Harry Shearer plays Nixon using Watergate tapes as a script
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Harry Shearer plays Nixon using Watergate tapes as a script

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Comedy | Drama

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2013 (UK)  »

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What the heck was the makeup person thinking???
25 September 2015 | by (Memphis, TN) – See all my reviews

I have never done this before, but like Nixon's resignation there is a first time for everything.

I watched the entire series because it was a fascinating, well acted glimpse into history and a president I was too young to know or truly understand. And I will say that the format allowed the producers to pick-and-choose what was included, so do not go into this series thinking you will get a balanced view of Nixon. Still, if you watch this thinking either they were too easy on Nixon, or did a hatchet job on him with this series--it doesn't matter. These are the man's words, recorded for history, so he has no one to blame but himself if they choose those that made him look bad.

That said, NOTHING could make him look as bad as Harry Shearer's makeup. It was HORRIBLE! It was barely better than one of those Nixon Halloween masks that were once popular (and may still be for all I know). In most scenes it reminded me of the plastic look of Matt Frewer in his "Max Headroom" makeup. And once completely applied to several inches thick, Shearer looked like a bobble-head doll, his head far out of proportion to the rest of his body, and with the layers of putty adding enough weight it didn't look like he would be able to keep his head up through the entire episode. His hair would not move, the skin on his forehead would not move, the nose which--lets face it, Nixon had a prominent nose--still managed to look like a solid block of hardened plaster. The job with the actor portraying Kissinger was similarly bad. The effect was to detract from the amazing performance of Shearer, who nailed the mannerisms, voice, and tone of delivery of Nixon. I just wish he had had a bag over his head instead of that horrible makeup.

And so--as I said at the start--I'm doing something I have never done. I am taking a full 2, perhaps even 3 stars off my rating, simply due to this horrible makeup. If you can get past that, you'll learn quite a bit about Nixon and his presidency that went on behind the scenes.


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