The Descendants was incredible, but you know there was a large – maybe even majority large – number of people who were scoffing at it, saying, “Pfft. Sideways was better.” Even Clooney admitted he was insulted he wasn’t asked to be in it.
But, Alexander Payne has quietly been building up a reputation as the Daniel Day Lewis of directors. He doesn’t shoot a movie often, but when he does… he drinks Dos Equis.
From the vault of Payne’s masterstrokes of subtle comedy and dramatic genius comes a film almost as diabolical and reckless as everything that came after.
It was perfection when it hit, even if few saw it or can recite it. Reese Witherspoon is legendary. The part where she runs like a nerd at full speed back to Mr. McAllister’s office had to have been the scene that inspired Clooney’s sandals run from The Descendants.
Of course, there’s plenty of infidelity. Witherspoon sleeps with a married teacher, who was married to a woman who sleeps with Matthew Broderick, who is married to that woman’s best friend.
Meanwhile, Sideways was about a dude searching for an affair before he gets hitched, and The Descendants was about a dude who discovers his old lady was banging the MTV Real World guy from She’s All That.
Yes, and there’s Broderick. As a loser teacher stuck in Omaha, it looks like Payne is coaxing Ferris Bueller into getting slow but ironic revenge on the folks he used to prank 24/7.
This was Election. Perfect.