I was amused to read Ivanka Trump and Jared (“Knuckles”) Kushner walked out of a movie theater, apparently in a huff, midway through watching “Vice,” a deliciously dark biopic about former vice president Dick Cheney.
It may be the most human thing these two have done in public. Ivanka, a low-talker who speaks in half-sentences and platitudes (acorn, meet tree) and Jared, who wears all black and moves about like those wisps that come up from the sewer grates in “Ghost,” gathered their Secret Service entourage and “abruptly” left during a holiday visit to a Florida cineplex.
I applaud this, not because I didn’t like “Vice,” but because it’s an essentially American conceit to spend $18-$20 on a couple of movie tickets and then stomp out because the movie turned out to be nowhere near as good as promised. I’m looking at you “Hereditary.”
But here’s what I wondered: Why would Ivanka and Jared not have a private screening of “Vice” back at Mar-a-lago? I’m sure they could’ve ordered up a “screener” with ease. Why go to all the trouble to go out to the movies? There wasn’t any mention of it but I’m sure the Secret Service had to “sweep” the theater first. Not as in borrowing the brush roller to pick up Skittles but to make sure it was safe for the first family to enter.
This question nagged at me until I realized the answer was another truly American phenomenon: The “I’m tired of the relatives and gotta get outta here for a couple of hours” holiday tradition, which is as American as complaining about the $10 frozen Coke.
The Trump-Kushner’s choice of date movie remains bizarre. With so many new releases that wouldn’t demonize their political party, why not see “Mary Poppins” or “Aquaman”? Surely, they realized “Vice” wasn’t going to be a favorable treatment of Cheney. When you’re already on edge after too much family togetherness (Who the hell invited Tiffany!?) wouldn’t you prefer something more escapist?
Having just finished Michelle Obama’s highly readable autobiography, “Becoming,” in which she admits unwinding with HGTV and E! at the end of tough campaign days, I was even more curious about the couple’s choice.
If the intent was to communicate disgust, mission accomplished. But wasn’t that a lot of trouble? The whole thing reminded me of “Vice” president Pence’s manufactured hissy fit at a pro football game when he observed players kneeling during the national anthem. Pence pretended to be surprised when the same players who always kneel did so again. The cost to the taxpayers for that prearranged silliness was around $250,000, which true Americans could’ve used to pay for a couple hundred feet of border wall, just sayin’.
Surely, they knew their noisy exit would become fodder for snarky and underpaid newspaper columnists everywhere. They should’ve stayed because in the end Cheney unhinges his ginormous jaw to reveal rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth just like the monsters in “A Quiet Place.” That was awesome.