Edit: The book also had a bit more about McCain's infamously volatile temper--a feature that is entirely absent from the script and Harris's portrayal which focuses on giving us an affable if somewhat befuddled old guy who seems as naive about the political process as Palin and whose primary positive quality comes across as being willing to be led (okay, controlled) by staffers. I think that a misfire on several levels, not the least of which is that it makes everyone in the Republican staff look even worse, because Palin's nomination doesn't come across as a devil's bargain designed to get a genuinely competent and admirable leader elected but as just a more egregious example of caring about winning more than caring about who is doing the job.
I felt like I had (and have had) more respect for John McCain than the film did, and for those who know my politics, that should say something. Persiflage said the film avoids making him into a caricature. I somewhat disagree. Perhaps (but only perhaps) it stopped short of caricature, but it certainly did not, in my opinion, portray John McCain as a serious person or a competent candidate. To give it its due, it did present him as a person of personal integrity in his refusal to invoke Jeremiah Wright and his reluctance to run a negative campaign, though even there, it is somewhat ambiguous as to whether this is tactical decency, principle, or naivete. His response to the woman saying Obama is a Muslim, is portrayed, I think, as coming from a place of shock and bewilderment that people actually think that. I find that an implausible interpretation of historical events. I actually think McCain must have had vast reservoirs of conviction to resist many of the temptations he did for as long as he did. I didn't see anything in Harris's performance that began to explain the loyalty and admiration that many people genuinely seem to have for him.
Edited by kenmorefield, 12 March 2012 - 03:20 PM.