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Comedy Movies - Wag The Dog

BUY Wag The Dog (dvd cover)
Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche,
Denis Leary, Willie Nelson
Directed by Barry Levinson
New Line Home Video 1998
110 minutes

When the President of the United States faces problems getting re-elected 11 days from election day because he fondled a girl scout his handlers start a war in Albania and stage footage of an Albanian girl running in the rubble holding a kitten to divert the news media's and hence the public's attention. This is what is meant by Wag The Dog

If you think this Wag The Dog is a work of fiction, do not forget the first Gulf War when this Kuwaiti girl testified in front of Congress that she saw Iraqi soldiers enter a nursery, take the babies out of incubators and either bayonet them or slammed their little heads on the floor. It would turn out later, and not really be picked up by anyone in the media save a 60 Minutes piece that the Kuwaiti girl in question was associated with the Kuwaiti royal family and the events never happened. Interestingly enough, Dateline et al never ran a report revealing they had been taken in by the story.

Wag The Dog is a caustic political drama slash comedy about the power of political handlers, the ignorance of the news media who does not investigate anything they are fed.

Dustin Hoffman plays the Hollywood producer hired by political consultant Robert de Niro to produce the war in Albania. When the CIA stops De Niro and assistant Anne Heche because it knows there is no war in Albania. Hoffman, the producer objects to the secret service meddling with his movie and launches Act Two of the story about an American soldier (Woody Harrelson whose character turns out to be a psychotic convict) supposedly left behind enemy lines. The President goes on national television, announces the news, and the media and so the American public buy the story, soundtrack (Old Shoe and Courage Mom) by Willie Nelson and all.

What is really scary about Wag The Dog is that it is a conspiracy movie that is more truth than fiction. The maneuverings of De Niro, Heche, and Hoffman have more plausible truth to them than the fake news stories they are feeding the press in order to save the President elect's behind.

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