Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Film critic Roger Ebert's take on the V.P. debate

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    13,467

    Default Film critic Roger Ebert's take on the V.P. debate

    You didn't ask about the debate, but... - Roger Ebert's Journal

    You didn't ask about the debate, but...

    By Roger Ebert on October 3, 2008 8:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (141) | TrackBacks (0)


    I have some observations about what we observed Thursday night. They are not political. They involve such matters as body language, facial expression and vocal tone. These are legitimate subjects for a film critic. As Patrick Goldstein wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times: "In some ways film critics are probably better equipped to assess the political theater of today's presidential campaigns, since our campaigns are -- as has surely been obvious for some time -- far more about theater and image creation than politics." I would like to discuss the vice presidential debate as theater.

    I sensed that Sarah Palin was nervous. Well, she had every right to be, and as I thought about the debate during the day on Thursday, I felt some empathy for her: In university terms, she was being asked to defend her doctoral thesis without having written it. If that had been me facing Joe Biden with the same preparation, I don't know if I could even have walked onto the stage.

    So she was understandably nervous, and you could tell that by her rapid speech, faster than what we've heard from her before . Listening to her voice, you could also sense when she felt she'd survived the deep waters of improvisation and was climbing onto the shore of talking points. When she was on familiar ground, she perked up, winked at the audience two or three times, and settled with relief into the folksiness that reminds me strangely of the characters in "Fargo."
    Palin is best in that persona. You want to smile with her and wink back. But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman's logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn't have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, "M'am, I been cooperatin' with ya here." Palin was persuasive. But I felt a brightness that was not always convincing.
    Yes, she wins high marks for emerging from the debate still standing and still smiling. Polls show that she performed better than a great majority of viewers thought she would. My concern here is not with the substance of which either candidate said; that would be political. My concern is with the performances. Watching the debate, I was reminded of an observation by Dr. Samuel Johnson, the great 18th century English critic, about an unrelated subject: "It is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all."
    One thing a critic of a live performance is sensitive to is any unanticipated moment. There was a famous moment at the National Theater in London when an actor pulled out an automatic pencil to make some notes. It contained no lead. He should have pretended it did. Instead, he said, "There is no lead in my pencil." Then, fatally, he paused to listen to what he had said, and the audience roared with laughter when they were certainly not intended to.
    A very different sort of unanticipated moment took place during the debate. Biden said, "I know what it's like to be a single parent raising two children." He did not know if his sons would survive the auto accident that took his wife and daughter. For a moment, he lost his composure. Looking at the moment again, I believe, as I did at the time, that it was genuine emotion, and not stagecraft.
    It could not have been anticipated by Palin. The next camera angle was above and behind her. She paused. The silence seemed to anticipate words of sympathy and identification from her. But Biden had ended in a sentence using the word "change," and her response, reflecting no emotion at all, cued off that word and became a talking point about McCain. This felt to me, at worst, insensitive and callous. At best, that she had not fully heard Biden. In either event, her response troubled me. If a man had responded in that way to such a statement from a women, he would be called a heartless brute. [See link below]
    Sometimes during a live performance you can hear an actor "going up." That's actor-speak for forgetting the lines. Laurence Olivier went up on an Oscarcast, after he was awarded an honorary Oscar. Whatever he said (the transcript shows it made no sense), the speech made an enormous impression. In an audience reaction shot, you could lip-read Jon Voight: "Wow." The next morning I went to interview Michael Caine. "Larry called me last night," he said. "He asked what I thought of his speech. I said it was wonderful, but I didn't have the slightest idea what he had said. He said I was exactly right: 'It's like during Shakespeare, when you go up and start blathering about being off to Salisbury on the morn.'"
    I sensed that happening during Palin's response to the question about same-sex marriage and civil contracts. She was clear that she opposed same-sex marriage. So was Biden. I have no idea what she said about civil contracts. Neither did Gwen Ifil, apparently, because she concluded that Biden and Palin were in agreement. I knew what McCain (and supposedly Palin) really thought about the subject. I sensed that Palin had gone off to Salisbury.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,616

    Default

    For a moment, he lost his composure. Looking at the moment again, I believe, as I did at the time, that it was genuine emotion, and not stagecraft.
    It could not have been anticipated by Palin. The next camera angle was above and behind her. She paused. The silence seemed to anticipate words of sympathy and identification from her. But Biden had ended in a sentence using the word "change," and her response, reflecting no emotion at all, cued off that word and became a talking point about McCain. This felt to me, at worst, insensitive and callous. At best, that she had not fully heard Biden. In either event, her response troubled me. If a man had responded in that way to such a statement from a women, he would be called a heartless brute.
    I remember thinking something similar when I was watching the debate last night. Another reason she's a bitch. No soul.

  3. #3
    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    dreaming about being on a lake in Ontario
    Posts
    4,084

    Default

    Yep, Biden was real, it surprised even him. I'm assuming his emotions were running high too. This was Palin's chance to show some real emotion also. She failed. I think she was going through the motions and barely listening. She just heard catchphrases and answered them with her talking points. But, she was standing at the end so the repugs were happy.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,250

    Default

    But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman's logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn't have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, "M'am, I been cooperatin' with ya here."
    LOL.

  5. #5
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    fellow traveller
    Posts
    57,717

    Default

    ^^^
    i loved that part too. i think it's her accent that reminds me of them. she's not as smart as marge gunderson though.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  6. #6
    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    5,297

    Default

    [youtube]KWZ-gfAtZ9o[/youtube]

  7. #7
    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tampa Bay florida
    Posts
    4,804

    Default

    I can barely stand to hear Bush speak..His address on Friday was sooo bad... His wife being an English teacher was cringing I'm sure
    My grace is sufficient for you, for my my strength is made perfect in weakness...I love you dad!
    Rip Mom

  8. #8
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    fellow traveller
    Posts
    57,717

    Default

    ^^^
    palin's just as bad. i don't think i've heard her utter a single sentence that was grammatically correct.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  9. #9
    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tampa Bay florida
    Posts
    4,804

    Default

    He cannot read
    My grace is sufficient for you, for my my strength is made perfect in weakness...I love you dad!
    Rip Mom

  10. #10
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    I can barely stand to hear Bush speak..His address on Friday was sooo bad... His wife being an English teacher was cringing I'm sure
    Laura was a librarian.

    'It's like during Shakespeare, when you go up and start blathering about being off to Salisbury on the morn.'"
    Reminds me of the Shakespeare guy, Stephen Greenblatt, on the Colbert Report last week saying Palin was like Nick Bottom in A Midsummer's Night Dream who thinks he can play any part, do any thing but really is a horse's ass.

  11. #11
    Elite Member WesCAdle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chokey Chicken on the Left Coast
    Posts
    1,518

    Default

    LOL on the Fargo analogy! The minute I heard her speak that movie came to mind immediately. Her statements and actions are more Jerry and his half baked schemes than Marge. McCain reminds me of the egomaniacal father in law who acts before thinking and runs over everyone to make gains for himself without regard to the consequences. IMO the McCain Palin ticket is a dark comedy like Fargo - hard to believe but true. It even has its weird looking little guy crook Karl Rove and deadly silent crook Cheney.
    as privileged as a whore...victims in demand for public show, swept out through the cracks beneath the door, holier than thou, how?

  12. #12
    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Eva's Love Den
    Posts
    25,571

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Laura was a librarian.

    Reminds me of the Shakespeare guy, Stephen Greenblatt, on the Colbert Report last week saying Palin was like Nick Bottom in A Midsummer's Night Dream who thinks he can play any part, do any thing but really is a horse's ass.

    I saw that & was LMAO, Fluff.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Roger Ebert assaulted in theater at Toronto Film Fest
    By KristiB in forum Latest Gossip
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: September 17th, 2008, 02:08 AM
  2. Fashion critic Mr. Blackwell hospitalized
    By mrs.v in forum Latest Gossip
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 7th, 2008, 10:30 AM
  3. British critic rips Paris Hilton's CD a new one
    By pacific breeze in forum Music and Music Videos
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 19th, 2007, 01:06 PM
  4. Hilary Duff slams New York Times critic
    By moomies in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: June 16th, 2006, 07:15 PM
  5. Sean Preston Federline the music critic
    By MrsMarsters in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: May 5th, 2006, 12:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •