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Donald Trump and His Capers

Don Rose 11 January 2018 No Comment

Because of his previous occupation as host of a “reality show” and his alleged admonition to staff that every day should be seen as a new episode that he wins, he is sometimes talked of as the reality-show president. This might apply  if you recall some of those on-camera, chair-throwing battles on shows hosted by such notables as Geraldo Rivera and Morton Downey Jr.

   I,  however, have a different take. I see this presidency as one of my favorite genre films, the caper movie. You know–from John Huston’s great “Asphalt Jungle” to Jules Dassin’s “Rififi” and “Topkapi” to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” all the way to Quentin Tarantino’s dark and violent “Reservoir Dogs”–the caper movie has become a classic form.

   In rough outline all follow somewhat the same pattern: would-be evil genius comes up with a complex plan to steal millions or heist some priceless treasure protected by an impermeable, highly sophisticated bank or museum’s protective system–often electronic or simply clad with yard after yard of steel or concrete.

    He assembles a crew of disparate, unlikely assistants–most of whom distrust each other as well as the main guy himself. Nevertheless, they manage to pull it off. Then the fun begins: the falling out among thieves. One rats out another, yet another kills one of his compadres, and eventually the whole thing falls apart–often through keen police work.


   Now imagine if you will, the impossible treasure is the presidency of the United States. A prize won by only 44 men since the beginning of the nation–sometimes in a surprise upset, but considered by one and all to be totally out of reach for the self-infatuated evil genius of 2016.

    As I see it, the film would be written and directed by Quentin Tarantino in a mash-up of “Reservoir Dogs” with bits of “Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill” and “The Hateful Eight” thrown in, featuring some of his regular players, such as Uma Thurman as Melania Trump. She, according to a new book, didn’t want Trump to win. He is played by Louis C.K. in a wig..

    But through the strategizing of Steve Bannon–played by Harvey Keitel–the unlikely candidate wins, abetted by Vladimir Putin, played by Christoph Walz, the smart Nazi officer in “Inglourious Basterds.”

   The rest of his motley crew includes Jennifer Jason Leigh as Ivanka Trump and Tim Roth as her husband Jared Kushner. Danny DeVito plays Reince Priebus and Louise Fletcher (remember her as Nurse Ratched in “Cuckoo’s Nest”?) plays Sarah Huckabee Sanders while Cloris Leachman plays Kellyanne Conway. Don Jr. and Eric Trump are the duo of Steve Carell and Ben Stiller.  Rounding it out is John Malkovich–who else?– as Michael Flynn.

     James Comey is played by Jeff Bridges.

   We are currently living through the part where the thieves are stabbing each other in the back and ratting each other out.  Meanwhile, we are waiting for the good cop, Robert Mueller III, to catch them all. He is of course played by Tom Hanks.

    Let’s hope this caper movie has a short run and no sequel.

Don Rose is a regular columnist (and occasional restaurant critic) for the Chicago Daily Observer

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