As Americans, we like to think we're the only ones who elect stupid leaders and that other countries have it better. But forgetting the lessons of history and being swayed by charismatic but shady people is a worldwide problem, one that the new documentary The Kingmaker shines a light on.
Imelda Marcos was the First Lady of the Philippines for 21 years, during which time she and her husband basically robbed the country blind, until the people rose up and forced them into exile after the 1986 election. But apparently the citizens had a short memory, as her family returned and she was allowed to run for office and, more recently, push for the election of her son Bongbong for Vice President and Rodrigo Duterte for President. (You may remember Duterte received praise from President Trump for his drug war policy, which basically consists of murdering drug dealers without due process.)
The Kingmaker takes a look at how voters found her charming, even as she bragged about her wealth while they were barely scraping by. (Sound familiar?) The film played at Venice, Telluride and TIFF, and will open in New York and L.A. on November 8 to qualify for the Academy Awards before finding its way to Showtime, which acquired it earlier this year.
About Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about.
I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague.
Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work.
In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo.
I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.