Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The President's Analyst

Remember The President's Analyst, a brilliant, take-no-prisoners political satire made in 1967? When psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Schaefer (James Coburn) is chosen to be the President's psychoanalyst, a mysterious cabal inside the government decides he's a security risk and wants him terminated. By itself, not a bad premise. But what made The President's Analyst deliciously subversive was that the bad guys weren't THRUSH, KAOS or even Nick Fury's old nemesis HYDRA. Uh-uh. It was THE PHONE COMPANY.

Being a snot-nosed kid when I saw the movie the first time, I didn't understand back then why a corporation were the bad guys in an espionage thriller instead of a derby-tossing assassin. Apparently, I wasn't alone in my confusion. The President's Analyst was a flop. Years later, however, it's enjoying the last laugh.

Can you say "Haliburton", boys and girls?

More than a comedy, The President's Analyst was a horror story that pulled back the curtains to reveal who the real villains in the United States were. And they're still here. The monsters are faceless men wearing Armani suits sitting in secret boardrooms who are quietly sending soldiers overseas to die in a bad war, emptying pension accounts and laying off thousands of employees with the click of a mouse.

Is The President's Analyst still funny? Oh, sure.

You'll die laughing.