Philip Seymour Hoffman (Leap of Faith, State and Main, Mission: Impossible: III, and the upcoming Not Another Scientology Movie) follows the last six months of the 2000 Presidential election in the documentary The Party’s Over aka The Last Party 2000. Like Godzilla 2000, this is kind of a follow-up to an earlier movie, except the monsters in Godzilla movies are obvious. The first movie has Iron Man himself following the Presidential conventions in 1992.
From what I remember (I haven’t seen it since the good old days of the ’90s), the first movie is not only about politics but also Robert Downey Jr. himself. When I saw it, he was probably more interested in unique movies by filmmakers like James Toback, Mike Figgis, Oliver Stone, Robert Altman, Neil Jordan…etc more than the paycheck/franchise/tent pole movies with Disney’s Marvel or Joel Silver. The Party’s Over aka The Last Party 2000 doesn’t follow Hoffman as an actor, but rather an American citizen to be more politically involved.
Opening with the definition of democracy and footages of Martin Luther King Jr. and various protests, the perfectly structured film is more poignant in retrospect. The first act examines the state of the country at the time. Some young hipster douchebag interviewed by Hoffman in Time Square in New York blames capitalism and the lack of cause and movement, and MTV for his generation’s detachment with politics. Someone wrote Ebert to defend Fight Club for the same reasons. I wonder where these people were in the fall of 2001. This leads to footages of the WTO protest in Seattle the year before, a precursor to the Occupy movement perhaps. There was apparently some kind of training camp for protesters. Looking at it now, it reminds me of another kind of training camp, with rope climbing instead of monkey bars, with mostly white people instead of middle eastern. There’s probably quite a bit of crossover with Hempfest.
Before we get to the conventions, the film briefly touches on the gun issue. Hoffman and crew go to a gun show during which gun nuts believe that democrats are socialists and that the government stages horrific events so they can take away their guns. I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to these asshats at the time. It’s unfortunate that these retards are getting more volume with emphasis on the word “socialist.” whether it’s 9/11 or the Aurora movie theatre shooting, there are always fucktards who think that the government staged them as a way to take away their guns. On the other side is the Million Mom March (not to be confused with the similar sounding but mentally challenged One Million Moms), which is for stricter gun control. It’s not really the other side though, the slogan above their logo reads “sensible gun laws,” not “ban all guns.” One nostalgia factor here, and interesting in retrospect, is that Courtney Love was quite an eloquent public speaker.
The conventions themselves are actually quite boring. The Republican convention took place in Philadelphia, cause you know, the Republicans are all about brotherly love. Or maybe it’s the Catholic priests. Although, it almost looks quaint in comparison to the last few Republican conventions since it was before the Ayn Rand-loving trailer-park-residing illiterates show up.
The sole batshit crazy insanity comes courtesy of Pat Robertson’s shoulders and he doesn’t disappoint (something he’s still doing). He claims that he pays A LOT of taxes and that he doesn’t like his tax money going to things like “dirty” entertainment and abortions. There are two problems here: most religious institutions are tax-free, even ones based on crappy sci-fi novels, so Robertson is probably not paying as much tax as he claims; and only the most naive adult human would think that tax money should go to only things that he/she supports.
There is also a guy who thinks that social welfare programs should be faith-based. He believes that the reason people want to help others is solely because of Christian values. But this guy is also an ex-gay, so nothing he says should be taken seriously. Of course, there’s W soothing the base mentioning the word “conservative” three times in under two minutes and rallying for smaller government, and blames the Clinton administration for not leading the country at the same time.
This section ends on Farm Aid, with interviews with Willie Nelson, The Canadian (probably socialist) Barenaked Ladies, and actual famers. I wasn’t going to bring this up but I did learn something new. The great big corporate industrial farms are driving small family-owned farms out of business. The great big farms produce food with chemicals while products from small farmers are organic.
I think I would have been more receptive of organic food had they just focus on this economical aspect. Instead of “organic food is better for you and therefore everyone who eats only organic is better than you,” I am more incline to support “eating organic food means supporting your fellow countrymen who are farmers.” I don’t want to sound crass but it would definitely help if they get rid of the hippie smell in these “good-for-you” organic stores. There is no need to lie. The irony here, similar to the environmentally friendly vehicles, is that organic is often more expensive than regular food. The higher up the economic class, the less worries about the farmers, environment, or the future, unless you’re talking about one of those Hollywood liberals that we hear so much about.
The 2000 Democratic convention is perhaps doomed from the very premise. It took place in Los Angeles, home of the “liberal media.” You know, that place where “lamestream” media meets to come up with trick questions for Katie Couric to ambush Republicans and conservatives. It probably also didn’t help that the candidate is Al Gore, whose wife Tipper co-founded the PMRC against “inappropriate” music such as Twisted Sister. In another retrospective twist of fate, their song was recently used by Paul “Lyin'” Ryan. To the right, it looked like Hollywood and the left are in cahoots, and to the left, Gore is too in the middle to represent the left. Also doesn’t help, his Vice President pick Joe Lieberman, a “Democrat” who endorsed McCain/Palin in 2008.
Most professional critics seem to tag Hoffman as a liberal but I don’t quite get that from the movie. It was definitely interesting to see him singing along to “God bless America” during the Christian Coalition section of the Republican convention. In fact, he seems more agitated during the Democratic convention. Unlike Michael Moore, Hoffman and the directors (Rebecca Chaiklin and Donovan Leitch) don’t seem to have any personal agendas other than to investigate. There are a few scenes, where they could not get into a convention or trouble with the police, that remind of Moore’s films. With their round faces, baseball caps, and glasses, Hoffman and Moore (an interviewee in the movie) do look somewhat alike. I am waiting for their indie version of Face/Off.
Like most documentaries, the film is not above having a point of view, and in turn, playing favorites. With the distain for both parties, the Green party came off the best. There are interviews with Noam Chomsky, Tim Robbins, Ben Harper, Bill Maher, Ralph Nader, Eddie Veder, Ben from Ben & Jerry, and Scott Weiland. The convention footages are intercut with protests outside the conventions. The Republican convention protest are about social injustice while the Democratic convention protest are treated more harshly by the police. They also look to have less of a cause, but instead get a Rage Against the Machine outdoor concert. Without taking talent into consideration, Weiland’s view makes more sense to me than other former drug addict celebrities.
It was probably the right time for supporting a third party. Before the Republican party turned back time, before birth certificate-gate, before “socialist” and Muslim became buzzwords, before fringe groups became prominent, before bigoted illiterates started quoting a horribly written book they’ve never read. Maher blamed it on people who are seduced by economic prosperity but at least there was prosperity, and an economy. As a sensible person, Maher has thankfully changed his tune.
Will there be a time when the Green party becomes a major political party? Sure, when the Democratic party become the only major party, when people no longer pay attention to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, in other words, when there is no such thing as conservatives or Republicans. Oh, and actual separation of church and state would be good too. Maybe that should be a clause, a decree if you will, amendment may be too strong of a word. But maybe not, some people seem to focus mostly on the second of such thing.
Of course, the film ends with the historic 2000 Presidential election that renders everything that came before moot. We are all familiar with the robbery/heist/hijacking of that year. It adds to the value to the film that, while there are certainly progresses since then, we’ve also devolved. The recount, the Supreme Court decision, the hanging chads (ironic that the party so fixated and fervently opposed on things in the “wrong hole” ended up benefitting from people punching the wrong holes on their ballots). Less publicized is the fact that minorities were being detoured on their way to vote. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard about that though, as it is being passed and known as the voter ID laws, ironically supported by people who committed election frauds in the first place. So thanks, Florida.
As mentioned before, 2012 is turning out to be 2000 amplified. As far as the 2000 election goes, W, with friends on Fox News (who prematurely declared him winning Florida) and the Supreme Court, and a brother governing the deciding state of Florida, he’s the Parker Lewis of the 2000 Presidential election. On the bright side, it was before I hear the word “nucular,” or if you don’t go out shopping, the terrorists win. Of course, they totally got the guy responsible for 9/11. Mission: Accomplished.
With a running time of 90 minutes, The Party’s Over aka The Last Party 2000 brings up a lot of issues that deserve their own documentary. In addition to the two conventions the premise of the movie promises, it feels more like a merry-go-round of issues and events without any developments or thoughts. Hoffman comes off well as himself as he deals with various interview subjects. A small section of the movie works as a time capsule, but the majority of it reminds me of how despicably ugly things have become since then. Politically, we are worse off than we were twelve years ago.
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