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The Hunting of the President
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The Hunting of the President More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A few good moments, but ultimately weak, disappointing

1/10
Author: jsteiger from Canada
1 August 2004

With the political polarization of America nearly complete, the majority of viewers of this movie don't want or need a reasoned evaluation of its contents. Those fans of Clinton and Michael Moore, who see a right-wing conspiracy around every corner, will cheer rabidly. Avid Bush supporters will dump on the film, labeling it another 'crockumentary.' So, unless you are in that tiny minority of viewers who wants an objective opinion about the movie, you should read no further.

Personally, I thought that Clinton was, to some extent, the victim of a witch-hunt that ultimately hurt the country by distracting the president and clouding his judgment. So I went into this film willing (if not exactly ready) to be convinced by exciting new evidence.

But this film showed no balance at all. For example, the film tries to dismiss the notion that Clinton was a serial sexual harasser by presenting only the most blatantly biased information. Take the case of Paula Jones. The film actually spends several minutes trying to dismiss Jones by attacking the motivations of her attorney! We learn that Jones's attorney, an attractive blond, has right wing leanings, AND supported an anti-abortion action but had two abortions herself! Even the grave and stern intonations of Morgan Freeman can't sell this drastic irrelevancy to a critical-minded viewer.

The irony is stunning. The Clinton's pushed hard for legislation that strips many of a male defendant's rights to information access in sexual harassment proceedings. Yet here are Clinton's supporters, assassinating Jones's character by (a) attacking the motivations of her attorney and (b) piecing together selected clips that make Jones look trashy and dimwitted. The message is clear: if Clinton is the alleged harasser, then the intelligence, appearance, and social status of the alleged victim are relevant.

The only relevant 'fact' presented in defense of Clinton is an allegation by David Brock that one of the state troopers supporting Jones stated her willingness to be Clinton's 'boyfriend.' One can only imagine the reaction of the producers of this film had David Brock produced testimony in support of Jones. How do you spell 'hearsay evidence by a source of doubtful credibility'?

Meanwhile, the serious claims of Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broderick were mysteriously forgotten. Willey far more credible than Jones, presented very strong evidence. The testimony of any one of these women is enough to raise doubts about Clinton. But the conjunction of testimony by Jones, Broderick, and Willey suggests very strongly that Clinton has a problem controlling himself around powerless women in hotel rooms. But you would never have a glimmer of that watching this film, which tries to suggest that Clinton may have had a problem with personal morality, but nothing more. Contrast the treatment of Clinton with that of Clarence Thomas, convicted in the minds of Democrats on the basis of evidence from a single witness of questionable credibility. (Anita Hill, at the time a mediocre assistant professor at a second rate law school, is still collecting huge speaking fees lecturing about sexual harassment and women's rights.)

The film is particularly insulting in its continual use of a standard technique. Clinton appears with appropriately stirring background music (you know, the kind they play in movies when the military hero visits the Arlington cemetery). Then some marginal character is introduced. If the character supports the author's thesis, his/her credentials are overstated. If the character is one of the villains of the piece, questionable sources are immediately invoked to portray the character as (a) a yokel, (b) a scam artist, (c) sexually repressed, (d) a Republican, often all of the above.

That many of the sources are totally biased or highly questionable: (1) Carville, whose wacky antics on TV make Ann Coulter look like a reasoned moderate, (2) Brock, the former Republican attack dog who mysteriously "converted" just in time for this election campaign (and some huge book sales).

The 'meat' of the movie to me (and to several other reasonable reviewers) was the story of Susan McDougal, who claims that prosecutors tried to get her to lie about Clinton. Along the way, McDougal maligns her ex-husband, referring constantly to his mental instability, and claiming a mysteriously complete lack of knowledge about any of his darker dealings. McDougal gives her account with a calmness that suggests a heavy infusion of prozac. Clinton supporters see this calm, smiling demeanor as virtual proof of honesty and saintly integrity. Apparently none of these people has ever spent time talking with incarcerated female felons. Many of them affect the identical demeanor. Here is a startling fact: psychopaths make excellent liars! They are difficult to detect! My own view is that, rather than being the smoking gun in this grand conspiracy theory, McDougal is simply a loose end.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Once More Into The Breach

7/10
Author: Fred Arm (fha@bigfoot.com) from Pt Richmond, California
16 July 2004

The basic theme of this documentary, `The Hunting of the President', is that Bill Clinton was the target of an opportunistic right-wing campaign to dishonor and undermine him. When the so-called conspirators were unable to destroy him through overboard exposure of the `Whitewater' fiasco, they leaped on the alternate scheme involving his sexual escapades beginning while he was governor of Arkansas and in the White House that ultimately resulted in an impeachment trial by the US Senate, which was plainly a disguised attempt to oust Mr. Clinton instead of the traditional coup d'etat.

I must say that although I am sympathetic with Clinton being so maliciously hounded and persecuted; however, he was indeed substantially the philanderer they made him out to be. The facts the film presented have already exhaustively been presented during the impeachment years leaving very little novelty in the film.

As a historical piece, it would offer some insight to future generations who did not experience the public hysteria. Some of the comments by David Brock, the former conservative reporter who first exposed the Paula Jones sexual harassment contentions, demonstrates that most of the media networks of so-called rich conservatives were determined to break Clinton's back any way they could.

It is almost impossible to determine whether the mainstream conservatives initiated the inquisition into Clinton's financial and sexual affairs or whether they were the result of opportunistic right-wing wacko investigators who presented their evidence to the conservative media. Under either theory, the mainstream snapped it up and ran with it. The rabid conservative elements seem to be constantly on the lookout for any tidbit of information that would tend to discredit or otherwise harm any of their imagined liberal protagonists.

Susan McDougal is presented as an obscure woman who was sent to prison for contempt of court because she would not cooperate with the Starr investigation, suggesting that she knew more than she let on. At the guest screening itself, Ms McDougal in person came across as sincere and unassuming, willing to tell all to a hungry liberal audience who viewed the film at the Roxy in the Mission District of San Francisco. She still professes her original stance that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr had offered her immunity or some sort of leniency if she would lie for them in their case against the Clintons. She refused then and continues to rebuff any assertion that Clinton had done something wrong. Accordingly, Starr had her cited and imprisoned for contempt of court. What she did not tell us was that she was suddenly moved to Sybil Brand Institute, Los Angeles County's jail for women, to face California criminal allegations that she stole money while working for the famous conductor, Zuben Mehta, and his wife in Los Angeles. She was subsequently acquitted with the assistance of celebrated criminal attorney, Mark Geragos.

Some of the tales she spun at the theater about the cruelty and torture she observed and personally endured are highly suspect, particularly when she was an inmate at Sybil Brand county jail in Los Angeles. I cannot imagine imparting any veracity to some of her claims since Los Angeles has more hungry attorneys just chomping at the bit to sue the jail for much less heinous malfeasance on the part of the jailors than the sweet Ms McDougal related to us. It is also inconsistent and surprising for someone to relate such extraordinary tales of horror without more cynicism or bitterness.

The film itself has a clear message that some unsavory and powerful right-wing Americans had the power and the desire to almost `take over the throne' so to speak. For the conservatives, they needed a Clinton to hate since they no longer had the Communists to rant at. However, the film falls short in presenting facts showing why it was so easy for the right to sway the country against Clinton. The allegations concerning Monica Lewinsky were hardly touched upon, nor was the impeachment process adequately presented. Clearly, there were many reasons the people lost faith in Clinton. So, when he actually did tell the truth, we could not or would not really believe him. Thus, when it began to become obvious that Bill was actually the victim, how could the people consider him to be an innocent one?

Directed by well-known Clinton friend Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry, the film has some unique effects such as using old film clips from classic black & white films to illuminate a point. Together with `Fahrenheit 9/11', this picture show should wake up some of those complacent people who think `the king can do no wrong'. Otherwise, the film mainly preaches to the `liberal choir' who most likely will make up the lion's share of the audience. As for the conservative audiences, I doubt that they will give it much credence. I found the movie itself a bit tedious and somewhat redundant, thus aiding my sporadic cat-napping. Otherwise, it had an important message to deliver, albeit in a container that could have been better conceived.

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3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

One Sided Trash!

1/10
Author: NickyCee
17 June 2004

I was a guest to a recent invitation-only viewing. I believe I was the only fair minded person in this hand-picked audience. I liked Clinton and thought he had true leadership skills. I disagreed with him on many social issues but thought his policies were well founded and realistic.

But this 'Fakeumentary' is the same tired, rehashed drivel that's been shoved down our throat for years. It's always someone else's fault, Clinton didn't do anything wrong, 'It's a conspiracy', I tell you!

I have spoken with Ken Starr. He is an honorable man who did not want the job he was instructed to complete. He performed his assigned duties with thoroughness and truthfulness. Of course Clinton supporters are upset with him - He uncovered and revealed things to the American people that were negative to Clinton!

Thankfully for history, Clinton dribbled some spooge on Monica's dress. Otherwise we would not have such clear evidence of his blatant lies.

Overall, silly and way-tired propaganda filmed with Hollywood quality. No balance, nothing negative towards Clinton.

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1 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A pure shameless attempt to cover up Clinton's shortcomings

2/10
Author: MovieCriticMarvelfan from california
25 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I cant believe some people have actually fallen for the lies and garbage this movie presents, not only is it absurd but funny.

The movies tries to portray Clinton as a victim of a witchhunt by the Republicans, yet it fails miserably.

For one thing the movies tries to go back and forth with the testimony of criminals: Susan McDougal, Joe McDougal (who was convicted of money laundering and other stuff) try to come on and plead their cases as to how they were coerced to life for Clinton, yet their testimony is largely UNCREDIBLE.

Second, Clinton lied on the witness stand, under oath about the Lewinsky affair "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" said the liar in 1998.

It stands out there's as one of the most funniest political lies ever seen next to George Bush's "read my lip" message.

Third, Clinton had a history of sexual harassing attractive women from Paul Jones, to Gennifer Flowers, yet the producer and director of the film "spin it" so that you don't know the whole story.

For instance, Clinton admitted wrongdoing and settled out of court with Jones and the alleged affair with Flowers was proved true and of course with all know about the evidence showing he had oral sex with Monica (the semen stained blue dress).

Yet this 50 yr old man calling himself our President goes on TV and lies to cover up his own rear fat end.

Its shameful.

Another thing as well, one critic said Kenneth Star aired Clinton's testimony on the same day Clinton addressed the UN on terrorism, yet in reality Clinton never tackled the subject, few people know that Clinton heard about Osama Bin Laden in 1992 yet did nothing.

Clinton was spineless when it came to terrorism just as he was spineless in being truthful to the American people.

oH YEAH and last year he took 10 million dollars to air his dirty laundry in the crappy book, "My life".

Doesn't sound like a victim does it? No.

No wonder this movie got a limited release.

Avoid it.

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