Best Of Enemies Reviews

  • Apr 05, 2019

    Better than Green Book. Similar themes but more interesting. Great performances from great actors.

    Better than Green Book. Similar themes but more interesting. Great performances from great actors.

  • Jul 24, 2018

    Turn back the clocks fifty years and we find the birthplace of today's angry, confrontational news programming. In the late sixties, standard operating procedure for network television reporting was straight, impartial, monotone and almost entirely fact-driven. ABC, at the time a very distant third to perennial front-runners NBC and CBS, gambled on rowdy, opinion-driven segments during their convention coverage and won... or did we all lose? At the heart of it all we find the conservative intellectual, William F. Buckley, and his opponent / counterpoint, the liberal author Gore Vidal, who embark upon a series of fiery debates: one for each night of their respective parties' conventions. In retrospect, their early arguments seem downright civilized - both are eloquent, engaging, brilliant conversationalists and they make for a fascinating contrast - but as the routine bears on and the speakers' attacks grow more personal, the cordiality of their discourse deteriorates. Finally, after slyly baiting his hooks for several such confrontations, one speaker elicits a jolting moment of unguarded, contemptuous rage from his opponent and, knowing his battle won, smugly settles in to enjoy the moment. It's difficult to get completely behind either man, really. Each spins a mesmerizing oral web, but they also fall into the trap of continually one-upping each other, and that betrays the spirit of the debate. Personally, I'd love to spend a dinner party with either, but wouldn't want to make a habit of it. Deeply interesting historical material that answers many questions about how we arrived at this era of brash 24-hour opinions and endlessly question-dodging presidential debates.

    Turn back the clocks fifty years and we find the birthplace of today's angry, confrontational news programming. In the late sixties, standard operating procedure for network television reporting was straight, impartial, monotone and almost entirely fact-driven. ABC, at the time a very distant third to perennial front-runners NBC and CBS, gambled on rowdy, opinion-driven segments during their convention coverage and won... or did we all lose? At the heart of it all we find the conservative intellectual, William F. Buckley, and his opponent / counterpoint, the liberal author Gore Vidal, who embark upon a series of fiery debates: one for each night of their respective parties' conventions. In retrospect, their early arguments seem downright civilized - both are eloquent, engaging, brilliant conversationalists and they make for a fascinating contrast - but as the routine bears on and the speakers' attacks grow more personal, the cordiality of their discourse deteriorates. Finally, after slyly baiting his hooks for several such confrontations, one speaker elicits a jolting moment of unguarded, contemptuous rage from his opponent and, knowing his battle won, smugly settles in to enjoy the moment. It's difficult to get completely behind either man, really. Each spins a mesmerizing oral web, but they also fall into the trap of continually one-upping each other, and that betrays the spirit of the debate. Personally, I'd love to spend a dinner party with either, but wouldn't want to make a habit of it. Deeply interesting historical material that answers many questions about how we arrived at this era of brash 24-hour opinions and endlessly question-dodging presidential debates.

  • Jun 10, 2018

    A hit piece on William F. Buckley. Two hours meant to punch the memory of Buckley as a closet homosexual. A few impartial interviews and the archival footage and exposition of the conventions make the film barely worth watching.

    A hit piece on William F. Buckley. Two hours meant to punch the memory of Buckley as a closet homosexual. A few impartial interviews and the archival footage and exposition of the conventions make the film barely worth watching.

  • May 04, 2018

    Watch this film. Best of Enemies has an almost epic feel of battle while also providing educational material and historical context.

    Watch this film. Best of Enemies has an almost epic feel of battle while also providing educational material and historical context.

  • Apr 10, 2018

    Not bad, and informative about these pundits and their role they played in politics.

    Not bad, and informative about these pundits and their role they played in politics.

  • May 20, 2017

    The historical context and events around which much of the documentary is based upon, is more interesting than it's main two protagonists.

    The historical context and events around which much of the documentary is based upon, is more interesting than it's main two protagonists.

  • Mar 14, 2017

    Intelligent documentary about a fascinating political rivalry, that should appeal to those that like literature and politics in equal measure.

    Intelligent documentary about a fascinating political rivalry, that should appeal to those that like literature and politics in equal measure.

  • Jan 30, 2017

    A little boring, it's a fascinating look not only at this political rivalry, but really the start of contentious, ratings-driven news. I'm a big liberal so I obviously side with Gore Vidal in the debates. Frankly, I would hate a guy like Buckley today. In reality, they're both a little hard to watch. Who was watching these debates back then? Both spoke in a language hard for most to understand. Did people just enjoy the drama? More importantly, this really was the beginning of the format we see so often today. Don't so much tell us the news as entertain us. Give me someone from each side and let's watch them go at it. Look how well that's worked for us. Neither side wants to trust the media, and a guy like Trump slipped through the cracks.

    A little boring, it's a fascinating look not only at this political rivalry, but really the start of contentious, ratings-driven news. I'm a big liberal so I obviously side with Gore Vidal in the debates. Frankly, I would hate a guy like Buckley today. In reality, they're both a little hard to watch. Who was watching these debates back then? Both spoke in a language hard for most to understand. Did people just enjoy the drama? More importantly, this really was the beginning of the format we see so often today. Don't so much tell us the news as entertain us. Give me someone from each side and let's watch them go at it. Look how well that's worked for us. Neither side wants to trust the media, and a guy like Trump slipped through the cracks.

  • Nov 13, 2016

    An excellent examination of history and politics :) Great viewing, especially in light of recent Governmental developments

    An excellent examination of history and politics :) Great viewing, especially in light of recent Governmental developments

  • Oct 04, 2016

    10/3/16 PBS Independent Lens A fascinating and in depth look and the Buckley-Vidal debates and the precursors to the world we find ourselves in today. More interesting since I lived through this period and watched these debates in real time. We find ourselves in a world today not much different than the world of 1968 on race, economic inequality,far right and far left politics and down in the mud politics that doesn't debate issues but personal demagoguery. Buckley ran for mayor of NYC and discovered the angry white man as his main constituency, sound familiar Donald J. Trump.

    10/3/16 PBS Independent Lens A fascinating and in depth look and the Buckley-Vidal debates and the precursors to the world we find ourselves in today. More interesting since I lived through this period and watched these debates in real time. We find ourselves in a world today not much different than the world of 1968 on race, economic inequality,far right and far left politics and down in the mud politics that doesn't debate issues but personal demagoguery. Buckley ran for mayor of NYC and discovered the angry white man as his main constituency, sound familiar Donald J. Trump.