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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

A Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue?

Okay, so one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop letting these weekly ramblings wander off into political territory. I mean, the two or three people who log onto this site are presumably doing so in order to read about movies or at least about entertainment topics. If they want political commentary, there are lots of other sites for that. And, besides, how entertaining could the Bush II administration be to write about anyway? (Rule of thumb: sequels are never as good as the originals.) Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Bill Clinton was always consistently more entertaining than most movies. But now he’s gone. Right?

I had (more or less) held firm to my “no politics” resolution for a whole month. Then somehow I found my browser pointing to a column by Roger Friedman on the Fox News web site. As Al Pacino emoted so forcefully in Godfather III, they keep pulling me back in!

Friedman reports that no less a movie director than Wes Craven actually filmed Clinton on his last day in office, as he gave a tour of the White House. Interestingly, the tour lasted about three hours, ending at 3 in the morning. This means that the veteran maker of horror films must have begun the filming around the witching hour of midnight! The result is a one-hour movie that will eventually be used in the Clinton Library in Arkansas.

One can’t help but speculate what this film will be like. Of course, it will almost certainly be an admiring hagiography in the vein of Craven’s biopic of music teacher Roberta Guaspari, Music of the Heart. In fact, it was a viewing of that very flick that prompted Clinton to ask Craven to take on the project in the first place. But it is much more fun to imagine Craven tackling the assignment more in the manner of the movies for which he is better known, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Indeed, Friedman quotes Craven himself as saying, “I was thinking, ‘Here I am, I’ve made some of the most horrific films, and now I’m in the White House. Someone said I should have brought a Scream mask and had someone jump out in it, but that would have been the last time we would have been invited over.”

Not necessarily. What if his film depicted a group of several certain individuals all getting mysterious invitations to appear at the White House at midnight on January 19? And as the clock strikes twelve, they find themselves alone in a little used study in the east wing. As they look around, they recognize one another. Ken Starr is there. So is Linda Tripp. As well as Gennifer Flowers. Not to mention Paula Jones. And Kathleen Willey. And Juanita Broderick. Et cetera. Ken Starr begins to explain that, if this were a horror movie, then whichever of those present was not a virgin would be sure to be slashed by the killer. They all laugh nervously at this, but the laughter stops abruptly when the lights suddenly go out. A maniacal chortle is heard and the faint glow of a ghoulish mask sweeps through the room. Then there is a blood-curdling scream. The lights come back on, and to everyone’s horror Linda Tripp has been impaled on a fabulously expensive sword with diamond-encrusted handle, which was a last-minute gift to the Clintons from Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw.

Okay, so the real movie probably won’t be anywhere near this interesting. But I bet that if the idea were actually presented to Bill Clinton, he would find it very appealing. Oh yeah, and he would probably want to add to the guest list whoever it was who told him that it was a good idea to pardon Marc Rich.

-S.L., 1 February 2001

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