“Ides of March” hit movie theaters over the weekend and came in second in box office receipts with $10.4 million (behind “Real Steal’s $27.3 million), but it was a bomb with DC insiders.
The movie’s topic hits a sweet spot for politicos: The George Clooney-directed film stars Ryan Goslin, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti and was adapted from the 2008 play, “Farragut North.” What tickles the interest of Washington types is that the play was inspired, in part, by former Howard Dean staffer Jay Carson.
Given Clooney’s close proximity to the circles of political power, there was hope that this treatment would be a winner amongst Washington’s Gang of 500.
So was it? Some of the reviews rolled in over the weekend, and the reception was less than glowing:
The Nation’s Ari Melber: “If I’d known ‘Ides of March’ was going to be that bad, I wouldn’t have seen it.”
Republican pollster Kristen Soltis: “Watched ‘Ides of March’ and my head hurts. It’s what someone who doesn’t know politics would fantasize that politics is like…I will say Ryan Gosling is EXCELLENT. But the plot/dialogue is so over the top. Ppl in theater laughed during the film’s climactic moment.”
Jon Thompson, press secretary for the Republican Governors Association: “Saw ‘Ides of March’ tonight. Not bad - kinda like ‘Primary Colors,’ but a drama. Can tell its Hollywood’s perception of DC, not reality.”
Aide to Republican politician Steve Poizner Jarrod Agen: “Just saw ‘Ides of March’…hey Goesling, no one ever said being a Communications Director was easy!”
Think Progress’s Alyssa Rosenberg: “The Worst Political Movie I’ve Seen In A Long Time.”
Heritage Foundation’s Ericka Andersen: “Oh yeah meant ot tell ya’ll that the Ides of March was not that great. Could have been way better.”
Former Treasury and White House Official Tony Fratto: “I don’t know which presidential campaign vets consulted in Ides of March, but they ought to have their licenses revoked…Too many errors & unrealistic scenarios.”
Not everyone was so harsh, however.
Democratic consultant Joe Trippi: “I thought it was pretty good. … I thought the movie did an incredible job of showing how you start out as one person and, by the end, you can’t believe you had anything to do with some of the decisions that got made.”
Politicos aside, movie critics aren’t in love. The Boston Globe dinged it as “naive at heart.” Roger Ebert said “There isn’t the feeling, as there was with ‘Primary Colors’ or ‘Nixon’ that we might be getting the inside story on actual candidates.” Slate’s Dana Stevens called it “static and lifeless, like a civics-class diorama.” But The New York Times’ Brian Stelter “loved it.”
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