It’s official: At the 2015 MTV Music Video Awards Sunday night, Kanye West threw his hat into the 2020 presidential campaign. He was joking, of course. At least I think he was. Hard to tell with Kanye, who once proclaimed that he would be “one of the characters of today’s modern Bible” and that he considered himself to be “the be-all of music” and “a legend.” Even Donald Trump might say, “What an ego on this guy.”
Speaking of which, Trump, in Nashville last weekend, said that he would soon make a decision about whether he would run as a third party candidate. “I’ve been treated very nicely,” he said, a veiled threat perhaps about what he might do if the G.O.P didn’t treat him so. And that scared me. Because in an ascendant campaign that some might consider akin to something out of “The Twilight Zone,” this whole “nice” thing is eerily reminiscent of the killer ending to one of my favorite “TZ” episodes, “Living Doll.”
In it, talking doll Talky Tina becomes engaged in an escalating war of words with her owner’s abusive stepfather, going from “I’m Talky Tina, and I don’t think I like you” to “I’m Talky Tina, and I’m going to kill you.” When Talky Tina (spoiler alert) makes good on her threat, she has some choice words for his widow: “I’m Talky Tina, and you’d better be nice to me.”
So we’ve got Trump and we may have Kanye. When it comes to politics, truth is always much stranger than fiction, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from ribbing the political process with movies about unorthodox candidates. Here is a memorable slate:
Man of the Year: Robin Williams stars as a Jon Stewart-esque comedian who, at the urging of his millions of fans, decides to run for president. His campaign, however, is no joke, as his barbed views of the electoral system resonate with voters.
Head of State: Chris Rock stars As Mays Gilliam, a Washington D.C. alderman who is picked to become a sacrificial candidate after the president and vice president are killed in a plane crash. With nothing to lose, he speaks his mind (“What kind of a drug policy makes crack cheaper than asthma medicine?”) and his campaign becomes a national phenomenon. Sound familiar?
Wild in the Streets: Has Kanye seen this one? Rocker Max Frost uses his influence with America's idolizing youth to get the voting age lowered to 14 and eventually becomes president, transforming America into “the most truly hedonistic society the world has ever known.”
Election: Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) will stop at nothing to becoming president…of her high school class. Things get ugly fast.
Bob Roberts: If Donald Trump could sing, he might resemble senatorial candidate Bob Roberts, a billionaire businessman and conservative folksinger. Sample lyrics: “Hey bud, you’re living in the land of the free/No one’s gonna hand you opportunity.”