Best of Enemies

(USA 2015)

This is the true story of the ten-night debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal before the 1968 Presidential election. Culled mostly of footage from then-struggling third-place network ABC news archives, the best parts of the film are the debates themselves: Buckley and Vidal go after each other with biting, brutal wit. Best of Enemies highlights issues of class and ideology that we still see today—and amusingly shows things no one gets away with saying on broadcast television anymore.

I thought Best of Enemies would be more fun than it was. I also left the theater liking Buckley a lot more than Vidal, even though my personal politics are far more aligned with the latter. Buckley was charming; Vidal was not.

(Landmark Century) B-

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