My Top Ten Films of 2010

January 8, 2011

This time of year, top ten movies lists are everywhere, which isn’t surprising as movies are one place where everyone has an opinion.  I’m no exception.  I like to think I have a relatively informed viewpoint when I sit down in a darkened theater.  And in 2010 I averaged better than a film a week (which is about 10 times better than the average American, who goes to the movies about once every two months.)

So here’s my list of favorite films from the past 12 months.  It’s just my opinion; you should see from my list that my tastes are pretty varied (I have dramas, comedies, animations, biopics, action, and thrillers on my list.)  And of course, the point of any top ten list is to give an idea about what should go at the top of the Netflix queue.  (According to Netflix, Americans watch nearly 50 dvds a year.)  Hopefully there’ll be something on my list that you haven’t seen, and the next time you’re deciding between Furry Vengeance and 127 Hours, you’ll know which “man vs. nature” film to choose.

A couple notes: I only considered films that are eligible for the Oscars.  So yeah, maybe I’m missing out on an obscure Chinese documentary (The Last Train Home, anyone?) or two, but there were 248 films eligible for Best Picture this year, which is enough for anyone.  I’ve seen 57 films from 2010, so far.  Several critical favorites have yet to open in Las Vegas, including Blue Valentine, Another Year, and Rabbit Hole, so I reserve the right to change my list at a later date.  Finally, I’ve included a few honorable mentions: movies I really liked, but that didn’t quite make the cut.  After all, 10 is such an arbitrary number.

First the honorable mentions:

127 Hours: Danny Boyle’s direction and innovative script keep this story of a hiker trapped in a slot canyon when a boulder falls on his arm fluid and compelling.

Catfish: The other social network movie of 2010 follows what happens when two documentary filmmakers decide to follow along when one’s brother decides to pursue a Facebook romance in real life.  Hampered by doubts of its veracity, Catfish is nevertheless a creepy and sad cautionary tale that blurs real life and cyber-make believe.

The Ghost Writer:  Say what you like about Roman Polanski the man; Roman Polanski the director knows how to make a film.  Timed with the political upheaval in Britain and the U.S., and set against the austere backdrop of Martha’s Vineyard in winter, The Ghost Writer is a cold, calculated thriller about the man hired to write the just-resigned British Prime Minister’s new tell-all memoir, which tells a little too much.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I:  By Book 7, Harry Potter is all grown up, and so is the first installment in the two-part finale to the franchise.  Dark and philosophical, the film actually improves on some of the weaker narrative points of the book and leaves off at just the right place to set us up for next July’s finale in the epic series.

Iron Man 2:  Everything that a Hollywood action blockbuster should be.  Far flung locations, huge set pieces, fast cars, explosions, a memorable villain, and an attractive cast.  As far as popcorn movies go, this one has extra butter.

Secretariat:  It’s a throwback to how movies were made 15 years ago, a glossy fairytale that’s more like Forrest Gump or The Shawshank Redemption than True Grit or Black Swan.  But it’s beautifully shot; the racing scenes are particularly good, and the by-the-book script hits all the right notes.  Besides there hasn’t been a movie this good where the main character doesn’t talk since The Piano.

And now for the Top Ten:

10.  Easy A: The smartest comedy of the year, Easy A had all of the charm and wit of Clueless or 10 things i hate about you, two other films based loosely on works of classic literature.  With a cast that was the perfect mix of veteran character actors and young up-and-comers, and a script that wasn’t afraid to go there, Easy A is an instant classic in the often forgettable teen comedy genre.

9.  The Fighter: Like the city of Lowell, MA where it’s set, The Fighter is a gritty, scrappy film that shines when given the chance.  It’s led by a superb cast that includes Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, and Mark Wahlberg and superbly directed by David O. Russel (who is overdue for some recognition from The Academy).  While it’s just another boxing movie on the surface, The Fighter is more about family, what it means to be part of a family, and why you need that support, even when it jeopardizes everything you’ve worked for. 

8.  The Kids Are All Right: The controversial film about a lesbian couple, their children, and the children’s biological father has managed to be a “gay” film that mainstream audiences loved even as many gay audiences rejected the premise.  But the premise is only a hook for what this film is really about: the work it takes to keep two people together even as they grow older and apart, and the different paths to happiness and fulfillment in life.  Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are perfectly cast and  willing to do the work required by the challenging script.  So much of what happens in The Kids Are All Right happens in the silences and pauses between lines.  More goes unsaid than said in this quiet film with a lot to say.

7.  How to Train Your Dragon: In any other year, this would be a lock for Best Animated Film.  How to Train Your Dragon is whimsical and funny, poignant and clever.  Like any great animated film, there’s as much for the adults in the audience as there is for the kids, and the best part: it never, ever takes the easy way out.  And ohhh, those flying scenes in 3D!

 

6.  The King’s Speech: What is it about the British royal family that makes for such great film?  The King’s Speech goes behind the scenes of the controversial ascension to the throne of King George VI, who led Great Britain into World War II after his brother abdicated to marry an American.  Suddenly required to be the voice of his country, George VI must confront a lifelong speech impediment and its psychological root cause.  Colin Firth gives a career-defining performance and is supported brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.  The film makes you believe that the outcome of the war hangs on every word.

5.  Toy Story 3: The addition of more toys upped the nostalgia and the ante in the best animated film in a year that was great for animation.  Part caper, part romance, part buddy flick, Toy Story 3 has everything that Hollywood Blockbusters have, plus something that many don’t: heart.  It’s rare that the third film in a trilogy outshines the first two, but Toy Story 3 is a rare film.  This time, the film goes beyond the “secret second life of toys” storyline and actually shows us what it means to grow up and move on.

4.  Inception:  Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece was the most anticipated film of the summer, and it didn’t disappoint from the mind-bending visuals to the labyrinthine script.  Plus, it had the most talked about ending of the year.  Though it may come up short in the acting categories at the Oscars, Inception is sure to nab its share of nominations: script, cinematography, score, art direction, and editing are locks, as are Best Director and Best Picture.  That’s the sort of success most filmmakers only dream about.

3.  True Grit:  The Coen Brothers latest darkly comic morality tale relies on an unknown teenage actress to hold the screen opposite a scenery chewing Jeff Bridges fresh off an Oscar win.  But hold the screen she does.  Though Hailee Steinfeld will most likely be recognized in the supporting actress category, she’s the center of the film and absolutely captivating from the moment she appears on screen.  As usual, the Coens pull no punches with either their peppery script or sweeping direction, and rely on a deliberate pace to build tension throughout the film.  The Coens have put their own spin on many genres, and their take on the Western is as successful as any of them.

2.  Black Swan: Darren Aronofsky is not for everyone.  His films are decidedly bleak, his characters tend to run from dark to darker.  His kinetic style sometimes feels like one of the drug-induced mental breakdowns so often experienced in his films.  His narrative structure is held together by dental floss.  And yet Aronofsky never lets things fall completely apart.  Visually, Black Swan is like filmic poetry, pulsing with intense emotions and fractured realities until the final gorgeous, tragic, disturbing end.  Emily Dickinson once wrote, “If I read a book and…I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”  If I watch a film and feel the same way, isn’t that another form of poetry?

1.  The Social Network: With a crackling script, sharp and unexpected performances (Justin Timberlake, who saw that coming?) and a timely subject matter, The Social Network may be the film that defines the decade in the same way that American Beauty defined the 2000’s and Dances with Wolves defined the 1990’s.  With Facebook now worth an estimated $50 billion and Mark Zuckerberg named Time’s Person of the Year, there’s no doubt about the role that social networking plays in our lives.  In The Social Network, Zuckerberg is the new Bill Gates, both hero and villain, the brilliant mind that will change the world, but also the giant ego that makes enemies like they were items in Mafia Wars.  It’s a microcosm of the United States, a country at a crossroads; it’s also the best picture of the year.

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Poker Chills

June 2, 2010

The people who know me know that I am a relatively serious poker player.  I’m not a pro or anything like that, but I do win more than I lose, and I’ve had a couple decent tournament results (including winning a $11,000 super satellite into the 2005 World Series Main Event); I like to call it a lucrative hobby.

Anyway, any semi-serious poker player is at least somewhat paying attention to the Rio Hotel and Casino in Vegas (if they aren’t already there) come Memorial Day every year–that’s when the biggest poker event of the year starts: the World Series of Poker.

While the casual ESPN observer only watches or cares about the $10,000 Main Event, in fact, it’s called the World *Series* because there’s an entire series of tournaments that take place for the entire month of June and the first week or so of July.  This year there are 57 events, culminating with the aforementioned Main Event starting July 5th.

The winner of each event receives as part of his prize, a bracelet, and despite the growing number of bracelets given out these days (the first World Series in 1970 elected one winner after a series of cash games, and the first Series to give out bracelets, in 1971, had five events) a World Series bracelet remains the most coveted prize in poker.  It’s also worth noting that the number of bracelets is still small compared to the number of players who participate each year, so a bracelet is still exceedingly difficult to win.

Which is why I got chills when Michael Mizrachi won his first bracelet in the second event of 2010.

Michael Mizrachi wins his first bracelet

Why?  Because at the same final table that Mizrachi defeated was his older brother Robert Mizrachi, who had previously won a bracelet of his own in 2007.  The Mizrachi’s were only the third family members to simultaneously make a final table in the 40 years of the World Series, and their 1st and 5th place finishes was by far the best result by family members.  And this gave me chills because I also have a younger brother who is an avid, and successful, poker player.  It has always been a dream of mine to play in the World Series alongside my brother, and perhaps even meet at the final table.  The Mizrachi’s give that dream a shred more possibility.

I should note that my brother just turned 25, and I am 30.  Michael Mizrachi is 29.  His brother, Robert, will be 32 this fall.  It seems my brother and I are only a little behind schedule.  It’s time for us to hit the felt and get the cards in the air.

Growing Things

June 2, 2010

Once when I was 9 years old, I set a plastic flower box outside my bedroom window, filled it with soil, and planted some seeds that, most likely, had come in the mail as part of one of those garden-club-by-mail junk mail offers.  I grew leaf lettuce and garlic, both doing surprisingly well considering I almost certainly forgot to water them, and my only background in growing things was “planting” a bean in wet paper towels as a 4th grade science project.  And that was pretty much the extent of my green thumb–I did manage to keep alive a bonsai juniper for a few years–pretty much everything else I ever tried to grow ended up a brown wilted disaster.

It’s not that green thumbs aren’t known in my family; in fact, my mother’s kitchen window is perennially filled with all manner of hanging green vines, flowering cacti, and jars filled with rooting cuttings.  My father plowed a garden every spring that would produce beans, corn, tomatoes, and hundreds and hundreds of zucchini every summer.  And while I certainly enjoy smelling flowers, and eating fresh summer corn, I never caught the growing things bug.  Maybe it was a lack of patience, maybe it was a lack of organization, but whatever it was, beyond that singular flower box, I’ve never been a gardener…until now.

Seven months ago I moved to Las Vegas.  The move was for many reasons, but one of those reasons was *not* so I would be able to grow things.  And yet…my patio has been not-so-systematically covered with all manner of flowering shrub, green herb, and fruit-producing tree.  I have two palms, a pomegranate, a peach, and a key lime tree.  I have four bougainvilleas, a pot of cosmos, and just today I picked up two roses, two mandevillas, a red ground rose, and some pretty purple and pink things whose names I have already forgotten.  I also have a sage, a rosemary, some catnip, spearmint, and an oregano.  The growing things bug has also caught on indoors: I have a Christmas cactus and five orchids in my living room, and I have three rose cuttings taking root above my kitchen sink.

I bought two of these (mandevillas) at WalMart for $7.50...

So why this preoccupation with growing things?  I think first and foremost because, for the first time, the things I am growing are not simultaneously dying.  In New England the growing season is so short, that if you don’t time your plantings correctly, your plants never get the opportunity to flourish.  If you don’t properly protect them from the late frosts or the early snow, they die premature, black, deaths.  But in Las Vegas?  Plant whenever you like; it’ll grow!  I thought I was moving to a barren wasteland of a desert where only the heartiest cacti could eke out a meager existence, but it turns out I was wrong.  Las Vegas is in the desert, of course, but there is also water here–it’s why people moved here in the first place–and it turns out there are a LOT of plants that thrive with hot hot sun and dry dry weather.  There’s also a lot that love hot hot sun and the occasional hose down.  In other words, it’s easier here.

Secondly, because it turns out gardening is a relatively cheap hobby.  Now that June is upon us, every big box store that sells plants has put them all on mega sale.  WalMart was selling their roses for $4 today.  Sure they probably won’t bloom again for a year, but for $4, if I can keep them alive for a year, that’ll be $4 well spent.  Hobbies can be very expensive, even the supposedly “free” hobbies have unexpected costs.  By the time I paid for the new seat, helmet, and tune up, my bike ended up costing me well over $200.  To go hiking in the Valley of Fire was about 5 gallons of gas and an $8 admission fee, and since my old hiking boots bit the dust while I was there, if I want to go again, I’ll need to shell out at least $50 for a new pair.  Gyms have membership fees, most sports require some sort of equipment or clothing cost, and most hobbies in the home have some sort of material cost.  So, by comparison, my $4 rose bush is cheap for a hobby.  I like cheap hobbies.

And finally, it turns out that gardening is addicting.  As an HGTV junkie, it’s no surprise that I get a high from decorating and redecorating my house.  The most fun part about moving was staging the house for sale.  But when we moved to Las Vegas, we brought with us all of our matched living room and bedroom furniture, the same linens and wall hangings.  Decorating just isn’t that appealing when you don’t have new materials to work with.  The only “new” thing to decorate in the new house was the patio.  In Vegas, your patio can literally become an outdoor room; in fact one of the first pieces of furniture I bought for it was a white leatherette sofa from the clearance room at Ikea.  I know it’s not intended as an outdoor piece of furniture, but here it doesn’t matter, so why not?

To me the patio was a blank canvas just waiting for an artist’s brush strokes.  And my brush of choice has been plants.  And the best part is, since the plants actually grow and change shape and color and produce things like flowers, and fruit, and delicious smells, it’s nothing like decorating inside with our same old furniture.  The patio looks different from week to week.  Different plants flower at different times.  They grow taller, and they grow wider.  And someday, some of them might even produce things that I can eat!

The Promethean nature of growing things has me hooked; it’s exciting waiting to find out what will happen next.

Back in the saddle…

April 17, 2010

It’s been over a year since my last blog post…and I’m feeling guilty for not keeping it up.  I’ve been going around calling myself a writer for quite a while now, but it’s starting to feel a little hypocritical considering how little writing I’ve been doing lately.  So here is my Tax Day resolution: I am resurrecting 3 Second Goldfish and am pledging to do at least three posts a week.  This is my first.  (I didn’t say they would be long posts!–besides, I’ve always been in favor of the quick hit, here’s my two cents now go read the source article sort of thing anyway.)

I think to finish this off, I want to thank two people who have inspired me to get back at this:

First, Renee T. Bouchard, who manages to keep not one, but TWO active blogs, which can be found here and here.

I highly recommend Renee’s style blog.  That’s the one she keeps up with the most, and if you read regularly you might even score an original Renee designed accessory.

And second, Dave Zagunis, who runs the La Vida Scholars program in Lynn, Massachusetts.  I nominated Dave last year for a CNN Heroes award (although he didn’t make the cut) because he has been personally responsible for changing the lives of so many students that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.  If you read my last post, you read the essay of one of the students from Dave’s program, so you have an idea the kind of kids he’s helping.  Anyway, Dave recently let me know that last year’s class is about to graduate, and among the twelve students in the group, eight have received scholarships to schools like Boston College, Bowdoin, and Notre Dame!!!  His note reminded me why it’s important not to give up on something you started.

So there you go.  Welcome back to the 3 Second Goldfish.

We Can Believe

January 21, 2009

So today I finished my last SAT class with the La Vida Scholars program in Lynn, MA.  La Vida Scholars identifies talented Hispanic students and helps prepare them for college and the college application process with MCAS and SAT prep, as well as  helping them find scholarships.  One of the students in the program is a quiet young man, Guilver Gomez, who seems to go out of his way to avoid drawing attention to himself.  But I want to bring some attention to him.  Guilver wrote the following essay for a scholarship and delivered it at a special breakfast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I thought it was particularly appropriate to share one day after the holiday, the day that the United States inaugurated its first black president.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest

by Guilver Gomez Gr. 11

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we’re free at last.” (Washington DC, August 28th, 1963).

The quote above holds deep meaning for the immigrants in America. It describes the overwhelming sense of joy felt by a person who finally reaches the land of their dreams after having worked and waited tirelessly to find a better life. As an immigrant in America, I can identify with the joy that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. felt upon hearing the news that laws were being passed to protect his Civil Rights in America. This joy for African Americans came after suffering for hundreds of years under slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. They had arrived in a new and better time.

My teacher explained to me Dr. King’s metaphor of crossing into a land of freedom. Dr. Martin Luther King expressed his feelings using the metaphor of Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt across the Jordan River and into their promised lands. During slavery, the slaves who escaped would follow the Underground Railroad out of the South and across the Ohio River to freedom in the North or Canada. Today, those traveling on the road to freedom are the immigrants of the world who are making their way out of poverty and war across the borders like the Rio Grande River into America, our new promised land.

My path to a new life wasn’t an easy one. I was born in San Marcos, Guatemala into a family that had never delivered a baby,\ in a hospital. After I was born, my father left to the United States to work and support his family. When I was five, my mother left us with my grandmother and joined my father in the U.S.  My grandmother was disabled and needed a lot of help around the house. My siblings and I attended school and helped her around the house. When my sister was 16, she decided to go to America and join my parents. She was in Mexico waiting for her visa when she was killed in a robbery. I was twelve at the time, and it was very difficult to deal with her death and my parents’ absence.

Upon turning 14, I decided to move to America and join my parents. I knew it was going to be risky. I had to travel for days by bus to Mexico and wait for my visa in a foreign country like my sister had. I supported myself by cleaning Mexican hotels in the dangerous city of Tijuana. I missed an entire year of school, and on a day when I was on my way home from work without my documents to reside in Mexico, I was picked up by Mexican immigration officials who placed me in a jail cell, just like Martin Luther King Jr.  They sent me on a three-day bus trip back to Guatemala where I had to begin my journey all over again. Just like Martin Luther King and the slaves of America before him, I did not want to give up. I returned to Tijuana and waited and worked until I was able to afford my trip to America.

Finally, at the end of my year in Mexico, I was able to fly to America and meet my parents. I landed at Dulles International Airport and felt free at last! I started back at school and now sit next to students who never had to fight to enjoy the freedom of America, but I know after tasting freedom, I’ll never forget it.

13 strikes you’re out

January 7, 2009

It’s important to have goals.  Goals give us something to aim for, purpose, something to keep us on track.  For some people the goals are ambitious, far-reaching, nearly unattainable: become president, write a best-seller, live to be 100.  But for those who keep it in perspective, having goals can let you die happy.

Check out this man who had a goal and died happy. . . perhaps a little sooner than anyone anticipated.

Mortgaging Christmas Dinner

December 11, 2008

With all of the doom and gloom reports about the economy, maybe thinking about really expensive food isn’t practical.  However, while watching an episode of King of the Hill from last season where Luanne and Lucky get married, I was reminded how much fun it can be to think about what it is like to be rich.  Luanne is trying different wedding cakes, and is very excited about the one topped with gold leaf: “It’s so good you think you are eating gold, because you are!” Or something to that effect.

Anyway, here’s a fun gallery of the foods of the rich and famous that CNN did some time ago.  Something to dream about while we all eat our ramen.

that’s so gay

November 20, 2008

With all of the recent furor over gay rights, it seems fitting to highlight a recent series of PSA’s that attempt to address the issue of homophobia at its source: kids.

I realize my previous statement is a bit foolish; trying to pinpoint a source of homophobia is like trying to walk to the end of a treadmill, but the simple fact is homophobia is a learned behavior and if kids never learn it (or perhaps unlearn it) then eventually it will dissipate.  That’s why discrimination takes generations to overcome in any form.  It’s not like Martin Luther King had a dream and the next day everyone woke up and said, “You know, I think I’m going to stop being racist today.”  As for LGBT rights, the progress made in the last two decades is pretty astounding, but clearly, as evidenced by the recent election results, there’s plenty more work to be done.

As a former high school teacher, I can attest that homophobic language and attitudes are alive and well in today’s schools.  Yes, the overall atmosphere is safer and more inclusive than it was when I was a high school student (which isn’t all that long ago), but anyone paying attention while walking down a crowded hallway will hear a fair share of bigoted language.  Actually, the synthesis of new words can almost be amusing.  “Queertard” and “Gaywad” being some of the newer additions to the old standbys like “faggot” and “cocksucker.” Most of these words, though, have a clear, negative connotation among their users.  Yes, such hateful language should not be used so lightly in any context, but a high school student knows he or she is being pejorative when using such words (even if they don’t know what pejorative means.)

Homophobia doesn’t start with words like “faggot.” Those words are somewhere in the middle between quiet ostracism and physical violence.  Stopping harsh language like “faggot” will never eliminate homophobia; a kid can be taught to avoid certain words, but the hate that allowed those words to enter the lexicon will still be there.  You’ve got to start much earlier.

And that’s where the Thinkb4youspeak campaign is aiming.  In a series of three PSA’s starring Hillary Duff and Wanda Sykes, kids who without thinking say “that’s so gay” to mean stupid, get a little comeuppance.

And that’s so smart. Kids who say “that’s gay” rarely connect what they are saying to any level of homophobia.  In the moment, they are simply repeating an oft-used idiom that to them has no meaning beyond expressing their distaste for the subject at hand.  Anecdotally, I would say that 90% of the students I had who would say “that’s gay” had no real ill-will towards the LGBT community.  Whereas the majority of students who would use the word “faggot” were truly homophobic, at least on a basic level.  The “that’s gay” kids had gay friends and openly supported gay rights; the “faggot” kids did not.  What the “that’s gay” kids failed to realize, at least unaided, was that every time they used gay in a negative context, they were subtly reinforcing the homophobia among the “faggot” kids.  Certainly they weren’t endorsing it, but on a very basic level they were condoning it, and thus continuing a cycle of hate and ignorance that leads to the kind of discrimination and violence prevalent in all battles for civil rights.  Meanwhile, the students struggling with their own sexuality, the ones desperately seeking allies among their peers, were experiencing mixed signals.  They think they know their friends are accepting, but then again, can they be trusted?  What do they really think?

My point is, this series of PSA’s may seem naive.  It might seem unrealistic to think that changing how a kid thinks about the words “that’s so gay” will have any impact on homophobia in the “real” world.  And to a certain extent, it is.  However, if you really want to create change, you have to start at the beginning.  If you take a brick out of the middle, the foundation remains intact, in this case a foundation for homophobia and hate.  But if you take a brick from the bottom, the whole thing will come down and you can rebuild from scratch with a foundation built on acceptance and understanding.

Check out a CNN interview with Hillary Duff here.

My horse could paint that picture!

October 22, 2008
Cholla in action

Cholla in action

Abstract art has always been a touch controversial.  For every recognized genius like Jackson Pollock or Wassily Kandinsky, there’s a critic who claims he could do just as well by dipping his dog in acrylics and letting it walk on the canvas.

And it turns out the critics might have been right.  The artist Cholla recently caused a stir at an international art exhibition in Italy, not only because of the quality of his work, but because he was ruled ineligible to win any prizes.  At first there was outrage.  And then there was surprise.  And then maybe a little embarrassment when it was revealed that Cholla is a. . .horse!

It seems Cholla has been painting for several years now, and many of his paintings are available for purchase from his website.  Purchasing certain paintings will even provide a donation to charities presumably picked by the horse himself, like the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association, which helps wild mustangs in Nevada.

Check out this story for more about Cholla’s international exhibit or his website to see a video of the artist in action!

That really is a horse of a different color.

Got Milk?

October 13, 2008

Do you hate political ads?  CNN and Time.com recently ran a feature of their picks for the “Top 10 Campaign Ads,” and I had to check it out.  “There’s a top 10?” I thought.  “That has got to be really scraping the barrel.”  But in fact, it turns out there have been some real masters of propaganda in this country and these ads are more than compelling.  And surprisingly, only one is overtly negative.  Turns out that some really effective ads can be made that actually make one candidate look good rather than simply trying to get a leg up by cutting down someone else.  In particular, the “It’s Morning in America” ad run by Reagan in 1984 is one of the finest pieces of propaganda I have seen.  Had I been able to vote in 1984, this probably would have done it.

Of course, the Kennedy and Ike ads might be a little too positive.  Forget the fact that they are cartoons.  The catchy jingle offers scant concrete reasons to vote for either candidate.  How did this work?  As if the American public would ever be fooled into voting for vague ideals in the guise of catchphrases and rhetoric!  Oh.  Right.  Maybe Obama should hire Pixar to come up with something for the last few weeks of the campaign.

See all the ads here.