Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States, is discussing a documentary that follows the progress of his goal to raise $1 billion from investors to end the opioid epidemic in 50 U.S. cities by 2020. The documentary’s working title is “Joe Biden: Promise Made.”
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Some movie buffs consider screenings of political documentaries as a stepping stone to the movies where they actually watch movies.
Talking with some Biden enthusiasts at the tail end of his campaign tour with his daughter in June, someone who was either in his inner circle or, certainly, on his outside, started listing Biden’s many movie talents and announcing that one of them would soon be back in the limelight.
There is no reason to be uncertain that one of the talents is actually Biden himself. In the trailer for the upcoming documentary, headlined by former first lady Michelle Obama, Biden announces a film designed to raise $1 billion through private investors, who will view the documentary and decide whether to commit to a company that will help Biden and other mayors fight the opioid epidemic that has wrecked many local governments.
The incentive for the investor is substantial: He or she gets to name a drug to be funded, work with Biden and the mayors of 50 U.S. cities (revealed at the end of the trailer) and perhaps even change how some of the money will be spent. Even given the limited ability to apply money at the local level, a lot could be done.
No promise has been made. But Biden’s announcement he is re-enter the celebrity movie circuit makes this seem like a likely outcome.
I came away thinking that Biden, as president, might lead a presidential task force called simply “advisory committee on influence of movies,” which would hold a vote about which movies are least injurious.
When I asked Biden about this idea, he told me he wouldn’t do something as frivolous as it has to be: an attack on all movies. Instead, he said, he’d want to focus on those the U.S. spends a lot of money on — movies that feature shootings and gory films depicting brutal, bloody or even violent deaths. Those, Biden said, contribute to violence that perpetuates a culture of violence.
“I know we spent, I don’t know how much, $300 million on ‘Suicide Squad,’” Biden said, adding later, “It’s not even there anymore. It’s one of the worst films that was made recently.”
I am sure he is right about that. Suicide Squad, with its score of 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, was far less bad than G.I. Joe: Retaliation. And that is quite a difference compared to Batman v Superman, which seems so inconsistent with everything else Batman is about to earn a score of a mere 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
I have no idea what political categories Congress uses to justify $300 million in movie spending. But it would seem to be most likely the Rorschach test of the measure: the list includes a wide range of movies and the similarity of the ratings would tell you a lot.
I also suspect Biden might want to attack films with characters who appear to have just died — which might be a bit hard for consumers to stomach. But there are movies that change the world, the kind that allow the world to know us better and the kind that show it up for what it really is. And if Biden were inclined to that, he could put his own political talent to good use in a new documentary called “Promise Made.”