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Movie Review: One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern

Alternate Title: Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant

Story: Sigh! Can you imagine what our country might be like today if George McGovern had beaten Richard Nixon in 1972?

I am sure my contemporaries have vivid memories about what this country was like when McGovern declared his candidacy in 1970. We were engaged in an unpopular war that divided our nation. Poverty was on the increase. Inflation was rising. Cronyism, nepotism and corruption (remember Watergate?) were oozing from our Executive branch. Yikes! It sounds familiar, doesn't it?

This well done (but a bit long) documentary about McGovern's run for the Presidency is fascinating stuff. I had forgotten a lot of the details from the period.

Using talking heads including Gore Vidal, Gloria Steinem, Warren Beatty, Howard Zinn, Dick Gregory, Jim Bouton and Ron Kovic we get a first-hand narrative from the people who worked for and knew McGovern at the time. Best of all, George McGovern, still the honest man he always was, speaks his mind from his ranch in South Dakota.

Director Stephen Vittoria does a fine job of portraying the times as they were (at least as I remember them). If you are a student of history I urge you to see this film. But I warn you there are times that your head will likely explode.

Acting: No acting in a documentary but some of the file footage of the lies being told about the Vietnam War by Nixon and Kissinger was good acting.

Predilection: I supported McGovern in 1972 (are you surprised?)

Soundtrack: A fine track including, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Donovan, and Elvis Costello

Theater Audience: About 20 other politicos (all ages) but mostly male.

Squirm Scale: I squirmed when I saw Nixon, Rumsfeld and Kissinger.

Predictability Level: Sadly, very high.

Tissue Usage: I admit to shedding a few tears.

Oscar Worthy: No

Soap Box: Not really a soapbox, just a personal memory. In 1972 I was living in a small town in North Western NJ. I was a poll watcher for the Democrats election night. I watched as people voted and then watched as the votes were counted after the polls closed. My naive hopefulness at a defeat of Nixon faded fast.The numbers proved dismal for McGovern. The few people who voted for McGovern were my personal friends.That night my youthful thoughts of a better world turned me into the cynical, conspiratorial left winger I am today. AURGH!

Nit Picking: The film needed to be shorter.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. How about renting All the President's Men for a fine document about the Nixon years?

Length: A bit over two hours.