“Two men, a country in crisis – you decide” is the tagline. It’s absolutely brilliant and ever so simple. The ad is not about Patrick Murphy being a drunk. The ad is not about character even. The ad is about leadership.
Is this Allen West ad: Hey, guess where I was while my opponent was drunk and disorderly? just a gussied up attack ad? NO. NO. NO.
The Allen West ad is about leadership and the American people deciding who is needed now for the crisis at hand. THAT’S WHAT THIS AD IS ABOUT – and this ad can easily be used as a template for Mitt Romney ads and Mitt Romney specifically (as we stated above, more on this next week as we provide our best debate advice).
The Allen West ad is a template. Several months back there were pictures floating around the Internets of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in their youth. Barack was smoking something and Romney was working as a missionary or some other equally salutary task. There’s no need to do an ad featuring these two men in their youth – but there are other contrasts that should be drawn.
The Mitt Romney campaign could easily borrow the Allen West ad and do an ad answering (not asking – answering) the question of where Obama was on the Sunday after September 11, 2001 and where Mitt Romney was. Show Mitt Romney at his Mormon church and Obama at his “God Damn America” Wright cell. Make it relevant to today. Tie this all to the Middle East and the Benghazi lies and state “Two men, a country in crisis – you decide who is better suited to stop the attacks on America.”
Try “Two men, a country in crisis – Obama will get you killed, Mitt Romney will rescue America.” Draw a strong contrast. Use facts and visuals. This is not very complicated stuff but you have to be willing to fight.
“Two men, a country in crisis.” Romney has to use contrast and compare ads. Romney has to have a sense of urgency as well and declare that this election is about something real big – the country, freedom – it’s not about free phones.
I'm not a big Clint Eastwood fan. I'm not an enemy either. I've seen a ton of his movies. If my grandfather took us kids to the movies, we were going to see a Clint film. It wasn't, "Oh, I'll take the kids to see Disney!" It was, "Clint's got a new movie called 'The Rookie,' it's rated-R, I'm taking all the little kids." Serious.
And if you were watching a video at his house, always a good chance it was one of his Clint videos.
So I feel like I've got a good overview of Clint's type of films and all. (First film I saw in college on my college campus? Clint's "In The Line Of Fire." They had the DVD or maybe those big discs -- laser discs? -- and they showed it one Friday, some group, charging a buck for their campus organization. It was my first weekend on campus. My grandfather loves that story.)
So Clint spoke at the GOP convention and I thought he was good. If they hadn't attacked him in the press, I wouldn't have given it another thought. But they savaged him. And he gave a good speech. And besides doing it good with the chair and all, there were times I also agreed with him (like on getting all the US troops out of Afghanistan).
I thought he did a good job so when I saw "The Eiger Sanction" for streaming at Netflix as a suggestion for me because I like spy movies, I thought, "He's usually never awful so it should be okay." It was better than okay. It's really a good movie. And he directed it. Which I must have missed at the start of the film and didn't catch until the end credits.
So he was a US spy of some sort -- for a secret organization -- and he went around killing people. Now he's Dr. Hemlock, a college art professor. There's a scene early on where a blond student flirts with him and he turns down her offer to sleep with him and slaps her on the butt that wouldn't play today -- could professors really get away with it in the 70s?
So the agency brings him back in with promises of money and, what Clint really wants, a letter from the IRS stating they know about his art collection, how he obtained it and that it is tax free.
So he does this mission that takes him out of the US and he's apparently mistaken for a gay man. I don't know if it was supposed to be insulting or not. I didn't take it that way if it was. At any rate, he climbs in the third or 4th floor window when he can't get in through the front and kills the man the agency wanted him too. Then he flies home. On the way home Jem (Vonetta McGee doing a great job!) is a flight attendant and she notices he's written "Crap" next to something and they talk about that. The flirting continues when they both leave the airport and she's already got a taxi. He joins her and then they eat at his place and he shows her his secret art collection. He's obtained it illegally, we're supposed to figure out.
They got to bed.
He awakes to a ringing phone the next morning. It's Jem. She tells him there's coffee by his bed and he wishes she were still there in it. She tells him she's sorry.
She's sorry because she works for the agency.
He goes looking and all of his paintings are gone.
He was sent on a minor mission and now they're forcing him to do the big mission.
That's the thrust of the film.
And there are surprises throughout including in the last three minutes.
It's a really good film.
Vonetta McGee was really great. The only thing I'd seen her in before this was "Repo Man" (the Emilio movie, not the Jude Law one). So this is from Wikipedia:
Vonetta McGee was born in San Francisco, to Alma and Lawrence McGee. She graduated from San Francisco Polytechnic High School and made her debut in 1968 as the eponymous character in the Italian comedy Faustina. In the same year she performed alongside Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski in the Western The Great Silence, but became well known for her parts in the 1972 Blaxploitation films Melinda and Hammer.
In the action thriller Shaft in Africa (1973), McGee took the role of Aleme, the daughter of an emir, who teaches John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) Ethiopian geography. Vonetta McGee played “Thomasine” in the western action film Thomasine & Bushrod, in 1974. Max Julien portrayed Bushrod in a film intended as a counterpart to the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. She also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the action thriller The Eiger Sanction (1975).
In 1987, McGee married the actor Carl Lumbly; they had one child, Brandon. McGee died from cardiac arrest on July 9, 2010.
I'm going to have to check out some more films with her because she was so good. She was a star in this film and director Clint presented her as one. He made sure she got good angles and material and her character is really memorable in a way that Black actresses rarely get to be. Jem is a fully realized character. Halle Berry (who is mixed) is a great actress. But in too many films, they don't have a part for her. They just plug Halle into an underwritten role. I wish they'd remake this film because it would really give Halle a great role. (I would also put her on the mountain climbing expedition in a remake. The character gets sidelined in the last third.)
Going out with C.I's "Iraq snapshot:"