Hollywood goes political as election nears

Mon Oct 6, 2008 2:48am EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood is coming out this fall with a slew of political movies that hit all the hot-button topics as the tight U.S. presidential campaign nears its climax.

From religion to patriotism, gay rights and the presidency of George W. Bush, directors are wearing their political colors on their sleeves, using comedy, true stories and fantasy to send not-so-subtle messages to Americans preparing to choose between Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain on November 4.

"There is a sense now that these political films can really be successful, and they're a genre aimed at one side of the political spectrum or the other," said Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University.

Next week, controversial director Oliver Stone lands his satirical biopic "W." that attempts to deconstruct Bush's faith and marriage and the days leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Tom Ortenberg, executive producer of "W.", said filmmakers were mirroring society, even if the release date of the Stone movie could be seen as politically charged.

"We don't attempt to shape society, but we do reflect it," Ortenberg said. "The movie is an examination of how a man like George W. Bush became president, and frankly how anyone can become president."

Director David Zucker's farce "An American Carol" and talk show host Bill Maher's documentary that mocks faith "Religulous" opened on the same day in movie theaters last week.

Zucker, who made hit comedy movies "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" series, is a liberal-turned-conservative.   Continued...

<p>Director Oliver Stone in a file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>