Out of the Blue: Trump’s fave movie is … Bloodsport? (opinion)
Out of the Blue
A pal of mine stopped over to watch the Oscars at my place on Sunday, and within 40 seconds of walking through my front door, she called me “a crazy person.”
She cited as evidence of this my pile of reading material on one side of my mud room. I’m always at the Incline Village Library, placing a ton of holds and grabbing any and every book that looks appealing. I like to have a selection of various topics available at all times, should I find a break in the day to exercise my inner bookworm.
My friend assessed my beloved media heap, drawing specific attention to these titles: Bob Dylan’s collected lyrics, some Gilmore Girls episodes on DVD, my favorite Thomas Pynchon novel, and (most bizarre for her) a well-worn edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which happened to be a recommendation from my best friend’s four-year-old. My buddy claimed that if someone didn’t know me personally, my taste in literature would make me out as a gonzo lunatic (a pretty well-read one, at least).
This, of course, led me to think about what our president turns to in media and how those preferences reflect both his temperament as an elected official and as a man in full. The Monday after the Oscars, I researched this and was frankly shocked by what I found. It wasn’t just that DJT’s tastes were impressively all over the map — I found the way his preferences clashed to be fascinating.
Let’s start with movies.
He’s on the record as citing “Citizen Kane” as a favorite, though the basic themes of Orson Welles’ cautionary tale about the pitfalls of wealth and power appear to have passed Donald by.
He’s also mentioned reverence for “Gone With the Wind” and “GoodFellas,” which are films many have had affection for through the years.
Where this best-of list goes to napalm is the piece of cinema DJT refers to as “an incredible, fantastic movie.” No, it’s not “Ghosts Can’t Do It,” the movie that won Donald J. Trump a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor in 1990 — it’s “Bloodsport” with Jean-Claude Van Damme.
I tried to connect the dots here, to figure out the intersection of the hollowness of the American relationship with money (Kane), the Civil War destruction and rehabilitation of Atlanta (Wind), and the underground ninjutsu scene in late-80s Hong Kong (Bloodsport), but couldn’t come up with anything.
Maybe the written word would prove more illuminating.
DJT being DJT, it came as little surprise that when Extra asked him what his two favorite books were, he replied with “The Art of the Deal” and “Surviving at the Top,” titles Trump himself is credited with writing. At a campaign rally, he’s even reneged on this claim, stating: “Nothing beats the ‘Bible,’ not even ‘The Art of the Deal.’” High praise, indeed.
He revealed to Megyn Kelly that his favorite work of fiction is “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, which plays into his literary tastes the way “Citizen Kane” does with his favorite films — it seems way out of character.
The rhetoric of the blustery, bombastic speech-giving DJT seems antithetical to the philosophies regarding the pointlessness of violence and war that Remarque considers. Could he have read the novel in high school and not thought about it since?
Just as I was hitting a wall trying to divine a throughline in DJT’s tastes in art and how these reflect him as a human being, I discovered that maybe these comments of his were all a rouse.
In that Megyn Kelly interview, after citing All Quiet as a classic, the reporter asked him to name the last book he read. His response: “I read passages, I read areas, chapters. I don’t have the time. When was the last time I watched a baseball game?”
Speaking with Esquire, DJT was asked, “Is there [a book] you actually like that you’d recommend?” In a reply that likely sent secret shivers down the spines of every librarian in the world, DJT said: “I like a lot of books. I like reading books. I don’t have the time to read very much now in terms of the books, but I like reading them.”
It appears there isn’t a Sphinx mystery to decode here, after all. Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were devoted readers, but it looks like Donald Trump isn’t. He likes his Twitter; he likes his Fox News. That’s as complicated as it gets.
I wonder if the Washoe County Library system has a copy of “Bloodsport” I can check out…?
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a founding member of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at email@example.com.