Mitch Perry Report 8.19.13: Biopic weekend

The Butler battles Jobs. Plus: Egypt, The Lens and more …

Yours truly caught a lot of movies this weekend, including Lee Daniels' The Butler, which took home the box-office weekend in America. The film spotlights the civil rights struggle through the life and career of a White House servant. It's very roughly based on the life of Eugene Allen, who was a White House butler for 34 years, serving presidents from Truman through Reagan.

Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, a figure based on Allen. His life is first depicted in Alabama in the 1920s and is later shown during the election of Barack Obama as America's first black president (Allen died in 2010).

It's an important film, coming out just days before the country observes the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington "I had a dream" speech, but it's just an okay film. Something about the whole Forrest Gump element made it feel less authentic, as if the screenwriter had to fit in every significant moment of the fight for civil rights through the prism of Gaines' son, Louis — a character created out of thin cloth to heighten the dramatic arc of Gaines' life.
I also saw the first of two planned biopics on the late Steve Jobs. Jobs opened nationally on Friday, and I'm here to tell you that whatever you feel about Ashton Kutcher, the man physically has Jobs down cold in this film. The first half is quite enjoyable, the second, not so much. Critics have essentially panned the film, most likely waiting for the "other" Jobs film, the one Aaron Sorkin scripted from Walter Isaacson's best-seller.

I also saw Lovelace, another biopic about Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace. Very intense, and very good.

As the assault on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood continues today in Egypt, the question about whether the U.S. should stop the $1.5 billion in financial aide given to the Egyptian government was debated by various members of Congress on the Sunday talk shows.

If you're weary of the subject and are looking for more guidance on whether to support or oppose the Lens project in St. Pete, check out this radio debate that aired over the weekend on CBS radio. 

You're not reading much about it, but there are still a lot of organized efforts going on this August by pro-immigration reform advocates to get the House to support the Senate's comprehensive bill passed in late June. On Saturday, CL contributor Terence Smith observed some phone banking in Tampa that was targeting the constituents of a couple of local Republican House members.

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