Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Great Film Cameos from Politicians

10 Great Film Cameos from Politicians

Christopher Campbell
By Christopher Campbell posted 1 day ago

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live received a huge ratings boost thanks to the appearance of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. But as much fun as it was seeing her act the good sport next to a jokingly critical Alec Baldwin, it only made me anticipate her inevitable feature film debut. I mean, did you notice she was the only person who didn’t need to keep reading from the cue cards? She’s a natural. And whether her ticket wins or loses the race on November 4, it’s certain that one day Palin will at least make a cameo in some kind of fictional movie, whether she means to or not.

So, as we wait for her to show up in a small part in the Coen brothers’ adaptation of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (both because she’s from Alaska and reminds me of Frances McDormand in Fargo), let’s take a look at some other politicians who’ve made interesting film cameos, some intentionally and some not.

John McCain in Wedding Crashers (2005)

Few of us noticed or thought much of it when Senator McCain appeared as himself, shaking hands with Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour, in this romantic comedy. But so far this year you’ve probably seen the cameo, or a photo from it, more times than you’ve seen the rest of the movie. I wonder if McCain and Walken had time to chat about the latter’s role in The Deer Hunter.

Christopher Dodd in Dave (1993)

When I was in high school, I had no idea who my state’s U.S. Senators were. Fortunately, I saw Dave and saw Dodd’s cameo, complete with a caption telling who he is. Other state’s youth who might have had similar experiences include Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and Wyoming, as the political comedy also featured cameos from Senators Tom Harkin, Howard Metzenbaum, Paul Simon and Alan Simpson. Representative Tip O’Neill also appears, but everybody knew who he was, right?

Patrick Leahy in The Dark Knight (2008)

What’s a U.S. Senator doing in a comic book movie? More importantly, what’s a Democrat politician doing in a Republican’s wet dream? Well, Vermont’s Leahy is apparently a huge Batman fan and has also appeared in Batman and Robin and lent his voice to an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

Al D’amato in The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

There’s no more appropriate place for a politician to make an appearance than a movie about the Devil. Right? Well, D’amato’s cameo is unfortunately a little more innocent than it seems, though he is still seen cavorting with employees of Satan.

Rudy Giuliani in The Out-of-Towners (1999)

It’s definitely appropriate for an NYC mayor to make an appearance in a movie that promotes Manhattan tourism, but Giuliani picked the wrong movie to be associated with. Possibly one of the worst remakes ever, it’s more likely to dissuade viewers to come to the Big Apple.

Ed Koch in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Koch, on the other hand, is a huge cinephile (he even moonlights as a film critic) and has appeared in a ton of NYC-set films, good and bad. When I was a kid, nothing made me think Koch was cooler than his appearance alongside the Muppets.

Jim Garrison in JFK (1991)

It’s typical for people to have cameos in films about themselves, so it’s not too surprising to see the former District Attorney show up in Oliver Stone’s film. Not only did he get to make a small appearance, though, he actually got to portray someone as famous as Earl Warren. And he kind of did a better job of it than Kevin Costner did of portraying Garrison.

John F. Kennedy in Forrest Gump (1994)

Thanks to movie magic, the former President of the United States was able to make a cameo opposite Tom Hanks sixty 31 years after he’d been assassinated. Of course, another actor provided his line for him, but I’m sure the real JFK would have been down to knowingly costar with an Oscar winner and memorably say, “I believe he said he had to go pee.”

George W. Bush in Death of a President (2006)

Thanks to similar movie magic, the current U.S. President was able to be seamlessly edited into this movie so that it truly appears as though the real G.W. Bush has been shot. To think, back when Forrest Gump was made, there were such innocent ways of featuring a deceased or unauthorized personality in a movie or TV commercial (remember John Wayne hawking Coors?), but now they’re killing presidents and employing dead child stars (that controversial new Poltergeist Direct TV ad). I wonder how far the ethics will be stretched in another decade.

Gerald Ford in The Bees (1978)

This is another cameo that probably wasn’t authorized, but it’s even more innocent than putting words into Kennedy’s mouth. Plus, it’s not a very good movie, and so the former U.S. President’s uncredited appearance probably wasn’t a very big deal. Even if the filmmakers try to make it seem that a swarm of killer bees are a threat to Ford as he’s riding on a Rose Bowl Parade float. If Hollywood ever remakes this film, they’ll probably use effects wizardry to make it look like the President actually gets stung and dies.