Welcome to the Human Race: a review of "The Second Civil War"

The Second Civil War    TV Movie    (1997)
     Welcome to the Human Race.
Director: Joe Dante.
Starring: Beau Bridges (Governor of Idaho), James Coburn (Jack Buchan), Kevin Dunn (Jimmy Cannon), Jerry Hardin (Colonel McNally), Phil Hartman (President of US), Dan Hedaya (Mel Burgess), James Earl Jones (Jim Kalla), Brian Keith (General Charles Buford), Denis Leary (Vinnie Franko), Elizabeth Pena (Christina), Ron Perlman (Alan Manieski).
     In the near future, a planeload of immigrant orphans are on their way to a charity facility in Idaho when the Governor of the state closes its borders and refuses them entry.  This sparks a division of military forces, between states government's National Guard and federal government's Army, each hell bent on protecting their own version of the American Dream, as well as their media images.  At the center of this Constitutional storm is a President unable to make a decision without checking with his advisors and referencing one of his predecessors, a Governor more interested in liaisons with his immigrant news reporter mistress than dealing with immigration laws, a newsroom where facts and truth balance with viewer shares, and a TV audience more interested in their favorite daytime soap opera.  The Great American Melting Pot is about to uncivilly boil over.  
     This HBO black comedy is an excellent mix of political and news media parody, race relations satire, and morality tale.  Wonderfully quirky, and sometimes deeply meaningful, dialogue.  Characters run the gamut from dignified to loony.  Performances from a large cast are all vibrant and spot on.  A movie gem.
     Favorite Line(s):  "Can't make an omelet without busting some sacred eggs. We're making history here and you ain't with us, are you?"  "No I'm not."  "You should be. Why not?"  "Maybe because I'm a reporter, I ain't with anybody. Maybe because too many sacred eggs are getting busted. See, I rode the buses back in the 60s to bring people together. Pretty unfashionable now, isn't it?"  "Your wife, she's Jewish, ain't she?"  "You know, I forgot what she is, all I remember is that we met on the back of a bus."
     "I'm trying to remember the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. I said it a million times when I was a kid. Right now I can't seem to remember the words."
     Definitely worth a rent/buy.
     First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.

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