Once you excuse the delirious sight of a Clint Eastwood facing the quick onset of senility engaging in a two-way conversation with an empty chair, political conventions are about the most boring excuse for television entertainment this side of reality shows about the owners of pawn shops. Political conventions used to be mysterious place where deals were made and party nominees were created. In the days before television it was a place where anything could and often did happen. Even in the earliest days of TV coverage, political conventions could make for exciting TV. Today, alas, with all the mystery of the nomination process long gone by the time rich people convene to party and listen to lies, these relics of the past are little more than very expensive infomercials selling pretty much the same kind of crap. Fortunately, we have Hollywood to thank for giving us a glimpse of what an exciting convention might look like if we did away with the bizarre process of letting a few thousand white guys in Iowa and New Hampshire pick our President.
The original version of "The Manchurian Candidate" was so far ahead of its time that its remake somehow seems more like a dated original made half a century before. If you have never seen the brainwashing segment at the beginning of "The Manchurian Candidate" then you can honestly say you have missed out on one of the ten most memorable movie sequences ever made. This story of conspiracy, paranoia and a very serious Oedipal Complex all leads inexorably toward a bloodbath at the one place where America's gun-toting psychos never seem to realize they could do the most good with the least amount of harm: a political convention.
Every four years the media gets into a frenzy over the breathless hope that the result of the primary season will be a brokered convention. And every four years the guy who was next in line always wins the Republican nomination and the Democrats usually find a way to put up their biggest loser against him. "The Best Man" shows what used to happen when the Presidential nominee was already determined by the middle of March when the convention was slated for the end of the summer. Enjoy "The Best Man" to the fullest because you are never, ever, in your lifetime going to see an actual brokered convention again in America. And especially not one like that which takes place in "The Best Man."
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