By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Amy Nicholson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Stephanie Zacharek
By JOEL BEERS
So it wasn't enough for those Jews in Hollywood to kick Dick Nixon around in All the President's Men or commie-pinko fag Oliver Stone's Nixon or even the one that actually made me weep like a baby, Dick. Now comes The Assassination of Richard Nixon, the debut feature by American—though his name sounds foreign; probably a Red—Niels Mueller.
Assassinationis about a 44-year-old sad sack named Samuel J. Bicke (played by commie-pinko fag Sean Penn), who is the world's biggest whiner. His marriage is broken, his sales job is demeaning, and his attempts to get out of his rut result in more misery.
Wish I could've gotten a hold of this boy. You see, I was known as the biggest crybaby in Yorba Linda. My old man could hear me blubbering with the tractor running. I was sickly, I almost died in an accident, the old man ignored me when he wasn't beating me silly, and I even had to vie for my mother's breast milk with an infant cousin. When I wasn't bedridden, Mom was. Her life with Dad was miserable, she was always depressed, and I don't think I ever got to know either one of them.
Like me, this Bicke fellow has troubles with the ladies. His wife, Marie (Naomi Watts; think Tricia if Tricia was hiding an Aussie accent), doesn't respect him and is trying to keep him away from their young family. Reminds me of my first girlfriend, Ola Florence Welch. I learned enough when she dumped me for being argumentative and having a violent temper to kiss up to the at-first-uninterested Patricia Ryan, lavishing her with praise even when she laughed in my face. "Don't laugh; some day I'm going to marry you," I told her the first time I met her. I even drove her to her dates with other boys before finally reeling her in. But once we were married, it all changed: I made Pat pay—for the rest of her life, belittling her in public, pushing away her attempts at intimacy, making sure she knew who was boss. One thing I would not tolerate was a pants-wearing, opinionated broad who thought she was better than me. I made damn sure the ladies in the White House press corps knew this, too.
This Bicke thinks he's an honest man held down by a world corrupted by Vietnam, Watergate and high Nielsen ratings for Petticoat Junction. He was fired by his tire-salesman brother, Julius (Michael Wincott), whose success mocks Samuel, just like my success mocked my deadbeat brother, Donald. Sammy starts selling office furniture, and his boss, Jack Jones (Jack Thompson), tries to turn his new hire into a liar. But Bicke doesn't have the stomach for it.
I know what it's like to fail on the job: I screwed up my first case with Wingert and Bewley, Whittier's busiest law firm, and cost them a ton of money at a time when there was no Bebe Rebozo slush fund to bail me out.
One evening, Jack and Bicke are sitting in a bar when my image comes on the TV screen. "You know who the greatest salesman in the country is?" Jones asks. "That man right there because he got elected twice by campaigning against the Vietnam War, then he bombed the shit out of Vietnam."
I really liked Jack. But this Bicke fellow doesn't and starts to blame me—ME! THE PRESIDENT!!!—for all society's ills. His Negro mechanic friend Bonny (Don Cheadle) is treated badly by white customers, so Bicke starts giving money to those thugs the Black Panthers. Bicke also sends tape recordings to Leonard Bernstein, the Jew composer who made my famous Enemies List, right after Topo Gigio.
"I'm telling you, slavery never really ended in this country," Bicke tells Lenny. "What happened, Mr. Bernstein, what happened to this land of plenty, where there is plenty for the few and few for the plenty?"
I won every argument I ever got in, and I would have reasoned with this Bicke fellow to change his attitude. With my impoverished upbringing, an old man who could go off like unexploded ordnance at any time, and the early demise of my little brother, Arthur, I, too, saw the world as a dangerous place. But I fought back, reading everything and using my smarts and awards and certificates as protective armor against a cold, cruel world. Dirt poor, I got straight A's, scored superhigh on intelligence tests and should have gone to Harvard Law School, but I had to stay close to home, working all kinds of crappy jobs to support the family. I would have loved to work in a furniture storeroom! I went to Whittier, then Duke Law School, and I always resented those spoiled, rich Harvard kids—especially the ones working under me in the White House. Especially the Jews. Bicke was a Jew.
I had as much right to be pissed off at the world as this Bicke fellow. But I did something about it. Like his boss tells him, the most important thing is to win. That's why I distorted Jerry Voorhis' record when I took away his congressional seat as World War II wound down and steered clear of the issues—fuck the issues—and instead portrayed Helen Gahagan Douglas as pink down to her underwear when I beat her for the Senate in 1950. People react to fear, not love. They don't teach that in Sunday school, but it's true.
After JFK stole the election in 1960 and I quit politics for eight years, I came back in '68 and aimed my presidential race at the forgotten American: white, middle-class, hawkish, patriotic, and totally ignored in the 1960s and early '70s. Ah, that crazy era. Bicke thought he had it tough; the whole world was out to get Dick back then. I racked up so many firsts as president—from the monumental (first president to step foot in the Kremlin and Red China) to the trivial (first president to campaign on Oahu)—that I was determined not to be the first president to lose a war. But the press and the commies and the hoodlums conspired to prevent this, and I had to spy on everyone from Bicke's beloved Black Panthers to my deadbeat brother, Donald, just to survive. Even the richest man in the world, Howard Hughes, was out to get me.
(Fun fact: this Leonardo DiCaprio kid is playing Hughes in a new Scorsese movie. DiCaprio is an executive producer of The Assassination of Richard Nixon, and the real Samuel Byck—the name was changed to protect the guilty—may have inspired the fictitious Travis Bickle character in Scorsese's Taxi Driver, which inspired the fake assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan, the most overrated president in U.S. history!)
When the walls caved in, I could always battle the depression by turning my anger outward and, say, secretly bombing Cambodia or escalating the war in North Vietnam on Christmas Day or ordering the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's office. But what do you do when the press, Congress and your own party are against you? I tell you what you do, you rack up another first: the first American president to resign.
Instead of taking the high road, this Bicke fellow looks at footage of me on the TV and says, "You're a prick!" and later tries to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House to kill me—ME! THE PRESIDENT!!!
"They can rebuild the White House, Mr. Bernstein," he says on a tape he dropped in the mail that fateful day in '74, "but they can never forget me."
Ah, but this fool had no idea who he was messing with, and his plot ends tragically for him and a couple of innocent bystanders. Me? Not so much as a scratch, and I managed to keep the real Byck a footnote in history all these years. You see, I was always different. They wouldn't have idolized me like they did JFK and MLK. I had to make Hoover's boys and the networks sweep this thing under the rug lest the American public realize, "Oh, you mean we can KILL him?"
Oh, there was brief mention of the incident, one of which, cut into The Assassination of Richard Nixon, is an actual news clip introduced by Commie Cronkite as Bonny and Marie continue working, not even paying attention to the story on their TVs.
If only no one would have paid attention to Woodward and Bernstein.
Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, remains dead and buried at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, from where he filed this review.
THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON WAS DIRECTED BY NIELS MUELLER; WRITTEN BY MUELLER AND KEVIN KENNEDY; PRODUCED BY ALFONSO CUARON AND JORGE VERGARA; AND STARS SEAN PENN, NAOMI WATTS AND DON CHEADLE. NOW PLAYING AT EDWARDS UNIVERSITY, IRVINE.
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