Bring On The Trump Movie. Reality Doesn’t Seem To Matter.

Of all of the headlines that contained that five-letter word that begins and ends with the letters that stand for toilet paper (you know, that pesky substance that sometimes sticks to shoes) that are out in the ether this morning, this one from THE WRAP’s Umberto Gonzalez stood out as perhaps the one that best puts our current state of affairs into the most apropos perspective:

‘The Apprentice’ Close to Deal for Pre-Election Release as Producers Pay Out Pro-Trump Investor

Yep, after more than a month of hemming and hawing, it looks like Bill Maher’s wet dream is about to become reality, as he, and the rest of us should we desire, will apparently be getting the chance to see something slightly less family-friendly at his friendly neighborhood cinema this summer.   Per Gonzalez:

Donald Trump biopic “The Apprentice” is poised to close a distribution deal with Briarcliff as the film’s producers prepare to pay out Dan Snyder-backed Kinematics, TheWrap has exclusively learned.

The film, starring Sebastian Stan and Jeremy Strong, had languished without a U.S. distribution deal since debuting in May at the Cannes Film Festival to strong reviews. Criticism arose that Hollywood studios were afraid to distribute the film for fear of retaliation by Trump supporters, even as the film landed deals in Europe.

Talks are underway with a group of several individuals to cash out the $5 million invested by Snyder, an ex-NFL owner of the Washington Commanders and Trump supporter, according to three individuals with knowledge.  Snyder wants out of the film; he is a staunch conservative who donated more than $1 million to Trump and his inaugural committee in 2016 and $100,000 to his 2020 reelection campaign. 

And there you have it.  No matter how much “loyalty” one may have to their candidate of choice on that side of the aisle, everyone apparently has a price.  Gonzalez even provided details on what that tipping point might have been:

Kinematics is run by Mark H. Rapaport, who happens to be married to Snyder’s daughter Tiffanie. Snyder initally put up half of the indie film’s $16 million budget and is a hands-off lender on the project, according to a second insider with knowledge. 

So it looks like a paltry $8 million is what is takes to get someone to change their tune, despite what Gonzalez further unspooled:

Upon learning that the film is unflattering and features a much-discussed recreation sequence where Trump rapes his former wife Ivana (she later recanted the allegation), Snyder allegedly attempted to, at first, exert creative control and was attempting to block the film from getting a release, according to Variety. However, the second insider told TheWrap, the film’s backers all initially signed off on the film’s shooting script. But Snyder was not among those who read the script and did not know how the project would portray Trump.

Snyder was notorious for overpaying for free agents that made little impact on the fortunes of his then Washington Redskins NFL team during his stormy 20-year tenure as owner, where they went 41 games under .500 and as the hometown WASHINGTON POST’s Scott Allen reminded at the time of his departure, had four times as many coaches (8) as playoff wins (2).  So it’s hardly surprising that he overlooked the auspices of who is responsible for THE APPRENTICE movie: None other than Gabriel Sherman, a name you might recognize from the 2014 biography of FOX NEWS founder and chairman THE LOUDEST VOICE IN THE ROOM.  An informed investor might have at least raised an eyebrow that any claims that the existence of this movie isn’t politically motivated may be a tad disingenous.

But, if anything, putting that kind of money down on a movie whose claim to acclaim at this point is the  ovation it got in Cannes may be the most telling sign of the level of savvy a Trump backer often displays.  This was the same festival where FURIOSA was all the rage, and then promptly laid a box office egg over Memorial Day weekend that all but set off panic attacks about the death of Hollywood theatricals–which a quirky little coming-of-age animated film released over Father’s Day weekend quickly disproved.   Maher might be racing out to see it, but I kinda doubt he’ll have much trouble finding a seat.

Besides, after what was available last night on TV, who needs to go the movies to see anything that might portray a political candidate in a negative light?  The actual candidates themselves seem to have done an excellent job of that on their own, with self-inflicting behavior and demeanor.   The same kind of mindsets that appear to champion the theatrical APPRENTICE are now even more panicked about the performance of their own candidate, which even by the minimal bar set by the real Trump on a night of continued lies and hyperbole was too high a standard for his competitor to match.

What we got was television as compelling as a car crash, and the kind of defensiveness that one might get from the family of an elderly parent after they stubbornly chose to drive despite all warnings to do so and caused an accident.  The number two person on the Democratic ticket was especially combative during her post-debate remarks, per Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher:

Vice President Kamala Harris bristled when CNN host Anderson Cooper asked her about people calling to “replace” President Joe Biden after his debate performance was widely panned…“(W)hat we saw tonight is that the president making a very clear contrast with Donald Trump on all of the issues that matter to the American people.  Yes, there was a slow start, but it was a strong finish”

And per HUFFPOST’s Nick Visser:

Cooper later added that Biden “was a very different person on the stage four years ago when you debated him. That’s certainly true, is it not?” ” I’m not going to spend all night with you talking about the last 90 minutes when I’ve been watching the last three and a half years of performance,” Harris replied. “It was a slow start. That’s obvious to everyone. I’m not going to debate that point.”  “I’m talking about the choice in November, about one of the most important elections in our collective lifetime,” she concluded.

I wonder if that’s how Harris would defend an elderly person seeking to keep their driver’s license after a “slow start”.  I’ve heard she’s a better lawyer than she is a politician.

Which is why this actual e-mail I got while writing this, ostensibly from “Joe Biden”, was perhaps an even more alarming item than the movie news:

Will you make your first $25 contribution to Kamala’s and my campaign today? It’s going to take a heck of a lot of resources to defeat Trump again.

KAMALA’S and my campaign?  Seriously?

Sorry, Joe, I need every penny I can get my hands on these days for other things like, you know, gas.

That’s our reality.  See you at the movies?

 

 

 

 

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