Recent current events have turned my attention back to films about the Nixon presidency, and while I could certainly watch All the President’s Men, or Oliver Stone’s Nixon, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch Dick (Disc/Download). A satire of Richard Nixon’s fall from grace, this under-appreciated gem is suddenly, gloriously relevant again. Oh, Checkers the dog- how I’ve missed you!!
Starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams as average teenage girls who inadvertently become embroiled in the Watergate scandal, Dick is a whip-smart comedy masquerading as an SNL sketch. Sure there are dick jokes aplenty, but there’s also a clever revisionist history that imagines Deep Throat as two Bobby Sherman-obsessed, shrieking blondes. Then there’s Dan Hedaya as Nixon, BY FAR my favorite cinema Nixon. He’s got the voice, the swagger, the angry little boy tantrums—does this sound like anyone else we know? It’s a joy to see all the celebrity cameos (Harry Shearer as G. Gordon Liddy, Dave Foley as Haldeman, Will Ferrell as Bob Woodward, Bruce McCulloch as Carl Bernstein, etc.) but my favorite cast member is Teri Garr as Michelle Williams’ mom. She. Is. Fabulous. She’s got a chic apartment in The Watergate, she enjoys cocktails and making out with Ted McGinley, and isn’t afraid of wallpaper. Honestly by the time we get to a doughy teenage Ryan Reynolds, I’m somewhat fatigued by the star power in this strange little film. And that’s saying a lot because who doesn’t love Ryan Reynolds?
Adding to the ‘70s verisimilitude is Dunst’s stoner brother, who hides his stash in the family walnut jar. The girls unknowingly make marijuana-laced Hello Dolly bars for the president, landing themselves a sweet dog-walking gig AND peace with the Soviet Union. I’ve come up with a Hello Dolly-inspired cocktail that’ll make this already-terrific film even funnier. Up to you if you want to add some CBD oil to make it more authentic!
3 oz coconut milk
2 oz Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 oz Brandy
Crushed graham crackers
½ cup ice
Wet the rim of a glass and dip in crushed graham crackers. Set aside. Combine coconut milk, chocolate liqueur, brandy, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth, then pour into prepared glass. Top with a few dashes of walnut bitters.
I don’t know what the future holds in terms of our current political situation, but it’s fascinating to look back several decades and realize the script was largely the same then as it is today. Crooked, narcissistic politician does something extremely shady, gets caught, then engages in a massive spin campaign to discredit the Washington Post and shift the blame away from himself. The Carly Simon song at the end of this film says it all perfectly- you’re so vain. Cheers!