Sunday, November 17, 2013

Down is Up

White House Down (2013) doesn't get a lot of love, but for us, it just hit the spot. (Yes, this is another edition of "We liked that movie that everybody says is junk".)

It stars a somewhat Brendan Frasier-esque Channing Tatum as a bodyguard for the Speaker of the House, but he is hoping to get a job with the Secret Service guarding the President. Partly this is because his daughter is a White House fanatic and it's about the only way he can get the 11 year old to give him the time of day. So he takes her on a White House tour on the day that terrorists take the White House hostage. But, since this is a Roland Emmerich movie, first they blow up the Senate, because of course they do.

Now Tatum wasn't going to get the Secret Service job, because the hiring boss turns out to be one of his many ex-girlfriends, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in serious ballbuster mode. But in the confusion he winds up guarding the president anyway - President Jamie Foxx!

Now, here's the thing - this is an action comedy - comedy quotient somewhere around Die Hard, say. A lot of the people who didn't like this movie seemed to have missed that. They saw it as unrealistic, not goofy. Fair enough, it wasn't really laugh-out-loud funny, maybe it's just not your thing.

The other reason a lot of people didn't like this movie is that Foxx was clearly doing his Obama. Almost every negative review in IMBD had something to say about Kenyan socialists. Now, I think Obama is possibly the coolest president in history. Maybe not the best, but the one with the most cool. Foxx plays the president as idealistic, a little geeky, and fun. There's a little scene with the President grabbing some hard shoes from the closet, then changing his mind and grabbing a pair of Air Jordans - the best footwear for a hostage situation.

Come on, wouldn't you bet that Obama has a pair in his closet?

The little girl, Joey King, is pretty great - courageous but not suicidal, with just enough "fuck you" attitude mixed in. I also enjoyed the terrorists - if you ever find yourself shouting "just shoot him!" at a movie, you'll like these guys. But, violent as they are, they still manage to look like lovable lunkheads half the time.

Now, it seems that there was another White House hostage movie that came out this year, Olympus Has Fallen. It's got Gerard Butler instead of Channing Tatum, Morgan Freeman instead of Jamie Foxx. Maybe it's better - a lot of people think so. But this was just what we wanted on a Friday night.

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