Sunday, October 22, 2006
Written by Fumo Verde
Bart Everly examines one of Congress’ shining stars, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat from Massachusetts’ 4th congressional district since 1981. The documentary follows him through the halls of Congress and details why he was the "go-to guy" when it came to the House deciding someone's fate during the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton.
In 1990, Frank received a reprimand from the House for fixing 33 parking tickets for Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who he hired through a personal ad. Gobie ran a prostitution ring out of Frank’s apartment, but the House Ethics Committee found no proof of Frank’s involvement. Eight years later, Frank was thrust into the spotlight of a sex-crazed media whose only thoughts were about how deep did the cigar go. He brought rationalization, humor, and a sense of what the American public was really concerned about: privacy.
By having unlimited accesses to Frank for 24 months, Everly gives us an inside view to not only Frank and his life, but how D.C. looks from the other side of the TV. Everly doesn't start this out like one of those VH1’s Behind The Music segments; he drops us right into the firestorm of the Clinton impeachment hearings. At first, that's what I thought this whole thing was going to be about, but Everly and his editors made some clever cuts, bringing up the past to show not only what, but why things were going the way they were, which helped weave the story that was being told.
Frank came out of the closet in 1987 at the suggestion of then House Speaker Tip O'Neil. Not just for himself, but also to assist "Every gay Representative to come out of the room," as O'Neil said. Frank replied, "That's closet, Mr. Speaker." A funny little anecdote that lends credit to the old proverb, the truth will set you free. In coming out of the closet, O'Neil explained, the other side wouldn't be able to use that against you.
But the film is not all about Frank being gay. Like I said, Clinton’s impeachment is in the air, and the Republicans smell blood. Frank’s quick wit and sense of good politics (opposite of the fear politics that has been going on as of late) and his dealings with sex and lies made him the linchpin in the defense of the President.
Most of this documentary revolves around the 1998 hearings and how Frank made valid points, along with Maxine Waters, and basically showed not only the media, but also the American public that the case the Republicans were chasing down was not only unjust, but also unimportant in the minds of almost every American. I remember this all to well, I thought, “He got a blowjob from a fat chick. Who fucking cares? This is how Frank explained it, but with more eloquence and dignity.
More up-to-date concerns are in there too, like gay marriage. Here again, Frank throws down a fantastic speech. "How is it an attack on your marriage if I love another man? Is your marriage going to fall apart? Are you going to get a divorce? Does it make you love your wife less?" Barney asks these questions to other members of the House, and as they respond, "No, my marriage will not be affected," Frank gives a rational yet witty explanation on why there shouldn't be any amendments that refuse rights to certain citizens just because of their sexual orientation.
Barney Frank is frank and he doesn't mince words. He’s an extremely intelligent man, whose sharpness is only matched by his humor and is one of those rare lawmakers that we as Americans only get to see every once in a while. This documentary provides a testimony for a man who stands up for the true American values: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Even though Let’s Get Frank came out a few weeks before the next election, it won't change anybody’s minds on who or how to vote, but it will give you a good look at a man who should run for president. Barney Frank is a Representative who is trying to represent all the people, not just the gay people, not just minorities, but also all the people. He has gained the respect of men and women from both sides of the aisle, and as long as he keeps being himself, that respect should never wane.
This is Fumo, saying " Vote; it’s the only right we have left. Don't lose it."