Friday, September 06, 2013
"Follow the Leader": Three young men decide in high school to make politics their lives
I substitute-taught in high schools in northern Virginia from 2004-2007, and I don’t recall meeting high school students who knew they wanted to go into politics. But the new film “Follow the Leader” by Jonathan Goodman Levitt (no connection to Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it sure sounds like it) takes us through the last high school years and early college careers of three young men, with a variety of political beliefs, which in turn shift during their journeys.
David Bauregard, Jr. (DJ, “The Believer”), in Methuen, MA starts out as an evangelical conservative Republican but quickly becomes a Democrat-liberal while remaining evangelical. Ben Trump (“The Loyalist”) matures in West Springfield High School in Fairfax County VA (where I have subbed), goes to Carnegie, and tries to learn the GOP machine, while his ideals sound libertarian. He has recently worked for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (my Books blog, Aug. 1, 2013). Trump is presented as the star of his family. Nick Troiano (“The Idealist”) goes to high school near Stroudsburg, PA and then to American University in Washington DC. Troiano winds up becoming rather independent.
The film works toward a climax of election night in 2008, right in the middle of the financial crisis. The young men don’t necessarily vote along party lines. Hint: Sarah Palin came across as not knowing anything and not being able to do the job if she had to. (See my review of HBO’s “Game Change”, March 11, 2012).
Nick Troiano presented the tension between becoming a journalist and a politician both. Maybe you can do that when you’re young. You can be an actor or filmmaker and become a politician (like Arnod Schwarzenegger or Ronald Reagan – “John Loves Mary”). Nick felt that the fourth estate (the media establishment) is not as objective as it pretends. Listen to Piers Morgan on guns, or Anderson Cooper on everything. Ultimately, politicians have the power to change things, although not without proselytizing, door-to-door work, and "paying your dues".
The director, along with Mr. Troiano, were present for the QA at the Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield, VA tonight. Mr. Bauregard was available by cell phone (although remember that at Filmfest DC, we had a phone interview with Julian Assange! (April 11, 2013).
Many major politicians appears as themselves, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg (talking about service), Ken Cuccinelli, and the late Ted Kennedy, as well as Barack Obama.
The official site for the film is here.
The film (distributed by Cinedigm and Changeworx) can be rented on YouTube for $3.99.
There’s more about my own history as a substitute teacher on my main “BillBoushka” blog, especially the incident involving “online reputation” on that blog on July 27, 2007 (the “Technology” blog off of “doaskdotell.com”).