favorite movies. He’s trumped up “Hoosiers” as a favorite movie too, but this whole "basketball ring" seriously calls that into question. You can’t have actually watched “Hoosiers” more than twice and not know it’s not a basketball ring. Furthermore, you can’t have watched “Hoosiers” more than twice and accidentally call a basketball hoop a basketball ring. Even a slip of the tongue wouldn’t somehow convert basketball hoop to basketball ring. No, this stinks to high heaven of watch-a-Youtube-clip-quick-before-you-take-the-stage. And if Ted Cruz did lie about a favorite movie all in the name of political gain...well, there can be no higher act of treason in the eyes of Cinema Romantico.

Indeed, in an unprecedented act of movie blogging, we were forced to withdraw our cinematic endorsement on account of suspicion that Ted Cruz lies about his favorite movies.

Why are we rehashing #OldNews, you might be wondering? Well, we here at Cinema Romantico know it’s only 2018, that the Midterms finally (thankfully) came to a close, and that the next Election is still two long years away meaning the Iowa Caucus is one long year away. It is the point in the proceedings where everyone wants punditry and electioneering to take a long winter’s nap. That’s cool, necessary, and we do not disagree. Still, if actual significant 2020 news breaks, it is a political writer’s duty to report and contextualize it, just as it is Cinema Romantico’s duty to report and contextualize any cinematic 2020 news. Ah, and reader, do we have some!

Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th Congressional District, and who just lost to the aforementioned Cruz in a close race for the Lone Star State’s 2018 Senate seat, has been touted by some as a potential player in the Democratic Presidential Primaries for 2020. Whether or not that proves to be true, this blog is not in the business of knowing. What this blog does know, however, is that Mr. O’Rourke’s email to his supporters post-Senate loss began like this:

“Amy is watching Last of the Mohicans in the other room with the kids. We started it last night after Ulysses’ basketball game. Pizza, carrots, Mohicans and then early to bed.”

[Cinema Romantico runs around the room screaming.]

There are caveats here, obviously. Based on this sentence, we can neither confirm nor deny that Representative O’Rourke’s favorite movie is “Last of the Mohicans”, which, as loyal frustrated followers know, is Cinema Romantico’s favorite movie too. We literally attempted to reach out to Representative O’Rourke (or, more accurately, to his people) to confirm if it, in fact, was but received the following response: “We're sorry, but it appears that you live outside of Texas's 16th congressional district. Congressional courtesy requires that each Representative be allowed to respond to his or her respective constituents.” And this response was absolutely fair. The Representative and his people have better things to do than responding to an idiot movie blog’s idiot question about favorite movies.

Still, this is not going to stop us from parsing the first few sentences of O’Rourke’s expression of thanks, all of which seem to suggest the distinct possibility that “Last of the Mohicans” might well be something like an O’Rourke family favorite. When one wants a movie in time of comfort or of re-connection, does one not turn to an old favorite? Indeed, this idea seems supported by O’Rourke writing “I can hear Amy yelling in the other room ‘Don’t watch this part! Don’t watch it!’ And Henry saying ‘I’m watching it!’ and laughing.” That suggests watching a part they have watched a hundred times before (probably Magua cutting out Colonel Munro’s heart).

We may well have to wait until the early days of 2020 to truly get to the bottom of this, perhaps with Cinema Romantico sidling up to O’Rourke in line at the Iowa State Fair for a pork chop on a stick to  say, unprompted, in our blog’s best Steppenwolf ensemble member Tim Hopper voice, “What do we do about being under Crown Law?” to see if O’Rourke replies, without missing a beat, “I believe they set aside their Law as and when they wish.” And besides, Cinema Romantico, while ostensibly honest, is not ruling out stuffing the ballot box of its own mind should Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown actually run for President and proceed to cite, say, “The Great Waldo Pepper” as his favorite movie. Even so, and whatever may come, 475 days out from the Iowa Caucus, the first Cinematic Endorsement Straw Poll is in and Beto O’Rourke is in the lead.

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