Wag the Dog produced by Barry Levinson and Robert De Niro (Baltimore Pictures and TriBeCa Productions, 1997, 97 minutes, $15.99, rated R)
If you like Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro and Anne Heche and Craig T. Nelson and Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson, you just may like this dark comedy about the final weeks before a presidential election. On the other hand, you may just need a diversion from the events of yesterday, 8 November 2016.
Problem: The incumbent faces a sex scandal a mere two weeks before the election.
Solution: Take the country’s attention off sex by fabricating a fake war with Albania, a nuclear power. (Shades of The Mouse That Roared? )
Sit through a long 97 minutes of humor in a movie with a war theme, a war song (thanks, Willie Nelson!), a real production, a humorous pageant complete with a US soldier rescued from behind enemy lines. On the other hand, you may have something better to do. Anything.
Gem: Wag the Dog came out one month prior to the unfolding of the Clinton-Lewinsky unfolding. Later, when Bill Clinton heard that De Niro had a new movie out, he asked De Niro what it was about. (Needless to say, De Niro nearly choked on his reply.)
Other presidential movies to take your mind off current events include the marvelous Dave
PS – The trailer (click here) may be the best thing about Wag the Dog! (available on Netflix)