April 14, 2019

It's funny how movies hit you differently at different times.

My film student daughter is an active participant in a social media site called Letterboxd, in which participants write reviews and share theories on movies. They also have these activities they called "scavenger hunts" where they challenge users to watch a film a day, based on some pre-set criteria ("Watch a movie starring Albert Brooks" or "Watch a film released in the 40s", etc.). My kid usually asks me for some suggestions for some of the films, and I try to find little hidden gems that she might not have otherwise heard of. For the "Watch a film by John Landis," I told her to watch "Clue," which I've thought was an underrated film.

Back when I saw "Clue" in the theaters (with the admittedly dumb gimmick of different endings at various showings), I didn't really grok the political commentary of using the climate of the McCarthy era to feed the suspicion and secrets, How the fear of being found out leads people to desperate measures.

This line ["Communism is just a red herring"] is one of the most famous from the film, but what does it say about political ideology as a whole? The interconnected ideas and beliefs that come together as ideology are sometimes used and abused for the power holder’s own means, where it is as a scare tactic, for information, or for greed. The McCarthy Hearings weren’t the only time an ideology was used to create fear in the public eye: history is riddled with such cases. Therefore, it’s surprising how incisive the commentary is in what amounts to a wacky, silly movie. Jonathan Lynn, though, is able to balance the two expertly, making a truly hysterical film while sharply criticizing McCarthyism and the Red Scare. But, aside from the political subtext and commentary of the film, it is, first and foremost, one of the funniest movies ever made. Thankfully, after it flopped at the box office, it has risen to cult status. And, like the era it recreates, it’s a film all about secrets and lies. When all is said and done though, we must not forget, it’s not just a game anymore.

They say those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, even those of us have learned them are doomed to repeat it with the know-nothings.

ABC's "This Week" — Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary; Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Homeland Security Committee chairman; Jennifer Robinson, attorney for Julian Assange. Panel: ABC’s Jonathan Karl; former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.; Mayor Rahm Emanuel, D-Chicago; Democratic strategist Stefanie Brown James; and Republican strategist Alice Stewart.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president; Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Panel: David Brooks of The New York Times; Kasie Hunt of NBC News; Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute; and Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post.

CBS' "Face the Nation" — Will be pre-empted by the early start of the Masters tournament coverage.

CNN's "State of the Union" — Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., 2020 Democratic presidential candidate; Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. Panel: former Mayor Andrew Gillum , D-Tallahassee; Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush; Jen Psaki, former Obama White House communications director; and Linda Chavez, former Reagan White House official.

CNN's "Reliable Sources" — Ryan Grim of The Intercept; Bradley Moss, national security lawyer and partner, Law Office of Mark S. Zaid; Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats; Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post; Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine; Karen Finney, former senior spokesperson, Hillary for America; Craig Forman, chief executive officer, McClatchy Co.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" — Hillary Clinton.

"Fox News Sunday" — Sanders; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. Panel: Rich Lowry, editor, National Review; Anna Palmer, co-author “Politico Playbook”; Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson; and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

So, what's catching your eye this morning?

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