Before November 8, 2016, America’s gun control law and America’s diplomacy in the middle east were the biggest jokes in the world. But then it all changed. Against all odds and despite losing the popular vote, the biggest joke in the world became the most powerful man in the free world. Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist – Donald Trump is only two of the above (no prizes for guessing which ones!) No matter how many jokes we make, these are scary times. Trump, in a short time, has managed to make a bunch of horrendous decisions and has even managed to reverse some of the good done by his predecessor. And no, it isn’t just America’s problem. We have almost half of world’s nukes in the hands of an unstable, supremacist, bigoted, self-centered and overall ‘bad hombre’. And there isn’t much one can do about it.
Well, there is something really tiny we can try though. Mr. Trump is an avid movie buff. So much so that while the world protested his immigration ban on seven countries, he was watching ‘Finding Dory’! As we Cinemaholics have always maintained, Cinema changes and shapes lives. And Trump’s favourite films explain a lot about his personality. His choices (except surprise entry ‘Gone With The Wind’) show archetypal, dominant males climbing ladders of success through hard work, which he might believe correspond to his own life. But if he probably watches something other than the machismo of magnates and gangsters, he might become a little saner. In the dire hope, here are some films we would recommend to Donald Trump. To make sure the list reaches him, we are in talks with Fox News to publish this list, because that is the only media source he doesn’t find ‘fake’ ;-P ! Here we go:
10. American History X (1998)
During and after his campaign, Trump made outrageously racist statements against so many minorities that listing them would make this article a thesis paper. His incendiary statements compel me to add this harrowing film about a Neo-Nazi supremacist named Derek (played by Ed Norton with verve), who is imprisoned for manslaughter and comes out a reformed man. But his past catches up to him and his little brother Danny, who is heading down the same path Derek did. A brutal end leaves us with a message that “Hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it” and a para from the inaugural address of Trump’s fellow Republican Abe Lincoln, which talks about friendship and inclusiveness beautifully. Something for Trump to brood upon.
8 & 9. A Separation (2011) & The Salesman (2016)
When Trump decided to impose an immigration ban on seven predominantly Muslim nations, Jamesheed Akrami, a film studies professor at William Paterson University, penned a heartfelt open letter to Trump, urging him to watching some Iranian films to understand how an Iranian filmmaker’s lens captures his people. And no films perform this job than Asghar Farhadi’s two gripping dramas, both of which won ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Oscars.
‘A Separation’ focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, the disappointment and desperation suffered by their daughter due to the egotistical disputes and separation of her parents, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, while ‘The Salesman’ is about a married couple who perform the play ‘Death of a Salesman’ on stage, when the wife is assaulted. Her husband attempts to determine the identity of the attacker, while she struggles to cope with post-trauma stress. Hopefully these humane portrayals of the Iranian populace ought to change Trump’s bias towards them.
7. The Age Of Stupid (2009)
This 2009 docudrama is one of the most important films dealing with climate change. I thought about including ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ or ‘Before The Flood’ to this list, but as they feature former Democratic VP Al Gore and Former President Barrack Obama respectively, Trump would certainly skip those! I instead chose ‘The Age Of Stupid’ for it envelopes its message in a post-apocalyptic story. It features a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching actual archival footage from the mid-to-late 2000s and asking, “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?” Hopefully after watching this Trump stops saying ridiculous things like “NYC is cold. We need global warming!” and rejoins the Paris Agreement for Christ’s sake!
6. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 historical drama tells the story of a silver miner-turned-oilman named Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California’s oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is one of the greatest films of the millennium, while DDL’s performance in it is an undisputed era-defining role. But it is more than cinematic merit which lands ‘There Will Be Blood’ on our list. The film lays bare the wicked, sociopathic side of capitalism, which Trump is a champion of. In his famous ‘I hate most people’ monologue, Plainview describes his own ruthless approach of smooth-talking with simpletons. Trump, if he can appreciate the satire in the film (which is doubtful, but worth a shot!), can take a lot home from this one.
5. Inside Out (2015)
Although it is a kid’s animation feature, Pixar’s ‘Inside Out; is one of their most emotionally aware (!) and mature offerings. And considering the sheer range and volatility of emotions faced by the wild child of the White House, he needs to watch this film more than any kid does. Trump has acted out (sometimes during the middle of the night!) on twitter more than Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus combined since assuming office. The story of the emotions inside the head of 11-year old Riley might, just might, bring some emotional maturity to the proceedings. Or else, Trump could just end up liking anger and disgust the most and make them the protagonists of his brain!
4. Erin Brockovich (2000)
If there is any community Trump has insulted even more than Mexicans and Muslims, it is the ladies. He has called women “fat, pigs, dogs, disgusting animals”. He has ridiculed female candidates based on their appearance. The capper; he has said that he’d date his daughter! And this is all just the tip of the tip of the giant iceberg of Trump’s misogyny. Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 biographical drama about a lawyer / single mother who almost single-handedly brought down Pacific Gas & Electric Company in a class action suit is thus a perfect watch for Trump to make him a little less conceited and a little more respectful. And if not…
2 & 3. Kill Bill – Volume 1 (2003) & 2 (2004)
…Then he should probably watch this two-part series from the master of gore Quentin Tarantino about ‘The Bride’, who wakes up from a 4-year coma and sets out on a relentless and bloody quest for revenge against her former comrades of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and their leader – the titular Bill. Crazy knife fights, 88 Yakuza men and even getting buried alive cannot cease her onslaught. Uma Thurman as ‘The Bride’ embodies the most badass female character of celluloid, period. Watching her bite, claw, slash and punch her way in this high-octave gorefest should make him think twice before talking smack with the ladies.
1. V For Vendetta
The cinematic adaptation of a DC graphic novel of the same name, ‘V For Vendetta’ takes place in an alternative future where the UK is under a neo-fascist regime and a masked anarchist named V sparks a rebellion against it. The reason this film needs to be watched by Trump is the trajectory on which the Trump administration is taking America. In ‘V For Vendetta’, political opponents, immigrants, Muslims and other ‘undesirables’ are rounded up in concentration camps under an all-powerful chancellor named Adam Sutler. Trump’s regressive policies, although not as extremist as the film yet, are heading in the same direction as Sutler’s government. Watching this film could thus be a wake-up call for The Donald, and all this time would be forgotten like a nightmare. Oh, how I dream…!
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