First and foremost, my reason for taking in this movie on March 10 has nothing to do with any political affiliation. Mainly, it is because it is an HBO FILM. In general, these TV movies are written and created with the utmost care. It is in the details and it shows in every frame. GAME CHANGE is put to film by the same team that made RECOUNT. They are writer Danny Strong & director Jay Roach. The first film was a look at the 2000 election and now the focus is on the 2008 election. As we know it is all based on the optioned book “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime.” The HBO FILM is based on the last third of the book which delves into the political bout of Obama vs. McCain and all the personalities involved.
The script, production values, cinematic techniques and cast lists utilized always make HBO FILMS stand out in the industry. Just recently, and posted here at HBOWATCH, is official quotes from HBO on the particular scrutiny this piece took to be accurate. Such steps even included consulting the books writers, John Heilemann and John Helperin for the project. It is an interesting note to me that the book received praise for accuracy from the parties depicted in the book and yet the film, from the same source material, receives flack. Of course, that is all because the film will reach more people than those who picked up the tome. It is because of all of this detail, detail that have awarded such works as the recent MILDRED PIERCE for example that leads me never to miss any film, regardless of topic that is labeled an HBO FILM.
I will also watch GAME CHANGE for another reason. I will watch because it is history. Now I know it is a somewhat skewed history; that it is only telling a part of the story, but I love stories based on historic fact. I prefer more ancient history than recent events, but movies depicting events from a few years ago is important. Sometimes, at least for me, it is hard to grasp everything that is going on in the “heat of the moment.” As with big stories there is so much news fired at you that you cannot catch it all. As it unfolds you try to understand what is happening; as you try, in this case, to understand all the players and cast a vote for a president, you get overwhelmed. Now in retrospect with GAME CHANGE I can go back, just as I did with RECOUNT and relive it all in a capsulated recap of the events that I never could at the time. I may even see a national moment reenacted that I missed in 2008. I will watch GAME CHANGE to relive that moment.
One last reason to sit down and watch the premiere is for the sheer joy of the characters in play here. Now I know there is going to be some dramatic license used here but, still without passing judgment on them I can look at Palin, Cain and their staff and know, for the most part, that I am getting a glimpse at real personalities and not some fictional work. After all, their lives were already documented in news footage. I think you will agree that these are interesting persons that held a nation’s attention as they strived to reshape America. Plus, the political arena is a unique and difficult place to play in; the people portrayed in this film found that out the hard way.
So, whatever the reasons, whether it be because of the controversial light cast around this project, or because you voted for/against McClain/Palin, or just because it is another quality HBO FILM, I think you should see GAME CHANGE on HBO, premiering March 10. Then, you can head back and we can discuss it here or in the HBOWatch forum.