Full disclosure: I did not see Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 because I had read and heard it was simply a hatchet job on George Bush.
Now, years later, I’ll be open and honest – I went to see 2016: Obama’s America because it WAS a hit piece on Obama. Fair is fair – both take an angle of presenting their side, however biased, and are generally preaching to their choirs. I went to see 2016 last week at the Northgate Cinema, and as I entered the theater, there were approximately 75 other patrons in their seats. It was a very decent size crowd for a Wednesday evening show. The theater probably would have seated 300 if it were full. As I took my seat, I wanted to shout out to the others (many who were disguised in sunglasses so that their liberal friends would not out them), “We’re here! The choir is in!”
All kidding and full disclosures aside, I did enjoy the movie. Will others enjoy it? Is it a good movie? Good is subjective, like all art and movies. I found it to be a decent movie. It was slickly made with well-shot cinematography of interviews and filmed scenes from Africa, Washington D.C. and Indonesia. The sound was professional, and the editing was tight, but not in your face or over the top. The music was effective, if occasionally too intrusive and unnecessary.
For those anywhere from center to far right, it will be enjoyable. There are some truly wonderful moments that will make a conservative laugh or applaud in agreement. For those left of center, or Obama disciples, I’d say to stay home. Although it does appear to portray him accurately, it does in fact not present him at his best. One of my favorite moments which brought many chuckles to the crowd was a scene where Obama was at a town hall meeting, sleeves rolled up, as he was trying to explain why Obamacare would be a better deal in the long run for all. Without his teleprompter, he tripped and stumbled, and mumbled something that was not only incoherent, but even he had to start and re-start what he was saying three different times. Priceless.
The gist of 2016: Obama’s America is divided in two. One, it gives a background on Obama’s father, and how this absentee father, and his hippie-leftist mother, played a huge role in his evolvement as a anti-colonial leftist. The other half of the movie explains what a mess the country is in economically, and how Obama is okay with the direction the U.S. is going, providing it does not get too far ahead of the rest of the world, economically, technically, or militarily.
The director/writer is Dinesh D'Souza, who is the perfect person to have made the movie. The movie was a video version of his book, The Roots of Obama's Rage. D'Souza sets the table in the beginning by comparing their two lives. Both are men of color (Dinesh of Indian origin), who were born the same year to immigrant parents. Both went to Ivy league schools, then prestigious grad schools and eventually both married scholarly-intelligent women the same year. The similarities end there, but that’s also where the fun of the movie begins.
I’ll nit pick about two things, one I previously mentioned: The music. I found the music either distracting or silly and occasionally over the top. Although not loud, it did seem non-stop throughout the movie. The other gripe I have is the way some of the interviews were filmed. Too often they were filmed as though it were live television, and there would be no opportunity to edit. (Filming re-created phone interviews seemed too staged) And, for goodness sake, use a tripod! The intentional camera juggling was intended to give us the “you are there” feel, but it really just told me, “look at us, we are a stylish hip movie, too.”
Take away those to technical gripes, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes.