Hearts, if not minds
To hell with the ‘Soul of America’
Based on the 2 ½-minute trailer, a movie pitting Republicans versus Democrats in battleground Wisconsin 2020 looks like fun. Lead actors Steve Carell and Rose Byrne are master farceurs and the countryside looks verdant.
The movie is titled Irresistible. We’ll have to wait for its release on May 29 (whether in the theaters or not) to see how biased it may be against us cheese-snarfing Deplorables. Based on the plot synopsis, the Policy Werkes is worried.
A Democratic political strategist works the campaign for a retired veteran’s bid for mayor of a small, right-wing Wisconsin town. After the Democratic National Committee’s top strategist (Steve Carell) sees a video of a retired Marine Colonel (Chris Cooper) standing up for the rights of his town’s undocumented workers, Gary believes he has found the key to winning back the Heartland. However, the Republican National Committee counters him by sending in his brilliant nemesis (Rose Byrne) and a local race quickly becomes a fight for the soul of America.
‘West Wing-ing’ Wisconsin?
Note: The small Wisconsin town is “right wing,” not conservative. The workers are “undocumented,” not illegal aliens. Also worrisome is the provenance. Snarky and supercilious Jon Stewart, late of the Daily Show, wrote and directed. Brad Pitt is a co-producer. Remember how the latter used his Academy Award acceptance speech to blast Senate Republicans for not subpoenaing John Bolton in the impeachment hearings? (Remember the impeachment trial?)
Recall that Rose Byrne played the unsympathetic, too-perfect female rival of Kristen Wiig in the brilliant Bridesmaids. In other words, she was the “heavy.” That movie was set in and filmed its location shots in Milwaukee. Irresistible is set in the fictional Wisconsin burg of “Deerlaken” (smiley face) but apparently was filmed entirely in the state of Georgia. (The production was like Hillary that way, we surmise. Too busy to visit us in person.)
Fear v. Shame, the rematch
On the other hand … City slicker Carell’s encounters with cows are comic and does suggest he’s out of touch with real people. (The Hillary thing, again.) A comment on YouTube posits: “Stewart is on the left, but he’s long called out the Democratic Party for having their heads in their own asses and using losing strategy.”
A quote from Irresistible suggests a pox (or coronavirus) on everyone’s house: “Twenty bucks says I do better with fear than you do with shame,” the Republican Byrne tells Democrat Carell. At least that’s balanced commentary.
To research the movie, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Stewart reached out to Kathy Cramer, the University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor who wrote The Politics of Resentment. Her political anthropology explores that exotic tribe of rural Wisconsin hayseeds who switched to Trump in 2016.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Cramer’s book title alone, “Politics of Resentment,” is tendentious enough. What if Cramer had written “The Politics of Awakening/ Enlightment/ Empowerment”? Loaded question: