Monday, June 27, 2005

The Wonder That Was and The Wonder That Wasn't

Okay, it is not very fair to retract my statement that the Discovery Channel program The Greatest American was a wonder just because I disagree with the outcome...so I won't. But I do strongly disagree. In Sunday's live finale the results were as follows:

#5- Benjamin Franklin, 14.9%
#4- George Washington, 17.7%
#3- Martin Luther King, Jr., 19.7%
#2- Abraham Lincoln, 23.5%
#1- Ronald Reagan, 24%

First of all, having set rules for myself that I couldn't vote for a president, I didn't. I voted for in the top 100 Mr. Ray Charles, in the top 25 Ms. Rosa Parks, and in the top 5 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is why I could not vote for a president. What criteria do you base such a vote on? Americans collectively are not smart enough to vote on presidents. Lincoln stretched the Constitution (seeking retroactive legislation to support such an act, but remember, for the sake and safety of the union) and so did Reagan (less importantly and much to do with Iran-Contra, I still can't believe Ann Coulter called the scandal "brilliant"). How can you vote for either of them based on that criteria? Honestly, if I was voting for a president for the "greatest American" title, I would have to vote for either Lincoln, Washington, or FDR. Lincoln because he freed the slaves, saved the union, and didn't live to do the work he sought to. Washington as the general, the father of this country, and the first president setting all precedent to follow. FDR for raising a nation out of crisis and depression, leading the country throught war, and for his words, "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself." I would never have voted for Reagan.

Let me give my analysis of why the results appeared as such--Reagan was the most recent death. Americans are most attached to those within their lifetimes. It is not that Americans have forgotten or disrespect men like Washington and Franklin, it is merely the fact that they feel no personal connection. If I was voting with no knowledge of the candidates (that's an odd thought), I would have only voted for Reagan because he was in my lifetime. I can tell you the time, place, and circumstances behind the deaths of Dr. King and Abe Lincoln, I can tell you a list of inventions and accomplishments tied to Benjamin Franklin, and I could probably quote Washington's farewell address...saying that, I never could have voted like most Americans.

Now onto the wonder that was...

I went and watched the new Batman film over the weekend. I was able to sink right into the storyline and really get into the film. I went into it thinking two things, 1) if this is as bad as Batman Forever and Batman & Robin I am going to have to stop being a Batman fan and 2) I've never seen Morgan Freeman in a film I didn't like. As the corrupt sheriff in Hard Rain I loved Morgan and as the alcoholic burn out in High Crimes I loved Morgan. There isn't much Morgan can't do and no matter what he does I think he is the greatest actor of our time. I had high expectations and they were pleasantly rewarded by a great film. The script was well-written, the directing was flawless, and the individual performances were great. Batman Begins has a great cast. From the ever brilliant Morgan Freeman who plays Lucius Fox, to the beautiful Katie Holmes who plays Rachel Dawes, the cast is amazing. I haven't ever seen Christian Bale in a role I enjoyed. This was the exception. Those are some big shoes to fill...how do you take a role that has been played by men of such talent? My favorites have been Michael Keaton (in the 1989 Batman) and of course Adam West (Batman in the 60s tv series and the 60s film). Bale lived up to my expectations as well.

The film was very interesting and answered some questions that Batman fans have been asking since the beginning. We now know how Bruce Wayne became Batman and we now know the importance of Alfred. I also must say that Michael Caine as Alfred was great. I love that guy. Maybe if we all had someone answering "never" when we say "you didn't give up on me" we'd all have super-human strength. He was great. Katie Holmes was also very good. She's come a long way since Dawson's Creek. The problem is everytime I see her I half expect Joey to push her hair behind her ear or overanalyze something. She's come a long way from akward teen star.

Enough about that...my only regret in spending the five bucks was all the commericals at the beginning. Not previews, commericals. That irritates me, but I'll get over it.

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