Even before writing movies ever since I was a kid I have seen the world through the lens of film and TV. And as a writer I can't help but sometimes see the world metaphorically. So when Clint and Spike were recently spatting it depressed me because their old school name calling seemed to augur bad things for the presidential race.
But the better metaphor for Obama vs. McCain is A Few Good Men. McCain, like Nicholson's character, has a Teflon reputation in the media as a tough, straight-talking SOB. Obama in the Tom Cruise role (before he went totally nuts), is the brash young maverick.
What Obama needs to do in the upcoming debates is exactly what Cruise did to Nicholson: keep needling the uptight stuffed shirt, relentlessly but calmly picking at his canned answers until, "Kaboom!" he blows his top. McCain is famous for his fury, having called his own wife the C word in front of reporters. Obama needs to keep at him with a quiet, but insistent tenacity until he rips off the mask of civility and shows his authentic self.
We'll all see it coming. McCain's jaw will tighten, his face redden and then, finally, he'll erupt with something like..."Why you little bratty piece of shit!" and tear across the stage and try to take a swing at Barack.