‘Game Change’ authors defend controversial Sarah Palin portrayal

Reviews of the HBO film Game Change have tended to fall along partisan lines, with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin calling it  “Hollywood’s lies” and 2008 GOP nominee John McCain saying it will be a cold day in Gila Bend, Ariz. before he watches it.

Authors Mark Halperin and John Heileman defended the film Friday afternoon at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., saying that it factually captures Palin and McCain as human beings thrust into the historic 2008 race against Barack Obama.

But a clip of the film shown during the 45-minute discussion of Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Palin seemed almost cartoonish and exaggerated, and failed to capture the former governor’s natural charisma.

Halperin and Heileman wrote the book, upon which the film is based, with a screenplay in mind after entering into discussions with HBO.

Washington Post film critic Hank Steuver observed, “If thorough balance were really the name of the game here, then HBO could have made Game Change into a miniseries, of which Palin’s travails would have been but one night’s episode.”

Steuver echoed comments made by Byron York in our sister publication, The Washington Examiner, last month, “Why did Hollywood focus on only one-half of Game Change? The other half would have made a great movie.

It was certainly the most compelling part of the book, with no end of dramatic moments. The Clinton-Obama version of Game Change could have focused on the racially charged effort among Democrats to stop the first black man with a serious chance of winning their party’s presidential nomination.

The alternate Game Change could have featured the spectacle of Bill Clinton, the nation’s “first black President,” doing everything he could, risking his own reputation and place in history, to stop an actual black man from winning the office.

But Halperin and Heileman defended the decision to only focus on the Palin Vice Presidential nomination because there was only so much that could be crammed from a two-year presidential campaign into two hours.

The men said they and director Jay Roach were fascinated with Palin’s story as a young mother of five, with 18 months in office as governor of Alaska, who suddenly found herself thrust onto the national stage.

Some critics have suggested the trailer portrayed Palin as overly ambitious and obsessed with her image in Alaska.

Moore told CBS that the film’s producers elicited her team’s participation to no avail and that everything in the film had been properly sourced.

Halperin and Heileman say a sequel about the current presidential race is in the works.

Watch a showing of the movie on HBO this weekend, the first one airs at 9pm tonight and again at Midnight, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Comments

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I think its disgusting. My wife wants to watch it and I asked her why. SHe doesnt have a real political side shes more of an Independant. I myself being a conservative watched the previews and say the actors faces in some clips like who is this Idiot. One clip showed how they were concerend with her Foreign policy knowledge. Its all a farce and I guess I could not expect anything different from Liberal HBO. BAsh conservatives and Put liberals on a Pedistool.

    1. Brian says:

      Before I say anything else, let me state this. I love the show. I am osesbsed with it. Ok on to my issues. I think at this point, my biggest complaint with the show is their handling of Daenerys. She is NOTHING like in the books. Every definitive scene that we experience her in how she grows, how her relationship with Drogo develops, how she begins to believe and know she is Khaleesi, have been completely destroyed. Where she is in the show right now, by this point in the books, we know Dany is a force to be reckoned with, and her growth and development make sense. In the show, she is still this unsure little girl who is victimized at every turn. This is not Daenerys. Like the scene in this week s episode for example. In the books this is the first time we see her stand up to Viserys. There were two instances in that scene that were changed that drastically change the tone of the scene, and their relevance to Dany’s development. Why the writers are choosing to do this, only they know but I sure hope that we start seeing Dany come into her own because she is one of the main characters of these books, and she just doesn t feel that important to me in the TV show, even though she is getting the screen time. Another big beef I have is Drogo. In the TV show he is nothing more than a rapist barbarian, and in the books, he is so much more. He is actually one of my favorite characters, and it makes me very sad that he is not getting the treatment he deserves. The lack of importance given to the relationship between the Stark children and the dire wolves is also bothering me a lot, but I understand that there is only so much you can do here. Now -this week s episode. For a third episode I thought it did its job. It wasn t as fast paced or intense as the first two, but we were introduced to some of the major players at King’s Landing. I think one of my favorite scenes was Arya and Syrio. It felt very authentic though I disliked the fact that the scene with Ned and Arya that eventually leads up to Arya and Syrio was completely changed. Maybe I m being overly critical but for me, it is these nuances that the TV show seems to be skipping, that make these books so fantastic. Catelyn s arrival to King s Landing comes to mind. One scene that I loved but again, had issues with (I m such a complainer lol) was Tyrion and Jon Snow when the boys are putting their swords away. It wasn t a big deal to me that they removed the black smith all together, and gave Tyrion the lines instead, but this scene was important because it made Jon realize that though he is a bastard, he still has it better than most, if not all of the boys at the Wall and this was not as potent in the speech that Tyrion gives Jon. I have so much more to say, but I will keep the rest simple. The casting for Petyr Baelish is perfect. Renly left me a bit unsatisfied, Varys is perfect and I will leave off with the question I have been asking myself in each episode WHERE IS GHOST?????? (sorry if this is all over the place. wrote this at work. don’t tell on me)

      1. Gaoussou says:

        ..You really want to have Palin try to match wits with President Obama? Even my covnrevatise friends all acknowledge that there is no contest. The President has demonstrated, over the course of his life, that he’s an intelligent, thoughtful, articulate man. Palin can barely mumble a coherent sentence via twitter. Whatever, you won’t see beyond your own racism. You want to oppose the President’s policies, then make an argument based on relevant facts. I don’t believe Palin doesn’t know that Africa is a continent, not a country, as some lefties like to joke, and you fools on here should also stop acting like children by claiming that the President of the United States doesn’t know or didn’t know the US has 50 states. All politicians misspeak- Sarah maybe more than most, but I don’t care about any of that. What I care about is her stance on real policy issues like energy, taxes (she did have to read that note- cut taxes- off her palm- that was funny, and sad), foreign policy, etc. To claim that the President can’t or never speaks without the use of a teleprompter is to be willfully ignorant of all the evidence to the contrary (I cite the health care debate last year when he held a well-publicized meeting in front of cameras for several hours- Obama alone against the Republicans from the House and Senate- anyone remember that little tour de force? He wiped the floor with them for 4-5 hours, answering complex questions, diving into policy details, joking, etc.- all without a teleprompter- didn’t see it? Maybe because the Fox channel you were watching didn’t want to cover that particular performance. Wake up people- Fox is manipulating you- just as you think MSNBC is manipulating lefties. IF so, then you need to question your news sources and do more research. As for Sarah, she is very entertaining and should be flattered that Moore would portray her- Moore is an amazing talent and incredibly sexy, so much more than the Stepford-wife Sarah.

  2. [...] be discussing HBO’s Game Change, Andrew Breitbart’s legacy and Red Alert [...]

    1. Luisito says:

      halperin apologized for saniyg edwards thinks obama’s a meowmix. he actually apologized for just using the word. “I’m sorry I said that word…but you’re still [whatever form of weakness that's supposed to convey].” C’mon, Post writer…get it right; cause some controversy.2) Edwards thinks this? What’s he, John ‘The Body’ Edwards? Johnnie…here’s a news flash…you’re the one everyone thinks is a bit cuddly.

  3. Cris says:

    love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all wokirng through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.

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