In one of the most mind-numbingly insouciant moments of the 2016 election cycle, at the CBS News debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were asked by a normie to the tenth degree to name something they respect in the other. They both gave cheap answers and centrist corners of the internet idealized the moment for a solid week or so as the symbol of the mythic American Democratic spirit and the last dying hope for bi-partisanship. In retrospect (or even at the time), it was an embarrassment. Someone at CBS had to approve the question. Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz nod in confirmation, donning smiles on their faces as the question levels the playing field and validates the “two evils” hypothesis prompted by reluctant Trump voters and conservative abstainers who “just couldn’t” get themselves to vote for Hillary. More importantly, the question set aside real politics—the shifting demographies of power and “the part of those without a part” to find a part, to loosely use a phrase coined by Jacques Rancière—for bullshit.
Two years later, director Peter Farrelly would win the Academy Award for Best Picture for Green Book, a movie with a complicated critical legacy to say the least. In Green Book, Farrelly seems to think he’s a leftist—and maybe if it were made in the 1960s, he’d be called that. But it wasn’t and he’s not. Like the normie at that 2016 debate, Farrelly has no idea what politics are: the fight for the “part.” For the French philosopher Rancière, politics is the attempt to be counted in a system that always miscounts or discards. It’s those without a part struggling for a part.
In Farrelly’s political perspective, politics is something lighter, almost unimportant, and he goes to great lengths to purge real political gravity from his films. In his newest movie, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Zac Efron plays the real-life “hero” John ‘Chickie’ Donohue who experiences some sort of coming-of-age crisis and, trying to lift the diminishing spirits of American soldiers, he decides to deliver beer to his friends serving in Vietnam. His sister, Christine (Ruby Ashbourne Serkis), a Columbia student who protests the war in strictly non-violent ways, antagonizes Chickie and his war-happy friends with her anti-war inclinations.
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