I love Head of State. When I was moving to LA, I constantly thought about how I wanted to watch this movie.
If you don’t know it, Head of State is about “When a presidential candidate dies unexpectedly in the middle of the campaign, Washington, D.C. alderman, Mays Gilliam is unexpectedly picked as his replacement.” It’s directed by Chris Rock and co-written by Rock and Ali LeRoi.
It’s a pretty outlandish concept for 2003. Keep in mind, we were in the middle of the first Bush43 term. I was about 13 when this came out and kind of into politics. I’ve always had an interest for politics. American History is a goldmine for story material.
Nevertheless, I digress. At the time, it would be otherworldly for a black man to be President when I was 13. When President Obama was elected, I still was in shock to be quite honest. Still am. It’s funny to still how Rock thought people wouldn’t believe a black man being president.
Not to say that this film holds up, it kinda does and doesn’t. The music is OLD. I’m talking Hot in Hurr and Bonnie and Clyde 03 are big musical cues. Nate Dogg narrates this movie. There is a skinny Tracy Morgan and Patrice O’Neal has a slight cameo.
But here’s how it holds up:
- Bernie Mac is possibly my favorite character in this film because he reminds me of my uncle: Great hype man and always willing to tell you the truth.
- Skewering the political system and how it’s about quip pro quo and who can win. We deal with that with most politicians now. Just turn on CNN, FOX, or Salon.
- “It’s my time to win. I’ve been vice president for 8 years. I’m a war hero. I’m Sharon Stone’s cousin.” -via Brian Lewis
- “Democracy doesn’t work when you aren’t winning?” via Debra Lassiter
- The respectability politics surrounding everything Mays does.
- The democrats attempting to take a dive with Mays so they can win in 2008. (We all know that happens.)
But here is the fantasy part, the idea that an alderman would become president because he talks to the common person and wants to change America. It was fantasy in 2003. It might be fantasy now. I don’t really know because the closest candidate would be Bernie Sanders but he is also a career politician. He’s the closest I’ve heard to being about the little guy.
Though to be honest, this is my reaction to all politics right now.