Dick (film)

Dick is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Andrew Fleming from a script he wrote with Sheryl Longin. It is a comic reimagining of the Watergate scandal which ended the presidency of Richard ("Tricky Dick") Nixon and features several cast members from Saturday Night Live and The Kids in the Hall.[3]

Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams star as Betsy and Arlene, two warm-hearted but unworldly 15-year-old girls who are best friends, and who, through various arbitrary circumstances, become the legendary "Deep Throat" figure partly responsible for bringing down Nixon's presidency. Dan Hedaya plays Nixon.

Dick
Theatricalposterdick
theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Fleming
Produced byGale Anne Hurd
Written byAndrew Fleming
Sheryl Longin
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyAlexander Gruszynski
Edited byMia Goldman
Production
company
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 4, 1999
Running time
94 minutes
Country
LanguageEnglish
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$6.3 million (US)[2]

Plot

Betsy Jobs (Kirsten Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Michelle Williams) are two sweet-natured but somewhat ditzy teenage girls living in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s. Betsy comes from a wealthy family in the Georgetown area, while Arlene lives with her widowed mother in an apartment in the Watergate building. One night, on a quest to mail a letter to enter a contest to win a date with teen idol singer Bobby Sherman, the two girls sneak out of Arlene's home, at the same time as the Watergate break-in. They manage to enter and leave through the parking garage by taping the latch of a door, accidentally causing the break-in to be discovered. They are seen by G. Gordon Liddy (Harry Shearer), who they believe to be committing a jewel robbery; they panic and run away. The security guard, startled by the taped door, calls the police, who immediately arrest the burglars.

The next day, while at the White House on a school tour, they accidentally happen across Liddy again. They don't recognize him, but he recognizes them and instantly becomes suspicious. He points them out to H. R. Haldeman (Dave Foley), who proceeds to interrogate them; their conversation (in which it is revealed that the girls don't actually think about the President that much) is interrupted firstly by a phone call from Haldeman's wife, and secondly by President Nixon himself (Dan Hedaya), who takes Haldeman aside to complain about the bugging operation being so fouled up.

The girls are naturally awestruck at being in the same room as Nixon — but more awestruck at being able to play with his dog, which gives Nixon an idea. In order to keep their silence, he appoints them his official dog-walkers ... which means they must be admitted repeatedly to the White House. On these visits they accidentally influence major events such as the Vietnam peace process and the Nixon-Brezhnev accord, by bringing along cookies that they have inadvertently baked marijuana into. (Near the end of the film, when Betsy's brother, Larry (Devon Gummersall), reveals the cookies' "secret ingredient" and realizes the President ate them, he concludes that this was likely a leading cause of Nixon's paranoia.) They also become familiar with the key figures of Nixon's administration, including the long-suffering, frequently ignored Henry Kissinger, and inadvertently learn the major secrets of the Watergate scandal without realizing what they know.

Arlene, previously infatuated with Bobby Sherman, now falls equally hard for the president. Just after reading an 18 12-minute message of love into his tape recorder, she plays back another part of the tape and, after hearing his coarse, brutal rantings, quickly realizes his true nature. When they confront Nixon, he fires and threatens them.

The girls now reevaluate what they have learned and decide to reveal everything to the "radical muckraking bastards" (Nixon's words) at The Washington Post, Bob Woodward (Will Ferrell) and Carl Bernstein (Bruce McCulloch). So they become informants; two 15-year-old girls are the true identity of the famous Deep Throat (Betsy's brother had just been caught watching the film of the same name). Woodward and Bernstein — portrayed as petty, childish, and incompetent — are naturally skeptical of the two girls. To make matters worse, their only piece of physical evidence, a list of names of those involved from the Committee to Re-Elect the President, is eaten by Betsy's dog.

Nixon's men realize that the girls are a real threat and attempt tactics such as bugging and undercover agents to find out what they know, eventually going so far as to break into Betsy's house and plant an undercover agent as Arlene's mother's boyfriend. Eventually pushed to the limit after being chased by the Watergate "plumbers", the girls decide to take action: sneaking into Haldeman's house, they manage to find and steal a crucial tape recording. They give a transcription of it to Woodward and Bernstein (keeping the tape as a "souvenir") thus ending Nixon's political career. Nixon finds Arlene's message on his tape and erases it, reasoning that he'd be "crucified" if it was perceived that he had an affair with a 15-year-old girl. After the resignation, as Nixon's helicopter flies over Betsy's house, the two girls hold up a sign with the phrase "You suck, Dick", further angering the now ex-president.[4]

Cast

Production

Writers Andrew Fleming and Sheryl Longin attempted to write several different scripts with teenage girls as protagonists. The idea of using the Watergate scandal came from a real-life experience Longin had with Nixon when her family stayed at the same hotel as Nixon. As a child, she and a friend pelted Nixon with ice cubes, causing a minor disturbance. Fleming said that he was surprised at the attempts to rehabilitate Nixon's image, and Longin cited the Watergate scandal as a defining political moment for their generation. She said she channeled the resulting anger and cynicism into the script. Several people told the duo that various gags went too far. Fleming, who believed Nixon got off easily, said they fought to keep everything. They approached Ben Bradlee and John Dean to play themselves, but both declined.[5]

Release

TriStar's marketing research indicated teenage girls were the film's biggest demographic, so promotional material focused on Dunst and Williams instead of the political aspects.[5] Dick was released in the US on August 4, 1999.[1] It grossed $2.2 million in its opening weekend, opening at No. 12 in 1522 theaters. It went on to gross $6.3 million in the US.[6]

Home media

Dick was released on VHS and DVD on December 14, 1999, and on Blu-ray on November 6, 2018.[7]

Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 71% approval rating based on 72 reviews, with the consensus: "A clever, funny slice of alternate history, Dick farcically re-imagines the Watergate era and largely succeeds, thanks to quirky, winning performances from Michelle Williams, Kirsten Dunst and Will Ferrell".[8] Leonard Maltin gave the film three stars, calling it a "clever cross of Clueless and All the President’s Men".[9] Todd McCarthy, in his review for Variety, called it an "audacious, imaginative political comedy" that will appeal more to adults than teenagers.[10] Stephen Holden of The New York Times described it as "an uproariously dizzy satire" that was inspired by the Lewinsky scandal.[11] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas said the film "is so sharp and funny it should appeal to all ages".[12] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post described it as "more fun than you ever thought you'd have with Richard Nixon".[13] The film's acting received critical commentary. Thomas positively compared Hedaya's performance to Anthony Hopkins in Nixon,[12] and Kempley called Hedaya "no less adept" than Hopkins.[13] Holden wrote that Hedaya's portrayal of Nixon is "the year's funniest film caricature".[11] Thomas called Dunst and Williams "a constant delight".[12]

Awards

Year Award Category Subject Result
2000 Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical Dick Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical Dan Hedaya Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Michelle Williams Nominated
YoungStar Award Best Young Actress/Performance in a Motion Picture Comedy Kirsten Dunst Nominated

References

  1. ^ a b c "Dick". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  2. ^ a b "Dick (1999)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  3. ^ "9 Things You Really Never Knew About 'Dick'".
  4. ^ "Dick (1999) Film review : That Gap in the Nixon Tapes? Maybe a Teen-Age Cry of Love". New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Waxman, Sharon (1999-08-01). "Generation X's Tricky 'Dick'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  6. ^ "Dick". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  7. ^ Dick. Blu-ray.com.
  8. ^ "Dick (1999) Film".
  9. ^ Maltin, Leonard, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. New York: Signet Books, 2009. ISBN 1-101-10660-3. p.356
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd (1999-08-02). "Review: 'Dick – D.C. Follies: Kicky 'Dick' Pic Clicks'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  11. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (1999-08-04). "FILM REVIEW; That Gap in the Nixon Tapes? Maybe a Teen-Age Cry of Love". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  12. ^ a b c Thomas, Kevin (1999-08-04). "Teen Girls Change History in 'Dick's' White House". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  13. ^ a b Kempley, Ria (1999-08-04). "Tricky 'Dick': A Bungle of Laughs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-03.

External links

1972 United States presidential election

The 1972 United States presidential election was the 47th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1972. Incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic Senator George McGovern of South Dakota.

Nixon easily swept aside challenges from two Republican congressmen in the 1972 Republican primaries to win re-nomination. McGovern, who had played a significant role in reforming the Democratic nomination system after the 1968 election, mobilized the anti-war movement and other liberal supporters to win his party's nomination. Among the candidates he defeated were early front-runner Edmund Muskie, 1968 nominee Hubert Humphrey, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American to run for a major party's presidential nomination.

Nixon emphasized the strong economy and his success in foreign affairs, while McGovern ran on a platform calling for an immediate end to the Vietnam War, and the institution of a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon maintained a large and consistent lead in polling. Separately, Nixon's reelection committee broke into the Watergate Hotel to wiretap the Democratic National Committee's headquarters, a scandal that would later be known as "Watergate". McGovern's campaign was further damaged by the revelation that his running mate, Thomas Eagleton, had undergone psychiatric electroshock therapy as a treatment for depression. Eagleton was replaced on the ballot by Sargent Shriver.

Nixon won the election in a landslide, taking 60.7% of the popular vote and carrying 49 states, and he was the first Republican to sweep the South. McGovern took just 37.5% of the popular vote, while John G. Schmitz of the American Independent Party won 1.4% of the vote. Nixon received almost 18 million more votes than McGovern, and he holds the record for the widest popular vote margin in any United States presidential election. The 1972 presidential election was the first since the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Within two years of the election, both Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office, the former due to Watergate and the latter to a separate corruption charge, and Nixon was succeeded by Gerald Ford.

Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein ( BURN-steen; born February 14, 1944) is an American investigative journalist and author.

While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Bernstein was teamed up with Bob Woodward; the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. The work of Woodward and Bernstein was called "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time" by longtime journalism figure Gene Roberts.Bernstein's career since Watergate has continued to focus on the theme of the use and abuse of power via books and magazine articles. He has also done reporting for television and opinion commentary. He is the author or co-author of six books: All the President's Men, The Final Days, and The Secret Man, with Bob Woodward; His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time, with Marco Politi; Loyalties; and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Additionally, he is a regular political commentator on CNN.

Committee for the Re-Election of the President

The Committee for the Re-election of the President (also known as the Committee to Re-elect the President), abbreviated CRP was a fundraising organization of United States President Richard Nixon in his 1972 re-election campaign.

Dandy Dick

Dandy Dick is a 1935 British comedy film starring Will Hay. It was based on the 1887 play Dandy Dick by Arthur Wing Pinero. It is the second and last of his films to be based on a play by Arthur Wing Pinero – the first was Those Were the Days which was based on The Magistrate. Moore Marriott, who played an uncredited role in the film, later became a famous foil to Hay in films later on alongside Graham Moffatt, it was during the film of Dandy Dick that Marriott introduced the idea of being a supporting player to Hay.

Eugenio Martínez

Eugenio Rolando Martínez (alias Musculito, born July 8, 1922) was a member of the anti-Castro movement in the early 1960s, and later was one of the five men recruited by G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt in 1972 for the Memorial Day weekend Watergate burglary at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. He later worked as a real estate agent.Weeks after the initial break in, on June 17, 1972, the men were arrested by District of Columbia Police inside DNC headquarters during what they said was a second entry into the building to correct problems with the first break-in. Martinez and the others were convicted in the ensuing Watergate scandal. The others were Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker and James McCord. After completing his prison term, Martinez was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.On August 31, 2016, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained CIA internal documents, through a FOIA request, that stated Martinez was a paid asset of the Agency at the time of the break in. Although his connection to the Agency was acknowledged, until this release the CIA had maintained that his service had ended and he no longer had an association with the Agency for at least two years prior to the incident at the Watergate Hotel.

Howard Simons

Howard Simons (June 3, 1929 - June 13, 1989) was the managing editor of the Washington Post at the time of the Watergate scandal, and later curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

According to his Washington Post obituary, Simons was a native of Albany, New York, and received a BA from Union College in Schenectady in 1951 and a master's degree a year later from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After service in the Korean War, he became a science reporter in Washington for several news organizations, and joined The Post as a science writer in 1961. He became assistant managing editor in 1966 and managing editor in 1971.

Il nano e la strega

Il Nano e la Strega (Translation: The dwarf and the witch, English title: King Dick) is a 1973 Italian adult animated film.

John Dean

John Wesley Dean III (born October 14, 1938) is a former attorney who served as White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. Dean is known for his role in the cover-up of the Watergate scandal and his subsequent testimony to Congress as a witness. His guilty plea to a single felony in exchange for becoming a key witness for the prosecution ultimately resulted in a reduced sentence, which he served at Fort Holabird outside Baltimore, Maryland. After his plea, he was disbarred as an attorney.

Shortly after the Watergate hearings, Dean wrote about his experiences in a series of books and toured the United States to lecture. He later became a commentator on contemporary politics, a book author, and a columnist for FindLaw's Writ.

Dean had originally been a proponent of Goldwater conservatism, but he later became a critic of the Republican Party. Dean has been particularly critical of the party's support of Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, and of neoconservatism, strong executive power, mass surveillance, and the Iraq War.

Moby Dick (disambiguation)

Moby-Dick is an 1851 novel by Herman Melville.

"Moby Dick" may also refer to:

Moby Dick (whale), the white whale in the novel

Montauk Project

The Montauk Project is a conspiracy theory that alleges there were a series of secret United States government projects conducted at Camp Hero or Montauk Air Force Station on Montauk, Long Island, for the purpose of developing psychological warfare techniques and exotic research including time travel. The story of the Montauk Project originated in the Montauk Project series of books by Preston Nichols which intermixes those stories with stories about the Philadelphia Experiment.

Nixon's Enemies List

"Nixon's Enemies List" is the informal name of what started as a list of President of the United States Richard Nixon's major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House), and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as "Opponents List" and "Political Enemies Project".

The list became public knowledge on June 27, 1973, when Dean mentioned during hearings with the Senate Watergate Committee that a list existed containing those whom the president did not like. Journalist Daniel Schorr, who happened to be on the list, managed to obtain a copy of it later that day.A longer second list was made public by Dean on December 20, 1973, during a hearing with the Congressional Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.

Richard Nixon's resignation speech

Richard Nixon's resignation speech was an address made on August 8, 1974, by President of the United States Richard Nixon to the American public. It was delivered in the White House Oval Office. The purpose of the speech was for Nixon, who had been intimately involved in the events surrounding the Watergate scandal that occurred during his controversial re-election campaign in 1972, to announce to the nation that he was resigning from office. Watergate had cost Nixon much of his political support, and at the time of his resignation, he faced almost certain impeachment and removal from office.

Nixon was the ninth incumbent president not to complete the four-year term to which they had been elected since the presidency was established in 1789. He was however, the first to do so for a reason other than dying in office. His presidential resignation remains the only one in U.S. history.

Rose Mary Woods

Rose Mary Woods (December 26, 1917 – January 22, 2005) was Richard Nixon's secretary from his days in Congress in 1951, through the end of his political career. Before H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman became the operators of Nixon's presidential campaign, Woods was Nixon's gatekeeper.

United States v. Nixon

United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that resulted in a unanimous decision against President Richard Nixon, ordering him to deliver tape recordings and other subpoenaed materials to a federal district court. Issued on July 24, 1974, the decision was important to the late stages of the Watergate scandal, when there was an ongoing impeachment process against Richard Nixon. United States v. Nixon is considered a crucial precedent limiting the power of any U.S. president to claim executive privilege.

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger wrote the opinion for a unanimous court, joined by Justices William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan, Potter Stewart, Byron White, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun and Lewis F. Powell. Burger, Blackmun, and Powell were appointed to the Court by Nixon during his first term. Associate Justice William Rehnquist recused himself as he had previously served in the Nixon administration as an Assistant Attorney General.

Virgilio Gonzalez

Virgilio (Villo) R. Gonzalez (born May 18, 1926) is a Cuba-born political activist, locksmith, and one of the five men arrested at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The break-in led to the Watergate scandal and the eventual resignation of United States President Richard Nixon two years later.

Watergate Seven

The Watergate Seven has come to refer to two different groups of people, but both fall in the context of the Watergate scandal. First, it can refer to the five men caught June 17, 1972, burglarizing the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, along with their two handlers, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, who were Nixon campaign aides. All seven were tried before Judge John Sirica in January 1973.The second use of Watergate Seven refers to seven advisors and aides of United States President Richard M. Nixon who were indicted by a grand jury on March 1, 1974, for their role in the Watergate scandal. The grand jury also named Nixon as an unindicted conspirator. The indictments marked the first time in U.S. history that a president was so named.

Watergate scandal

The Watergate scandal was a major American political scandal that lasted from 1972 to 1974, following a burglary by five men of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and President Richard Nixon's subsequent attempt to cover up his administration's involvement. After the five burglars were caught and the conspiracy was discovered—chiefly through the work of a few journalists, Congressional staffers and an election-finance watchdog official—Watergate was investigated by the United States Congress. Meanwhile, Nixon's administration resisted its probes, which led to a constitutional crisis.The term Watergate, by metonymy, has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such dirty tricks as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as political weapons.The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by members of the Nixon administration, the commencement of an impeachment process against the president, and Nixon's resignation. The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials.The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking into the DNC headquarters at the Watergate complex on Saturday, June 17, 1972. The FBI investigated and discovered a connection between cash found on the burglars and a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP), the official organization of Nixon's campaign. In July 1973, evidence mounted against the president's staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee. The investigation revealed that Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and that he had recorded many conversations.After a series of court battles, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that the president was obligated to release the tapes to government investigators (United States v. Nixon). The tapes revealed that Nixon had attempted to cover up activities that took place after the break-in, and to use federal officials to deflect the investigation.

Facing virtually certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, preventing the House from impeaching him. On September 8, 1974, his successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him.

The name "Watergate" and the suffix "-gate", used after an identifying term (e.g. Bridgegate), have since become synonymous with political and non-political scandals in the United States, and some other parts of the world.

White House Plumbers

The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, the "Room 16 Project," or more officially, the White House "Special Investigations Unit" was a covert White House Special Investigations Unit, established within a week after the publication of the "Pentagon Papers" in June 1971, during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop and/or respond to the leaking of classified information, such as the Pentagon Papers, to the news media. The work of the unit "tapered-off" after the bungled "Ellsberg break-in" but some of its former operatives branched into illegal activities while still employed at the White House together with managers of the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal. The group has been described as Nixon's "fixers".

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