Best of Enemies

Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal is a documentary about some televised debates that took place between a liberal and a conservative in the '60s, which doesn’t sound that interesting, but it’s actually fascinating to watch. You get all kinds of insights into the time period and their motivations, and we’re still facing the same issues they were then.

I wanted to see Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal when it came out, but the library didn’t get it. And then eventually I checked Netflix and there it was. I didn’t have any idea who either person was beforehand, but luckily they set everything up in the opening of the movie. It’s interesting how they said the country was so divided then. Nothing changes.

Reagan was going against Nixon at the convention, and I didn’t have any idea who wound up winning, or if either of them was going to win the presidency. Although when they showed the Democratic candidates, I knew neither one of them won. I think they only showed footage from before the Democratic convention, or the first day of it? I wonder if they shot more debates, or if they ended it early because of what happened on the last one that they showed.

I felt bad for Vidal. He just wanted everyone to be free and equal and he felt like Buckley was ruining the entire country. And then apparently Vidal was obsessed with the debate for the rest of his life, and wrote some weird article being rude to Buckley. It’s crazy that he went into the first debate with no intention of talking about the candidates; all he wanted to do was destroy Buckley.

It was sad when Buckley said he was ready to die, too. Watching the actual debates was pretty uncomfortable. They were so contentious. But I liked all the peripheral stuff; the interviews with other people, and the scenes of what was going on at the conventions, and the anecdotes about things like the studio falling down, and the insights into Buckley and Vidal’s lives.

Vidal shouldn’t have let Buckley affect him so much, though. I feel like he would’ve been happier if he had just let it go.

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