Monday Morning Critic – How Donald Trump’s Election Will Help Cinema … or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New President In Three Ways


The last couple of months since I’ve written this column regularly have been just what the doctor ordered. Facing burnout, and in the middle of making a web series, this had to go to the wayside. Plus, there wasn’t much worthwhile to write about in the past couple of months as well. Besides Ghostbusters being the hilarious misfire that it was, mainly due to the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash) against it, there hasn’t been much that would’ve inspired me to write as well.

Up until now. After shrugging at Trump’s election, and monitoring all the craziness that has followed, that ability to write something has come back. It was amazing to a certain degree to see what happened on Election Night. Everything we know about politics is shifting, etc, and it’s going to have ramifications for generations. One of the biggest places will be in Hollywood, which has needed a boost of creativity for some time. In an era of superhero films, superhero sequels and reboots of franchises long since dead Trump’s election is going to change the marketplace.

This was a fairly lackluster year so far for cinema, to the point where finding 10 films for a Top 10 of 2016 list is much tougher than normal. Getting the desire to see a movie is tougher and tougher for me; there isn’t much out there that’s worth watching anymore that hits theaters first. Between Netflix, Video on Demand and Amazon Prime it’s much easier to find quality cinema & television these days.

Pro tip: the best new series on Netflix is The Get Down, recommended by Marcus Drew Steele. He’s also a great actor and journalist, too, but I’m biased in his favor.

The greatest thing to happen to cinema in a decade has just happened, folks. Trump is elected … and for all the backlash to the democratic process it might be the best thing to happen to Hollywood since 3D allowed for higher box office grosses all around. Listen to me now, watch the first episode of “Confessions of a Superhero” (and make sure to like us on Facebook/subscribe to us on YouTube) and believe me in roughly seven minutes or so.

There’s a handful of reasons why Hollywood will likely be a better place with Trump as President than with Clinton.

1. Our perception of celebrity is about to change … as well as celebrities’ perceptions of themselves

All the threats of “If Trump wins I’m moving to Canada” are curiously being walked back … it’s what Bill Burr said recently. People aren’t going to bail on Malibu for Manitoba. It does have a great fiddling culture but it’s not quite as nice, weather wise. For as much as we wrongly give celebrities more credit than they deserve in intellectual matters, especially those who aren’t really famous for anything significant or for any talent, seeing celebrities have to walk back the ridiculous statements they made has been spectacular.

I get it, these are statements made in the heat of emotion, but it gives perspective. They’re just like us, after all!

Also “Who’ll be the first major actor to actually run for office?” is a gambling pool waiting to happen. Trump, who had no political experience going into this election, gambled that his fame was great enough to overcome people’s rightful uneasiness with it. During the primary election season he got the equivalent of $4 billion in free advertising from news networks. Someone more famous than him will get the same treatment, too, if they decide to run. If you’re politically minded and a famous A-list actor you now have a template on how to try to hold political office without experience due to Trump. You actually don’t have to do something small, like be the mayor of Carmel by the Sea, first.

You can say “Screw that” and run for President or Governor without any experience in the process besides angry Twitter rants and political donations now! And someone is going to be so motivated after seeing what Trump can do that they’ll run for some office using a similar method.

To go with that we’ll get the equivalent of deep Googling on celebrities that hasn’t existed (and that politicians have gone through) for eons. Ted Cruz’s college roommate got his 15 minutes of fame, after all, and all the stories of people who had experiences with a young celebrity, before fame, are going to get there’s too. Seeing the deep digging into the public and personal details of a mainstream star like George Clooney will be something to behold; imagine all the dirt that’s been wrapped up for years on an A-lister begging to come out. Every grudge and score waiting to be settled, as the entertainment industry is rather ruthless in that regard, will come out.

Just remember: NBC sat on that Billy Bush footage for nearly a decade. They probably have far worse, too, buried in there. Someone, somewhere has something equally as bad on most A-list celebrities. Hollywood is an industry that seemingly runs on deception and obscuring the truth. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and we’ll probably see a lot of disinfecting if and when someone is the first guy to go through the wall. Seeing behind the scenes footage of someone like Clooney, and not something manufactured to make him look good, is going to change the game.

2. An entire new genre of film is back in play

After a decade where action films have struggled with the usual sorts of antagonists that aren’t that strong … we officially now have one back. EVIL GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY!

It was slightly used in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as it was a Hydra conspiracy lodged into the highest levels of government, but the “President hatching an evil conspiracy and only one man can stop him” film is back and might have $100 million behind it. Imagine Die Hard 8: Bruce Needs a New Mercedes as John McClane is battling the evil forces from the government. The fact that a film with a governmental conspiracy in it is now officially in play is a good thing. Hollywood works best when it has a White House it doesn’t like.

The only film in recent memory that did anything memorable with that was Shooter, which is more memorable as Marky Mark’s first in a long line of paycheck films. Three Days of the Condor came out in the post-Watergate era and maybe there’s another film like that waiting for the right time to be made. That time is now.

3. Documentary filmmakers now get to go back and re-visit everything Trump

The one thing that was the saddest about this past election is that no one really cared about Trump’s past up until he got the nomination. It was a circus that everyone was on and no one wanted to stop and make sure the Bearded Lady actually had facial hair instead of a glued-on collection of dog shavings. We have an entire generation of documentary filmmakers waiting for a topic like Trump, from his business dealings to the USFL, to cover. And now they’ll be able to find the funds to do so.

Hollywood funded, and lost ungodly amounts of money, making films that weren’t the most flattering to the Bush Administration. Now they have someone who’s most likely going to be uniquely awful in the annals of American government to set their sights on. Expect them to open the pocket books after Inauguration Day, if not sooner.

If there’s a genre of film that has exploded in quantity and quality over the past decade it’s been documentaries. With the death of a number of fictional categories just hearing people’s stories has become much easier, especially with things like politics and sports. Now an entire generation of filmmakers who’ve made films like The Other Dream Team, Tyson, Bigger, Stronger, Faster and the like now have someone with lots of things to explore and, most likely, funding to explore it with.

Hollywood’s backlash to the Trump election was so pronounced that there’s probably millions be lined up for anti-Trump efforts. If someone was willing to write a check for nearly $30 million for Rendition and the like someone will find the money for He Said Competing with the NFL was a Good Idea: A Dissection of Donald Trump’s Machinations in the USFL.

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Scott Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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