Honestly, Abe Is Just Not Doing It For Us
Another movie about a President.
Call me unpatriotic. Or tell me I don’t have a heart. Or whisper behind my back that if I only took notice of the greater good established by one President Abraham Lincoln, his efforts to abolish slavery, and the fact that besides pushing numerous significant bills through Congress that he also killed his mother’s vampire assassin by learning how to use his anger to chop trees in one full swoop — that I might just decide to get off my butt and go see Spielberg’s latest cinematic opus and enjoy myself…
And I’d say nay.
If I’m confusing Abraham Lincoln (by Spielberg) with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (by whats-his-Wanted-name) it’s because there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXCITING about Spielberg’s new film. Literally, couldn’t you guys put together a trailer with one single exciting moment at all? Something to get me willing to come see it? It’s literally a two minute trailer FILLED WITH GUYS IN WIGS DEBATING LANGUAGE AND MORALITY. The last time I saw a movie filled with guys in wigs debating verbosely, I think it was The Birdcage. Hell, at least that movie had some pretty hilarious trailer moments with Hank Azaria in a tank top. But is there any sequence or moment or even a flash of Abe chopping down a tree or slamming his fist onto a wooden pulpit screaming bloody murder or even a battle sequence that shows us more than a bunch of soldiers hunkered down in a hole?
Not so much.
Do you ever go out and eat with your friends and you have one of those friends who is always trying something questionable off the menu? Could be blowfish (poison!) or some kind of foreign forest-dwelling animal that is supposed to taste like chicken. Could just be a peanut butter dessert. I don’t care. Pick one. Either way, this same friend is always insisting you go take a bite. And for the longest time you abided by their requests, and yet every single time you did you found that the “most amazing food in the entire free world” was not amazing at all. It was boring. And so, after twenty times of being urged to taste this “amazing delicacy” you finally decided to stop tasting the amazing delicacy because you were bored of tasting, yes, the amazing delicacy.
Same goes for movies about Presidents.
Every time I am sold a bill of goods about a “great President movie” I find myself bored out of my mind. There is no dramatic movie or TV series that is specifically focused on a President that has ever been good. Don’t come to me talking about Dave. That is a comedy. And it was written by Aaron Sorkin. Aaron Sorkin can write me a President movie any time he wants. But outside of the Dave-factor, there has never been a President-focused movie that has reached my somewhat mediocre bar for success. There are movies with Presidents in them, like All The President’s Men or Apollo 13 or 13 Days — those work. But otherwise? Not so much.
Before coming to the conclusion that I would sidestep my journalistic duty of seeing the greatest, most dramatic, wig-filled drama of the Season, I made myself a positive/negative list as a way to give myself a better understanding of why I might/might not decide to go to the theater. My plan was to see where the positives and negatives landed — if there were more positives represented by seeing the movie, I would go. Despite the food-tasting history I referenced above. If there were more negatives, then the republic would have spoken. My list work returned the following results:
Tommy Lee Jones in a bad wig
Daniel Day Lewis
Sally Field, playing another old lady
Might Learn Something
Reminds me of high school history class
John Williams Score
Tommy Lee Jones, still in a bad wig
Inspiring True Story
Know the ending already (was done better in Titanic)
Tommy Lee, in a wig
Desperate to find positives, hoping that Tommy Lee in a wig is hilarious (and thus, a positive)
No bright colors, a la Pixar
“Abe” rhymes with ”Gabe” – who happens to have been a kid who beat me up as a small child (bad memories)
Abraham Lincoln is so 1865
You obviously see where I landed.
So instead of going and seeing the movie and subjecting myself to what is most likely more than two hours of dramatic, sweeping, somewhat drab looking cinema about a President and his policies — I would rather choose Presidential theatrical abstinence. I would rather wish Mr. Spielberg my best in the hopes he is nominated for a bucket of Presidentially-inspired golden statues, and sit out this one on the sidelines. It’s quite possibly the best Presidential movie in the history of Presidential movies, but honestly — Abe is just not doing it for me this time around. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I’m not going to get hoodwinked one more time. I’m opting out, and I’m proud of it.
Besides, this movie is filled with guys in wigs.