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Weiner [Celluloid Hero]

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Weiner (2016)

I had a passing knowledge of the Anthony Weiner scandal. I knew he got busted tweeting a private message to his public feed, he apologized, then got busted yet again, and saw his political career crumble. What I had not known was just how successful he actually had been, how his star was on the rise, how he was leading in the race for mayor of New York City. It was shocking to be there with the film crew as his fall happened before their eyes.

Anthony Weiner was a seven-term Democratic Congressman in New York. He was popular among his constituents, he had the loud, brash, stereotypical New Yorker personality. His most famous fight involved criticizing Republicans who wanted to cut health care for 9/11 rescue workers. His political life was a smash, and his personal life was great too, married to one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, Huma Abedin. It was almost a movie script, a powerful couple rising the ranks of politics and social standing. Just like a movie script, the rise to the top led to a precipitous drop.

I’m always intrigued by the world of politics. Weiner admits that normal people don’t get involved in that world, you have to have some combination of narcissism and constant need for approval. Politicians live for the personal connections they make with voters, and often those personal connections get too personal.

I think the most fascinating thing about this documentary is the timeline. Weiner allowed the crew to be there to film his mayoral run in 2013. His first scandal happened in 2011, so the cameras were there when the second scandal broke. It had to be a nightmare for Weiner, and an absolute dream for the filmmakers. This is an odd comparison, but it actually reminded me of the Bret Hart documentary Wrestling With Shadows. It was similar in that the documentary was intended to be about one thing, then turned into a completely different story while the cameras were rolling. I understand that there must have been whatever type of wording in the contract that allowed the crew nearly unlimited access, but there were a number of times I just wanted to yell at Weiner “Dude! Tell them to turn the cameras off, unplug your mic, call ‘cut’, just stop this!”

It really just seemed that Weiner is addicted to the fame, addicted to the attention (positive or negative) and doesn’t want his hilarious name to fall out the public’s mouth. So to speak.

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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Weiner” gets a 6 out of 10.

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