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February 20th, 2012
10:48 PM ET

Letters to the President #1127: 'Movie Night'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me every day. I get writer's cramp. It's a fair trade, I guess.

Dear Mr. President,

I read earlier today something which I think I already knew: Your favorite movie is "The Godfather."

Not a bad choice. Certainly it is a fine piece of filmmaking. I always wonder, however, what such choices tell us about the chooser.

It could mean that you just love the intertwined levels of involvment for generations of the same family wrapped up in an illicit trade. (Hey, it wasn't all olive oil). Or maybe you love the character development; the doomed future of young Michael who will fall to the family trade despite his father's hopes. Or maybe you just love the whole horse head scene. Who knows, right?

As for me, I would probably say my favorite film is "The Hustler," or maybe "Miller's Crossing," or...well, I'm not sure, but that's because I was once a film critic. Asking me to name my favorite film is like asking an art critic to name his favorite painting out of the thousands he has seen.

As a theme, however, I am most assuredly drawn to struggles of underdogs. I love the hard won triumph by the person who has little reason to believe it will come his or her way.

Not sure if that suggests I like winning or losing, or if...as Kipling says...I've learned to see both of those imposters for just what they are.

As I write this I am flying back to DC from New York. Beautiful view of Manhattan out the window. I could see all the lights of Times Square a moment ago, and now I can just make out the beacon on the Statue of Liberty. Perfect night.
Call if you have a moment.

Regards,
Tom

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