Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Best of Enemies (2015)

Directors: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville

Writers: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville

Composer: Jonathan Kirkscey

Starring: Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley Jr., Dick Cavett, Christopher Hitchens, Noam Chomsky, Matt Tyrnauer, Ginia Bellafante, Brooke Gladstone, Sam Tanenhaus, Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Buckley vs. Vidal. 2 Men. 10 Debates. Television Would Never Be The Same.

Plot: A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

More, please.  I loved it.  Vidal and Buckley were so eloquent that they could serve you an insult and you'd think it was a compliment.  I certainly wouldn't want to get in a sparring match with either of these cats.  They'd verbally eviscerate me.  I'd probably like it, too.  This documentary covers an event in 1968 that brought these two together for an unprecedented event that would reverberate for decades and I'd never heard of it until a few days ago.  I HAD to see this picture.  Buckley and Vidal are utterly deliciously vicious on screen together.  They politely despised one another.  One one hand it would be nice to see these fellas actually debate an issue without resorting to insults but then their insults are beautifully crafted and poetic.  I didn't want it to end.  Both men are polar opposites in most everything and I like them both.  I love hearing them speak.  I can appreciate what they say to a degree but it's how they say it.  The film gives us plenty of that as well as the framing of the 'debates' with everything that's going on around them concerning the Republican and Democratic conventions and the national and world scene.  The filmmakers give us all the context we need to add dimension to the picture and they go beyond 1968 for decades to show how far reaching these 10 brief moments in time affected each other and news television as a whole.  There were moments where I was literally on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next round of insults.  The suspense was thick (and with the help of Kirkscey's Philip Glass-ian score).  Then, moments later, I'm laughing my ass off.  This is one of the most delightful and informative films I've seen in a while.  It wasn't but a few weeks ago that I watched GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA (2013) on Netflix.  I'm sure the debate was mentioned but I've completely forgotten about it.  I need to give it another spin.  That was a great film on its own.  ENEMIES is currently in the theater and who knows how long it will be before a physical media release will be but I anxiously await it.  Consider it bought.

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