Washington, DC– On Wednesday it was reported that the White House requested a personal screening of the 1996 film Kazaam.
The children’s comedy stars Shaquille O’Neil as Kazaam, a five thousand year old genie discovered in a boombox who grants a young boy three wishes. Together they go on a journey to grant his biggest wish of all, to reconnect with his absent father, but find themselves in the dark world of an illegal music pirating operation.
Once the public got hold of the news, some questioned why the President of the United States would choose a 90s movie with a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and considered by many to be one of the worst movies of the decade. On Thursday, during a White House Press Conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked what compelled Donald Trump to select the over 20 year old children’s movie.
In response, Sanders stated:
First, I would like to say that I find it reprehensible to question the taste of the President of the United States, particularly that of cinema. President Trump has been featured in many renowned movie, such as “Zoolander” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. Donald Trump’s decision to select “Kazaam” for a movie night with his family and staff is completely justified, as the film is a lesson on the importance of friendship and family. Kazaam’s delightful antics in the movie are hilarious, and the wonderful writing and directing make the film enjoyable for all ages. The mystical plot is engaging and Shaquille O’Neil’s comedic timing and delivery should have, frankly, won him an Oscar nomination. This movie has earned its place in the canon of American films, and it’s sad to see that the President can recognize that while the rest of the media cannot.
Traditionally, studios make their films readily available to the White House per request, and to be screened in the White House is considered to be a major success as it creates a level of prestige for the film. All the President’s Men, Schindler’s List, and Black Hawk Down are a few movies to have been screened over the years. Kazaam has less prominence in the film world, with critic Lawrence Van Gelder of the New York Times saying of the movie, “Mr. O’Neal should have slam-dunked the script into the nearest wastebasket” and critic Esther Iverem of the Washington Post giving a similar review, saying “Surely, if granted three wishes, they could have produced a better film”.
When Touchstone Pictures (the studio behind Kazaam) got the odd request for a copy of the movie, they were reportedly caught off guard and questioned whether the call was a joke before obliging with the White House’s request.
Illustrated by Marion Moseley