Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Sundance 2011 | Ten Things You Forgot (Or Never Knew) About Ronald Reagan

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire January 24, 2011 at 8:56AM

Returning to the festival with "Reagan," Eugene Jarecki presents a complex and evenhanded profile. While the film reveals little that's new, Reagan's top advisers and confidantes provide frank commentary on the White House in the 1980's matched with footage of Reagan apologizing in a series of PR maneuvers for the Iran-Contra affair and montages of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and others fawning over the late President. And son Ron Reagan provides some insight into the presidential home life.
0

Returning to the festival with "Reagan," Eugene Jarecki presents a complex and evenhanded profile. While the film reveals little that's new, Reagan's top advisers and confidantes provide frank commentary on the White House in the 1980's matched with footage of Reagan apologizing in a series of PR maneuvers for the Iran-Contra affair and montages of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and others fawning over the late President. And son Ron Reagan provides some insight into the presidential home life.

Jarecki, who left the 2005 Sundance Film Festival with the jury award for Best Documentary for "Why We Fight," noted that the only films made about Ronald Reagan are hagiographic direct-to-DVD films that are "sold on cable television commercials." (One might also add the ill-fated CBS-turned-Showtime made-for-TV movie to that list.) For a generation that seems to have lost sight of who the man actually was, the film provides a nice corrective. Below are 10 things you forgot (or never knew) about Ronald Reagan, as told by the documentary:

1. The family tried to get Ronald to address the AIDS crisis.

Ron and Nancy Reagan tried to make AIDS a priority for Ronald, who didn't mention the disease for years after the start of the epidemic. With warnings that people close to him would be affected, the death of Rock Hudson from the "mysterious disease" did indeed make it real for the President.

2. Mount Reagan? The Mississippi Reagan? Reagan Park?

The Reagan Legacy Project is an organization that attempts to change of establish various national or state landmarks with the name of our 40th President. The group's successes include the naming of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and is currently working to name a mountain in Nevada after Reagan.

3. The President was a "near-sighted lifeguard."

A section titled "The Near-Sighted Lifeguard" emphasizes Reagan's early career as a lifeguard and uses it as a metaphor for how he made sacrifices to save others' lives. His near-sightedness prevented him from seeing combat in WWII, something he always regretted.

4. Reagan's family was greatly aided by the New Deal.

Despite developing a brand of economics now considered the antithesis of Pres. Roosevelt's, like many in his generation Reagan became disenchanted with the welfare state and spent his political career trying to make government smaller.

5. Reagan was the "Errol Flynn of the Bs"

In archival footage, a charismatic Reagan gave himself that colorful, somewhat humbling moniker referring to his dashing profile in some of Hollywood's lesser action movies.

6. Reagan was a union man.

For the Sarah Palins and Pat Buchanans of the world: Let us not forget that Reagan was the President of the Screen Actors Guild.

7. Reagan talked behind his comrades' back.

Despite his union ties and generally sympathetic view to the plight of those targeted in the McCarthy era witch hunts, Reagan betrayed his official position when he testified at the HUAC committee meetings. In private, he cooperated with the commie-hunting investigations as informant T10. Son Ron Reagan admits that "[this] thought is troubling."

8. Reagan worked for six years as the face of General Electric.

After spending six years as the GE spokesperson, for which he and Nancy even recorded a dining room table commercial for household appliances, he was let go as his public persona became too political, traveling the country on the company's dime spouting off about a bit more than toasters.

9. Nancy ran the show.

Ronald Reagan, many people confessed, would never have become President if he did not marry Nancy. She also did much of Ronald's personnel advising, especially firing staff members, something that Reagan refused to do.

10. Reagan made many policy decisions that don't jibe with the talking points of those who cite him most frequently today.

As governor of California, Reagan granted amnesty for 2.6 million illegal immigrants and the number of federal employees actually grew under his reign.

And one more for good luck:

Jarecki had footage and letters from the archive covering a seven-year pen pal relationship between Reagan and a young black boy. Jarecki cut a 10-minute segment of the film that covered this story, but dropped it because it was more an anomaly than representative of Reagan's long-range character.

This article is related to: Documentary, Features






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More