Main Plot Points:
- All The King’s Men – Willie Stark (Penn) is an ordinary man from a rural town, demanding that crooked politicians and shady businessmen in Lousiana be held accountable for the collapse of a poorly built school. Urged to run for Governor by a dubious political advisor, Tiny Duffy (three-time Emmy® Award winner James Gandolfini, Lead Actor in a Drama Series, The Sopranos, 2000, 2001, 2003) Stark, finds his voice as a charismatic man of the people. He then befriends a young idealistic journalist, Jack Burden (Law), who eventually ends up working for him. But when Stark asks Burden to dig deep for damaging information on an old family friend, Judge Montague Irwin (Hopkins), Burden begins to question his own morality and Stark’s surprising transformation into an inflexible leader that will stop at nothing to remain in power.
- Nixon – From Oscar®-winning director Oliver Stone (JFK) and starring Anthony Hopkins (in an Oscar®-nominated performance), NIXON is the monumental motion picture that delves into the inner sanctum of a tragic world leader – uncovering his greatest moments and his shattering demise! An all-star cast, including Oscar® nominee Joan Allen, Ed Harris and James Woods.
- Storyville – James Spader, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and Jason Robards star in this seductive murder mystery from the co-creator of Twin Peaks. The son of a powerful Louisiana family, Cray Fowler (Spader), is a rising political star for whom a moment’s weakness threatens a lifetime ambition. Videotaped having sex with a beautiful prostitute (Charolette Lewis), Cray finds himself at the center of a spider’s web of blackmail and murder. Forced to defend the woman who betrayed him against the woman he once loved, Cray comes face to face with the dangerous secret that created his family’s power-and now threatens his own life. Unpredictable and erotic, Storyville is a modern-day Chinatown: suspenseful, shocking, and utterly seductive.
What We Thought:
- Political Dramas is a collection of political films, two of which I had seen, one I had not.
- First we have Nixon from Oliver Stone. Anthony Hopkins is absolutely brilliant as Richard Nixon and deservedly was nominated for the Oscar. The film itself received 4 nominations in total. To me it’s the least “Oliver Stone” film of his career. What I mean by that is that it’s more direct than most of his films. His movies usually have his point of view in them and this does, but it’s not that 100% way I expect from him.
- Maybe it’s Hopkins’ amazing performance that overrides everything else. He is simply a great actor. The cast of Joan Allen, Ed Harris, Powers Boothe, Bob Hoskins, Paul Sorvino and more just make it a must see film. If you like political biographies, see this.
- Next is All The King’s Men. It’s another strong ensemble cast that helps drive the movie. This is the 2006 version with Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins (again), Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini and more. It’s a heavy film, but the cast is fantastic.
- That being said, I don’t know if I even liked the movie. It was a dud at the box office and re-watching it now years later, I remember why it didn‘t do much. The performances are good, but it seems to miss its mark more than it hits it. It’s worth a watch for the cast though.
- Last we have Storyville starring James Spader. I had never heard of this never mind seen it. This one is about a senate candidate being blackmailed then unraveling years of family secrets in the process.
- It’s funny, because of the 1980s, I think of earlier James Spader films as movies where he’s the typical D-bag of the 80s, the cocky macho type etc. I love him as an actor now thanks to The Blacklist and other projects, but I forget he has really good performances in the middle. This is one of them. I thought he was great in this. I didn’t love the movie, it seems similar to a lot of other movies, but watch it for Spader’s performance if you are a fan.
- Political Dramas has one great film, Nixon. One film I think that’s better than others, Storyville. And one film that despite a loaded cast just isn’t that good, All The King’s Men. Get it for Nixon if for no other reason.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Anthony Hopkins
- Oliver Stone
- Sean Penn
- James Spader
- Jude Law
Recommended if You Like:
- A Few Good Men