Reporter's Note: Films have been shown in the White House ever since 1915, and since the 1940’s there has been a built in theater for that purpose. So in the spirit of summer drive-ins, my regular letters to President Obama will have a cinematic flair for the next several Saturdays. So FADE IN: Oval Office…the President clicks on a website..
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
My younger daughter has embarked on a summer odyssey of watching a couple dozen of the greatest films ever made, and that has spurred some pretty fun family conversations about what ought to be on the list. So far we have already screened Cool Hand Luke, Miller’s Crossing, and The Shining. “Redrum! Redrum!”
Right now I think we have Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s lined up.
My wife, as you might expect from my previous letters, is pushing the more terrifying fare: Blue Velvet, Jaws, Night of the Living Dead, and the entire Silent Night/Deadly Night series (which, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve already told her does not qualify a “classic” filmdom). I’m heavy on the character shows: The Hustler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tender Mercies. And we all agree on the epics: Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, The Godfathers I & II, but not III even on a rainy day.
I have plenty of my own favorites to sneak into the mix. Hannah and Her Sisters, Matewan, Badlands, American Graffiti, any of the old Marx Brothers or W.C. Fields movies. I guess in fairness a good number of these don’t qualify as “classics” but I really like them and I hope the kids do too. (And yes, we know some of our choices have questionable scenes so the girls are used to us shoving their heads down into the sofa pillows and shouting nonsense syllables until the objectionable material passes. We’re old school that way.)
Anyway, I think movies have an awful lot to teach us if we pick them properly and pay attention to their lessons. After all, they’re just like books, only shorter, less complete, and enjoyable even in the dark. Ha!
Do you have any suggestions? I have to admit I’ve never thought of you as a big time movie guy, but you’ve got that cool home theater setup at the White House, so if you have a fav give us a call, and we’ll bring a copy over for a watch party. But you’ll have to spring for the popcorn.
I’ll keep you up to date each weekend of the summer on our progress, and review the insights we are collecting from the nation’s film legacy. Here’s one to start with from Cool Hand Luke: uh…road work seems tough.
I’ll work on it.
Find more of the Foreman Letters, here.
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